The High Cost of American Friendship

June 19, 2022

Source

By Eamon Mckinney

Democracy is easily defined by most, but to America it means any country that subverts its own national interests to those of the U.S.

Henry Kissinger once famously said, “To be an enemy to America can be dangerous, but to be a friend can be lethal.” The aged but far from venerable Kissinger’s words have never been truer than they are today. America has a habit of redefining words to suit its own purposes. What the word “friend” means to America is interpreted differently by other nations. Of course friend is not the only word that means something different to America than it does to everyone else. Democracy is easily defined by most, but to America it means any country that subverts its own national interests to those of the U.S. The recent Summit of the Americas held in Los Angeles hosted a number of notable Latin America statesmen. There were however many notable absentees, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, the latter two are undeniably democracies but by virtue of their independent government policies they were not welcome at the American-hosted summit. According to America’s twisted version of democracy, only right-wing, neo-liberal, America-friendly countries can qualify as legitimate democratic governments, and by extension “friends.”

The days when America can dictate and bully Latin American nations are over. Though not as intended by the hosts, there was much unity and friendship in evidence at the Summit. The head of Mexico’s socialist Government Manuel Lopez Obrador refused to attend in protest at the exclusion of the three absent nations, a lower-level official was sent in his stead. The heads of state of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador also declined the invitation citing the same reason. This principled and courageous stance came with the understanding that they would be positioning themselves as American enemies, but they did it anyway. After two hundred years under the imperialist Monroe doctrine they will no longer tolerate being considered America’s backyard. The message from Latin America was clear, “we don’t need your version of friendship, and we will take our chances as your enemy.”

Although unstated, one of the main U.S. objectives at the Summit was to dissuade further Latin American engagement with China. The problem for America is that “south of the border” they prefer the Chinese version of friendship. That entails actually listening to the needs of their “friends”, something America is lamentably bad at. All the Latin countries are struggling with burdensome IMF debt and many are seriously close to default. They need investment in their economies and their infrastructure. China offers both without the internal interference in the nations’ domestic affairs. Respect for sovereignty and self-determination is what Latin Americans having been fighting for since the Spanish conquest more than 400 years ago. For the first time in centuries countries can see how that can now be achieved, and China is a big part of that scenario. America only offers co-operation on security, Latin America has security concerns but most of that concern is directed at America. The tone deaf empire needs to understand that Latin America has a new, much better friend.

The message the U.S. got from the Summit was a clear continent-wide rejection of American policies and its attempts to create an anti-China block. We can assume that American officials are getting used to such rejection by now. Attempts to create an anti-China alliance in Asia have also failed miserably, for many of the same reasons. No Asian country sees China as a threat, they see it as a regional leader whose economic miracle has concurrently raised the economies of its neighbours. The U.S. attempts to create security concerns where they don’t exist has gained zero traction among Southeast Asian nations. With the exception of the occupied nations of South Korea and Japan, China’s relationships with its Asian neighbours are excellent. “Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Jaakob said that “When Americans come to Asia they only want to talk about security, we have no pressing security concerns, when Asian nations get together we talk about trade, any problems can be resolved through negotiation and diplomacy”. The main security concern among Asian nations is the talk of the need for an Asian NATO. The recent U.S. attempts to place missiles aimed at China in six Asian countries unsurprisingly found no takers. If America was listening (doubtful), they would have heard that it is neither needed nor wanted in a region that just wants to do business. American friendship in Asia means making any enemy of China, and none consider that worth the price.

Another of America’s enemies, Russia has defied all attempts to destroy its economy and has rebounded to have the world’s strongest currency. The transparent motivations behind the Ukraine conflict have many nations quietly cheering Russia on in their fight against the common enemy, the Empire. The sanctions designed to destroy Russia found little support outside the usual suspects in the NATO clique. With the world facing catastrophic shortages of food, energy and capital it is increasingly Russia and China that countries are turning to for help.

While America’s enemies continue to enjoy much goodwill, how are America’s friends doing? Not so good. By joining in the absurd Anti-China Covid rhetoric spurred by Trump, Australia, Canada and Britain have committed economic suicide by alienating a valuable trade partner, just to please America. American friends in Europe will suffer through horrific food and energy shortages together with rapidly increasing inflation, all largely a result of the Ukraine provocation. Not forgetting the instigation of an unnecessary and dangerous war in their neighbourhood, a war that no one but America (NATO) wanted. And of course the Ukraine itself, goaded into a disastrous war against a much stronger foe, now finds itself facing defeat and destruction. All attempts by the hapless Zelensky at a negotiated peace are blocked by the West. Not while there are some Ukrainians still alive apparently. Despite the encouraging words of his American masters, the disposable Zelensky finds himself very much alone. The once prosperous post-Soviet Ukraine has turned into a bankrupt, burned-out shell of its former self. Zelensky may well retreat to his $45mil in Miami when it is all over, but the unfortunate Ukrainian people will suffer the consequences of American friendship for generations to come.

If America has its way, its “friends” in Taiwan will soon suffer the same fate as the Ukraine. Despite all attempts to provoke China into an action that would draw International outrage, and presumably sanctions, China has demonstrated considerable restraint. It understands the game being played and absent a foolish Declaration of Independence from Taiwan, it is unlikely to be drawn in. South Korea and Japan have been occupied nations since 1944. The American presence is overwhelmingly objected to by the citizens, yet they owe fealty to America. In the event of a China conflict, their U.S. bases would likely be the first targets in any China response. Yet both nations declined American requests to host China facing missiles in their countries.

The loss of American influence has accelerated tremendously in recent months, and it came at a bad time. America needs friends more than ever now and it is finding them increasingly hard to come by. Even long time “friends” and supplicants like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are shunning America’s call to produce more oil. Biden couldn’t even get MBS to take his phone call. Shamelessly they also turned to Venezuela to ask for oil, unsurprisingly they found no friends or solutions there either.

Returning to Henry Kissinger, by his definition, being a friend or enemy of America can be equally dangerous. “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests”

Those that consider themselves American “friends” should heed his words.

But credit where it is due, the U.S. is indeed inspiring a new spirit of friendship and co-operation among the nations of the world. Economic and security blocs of like-minded countries are expanding in Central Asia, Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. All of these blocs are anti-imperialist in nature, and by definition anti-American. More than a century of American imperialism is coming to a rapid end.

إسرائيل تستكين وتهدد: تفاهمنا مع لبنان عبر أميركا

  الإثنين 6 حزيران 2022

المصدر:الاخبار

يحيى دبوق

تلتزم إسرائيل الرسمية بصمت لافت إزاء وصول حفّارة التنقيب عن النفط والغاز إلى حقل «كاريش»، فيما تترك لإعلامها ومراسليه إدارة معركة التصريحات والمواقف و«اختبار الإرادات والنيات»، عبر تقارير محدودة وموجّهة.
لم ترد من تل أبيب، حتى الآن، مواقف وتعليقات رسمية ذات شأن، فيما تترك إدارة المسألة البحرية مع لبنان، بما يشمل نية الحفر في «كاريش»، لتقارير مراسلي الشؤون العسكرية والأمنية والاقتصادية، ولكن تحت إدارة وإشراف واضحين من الرقابة العسكرية وبتوجيه من المؤسسة العسكرية. ووفقاً لما صدر في اليومين الأخيرين، يمكن ملاحظة الآتي:

أولاً، تُدار خطة الحفر في كاريش بتأنٍّ وحذر وعدم الانجرار إلى التعليق الرسمي، عسكرياً وسياسياً، بما يحقّق الأهداف، ويحول دون استفزاز الطرف الآخر أو كشف النيات الحقيقية له. وهذا يستدعي، في المقابل، تأنّياً وحذراً في إطلاق المواقف وتقدير أفعال العدو. فالمواقف والتعليقات الواردة من لبنان، بما فيها إشارات الفعل واللافعل والتأييد واللاتأييد للمقاومة والتشبّث بالحق الغازي والنفطي، كلها ستكون جزءاً لا يتجزّأ من أي قرار تتخذه إسرائيل إزاء الاعتداء على الحق اللبناني.

ثانياً، من الواضح تماماً قرار المستويين السياسي والعسكري بترك الأضواء للإعلام العبري هذه الفترة لينشر ويعلق ويقدّر المواقف والمآلات. وهذه سياسة مدروسة جداً ويرجح بقوة أنها مقرّرة بما يلزم كل المستويات الإسرائيلية. فأي موقف رسمي، سياسي أو عسكري، يصدر مباشرة عن أي مسؤول في تل أبيب، وتحديداً من الصف الأول، سيكون مُحرِجاً جداً للكيان العبري. كما تفتح هذه السياسة نافذة التراجع في حال قدّرت القيادات المعنية وجود أضرار يحاول العدو تجنّبها.

ثالثاً، تتحدث التقارير الإسرائيلية، على قلّتها حتى الآن، عن أن عمليات الحفر ومن ثم استخراج الغاز من «كاريش»، هي عمل طبيعي ولا يرتبط بأي نزاع قانوني أو غير قانوني مع لبنان. بل تشير التقارير العبرية، بنوع من الاستغراب، إلى أن «هناك في لبنان» من يتحدث عن مكان متنازع عليه رغم أن «هذا المقطع الشمالي خارج أي تنازع». وكان لافتاً ما ورد في تقرير مراسل الشؤون العسكرية في القناة 12 بأن «الجزء الشمالي لحقل كاريش يلامس الحدود البحرية للبنان»، وهي ملامسة وليست خرقاً. والأهم في التقرير هو التأكيد على وجود اتفاق مسبق مع لبنان يخرج «كاريش» من دائرة التنازع، إذ جاء في التقرير أن «هناك توافقاً حول الموضوع جرى التوصل إليه عبر اللجنة المشتركة التي يرأسها المبعوث (الأميركي) الخاص للطاقة في الشرق الأوسط عاموس هوكشتين».
في موازاة ذلك، تحرص التقارير العبرية على إظهار «اضطرار» إسرائيل لاستخراج الغاز من حقل «كاريش» تحديداً، بوصفه حاجة استراتيجية لا يمكن لتل أبيب أن تتجاوزها. وفق التعبير العبري فإن «منصة كاريش تشكل مرفقاً اقتصادياً أساسياً ومن المتوقع أن يزود الاقتصاد الإسرائيلي بالغاز الطبيعي الذي يُستهلك في إسرائيل نفسها لسد حاجاتها الخاصة» وليس مخصصاً للتجارة، وصولاً إلى الإشارة إلى ضرر قد يصيب قطاعات استراتيجية أخرى، «وقد يؤدي الضرر الذي يلحق بالمنصة إلى صعوبات حقيقية في أداء الاقتصاد الإسرائيلي، إلى حد الإضرار بإمدادات الكهرباء المنتظمة للإسرائيليين».

رابعاً، إلى جانب «البراءة والوداعة والحاجة الاقتصادية والحرص على التفاهم المسبق»، تلمح التقارير الإسرائيلية إلى وجود إجراءات وتدابير عسكرية تخدم أمن حقل «كاريش» وما فيه من معدات ومنشآت، يتولاها سلاح البحر في جيش العدو. ووفقاً للتقارير العبرية، «بدأ سلاح البحرية عملية أمنية واسعة حول منصة الحفر والإنتاج التي وصلت صباح اليوم (أمس) إلى وجهتها على بعد تسعين كيلومتراً قبالة الساحل الإسرائيلي، عند النقطة الأقرب إلى شواطئ لبنان»، مشيرة إلى أن البحرية الإسرائيلية ستنهي في الأسابيع المقبلة ترتيباتها وإجراءاتها، لتبدأ عمليات الحفر، ومن ثم استخراج الغاز». مع الإشارة إلى أن «لغة تهديد» تضمّنها الحديث عن نشاط البحرية الإسرائيلية مثل التذكير، بعد أكثر من عام على اعتدائها الأخير على قطاع غزة (معركة سيف القدس)، بأن الدفاعات الجوية أسقطت طائرة مسيّرة لحركة حماس أُطلقت من غزة كانت موجّهة لاستهداف حقول غاز في المتوسط».

تعمل إسرائيل وفق استراتيجية مدروسة لتكون قادرة على فرملة نفسها وفقاً لردّ الفعل المقابل

تقرير القناة 12 العبرية كان عنوانه سؤال: «منصة الغاز التي قد تشعل مواجهة مع حزب الله؟». هنا يجب إعادة صياغة السؤال حول مآل «المواجهة التي تسبّبت بها إسرائيل، انطلاقاً من حقل كاريش؟» وقد يكون السؤال الثاني، أكثر دقّة وموضوعية.

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Blinken Plays With Fire With Morocco and Algeria. Can Trump Stop This Crazy Arms Race and Prelude to War Though?

May 17, 2022

By Martin Jay

Source

The more the West pours money into the Ukraine, the more the UN and its member states have to bang on this drum which is really the worst setback Morocco could imagine over the incendiary subject of Western Sahara.

Lavrov’s visit to Algiers to shore up support for Ukraine war has shown how ineffective and dangerous Blinken’s moves are in the region. Some might argue he is making an already dangerous situation between Morocco and Algeria worse.

Is the Biden administration looking to start a war between Algeria and Morocco? At first glance, this may seem a little far-fetched as a scenario but it’s a valid enough question when you study the movements and statements of its diplo supremo Anthony Blinken. Just recently, the secretary of state jetted into Morocco for a few hours to pay his respects to the kingdom’s dapper foreign minister, before swiftly leaving to visit Algeria, Morocco’s arch enemy based on the latter’s support for the Polisario movement in the disputed Western Sahara. Leading up to the final days of Trump’s period in the White House, the former president signed a decree officially acknowledging (by America) Morocco’s claim that the disputed territory is a legitimate sovereign part of the kingdom. Until that point, relations between Algeria and Morocco were icy, but cooperative.

Biden has always opposed this move by Trump but is limited in what he can do to turn it around. On the one hand, Morocco has always traditionally had good relations with Washington and he doesn’t want to be the first president to jeopardise that; on the other though, his own political views are at odds with the idea of a country colonising another one regardless of the circumstances and is aligned to what many in the United Nations would prefer: some sort of democratic diligence to decide the outcome, probably a referendum.

In the summer of 2021, eight months after Biden took office, the Algerians decided that the situation needed a radical rethink, confident that a dithering Biden wasn’t going to overturn the Trump decision, neither on paper nor in gesture. The Algerians cut off one of its two gas pipelines which crossed Morocco territory before it reaches Spain causing mayhem as this pipeline effectively allowed Madrid to sell on to Morocco natural gas.

Six months later, the worst possible thing for Rabat, which was hoping to exploit the Trump decision, happened. The Ukraine war began, which for Morocco, was not good news as, quite apart from wheat imports being affected, it shifted backwards a more modern idea beginning to emerge that the Rabat elite had about occupied countries around the world. The Moroccan upper classes were beginning to think that the world was getting used to them – East Timor, Taiwan, West Bank and Gaza, Kashmir, Transnistria, Northern Cyprus – and that with the help of the U.S., the Western Sahara would slowly but surely metamorphosise into Moroccan Sahara. Perhaps it would take a generation. But it was a wait worth waiting for, the mindset in Rabat believed. Occupations hadn’t become cool as such; more that people are becoming dumber, media sloppier and the UN sensationally ineffective – an organisation most associate with sex scandals and corruption rather than being an international arbiter of disputes which it once was during the reign of Morocco’s Hassan II (who made the decision to incorporate Western Sahara into Morocco proper in 1975 when it was abandoned by its former colonial power Spain).

But the Ukraine invasion by Russia has sparked a new impetus in the UN, breathing new life into the once somnolent ‘no colonisation’ mantra. And the more the West pours money into the Ukraine in a blatant attempt to topple Putin, the more the UN and its member states have to bang on this drum which is really the worst setback Morocco could imagine over the incendiary subject of Western Sahara, or Moroccan Sahara if you like.

Biden can’t save the situation, that’s clear. But to some, it may seem that he is actually making matters worse. He wants to keep good relations with Rabat (he may even think that the king can fund his next presidential bid in 2024) but he desperately needs to find both a solution to the Trump problem and to get Algerians on board with the delusional idea that America can crack the hegemony whip and Algeria will stand to attention and show some respect. The visit at the end of March to Algiers was a clear example of how deluded the Biden administration is in this part of world and how its own meddling threatens to take the crisis between Algeria and Morocco to a new level. The visit was hilariously mistimed and misjudged in that Blinken actually believed that with an endearing speech he could actually just win over the Algerians, who would presumably just throw their relationship with Russia in the bin, give Europe more natural gas and basically stop backing the Polisario militants in Western Sahara.

If none of this were to happen but just merely a silence would follow, perhaps Biden could have salvaged some political gravitas out of it. But in the event, it had the opposite effect. The Algerians merely cranked up their relations with Russia to the next level and within merely 48 hours, there were even reports circulating on social media that Moscow would help Algeria’s support for the Polisario. The preposterous suggestion by Blinken triggered a response by the Algerians who immediately contacted Moscow and – presumably – invited Sergei Lavrov to come to Algiers on 10th May, calling for more investment from Russian companies and talking up the 3bn dollars of trade between the two countries. They also reduced their gas sent to Spain in their second pipeline by 25% as an act of solidarity with Russia, presumably.

This reaction by Moscow and Algiers puts Morocco in a very difficult position as it realises that Biden’s people do not have the diplomatic skills to find a compromise which puts the Western Sahara dossier in a place where Rabat is happy, finds a solution to cooling tensions and getting a sensible energy deal from Algeria for both Europe and Morocco. None of the above, Anthony but thanks for trying. Whether Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita likes to admit it or not, he, like most of Rabat and the Palace are all standing in line with the Gulf Arab states, waiting for 2024 when Trump comes back for the great reset. Everything that the blithering Blinken touches seems to turn toxic blinding everyone near to him. He is arguably the most dangerous man in U.S. politics who belongs to a different period in time when the U.S. really was the sole superpower and could wield such power around the world. Pity the Moroccans who are charmed by his diplomatic endearments and refinements. They will soon learn that strong words often don’t come from a strong stomach.

President Assad Visits Iran, Meets Iranian Leaders Khamenei and Raisi

ARABI SOURI

Syrian President Bashar Assad paid a working visit to the Iranian Capital Tehran, during his visit, President Assad and his hosts emphasized the strong relations between Syria and Iran, its historic roots, continuous developments, and its future growth.

During this visit, the Syrian and Iranian leaders paved the way to increase the cooperation and coordination between their two countries to the highest levels and in all fields including combating terrorism and economic aspects.

The following report by the Syrian Ikhbariya news channel details the visit and its outcome:

The video is also available on BitChute, and Rumble.

Transcript

President Bashar al-Assad made a working visit to the Iranian capital, Tehran, during which he met Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and Ibrahim Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The meetings dealt with the historical relations that unite Syria and Iran, which are based on a long path of bilateral cooperation and mutual understanding on the issues and problems of the region, and the challenges they face, in addition to topics and issues of common interest and the latest developments on the regional and international arenas.

During his meeting with Mr. Khamenei, President al-Assad affirmed that the course of events proved once again the correctness of the visions and the approach that Syria and Iran have followed for years, especially in confronting terrorism, this confirms the importance of continuing to cooperate in order not to allow America to rebuild the international terrorist system that it used to harm the countries of the world, especially the countries of the region over the past decades, noting that the United States today is weaker than ever.

