ترامب يؤكد الثوابت الاستراتيجية الأميركية ويتّجه لتجرّع كأس السمّ الأكبر

محمد صادق الحسيني

مايو 27, 2017

عندما ينظر المرء الى الضجيج الإعلامي وما يرافقه من تصريحات للمسؤولين الأميركيين، تبدو متناقضة وعصية على الفهم، يتهيّأ للمرء أن إدارة ترامب الجديدة تعاني من تخبّط في خطابها السياسي ورؤيتها الاستراتيجية عموماً، وتلك المتعلقة بالشرق الاوسط وبمنطق الأزمات الأخرى في العالم، ابتداء بأزمة القرن وأوكرانيا، مروراً بموضوع الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، وصولاً إلى الغطرسة التي يمارسها الوحش الإمبريالي الأميركي في منطقة شبه الجزيرة الكورية وبحر الصين الجنوبي.

ولكن حقيقة الأمر، أي جوهر السياسة الأميركية المتعلقة بمناطق التوتر المشار إليها أعلاه. هي أن الاستراتيجية الأميركية لم يطرأ عليها أي تغيّر على الإطلاق. إذ إن ثوابت السياسة الخارجية الأميركية التي كانت متّبعة من الإدارات الأميركية السابقة لا زالت على حالها تماماً. علماً أن هذه الثوابت او الأهداف الاستراتيجية معنى الهدف الاستراتيجي هو: الهدف النهائي لكامل مسرح العمليات في كل أنحاء ميدان الصراع أو الحرب، والذي هو في هذه الحالة في العالم بأسره… أي الهدف الذي يؤدي تحقيقه الى السيطرة الكاملة على مسرح العمليات… أي النصر على العدو . نقول إن تلك الأهداف تتمثل في ما يلي:

أولاً: الحفاظ على أمن القاعدة العسكرية الإمبريالية المقامة على أرض فلسطين والمسماة «اسرائيل»، لكونها إحدى اهم ادوات الاستعمار القديم والجديد في تفتيت العالم العربي والإسلامي وهدر إمكانياته ومنعه من التطور والتنمية، وبالتالي منعه من التحوّل كتلة دولية ولاعباً أساسياً اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً.

ثانياً: السيطرة على منابع النفط والغاز في المنطقة الممتدة من سواحل البحر الأبيض المتوسط الشرقية وصولاً لحدود الصين الغربية. وذلك ليس لضمان تدفق النفط الى الدول الغربية واستمرار نهب ثروات الدول المنتجة لهاتين المادتين الهامتين استراتيجياً أي على صعيد كامل مسرح العمليات الدولي وإنما لاستعمال مصادر الطاقة المذكورة في الصراع الدولي الحالي وفي صراع الولايات المتحدة المقبل مع الصين. إذ إن الولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص والدول الغربية بشكل عام تخشى من التطور الاقتصادي الهائل الذي تحققه الصين خاصة بِعد ان وصل حجم اقتصادها الى حجم الاقتصاد الأميركي مما يجعل من الصين القوة الاقتصادية الاولى على صعيد العالم، والتي لا تمكن منافستها على المستوى التجاري، وذلك للعديد من الأسباب التي لا مجال لمعالجتها هنا.

ثالثاً: المحافظة على التحالف السياسي والعسكري مع الدول العربية الرجعية والعميلة للاستعمار، وذلك للحفاظ على القواعد الأميركية والغربية الأخرى الموجودة في تلك الدول منذ خمسينيات القرن الماضي… وخاصة في السعودية وجنوب اليمن قبل التحرير، وكذلك في ما أصبح يُعرف بدولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة قبل أن «تستقل» عن التاج البريطاني سنة ١٩٧١. تلك القواعد التي عادت إلى مستوى نشاطها في فترة الخمسينيات والستينيات من القرن الماضي لا بل إنها وسعت كثيراً من هذا النشاط، بحيث أصبحت تستعمل للعدوان المباشر وشن الهجمات البرية والبحرية وأجواء على العديد من الدول العربية كما حصل في غزو العراق وفي حرب تموز ٢٠٠٦ ضد لبنان، حيث قامت قيادة المنطقة الوسطى في الجيش الأميركي المسؤولة عن منطقة الشرق الأوسط بتزويد الجيش «الإسرائيلي» بكميات كبيرة من الأسلحة والذخائر، خاصة صواريخ جو أرض، المخزنة في قواعد الجيش الأميركي في العراق قبل الانسحاب الأميركي من العراق طبعاً والسعودية وقطر وصولاً الى الهجمات الاميركية الجوية والبحرية المستمرة ضد اليمن حتى قبل بدء العدوان الأميركي السعودي الواسع على هذا البلد العربي الصامد والمنتصر بإذن الله.

وليس آخراً العدوان الأميركي على الشعب الليبي ومقدراته جواً وبحراً، انطلاقاً من القواعد الاميركية إياها والتي تواصل عدوانها على سيادة الدولة السورية براً وجواً وبحراً وتمعن تقتيلاً في مواطني قلعة العروبة الصامدة سورية.

