Is World War 3 on the Way?

NATO troops preparing for war game exercise in eastern Europe

NATO troops preparing for war game exercise in eastern Europe

Is World War 3 on the way? Maybe yes, maybe no. But it’s a question I have pondered a number of times in a number of posts dating back over the past three years. I will ponder it again here.

As before when I have put up posts of this nature, a number of disturbing signs point to increased cause for concern, but before I get to these, let me show you a video. It’s one featuring David Icke, which I posted nearly three years ago, in July of 2014, in a post which I entitled “The Vortex.” It was one of the first posts I ever put up basically speculating on the possibility of a coming war.

In the video interview, Icke talks about a prediction made way back in the late 19th century–a prediction by Albert Pike of three world wars in which “political Zionism” would play a role. In the third war, the entire world would be drawn into a “vortex” of chaos centered around a war between political Zionism and Islam, and Icke puts that prediction into the context of events playing out in the Middle East, including the rise of ISIS, which at the time (in the summer of 2014, when Icke gave the interview) had only just appeared upon the world stage.

Icke exhibits a remarkable amount of prescience, not only with regard to the rise of ISIS and the role it would come to play in the Middle East wars (which would have been hard to predict in 2014), but also with regard to Russia being drawn into the conflict in Syria (the interview was done more than a year before Russia formally sent troops into the country). Perhaps most important, however, are his words regarding the world political and financial powers, including the US government, who are funding ISIS:

“These people are sheer, undiluted evil, and people need to understand that, otherwise they will reject that anyone could do what they are doing and kill and maim and slaughter so many people. They can do it because they have no heart, they have no empathy, they have no emotional compassion, and thus mayhem is their currency, and they have no emotional consequence. They are not like us, so don’t judge what they’ll do by what you would do, because it ain’t the same thing.

Wise words, and the point he is making–that evil, pure evil–does indeed exist, is an important one to remember. And now on to the latest somewhat unnerving indications of where things may be headed.

***

According to a report here the US is now considering sending more troops to Syria:

More US troops may be needed in Syria to speed up the campaign against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), the top commander for the Middle East has stated, specifically referring to the push to liberate Raqqa.“I am very concerned about maintaining momentum,” General Joseph L. Votel, the head of the United States Central Command, told reporters, as quoted by CBS News.

He said local forces being supported by the US “don’t have as good mobility, they don’t have as much firepower, so we have to be prepared to fill in some of those gaps for them,” noting that such support may involve additional fire support capability and “a variety of other things” to help “offset some of the gaps.”

The report also offers the following placatory note…

Votel stressed, however, that Washington is not considering sending US troops to take over the fighting, and that the strategy developed during the Obama administration of keeping local forces at the forefront would remain unchanged.

…but of course similar statements are made at the outset of each new troop buildup in each new war the US gets involved in. And the same report also includes this…

Lieutenant General Townsend revealed over the weekend that the 450 American advisers working with the Iraqis in Mosul had moved closer to the front lines in order to stay in touch with Iraqi commanders as they advanced on the city.

The US has about 500 Special Operations troops in Syria. If American military presence were to be expanded, additional troops could come from conventional combat units, the New York Times reported. However, Votel stressed that he would not recommend deploying large combat formations.

“We want to bring the right capabilities forward,” he said. “Not all of those are necessarily resident in the Special Operations community. If we need additional artillery or things like that, I want to be able to bring those forward to augment our operations.”

In addition to the above, you can also go here to access an RT video that includes commentary from former Pentagon official Michael Maloof, who points out that bringing in conventional troops and heavy equipment will require still more troops just to handle the logistics of transport and the setting up and maintaining of bases, all of which becomes a “slippery slope.”

***

As the US contemplates deploying these “conventional combat units” into Syria, additional US troops–lots of them–have already begun to be deployed to Eastern Europe along Russia’s borders. An article at Newsweek gives some insight into the extent of this. The author devotes much of the piece to demonizing Russia and Putin, but then offers the following information about NATO troop deployments:

As a response to Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, NATO has plans to send four 1,000-troop-strong battalions toward Russia’s borders; one for each of the three Baltic countries, and one for Poland.

Additionally, NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force comprises about 5,000 troops. The unit is meant to “respond to emerging security challenges posed by Russia, as well as the risks emanating from the Middle East and North Africa,” according to a statement on NATO’s website.

Overall, the U.S. has about 35,000 military personnel in Europe, including two Army infantry brigades. To deter Moscow, the U.S. has recently deployed an additional heavy brigade to Poland, comprising about 3,500 troops and 87 tanks, as well as a unit of 500 troops to Romania.

The U.S. also has troops in Ukraine conducting a training mission for Ukraine’s armed forces.

“The U.S. has restated its commitment to NATO and Article V, and Russia should recognize that those security guarantees remain rock solid,” Kochis said. “Any deviation only invites aggression and miscalculation.”

NATO’s eastward deployments are still just a fraction of Ukraine’s military buildup near Russia’s border, underscoring how the overall military balance of power in Europe has shifted since 2014 due to Russian aggression.

Ukraine now has about 60,000 combat troops, supported by heavy artillery and armor, forward deployed to the Donbas—Ukraine’s embattled southeastern territory on the border with Russia. That’s a force of 60,000 combat troops near Russia’s border that wasn’t there

***

Trump’s new pick to fill the role of national security advisor is Lieutenant General Herbert R. McMaster, who apparently is something of a Russophobe. McMaster replaces Gen. Michal Flynn, who was friendly toward Russia but who was basically hounded out of office by the media. Here is what former CIA Offficer Philip Giraldi has to say about McMaster:

“He [McMaster] regards Russia as ‘the enemy’ and apparently believes falsely that Moscow has been the aggressor in Georgia and Ukraine,” Giraldi said. “He wants to forward deploy more US forces to Europe to deter Russia.”