His Excellency stressed that the Palestinian cause today is re-imposing its presence and importance more and more in the conscience of the Arab and Islamic world thanks to the sacrifices of the heroes of the resistance.

For his part, Khamenei reiterated Iran’s continued support for Syria to complete its victory over terrorism and liberate the rest of the Syrian lands, considering that Syria is achieving historic victories thanks to the steadfastness and courage of its president and the strength and steadfastness of its people and army.

Addressing President al-Assad, Khamenei added: We have no doubt that you will be able to liberate the rest of the Syrian lands and under your leadership, Syria will remain united, and we have to maintain the strong relationship that unites our two countries and peoples, this is beneficial not only for our two countries but also necessary for the region.

In turn, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ibrahim Raisi affirmed that his country has the serious will to expand relations between the two countries, especially the economic and trade relations, both public and private, and that it will continue to provide all forms of support to Syria and its people, especially in light of the difficult economic conditions the world is witnessing and will remain by Syria’s side to help it overcome difficulties, considering that any suffering for Syria is suffering for Iran.

Syrian President Bashar Assad Visits Tehran - Iran Meets Khamenei and Ebrahim Raisi - الرئيس بشار الأسد يزور طهران - إيران ويلتقي خامنئي وإبراهيم رئيسي
From the meetings President Bashar Assad held with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi

President al-Assad described Iran as the leadership and people of the brotherly, friend, and loyal partner, considering that the approach taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran in dealing with regional and international issues does not serve the interests of Iran and Syria only, but all the countries and peoples of the region.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian tweeted that President Assad’s visit and the high-level meetings with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Iranian President have opened a new chapter in the strategic relations between the two countries; He added: We are determined to raise the relations between the two countries to the appropriate level.

The Iranian foreign minister concluded that “the defeat of the terrorist plot in Syria is due to the cooperation between the two countries.”

End of the transcript.

Despite the very strong decades-long unshaken relations and high level of agreement on most topics of importance between Syria and Iran and in the face of unprecedented challenges, the two countries are yet to achieve the needed levels of bilateral economic cooperation aspired to by the people in the two brotherly countries.

The Syrian – Iranian relations have withstood and overcome the US hegemony and US-led wars direct invasion, terrorism, attrition, blockade, sanctions, assassinations, destabilization, and direct piracy and theft. Their joint cooperation not only foiled the US’s evil plots for the region, but they also managed to weaken the US’s ability to impose its will on the rest of the world by breaking its military might after the illegal invasion of Iraq, and by breaking up the US proxies in the region, mainly Al Qaeda and ISIS.

The hefty price paid by the Syrian people has also saved the people of the world by absorbing the major terrorism and direct aggression shock and awe by the USA, Israel, NATO forces spearheaded by Turkey, and their proxy terrorists of Al Qaeda, and ISIS. The steadfastness of the Syrian leadership, army, and people has awakened Russia, China, and Iran to the dangers of the Western plots and allowed them to build their capabilities to come out of the cold and solidify a front against the imperial Zionist Nazi evil camp of NATO and its stooges.

Syrians are waiting to see a payback visit by the Iranian president to Damascus, it’s been over a decade since an Iranian president visited Syria, long before the US-led war of terror on the Levantine country despite several visits paid by the Iranian presidents around the world including to countries in the region that have been in the enemy camp against Syria, like Turkey, and like Egypt during the rule of the anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood president Morsy.


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CHRIS HEDGES: THE LIE OF AMERICAN INNOCENCE

MARCH 22ND, 2022

Source

By Chris Hedges

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (Scheerpost) — The branding of Vladimir Putin as a war criminal by Joe Biden, who lobbied for the Iraq war and staunchly supported the 20 years of carnage in the Middle East, is one more example of the hypocritical moral posturing sweeping across the United States. It is unclear how anyone would try Putin for war crimes since Russia, like the United States, does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But justice is not the point. Politicians like Biden, who do not accept responsibility for our well-documented war crimes, bolster their moral credentials by demonizing their adversaries. They know the chance of Putin facing justice is zero. And they know their chance of facing justice is the same.

We know who our most recent war criminals are, among others: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, General Ricardo Sanchez, former CIA Director George Tenet, former Asst. Atty. Gen. Jay Bybee, former Dep. Asst. Atty. Gen. John Yoo, who set up the legal framework to authorize torture; the helicopter pilots who gunned down civilians, including two Reuters journalists, in the “Collateral Murder” video released by WikiLeaks. We have evidence of the crimes they committed.

But, like Putin’s Russia, those who expose these crimes are silenced and persecuted. Julian Assange, even though he is not a US citizen and his WikiLeaks site is not a US-based publication, is charged under the US Espionage Act for making public numerous US war crimes. Assange, currently housed in a high security prison in London, is fighting a losing battle in the British courts to block his extradition to the United States, where he faces 175 years in prison. One set of rules for Russia, another set of rules for the United States. Weeping crocodile tears for the Russian media, which is being heavily censored by Putin, while ignoring the plight of the most important publisher of our generation speaks volumes about how much the ruling class cares about press freedom and truth.

If we demand justice for Ukrainians, as we should, we must also demand justice for the one million people killed — 400,000 of whom were noncombatants — by our invasions, occupations and aerial assaults in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan. We must demand justice for those who were wounded, became sick or died because we destroyed hospitals and infrastructure. We must demand justice for the thousands of soldiers and marines who were killed, and many more who were wounded and are living with lifelong disabilities, in wars launched and sustained on lies. We must demand justice for the 38 million people who have been displaced or become refugees in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, and Syria, a number that exceeds the total of all those displaced in all wars since 1900, apart from World War II, according to the Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs at Brown University. Tens of millions of people, who had no connection with the attacks of 9/11, were killed, wounded, lost their homes, and saw their lives and their families destroyed because of our war crimes. Who will cry out for them?

Every effort to hold our war criminals accountable has been rebuffed by Congress, by the courts, by the media and by the two ruling political parties. The Center for Constitutional Rights, blocked from bringing cases in US courts against the architects of these preemptive wars, which are defined by post-Nuremberg laws as “criminal wars of aggression,” filed motions in German courts to hold US leaders to account for gross violations of the Geneva Convention, including the sanctioning of torture in black sites such as Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib.

Those who have the power to enforce the rule of law, to hold our war criminals to account, to atone for our war crimes, direct their moral outrage exclusively at Putin’s Russia. “Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said, condemning Russia for attacking civilian sites, including a hospital, three schools and a boarding school for visually impaired children in the Luhansk region of Ukraine. “These incidents join a long list of attacks on civilian, not military locations, across Ukraine,” he said. Beth Van Schaack, an ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice, will direct the effort at the State Department, Blinken said, to “help international efforts to investigate war crimes and hold those responsible accountable.”

This collective hypocrisy, based on the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves, is accompanied by massive arms shipments to Ukraine. Fueling proxy wars was a specialty of the Cold War. We have returned to the script. If Ukrainians are heroic resistance fighters, what about Iraqis and Afghans, who fought as valiantly and as doggedly against a foreign power that was every bit as savage as Russia? Why weren’t they lionized? Why weren’t sanctions imposed on the United States? Why weren’t those who defended their countries from foreign invasion in the Middle East, including Palestinians under Israeli occupation, also provided with thousands of anti-tank weapons, anti-armor weapons, anti-aircraft weapons, helicopters, Switchblade or “Kamikaze” drones, hundreds of Stinger anti-aircraft systems, Javelin anti-tank missiles, machine guns and millions of rounds of ammunition? Why didn’t Congress rush through a $13.6 billion package to provide military and humanitarian assistance, on top of the $1.2 billion already provided to the Ukrainian military, for them?

Well, we know why. Our war crimes don’t count, and neither do the victims of our war crimes. And this hypocrisy makes a rules-based world, one that abides by international law, impossible.

This hypocrisy is not new. There is no moral difference between the saturation bombing the US carried out on civilian populations since World War II, including in Vietnam and Iraq, and the targeting of urban centers by Russia in Ukraine or the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Mass death and fireballs on a city skyline are the calling cards we have left across the globe for decades. Our adversaries do the same.

The deliberate targeting of civilians, whether in Baghdad, Kyiv, Gaza, or New York City, are all war crimes. The killing of at least 112 Ukrainian children, as of March 19, is an atrocity, but so is the killing of 551 Palestinian children during Israel’s 2014 military assault on Gaza. So is the killing of 230,000 people over the past seven years in Yemen from Saudi bombing campaigns and blockades that have resulted in mass starvation and cholera epidemics. Where were the calls for a no-fly zone over Gaza and Yemen? Imagine how many lives could have been saved.

War crimes demand the same moral judgment and accountability. But they don’t get them. And they don’t get them because we have one set of standards for white Europeans, and another for non-white people around the globe. The western media has turned European and American volunteers flocking to fight in Ukraine into heroes, while Muslims in the west who join resistance groups battling foreign occupiers in the Middle East are criminalized as terrorists. Putin has been ruthless with the press. But so has our ally the de facto Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman, who ordered the murder and dismemberment of my friend and colleague Jamal Khashoggi, and who this month oversaw a mass execution of 81 people convicted of criminal offenses. The coverage of Ukraine, especially after spending seven years reporting on Israel’s murderous assaults against the Palestinians, is another example of the racist divide that defines most of the western media.

World War II began with an understanding, at least by the allies, that employing industrial weapons against civilian populations was a war crime. But within 18 months of the start of the war, the Germans, Americans and British were relentlessly bombing cities. By the end of the war, one-fifth of German homes had been destroyed. One million German civilians were killed or wounded in bombing raids. Seven-and-a-half million Germans were made homeless. The tactic of saturation bombing, or area bombing, which included the firebombing of Dresden, Hamburg and Tokyo, which killed more than 90,000 Japanese civilians in Tokyo and left a million people homeless, and the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which took the lives of between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilianshad the sole purpose of breaking the morale of the population through mass death and terror. Cities such as Leningrad, Stalingrad, Warsaw, Coventry, Royan, Nanjing and Rotterdam were obliterated.

It turned the architects of modern war, all of them, into war criminals.

Civilians in every war since have been considered legitimate targets. In the summer of 1965, then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara called the bombing raids north of Saigon that left hundreds of thousands of dead an effective means of communication with the government in Hanoi. McNamara, six years before he died, unlike most war criminals, had the capacity for self-reflection. Interviewed in the documentary, “The Fog of War,” he was repentant, not only about targeting Vietnamese civilians but about the aerial targeting of civilians in Japan in World War II, overseen by Air Force General Curtis LeMay.

“LeMay said if we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals,” McNamara said in the film. “And I think he’s right…LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose, and not immoral if you win?”

LeMay, later head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, would go on to drop tons of napalm and firebombs on civilian targets in Korea which, by his own estimate, killed 20 percent of the population over a three-year period.

Industrial killing defines modern warfare. It is impersonal mass slaughter. It is administered by vast bureaucratic structures that perpetuate the killing over months and years. It is sustained by heavy industry that produces a steady flow of weapons, munitions, tanks, planes, helicopters, battleships, submarines, missiles, and mass-produced supplies, along with mechanized transports that ferry troops and armaments by rail, ship, cargo planes and trucks to the battlefield. It mobilizes industrial, governmental and organization structures for total war. It centralizes systems of information and internal control. It is rationalized for the public by specialists and experts, drawn from the military establishment, along with pliant academics and the media.

Industrial war destroys existing value systems that protect and nurture life, replacing them with fear, hatred, and a dehumanization of those who we are made to believe deserve to be exterminated. It is driven by emotions, not truth or fact. It obliterates nuance, replacing it with an infantile binary universe of us and them. It drives competing narratives, ideas and values underground and vilifies all who do not speak in the national cant that replaces civil discourse and debate. It is touted as an example of the inevitable march of human progress, when in fact it brings us closer and closer to mass obliteration in a nuclear holocaust. It mocks the concept of individual heroism, despite the feverish efforts of the military and the mass media to sell this myth to naïve young recruits and a gullible public. It is the Frankenstein of industrialized societies. War, as Alfred Kazin warned, is “the ultimate purpose of technological society.” Our real enemy is within.

Historically, those who are prosecuted for war crimes, whether the Nazi hierarchy at Nuremberg or the leaders of Liberia, Chad, Serbia, and Bosnia, are prosecuted because they lost the war and because they are adversaries of the United States.

There will be no prosecution of Saudi Arabian rulers for the war crimes committed in Yemen or for the US military and political leadership for the war crimes they carried out in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, or a generation earlier in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The atrocities we commit, such as My Lai, where 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians were gunned down by US soldiers, which are made public, are dealt with by finding a scapegoat, usually a low-ranking officer who is given a symbolic sentence. Lt. William Calley served three years under house arrest for the killings at My Lai. Eleven US soldiers, none of whom were officers, were convicted of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. But the architects and overlords of our industrial slaughter, including Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Gen. Curtis LeMay, Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Lyndon Johnson, Gen. William Westmoreland, George W. Bush, Gen. David Petraeus, Barack Obama and Joe Biden are never held to account. They leave power to become venerated elder statesmen.

The mass slaughter of industrial warfare, the failure to hold ourselves to account, to see our own face in the war criminals we condemn, will have ominous consequences. Author and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi understood that the annihilation of the humanity of others is prerequisite for their physical annihilation. We have become captives to our machines of industrial death. Politicians and generals wield their destructive fury as if they were toys. Those who decry the madness, who demand the rule of law, are attacked and condemned. These industrial weapons systems are our modern idols. We worship their deadly prowess. But all idols, the Bible tells us, begin by demanding the sacrifice of others and end in apocalyptic self-sacrifice.

The American Empire self-destructs. But nobody thought that it would happen this fast

MARCH 08, 2022

Source

by Michael Hudson

Empires often follow the course of a Greek tragedy, bringing about precisely the fate that they sought to avoid. That certainly is the case with the American Empire as it dismantles itself in not-so-slow motion.

The basic assumption of economic and diplomatic forecasting is that every country will act in its own self-interest. Such reasoning is of no help in today’s world. Observers across the political spectrum are using phrases like “shooting themselves in their own foot” to describe U.S. diplomatic confrontation with Russia and allies alike. But nobody thought that The American Empire would self-destruct this fast.

For more than a generation the most prominent U.S. diplomats have warned about what they thought would represent the ultimate external threat: an alliance of Russia and China dominating Eurasia. America’s economic sanctions and military confrontation have driven these two countries together, and are driving other countries into their emerging Eurasian orbit.

American economic and financial power was expected to avert this fate. During the half-century since the United States went off gold in 1971, the world’s central banks have operated on the Dollar Standard, holding their international monetary reserves in the form of U.S. Treasury securities, U.S. bank deposits and U.S. stocks and bonds. The resulting Treasury-bill Standard has enabled America to finance its foreign military spending and investment takeover of other countries simply by creating dollar IOUs. U.S. balance-of-payments deficits end up in the central banks of payments-surplus countries as their reserves, while Global South debtors need dollars to pay their bondholders and conduct their foreign trade.

This monetary privilege – dollar seignorage – has enabled U.S. diplomacy to impose neoliberal policies on the rest of the world, without having to use much military force of its own except to grab Near Eastern oil.

The recent escalation of U.S. sanctions blocking Europe, Asia and other countries from trade and investment with Russia, Iran and China has imposed enormous opportunity costs – the cost of lost opportunities – on U.S. allies. And the recent confiscation of the gold and foreign reserves of Venezuela, Afghanistan and now Russia,[1] along with the targeted grabbing of bank accounts of wealthy foreigners (hoping to win their hearts and minds, enticed by the hope for the return of their sequestered accounts), has ended the idea that dollar holdings – or now also assets in sterling and euro NATO satellites of the dollar – are a safe investment haven when world economic conditions become shaky.

So I am somewhat chagrined as I watch the speed at which this U.S.-centered financialized system has de-dollarized over the span of just a year or two. The basic theme of my Super Imperialism has been how, for the past fifty years, the U.S. Treasury-bill standard has channeled foreign savings to U.S. financial markets and banks, giving Dollar Diplomacy a free ride. I thought that de-dollarization would be led by China and Russia moving to take control of their economies to avoid the kind of financial polarization that is imposing austerity on the United States.[2] But U.S. officials are forcing Russia, China and other nations not locked into the U.S. orbit to see the writing on the wall and overcome whatever hesitancy they had to de-dollarize.

I had expected that the end of the dollarized imperial economy would come about by other countries breaking away. But that is not what has happened. U.S. diplomats themselves have chosen to end international dollarization, while helping Russia build up its own means of self-reliant agricultural and industrial production. This global fracture process actually has been going on for some years, starting with the sanctions blocking America’s NATO allies and other economic satellites from trading with Russia. For Russia, these sanctions had the same effect that protective tariffs would have had.

Russia had remained too enthralled by free-market neoliberal ideology to take steps to protect its own agriculture and industry. The United States provided the help that was needed by imposing domestic self-reliance on Russia. When the Baltic states obeyed American sanctions and lost the Russian market for their cheese and other farm products, Russia quickly created its own cheese and dairy sector – while becoming the world’s leading grain exporter.

Russia is discovering (or is on the verge of discovering) that it does not need U.S. dollars as backing for the ruble’s exchange rate. Its central bank can create the rubles needed to pay domestic wages and finance capital formation. The U.S. confiscations of its dollar and euro reserves may finally lead Russia to end its adherence to neoliberal monetary philosophy, as Sergei Glaziev has long been advocating, in favor of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).

The same dynamic of undercutting ostensible U.S aims has occurred with U.S. sanctions against the leading Russian billionaires. The neoliberal shock therapy and privatizations of the 1990s left Russian kleptocrats with only one way to cash out on the assets they had grabbed from the public domain. That was to incorporate their takings and sell their shares in London and New York. Domestic savings had been wiped out, and U.S. advisors persuaded Russia’s central bank not to create its own ruble money.

The result was that Russia’s national oil, gas and mineral patrimony was not used to finance a rationalization of Russian industry and housing. Instead of the revenue from privatization being invested to create new Russian means of protection, it was burned up on nouveau-riche acquisitions of luxury British real estate, yachts and other global flight-capital assets. But the effect of sanctions making the dollar, sterling and euro holdings of Russian billionaires hostage has been to make the City of London too risky a venue in which to hold their assets – and for the wealthy of any other nation potentially subject to U.S. sanctions. By imposing sanctions on the richest Russians closest to Putin, U.S. officials hoped to induce them to oppose his breakaway from the West, and thus to serve effectively as NATO agents-of-influence. But for Russian billionaires, their own country is starting to look safest.

For many decades now, the U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury have fought against gold recovering its role in international reserves. But how will India and Saudi Arabia view their dollar holdings as Biden and Blinken try to strong-arm them into following the U.S. “rules-based order” instead of their own national self-interest? The recent U.S. dictates have left little alternative but to start protecting their own political autonomy by converting dollar and euro holdings into gold as an asset free from political liability of being held hostage to the increasingly costly and disruptive U.S. demands.

U.S. diplomacy has rubbed Europe’s nose in its abject subservience by telling its governments to have their companies dump their Russian assets for pennies on the dollar after Russia’s foreign reserves were blocked and the ruble’s exchange rate plunged. Blackstone, Goldman Sachs and other U.S. investors moved quickly to buy up what Shell Oil and other foreign companies were unloading.

Nobody thought that the postwar 1945-2020 world order would give way this fast. A truly new international economic order is emerging, although it is not yet clear just what form it will take. But the confrontations resulting from “prodding the Bear” with the U.S./NATO aggression against Russia has passed critical-mass level. It no longer is just about Ukraine. That is merely the trigger, a catalyst for driving much of the world away from the US/NATO orbit.