كل هذا خدمة لمصالح الولايات المتحدة والدول الغربية الاستعمارية الآنية وكذلك كحلقة في عمليات التطويق الاستراتيجي للصين من خلال تثبيت قواعدهم العسكرية في عموم منطقة غرب آسيا وصولاً إلى حدود الصين الغربية والشمالية الغربية وذلك في إطار الاستعدادات للمواجهة مع الصين مستقبلاً. فمن المعروف أن الطبيعة الامبريالية العدوانية للولايات المتحدة والدول الغربية الأخرى لا يمكنها أن تبحث وسائل للتعاون المشترك في حل المعضلات الدولية عن طريق الحوار والتفاهم وإنما تبحث دائماً عن حجج وأعذار لشنّ مزيد من الحروب التي تخدم طبيعتهم الجامحة نحو السيطرة على الشعوب وإخضاعها…

اذاً، هذه هي الاستراتيجية الأميركية الجديدة القديمة ذات الثوابت غير القابلة للتغيير، بينما أدوات تحقيق هذه الاستراتيجية هي التي تتغيّر ويتم تطويعها كي تلائم كل مرحلة من مراحل الصراع سواء في «الشرق الاوسط» او على صعيد العالم. أي أن التغيير الذي طرأ على السياسات الأميركية قد اقتصر على تعديلات على الأساليب والأدوات المستخدمة في تحقيق الأهداف الاستراتيجية الأميركية. وقد شملت هذه التعديلات المناحي التالية:

١ التحول من الدخول في حروب واسعة ومكلفة جدا، على الصعيدين البشري والمالي، وغير مضمونة النجاح كما حصل في حربي أفغانستان والعراق، الى ضربات عسكرية محدودة جوية او بحرية او باستخدام القوات الخاصة والقوات المحمولة جوا للقيام بعمليات خاطفة في ارض العدو او خلف خطوط العدو.

اي ان الولايات المتحدة لن تقوم بإرسال عشرات آلاف الجنود الأميركيين الى اي مكان في العالم بعد اليوم بل ستعتمد الأسلوب الموضح أعلاه.

٢ الاعتماد على القوى المحلية العميلة للإمساك بالأرض تحت قيادة أميركية، وبغض النظر عما إذا كانت هذه القوى العميلة «دولاً» كالسعودية ومشيخات الخليج والأردن، أو ميليشيات محلية كداعش والنصرة ومسمياتها الأخرى الى جانب ما يطلق عليه جيش سورية الجديد وجيش الجنوب وغيره من التسميات المشبوهة السائرة في مشاريع فرض السيطرة على الوطن العربي.

٣ فتنة الحرب، أي زيادة استعار الحرب بين مكونات المجتمعات العربية، كما فعلت الولايات المتحدة في فيتنام، أي تسليح فئات لتحارب فئات أخرى في مختلف الدول العربية. وهذا ما بدأته الولايات المتحدة عندما أوجدت داعش والنصرة في العراق ثم في سورية وبقية الدول العربية. وهذا هو هدفها الحالي من وراء عمليات التسليح والتدريب لقوى عشائرية بعينها في سورية والعراق وبالتعاون مع الاردن ومن دون التنسيق لا مع الحكومة السورية ولا مع الحكومة العراقية…

ولكن على الرغم من كل المؤامرات التي تقوم بها الولايات المتحدة بالتعاون مع أذنابها المحليين من صهاينة وعثمانيين جدد ورجعية عربية، إلا أن كل مشاريعهم هذه محكومة بالفشل المحتوم وذلك للأسباب التالية:

– تماسك وصمود محور المقاومة الأسطوري، وكذلك ثبات الموقف الروسي الداعم لسورية والعراق في مواجهة مشاريع الهيمنة والإخضاع القسري.

– محدودية المقدرة العسكرية الأميركية في ميادين القتال ما يؤدي الى محدودية الدور الأميركي في عملية الصراع السياسي. إذ إن الهزيمة او الهزائم المتلاحقة التي لحقت بعصابات الاٍرهاب التابعة للولايات المتحدة وأذنابها الإقليميين من داعش الى النصرة إلى آخر قائمة مسمّيات تنظيمات الجريمة والتخريب قد وصلت إلى حد أن الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة قد وجدت نفسها مضطرة للتدخل الصاروخي في الميدان السوري، على أمل ان تحافظ على دور لها في العملية السياسية السورية التي لا بد أن تتم بعد إلحاق الهزيمة الكاملة بقوى الإرهاب العميلة والدول والقوى العميلة للإرهاب في الوطن العربي.

– الوجود العسكري الروسي الكثيف والفاعل في الميدان السوري.

– وكذلك الدعم الإيراني المتعدد الوجوه للدولة والجيش السوري وما لإيران من وجود فاعل على الارض، وما لتضحيات القيادة الايرانية والعسكريين الإيرانيين وشهدائهم.

– أي أن الأميركي ورغم عنترياته وألعابه النارية من توماهوك الى غيره، والتي لا تخيف الأسود وإنما تعبر عن ارتفاع الياس والقنوط الذي يصيبه نتيجة قناعته بفشل مشاريعة الشرق أوسطية الأخرى، نقول إنه رغم ذلك مضطر للحوار ليس مع روسيا فقط وإنما مع إيران أيضاً ولو بشكل غير مباشر عندما يحين الوقت وتأزف الساعة لإسدال الستار على حقبة العصابات المسلحة في كل من سورية والعراق. وهذا يعني أن سورية وحلفاءها، وعلى عكس الوحش الرأسمالي الامبريالي الأميركي، لن يكون لديهم مانع من التوصل الى تفاهم مع العالم الجديد ينظم علاقات الحلفاء معه على أساس احترام أنظمة القانون الدولي احتراماً كاملاً.

من هنا فإن الادارة الاميركية ليست في وضع تفرض فيه شروطاً لتحقيق تسويات تخدم مصالحها، لا في «الشرق الأوسط «ولا في أي من ميادين الصراع على المستوى الكوني، لأسباب عديدة لا مجال لمعالجتها في هذا الإطار.