And on the subject of Iran:

“While [McMaster] is hostile to Iran he does not share the intense hatred of that country exhibited by Flynn,” he said.

And here is what NPR says regarding McMaster’s appointment:

Trump’s announcement of McMaster was met with widespread acclaim by the Washington national defense establishment, including from people who are not particular fans of Trump’s.

The Trump non-fans who are in love with McMaster include John McCain…

Lt Gen HR McMaster is outstanding choice for nat’l security advisor – man of genuine intellect, character & ability http://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=22A583B0-4B7A-417A-BE94-C70D54FE0B26 

Giraldi adds an additional point on this:

“He [McMaster] is much loved by the neoconservatives with Bill Kristol and John McCain gushing over the appointment, which should give one pause.”

So score another one for the media and the deep state. They have replaced Flynn, who posed somewhat of an obstacle to war with Russia, with McMaster, who likely will grease the skids.

***

Recently Russia Insider published an article about four Russian servicemen who were killed in Syria when a radio-controlled bomb targeting a Syrian military convoy exploded. Curiously the attack took place on February 16, the same day that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had their first meeting–a meeting which has been described as “awkward” and in which Tillerson ordered that the press be removed from the room. The piece raises the possibility that the attack may not have been carried out by ISIS, and that Tillerson may have already been informed of it (or possibly even had inside knowledge it was going to occur) at the time of his meeting with Lavrov. Here is an excerpt from Russia Insider. Those interested might wish to go and read the full article:

Sunni terrorists dream of killing Russian special forces or military advisers. Why would any militia or terrorist group in Syria execute a successful operation like this, and then not immediately claim responsibility? And again, as far as we know, we’re still waiting for someone — anyone — to say they were responsible for the attack.

Please correct us if you think we’re being unreasonable, but doesn’t this seem odd to you? The Russians might consider the deaths of these soldiers a state secret — but we’re positive ISIS wouldn’t.

Our second point is a bit more nuanced. But we still think it’s an interesting coincidence: February 16 was the same day that Sergei Lavrov met with Rex Tillerson for the first time in Germany.

According to Bloomberg, it was an “awkward first encounter”…

***

As if all of this isn’t worrying enough, Trump publicly vowed on Thursday that the US would work to maintain its nuclear supremacy over all other nuclear powers in the world. “It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack,” he said.

***

Recently writer Finian Cunningham published a couple of interesting articles, one entitled “Western Russophobia in Psychotic Phase,” published February 22, and an earlier piece, “Insanity of NATO 2.0 for Mideast,” published February 16. The earlier piece deals with Netanyahu’s meeting with Trump and discussions that have been held between the two leaders on the possible formation of a military alliance against Iran that would involve the US, Israel and certain Sunni Arab states. The latter would include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan. Basically what is being envisioned is a NATO-type alliance, only set in the Middle East, or “NATO 2.0,” as Cunningham refers to it. You can go here to read a Times of Israel report on the discussions that have been held on the subject. Given the distinguished “cast of characters” that would be involved with this alliance, should it come into being, one cannot help wondering: would the coalition’s raison d’être be in effect to combine the resources–financial, military and otherwise–of its various members in the support of ISIS?

Below is an excerpt from Cunningham’s commentary:

The bitter irony in all this is that the real danger to Middle East peace is not Iran, but rather is Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian land, as well as Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich Arab monarchies funding Islamist terror groups.

The six-year [war] that has ravaged Syria largely stems from an externally driven covert war for regime change against the Assad government which is an ally of Russia and Iran. The war in Syria has been instrumented by proxy jihadist mercenaries, including Al Qaeda-linked terror groups, which are funded, armed and directed by the US, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.

Israel is also believed to have played a covert role in fomenting the regime-change war in Syria, working in collusion with the US and Saudi Arabia. That war has been stymied due to the military intervention by Russia and Iran over the past year.

Saudi Arabia has a long, despicable history of fomenting Wahhabi terror groups going back to the 1970-80s when it funded the precursors of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to fight the then Soviet-backed government. Saudi Arabia has traditionally supplied the money and weapons while the American CIA and Israeli’s Mossad provided the military logistics and intelligence. The awarding last week of Saudi spy chief Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef by CIA director Mike Pompeo was seen by some critics as a particularly nauseating testimony of this nefarious relationship.

The very idea of this US-led axis in the Middle East now setting up a formal alliance along the lines of NATO is a harbinger of ramped up conflict in the region. And especially given the stated purpose of such an alliance being dedicated to “contain Iran”.

The US-led NATO alliance in Europe has already plunged relations with Russia into deeper hostility. The ongoing build up of NATO forces on Russia’s border – allegedly to contain Russian aggression – has stoked fears that a nuclear war could be precipitated.

NATO continually claims to be a force for stability and defense – whenever any sane-minded observer can see that the opposite is true, inciting tensions in Europe and Russia to levels not seen since the heyday of the Cold War.

The same manic double-think is being replicated in the Middle East with the latest American plans to form a NATO 2.0 with Israel and terror-sponsoring Arab monarchs.

In the most recent piece, Cunningham discusses the “fake, unethical journalism that has become a staple in Western media,” coming to the conclusion that Russophobia is no longer a “random prejudice” in Western countries, but instead has reached the point where it has become “endemic” and “pathological,” essentially amounting to a “collective psychosis.”

When such propaganda becomes a systematic form of public discourse then it can be said that the mindset has moved dangerously beyond a condition of reprehensible Russophobia, to one of collective psychosis.