The next showdown may come within Europe itself as nationalist politicians seek to lead a break-away from the over-reaching U.S. power-grab over its European and other allies to keep them dependent on U.S.-based trade and investment. The price of their continuing obedience is to impose cost-inflation on their industry while subordinating their democratic electoral politics to America’s NATO proconsuls.

These consequences cannot really be deemed “unintended.” Too many observers have pointed out exactly what would happen – headed by President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov explaining just what their response would be if NATO insisted on backing them into a corner while attacking Eastern Ukrainian Russian-speakers and moving heavy weaponry to Russia’s Western border. The consequences were anticipated. The neocons in control of U.S. foreign policy simply didn’t care. Recognizing Russian concerns was deemed to make one a Putinversteher.

European officials did not feel uncomfortable in telling the world about their worries that Donald Trump was crazy and upsetting the apple cart of international diplomacy. But they seem to have been blindsided by the Biden Administration’s resurgence of visceral Russia-hatred via Secretary of State Blinken and Victoria Nuland-Kagan. Trump’s mode of expression and mannerisms may have been uncouth, but America’s neocon gang have much more globally threatening confrontation obsessions. For them, it was a question of whose reality would emerge victorious: the “reality” that they believed they could make, or economic reality outside of U.S. control.

What foreign countries have not done for themselves to replace the IMF, World Bank and other strongarms of U.S. diplomacy, American politicians are forcing them to do. Instead of European, Near Eastern and Global South countries breaking away as they calculate their own long-term economic interests, America is driving them away, as it has done with Russia and China. More politicians are seeking voter support by asking whether their countries would be better served by new monetary arrangements to replace dollarized trade, investment and even foreign debt service.

The energy and food price squeeze is hitting Global South countries especially hard, coinciding with their own Covid-19 problems and the looming dollarized debt service coming due. Something must give. How long will these countries impose austerity to pay foreign bondholders?

How will the U.S. and European economies cope in the face of their sanctions against imports of Russian gas and oil, cobalt, aluminum, palladium and other basic materials. American diplomats have made a list of raw materials that their economy desperately needs and which therefore are exempt from the trade sanctions being imposed. This provides Mr. Putin a handy list of U.S. pressure points to use in reshaping world diplomacy and helping European and other countries break away from the Iron Curtain that America has imposed to lock its satellites into dependence on high-priced U.S. supplies?

The Biden Inflation

But the final breakaway from NATO’s adventurism must come from within the United States itself. As this year’s midterm elections approach, politicians will find a fertile ground in showing U.S. voters that the price inflation led by gasoline and energy is a policy byproduct of the Biden Administration’s blocking of Russian oil and gas exports. (Bad news for owners of big SUV gas guzzlers!) Gas is needed not only for heating and energy production, but to make fertilizer, of which there already is a world shortage. This situation is exacerbated by blocking Russian and Ukrainian grain exports to the United States and Europe, causing food prices already to soar.

There already is a striking disconnect between the financial sector’s view of reality and that promoted in the mainstream NATO media. Europe’s stock markets plunged at their opening on Monday, March 7, while Brent oil soared to $130 a barrel. The BBC’s morning “Today” news broadcast featured Conservative MP Alan Duncan, an oil trader, warning that the near doubling of prices in natural gas futures threatened to bankrupt companies committed to supplying gas to Europe at the old rates. But returning to the military “Two Minutes of Hate” news, the BBC kept applauding the brave Ukrainian fighters and NATO politicians urging more military support. In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 650 points, and gold soared to over $2,000 an ounce – reflecting the financial sector’s view of how the U.S. game is likely to play out. Nickel prices rose by even more – 40 percent.

Trying to force Russia to respond militarily and thereby look bad to the rest of the world is turning out to be a stunt aimed simply at ensuring Europe contribute more to NATO, buy more U.S. military hardware and lock itself deeper into trade and monetary dependence on the United States. The instability that this has caused is turning out to have the effect of making the United States look as threatening as Russia is claimed to be by the NATO West.

  1. Libya’s gold also disappeared after NATO’s overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. 
  2. See most recently Radhika Desai and Michael Hudson (2021), “Beyond Dollar Creditocracy: A Geopolitical Economy,” Valdai Club Paper No. 116. Moscow: Valdai Club, 7 July, repr. in Real World Economic Review (97), https://rwer.wordpress.com/2021/09/23. 

About 3,000 US ‘volunteers’ arriving in Ukraine to fight Russia

March 6, 2022

Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen Net 

US volunteers are set to arrive in Ukraine to fight Russia, including army veterans who fought in Iraq and other regions around the world.

3,000 US volunteers are ready to arrive in Ukraine.

Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform reported that 3,000 US volunteers are ready to arrive in Ukraine, amid Russia’s ongoing military operation in the country.

The agency quoted the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ press service via Telegram as saying that “the volunteers are ready to repel Russia as part of an international battalion.”

Among the US volunteers are army veterans “with combat experience gained in Iraq and other hotspots around the world.”

Ukrinform reiterated that more than 16,000 foreign fighters are heading to Ukraine to fight Russia.

It claimed that “Ukraine is creating an International Legion of Territorial Defense consisting of foreigners who are willing to join Ukraine’s resistance and protect global security.”

US to give more than $1B in assistance to Ukraine

It is noteworthy that during US President Joe Biden’s first state of the union address delivered on Tuesday, he reaffirmed plans to continue supporting Ukraine against Russia while providing multiple forms of assistance worth $1 billion.

Although Ukraine will be receiving hefty assistance, Biden ruled out any present or future military participation in the conflict. 

“Let me be clear, our forces are not engaged and will not engage in conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine,” Biden claimed.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar announced Saturday that more than 100,000 volunteers have already registered to join the force.

Last Wednesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced that mercenaries from 16 countries are on their way to the country, and announced that Kiev had obtained weapons from 19 countries.

On February 24, Moscow launched a special military operation in Ukraine, responding to calls from the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk for help in countering the aggression of Ukrainian forces, which has been ongoing since 2014.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that the special operation is targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure only and the civilian population is not in danger.

أزمة أوكرانيا تثبت: حياد لبنان أمر غير قابل للتطبيق

الجمعة 4 آذار 2022

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

منذ فترة من الزمن يروّج في لبنان مع اندلاع العدوان على سورية بحرب كونية قادتها الولايات المتحدة، ابتدع لبنان شعار النأي بالنفس حتى يتنصّل من موجباته التي يفرضها العديد من المعاهدات المعقودة بينه وبين الدولة السورية ويؤمّن لأميركا ما تبتغيه من حصار.

 شعار رفعته آنذاك الحكومة التي كان يرأسها نجيب ميقاتي رئيس الحكومة الحالي الذي يجاهر اليوم بانّ «السعودية هي قبلته السياسية كما هي قبلته الدينية»، رغم انه يُصرّ أو يتظاهر بأنه ملتزم بسياسة النأي بالنفس وهو كلام تنفيه الوقائع.

بيد أنّ الشعار المرفوع الذي يوحي بأنّ لبنان لن يكون مع طرف دون آخر في الحرب على سورية، هذا الشعار لم يطبّق في الميدان من قبل أحد فلا الحكومة عملت به ولا مكونات السياسة اللبنانية احترمته، حيث انّ الحكومة انصاعت لأوامر الغرب بالقيادة الأميركية في أكثر من ملف يعني سورية، بخاصة في مسألة النازحين السوريين كما وفي مسائل مالية وسياسية أخرى ولم يسجل من النأي بالنفس سوى بعض المواقف اليتيمة التي اتخذها مندوب لبنان في الجامعة العربية وما عدا ذلك فقد كان انحياز لبنان الرسمي الى خصوم الحكومة السورية واضحاً من غير التباس.

أما اللبنانيون فقد كان انقسامهم واضحاً أيضاً حيال المسألة، ففي حين ذهب فريق منهم للقتال الى جانب الدولة السورية قتالاً رأى فيه انه من طبيعة العمل الاستباقي للدفاع المشروع عن النفس، فقد التزم أطراف آخرون يعملون بأوامر وإملاءات أميركية موقع العداء للحكومة السورية ونصرة من يقاتلها من مجموعات داخلية مسلحة او إرهابية استقدمت من الخارج او حتى تشكيلات عسكرية احتلت أرضاً سورية، كما هو حال القوات الأميركية والتركية. مواقف متناقضة أظهرت انّ الانقسام عمودي حادّ بين اللبنانيين دون أن يكون هناك بين الطرفين مساحة مشتركة للتفاهم.

في ظلّ هذا الوضع الخلافي أطلق البطريرك الماروني الدعوة الى حياد لبنان وأيّده في دعوته معظم الأطراف الذين جاهروا بالعداء للدولة السورية والعداء للمقاومة التي وقفت الى جانب سورية في حربها الدفاعية ضدّ الإرهاب والاحتلال الأجنبي لأراضيها، وكان بديهياً أن تنظر المقاومة الى الدعوة هذه بعين الريبة والحذر خاصة أنها ترى في سلوك من أطلقها ومن أيّده كامل الانحياز الى الغرب بقيادة أميركية وكامل الانصياع للإملاءات الأميركية وكامل الانبطاح أمام دول الخليج المنصاعة أصلاً لأميركا والتي تنفذ عدواناً تدميرياً على اليمن.

في ظلّ هذا المشهد انفجر الوضع في أوكرانيا وبدأت روسيا بتنفيذ عملية عسكرية خاصة عبر حدودها، عملية حددت أهدافها بأنها ذات طبيعة دفاعيّة من أجل ضمان حياد أوكرانيا وعدم تحوّلها الى منصة للحلف الأطلسي الذي يجاهر بالعداء لروسيا وبأنها لا تنوي احتلالاً للدولة تلك بل جلّ ما تريده ضمان أمنها القومي الذي ينتهك بالخطط الأطلسية بقيادة أميركية. أما الغرب فقد نظر الى العملية العسكرية الروسية بأنها عدوان موصوف، وأنه سيواجهه بشتى الوسائل السياسية والإعلامية والاقتصادية وتقديم المساعدات العسكرية لحكومة كييف من غير التورّط بإرسال تشكيلات من جيوش الغرب خشية الانزلاق الى حرب عالمية أطرافها دول نووية.

لقد ظهر الصراع في أوكرانيا وحولها انه صراع بين روسيا التي تبرّر أعمالها العسكرية بحق الدفاع عن النفس بأسلوب استباقي وبين الغرب بقيادة أميركا التي جهدت لاستدراج روسيا الى هذا الموقع من أجل الإجهاز عليها وتفكيكها بتكرار ما قامت به ضدّ الاتحاد السوفياتي بعد احتلال أفغانستان. ورغم هذا الوضوح في طبيعة الصراع فإنّ لبنان سارع وفي الساعات الأولى لبدء العملية العسكرية الروسية، لإدانة روسيا والمطالبة بوقف عمليتها ثم صوّت في الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة لصالح مشروع قرار أميركي أوروبي اعتمد ضدّ روسيا، مؤكداً في مواقفه بأنه ليس على الحياد ولا يتقيّد بما ورد في البيان الوزاري للحكومة من شعار النأي بالنفس، فهل أصاب لبنان أم أخطأ في مواقفه؟ وهل الحياد ممكن والنأي بالنفس مستطاع؟

من البديهي أن يكون لبنان وهو من الدول المؤسسة للأمم المتحدة صاحب سياسة تدعو الى الأمن والسلام وحلّ النزاعات بالطرق السلميّة بعيداً عن الاحتكام الى القوة والسلاح مع ما يستتبعه من قتل وتدمير وتشريد وهو الدولة التي عانت ولا تزال تعاني من العدوان والاحتلال «الإسرائيلي» وعلى أرضها وحقوقها وسيادتها. ولكن على لبنان قبل ان يتخذ موقفاً من صراع دولي أن يتحقق ويمحّص انعكاسات موقفه وتداعياته عليه وعلى سياسة الحياد التي يدّعيها. ولكن هل يستطيع لبنان أن يصمد أمام الضغوط الأجنبية عامة والأميركية ـ الأوروبية ـ الخليجية خاصة؟

لقد أثبتت التجربة في لبنان أنّ القول شيء والفعل والممارسة شيء آخر، والأمر رهن بمن يتولى زمام الأمور في البلاد، فإذا تذكرنا أيام تلت طرد «إسرائيل» من جنوب لبنان في العام ٢٠٠٠ وكم صمد لبنان أمام الضغط الأميركي الرامي لحمله على التنازل امام «إسرائيل» عن حقوقه في أرضه، لوصلنا الي نتيجة مفادها انّ لبنان المتمسك بحقه وبجيشه وبمقاومته قادر على مواجهة الضغوط الأميركية، فقد حاولت مادلين أولبريت وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية وعبر مكالمات هاتفية لمدة أربع ساعات ان تثني لبنان عن مواقفه ولم تستطع وانتزع لبنان حقه في أرضه كما رآه.

بيد انّ نتائج الضغط الأميركي على لبنان في المسألة الأوكرانية جاءت بنتيجة معاكسة، حيث إنّ هاتف او زيارة من سفيرة أميركا الى المسؤولين أنتجت بيان إدانة لروسيا بسرعة قياسية سبق لبنان فيها كلّ الدول العربية ومعظم الدول الأوروبية، ثم كانت زيارة أخرى حملت لبنان على دعم الموقف الأميركيّ في مجلس الأمن ضدّ روسيا.

وهنا قد يروق للبنانيين الذين اتخذوا هذه المواقف من غير العودة الى مجلس الوزراء الذي هو حسب الدستور السلطة التنفيذية التي ترسم وتنفذ سياسات الدولة، قد يروق لهم القول بأنّ موقف لبنان منسجم مع مبادئه الرافضة للعدوان والاحتكام للقوة في حلّ النزاعات. ولكن أيضاً من مبادئ لبنان دعم الحق المشروع بالدفاع عن النفس، وهنا يجب ان نأخذ بالاعتبار الهواجس المشروعة لكلّ من الطرفين، الامر الذي لم يعمل به لبنان بنتيجة الضغط الأميركي.

هذه الوقائع تفضي بنا الى نتيجة واحدة وهي انّ الحياد المطلوب هو أمر غير مضمون في بلد كلبنان في ظلّ ضعف الدولة ووهنها ووجود ساسة لديهم مصالح يخشون عليها، فالحياد موقف لا يمكن ان يتخذه إلا قوي لا يخشى تهديداً ولا يستجيب لإملاء، أما الضعيف الخائف على مصلحة مالية او سواها، فإنه ينظر الي مصلحته ويتخذ الموقف الذي يحفظها دون التوقف عند تأثير ذلك على الدولة والوطن الذي يتولى مسؤولية فيه، وأخيراً نذكر بشروط الحياد التي هي الى جانب القوة الذاتية، هناك القبول الخارجيّ فهل يقبل الخارج بحياد لبنان ويدعه وشأنه أم يريد لبنان منصة ومسرحاً وقاعدة لعملياته وسياسته؟ الواقع يثبت انّ من يطلب حياد لبنان هو كمن يبحث عن النجوم في رابعة النهار. فتحوّلوا الى امتلاك القوة والبحث عمن يتولى الشأن العام ويقدّمه على أموره الخاصة.

*أستاذ جامعيّ ـ باحث استراتيجيّ

A matter of self-defence

MARCH 03, 2022

Source

by Ghassan Kadi

I am not here to write about historic, strategic and military details pertaining to the issues surrounding the Ukraine crisis. Apart from those fabricating Hollywood material, there are many excellent analysts covering these areas competently.

But as a Syrian/Lebanese, within my limited capacity, I have a duty to show support and reciprocate Russia’s support to Syria where it is due and, in this case, it is as it is one that is based on truths and moral issues that cannot be overlooked, even if Russia did not support Syria at all.

What I want to discuss is the justification and morality of self-defence.

War is a heavily-loaded word, a word that implies man killing man, humanity fighting humanity, armies pillaging nations, creating orphans and widows, refugees, sex slaves, destroying civilizations, economies, beautiful ancient architectural icons and a whole hoard of other atrocities that often are never repaired or resolved.

But there are wars and there are wars.

One cannot place the actions of the USA’s invasion of Iraq in the same basket as that of resistance against Nazi occupation.

People, and nations, have the right of self-defence. Self-defence is not an act of aggression. It is an act to prevent further aggression.

Not surprisingly, when the rules of the jungle prevail, just like in La Fontaine’s fables, aggressors on one hand conjure up for themselves the justification to kill, and on the other hand, they vilify the victims of their aggression when they try to exercise their right of self-defence.

The USA has been engaged in wars ever since WWII ended. Beginning with the Korean War, the West moved the theatre to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq I and Iraq II, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria; not to mention other smaller wars. In reality, there was never ever any justification for any of them and the national security of the United States of America was never under threat by any of those much pooper and much less equipped nations.

What is ironic is the fact that even though the odds were always in favour of America, and this is an understatement, America never won any of those wars. Some cynics argue that America’s objectives were not about winning wars but about leaving mess and destruction behind. Whilst I partially agree with this sentiment, I cannot accept that America has intentionally invaded Iraq to hand it on a silver platter to Iran any more that it invaded Taliban’s Afghanistan to hand it back to the Taliban. Those who believe that America has always been successful in achieving its target of havoc seem to give it more kudos than it deserves. I genuinely believe that America has been a total failure and that its performance as the world’s self-appointed custodian of the post WWII era had been abysmal to put it mildly.

Perhaps America could be excused for it actions during the hot Cold-War era. It was a period of uncertainty, fear, and what was behind the ‘dreaded’ ‘Iron Curtain’ left little surprises to be desired.

But, using American administration rhetoric, with the dismantling of the USSR this hot-cold War era was also supposed to cease.

Contrary to the commonly-held belief in the West, America did not win the Cold War. The Cold War ended when Gorbachev negotiated with Raegan the terms of disengagement. https://sputniknews.com/20190402/gorbachev-nato-expansion-reasons-1073764558.html

The rest is history. The manner in which America broke all of its promises to never encroach into Eastern Europe, how it coaxed former Warsaw Pact nations to join NATO, how it positioned missiles close to Russian borders, how it pillaged Serbia, how it tried to create a puppet regime in Georgia in 2008, how it sponsored a coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014 putting Neo-Nazis in charge, how it bombarded the Eastern provinces for eight long years, how it reneged on the Minsk Agreements, how it refused to reach a deal on Ukraine in Jan 2022, a deal that took into consideration Russia’s legitimate security concerns, are all acts of provocation that can only lead to war; a Russian war of self-defence.

Western arrogance remains high despite the fact that Russia has clearly demonstrated red lines in Georgia and Syria. But Kiev is not Damascus. Kiev was the capital of the Russian Empire long before Texas was a state of the Union.

Furthermore, Russia is not Afghanistan or Somalia. Russia is not only a nuclear superpower, but also one with weaponry that is far more advanced than the West’s.

The Western bully has been picking on the wrong would-be adversary, and for a very long time.

What is most unbelievable about the current situation is the Western European compliance with America’s stance. Americans may well be distanced from the history and internal politics of Europe, but Germany, France, Italy and Spain must surely know better, but they are behaving in a manner as if they are either totally ignorant or extremely callous.

Puppet states of Eastern Europe should look over their shoulders and see what real support Ukraine is receiving from America after America promised Ukraine the world and then hung it out to dry.