لذلك فإن خياراتها محدودة وتنحصر في الاحتمالات التالية:

أ الإقرار بالهزيمة النهائية ورفع يدها عن منطقتنا العربية والإسلامية التي تسميها الشرق الاوسط، وذلك تمشياً مع الحقائق التي تحكم ميادين الصراع والتي تقول بوضوح إن من يمسك الأرض هم ليسوا الولايات المتحدة وعملاءها وأذنابها وإنما ابطال محور المقاومة من جيش سورية الى الوحدات العسكرية الإيرانية الى جانب ابطال حزب الله والقوى الرديفة الأخرى ومساعدة الحليف الروسي اللامحدودة وعلى الصعد كلها.

ب استمرار التذرّع بمحاربة داعش والمضي قدماً في عمليات التمشيط المذهبي والتعبئة المقيتة ضد ايران الشقيقة، والتي تواصل دعمها للقضايا العربية، وعلى رأسها القضية الفلسطينية، ومنذ انتصار الثورة الإسلامية في ايران في العام ١٩٧٩.

– وفي ظل موازين القوى المحلية والإقليمية والدولية الحاليّة في كافة ميادين الصراع وفي ظل عجز المحور الأميركي عن حسم أي من الصراعات الدائرة منذ سنين نتيجة عجز أدواته عن إلحاق الهزيمة بمعسكر المقاومة ونتيجة مراكمة امكانيات محور المقاومة من علمية الى عسكرية الى غير ذلك، وبشكل يصعب تخيّله، فان إدارة ترامب لن تكون قادرة على إلغاء الاتفاق النووي مع ايران ولا على تعليق العمل به، خاصة أن ترامب يؤمن بنظرية الصفقة بمعنى انه سيواصل العمل بنظام الاتفاق النووي مع بعض التعديلات، اذا كان رفع العقوبات كنتيجة للالتزام الولايات المتحدة بالاتفاق أو تعليق العمل بها كلياً او جزئياً سيعود بالفائدة على الولايات المتحدة. وما صفقة البوينغ التي وقعت حديثاً مع ايران إلا مثال على حجم الفائدة التي ستجنيها الولايات المتحدة من وراء الاتفاق.

– وعليه فلا مفر لإدارة ترامب الجديدة من العودة الى سياسة الإدارات الاميركية القديمة، والأكثر حنكة في إدارة الصراعات الدولية، والتي مؤداها أن من الضروري التعاون مع العدو لتحقيق الانتصار على العدو الأكثر خطورة. فاذا أراد ترامب القضاء على العدو الأكثر خطورة على مصالح الولايات المتحدة، ألا وهو داعش، فعليه ان يتخذ العبرة من تحالف الادارة الأميركية في أربعينيات القرن الماضي مع الاتحاد السوفياتي في سبيل تحقيق النصر على المانيا النازية .اي انه لا بد من تحالفه مع روسيا وإيران وسورية في سبيل القضاء على داعش والتفاهم مع القوى المنتصرة حلف المقاومة على ضمان مصالح معينة للولايات المتحدة في الوطن العربي.

وكما يقول المثل: ما الذي يُجبرك على تجرُّع المرّ…

إلا الأمرّ منه؟

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله.

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Long Sought US Regime Change in Venezuela

Long Sought US Regime Change in Venezuela

SEE ALSO Six Dead, 30 Public Institutions Attacked in Barinas as Violent Protests Continue

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Full story »

Stephen Lendman

Venezuela’s sovereign independence, Bolivarian fairness, and world’s largest oil reserves make it a prime US target for regime change – wanting pro-Western puppet rule replacing democratic governance.

In mid-February, before taking office as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson said “(i)f confirmed, I would urge close cooperation with our friends in the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela’s neighbors Brazil and Colombia, as well as multilateral bodies such as the OAS, to seek a negotiated transition to democratic rule in Venezuela” – code language for lawless regime change.

He ignored raging US political and economic war, bashing President Nicolas Maduro, calling current made-in-the-USA conditions “largely a product of its incompetent and dysfunctional government, first under Hugo Chavez, and now under his designated successor…”

He outrageously urged imposition of tougher sanctions for what he called human rights abuses and “anti-democratic practices.”

In early May, National Security Advisor HR McMaster met with opposition National Assembly president Julio Borges, agreeing on restoring stability as quickly as possible – by regime change they failed to explain.

According to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, they discussed “the need for the government to adhere to the Venezuelan Constitution, release political prisoners, respect the National Assembly, and hold free and democratic elections” – code language for Washington’s regime change intention.

Despite government calls for dialogue and negotiations to resolve things, manipulated violent protests continue – at least 52 deaths since early April, hundreds more injured, many arrested.

Telesur explained only six victims were killed by police, another six by security forces, others during looting, at barricades, by criminals, a bystander and “other cases.”

Deaths occurred in three of Venezuela’s 23 states along with the Caracas Capital District. Most parts of the country are violence-free. Internal and foreign dark forces manipulated what’s ongoing, destabilizing the country, wanting Maduro ousted.

Opposition elements called for “shak(ing) up the country.” On Thursday, Maduro announced a major deal with Russia. In exchange for monthly wheat imports, Moscow will establish five new industrial vehicle manufacturing companies.

“We are ready. All trade agreements have already been signed, and very soon Russia will supply Venezuela with 60,000 tons of wheat per month on a stable basis starting from this year,” Maduro explained.

A Kremlin statement said Putin “wished the Venezuelan government success in their efforts to return the situation in the country to normal, and stressed the importance of resolving the current problems by acting within the law and in accordance with Venezuela’s legislation.”

Both leaders discussed “current matters regarding the strategic partnership between the two countries and implementation of mutually advantageous projects in various areas.”

Russia is a valued Venezuelan ally, another reason for imperial economic war and weeks of street violence.

Before leaving for Saudi Arabia on Friday, Trump issued a veiled threat, saying “we will do whatever is necessary, and we’ll work together to do whatever is necessary – to” fix Venezuela.