And this affliction among Western states seems to be worsening. The appointment by US President Donald Trump this week of Lt General HR McMaster as his National Security Adviser was greeted with applause among hawkish lawmakers in Congress.

The cause for their celebration is because McMaster is seen as having staunch “anti-Russian views” – unlike his ousted predecessor, Michael Flynn, who reportedly wanted to restore friendly relations with Moscow.

McMaster’s appointment marks a “100 per cent threat to Russia,”said Franz Klintsevich, the First Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security.

Klintsevich added that “Washington’s Russophobia is increasing, not weakening.”

Not surprisingly given the relentless anti-Russian “news” saturating Western media, a new Gallup poll found that favorability among ordinary Americans towards Russia has plummeted. Four years ago, some 50 per cent of Americans had a friendly view of Russia. Now, the figure is down to 28 per cent.

Assuming the poll results reported by Gallup are genuine and not faked for propaganda purposes (a possibility that should not be discounted), what it suggests is that despite the media’s plummeting credibility, the lies are still taking hold in large segments of the population. A major concern at this point has to be a false flag attack designed to ignite a war with Russia–possibly in the form of a staged attack upon US troops in Syria or the Baltic states. Were a number of US troops to die in an attack that could be blamed upon Russia, the case for war would be made.

So what is the motive for all this? Why are these people trying so hard to start a war with Russia? I think Icke puts his finger on it in the video above. The idea all along has been to create a global government that would replace sovereign, independent states. What is happening in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and elsewhere is not random. “None of it has been random,” says Icke.

“It’s part of this long term plan to take over the world by creating enormous chaos–to which they can offer the order out of the chaos–their order, their new world order,” he adds.

***

A week ago I posted a commentary entitled “We Are Living in a ‘Post-Truth’ Era.” The article dealt with a remark by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, made at last weekend’s Munich Security Conference, in which the official, noting that harmony among nations could be achieved by advancing justice and practicing “modesty,” asserted, “If everyone adopts that approach, we could overcome the period of post-truth fast and resist information wars imposed on the international community.”

For many of us, at least those of us who come from a Christian background, the idea that a “post-truth” era has overcome us–and the realization that the lies being told by the media are “endemic” and “pathological,” as Cunningham puts it–brings to mind, perhaps invariably, the words of Jesus in John 8:44: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

It’s a verse that seems to be gaining a lot of traction these days. A search using the key words “John 8:44” turns up more than 2 million results on Google and a staggering 38 million on Bing. Jesus, here in this passage from John’s Gospel, is speaking to a group of Jews, who, in verse 31, are identified specifically as “the Jews who had believed him.” Odd, you might think, that he would speak such words to those who had believed in him, but I’m guessing these were Jews who were looking for a warrior messiah, a divinely-designated belligerent who would lead them in a revolt against Rome–the same Jews who, once it became apparent this was not his mission, would turn against him and call for his crucifixion. This in fact becomes clearer and more plausible as you read through the verses leading up to verse 44. Here, starting with verse 31, is how the exchange transpires:

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Their comment that they have “never been slaves of anyone” may sound curious. After all, was not Judea under Roman occupation? Technically speaking yes, but the reality is the Jews were given so much leeway to run their own affairs that you could almost say it was a case of the Jews occupying the Romans rather than the other way around. Jews were allowed to have their own courts, legislative body, and tax collection system, yet at the same time they were also granted full citizenship rights as Roman citizens.

These were privileges not granted to any other peoples living under Roman occupation, and they applied not only to Jews in Judea, but to those living in other Roman-ruled areas as well such as Alexandria in Egypt–where a large community of Jews also resided. These extra privileges granted to the Jews of Alexandria eventually led to strife between the Jews and the native Egyptians. At the same time there were also tensions between Jews and the Greek citizens of Alexandria as well–all of which led eventually to the famed Alexandria Riots in the summer of 38 AD–an event which became one of the first pogroms against Jews in recorded history and which I portray in my most recent novel, The Memoirs of Saint John, part II.

But to return to our passage in John chapter 8. In the next verse, Jesus replies to the Jews “who had believed him” that they were indeed slaves–not to the Romans but to their own sins…

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”

39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would[c] do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

Here they speak boastfully, elevating themselves from the offspring of Abraham to the offspring of God himself. It is an expression of supremacy and “chosenness,” and an expression also of rebellion. These may well have been Zealots, that is to say they may have come from a party of Jews known by that name and who were somewhat similar in outlook to the Pharisees, only more extreme. The Zealots got their start in 6 AD when a man named Judah the Galilean led a revolt against the Roman census that had been decreed at that time. In Judah’s view, Jews were bound by no law other than the law of God–a view which seems rather prevalent today in Israel.

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

And so yes, today we find ourselves living in a “post-truth” era–one which perhaps, in a manner of speaking, has been building toward this point for the last 2,000 years.

This may sound strange to you, but actually I think we are blessed to be living in the times we are living in. Yes, it is a time of darkness in which the forces of pure evil reign supreme over much of the world. But it is also a time in which the Holy Spirit comes to us and strengthens us.

CrossTalk: Revolt in the West

February 23, 2017

The West appears to have entered into a new era – the era of the political upsets, growing anger, and increased disillusionment with ruling elites. It is not a question of leftwing – rightwing politics. It is all about a failing status quo.

CrossTalking with Stephen Haseler, Marcus Papadopoulos, and Joaquin Flores.