This brings us back to the issue of drawing the line between instigating war for no reason other than imperial gain and fighting legitimately for self-defence.

The West and its media are taking the line of presenting Russia as the aggressor, portraying Putin as a crazed Tzar who wants to rebuild the USSR; not only ignoring the events of 2014 onwards, but also ignoring past and present atrocities of the West that had no justification at all.

Have we forgotten Iraq’s WMD blunder?

Russia did all it could to avert a military confrontation in Ukraine.

For eight long years, Russia refused to acknowledge the independence of the eastern provinces.

Russia continued to keep all bridges of communication with the West open in the hope of reaching an agreement to end the impasse.

Russia made it clear to America time after time, that it has red lines that cannot be crossed, including not accepting Ukraine to join NATO.

But all that America did was to ignore and continue to intimidate. When the talk about the impending Russian invasion of Ukraine was flagged on Western media, it was because America had the full intention to make sure that the January 2022 Switzerland talks with Russia must fail leaving the military option alone on the table.

The actions of Russia to neutralize and de-Nazify Ukraine are acts of self-defence. Any fair and proper court of justice would attest to this, but not in the West, where media is the echo chamber of the Western globalists and the only key to the hearts and minds of people in the West who unquestionably believe what their media dishes out.

But why are some of Russians so surprised and dismayed now by the new wave of anti-Russian propaganda? Lucky enough to visit Russia a few years ago, I found myself in an alternative paradigm; not a ‘Truman Show’ little bubble, but a huge world that did what it believed was right and didn’t give a pig’s butt (excuse the French) about what the West and Western media thought and decreed.

I was able to see the so-called ‘iron curtain’, way after the USSR was no longer, but not from a Western xenophobic vantagepoint, but from a Russian one that did not seem to care much at all about the views and the attitude of the West.

It was disappointing to see Western franchises like Starbucks and McDonald’s, but Russia looked like a proud stand-alone nation that is big enough, strong enough and rich enough to dictate its own directive and destiny.

If anything, a few years later, Russia is now in a much stronger position to dictate what it wants to the old ailing West and the stronger sanctions today are not going to be any more effective than previous milder ones.

President Biden now represents the West in many more ways than one. Not only he is meant to be the leader of the so-called ‘Free World’, but at his old age, a mental state that borders dementia, he represents the global hemisphere that has lost its technical edge and rationality; not to mention economic clout.

It is very sad that the once developed West that paved the rest of the world in technology and innovation has put its leadership under the hands of short-sighted impotent leaders like Biden, Merkel (formerly), Johnson and Macron. Those weak and shortsighted leaders are pushing the West into the corner of cultural suicide.

They represent the political legacy that led to the exodus of Western manufacturing base.

They are the legacy that destroyed family values, cultural values as well as moral values.

They are the ones forcing Russia to create an alternative global power with China; the West’s main and primary competitor.

But the problem with Western political leaders is that they are not serving their own people; they are serving their sponsors and their own profit and loss statements.

Nations are not corporations, and the corporate aspect of Western political leadership is bursting its own bubble. It is not ready to confront the challenges of either Russia or China, let alone both of them combined. The West continues to live in the euphoria of a bygone era in which it had the upper hand by way of being a leader in technological advances and manufacturing which are the basic foundations for strong economies. It has lost its technical edge, placing itself in a conflict it can neither win, let alone be able to fight.

The West needs to learn to accept humility as a desired value. For the sake of humanity as a whole, it needs to learn this lesson before its obstinance and arrogance leads the world into further and deeper wars and disasters.

Everyone Loses in the Conflict Over Ukraine

March 02, 2022

By Ralph Nader

Global Research,

OpEdNews.com 1 March 2022

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Today, the dangers of military escalation are beyond description.

What is now happening in Ukraine has serious geopolitical implications. It could lead us into a World War III scenario.

It is important that a peace process be initiated with a view to preventing escalation. 

Global Research condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A Bilateral Peace Agreement is required.


When two scorpions are in a bottle, they both lose. This is the preventable danger that is growing daily with no end game in sight between the two nuclear superpowers led by dictator Vladimir Putin and de facto sole decider Joe Biden.

Putin’s first argument is Washington invented the model of aggressive, illegal invasions, and destruction of distant countries, that never threatened U.S. security.

Millions have died, been injured, and sickened in defenseless countries attacked by U.S. armed forces. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney killed over a million innocent Iraqis and devastated the country in so many ways that scholars called it a “sociocide.”

Putin’s second argument is that Russia is being threatened on its sensitive western border which had been invaded twice by Germany and caused the loss of 50 million Russian lives.

Soon after the Soviet Union collapsed the West’s military alliance against Russia began moving east. Under Bill Clinton, NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) signed up Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in 1999, leading to major arms sales by the U.S. giant munitions corporations.

More recently, Putin sees U.S. soldiers in these countries, ever closer U.S. missile launchers, U.S.-led joint naval exercises in the Baltic Sea, and intimations that Ukraine and Georgia could soon join NATO. Imagine if the Russians were to have such a military presence around the U.S. borders.

Even often hawkish New York Times columnists – Thomas Friedman and Bret Stephens – made this point this week about the brazen U.S. history of military hypocrisy while tearing into Putin. Stephens brought up the Monroe Doctrine over the entire Western Hemisphere in raising repeatedly the question, “Who are We?”

The chess game between Russia and the West has become more deadly with Putin’s military moves followed by immediate Western sanctions against some Russian banks and oligarchs close to Putin.

Travel bans and freezing the completion of the second major natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany are in place with promises of much more severe economic retaliation by Biden.

These sanctions can become a two-way street. Western Europe needs Russian oil and gas, Russian wheat, and essential Russian minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel.

Sanctions against Russia will soon boomerang in terms of higher oil and gas prices for Europeans and Americans, more inflation, worsening supply chains, and the dreaded “economic uncertainty” afflicting stock markets and consumer spending.

The corporate global economy gave us interdependence on other nations instead of domestic self-reliance under the framework of corporate-managed free trade agreements.

Repeating 1970s Strategy of Grand Chess-Master Brzezinski: Biden Appears to Have Induced Russian Invasion of Ukraine to Bankrupt Russia’s Economy and Advance Regime Change

So how many billions of dollars in costs and a weakened economy will Joe Biden tolerate as the price of anti-Putin sanctions that will blowback on the American people?

How much suffering will he tolerate being inflicted on the long-suffering Russian people? What will be the impact on the civilian population of more severe sanctions? And who is he to talk as if he doesn’t have to be authorized by Congress to go further into this state of belligerence, short of sending soldiers, which he said he would not do?

Is Congress to be left as a cheerleader, washing its hands of its constitutional oversight and foreign policy duties?

Also, watch Republicans and Democrats in Congress unify to whoop through more money for the bloated military budget as pointed out by military analyst, Michael Klare.

What energy will be left for Biden’s pending “Build Back Better” infrastructure, social safety net, and climate crisis legislation?

In recent weeks, the State Department said it recognizes Russia’s legitimate security concerns but not its expansionism. Well, what is wrong with a ceasefire followed by support for a treaty “guaranteeing neutrality for Ukraine similar to the enforced neutrality for Austria since the Cold War’s early years,” as Nation publisher and Russia specialist Katrina Vanden Heuvel urged. (See: Katrina vanden Heuvel’s Washington Post article and her recent Nation piece).

Putin, unable to get over the breakup of the Soviet Union probably has imperial ambitions to dominate in Russia’s backyard. Biden has inherited and accepted the U.S. Empire’s ambitions in many other nation’s backyards.

Events have polarized this conflict over Ukraine which is not a security interest for the U.S., into two dominant egos – Putin and Biden – neither of whom want to appear weak or to back down.

This is a dangerous recipe for an out-of-control escalation, much as it was in the lead-up to World War I. Neither the people nor the parliaments mattered then as seems to be the case today.

Putin isn’t likely to make a cost-benefit assessment of each day’s militarism. But Biden better do so. Otherwise, he will be managed by Putin’s daily moves, instead of insisting on serious negotiations.

The Minsk II Peace Accords of February 2015 brokered by Germany, France, and the United Nations, that Russia and Ukraine agreed to before falling apart due to disagreements over who should take the first steps still makes for a useful framework.

It is too late to revisit the accords to stop the invasion but it should be proposed to introduce a climate for waging peace.

Already, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has spoken about an increase in cyberattacks and ransomware demands in her state in recent weeks.

Has Biden put that rising certainty in his self-described decades-long foreign policy expertise?

Watch out for what you can’t stop, Joe.

*

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Copyright © Ralph NaderOpEdNews.com, 2022

America Defeats Germany for the Third Time in a Century: The MIC, OGAM and FIRE Sectors Conquer NATO

February 28, 2022

Source

By Michael Hudson

My old boss Herman Kahn, with whom I worked at the Hudson Institute in the 1970s, had a set speech that he would give at public meetings. He said that back in high school in Los Angeles, his teachers would say what most liberals were saying in the 1940s and 50s: “Wars never solved anything.” It was as if they never changed anything – and therefore shouldn’t be fought.

Herman disagreed, and made lists of all sorts of things that wars had solved in world history, or at least changed. He was right, and of course that is the aim of both sides in today’s New Cold War confrontation in Ukraine.

The question to ask is what today’s New Cold War is trying to change or “solve.” To answer this question, it helps to ask who initiates the war. There always are two sides – the attacker and the attacked. The attacker intends certain consequences, and the attacked looks for unintended consequences of which they can take advantage. In this case, both sides have their dueling sets of intended consequences and special interests.

The active military force and aggression since 1991 has been the United States. Rejecting mutual disarmament of the Warsaw Pact countries and NATO, there was no “peace dividend.” Instead, the U.S. policy executed by the Clinton and subsequent administrations to wage a new military expansion via NATO has paid a 30-year dividend in the form of shifting the foreign policy of Western Europe and other American allies out of their domestic political sphere into their own U.S.-oriented “national security” blob (the word for special interests that must not be named). NATO has become Europe’s foreign-policy-making body, even to the point of dominating domestic economic interests.

The recent prodding of Russia by expanding Ukrainian anti-Russian ethnic violence by Ukraine’s neo-Nazi post-2014 Maiden regime was aimed at (and has succeeded in forcing a showdown in response the fear by U.S. interests that they are losing their economic and political hold on their NATO allies and other Dollar Area satellites as these countries have seen their major opportunities for gain to lie in increasing trade and investment with China and Russia.

To understand just what U.S. aims and interests are threatened, it is necessary to understand U.S. politics and “the blob,” that is, the government central planning that cannot be explained by looking at ostensibly democratic politics. This is not the politics of U.S. senators and representatives representing their congressional voting districts or states.

America’s three oligarchies in control of U.S. foreign policy

It is more realistic to view U.S. economic and foreign policy in terms of the military-industrial complex, the oil and gas (and mining) complex, and the banking and real estate complex than in terms of the political policy of Republicans and Democrats. The key senators and congressional representatives do not represent their states and districts as much as the economic and financial interests of their major political campaign contributors. A Venn diagram would show that in today’s post-Citizens United world, U.S. politicians represent their campaign contributors, not voters. And these contributors fall basically into three main blocs.

Three main oligarchic groups that have bought control of the Senate and Congress to put their own policy makers in the State Department and Defense Department. First is the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) – arms manufacturers such as Raytheon, Boeing and Lockheed-Martin, have broadly diversified their factories and employment in nearly every state, and especially in the Congressional districts where key Congressional committee heads are elected. Their economic base is monopoly rent, obtained above all from their arms sales to NATO, to Near Eastern oil exporters and to other countries with a balance-of-payments surplus. Stocks for these companies soared immediately upon news of the Russian attack, leading a two-day stock-market surge as investors recognized that war in a world of cost-plus “Pentagon capitalism” (as Seymour Melman described it) will provide a guaranteed national-security umbrella for monopoly profits for war industries. Senators and Congressional representatives from California and Washington traditionally have represented the MIC, along with the solid pro-military South. The past week’s military escalation promises soaring arms sales to NATO and other U.S. allies, enriching the actual constituents of these politicians. Germany quickly agreed to raise is arms spending to over 2% of GDP.

The second major oligarchic bloc is the rent-extracting oil and gas sector, joined by mining (OGAM), riding America’s special tax favoritism granted to companies emptying natural resources out of the ground and putting them mostly into the atmosphere, oceans and water supply. Like the banking and real estate sector seeking to maximize economic rent and maximizing capital gains for housing and other assets,, the aim of this OGAM sector is to maximize the price of its energy and raw materials so as to maximize its natural-resource rent. Monopolizing the Dollar Area’s oil market and isolating it from Russian oil and gas has been a major U.S. priority for over a year now, as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline threatened to link the Western European and Russian economies more tightly together.

If oil, gas and mining operations are not situated in every U.S. voting district, at least their investors are. Senators from Texas and other Western oil-producing and mining states are the leading OGAM lobbyists, and the State Department has a heavy oil-sector influence providing a national-security umbrella for the sector’s special tax breaks. The ancillary political aim is to ignore and reject environmental drives to replace oil, gas and coal with alternative sources of energy. The Biden administration accordingly has backed the expansion of offshore drilling, supported the Canadian pipeline to the world’s dirtiest petroleum source in the Athabasca tar sands, and celebrated the revival of U.S. fracking.

The foreign-policy extension is to prevent foreign countries not leaving control of their oil, gas and mining to U.S. OGAM companies from competing in world markets with U.S. suppliers. Isolating Russia (and Iran) from Western markets will reduce the supply of oil and gas, pushing up prices and corporate profits accordingly.

The third major oligarchic group is the symbiotic Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector, which is the modern finance-capitalist successor to Europe’s old post-feudal landed aristocracy living by land rents. With most housing in today’s world having become owner-occupied (although with sharply rising rates of absentee landlordship since the post-2008 wave of Obama Evictions), land rent is paid largely to the banking sector in the form of mortgage interest and debt amortization (on rising debt/equity ratios as bank lending inflates housing prices). About 80 percent of U.S. and British bank loans are to the real estate sector, inflating land prices to create capital gains – which are effectively tax-exempt for absentee owners.

This Wall Street-centered banking and real estate bloc is even more broadly based on a district-by-district basis than the MIC. Its New York senator from Wall Street, Chuck Schumer, heads the Senate, long supported by Delaware’s former Senator from the credit-card industry Joe Biden, and Connecticut’s senators from the insurance sector centered in that state. Domestically, the aim of this sector is to maximize land rent and the “capital’ gains resulting from rising land rent. Internationally, the FIRE sector’s aim is to privatize foreign economies (above all to secure the privilege of credit creation in U.S. hands), so as to turn government infrastructure and public utilities into rent-seeking monopolies to provide basic services (such as health care, education, transportation, communications and information technology) at maximum prices instead of at subsidized prices to reduce the cost of living and doing business. And Wall Street always has been closely merged with the oil and gas industry (viz. the Rockefeller-dominated Citigroup and Chase Manhattan banking conglomerates).

The FIRE, MIC and OGAM sectors are the three rentier sectors that dominate today’s post-industrial finance capitalism. Their mutual fortunes have soared as MIC and OGAM stocks have increased. And moves to exclude Russia from the Western financial system (and partially now from SWIFT), coupled with the adverse effects of isolating European economies from Russian energy, promise to spur an inflow into dollarized financial securities

As mentioned at the outset, it is more helpful to view U.S. economic and foreign policy in terms of the complexes based on these three rentier sectors than in terms of the political policy of Republicans and Democrats. The key senators and congressional representatives are not representing their states and districts as much as the economic and financial interests of their major donors. That is why neither manufacturing nor agriculture play the dominant role in U.S. foreign policy today. The convergence of the policy aims of America’s three dominant rentier groups overwhelms the interests of labor and even of industrial capital beyond the MIC. That convergence is the defining characteristic of today’s post-industrial finance capitalism. It is basically a reversion to economic rent-seeking, which is independent of the politics of labor and industrial capital.

The dynamic that needs to be traced today is why this oligarchic blob has found its interest in prodding Russia into what Russia evidently viewed as a do-or-die stance to resist the increasingly violent attacks on Ukraine’s eastern Russian-speaking provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, along with the broader Western threats against Russia.

The rentier “blob’s” expected consequences of the New Cold War

As President Biden explained, the current U.S.-orchestrated military escalation (“Prodding the Bear”) is not really about Ukraine. Biden promised at the outset that no U.S. troops would be involved. But he has been demanding for over a year that Germany prevent the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from supplying its industry and housing with low-priced gas and turn to the much higher-priced U.S. suppliers.

U.S. officials first tried to stop construction of the pipeline from being completed. Firms aiding in its construction were sanctioned, but finally Russia itself completed the pipeline. U.S. pressure then turned on the traditionally pliant German politicians, claiming that Germany and the rest of Europe faced a National Security threat from Russia turning off the gas, presumably to extract some political or economic concessions. No specific Russian demands could be thought up, and so their nature was left obscure and blob-like. Germany refused to authorize Nord Stream 2 from officially going into operation.

A major aim of today’s New Cold War is to monopolize the market for U.S. shipments of liquified natural gas (LNG). Already under Donald Trump’s administration, Angela Merkel was bullied into promising to spend $1 billion building new port facilities for U.S. tanker ships to unload natural gas for German use. The Democratic election victory in November 2020, followed by Ms. Merkel’s retirement from Germany’s political scene, led to cancellation of this port investment, leaving Germany really without much alternative to importing Russian gas to heat its homes, power its electric utilities, and to provide raw material for its fertilizer industry and hence the maintenance of its farm productivity.

So the most pressing U.S. strategic aim of NATO confrontation with Russia is soaring oil and gas prices, above all to the detriment of Germany. In addition to creating profits and stock-market gains for U.S. oil companies, higher energy prices will take much of the steam out of the German economy. That looms as the third time in a century that the United States has defeated Germany – each time increasing its control over a German economy increasingly dependent on the United States for imports and policy leadership, with NATO being the effective check against any domestic nationalist resistance.

Higher gasoline, heating and other energy prices also will hurt U.S. consumers and those of other nations (especially Global South energy-deficit economies) and leave less of the U.S. family budget for spending on domestic goods and services. This could squeeze marginalized homeowners and investors, leading to further concentration of absentee ownership of housing and commercial property in the United States, along with buyouts of distressed real estate owners in other countries faced with soaring heating and energy costs. But that is deemed collateral damage by the post-industrial blob.

Food prices also will rise, headed by wheat. (Russia and Ukraine account for 25 percent of world wheat exports.) This will squeeze many Near Eastern and Global South food-deficit countries, worsening their balance of payments and threatening foreign debt defaults.

Russian raw-materials exports may be blocked by Russia in response to the currency and SWIFT sanctions. This threatens to cause breaks in supply chains for key materials, including cobalt, palladium, nickel and aluminum (the production of which consumes much electricity as its major cost – which will make that metal more expensive). If China decides to see itself as the next nation being threatened and joins Russia in a common protest against the U.S. trade and financial warfare, the Western economies are in for a serious shock.

The long-term dream of U.S. New Cold Warriors is to break up Russia, or at least to restore its Yeltsin/Harvard Boys managerial kleptocracy, with oligarchs seeking to cash in their privatizations in Western stock markets. OGAM still dreams of buying majority control of Yukos and Gazprom. Wall Street would love to recreate a Russian stock market boom. And MIC investors are happily anticipating the prospect of selling more weapons to help bring all this about.