Claiming he means “on a humanitarian level” belies longstanding US regime change plans, previous coup attempts foiled, more intervention to replace Maduro with US-controlled puppet rule virtually certain.

Calling what’s happening “a disgrace to humanity” ignores dirty US hands all over stoked violence and years of economic war.

Maduro, like Hugo Chavez before him, accused Washington numerous times of destabilizing Venezuela.

In response to new illegal US sanctions, outrageously imposed on eight Supreme Court justices, Maduro responded saying “(e)nough meddling…Go home Donald Trump. Get out of Venezuela. Get your dirty hands out of here.” US viciousness “surpassed all limits.”

What’s ongoing looks like prelude for another coup attempt. The fate of Venezuelan sovereignty, its model democracy, and Bolivarian fairness are at stake

How U.S. Military Bases Back Dictators, Autocrats, and Military Regimes

How U.S. Military Bases Back Dictators, Autocrats, and Military Regimes

By David Vine

Information Clearing House” –  Much outrage has been expressed in recent weeks over President Donald Trump’s invitation for a White House visit to Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, whose “war on drugs” has led to thousands of extrajudicial killings. Criticism of Trump was especially intense given his similarly warm public support for other authoritarian rulers like Egypt’s Abdel Fatah al-Sisi (who visited the Oval Office to much praise only weeks earlier), Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan (who got a congratulatory phone call from President Trump on his recent referendum victory, granting him increasingly unchecked powers), and Thailand’s Prayuth Chan-ocha (who also received a White House invitation).

But here’s the strange thing: the critics generally ignored the far more substantial and long-standing bipartisan support U.S. presidents have offered these and dozens of other repressive regimes over the decades. After all, such autocratic countries share one striking thing in common. They are among at least 45 less-than-democratic nations and territories that today host scores of U.S. military bases, from ones the size of not-so-small American towns to tiny outposts. Together, these bases are homes to tens of thousands of U.S. troops.

“This pattern of daily support for dictatorship and repression around the world should be a national scandal in a country supposedly committed to democracy.”

To ensure basing access from Central America to Africa, Asia to the Middle East, U.S. officials have repeatedly collaborated with fiercely anti-democratic regimes and militaries implicated in torture, murder, the suppression of democratic rights, the systematic oppression of women and minorities, and numerous other human rights abuses. Forget the recent White House invitations and Trump’s public compliments. For nearly three quarters of a century, the United States has invested tens of billions of dollars in maintaining bases and troops in such repressive states. From Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Republican and Democratic administrations alike have, since World War II, regularly shown a preference for maintaining bases in undemocratic and often despotic states, including Spain under Generalissimo Francisco Franco, South Korea under Park Chung-hee, Bahrain under King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, and Djibouti under four-term President Ismail Omar Guelleh, to name just four.

Many of the 45 present-day undemocratic U.S. base hosts qualify as fully “authoritarian regimes,” according to the Economist Democracy Index. In such cases, American installations and the troops stationed on them are effectively helping block the spread of democracy in countries like Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kuwait, Niger, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

This pattern of daily support for dictatorship and repression around the world should be a national scandal in a country supposedly committed to democracy. It should trouble Americans ranging from religious conservatives and libertarians to leftists — anyone, in fact, who believes in the democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. After all, one of the long-articulated justifications for maintaining military bases abroad has been that the U.S. military’s presence protects and spreads democracy.

Far from bringing democracy to these lands, however, such bases tend to provide legitimacy for and prop up undemocratic regimes of all sorts, while often interfering with genuine efforts to encourage political and democratic reform. The silencing of the critics of human rights abuses in base hosts like Bahrain, which has violently cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrators since 2011, has left the United States complicit in these states’ crimes.

During the Cold War, bases in undemocratic countries were often justified as the unfortunate but necessary consequence of confronting the “communist menace” of the Soviet Union. But here’s the curious thing: in the quarter century since the Cold War ended with that empire’s implosion, few of those bases have closed. Today, while a White House visit from an autocrat may generate indignation, the presence of such installations in countries run by repressive or military rulers receives little notice at all.

Befriending Dictators

The 45 nations and territories with little or no democratic rule represent more than half of the roughly 80 countries now hosting U.S. bases (who often lack the power to ask their “guests” to leave).  They are part of a historically unprecedented global network of military installations the United States has built or occupied since World War II.

Today, while there are no foreign bases in the United States, there are around 800 U.S. bases in foreign countries. That number was recently even higher, but it still almost certainly represents a record for any nation or empire in history. More than 70 years after World War II and 64 years after the Korean War, there are, according to the Pentagon, 181 U.S. “base sites” in Germany, 122 in Japan, and 83 in South Korea. Hundreds more dot the planet from Aruba to Australia, Belgium to Bulgaria, Colombia to Qatar. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, civilians, and family members occupy these installations. By my conservative estimate, to maintain such a level of bases and troops abroad, U.S. taxpayers spend at least $150 billion annually — more than the budget of any government agency except the Pentagon itself.

For decades, leaders in Washington have insisted that bases abroad spread our values and democracy — and that may have been true to some extent in occupied Germany, Japan, and Italy after World War II. However, as base expert Catherine Lutz suggests, the subsequent historical record shows that “gaining and maintaining access for U.S. bases has often involved close collaboration with despotic governments.”

The bases in the countries whose leaders President Trump has recently lauded illustrate the broader pattern. The United States has maintained military facilities in the Philippines almost continuously since seizing that archipelago from Spain in 1898. It only granted the colony independence in 1946, conditioned on the local government’s agreement that the U.S. would retain access to more than a dozen installations there.