ترامب نسخة كاريكاتورية لأوباما

ترامب نسخة كاريكاتورية لأوباما

فبراير 23, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– من الواضح أنّ الرئيس الأميركي الجديد دونالد ترامب قد انقلب على خطابه الانتخابي الذي قام على الدعوة للاهتمام بأميركا من الداخل وتخفيض درجة الانخراط بدور الشرطي العالمي، والتدخلات والحروب، باستثناء أولوية الحرب على داعش، ومدخلها تعاون روسي أميركي. وهذه مصطلحات ومفردات مقتبسة من خطابات ترامب في الانتخابات، إلى التركيز على سياسة خارجية تُبنَى على خطاب ترميم ما خرّبه الخطاب الانتخابي مع الحلفاء وتستعيد خطاب الممانعة في الانخراط بالتسويات التي يُمليها التوجّه للتعاون مع روسيا تمهيداً لحلف عالمي ضد الإرهاب.

– اتسمت مرحلة الرئيس الأميركي السابق باراك أوباما المتّهم بالتخاذل من خصومه، والمتّهم بالتطرّف من ترامب. فهو برأيه مَن صنع داعش ومَن ورّط أميركا بحرب سورية لتغيير نظام الحكم فيها، بمحاولة جمع سياسيتي إرضاء الحلفاء في الأطلسي وفي المنطقة، خصوصاً فرنسا وبريطانيا والسعودية وتركيا و»إسرائيل» من جهة، ومحاولة السير بالتسويات في طريق التعاون مع موسكو من جهة أخرى، بعدما أمضى أوباما ولايته الأولى ونصف ولايته الثانية في قيادة الحلفاء في الغرب والمنطقة لحروب الربيع العربي، خصوصاً حرب سورية وصولا لجلب الأساطيل تمهيداً للحرب، واضطر للتراجع تجنّباً لمواجهة شاملة ليست أميركا جاهزة لها، ليكتشف أن التسويات التي توصل لعناوينها مع روسيا ليس لديه حلفاء جاهزون لها، فوقع بالانتظار والتباطؤ واللغة المزدوجة، وصولاً للفراغ.

– صعد ترامب على كتف خطاب يعِد بالشجاعة في خوض غمار التسويات التي تردّد أوباما في خوضها، باعتبارها المكان الوحيد الذي يُتاح فيه للرئيس الأميركي أن يختبر شجاعته. فميدان التصعيد والحروب مسقوف بالعجز، قبل أن يكون الروس قد تموضعوا في المنطقة، وقبل انتصارات حلب، فكيف بعدهما، وبعد وصول ترامب ظهر أمامه حجم التعقيدات التي تحول دون السير بالآلة الأميركية السياسية والدبلوماسية والتشريعية والعسكرية نحو خطوة نوعية من التغيير تتمثل بالانتقال للتحالف مع روسيا، وتورّط ترامب في مواجهات واسعة في الداخل الأميركي وبخطوات مرتجلة وخطابات ومواقف عشوائية تتأسس على العنصرية والغطرسة، تكاملت مع ممانعة المؤسسة الأميركية فرضخ سريعاً وكانت استقالة مستشاره للأمن القومي مايكل فلين بناء على اتصال أجراه بالسفير الروسي في واشنطن تعبيراً عن هذا الرضوخ.

– ترامب المنكفئ عن خيار التسويات بخطاب متعالٍ ومتغطرس، يرث رئيساً لم تبقَ فرصة لاختبار القوة والضغوط والعقوبات لم يختبرها، فهو مَن ضيّق خناق العقوبات على روسيا ومَن فتح حرب أوكرانيا ومَن جلب الأساطيل إلى المتوسط ومَن جلب القاعدة وأرسل داعش، ومَن خاص حتى اللحظة الأخيرة من العقوبات والتفاوض محاولات تركيع إيران، وأبقى الباب مفتوحاً من بعده لخيارين لا ثالث لهما: الأول هو الذهاب لمزيد من الاستثمار على داعش والنصرة علناً، وجعل الحرب على سورية أسبقية للحرب على الإرهاب، والتصعيد بوجه روسيا على هذا الأساس. وهذا الخيار مثّلته هيلاري كلينتون أو الذهاب لخيار الانخراط مع روسيا والتعاون والتفاهم معها على صناعة التسويات تمهيداً للتشارك في الحرب على النصرة وداعش، وما يتضمّنه ذلك من انفتاح على الدولة السورية. وهذه هي العناوين التي بشر بها ترامب.

– تراجع ترامب أمام ممانعة مخابرات أميركا وعسكرييها ودبلوماسييها وإعلامييها. وهي النخب التي قاتلت ترامب لمنع وصوله، يعني سقوطه. وليس سقوط خيار التسويات مخرجاً حتمياً من الفوضى الدولية. فخيار السير بالتصعيد الذي كانت تبتغيه كلينتون وتمثّله بأصالة، يعني خسارة ترامب لمؤيّديه من دون كسب خصومه، وهو خيار مسقوف بالفشل وبكلفته العالية في ظل الانخراط الروسي المباشر في سورية، والموقف الإيراني الصلب تجاهها.

– يتحوّل ترامب لنسخة كاريكاتورية عن أوباما، بالعجز عن أخذ القرار والوقوع في الجمود، مع فارق ملء ترامب للفراغ بالصراخ، ما يمنح مرحلته بعضاً من الكوميديا السوداء.

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Trump: America’s Latest Warrior President, Surrenders to Wall Street and War Profiteers

Global Research, February 23, 2017
Donald Trump

Trump’s first month in office proved nothing he said campaigning holds water. All politicians lie, saying whatever it takes to get elected, doing whatever they please once in office.

In short order, America’s 45th president surrendered to Wall Street and war-profiteers, gorging at the public trough – at the expense of humanity at home and abroad.