Russia’s intentions to benefit from America’s unintended consequences

What does Russia want? Most immediately, to remove the neo-Nazi anti-Russian core that the Maidan massacre and coup put in place in 2014. Ukraine is to be neutralized, which to Russia means basically pro-Russian, dominated by Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea. The aim is to prevent Ukraine from becoming a staging ground of U.S.-orchestrated anti-Russian moves a la Chechnya and Georgia.

Russia’s longer-term aim is to pry Europe away from NATO and U.S. dominance – and in the process, create with China a new multipolar world order centered on an economically integrated Eurasia. The aim is to dissolve NATO altogether, and then to promote the broad disarmament and denuclearization policies that Russia has been pushing for. Not only will this cut back foreign purchases of U.S. arms, but it may end up leading to sanctions against future U.S. military adventurism. That would leave America with less ability to fund its military operations as de-dollarization accelerates.

Now that it should be obvious to any informed observer that (1) NATO’s purpose is aggression, not defense, and (2) there is no further territory for it to conquer from the remains of the old Soviet Union, what does Europe get out of continued membership? It is obvious that Russia never again will invade Europe. It has nothing to gain – and had nothing to gain by fighting Ukraine, except to roll back NATO’s proxy expansion into that country and the NATO-backed attacks on Novorossiya.

Will European nationalist leaders (the left is largely pro-US) ask why their countries should pay for U.S. arms that only put them in danger, pay higher prices for U.S. LNG and energy, pay more for grain and Russian-produced raw materials, all while losing the option of making export sales and profits on peaceful investment in Russia – and perhaps losing China as well?

The U.S. confiscation of Russian monetary reserves, following the recent theft of Afghanistan’s reserves (and England’s seizure of Venezuela’s gold stocks held there) threatens every country’s adherence to the Dollar Standard, and hence the dollar’s role as the vehicle for foreign-exchange savings by the world’s central banks. This will accelerate the international de-dollarization process already started by Russia and China relying on mutual holdings of each other’s currencies.

Over the longer term, Russia is likely to join China in forming an alternative to the U.S.-dominated IMF and World Bank. Russia’s announcement that it wants to arrest the Ukrainian Nazis and hold a war crimes trial seems to imply an alternative to the Hague court will be established following Russia’s military victory in Ukraine. Only a new international court could try war criminals extending from Ukraine’s neo-Nazi leadership all the way up to U.S. officials responsible for crimes against humanity as defined by the Nuremberg laws.

Did the American blob actually think through the consequences of NATO’s war?

It is almost black humor to look at U.S. attempts to convince China that it should join the United States in denouncing Russia’s moves into Ukraine. The most enormous unintended consequence of U.S. foreign policy has been to drive Russia and China together, along with Iran, Central Asia and other countries along the Belt and Road initiative.

Russia dreamed of creating a new world order, but it was U.S. adventurism that has driven the world into an entirely new order – one that looks to be dominated by China as the default winner now that the European economy is essentially torn apart and America is left with what it has grabbed from Russia and Afghanistan, but without the ability to gain future support.

And everything that I have written above may already be obsolete as Russia and the U.S. have gone on atomic alert. My only hope is that Putin and Biden can agree that if Russia hydrogen bombs Britain and Brussels, that there will be a devil’s (not gentleman’s) agreement not to bomb each other.

With such talk I’m brought back to my discussions with Herman Kahn 50 years ago. He became quite unpopular for writing Thinking about the Unthinkable, meaning atomic war. As he was parodied in Dr. Strangelove, he did indeed say that there would indeed be survivors. But he added that for himself, he hoped to be right under the atom bomb, because it was not a world in which he wanted to survive.

Russia wanted peace with Ukraine

February 24, 2022

Source

by Batko Milacic

Ukraine has been firmly in the U.S. geopolitical orbit since violent neo-Nazi protests in Kyiv’s Maidan Square resulted in the 2014 overthrow of the allegedly pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Yet, Russia did not attempt to help the then-Ukrainian leader stay in power. As a result, anti-Russian forces came to power in Kyiv, leading the people of the Donbass region to vote in favor of leaving Ukraine.

In 2014, Russia also recognized the results of the Ukrainian presidential election, organized by the post-Maidan authorities. Mr. Lavrov even called newly elected President Petro Poroshenko the “best chance” for Ukraine. Eight years later, Russia has completely changed its rhetoric on Ukraine.

“I don’t think anyone can claim that the Ukrainian regime, since the 2014 coup d’état, represents all the people living on the territory of the Ukrainian state,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on February 22.

The reason for this change in Russian attitude is the acts that the Ukrainian government is committing against Russians and all other citizens who speak Russian in Ukraine. Ukraine waged a kind of “jihad“ against the Russian language and culture.

From January 16, 2020, Ukraine translated all its services into Ukrainian by force of law. So: all shops, cafes and restaurants, banks and pharmacies had to comply with this shameful law. All employees have become obliged to communicate with customers – guests and clients – exclusively in Ukrainian. The Russian language has become completely banned. The mass media also came under attack from Ukrainization. Now, 75 percent of programs on national television are broadcasted in the Ukrainian language, and by 2024, the obligation will be – 90 percent.(1)

All these actions of the Ukrainian government, which have clear elements of fascism, forced pro –Russian forces in Ukraine to react. That is why there were riots in Ukraine with the desire to separate large parts of the territory from Ukraine.

It is clear to all analysts dealing with Ukraine that today`s Ukraine is United States instrument against Russia.

The fact that Kiev received at least $200 million in U.S. “lethal aid” as well as other Western-made weapons over the past two months, means that Kiev rejects a peaceful solution. And Russian President Vladimir Putin has been offering this peaceful solution for years.

Such an operation undoubtedly means war. But war is inevitable, one way or another. Russia has deployed troops to the newly recognized Donbass republics. If Ukrainian forces do not end hostilities, the Russian Army is will to engage in a direct confrontation against Ukrainian army, in order to protect the innocent citizens of DNR and LNR. Sooner or later, the Donbass conflict will escalate. Shelling has increased along the entire front line, which seems to be part of preparations for a military offensive.

That several Western countries have moved their embassies from Kyiv to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, and that around 10 airlines have canceled their flights to Ukraine, suggests the breakout of war is just a matter of time.

However, the fact that several Western countries have moved their embassies from Kyiv to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, and that around 10 airlines have canceled their flights to Ukraine, suggests the breakout of war is just a matter of time.

Because of all the above in Moscow a conference was held which was attended by analysts, historians, journalists and political scientists from many countries around the world. A conference was held in the Civil Council of the Russian Federation on the topic: “Eight years of the illegal coup in Ukraine – results and consequences”:

Participants summed up the events around Ukraine, as well as the attitude of the West towards this issue. The round table was opened and moderated by Maxim Grigoriev, a member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, director of the Foundation for Research on Democracy, who began his speech by summarizing the results of eight years since the coup in Kiev.

“The political results of Euromaidan are even sadder than the economic ones,” he said.

“This includes war crimes – deliberate shelling of women and children in Donbas. We see what is happening inside Ukraine, it is the fight against dissidents, when those who do not share the views of the country’s leadership are killed, arrested, kidnapped. This includes the fight against TV channels, including “Ukrainian death squads” – “Azov”, “Right Sector”. They kill dissidents and are trained by the same instructors who prepared “death squads” in Latin America concluded Mr Grigoriev.

  1. https://standard.rs/2020/12/06/ukrajina-potpuno-zabranjuje-upotrebu-ruskog-jezika/

Sergey Karaganov: Russia’s new foreign policy, the Putin Doctrine

23 Feb, 2022

Moscow’s confrontation with NATO is just the start

By Professor Sergey Karaganov, honorary chairman of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and academic supervisor at the School of International Economics and Foreign Affairs Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow

Sergey Karaganov: Russia’s new foreign policy, the Putin Doctrine
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his address to the nation at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 21, 2022. © AFP / Alexey NIKOLSKY

It seems like Russia has entered a new era of its foreign policy – a ‘constructive destruction’, let’s call it, of the previous model of relations with the West. Parts of this new way of thinking have been seen over the last 15 years – starting with Vladimir Putin’s famous Munich speech in 2007 – but much is only just becoming clear now. At the same time, lackluster efforts to integrate into the western system, while maintaining a doggedly defensive attitude, has remained the general trend in Russia’s politics and rhetoric.

Constructive destruction is not aggressive. Russia maintains it isn’t going to attack anyone or blow them up. It simply doesn’t need to. The outside world provides Russia with more and more geopolitical opportunities for medium-term development as it is. With one big exception. NATO’s expansion and formal or informal inclusion of Ukraine poses a risk to the country’s security that Moscow simply won’t accept.

For now, the West is on course to a slow but inevitable decay, both in terms of internal and external affairs and even the economy. And this is precisely why it has started this new Cold War after almost five hundred years of domination in world politics, the economy, and culture. Especially after its decisive victory in the 1990s to mid-2000s. I believe [1] it will most likely lose, stepping down as the global leader and becoming a more reasonable partner. And not a moment too soon: Russia will need to balance relations with a friendly, but increasingly more powerful China.

Presently, the West desperately tries to defend against this with aggressive rhetoric. It tries to consolidate, playing its last trump cards to reverse this trend. One of those is trying to use Ukraine to damage and neuter Russia. It’s important to prevent these convulsive attempts from transforming into a full-fledged standoff and to counter the current US and NATO policies. They are counterproductive and dangerous, though relatively undemanding for the initiators. We are yet to convince the West that it is only hurting itself.

Another trump card is the West’s dominating role in the existing Euro-Atlantic security system established at a time when Russia was seriously weakened following the Cold War. There’s merit in gradually erasing this system, primarily by refusing to take part in it and play by its obsolete rules, which are inherently disadvantageous to us. For Russia, the western track should become secondary to its Eurasian diplomacy. Maintaining constructive relations with the countries in the western part of the continent may ease the integration into Greater Eurasia for Russia. The old system is in the way, though, and so it should be dismantled.

The critical next step to creating a new system (aside from dismantling the old one) is ‘uniting the lands’. It’s a necessity for Moscow, not a whim. 

It would be nice if we had more time to do this. But history shows that, since the collapse of the USSR 30 years ago, few post-Soviet nations have managed to become truly independent. And some may never even get there, for various reasons. This is a subject for a future analysis. Right now, I can only point out the obvious: Most local elites don’t have the historical or cultural experience of state-building. They’ve never been able to become the core of the nation – they didn’t have enough time for this. When the shared intellectual and cultural space disappeared, it hurt small countries the most. The new opportunities to build ties with the West turned out to be no replacement. Those who have found themselves at the helm of such nations have been selling their country for their own benefit, because there’s been no national idea to fight for.

The majority of those countries will either follow the example of the Baltic states, accepting external control, or continue to spiral out of control, which in some cases may be extremely dangerous.

The question is: How to ‘unite’ the nations in the most efficient and beneficial way for Russia, taking into account the tsarist and Soviet experience, when the sphere of influence was extended beyond any reasonable limits and then kept together at the expense of core Russian peoples?

Let’s leave the discussion about the ‘unification’ that history is forcing on us for another day. This time, let’s focus on the objective need to make a tough decision and adopt the ‘constructive destruction’ policy.

The milestones we passed

Today, we see the inception of the fourth era of Russia’s foreign policy. The first one started in the late 1980s, and it was a time of weakness and delusions. The nation had lost the will to fight, people wanted to believe democracy and the West would come and save them [2]. It all ended in 1999 after the first waves of NATO expansion, seen by Russians as a backstabbing move, when the West tore apart what was left of Yugoslavia.

Then Russia started to get up off its knees and rebuild, stealthily and covertly, while appearing friendly and humbled. The US withdrawing from the ABM Treaty signaled its intention to regain its strategic dominance, so the still broke Russia made a fateful decision to develop weapon systems to challenge American aspirations. The Munich speech, the Georgian War, and the army reform, conducted amid a global economic crisis that spelled the end of the western liberal globalist imperialism (the term coined by a prominent expert on international affairs, Richard Sakwa) marked the new goal for Russian foreign policy – to once again become a leading global power that can defend its sovereignty and interests. This was followed by the events in Crimea, Syria, the military build-up, and blocking the West from interfering in Russia’s domestic affairs, rooting out from the public service those who partnered with the West to the disadvantage of their homeland, including by a masterful use of the West’s reaction to those developments. As the tensions keep growing, looking up to the West and keeping assets there becomes increasingly less lucrative.

China’s incredible rise and becoming de-facto allies with Beijing starting in the 2010s, the pivot to the East, and the multidimensional crisis that enveloped the West led to a great shift in political and geoeconomic balance in favor of Russia. This is especially pronounced in Europe. Only a decade ago, the EU saw Russia as a backward and weak outskirts of the continent trying to contend with major powers. Now, it is desperately trying to cling to the geopolitical and geoeconomic independence that is slipping through its fingers.

The ‘back to greatness’ period ended around 2017 to 2018. After that, Russia hit a plateau. The modernization continued, but the weak economy threatened to negate its achievements. People (myself included) were frustrated, fearing that Russia once again was going to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” But that turned out to be another build-up period, primarily in terms of defense capabilities.

Russia has gotten ahead, making sure that for the next decade, it will be relatively invulnerable strategically and capable of “dominating in an escalation scenario” in case of conflicts in the regions within its sphere of interests.

The ultimatum that Russia issued to the US and NATO at the end of 2021, demanding they stop developing military infrastructure near the Russian borders and expansion to the east, marked the start of the ‘constructive destruction’. The goal is not simply to stop the flagging, albeit really dangerous inertia of the West’s geostrategic push, but also to start laying the foundation for a new kind of relations between Russia and the West, different from what we settled on in the 1990s.

Russia’s military capabilities, the returning sense of moral righteousness, lessons learned from past mistakes, and a close alliance with China could mean that the West, which chose the role of an adversary, will start being reasonable, even if not all the time. Then, in a decade or sooner, I hope, a new system of international security and cooperation will be built that will include the whole Greater Eurasia this time, and it will be based on UN principles and international law, not unilateral ‘rules’ that the West has been trying to impose on the world in recent decades.

Correcting mistakes

Before I go any further, let me say that I think very highly of Russian diplomacy – it’s been absolutely brilliant in the past 25 years. Moscow was dealt a weak hand but managed to play a great game nevertheless. First, it didn’t let the West ‘finish it off’. Russia maintained its formal status of a great country, retaining permanent membership in the UN Security Council and keeping nuclear arsenals. Then it gradually improved its global standing by leveraging the weaknesses of its rivals and the strengths of its partners. Building a strong friendship with China has been a major achievement. Russia has some geopolitical advantages that the Soviet Union didn’t have. Unless, of course, it goes back to the aspirations of becoming a global superpower, which eventually ruined the USSR.  

However, we shouldn’t forget the mistakes we’ve made so we don’t repeat them. It was our laziness, weakness, and bureaucratic inertia that helped create and keep afloat the unjust and unstable system of European security that we have today.

The beautifully-worded Charter of Paris for a New Europe that was signed in 1990 had a statement about freedom of association – countries could choose their allies, something that would’ve been impossible under the 1975 Helsinki Declaration. Since the Warsaw Pact was running on fumes at that point, this clause meant that NATO would be free to expand. This is the document everyone keeps referring to, even in Russia. Back in 1990, however, NATO could at least be considered a “defense” organization. The alliance and most of its members have launched a number of aggressive military campaigns since then – against the remnants of Yugoslavia, as well as in Iraq and Libya.  

After a heart-to-heart chat with Lech Walesa in 1993, Boris Yeltsin signed a document where it stated that Russia “understood Poland’s plan to join NATO.” When Andrey Kozyrev, Russia’s foreign minister at the time, learned about NATO’s expansion plans in 1994, he began a bargaining process on Russia’s behalf without consulting the president. The other side took it as a sign that Russia was OK with the general concept, since it was trying to negotiate acceptable terms. In 1995, Moscow stepped on the brakes, but it was too late – the dam burst and swept away any reservations about the West’s expansion efforts. 

In 1997, Russia, being economically weak and completely dependent on the West, signed the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security with NATO. Moscow was able to compel certain concessions from the West, like the pledge not to deploy large military units to the new member states. NATO has been consistently violating this obligation. Another agreement was to keep these territories free of nuclear weapons. The US would not have wanted it anyway, because it had been trying to distance itself from a potential nuclear conflict in Europe as much as possible (despite their allies’ wishes), since it would undoubtedly cause a nuclear strike against America. In reality, the document legitimized NATO’s expansion.  

There were other mistakes – not as major but extremely painful nevertheless. Russia participated in the Partnership for Peace program, the sole purpose of which was to make it look like NATO was prepared to listen to Moscow, but in reality, the alliance was using the project to justify its existence and further expansion. Another frustrating misstep was our involvement in the NATO-Russia Council after the Yugoslavia aggression. The topics discussed at that level desperately lacked substance. They should’ve focused on the truly significant issue – restraining the alliance’s expansion and the buildup of its military infrastructure near the Russian borders. Sadly, this never made it to the agenda. The Council continued to operate even after the majority of NATO members started a war in Iraq and then Libya in 2011.  

READ MORE: Ukraine asks for help and mulls retaliation against Russia: Six key takeaways from Zelensky’s speech

It is very unfortunate that we never got the nerve to openly say it – NATO had become an aggressor that committed numerous war crimes. This would’ve been a sobering truth for various political circles in Europe, like in Finland and Sweden for example, where some are considering the advantages of joining the organization. And all the others for that matter, with their mantra about NATO being a defense and deterrence alliance that needs to be further consolidated so it can stand against imaginary enemies. 

I understand those in the West who are used to the existing system that allows the Americans to buy the obedience of their junior partners, and not just in terms of military support, while these allies can save on security expenses by selling part of their sovereignty. But what do we gain from this system? Especially now that it’s become obvious that it breeds and escalates confrontation at our western borders and in the whole world. 

NATO feeds off forced confrontation, and the longer the organization exists, the worse this confrontation will be. 

The bloc is a threat to its members as well. While provoking confrontation, it doesn’t actually guarantee protection. It is not true that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty warrants collective defense if one ally is attacked. This article doesn’t say that this is automatically guaranteed. I am familiar with the history of the bloc and the discussions in America regarding its establishment. I know for a fact that the US will never deploy nuclear weapons to “protect” its allies if there is conflict with a nuclear state. 

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is also outdated. It is dominated by NATO and the EU that use the organization to drag out the confrontation and impose the West’s political values and standards on everyone else. Fortunately, this policy is becoming less and less effective. In the mid-2010s I had the chance to work with the OSCE Panel of Eminent Persons (what a name!), which was supposed to develop a new mandate for the organization. And if I had my doubts about the OSCE’s effectiveness before that, this experience convinced me that it is an extremely destructive institution. It’s an antiquated organization with a mission to preserve things that are obsolete. In the 1990s, it served as an instrument of burying any attempt made by Russia or others to create a common European security system; in the 2000s, the so-called Corfu Process bogged down Russia’s new security initiative.

Practically all UN institutions have been squeezed out of the continent, including the UN Economic Commission for Europe, its Human Rights Council and Security Council. Once upon a time, the OSCE was viewed as a useful organization that would promote the UN system and principles in a key subcontinent. That didn’t happen. 

As for NATO, it is very clear what we should do. We need to undermine the bloc’s moral and political legitimacy and refuse any institutional partnership, since its counterproductivity is obvious. Only the military should continue to communicate, but as an auxiliary channel that would supplement dialogue with the DOD and defense ministries of leading European nations. After all, it’s not Brussels that makes strategically important decisions. 