After independence, a succession of U.S. administrations supported two decades of Ferdinand Marcos’s autocratic rule, ensuring the continued use of Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base, two of the largest U.S. bases abroad. After the Filipino people finally ousted Marcos in 1986 and then made the U.S. military leave in 1991, the Pentagon quietly returned in 1996. With the help of a “visiting forces agreement” and a growing stream of military exercises and training programs, it began to set up surreptitious, small-scale bases once more. A desire to solidify this renewed base presence, while also checking Chinese influence, undoubtedly drove Trump’s recent White House invitation to Duterte. It came despite the Filipino president’s record of joking about rape, swearing he would be “happy to slaughter” millions of drug addicts just as “Hitler massacred [six] million Jews,” and bragging, “I don’t care about human rights.”

 

In Turkey, President Erdogan’s increasingly autocratic rule is only the latest episode in a pattern of military coups and undemocratic regimes interrupting periods of democracy. U.S. bases have, however, been a constant presence in the country since 1943. They repeatedly caused controversy and sparked protest — first throughout the 1960s and 1970s, before the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, and more recently after U.S. forces began using them to launch attacks in Syria.

Although Egypt has a relatively small U.S. base presence, its military has enjoyed deep and lucrative ties with the U.S. military since the signing of the Camp David Accords with Israel in 1979. After a 2013 military coup ousted a democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood government, the Obama administration took months to withhold some forms of military and economic aid, despite more than 1,300 killings by security forces and the arrest of more than 3,500 members of the Brotherhood. According to Human Rights Watch, “Little was said about ongoing abuses,” which have continued to this day.

In Thailand, the U.S. has maintained deep connections with the Thai military, which has carried out 12 coups since 1932. Both countries have been able to deny that they have a basing relationship of any sort, thanks to a rental agreement between a private contractor and U.S. forces at Thailand’s Utapao Naval Air Base. “Because of [contractor] Delta Golf Global,” writes journalist Robert Kaplan, “the U.S. military was here, but it was not here. After all, the Thais did no business with the U.S. Air Force. They dealt only with a private contractor.”

Elsewhere, the record is similar. In monarchical Bahrain, which has had a U.S. military presence since 1949 and now hosts the Navy’s 5th Fleet, the Obama administration offered only the most tepid criticism of the government despite an ongoing, often violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. According to Human Rights Watch and others (including an independent commission of inquiry appointed by the Bahraini king, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa), the government has been responsible for widespread abuses including the arbitrary arrest of protesters, ill treatment during detention, torture-related deaths, and growing restrictions on freedoms of speech, association, and assembly. The Trump administration has already signaled its desire to protect the military-to-military ties of the two countries by approving a sale of F-16 fighters to Bahrain without demanding improvements in its human rights record.

And that’s typical of what base expert Chalmers Johnson once called the American “baseworld.” Research by political scientist Kent Calder confirms what’s come to be known as the “dictatorship hypothesis”: “The United States tends to support dictators [and other undemocratic regimes] in nations where it enjoys basing facilities.” Another large-scale study similarly shows that autocratic states have been “consistently attractive” as base sites. “Due to the unpredictability of elections,” it added bluntly, democratic states prove “less attractive in terms [of] sustainability and duration.”

Even within what are technically U.S. borders, democratic rule has regularly proved “less attractive” than preserving colonialism into the twenty-first century. The presence of scores of bases in Puerto Rico and the Pacific island of Guam has been a major motivation for keeping these and other U.S. “territories” — American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — in varying degrees of colonial subordination. Conveniently for military leaders, they have neither full independence nor the full democratic rights that would come with incorporation into the U.S. as states, including voting representation in Congress and the presidential vote.  Installations in at least five of Europe’s remaining colonies have proven equally attractive, as has the base that U.S. troops have forcibly occupied in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, since shortly after the Spanish-American War of 1898.

Backing Dictators

Authoritarian rulers tend to be well aware of the desire of U.S. officials to maintain the status quo when it comes to bases. As a result, they often capitalize on a base presence to extract benefits or help ensure their own political survival.

The Philippines’ Marcos, former South Korean dictator Syngman Rhee, and more recently Djibouti’s Ismail Omar Guelleh have been typical in the way they used bases to extract economic assistance from Washington, which they then lavished on political allies to shore up their power. Others have relied on such bases to bolster their international prestige and legitimacy or to justify violence against domestic political opponents. After the 1980 Kwangju massacre in which the South Korean government killed hundreds, if not thousands, of pro-democracy demonstrators, strongman General Chun Doo-hwan explicitly cited the presence of U.S. bases and troops to suggest that his actions enjoyed Washington’s support. Whether or not that was true is still a matter of historical debate. What’s clear, however, is that American leaders have regularly muted their criticism of repressive regimes lest they imperil bases in these countries. In addition, such a presence tends to strengthen military, rather than civilian, institutions in countries because of the military-to-military ties, arms sales, and training missions that generally accompany basing agreements.

Meanwhile, opponents of repressive regimes often use the bases as a tool to rally nationalist sentiment, anger, and protest against both ruling elites and the United States. That, in turn, tends to fuel fears in Washington that a transition to democracy might lead to base eviction, often leading to a doubling down on support for undemocratic rulers. The result can be an escalating cycle of opposition and U.S.-backed repression.

Blowback

While some defend the presence of bases in undemocratic countries as necessary to deter “bad actors” and support “U.S. interests” (primarily corporate ones), backing dictators and autocrats frequently leads to harm not just for the citizens of host nations but for U.S. citizens as well. The base build-up in the Middle East has proven the most prominent example of this. Since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian Revolution, which both unfolded in 1979, the Pentagon has built up scores of bases across the Middle East at a cost of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars. According to former West Point professor Bradley Bowman, such bases and the troops that go with them have been a “major catalyst for anti-Americanism and radicalization.” Research has similarly revealed a correlation between the bases and al-Qaeda recruitment.