The hoped for antidote to Hillary appears no different when on policymaking – both subservient to monied interests at the expense of popular ones, both warriors, not peacemakers, both intolerant of challenges to America’s hegemonic aims, both hostile to all sovereign independent states, a deplorable situation, a dangerous one risking  possible nuclear war.

Hillary’s defeat didn’t dodge a nuclear bullet. It gave Trump the trigger, perhaps as willing to squeeze it to prove his machismo.

Both aspirants appear near two sides of the same coin, much alike on issues mattering most. It’s a tough judgment this soon into Trump’s tenure. Things sometimes change, though rarely, except for the worst, not better.

Trump calling NATO “obsolete” on the stump proved deceptive hyperbole. He fully supports the alliance, according to Vice President Pence, Defense Secretary Mattis, for sure hawkish National Security Advisor McMaster, and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Trump’s South China Sea saber-rattling risks confrontation with Beijing. Other administration figures speaking for him, demanding Russia end Kiev’s war on Donbass and relinquish its Crimea territory, is a prescription for no change in hostile US policy toward Moscow.

Threats made against Iran, North Korea and Venezuela risk more trouble, thinly veiled ones for regime change. All this going on in a few short weeks into Trump’s tenure is breathtaking and disturbing for a White House aspirant promising a different way.

There’s more. Additional US combat troops may be sent to Afghanistan to continue America’s longest war – instead of ending what never should have been waged in the first place.

Bipartisan members of Congress want a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to wage phony war on terrorism – instead of demanding recision of the September 14, 2001 measure, three days post-9/11.

US Central Command head General Joseph Votel wants more US combat troops for Syria – not to fight terrorism, to support it.

The way to defeat ISIS and likeminded groups is by no longer providing them with weapons, funding, training and direction. They exist because of foreign backing. Without it, they’re a spent force once exhausting their supplies.

Trump directing “mad dog” Mattis to develop a preliminary plan on how to defeat ISIS appears more about designing a way to use these foot soldiers more effectively – continuing America’s war OF terror on humanity, not waging peace instead.

His campaign hoopla about draining the swamp was deceptive hyperbole. His agenda continues serving privileged interests at the expense of most others.

US imperial madness remains unchanged – world peace and stability as threatened as ever.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

 

It’s so cool to hate Russia that even the death of a Russian diplomat turns into a hit

February 22, 2017

 

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Trump and Gorbachev ترامب وغورباتشوف

Trump and Gorbachev

فبراير 22, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Whether Mikhail Gorbachev was an agent to the US intelligence as accused by his opponents or not, and whether Donald Trump was an agent to the Russian intelligence as accused by his opponents or not, the aspects of similarity in the circumstances which brought them to the rule, and the conditions in which each one rules, as well as the roles which are represented by each one of them in the history of the superpower where both of them stood at the top of the pyramid in it are elements that allow the objective comparison between the two figures.

Gorbachev has led the Soviet Union after the defeat in a war that was the first war which he launched within an offensive plan outside the borders after the World War II, through the entry of his troops to Afghanistan, it was not mere an arming support for an ally or a circumstantial escalation of a position. That defeat led to the rise of the popular resentment in the Russian community entitled the compliant from spending on wars, the glories of the greatness, and the rise of voices that called for the priority of paying attention and concern to the declining Russian interior, that suffered economically and socially, and where the services were retracted and its infrastructure was eroded. While Trump is leading America after a resounding defeat of many wars that were the first after the World War II which aimed to extend the influence of the American leadership in the world in an offensive way and within an imperial campaign not within the context of an involvement in a war, its beginning was the support of an allied regime or a subordinate as the wars of Vietnam and Korea. It adopted a slogan of the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan in the beginning and then overthrowing Syria. As a result of the defeat there were escalated claims to abandon the pursuit behind the role of the world policeman, while America internally is retracting economically and socially as described by Trump himself in his electoral campaign in terms of unemployment, the declining services, and the imminent collapse of the infrastructure, so he launched his slogan America first, in confronting this situation.

Trump’s campaigns against the ideological media which is dominated by him in a factional way are similar to Gorbachev’s ones launched against the ideological media, moreover the escalating campaigns of Trump against the intelligence are similar to Gorbachev’s ones. The two men are in a battle with the elites of their countries that led their global aspect namely the media and the intelligence. The racist white calls of Trump against the US interior are similar to the Russian Gorbachev’s white calls against the countries of the Soviet Union and which were looking to get rid of them as burdens. Trump’s battles with the economic blocs which monopolize the US economy in favor of the minority of the owners and workers, versus the decline of the sectors which employ most of the Americans and which their owners are distributed on a major faction of the owners of the capitals represented by Trump are similar to the battles of Gorbachev against the possession of the country of the huge economies and the marginalization of the rising capital. Both of them raises the slogan of the balance of the economy’s aspects through perestroika project for the reconstruction, and a direct contact with the people as nominated Glasnost by Gorbachev, and which is translated by Trump in his daily tweets on Twitter.

Gorbachev considered that the reason of the bottleneck of the Soviet Union especially Russia was due to the useless investment on the race of arming as a tax for the global leadership, and that the weighing of the private sector in the economy will lead to the recovery of the middle class and the structures of the useful production. Trump considers that the economic bottleneck of America is due to the tax which it pays as a cost for the global leadership, either through spreading huge forces outside the borders to protect rich allies that do not pay anything as Japan, Europe, and the Gulf or through economic facilities for the poor allies within agreements that led to the weakness of the US economy as the agreement with Argentina and the countries of the Pacific which is known as NAFTA. The two men converge on the call to liberate their countries from these burdens as a way for the economic recovery and the getting out of the bottleneck and recession.