The same policy could be adopted when it comes to the OSCE. Yes, there is a difference, because even though this is a destructive organization, it never initiated any wars, destabilization, or killings. So we need to keep our involvement in this format to a minimum. Some say that this is the only context that provides the Russian foreign minister with a chance to see his counterparts. That is not true. The UN can offer an even better context. Bilateral talks are much more effective anyway, because it is easier for the bloc to hijack the agenda when there is a crowd. Sending observers and peacekeepers through the UN would also make a lot more sense.  

The limited article format does not allow me to dwell on specific policies for each European organization, like the Council of Europe for example. But I would define the general principle this way – we partner where we see benefits for ourselves and keep our distance otherwise. 

Thirty years under the current system of European institutions proved that continuing with it would be detrimental. Russia doesn’t benefit in any way from Europe’s disposition towards breeding and escalating confrontation or even posing military threat to the subcontinent and the whole world. Back in the day, we could dream that Europe would help us bolster security, as well as political and economic modernization. Instead, they are undermining security, so why would we copy the West’s dysfunctional and deteriorating political system? Do we really need these new values that they have adopted? 

We will have to limit the expansion by refusing to cooperate within an eroding system. Hopefully, by taking a firm stand and leaving our civilization neighbors from the West to their own devices, we will actually help them. The elites may return to a less suicidal policy that would be safer for everyone. Of course, we have to be smart about taking ourselves out of the equation and make sure to minimize the collateral damage that the failing system will inevitably cause. But maintaining it in its current form is simply dangerous. 

Policies for tomorrow’s Russia

As the existing global order continues to crumble, it seems that the most prudent course for Russia would be to sit it out for as long as possible – to take cover within the walls of its ‘neo-isolationist fortress’ and deal with domestic matters. But this time, history demands that we take action. Many of my suggestions with respect to the foreign policy approach I have tentatively called ‘constructive destruction’ naturally emerge from the analysis presented above.

There is no need to interfere or to try to influence the internal dynamics of the West, whose elites are desperate enough to start a new cold war against Russia. What we should do instead is use various foreign policy instruments – including military ones – to establish certain red lines. Meanwhile, as the Western system continues to steer towards moral, political, and economic degradation, non-Western powers (with Russia as a major player) will inevitably see their geo-political, geo-economic and geo-ideological positions strengthen. 

READ MORE: UK sanctions Putin’s ‘inner circle’ over Donbass

Our Western partners predictably try to squelch Russia’s calls for security guarantees and take advantage of the ongoing diplomatic process in order to extend the lifespan of their own institutions. There is no need to give up dialogue or cooperation in matters of trade, politics, culture, education, and healthcare, whenever it’s useful. But we must also use the time we’ve got to ramp up military-political, psychological, and even military-technical pressure – not so much on Ukraine, whose people have been turned into cannon fodder for a new Cold War – but on the collective West, in order to force it to change its mind and step back from the policies it has pursued for the past several decades. There is nothing to fear about the confrontation escalating: We saw tensions grow even as Russia was trying to appease the Western world. What we should do is prepare for a stronger pushback from the West; also, Russia should be able to offer the world a long-term alternative – a new political framework based on peace and cooperation.

The West can try to intimidate us with devastating sanctions – but we are also capable of deterring the West with our own threat of an asymmetrical response, one that would cripple Western economies and disrupt whole societies.

Naturally, it is useful to remind our partners, from time to time, that there exists a mutually beneficial alternative to all that.

If Russia carries out reasonable but assertive policies (domestically, too), it will successfully (and relatively peacefully) overcome the latest surge of Western hostility. As I have written before, we stand a good chance of winning this Cold War.

What also inspires optimism is Russia’s own past record: We have more than once managed to tame the imperial ambitions of foreign powers – for our own good, and for the good of humanity, as a whole. Russia was able to transform would-be empires into tame and relatively harmless neighbors: Sweden after the Battle of Poltava, France after Borodino, Germany after Stalingrad and Berlin.

We can find a slogan for the new Russian policy toward the West in a verse from Alexander Blok’s ‘The Scythians’, a brilliant poem that seems especially relevant today: “Come join us, then! Leave war and war’s alarms, / And grasp the hand of peace and amity. / While still there’s time, Comrades, lay down your arms! / Let us unite in true fraternity!”

While attempting to heal our relations with the West (even if that requires some bitter medicine), we must remember that, while culturally close to us, the Western world is running out of time – in fact, it has been for two decades now. It is essentially in damage control mode, seeking cooperation whenever possible. The real prospects and challenges of our present and future lie with the East and the South. Taking a harder line with Western nations must not distract Russia from maintaining its pivot to the East. And we have seen this pivot slow down in the past two or three years, especially when it comes to developing territories beyond the Ural Mountains.

We must not allow Ukraine to become a security threat to Russia. That said, it would be counterproductive to spend too many administrative and political (not to mention economic) resources on it. Russia must learn to actively manage this volatile situation, keep it within limits. Most of Ukraine has been neutered by its own anti-national elite, corrupted by the West, and infected with the pathogen of militant nationalism.

It would be much more effective to invest in the East, in the development of Siberia. By creating favorable working and living conditions, we will attract not only Russian citizens, but also people from the other parts of the former Russian Empire, including the Ukrainians. The latter have, historically, contributed a great deal to the development of Siberia.

Let me reiterate a point from my other articles: It was the incorporation of Siberia under Ivan the Terrible that made Russia a great power, not the accession of Ukraine under Aleksey Mikhaylovich, known under the moniker ‘the most peaceful’. It is high time we stopped repeating Zbigniew Brzezinski’s disingenuous – and so strikingly Polish – assertion that Russia cannot be a great power without Ukraine. The opposite is much closer to the truth: Russia cannot be a great power when it is burdened by an increasingly unwieldy Ukraine – a political entity created by Lenin which later expanded westward under Stalin.

The most promising path for Russia lies with the development and strengthening of ties with China. A partnership with Beijing would multiply the potential of both countries many times over. If the West carries on with its bitterly hostile policies, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to consider a temporary five-year defense alliance with China. Naturally, one should also be careful not to get ‘dizzy with success’ on the China track, so as not to return to the medieval model of China’s Middle Kingdom, which grew by turning its neighbors into vassals. We should help Beijing wherever we can to keep it from suffering even a momentary defeat in the new Cold War unleashed by the West. That defeat would weaken us, too. Besides, we know all too well what the West transforms into when it thinks it is winning. It took some harsh remedies to treat America’s hangover after it got drunk with power in the 1990s.

Clearly, an East-oriented policy must not focus solely on China. Both the East and the South are on the rise in global politics, economics, and culture, which is partly due to our undermining of the West’s military superiority – the primary source of its 500-year hegemony.

When the time comes to establish a new system of European security to replace the dangerously outdated existing one, it must be done within the framework of a greater Eurasian project. Nothing worthwhile can be born out of the old Euro-Atlantic system.

It is self-evident that success requires the development and modernization of the country’s economic, technological, and scientific potential – all pillars of a country’s military power, which remains the backbone of any nation’s sovereignty and security. Russia cannot be successful without improving the quality of life for the majority of its people: This includes overall prosperity, healthcare, education, and the environment. 

The restriction of political freedoms, which is inevitable when confronting the collective West, must by no means extend to the intellectual sphere. This is difficult, but achievable. For the talented, creatively-minded part of the population who are ready to serve their country, we must preserve as much intellectual freedom as possible. Scientific development through Soviet-style ‘sharashkas’ (research and development laboratories operating within the Soviet labor camp system) is not something that would work in the modern world. Freedom enhances the talents of Russian people, and inventiveness runs in our blood. Even in foreign policy, the freedom from ideological constraints that we enjoy offers us massive advantages compared to our more close-minded neighbors. History teaches us that the brutal restriction of freedom of thought imposed by the Communist regime on its people led the Soviet Union to ruin. Preserving personal freedom is an essential condition for any nation’s development.

READ MORE: Global stocks sink on fears of full-blown conflict between Russia, Ukraine

If we want to grow as a society and be victorious, it is absolutely vital that we develop a spiritual backbone – a national idea, an ideology that unites and shines the way forward. It is a fundamental truth that great nations cannot be truly great without such an idea at their core. This is part of the tragedy that happened to us in the 1970s and 1980s. Hopefully, the resistance of the ruling elites to the advancement of a new ideology, rooted in the pains of the communist era, is beginning to fade. Vladimir Putin’s speech at the October 2021 annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club was a powerful reassuring signal in that respect.

Like the ever-growing number of Russian philosophers and authors, I have put forward my own vision of the ‘Russian idea’[3]. (I apologize for having to reference my own publications again – it is an inevitable side effect of having to stick to the format).

Questions for the future

And now let’s discuss a significant, yet mostly overlooked aspect of the new policy that needs to be addressed. We need to dismiss and reform the obsolete and often harmful ideological foundation of our social sciences and public life for this new policy to get implemented, let alone succeed.

This doesn’t mean we have to reject once again the advancements in political science, economy, and foreign affairs of our predecessors. The Bolsheviks tried to dump the social ideas of tsarist Russia – everybody knows how this played out. We rejected Marxism and were happy about it. Now, fed up with other tenets, we realize we were too impatient with it. Marx, Engels, and Lenin had sound ideas in their theory of imperialism we could use.

Social sciences that study the ways of public and private life have to take into account national context, however inclusive it wants to appear. It stems from the national history and ultimately is aimed to help the nations and/or their government and elites. The mindless application of solutions valid in one country to another are fruitless and only create abominations.

We need to start working towards intellectual independence after we achieve military security and political and economic sovereignty. In the new world, it’s compulsory to achieve development and exert influence. Mikhail Remizov, a prominent Russian political scientist, was the first, as far as I know, to call this ‘intellectual decolonization’.

Having spent decades in the shadow of imported Marxism, we’ve begun a transition to yet another foreign ideology of liberal democracy in economics and political science and, to certain extent, even in foreign policy and defense. This fascination has done us no good – we’ve lost land, technology, and people. In the mid-2000s, we started to exercise our sovereignty, but had to rely on our instincts rather than clear national (again – it cannot be anything else) scientific and ideological principles.

We still don’t have the courage to acknowledge that the scientific and ideological worldview we’ve had for the last forty to fifty years is obsolete and/or was intended to serve foreign elites.

To illustrate this point, here are a few randomly picked questions from my very long list.

I’ll start with existential issues, purely philosophical ones. What comes first in humans, the spirit or the matter? And in the more mundane political sense – what drives people and states in the modern world? To common Marxists and liberals, the answer is the economy. Just remember that until recently Bill Clinton’s famous “It’s the economy, stupid” was thought to be an axiom. But people seek something greater when the basic need for food is satisfied. Love for their family, their homeland, desire for national dignity, personal freedoms, power, and fame. The hierarchy of needs has been well known to us since Maslow introduced it in the 1940–50s in his famous pyramid. Modern capitalism, however, twisted it, forcing ever-expanding consumption via traditional media at first and all-encompassing digital networks later – for rich and poor, each according to their ability.

What can we do when the modern capitalism deprived of moral or religious foundations incites limitless consumption, breaking down moral and geographic boundaries and comes into conflict with nature, threatening the very existence of our species? We, Russians, understand better than anybody that attempts to get rid of entrepreneurs and capitalists who are driven by the desire to build wealth will have disastrous consequences for society and the environment (the socialist economy model wasn’t exactly environmentally friendly).

What do we do with the latest values of rejecting history, your homeland, gender, and beliefs, as well as aggressive LGBT and ultra-feminist movements? I respect the right to follow them, but I think they’re post-humanist. Should we treat this as just another stage of social evolution? I don’t think so. Should we try to ward it off, limit its spread, and wait till society lives through this moral epidemic? Or should we actively fight it, leading the majority of humanity that adheres to so-called “conservative” values or, to put it simply, normal human values? Should we get into the fight escalating an already dangerous confrontation with the Western elites?

The technological development and increased labor productivity have helped feed the majority of people, but the world itself has slipped into anarchy, and many guiding principles have been lost at the global level. Security concerns, perhaps, are prevailing over the economy once again. Military instruments and the political will might take the lead from now on.

What is military deterrence in the modern world? Is it a threat to cause damage to national and individual assets or foreign assets and information infrastructure to which today’s Western elites are tied so closely? What will become of the Western world if this infrastructure is brought down?

And a related question: What is strategic parity we still talk about today? Is it some foreign nonsense picked by Soviet leaders who sucked their people into an exhausting arms race because of their inferiority complex and June 22, 1941 syndrome? Looks like we are already answering this question, even though we still churn out speeches about equality and symmetrical measures.

And what is this arms control many believe to be instrumental? Is it an attempt to restrain the expensive arms race beneficial to the wealthier economy, to limit the risk of hostilities or something more – a tool to legitimize the race, the development of arms, and the process of unnecessary programs on your opponent? There’s no obvious answer to that.

But let’s go back to the more existential questions.

Is democracy really the pinnacle of political development? Or is it just another tool that helps the elites control society, if we are not talking about Aristotle’s pure democracy (which also has certain limitations)? There are many tools that come and go as society and conditions change. Sometimes we abandon them only to bring them back when the time is right and there’s external and internal demand for them. I’m not calling for boundless authoritarianism or monarchy. I think we have already overdone it with centralization, especially at the municipal government level. But if this is just a tool, shouldn’t we stop pretending that we strive for democracy and put it straight – we want personal freedoms, a prosperous society, security, and national dignity? But how do we justify power to the people then?

Is the state really destined to die off, as Marxists and liberal globalists used to believe, as they dreamed of alliances between transnational corporations, international NGOs (both have been going through nationalization and privatization), and supranational political bodies? We’ll see how long the EU can survive in its current form. Note that I don’t want to say there’s no reason to join national efforts for the greater good, like bringing down expensive custom barriers or introducing joint environmental policies. Or isn’t it better to focus on developing your own state and supporting neighbors while disregarding global problems created by others? Aren’t they going to mess with us if we act this way?

What is the role of land and territories? Is it a dwindling asset, a burden as was believed among political scientists only recently? Or the greatest national treasure, especially in the face of the environmental crisis, climate change, the growing deficit of water and food in some regions and the total lack of it in others?

What should we do then with hundreds of millions of Pakistanis, Indians, Arabs, and others whose lands might soon be uninhabitable? Should we invite them now as the US and Europe began to do in the 1960s, drawing migrants to bring down the cost of local labor and undermine the trade unions? Or should we prepare to defend our territories from the outsiders? In that case, we should abandon all hope to develop democracy, as Israel’s experience with its Arab population shows.

Would developing robotics, which is currently in a sorry state, help compensate for the lack of workforce and make those territories livable again? What is the role of indigenous Russian people in our country, considering their number will inevitably keep shrinking? Given that Russians have historically been an open people, the prospects might be optimistic. But so far it’s unclear.

I can go on and on, especially when it comes to the economy. These questions need to be asked and it’s vital to find answers as soon as possible in order to grow and come out on top. Russia needs a new political economy – free from Marxist and liberal dogmas, but something more than the current pragmatism our foreign policy is based on. It must include forward-oriented idealism, a new Russian ideology incorporating our history and philosophical traditions. This echoes the ideas put forward by the academic Pavel Tsygankov.

READ MORE: Oil pushes toward $100 as Donbass tensions rise

I believe that this is the ultimate goal of all our research in foreign affairs, political science, economics and philosophy. This task is beyond difficult. We can continue contributing to our society and our country only by breaking our old thinking patterns. But to end on an optimistic note, here’s a humorous thought: Isn’t it time to recognize that the subject of our studies – foreign affairs, domestic policies, and the economy – is the result of a creative process involving masses and leaders alike? To recognize that it is, in a way, art? To a large degree, it defies explanation and stems from intuition and talent. And so we are like art experts: We talk about it, identify trends and teach the artists – the masses and the leaders – history, which is useful to them. We often get lost in the theoretical, though, coming up with ideas divorced from reality or distorting it by focusing on separate fragments.

Sometimes we do make history: think Evgeny Primakov or Henry Kissinger. But I’d argue they didn’t care what approaches to this art history they represented. They drew upon their knowledge, personal experience, moral principles, and intuition. I like the idea of us being a type of art expert, and I believe it can make the daunting task of revising the dogmas a little easier.

This article was first published online by the Russia in Global Affairs journal.

Why isn’t America listening to the advice on NATO expansion of its foremost 20th century expert on Russia?

FEBRUARY 22, 2022

Robert Bridge

“Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era,” George Kennan said

Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge

The US diplomat George Kennan, an astute observer of Soviet Russia under Stalin, offered his observations later in life on the question of NATO expansion. The tragedy of our times is that those views are being ignored.

Winston Churchill once famously quipped that the “Americans will always do the right thing, but only after all other possibilities are exhausted.” That bit of dry British humor cuts to the heart of the current crisis in Ukraine, which is loaded with enough geopolitical dynamite to bring down a sizable chunk of the neighborhood. Yet, had the West taken the advice of one of its leading statesmen with regards to reckless military expansion toward Russia, the world would be a more peaceful and predictable place today.

George Kennan is perhaps best known as the US diplomat and historian who composed on February 22, 1946 the ‘Long Telegram’, a 5,400-word cable dispatched from the US embassy in Moscow to Washington that advised on the peaceful “containment” of the Soviet Union. That stroke of analytical brilliance, which Henry Kissinger hailed as “the diplomatic doctrine of his era,” provided the intellectual groundwork for grappling with the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin as ultimately enshrined in the ‘Truman Doctrine’.

Inside the fetid corridors of power, however, where the more hawkish Dean Acheson had replaced the ailing George Marshall in 1949 as secretary of state, Kennan and his more temperate views on how to deal with capitalism’s arch rival had already passed its expiration date. Such is the fickleness of fate, where the arrival of a single new actor on the global stage can alter the course of history’s river forever. Thus, having lost his influence with the Truman administration, Kennan eventually began teaching at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he remained until his death in 2005. Just because George Kennan was no longer with the State Department, however, didn’t mean that he stopped ruffling the feathers of predators.

In 1997, with Washington elves hard at work on a NATO membership drive for Central Europe, particularly those countries that once formed the core of the Soviet-era Warsaw Pact, Kennan pulled the alarm. Writing in the pages of the New York Times, he warned that ongoing NATO expansion toward Russia “would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era.”

Particularly perplexing to the former diplomat was that the US and its allies were expanding the military bloc at a time when Russia, then experiencing the severe birth pains of capitalism atop the smoldering ruins of communism, posed no threat to anyone aside from itself.

“It is … unfortunate that Russia should be confronted with such a challenge at a time when its executive power is in a state of high uncertainty and near-paralysis,” Kennan wrote.

He went on to express his frustration that, despite all of the “hopeful possibilities engendered by the end of the cold war,” relations between East and West are becoming predicated on the question of “who would be allied with whom” in some “improbable future military conflict.”

In other words, had Western dream weavers just let things work themselves out naturally, Russia and the West would have found the will and the way to live side-by-side in relative harmony. One example of such mutual cooperation is evident by the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a bilateral project between Moscow and Berlin that hinges on trust and goodwill above all. Who needs to travel around the world for war booty when capitalism offers more than enough opportunities for elitist pillage right at home? Yet the United States, having snorted from the mirror of power for so long, will never be satisfied with the spectacle of Russians and Europeans playing nice together.