Most catastrophically, outposts in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan have helped generate and fuel the radical militancy that has spread throughout the Greater Middle East and led to terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States. The presence of such bases and troops in Muslim holy lands was, after all, a major recruiting tool for al-Qaeda and part of Osama bin Laden’s professed motivation for the 9/11 attacks.

With the Trump administration seeking to entrench its renewed base presence in the Philippines and the president commending Duterte and similarly authoritarian leaders in Bahrain and Egypt, Turkey and Thailand, human rights violations are likely to escalate, fueling unknown brutality and baseworld blowback for years to come.

David Vine, a TomDispatch regular, is associate professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C. His latest book is Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World

Julian #Assange: The American Empire Under Trump Has Become Increasingly Desperate, Dangerous, & Insecure

The American Empire Under Trump Has Become Increasingly Desperate, Dangerous, & Insecure

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog, [4]

My current working hypothesis is that the U.S. is a late-stage empire about to enter a more serious and dangerous period of collapse. In case you missed it, I outlined my broad brush view in the very popular recent post, Prepare for Impact – This is the Beginning of the End for U.S. Empire [5]. Here’s a brief excerpt:

I believe last night’s strike represents the beginning of the end for U.S. empire. Although the U.S. has been declining domestically for this entire century, America has still been calling all the shots on the international front. This makes sense in late-stage empire, as the focus of the fat and happy “elite” becomes singularly obsessed with domination and power, while the situation back home festers and rots.

 

Trump won on an “America first” platform that promised to emphasize the well-being of American citizens over geopolitical adventurism. We now know for certain he’s been manipulated into the imperial mindset, and his recklessness will merely accelerate U.S. decline on the world stage, and in turn, back home.

When I came across reports yesterday that the U.S. Justice Department is trying to figure out a way to prosecute the world’s most courageous and effective news publisher, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, I immediately saw it to be further evidence of the incredible insecurity and desperation of the American establishment.

The CIA is particularly enraged at Assange as a result of last month’s initial Vault 7 release. Rather than apologize for allowing zero day exploits in large tech companies to remain open and therefore vulnerable to hacking from anyone with the skills to do so (see: CIA Hacking Tools Allow for an Unaccountable Intelligence Agency Dictatorship [6]), CIA director Mike Pompeo decided to respond with an unhinged nervous breakdown during a recent speech to the Saudi funded [7] Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Here are a few excerpts from his deranged, incoherent, and unconstitutional remarks courtesy of the CIA [8]:

WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service. It has encouraged its followers to find jobs at CIA in order to obtain intelligence. It directed Chelsea Manning in her theft of specific secret information. And it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States, while seeking support from anti-democratic countries and organizations.

This is what’s called “projection.”

It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia. In January of this year, our Intelligence Community determined that Russian military intelligence—the GRU—had used WikiLeaks to release data of US victims that the GRU had obtained through cyber operations against the Democratic National Committee. And the report also found that Russia’s primary propaganda outlet, RT, has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks.

 

We know this because Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today. Yes, they try unsuccessfully to cloak themselves and their actions in the language of liberty and privacy; in reality, however, they champion nothing but their own celebrity. Their currency is clickbait; their moral compass, nonexistent. Their mission: personal self-aggrandizement through the destruction of Western values.

 

They do not care about the causes and people they claim to represent. If they did, they would focus instead on the autocratic regimes in this world that actually suppress free speech and dissent. Instead, they choose to exploit the legitimate secrets of democratic governments—which has, so far, proven to be a much safer approach than provoking a tyrant.

More projection.

No, Julian Assange and his kind are not the slightest bit interested in improving civil liberties or enhancing personal freedom. They have pretended that America’s First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice. They may have believed that, but they are wrong.

 

Assange is a narcissist who has created nothing of value. He relies on the dirty work of others to make himself famous. He is a fraud—a coward hiding behind a screen.

Really? Seems to me he’s created the most powerful and impactful media organization of the 21st century, which is precisely why you hate his guts.

And in Kansas, we know something about false Wizards.

 

So we face a crucial question: What can we do about this? What can and should CIA, the United States, and our allies do about the unprecedented challenge posed by these hostile non-state intelligence agencies?

 

While there is no quick fix—no foolproof cure—there are steps that we can take to undercut the danger. First, it is high time we called out those who grant a platform to these leakers and so-called transparency activists. We know the danger that Assange and his not-so-merry band of brothers pose to democracies around the world. Ignorance or misplaced idealism is no longer an acceptable excuse for lionizing these demons.

 

Third, we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us. To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.

 

And finally—and perhaps most importantly—we need to deepen the trust between the Intelligence Community and the citizens we strive to protect.

Deepen the trust? There is no trust.

At CIA, I can assure you that we are committed to earning that trust every day. We know we can never take it for granted. We must continue to be as open as possible with the American people so that our society can reach informed judgments on striking the proper balance between individual privacy and national security.

The first thing to appreciate from the above excerpts is how uncollected and unhinged Mike Pompeo appears to be, and let’s also not forget that Donald Trump appointed Pompeo of his own volition. Much of his commentary centers around simple name calling, for instance referring to Assange as a “narcissist,” a “false wizard” and a “demon” in the span of just a few short paragraphs. His seemingly unstable emotional state certainly doesn’t give me a lot faith in the CIA, not that I had much to begin with.

Moving along, Pompeo’s entire rant is filled with projection. First let’s define Psychological Projection:

Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.

Pompeo exhibits this behavior repeatedly in his remarks. For instance, he accuses Assange of “seeking support from anti-democratic countries and organizations.”