Gorbachev’s policies which based on removing the dominance of the country on the major economic sectors have led to a big decline of the earnings and the weakness in the country’s ability to spend, so the market declined and became weaker. There were new economic powers that quickly handled the economy of the market including the enormous class differences in the community. Russia within ten years emerged as a country from the third world after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the fall of the socialist system, and the collapse of its military alliance entitled Warsaw Pact which most of its countries moved to the West under the title of the European Union or NATO. The question which faces Trump and his project is whether the linking of the military deployment with the paying of its costs by the allies will lead to the regression of the influence on the allies and thus on the world, and whether weakening the giant intercontinental enterprises in favor of the US national companies which depend on the US market will lead to the confusion in the qualitative importance of the US currency in the world markets and to the bankruptcies as a result of the scarcity of the external resources and the revenues of the speculation of the US banks, and whether all of that will open the debate about the justification of sticking to the dollar as a mandatory international currency in the banking transactions and in the US banks as a knot for the passage of the financial transactions in the world. The dollar and banking currency are the last ways for protecting the US leadership in the world, and they are translated by the sanctions through which America is threatening all of its opponents.

It is striking that the Jewish community in each of Russia and America is supporting these two men, and it is striking their excessive enthusiasm toward Israel. Israel’s interest in Gorbachev was confined with making the international arena in favor of America while through the Israeli weakness it is enough from Trump to submit an ally in America which does not believe that Israel is in need of who can save it from itself and from its arrogance, on the contrary to share with it this arrogance, an ally that reassures its settlers that they have an ally that does not argue with them, as it is striking how the fall of the Soviet Union was the insurance policy for a quarter of a century for Israel which was facing with the rise of Gorbachev a valiant Palestinian uprising that is known by the uprising of stones and an active Lebanese resistance that has already  liberated half of the occupied territories. But the US monopoly of ruling the world was as a momentum for Israel to overcome many threats and crises, while the instability of America today coincides with the entry of Israel into deadly existential crisis, where it does not have an insurance policy. It is striking as well that at the time of the Russian regression America has rushed to fill the gap, and at the time of the American regression Russia rushes to fill the gap, so the history repeats that powerfully but harshly… this is history.

The paradox here is that Gorbachev has waged the battle of changing the Soviet Union at the spokesman of the cultivated elegant elites against whom he described by (the bullies) while Trump is waging his battle as a “bully” who fights the pedant elites . It is enough to notice the language of Trump.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

ترامب وغورباتشوف

ناصر قنديل

– سواء أكان ميخائيل غورباتشوف عميلاً للمخابرات الأميركية، كما يتّهمه خصومه أم لم يكن، وسواء كان دونالد ترامب عميلاً للمخابرات الروسية، كما يتّهمه خصومه أم لم يكن، فإنّ أوجه التشابه في الظروف التي أوصلت كلا من الرجلين إلى الحكم، والظروف التي يحكم فيها كل منهما، والأدوار التي يمثلها كل منهما في تاريخ الدولة العظمى التي وقف على رأس الهرم فيها، عناصر تسمح بالمقارنة الموضوعية بينهما.

– تولّى غورباتشوف قيادة الاتحاد السوفياتي بعد هزيمة في حرب كانت الأولى التي قام بها ضمن خطة هجومية خارج الحدود بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية عبر دخول قواته إلى أفغانستان، وليست دعماً تسليحياً لحليف أو تصعيداً ظرفياً لموقف فقط، وترتّب على هذه الهزيمة صعود نقمة شعبية في المجتمع الروسي عنوانها التذمّر من الإنفاق على الحروب وأمجاد العظمة، وارتفاع أصوات تنادي بأولوية الانتباه والاهتمام لداخل روسي يتداعى ويعاني اقتصادياً واجتماعياً، وتتراجع الخدمات فيه وبناه التحتية تتآكل بينما يتولى ترامب قيادة أميركا بعد هزيمة مدوّية لحروب، هي الأولى بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية الهادفة لتمديد نفوذ الزعامة الأميركية في العالم هجومياً ضمن حملة إمبراطورية وليست ضمن سياق تورّط بحرب، بدايتها دعم نظام حليف أو تابع كحروب فييتنام وكوريا، واتخذت عنوان غزو العراق وأفغانستان بداية وإسقاط سورية لاحقاً، وتصاعدت بأثر الهزيمة المطالبات بالتخلّي عن اللهاث وراء دور شرطي العالم، بينما أميركا في الداخل تتراجع اقتصادياً واجتماعياً، كما وصفها ترامب نفسه في حملته الانتخابية لجهة البطالة وتراجع الخدمات وتداعي البنى التحتية، وأطلق في مواجهة هذه الحال شعاره «أميركا أولاً».

– تتشابه حملات ترامب على الإعلام العقائدي المسيطر عليه فئوياً بالحملات التي شنّها غورباتشوف على الإعلام الايديولوجي، كما تتصاعد حملات ترامب على المخابرات بما يستعيد حملات غورباتشوف المشابهة والرجلان في معركة مع نُخَب بلديهما التي قادت طابعهما العالمي، الذي مثّل الإعلام والمخابرات جناحيه، وتتشابه أيضاً دعوات ترامب العنصرية الببضاء الموجّهة للداخل الأميركي بحملات غورباتشوف الروسيّة البيضاء الموجّهة لدول الاتحاد السوفياتيّ والساعية للتخلّص منها كأعباء. وكذلك تتشابه معارك ترامب مع التكتلات الاقتصادية التي تستأثر بالاقتصاد الأميركي لحساب أقليّة من المالكين والعاملين فيها، مقابل ذبول القطاعات التي تُشغل غالبية الأميركيين ويتوزّع أصحابها على شريحة ضخمة من أصحاب الرساميل، يمثلهم ترامب، بمعارك غورباتشوف ضد ملكيات الدولة للاقتصادات الضخمة وتهميش الرأسمال الصاعد، وكلاهما يرفع شعار إعادة التوازن لأجنحة الاقتصاد عبر مشروع «بريسترويكا» لإعادة البناء، وخطاب مباشر للشعب أسماه غورباتشوف بـ«الغلاسنوست»، ويترجمه ترامب في تغريداته اليومية عبر تويتر.