As for the Russians, Kennan continued, they would be forced to accept NATO’s program of expansionism as a “military fait accompli,” thereby finding it imperative to search elsewhere for “guarantees of a secure and hopeful future for themselves.”

Needless to say, Kennan’s warnings fell on deaf ears. On March 12, 1999, then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, an acolyte of geopolitical guru and ultimate Russophobe Zbigniew Brzezinski, formally welcomed the former Warsaw Pact countries of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic into the NATO fold. Since 1949, NATO has grown from its original 12 members to thirty, two of which share a border with Russia in the Baltic States of Estonian and Latvia, which has been the site of massive NATO military exercises in the past.

So while it is impossible to say how things would be different between Russia and the West had the US heeded Kennan’s sage advice, it’s a good bet the world wouldn’t be perched on the precipice of a regional war over Ukraine, which has become a center of a standoff between Moscow and NATO.

Russia certainly does not feel more secure as NATO hardware moves inexorably toward its border. Vladimir Putin let these sentiments be known 15 years ago during the Munich Security Conference when he told the assembled attendees: “I think it is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernization of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended?”

Today, with Kiev actively pursuing NATO membership for Ukraine, and the West stubbornly refusing to acknowledge Moscow’s declared ‘red lines’, outlined in two draft treaties sent to Washington and NATO in December, the situation looks grim. What the West must understand, however, is that Russia is no longer the special needs country it was just 20 years ago. It has the ability – diplomatic or otherwise – to address the perceived threats on its territory. There has even been talk of Russia, taking its cue from NATO’s reckless expansion in Europe, building military alliances in South America and the Caribbean.

Last month, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reported that President Putin had spoken with the leaders of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, for the purpose of stepping up collaboration in a range of areas, including military matters.

With each passing day it is becoming more apparent that had Kennan’s more realistic vision of regional cooperation been accepted, the world would not find itself at such a dangerous crossroads today. Fortunately, there is still time to reconsider the advice of America’s brilliant diplomat if it is peace that Washington truly desires. 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

هل يطوي بوتين صفحة العالم الأميركي؟

الاربعاء 23 شباط 2022

المصدر: الميادين نت

قتيبة الصالح 

يمكن الحديث عن الموقف الروسي في هذه اللحظة، والذي ينطلق في إطار الأزمة الأوكرانية من 3 محدِّدات رئيسة.

قد يكون اعتراف موسكو باستقلال جمهوريتي دونيتسك ولوغانسك، والذي أعلنه الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، هو التفصيل الأقل أهمية في خطابه المطوَّل والموجَّه إلى الشعب الروسي. أعاد بوتين، وفق سردية متماسكة، تعريف الأزمة، ملقياً الكرة مجدداً عبر الحدود، من دون أن ينسى الإشارة إلى فصل جديد في النظام العالمي.

تتجاهل واشنطن حقيقة، مفادها أن الاعتراضات الروسية على توسع الناتو سبقت وصول بوتين إلى الرئاسة أول مرة عام 2000.

ركزت أغلبية التعليقات، طوال الفترة السابقة، على أوكرانيا، في إطار الحشد العسكري الروسي وما يمثله من تهديد لكييف، بينما صوّرت الدعاية الأميركية الحدث على أنه وُلِد من العدم، وأن المشكلة الروسية هي في وجود أوكرانيا ديمقراطية عند حدودها. لذا، تريد موسكو فرض نفوذها على السياسة الخارجية لكييف.

يُذكّر ذلك مجدداً بالنهج الأميركي التقليدي؛ ذلك الذي يقوم على التعامل، وفق منطق فقدان الذاكرة التاريخي، بحيث تُفْصَل الأحداث عن سياقها وعن كل ما أدى إلى الوصول إليها. في هذا السياق، تتجاهل واشنطن حقيقة، مفادها أن الاعتراضات الروسية على توسع الناتو سبقت وصول بوتين إلى الرئاسة أول مرة عام 2000.

وكما أوضح بوتين، طوال 65 دقيقة، فإن جذور الأزمة تعود إلى التسويات غير المحسومة لمرحلة ما بعد الحرب الباردة؛ تلك الترتيبات التي تمت بينما كانت روسيا، كما يصفها أحد الكتّاب الأميركيين، جاثية على ركبتيها، تُباع بزّات ضبّاط جيشها مع الأوسمة فوق أرصفة موسكو بثمن بخس.

لم تكن الولايات المتحدة حينها في حاجة إلى المناورة. اختارت إدارة بيل كلينتون الاستمرار في تمدد الناتو شرقاً. لم تكن فكرة إيقاف ذلك واردة. فإلى جانب حسابات كلينتون الداخلية، كان ذلك ضرورياً لاستمرار القيادة الأميركية العالمية، إذ زوّدت فكرة الحماية الأميركية لأوروبا الولاياتِ المتحدةَ بنفوذ هائل في مراكز القوة الاقتصادية العالمية، في تلك اللحظة.

في موسكو المنهَكة، كان الأمر مثيراً للاستغراب. صُمّم الناتو أساساً من أجل المحافظة على أمن أوروبا الغربية، ومواجهة حلف وارسو بقيادة الاتحاد السوفياتي. ومع سقوط جدار برلين، لم يعد هناك من مبرّر لاستمرار التوسع.

كانت روسيا، على عكس اليوم، أضعفَ من أن يُسمع صوتها. وعلى وقع حاجتها إلى مليارات الدولارات من صندوق النقد الدولي، لم تمتلك موسكو كثيراً من الخيارات، فوقّعت اتفاقية العلاقات المتبادلة مع الناتو عام 1997.

بسهولة، تجاهلت واشنطن اعتراضات يلتسين على تمدُّد الناتو شرقاً، والذي مثّل تراجعاً أميركياً عن الضمانات الشفوية التي أُعطيت لغورباتشوف، وتجاهلت الولايات المتحدة أيضاً الأصوات الداخلية التي اعترضت على التوسع، داعيةً إلى استغلال الفرصة التاريخية في إنشاء نظام أوروبي جديد يشمل روسيا. ونتيجة ذلك، استمر منطق الحرب الباردة أميركياً. والحلف، الذي ضم 16عضواً في ذروة الحرب الباردة، أصبح يضم 30 دولة.

لكنّ هذا السياق الطويل اتَّخذ انعطافات مهمة في الأعوام الأخيرة. حدود الناتو باتت تغازل جورجيا وأوكرانيا. وبالرغم من انفتاح موسكو على الحوار مع كييف، فإن الرئيس الأوكراني، فولوديمير زيلينسكي، اتَّخذ خطوات تشي بخيار استراتيجي، يقترب على نحو لصيق من الغرب، ويعلن ما يشبه حالة العداء المتصاعدة مع روسيا، بحيث تتحول أوكرانيا، بصورة متدرجة، إلى جارٍ مستنزِف وخَطِر.

بناءً على كل ذلك، يمكن الحديث عن الموقف الروسي في هذه اللحظة، والذي ينطلق في إطار الأزمة الأوكرانية من 3 محدِّدات رئيسة:

أولا:ـ خطاب بوتين الافتتاحي، خلال اجتماع مجلس الأمن الروسي، في أيار/مايو 2021، والذي أشار فيه إلى أن أوكرانيا تتحول “ببطء، لكن بثبات، إلى نقيض معادٍ لروسيا”. 

ثانيا:ـ  كلمة بوتين خلال الاجتماع الموسَّع لمجلس وزارة الخارجية الروسية في الـ 18 من تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر 2021، والذي أكد فيه أنه لا يؤمن بالضمانات الأمنية الأميركية، وأن واشنطن تنسحب ببساطة من المعاهدات مع تفسير، أو من دونه.

ثالثا:ـ المقال الشديد اللهجة للرئيس السابق دميتري ميدفيديف، في صحيفة “كومرسانت”، في تشرين الأول/ أكتوبر 2021، والذي وصف فيه القيادة الأوكرانية بأنها “تابعة”، وأن إجراء مزيد من المحادثات مع كييف لا طائل فيه.

وفقاً للمحدِّدات السابقة، يمكن تلخيص الموقف الروسي بالقول إن موسكو تعتبر الحد من المخاطر التي تشكّلها أوكرانيا بوابة لمراجعة النظام الأمني في أوروبا في فترة ما بعد الحرب الباردة. وفي هذا السياق، لم تعد روسيا تقبل المسار الذي تتخذه كييف في إطار تحولها التدريجي إلى دولة معادية، بالتوازي مع عدم الثقة الروسية بالالتزام الأميركي بشأن أي إطار دبلوماسي لحل الأزمة.

وانطلاقاً من هذا الموقف، وبالنظر إلى المعطيات التي قدّمها بوتين في خطابه الأخير، يمكن تقييم مآلات الأزمة الحالية، والتي تتراوح سيناريوهاتها بين أقصى التصعيد وأقصى التسوية، أو المراوحة بينهما.

استمرار التوتّر الحادّ

كثيرة هي الحسابات لدى جميع الأطراف: تُهدَّد روسيا بعقوبات قصوى، يقلِّل بوتين أهميتَها، وهو الذي استبق خطواته بتعزيز محور بكين – موسكو، بينما ترفض الولايات المتحدة الاستجابة للمطالب الروسية، في موازاة بحثها عن بدائل في كل الاتِّجاهات من أجل ضمان الحشد الأوروبي. 

تفرض هذه المراوحة احتمال امتداد الأزمة من دون تحرّك، لكن ذلك يبدو مستنزِفاً للجميع، بينما تراقب موسكو كمية الحركة عند الجانب الآخر من الحدود، والتي يمكن أن تصل إلى مرحلة يتسلّح فيها نهج كييف العدواني بأسلحة استراتيجية، ويرفع سقف التفاوض الغربي مع روسيا.

انفراج الأزمة (تسوية موقتة أَم بعيدة المدى)

بالنسبة إلى روسيا، لم تعد التهدئة هدفاً. يبحث بوتين عن حل نهائي للمشكلة الأوكرانية، وهو يدرك تماماً أن أي اتفاق لا يتضمن الضمانات المطلوبة يعني تأجيلاً للأزمة وإعادة تفجُّرها، وفق معطيات جديدة، يصبح معها الحل أكثر تكلفة.

في السياق، يدرك الرئيس الروسي أيضاً أنه لا يمكن ضمان التزام واشنطن الاتفاقيات البعيدة المدى، وأن أياً من الهيئات التشريعية في الولايات المتحدة أو أوروبا لن تمرر اتفاقية ملزمة قانونياً مع روسيا، ناهيك بالقناعة الروسية بانعدام الثقة بقيادات كييف، حتى المستقبليين منهم.

سيناريو التصعيد العسكري (واسع أَم محدود)

تريد موسكو إنهاء التهديد الذي يشكّله الناتو عبر كييف. ومن خلال أوكرانيا تعمل روسيا على إحداث انفصال زمني عن تسعينيات القرن العشرين، تدفن من خلاله نظام ما بعد الحرب الباردة، في كل تفاصيله. 

وبعد الاعتراف باستقلال دونيتسك ولوغانسك، أصبح الحديث عن الخيار العسكري احتمالاً معقولاً بالنسبة إلى كثيرين، على أن ذلك يبقى نسبياً لناحية اتساعه ومداه ونوعيته.

يطرح كثير من الخبراء خيارات متعددة بشأن ماهية التصعيد؛ بعبارة أدق: مستويات متعددة من القوة التي يمكن لموسكو أن توظّفها. ويربط هؤلاء هذه المستويات بمستوى الأهداف الروسية: “كلما كان الهدف أكثر طموحاً، زادت القوة اللازمة لتغيير حسابات كييف وحلف الناتو للتكاليف والفوائد”.

بالحديث عن الأهداف، يمكن القول، ختاماً، إن اللحظة الأوكرانية تمثل فرصة في إعادة كتابة تاريخ ما بعد الحرب الباردة. تغادر روسيا الركام السوفياتي، ويعلن بوتين رسمياً نهاية “لحظة الأحادية القطبية”، والتي احتفل بها تشارلز كراوثامر في “الواشنطن بوست” عام 1990، معتبراً أن “الشرق استقال من اللعبة”.

وفقاً لفيونا هيل، مسؤولة الشؤون الروسية السابقة في الاستخبارات الأميركية، فإن ما يسعى إليه بوتين هو أن “تشعر الولايات المتحدة بمرارة الدواء الذي تجرَّعته روسيا خلال حقبة التسعينيات، فواشنطن ضعيفة بشدة في الجبهة الداخلية، وفي موقف متراجع في الخارج. إنه يعتقد أيضاً أن حلف الناتو ليس أكثر من امتداد للولايات المتحدة. لذا، عندما يتعلق الأمر بالحلف، تكون كل تحركات موسكو موجهة نحو واشنطن”.

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

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Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Western countries’ false accusations against Russia in the context of numerous historical examples of the West-fabricated pretexts for aggression

February 21, 2022

I would very much encourage you to read and listen to Andrei Martyanov’s article and youtube from yesterday.  Here it is, titled Why Would Putin Say This.  His talk and writing are about Mr. Putin’s statement of genocide in the Donbass.  Martyanov reckons that a world reckoning may be incoming.


https://mid.ru/en/press_service/articles_and_rebuttals/rebuttals/nedostovernie-publikacii/1799521/

Below, we have presented false statements by Western officials concerning Russia’s alleged fabrication of pretexts to invade Ukraine as well as numerous examples from the past demonstrating who in fact has been consistently creating false excuses to act aggressively against a foreign country.

Thus, London and Washington are the historical champions in fabricating pretexts for destructive actions, including the invasion of other states.

Clearly, the current long-term marathon of information terror is in the vein of the West’s traditional policy. With the prompting from the US and UK ruling circles, the world’s leading media are whipping up hysteria to brainwash their audiences and create a new reality by convincing everyone of Russia’s “imminent invasion of Ukraine”.

The volume of fake news fabricated and disseminated by US and European media outlets has grown by many times over the past few months. The collective West is planting more and more reports on the dates of Russia’s alleged invasion of Ukraine and non-existent attack plans while hypocritically denying the fact that Donbass residents are suffering from the crimes of the Kiev regime.

For our part, we are taking regular steps to disavow these allegations. Below, we have presented false statements by Western officials concerning Russia’s alleged fabrication of pretexts to invade Ukraine as well as numerous examples from the past demonstrating who in fact has been consistently creating false excuses to act aggressively against a foreign country.

Statements by US, NATO and UK officials on Russia’s alleged fabrications of pretexts to invade Ukraine

Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby on January 14:

“Without getting into too much detail, we do have information that indicates that Russia is already working actively to create a pretext for a potential invasion, a move on Ukraine.”

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on January 14:

“Our intelligence community has developed information that Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for an invasion, including through sabotage activities and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine.”

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on February 17:

“Reports of alleged abnormal military activity by Ukraine in Donbass are a blatant attempt by the Russian government to fabricate pretexts for invasion.”

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on February 17:

“In response to this manufactured provocation, the highest levels of the Russian Government may theatrically convene emergency meetings to address the so-called crisis. The government will issue proclamations declaring that Russia must respond to defend Russian citizens or ethnic Russians in Ukraine.”

According to the secretary of state, first Russia will manufacture a pretext to start a war. Blinken suggests that it could be, for example, a terrorist attack in Russia itself, a staged drone strike against civilians, or a staged – or even actual – sabotage using chemical weapons. Blinken says Russian media outlets have already started pushing the provocation story.

US President Joe Biden on February 17:

“They have not moved any of their troops out. They’ve moved more troops in, number one. Number two, we have reason to believe that they are engaged in a false-flag operation to have an excuse to go in. Every indication we have is they’re prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on February 17:

“I wish I could give everybody better news about this [Ukraine] but I have to tell you that the picture is continuing to be very grim. Today, as I am sure you have already picked up, a kindergarten was shelled in what we are taking to be a false-flag operation designed to discredit the Ukrainians, designed to create a pretext, a spurious provocation for Russian action.”

US Department of State spokesperson on February 18:

The United States is considering reports of evacuation and explosions in Donbass as an excuse for a false-flag operation against Ukraine, the official spokesperson for the US Department of State told RIA Novosti.

“Announcements like these are further attempts to obscure through lies and disinformation that Russia is the aggressor in this conflict. This type of false flag operation is exactly what Secretary Blinken highlighted in his remarks to the UN Security Council.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on February 20:

“We are concerned that Russia is trying to stage a pretext for an armed attack against Ukraine, there is still no clarity, no certainty about the Russian intentions.”

Examples of Western countries fabricating pretexts for aggression against other states

Below is a brief review (the list is far from complete) of provocations prepared by the US and Great Britain, in particular, which show clearly the kinds of tools that have long been an integral part of the foreign policy of the Anglo-Saxons and their allies. We would also like to note our detailed report, Political Crimes Committed by the UK, dated April 19, 2018.

Latin America has been the main region of concentration for the US’s constant control and interference ever since the Monroe Doctrine was announced on December 2, 1823. For almost 200 years now, the US has been trying to dictate how and by what standards Latin Americans should live. The region became a testing ground for Washington’s intervention technology, later to be used all over the world. The most common (and cynical) excuses for incursions south of the US border have been:

  1. The protection of American citizens like in Haiti in 1922: “The crisis… called for immediate and vigorous action by the Navy to protect the lives and property of Americans and foreigners, and to restore order throughout this distressed country.” (From a report by Secretary of State Robert Lansing to Congress.)
  2. The delegitimization of official authorities, which is most often related to Washington’s dissatisfaction with sovereign electoral processes in Latin American countries. As US President Woodrow Wilson said after his inauguration in March 1913: “I am going to teach the Latin American republics to elect good men!”

In June 1835, an armed rebellion was organised by the American colonists living in Texas, which belong to Mexico at the time, against the Mexican authorities. A close friend of President Andrew Jackson, Colonel Samuel Houston, was sent there to seize the territory. At the same time, the US provided massive support (sending volunteers, weapons, and ammunition) to the rebels, who soon declared “independence” in Texas, and in March 1837 recognised it as an “independent state.”

The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. The border between Mexico and Texas, previously annexed with the direct involvement of the US authorities, served as a pretext to start hostilities. American troops occupied the disputed area between the Nueces and Rio Grande rivers and blocked Mexican ports, which forced Mexico to declare war. Soon after the first skirmishes, US President James K. Polk, who had previously intended to justify the war with financial claims, turned to Congress, declaring that the Mexicans “invaded our territory and shed American blood on American soil.” Mexico lost the war and had to recognise Texas as part of the US. It lost more than half its territory, including today’s California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

The Anglo-French-Spanish intervention in Mexico in 1861-1867. The Government of Benito Juarez, who came to power after the Mexican Civil War 1858-1861, refused to recognise the debts of the previous allegedly unconstitutional authorities to foreign powers, which triggered its largest creditors – Great Britain, France and Spain – to intervene.

It is noteworthy that part of the British “media” preparation for the intervention took the form of a campaign in The Times with news of “terrible riots in Mexico where foreigners are suffering.” In turn, Paris quickly granted French citizenship to a Swiss banker whose debt Mexico City also refused to pay off, which served as yet another reason to legitimise the intervention.

London and Madrid soon withdrew from the war while French troops captured most of the Mexican territory. A referendum was held during the military occupation, where a majority of the population voted for the establishment of a monarchy. Archduke Maximilian, brother of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph, then ascended to the imperial throne. After the invaders lost in 1867, the republic, led by President Benito Juarez, was restored in Mexico.