I mean, that’s basically the CIA’s mission statement, and its entire history is filled to the brim with “seeking support from anti-democratic countries and organizations.”

Moving along, he states “Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today,” and also says about Wikileaks, “they do not care about the causes and people they claim to represent.”  

Both of these statements summarize U.S. foreign policy to a tee. After all, one of America’s closest foreign allies, Saudi Arabia, is not only one of the world’s most repressive, undemocratic states, it is also one of the leading propagators of radical Islamic terrorism across the globe, including the attacks of 9/11 (for more see: Meet the Lawyer Who’s Suing Saudi Arabia for Financing the 9/11 Attacks [9]).

Finally, Pompeo justifies his attack on the First Amendment by pushing a false “us versus them mentality.” He states:

Third, we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.

This implies that Assange and Wikileaks represent “the enemy,” while the CIA is somehow some shining white night. Unfortunately for Pompeo, this isn’t how many Americans see the situation.

Let’s recall the following tweet, and understand that John Harwood’s following isn’t exactly filled with anti-establishment types.

 

You can say that’s not a scientific poll, and that’s fine, but I’d argue a large percentage of Americans think Wikileaks is more patriotic than the CIA, and that poses an enormous problem for the deep state.

In fact, Americans as a whole no longer trust most of the institutions charged with managing the U.S. empire, because those institutions have completely and utterly failed the people. The only way to regain trust is to actually start doing some decent things for the nation, but that’s not what happens in late-stage empire. In late-stage empire, the corrupt and foolish “ruling class” continues to double and triple down on their own stupidity and theft until the whole thing falls apart. This is precisely what I expect to happen, and the ongoing Assange witch-hunt simply further confirms my suspicions.

To further prove the point, take a look at the following excerpt from CNN’s [11] article on the topic:

US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, US officials familiar with the matter tell CNN.

 

The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning [12].

 

Prosecutors have struggled with whether the First Amendment precluded the prosecution of Assange, but now believe they have found a way to move forward.

Think about what you just read for a minute. The DOJ apparently spent 7 years trying to figure out how to void the First Amendment, yet it couldn’t jail a single bank executive during that entire time. What does this tell you about where the government’s priorities lie? Even more disturbingly, it doesn’t matter which Goldman Sachs/deep state puppet sits in the White House, the agenda moves forward. It is an imperial agenda to protect and secure the wealth and power of the few against the well being and liberty of the many.

The U.S. empire doesn’t work for the people, it works for a small handful of elitists and insiders who have completely gamed a corrupt system for their advantage. The America people are starting to figure this out, partly due to the journalism of Wikileaks, which is why the deep state hates Assange so passionately.

The American empire is becoming increasingly insecure and desperate, which also makes it increasingly dangerous. Empires don’t reform, and as we can see from Trump’s first 100 days, we certainly aren’t going to see a reversal of course from him.

We the people need to keep our eye on the prize and stop bickering with one another over relatively trivial issues. That is precisely what the status quo wants and actively encourages us to do. They can’t keep us oppressed if we stand together, so let’s not make their jobs easier by constantly fighting with one another. We need to stand tall and say enough is enough. That we are sick of your puppets, your wars and your Wall Street bailouts. America is tired of being controlled by a small group of unaccountable, incompetent, greedy, unethical crooks running around stealing everything in sight

U.S. backed Opposition-Aligned Armed Gangs Attack Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Venezuela

Opposition-Aligned Armed Gangs Attack Maternal and Children’s Hospital in Venezuela

NOVANEWS
  • Mothers and children being evacuated from hospital attacked by the opposition.
    Mothers and children being evacuated from hospital attacked by the opposition. | Photo: @madeleintlSUR

    Twenty-eight newborn babies had to be transferred to another hospital in the capital in order to ensure their safety.

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez announced on her Twitter account that “armed gangs hired by the opposition attacked a maternal and children’s hospital with 54 children (inside).”

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She also said that President Nicolas Maduro ordered the evacuation of the hospital, adding, “We will defeat the coup attempt.”

The Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias Maternal and Children’s Hospital is located in the El Valle neighborhood ofCaracas. Rodriguez also blamed right-wing governments for helping incite the violence.

“The small group of governments that have expressed their public support for the Venezuelan opposition has encouraged this vandalism and extreme violence,” she said.

Those working in the hospital said that the attack started at around 9. p.m. Thursday and lasted for close to three hours.

“We were attacked by violent groups that showered us with stones and sharp objects (and) then burned a large amount of garbage from the hospital – the smoke penetrated inside the premises,” said hospital manager Dr. Rosalinda Prieto, adding that there were newborn babies in the emergency area.

Patients were seen being evacuated in ambulanceswhere, according to the local fire department, 28 newborn babies were transferred to another hospital in the capital. Six babies had to be stabilized before they were transferred.

Así fue la operación de evacuación del Hospital Materno Infantil Hugo Chávez

Jorge Rodriguez, mayor of Caracas, said in a Twitter post, “As a human being and as a doctor I denounce the terrorist attack on the maternal and child hospital of El Valle. Fifty-four children had to be evacuated.”

Several violent incidents occurred in the El Valle neighborhood today as right-wing opposition protests continued, according to RT

Bolivia’s Evo Says US Wants to Overthrow Venezuela to Steal Oil

Source

“The plan of the empire is to overthrow the constitutional president elected by Venezuela … as a warning to anti-imperialist governments,” Morales said.

Bolivian President Evo Morales on Thursday slammed ongoing right-wing opposition protests in Venezuela, claiming they serve the interests of multinational elites looking to privatize the country’s oil resources.

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Venezuelan Opposition Announces Plans for More Street Actions

Morales also said foreign and domestic attacks against President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution are intended to send a threatening message to anti-imperialist governments around the world.