– اعتبر غورباتشوف أن سبب اختناق الاتحاد السوفياتي، خصوصاً روسيا ناجم عن الاستثمار اللامجدي على سباق التسلح، كضريبة للزعامة العالمية، وأن ترجيح كفة القطاع الخاص في الاقتصاد سيؤدي لإنعاش الطبقة الوسطى وبنى الإنتاج المجدي. ويعتبر ترامب أن الاختناق الاقتصادي لأميركا ناتج عن الضريبة التي تدفعها ثمناً للزعامة العالمية، سواء عبر نشر قوات هائلة خارج الحدود لحماية حلفاء أغنياء لا يدفعون شيئاً كاليابان وأوروبا والخليج، أو عبر التسهيلات الاقتصادية للحلفاء الفقراء ضمن اتفاقيات ترتّب عليها إضعاف الاقتصاد الأميركي كحال الاتفاقية مع الأرجنتين ودول المحيط الهادئ المعروفة بـ«اتفاق نفتا». ويلتقي الرجلان على الدعوة لتحرير بلديهما من هذه الأعباء طريقاً للانتعاش الاقتصادي، والخروج من الاختناق والركود.

– ترتّب على سياسات غورباتشوف مع إزالة سيطرة الدولة على القطاعات الاقتصادية الكبرى تراجع هائل في الواردات، وضعف في قدرة الدولة على الإنفاق فتراجع السوق وازداد ضموراً، وظهرت قوى اقتصادية جديدة بسرعة حملت اقتصاد السوق وما فيه من فوارق طبقية هائلة في المجتمع، فظهرت روسيا فيها خلال عشر سنوات كدولة من دول العالم الثالث، بعدما تفكّك الاتحاد السوفياتي وسقطت المنظومة الاشتراكية وانهار حلفها العسكري المسمّى بـ«حلف وارصو» وذهبت أغلب دوله لضفة الغرب تحت عنوان الاتحاد الأوروبي أو حلف الأطلسي. والسؤال الذي يواجه ترامب ومشروعه عما إذا كان سيترتب على ربط الانتشار العسكري بتسديد الحلفاء تكاليفه إلى تراجع النفوذ على الحلفاء وبالتالي في العالم، وما إذا كان سيترتب على إضعاف الشركات العملاقة العابرة للقارات لحساب الشركات الأميركية الوطنية الصرفة، والمعتمدة على السوق الأميركية، إلى اضطراب في الوزن النوعي للعملة الأميركية في الأسواق العالمية، وإلى إفلاسات تُصيب بسبب شحّ الموارد الخارجية وعائدات المضاربات، الكثير من المصارف الأميركية، وما إذا كان كل ذلك سيفتح النقاش حول مبرّر التمسك بالدولار عملة دولية إجبارية للتعاملات المصرفية، وبالمصارف الأميركية كعقدة مرور للطرق المالية في العالم. وهذان هما، الدولار والتداول المصرفي، آخر ما تبقى من جدران حماية لزعامة أميركية في العالم تترجمهما سياسة العقوبات التي تلوّح بها أميركا لخصومها كلّهم.

لافت أن تقف الجالية اليهودية في كل من روسيا وأميركا بقوة وراء دعم الرجلين. ولافت حماسهما المفرط لـ«إسرائيل». وقد كانت مصلحة «إسرائيل» من غورباتشوف تنحصر بإخلاء الساحة الدولية لأميركا، بينما مع الهزال «الإسرائيلي» صار يكفي من ترامب أن يقدّم لـ«إسرائيل» حليفاً في أميركا لا يؤمن بأن «إسرائيل» تحتاج لمن ينقذها من نفسها ومن غطرستها، بل يشاركها هذه الغطرسة، حليفاً يطمئن مستوطنيها أنهم يحظون بحليف لا يجادلهم. كما هو لافت كيف كان سقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي بوليصة تأمين لربع قرن أمام «إسرائيل» التي كانت تواجه مع صعود غورباتشوف انتفاضة فلسطينية باسلة عرفت بانتفاضة الحجارة ومقاومة لبنانية نشطة كانت قد حرّرت نصف الأراضي المحتلة، فجاء التفرّد الأميركي في حكم العالم شحنة دفع لتتخطّى «إسرائيل» الكثير من المخاطر والأزمات، بينما يتزامن تخلخل أميركا اليوم مع زمن دخول «إسرائيل» أزمة وجودية قاتلة، ولا يبدو أمامها بوليصة تأمين. ولافت أيضاً أنه في زمن الانكفاء الروسي اندفعت أميركا لتملأ الفراغ، وفي زمن الانكفاء الأميركي تندفع روسيا لتملأ الفراغ. يفعلها التاريخ بقوّة ولكن بقسوة أيضاً… هو التاريخ!

– المفارقة أن غورباتشوف خاض معركة تغيير الاتحاد السوفياتي بلسان النخب المتأنّقة والمثقفة، بوجه من وصفَهم بـ«القبضايات»، ويخوض ترامب حربه بصفته «القبضاي» الذي يقاتل النخب المتحذلقة والمتفذلكة، وتكفي لغة ترامب لقول ذلك.