“The plan of the empire is to overthrow the constitutional president elected by Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, as a warning to anti-imperialist governments,” Morales said.

“Any internal conspiracy or external intervention is intended to steal Venezuelan oil.”

For weeks, opposition demonstrators have held violent protests in several cities across the country, calling for regime change and international intervention. The protesters, backed by the U.S. government and the Organization of American States, OAS, have also supported calls for privatizing Venezuela’s publicly-run Petroleum of Venezuela, PDVSA, oil and natural gas company.

At least nine people have died from the protests.

Despite these deaths, opposition leaders like Henrique Capriles and Maria Corina Machado have called on protesters to continue violent demonstrations in order to force Maduro’s ouster.

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Opposition Link in a Number of Venezuela Protest Deaths, Minister Says

Venezuelan authorities have called on the OAS to condemn the violence perpetrated by the opposition, but to no avail.

Venezuela’s Minister of Interior said recent attacks against civilians and police were planned by the opposition after three people were killed on Wednesday.

Among those killed during protest violence Wednesday was Niumar Jose Sanclemente Barrios, a 28-year-old sergeant with the National Guard, who was apparently killed by sniper fire during riots in the Caracas suburb of San Antonio de las Altas.

“We know there are groups interested in selling the world a country in chaos,” Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami said on Wednesday after the murder.

“Henrique Capriles has said in an irresponsible manner that the government is guilty of these deaths and therefore will have to prove these serious allegations in court.”

Donald Trump – a Bellicose President Going Berserk?

Donald Trump – a Bellicose President Going Berserk?

 

45123123213Donald Trump is a kind of a real estate king that has recently manifested his special devotion for the army, militarism, and all things army-related that he had previously been hiding. Thus, the nature of his political ambitions that remained a mystery for a while has suddenly become crystal clear for analysts across the world, since they claim that he’s going to subject every aspect of America’s everyday life to his militaristic fantasies.

When he paid a visit to the United Central Command at the very beginning of the term, he declared: “We must start winning wars again!” To achieve this, Donald Trump has stripped the US State Department along with a number of assistance development programs of 54 billion dollars for this whooping sum to be gifted to the Pentagon.

His devotion to appointing generals to various positions in the White House has also become a topic of debate, since he’s has already hired four providing them with the key positions in his administration.

The 66-year-old James Mattis is now the first general since George Marshall, the author of the famous “Marshall Plan”, to occupy the position of US Secretary of Defense.

Then, 54-year-old Herbert Raymond McMaster, he’s the youngest of the recently appointed generals. He’s now occupying the position of National Security Advisor, replacing another general, Michael Flynn, who forced to resign after three weeks in office because of a scandal that uncovered his alleged ties with Russia’s officials.

And, last but not least, is the 66-year-old general John Kelly, who lost son to the Afghan war back in 2010, now occupies the position of United States Secretary of Homeland Security, where he’s being tasked with the protection of borders, ports and airports, while enjoying the authority to oversee all the migration-related matters.

While musing over the question of where did Donald Trump could get such a passion for generals, the French Le Monde argues that Western political figures are convinced that the 45th US President respects only two categories of people: billionaires and generals. An unnamed source in the US State Department has told this media source that in an atmosphere of confusion that the Trump team created, everything works fine only for the military brass that is immune to the witch hunt that Trump started and that is not being tormented with questions about one’s loyalty to the president. Military figures bring with them at least some promise of discipline and minimal observance of the existing rules, which is enough for one to forget about democratic ideals in today’s America.

So, should the metamorphosis that Donal Trump underwent after his inauguration be of any surprise for anyone. Back in his campaign days he would declare non-interference in the affairs of other states and the urgent need to put an end to all the wars that his predecessors started. Now, taking one step at a time, Trump is deviating from the principles of a democratic state, subjecting every aspect of his political life to the warmongering crowd he has gathered around him.

As it’s been noted by the Week, Obama’s foreign policy was a mess, but Trump’s is even worse, since he is moving toward retrenchment, and re-assessing America’s long war in the Middle East, instead of cutting American losses in unwinnable situations. The Trump administration seems to be taking bigger gambles in operations, loosening the rules of engagement for the military, and doubling down on conflicts that only have the most marginal relation to core US interests.

This media source admits that it’s a bitter result for those who hoped that a candidate opposed by most foreign policy hawks would turn out to be a dove as president. But getting to a more peaceful and restrained foreign policy was always going to be a problem for Trump. Those who would vote for Trump had faith that their candidate would recognize the fact that the United States has been fighting dumb wars for years, and that those wars have brought America to the situation it is in now, after paying enormous costs in blood and resources to achieve nothing.

In turn, the American Conservative would note that there’s a twisted perception of America’s leading role in the world dominating the minds of Washington’s establishment. The aversion to war that Americans might once have felt is long gone today.

The New York Times is convinced that US military involvement in multiple countries is increasing “with no end in sight,” but this intensification of America’s foreign wars isn’t likely to produce much opposition. Even when the US was not used to involving itself in the wars of other nations, pro-war hysteria still prevailed. And since now the population of the country is so accustomed to unending war, there is no need for pro-war hysteria to overwhelm the opposition. New wars have become so common that they are greeted with a shrug or bored acceptance.

Washington’s foreign policy debates have long been biased in favor of action, which almost always means military action in practice. War opponents always operate with a number of disadvantages, and one of the most important of these is the lack of sufficient time to organize before the war has already begun.

It seems that Trump is perfectly aware of all this that is why he’s planning to get away with his warmongering intent. If Barack Obama was awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize under some dubious pretext, it seems that Trump would settle for a title of a US military dictator. But will it make those living in the West any more happier?

Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” 

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