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Better relations with Russia was the only positive about Trump’s campaign but that too seems to be a lost cause

Trump White House Under Mounting Pressure from Anti-Russia Campaign

By Patrick Martin,

Trump 3

The Trump White House is under increasing pressure from the anti-Russian campaign instigated by the intelligence agencies and spearheaded by the bulk of the corporate-controlled media, the Democratic Party and a section of the Republicans. Over the past several days, the first official action has been carried out by a congressional committee investigating claims of Russian involvement in the 2016 election campaign.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has sent letters to more than a dozen government agencies, organizations and individuals asking them to preserve all materials that may be relevant to the committee’s investigation. The letters were authorized by committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina, a Republican, and the ranking Democrat, Mark Warner of Virginia.

The letters were sent after a two-hour classified briefing by FBI Director James Comey on the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. Senators left the hearing without divulging anything of what took place, but hours later, the request was dispatched for the preservation of documents on alleged Russian interference in the campaign and “related issues.”

The “related issues” reportedly include the allegations of “constant contact” during the campaign between Trump advisers and aides and Russian intelligence agents, first made in the New York Times last week and later in a broadcast by CNN. Neither report presented any actual evidence, citing only the claims of unnamed intelligence officials, who said they had monitored phone calls or reviewed telephone transcripts.

The letters from the Intelligence Committee came one day after Senate Democrats sent similar appeals to the White House, the FBI, the Justice Department and other federal agencies asking them to preserve any relevant materials. This letter, signed by all the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was sent to White House Counsel Donald McGahn, asking the administration to preserve “all materials related to contacts between the Trump organization, Trump campaign, Trump transition team, or Trump administration, or others acting on their behalf, and Russian government officials or associates.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, speaking on the floor of the Senate last week, warned, “There is real concern that some in the administration may try to cover up its ties to Russia by deleting emails, texts and other records that could shine a light on those connections.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chimed in: “I’m afraid they’re going to destroy the documents. But the fact that I would even say that, that level of trust has gone so far low in all of this.”

Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, sent their own letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Michael Dempsey requesting “a comprehensive intelligence briefing on Russia by February 28, 2017… This briefing should include information about former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials, and should also provide unredacted transcripts of any intercepted conversations or communications he had with Russian officials.”

Some congressional Democrats are raising the specter of treason charges against Trump or his aides. Representative Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts congressman and Iraq war veteran, said on CNN, “If members of the administration are essentially conspiring with Russia…that’s the definition of treason. This is a very, very serious affair.”

At the same time, Trump’s congressional defenders are pushing back against his opponents within the intelligence apparatus. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes sent a letter Friday to the FBI asking it to investigate leaks of classified information to the media. He suggested that the leaks came from either career officials who oppose Trump’s policies or holdovers from the Obama administration. According to one press report, Nunes “believes that Trump is being targeted by the intelligence community. It’s an abuse of authority.”

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus appeared on three Sunday television interview programs to denounce the media reports of “constant contact” between the Trump campaign and Russia as false and deliberately aimed at undermining the Trump administration.

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Priebus acknowledged receipt of the Senate Intelligence Committee letter and said the White House would cooperate with the request. “I know what they were told by the FBI,” he said, “because I’ve talked to the FBI. I know what they’re saying. I wouldn’t be on your show right now telling you that we’ve been assured that there’s nothing to the New York Times story if I actually wasn’t assured.”

He also said that no one at the White House except the now-fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had been interviewed by the FBI. Bureau agents interrogated Flynn about his telephone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump’s inauguration.

Significantly, all three television hosts who interviewed Priebus avoided raising the issue of the political motivation behind the intelligence agency leaks to the media that have fueled the anti-Russian campaign. Nor did Priebus raise the issue himself, even though Trump touched on it in his press conference Thursday, when he suggested that his opponents would praise him if he ordered a Russian spy ship blown up or otherwise took a more belligerent position towards Moscow.

The real driving force of the factional struggle within the US ruling elite is a conflict over foreign policy towards Russia. Dominant sections of the military-intelligence apparatus want to continue and intensify the campaign of sanctions, provocations and military buildup undertaken under the Obama administration, whose logical outcome would be a directly military confrontation between the United States and Russia, the possessors of the vast bulk of the world’s nuclear weapons. They view Trump’s foreign policy—if anything, even more militaristic than Obama’s, but targeting Iran and China first, rather than Russia—as undermining this war buildup.

The most strident voice on this issue is that of Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. McCain gave an address Friday to the Munich Security Conference in Germany, where he warned that the solidarity of the Western imperialist powers against Russia faced its greatest challenge in half a century.

In an interview taped Saturday for broadcast on “Meet the Press,” McCain denounced Trump’s tweet Friday that branded the press as “the enemy of the American people.” A free press was needed to “preserve democracy as we know it,” McCain said. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.” While he added that he was not calling Trump a dictator, the implication was nonetheless clear.

In an interview and cover story in New York magazine, published this weekend, McCain elaborated on the anti-Russian campaign in the media. He claimed that the alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election was a grave threat to democracy. “I view it with the utmost seriousness,” he said. “I view it more seriously than a physical attack. I view it more seriously than Orlando or San Bernardino… As tragic as that was, the far-reaching consequences of an election hack are certainly far in excess of a single terrorist attack.”

The logical conclusion of such an analysis is that US imperialism should be even more aggressive in relation to Russia than it has been in relation to ISIS—a formula for military escalation against a nuclear-armed country with catastrophic consequences.

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