1854, Nicaragua. The Americans razed San Juan del Sur to the ground, a purely civilian town in Nicaragua, after the US Ambassador was slapped in the face for obstructing the prosecution of an American citizen suspected of murder.

In 1856-1857, American mercenaries led by Willian Walker staged a coup to seize power in Nicaragua. The United States recognised Walker as the legitimate president. He surrendered and was repatriated through the combined efforts of Central American states.

In the 1890s, the Americans occupied Nicaraguan ports several times. In 1909, relations with Washington soured again, the legitimate government of Nicaragua was overthrown, and American troops invaded the country. The United States occupied Nicaragua from 1912 to 1933, leaving the country only after the victory of the guerrillas led by Augusto Sandino.

February 15, 1898. The USS Maine, anchored off Havana, Cuba (then a Spanish colony), exploded and sank. A US commission investigating the incident came to the unsubstantiated conclusion that the ship had been sunk by an external explosion. The United States put the blame on Spain, using the incident to launch a war the result of which was taking over Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam. Cuba was declared an independent state but remained under strong US influence. Under the Cuban constitution, the United States could station troops on the island until 1934. After the USS Maine was lifted in 1912, and after new investigations by several US commissions, it was established that the explosion had been caused by spontaneous combustion in the coal bunkers.

During the 1910-1917 revolution in Mexico, the United States occupied the port of Veracruz after eight American sailors were arrested by the Mexican military patrol for entering off-limit areas in Tampico in April 1914. Although the sailors were released as soon as the circumstances were clarified and the Mexicans offered an oral apology, Washington sent an ultimatum demanding a written apology within 24 hours and a 21-gun salute to show respect for the American flag. When Mexico refused to honour that humiliating demand, US Marines landed in Veracruz and held it until November 1914.

In 1937, a military coup was staged in Nicaragua with US military assistance, as a result of which the Somoza dynasty held power in the country until 1979, when the people, led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), replaced the Anastasio Somoza regime with the government of FSLN leader Daniel Ortega. This provoked the opposition of the anti-government fighters (contras), supported by the United States, to engage in a civil war, which lasted from 1981 and until 1990. When the US Congress officially prohibited the financing of the contras, the CIA provided the money covertly. The fact of direct US interference in Nicaragua was reaffirmed in the verdict handed down on July 27, 1986, by the International Court of Justice in The Hague within the framework of the Iran-Contra affair.

Several attempts have been made over the years since then to overthrow the Sandinista government under the pretext of protecting democracy and human rights. The last attempt was in April 2018, when a state coup was provoked against the backdrop of public unrest incited by external forces.

April 1961, Cuba. The Bay of Pigs Invasion is a failed attempt by American mercenaries to invade Cuba and a textbook example of US interventionist policy. The 1962 blockade of Cuba (John F. Kennedy’s Embargo on All Trade with Cuba) and the subsequent numerous measures to increase the sanctions against Havana, such as the 1992 Torricelli Act and the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, add up to an open economic aggression, which the United States has conducted despite international condemnation, including at the UN General Assembly.

After a short-lived thaw during the Obama administration, President Donald Trump resumed the policy of restrictions and added several new sanctions against Cuba. The Biden administration is pursuing the same policy. In May 2021, Cuba was again put on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. In July 2021, it was listed as a country that does not satisfy US standards for combatting trafficking in persons.

On September 7, 2021, President Biden extended trade restrictions with Cuba for another year. On December 21, 2021, the US Department of State reaffirmed Cuba’s position on the Trafficking in Persons list. In November 2021 and in January 2022, Washington adopted two packages of visa restrictions against Cuban officials over their alleged connection to suppressing protests in July and November 2021.

August 1953, Iran. The CIA and the UK Secret Intelligence Service orchestrated the joint Operation Ajax to topple Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and his government who had nationalised the Iranian oil industry. The goal was to restore Western control over the country’s oil revenues and to create favourable conditions for pro-Western Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to return from exile.

London and Washington started their seditious activity against Mohammad Mossadegh with an international boycott of Iranian oil products. Then a full-scale information campaign was launched against the prime minister and his associates based on fabricated news about cooperation with Communists. That Anglo-American manipulation of public opinion, coupled with the palm greasing of Iran’s military and political elite, put General Fazlollah Zahedi’s puppet leadership in power. At the demand of his foreign bosses, he signed fettering oil contracts.

August 2 and 4, 1964, Vietnam —the Gulf of Tonkin incident. On August 7, 1964, US President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed Congress to adopt a resolution that granted him the right “to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States” in Southeast Asia. The alleged bombing of US destroyers by torpedo boats of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin the day before served as the formal pretext. Later, the Senate commission admitted that the reports of the incident had been intentionally distorted in order to launch military operations in Vietnam.

On April 28, 1965, the US Marine Corps started an intervention in Barahona and Haina, Dominican Republic. US President Lyndon B. Johnson claimed that the military intervention was necessary to protect US citizens in the civil war in the country after Francisco Caamano’s leftist government came to power. The country was occupied until July 28, 1966.

On September 11, 1973, with direct support from the United States, a military coup took place in Chile, deposing democratically elected president Salvador Allende and establishing the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet that lasted for a long 17 years, and that included executions, harsh repressions and deep discord in Chilean society.

In 1982 in Guatemala, extensive efforts by US intelligence to create certain newsworthy events put a military government in power. In the 1990s, the United States provided military aid to Guatemala’s pro-American government allegedly to fight Communism, a fight that was in reality manifested in mass murders. By 1998, 200,000 people had fallen victim to this “fighting,” tens of thousands had fled to Mexico and over a million had become internally displaced persons.

On October 25, 1983 United States military units and a coalition of six Caribbean countries invaded Grenada to topple the government of Maurice Bishop, who was unwanted by Washington. An official appeal for help from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States following conflicts inside the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada served as a pretext for the operation. Maurice Bishop was killed as a result. The US administration claimed that the military intervention was necessary due to “concerns over the 600 US medical students on the island.” The invasion was criticised by a number of countries, including Canada. On November 2, 1983, the UN General Assembly also condemned the military operation as a “flagrant violation of international law” (108 countries voted for the resolution and nine against).

Since 1986 in Colombia, so-called social cleansing was conducted as part of the US policy to support favoured regimes, allegedly to counter drug trafficking. Trade union leaders and members of any movement or organisation with at least some influence, as well as farmers and unwanted politicians were eliminated. Tens of thousands of people were killed as a result.

1989, Panama —The United States invades Panama. Formally George H. W. Bush announced Operation Just Cause on December 21, 1989 to protect American citizens and ensure the security of the Panama Canal in accordance with the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, as well as to restore democracy and bring the informal leader of Panama, Manuel Noriega, to trial after accusing him of supporting drug trafficking. At the same time, Panamanian analysts noted that the real goal of the Americans was to install a government loyal to Washington, since the Manuel Noriega regime had begun distancing itself from Washington, something that did not fit into the US’s strategy to ensure reliable control over the Panama Canal.

The immediate reason for the American aggression was the alleged killing by Panamanian defence forces of an American Marine who was “lost” on Panamanian territory. In fact, a later investigation showed that this Marine and others in his unit were part of a special group acting under US Naval Intelligence, whose task was to provoke an open conflict with the Panamanian military. This armed group ignored Panamanian Defence Forces’ roadblocks, despite the warning signs, as well as orders to stop, and shot several local residents, including a child. In this situation, the Panamanian military simply had to use weapons; as a result, one of the attackers was killed.

American media reports that several bags of cocaine were allegedly found in a house frequented by Manuel Noriega was another fabrication that the US used to intervene. These bags allegedly confirmed the link between the Panamanian leader and drug traffickers, but during the search, ordinary flour was found instead of drugs, something that was later acknowledged by the US military.

During the invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989, the lawful Panamanian authorities were brought down, and the country found itself occupied by American troops for some time. According to the local association for victims’ relatives, the Americans committed numerous war crimes, including massacres of civilians (about 4,000).

March 24 – June 10, 1999 —Operation Allied Force against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. American citizen William Walker, head of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission, made big news with a completely false allegation of a civilian massacre in the village of Racak (January 1999). It was proven later that these civilians were armed militants killed in action. The European Union later established this beyond a doubt. Back then, William Walker announced publicly that it was an act of genocide. He took it upon himself to announce the withdrawal of the OSCE mission from Kosovo. In fact, this was used as a trigger for NATO’s aggression against the former state of Yugoslavia.

March 20 – April 9, 2003, Iraq —The US and its allies invade Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein. For 12 years, the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and then the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) had been searching Iraq for hidden stocks of biological, chemical and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the existence of which Baghdad denied. Nevertheless, during a UN Security Council meeting on February 5, 2003, US Secretary of State Colin Powell accused Iraqi leaders of manufacturing WMDs and showed a vial of white powder, which allegedly contained anthrax found in Iraq: “The facts and Iraq’s behaviour show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction. There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions…”

The powder did not convince the UN Security Council members, and they refused to sanction the invasion of Iraq. But that did not stop the Americans. In March-April 2003, under the pretext that these notorious WMDs must be destroyed, the United States, with support from its allies, launched an armed invasion of Iraq in violation of international law, which led to an occupation of the country. The legitimate president, Saddam Hussein, was overthrown and executed, and the country was plunged into many years of chaos, from which it has not fully recovered to this day.

No biological, chemical or nuclear weapons were ever found after the destruction of Iraq, and Powell apologised publicly. In July 2016, a British independent commission led by John Chilcot, which had been investigating Britain’s participation in the military campaign in Iraq for seven years, announced the results of its inquiry. Conclusion: the invasion in Iraq was a “terrible mistake,” and the Tony Blair government’s decision to become involved was “hasty” and “based on inadequate evidence.” Even Tony Blair himself admitted that the invasion of Iraq had been carried out on the basis of false intelligence and that the actions by the Western coalition, in effect, facilitated the rise of ISIS. Тhe former prime minister apologised to the families of the British soldiers who died in Iraq but somehow, in a typical British manner, forgot to apologise to the families of the murdered Iraqis.

the London played a particularly important role in this respect. It initiated a series of provocations starting with the Litvinenko case in 2006. Under the far-fetched excuse that Moscow refused to contribute to the investigation into his being poisoned, the United Kingdom imposed a number of sanctions on Russia in July 2007. Thus, it expelled four Russian diplomats from the country, suspended all contact with the Russian Federal Security Service and any work on military-technical agreements or a bilateral agreement on easing visa requirements. In addition, Britain insisted on the extradition of Russian citizen Andrey Lugovoy, which would be a crude violation of our constitution.

Russia was cooperating with its British colleagues in good faith, but London did not reciprocate. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office informed its British colleagues that if they provided the relevant materials, it would be willing to conduct legal proceedings in Russia.

In August 2014, the Investigative Committee of Russia had to refuse to take part in Britain’s public inquiry into this case. The problem was that, contrary to its name, it was not transparent for Russia. Hence, there were serious apprehensions about its potential for politicisation. Our apprehensions were eventually justified. Hearings on the open part of the “public inquiry” abounded in references to “secrecy,” various kinds of insinuations and undisguised bias, in part, as regards witness testimony that did not fit into the prosecution’s “general line.”

In September 2014, a US-led international anti-terrorist coalition was established in Iraq and Syria to counter ISIS. Indicatively, the SAR government was never asked for an agreement on the deployment of the coalition’s forces in this sovereign country. All coalition operations have been conducted without coordination with the lawful Syrian authorities under the pretext of implementing the right to self-defence as envisaged by Article 51 of the UN Charter.

The Syrian leaders have repeatedly called on the UN Security Council to hold the United States and its allies responsible for their actions. The coalition’s air forces have regularly subjected Syrian infrastructure, including oil facilities in ISIS-controlled areas, to massive attacks. According to the Syrian Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources, during the crisis, the oil-and-gas sector alone has sustained damaged of over $100 billion from these illegal actions and the continuing foreign occupation of parts of Syrian territory. Attacks have frequently targeted government troop units, after which the militants launch an offensive. Thus, airstrikes at Syrian Army positions in Deir ez-Zor killed 62 Syrian army personnel and wounded over 100 people. ISIS militants used this opportunity to seize the front lines of the besieged garrison’s defence in Deir ez-Zor that was surrounded by terrorists.

In April 2017 and April 2018, cases of fabricated uses of chemical weapons by Damascus, actually staged by Western secret services with the help of the notorious pseudo-humanitarian White Helmets (*) were used by NATO allies as a pretext for massive missile strikes at Syrian military and civilian facilities.

Accusations based on the fabricated use of “chemical weapons” and other false reports on Damascus’ alleged crimes (for instance, in Douma on April 7, 2018) became a dominant trend in the Western information war against the SAR. The persistent brainwashing of public opinion allowed the West to adopt the toughest, repressive measures and sanctions at the legal level, like the Caesar Act, which is pushing Syria towards a humanitarian disaster and is preventing post-crisis recovery and the return of millions of refugees.

(*) White Helmets (WH) NGO as a tool for staging fake chemical incidents in Syria.

The United State and Great Britain have actively relied on information from the WH for levelling accusations against the Syrian government by claiming that Damascus used chemical weapons. The UK later used these would-be accusations to buttress their line within the OPCW when they pushed for the introduction of an attributive mechanism to investigate and “punish” states for using chemical weapons.

The White Helmets is an informal designation of Syria Civil Defence, a non-governmental organisation that was formed in 2014 in Idlib as an umbrella structure for various rescue teams operating on Syrian territory not controlled by official Damascus.

The WH have been exposed multiple times for fabricating and planting fake news in the information space, including the following instances:

  • Even before Russia’s Aerospace Forces launched their counterterrorism operation in Syria in October 2015, the WH arranged for new stories to emerge from the West Bank, Palestinian territory, on the “victims from airstrikes by the Russian military.”
  • In September 2016, humanitarian organisations offered to evacuate a girl from Aleppo, who reported on Twitter about the “regime’s atrocities.” It turned out that it was an English-speaking WH activist who had written these Twitter posts in the girl’s name.
  • In December 2016, the Egyptian police in Port Said detained a group of WH activists who were filming what they presented as true reports about a “girl in Aleppo covered in blood.”
  • In late April and early May 2017, WH members and Al Jazeera worked on a report on what they claimed was a “chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime” in Saraqib, Idlib, but this incident never happened.

In some cases, the organisation recognised the fact that it was spreading “posed news stories” and justified its actions by the need to “to raise awareness of the suffering of the Syrian people.”

Some of the stories planted by the WH resulted from their ties to terrorist groups, as Stephen Kinzer, a reporter with The Boston Globe, a US newspaper, pointed out. He wrote that on March 16, 2015, the Sarmin Coordination Committee provided to the WH what it presented as video materials exposing the Syrian government, and the CNN, an American television network, then gave these materials a lot of publicity. However, it turned out later that this “committee” was affiliated with al-Qaeda. This led Stephen Kinzer to the conclusion that the American TV network relayed al-Qaeda propaganda to the international public opinion.

Experts from the World Health Organisation’s office in Damascus were also critical of the White Helmets, saying that the WH, together with Doctors Without Borders and the so-called Syrian American Medical Society, were spreading misinformation and planting fake news on Syrian territories controlled by illegal armed groups, including by releasing fake reports on “destroyed hospitals in Aleppo,” and “mass starvation” in the besieged areas. In their undertakings the WH officials use as their cover the so-called UN cross-border humanitarian mechanism in Gaziantep, Turkey, whose financing bypasses the UN’s official call for humanitarian assistance.

Respected politicians and civil society figures from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Slovakia, and the United States, acting independently from one another, have been exposing planted fake news, misinformation, and fabrications.

March 2018, the Skripal case. London used the incident in Salisbury linked with the suspected poisoning of former GRU employee Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia as a provocation against Russia. Without waiting for the results of its own investigation and ignoring an opportunity of using legal mechanisms and formats, including the OPCW and the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the British government announced a number of unfriendly acts as regards the Russian Federation.

London expelled 23 Russian diplomats; drafted “new legislative powers to harden defences against all forms of hostile state activity”; adopted amendments to the draft law on sanctions so as to “strengthen powers to impose sanctions in response to the violation of human rights”; strengthened border control; threatened to “freeze Russian state assets where there is evidence that they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals”; promised to take all the “necessary steps against organised crime and corrupt elites”; suspended all high-level bilateral contacts, in part, rescinded the invitation to Sergey Lavrov to visit the UK; cancelled the visit to the 2019 World Cup by members of the royal family and the government; and adopted other measures that “cannot be made public for reasons of national security.”

In addition, the British government initiated the further exacerbation of tensions by engineering the expulsion of Russian diplomats by some other countries, mostly from the EU and NATO.

Speaking in parliament in September 2018, the then British Prime Minister Theresa May said the Crown Prosecution Service was ready to bring charges for the attempted murder of the Skripals against two Russian nationals – Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Bashirov. She said they are “officers from the Russian military intelligence also known as the GRU.” According to Theresa May, Petrov and Bashirov were “names believed to be aliases” used to penetrate the UK for the attempted murder of the Skipal family in Salisbury.

In her address to the MPs, Theresa May emphasised that only Russia had the technical means and operational experience of using the toxic agent – the so-called Novichok. She referred to a report of the OPCW Secretariat on the results of the inquiry into the Amesbury incident. However, this report does not contain any references to the origin of the toxic agent and does not use the term “Novichok.”

On September 21, 2021, the British law enforcement bodies announced their decision to bring charges against a third Russian citizen “involved in the Skripal case” – a certain Sergey Fedotov. Commenting on a new turn in this case in her speech to the British Parliament, Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel emphasised London’s intention to continue the toughest possible response to the persisting considerable threat from Russia until relations with its Government improve.

Speaking on November 18, 2021, Secretary Patel said: “We are establishing an inquiry to ensure that all relevant evidence can be considered, with the hope that the family of Dawn Sturgess will get the answers they need and deserve.” According to British officials, Dawn Sturgess, a British national, was poisoned by the nerve gas “Novichok” in Amesbury in 2018. The planned political process has nothing to do with justice. Its only goal is to lay the blame for these events on Moscow without any proof and at the same time put it into a kind of a “legal framework.”

That said, British officials have not yet replied to our numerous requests for clear answers to our questions regarding many incongruities in the “Skripal case.”

During contact with our British colleagues, we have consistently insisted on a professional and unbiased approach to investigating all the circumstances of the incident. We have repeatedly told London about our readiness to cooperate via law enforcement bodies and experts, if our British partners are truly interested in investigating the crime.

Venezuela held presidential elections on May 20, 2018. For political reasons the US has failed to recognize the legitimacy of winning candidate Nicolas Maduro, while it has also failed to provide any evidence of election fraud. In January 2019 Washington recognized Juan Guaido, a Venezuelan MP, as “interim president of Venezuela” in violation of the country’s constitution, after which the US Department of the Treasury sought to “support the people of Venezuela in their efforts to restore democracy” by sanctioning the country’s central bank and key sectors of the economy, mainly the petroleum industry, which generates most of the country’s revenues. There is a de-facto petroleum embargo and an embargo on petroleum products exports to Venezuela, the assets and accounts of Venezuela in Western banks have been frozen, and the country cannot borrow on foreign markets. As of now, the cumulative cost of US sanctions against Venezuela ranges from between $130 billion and $258 billion. The sanctions pressure is sapping Venezuela’s economy, and undermining the government’s ability to purchase necessities, including vaccines, medical equipment and drugs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to estimates by the leading economist at Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs, US sector-wide sanctions have led to the death of 40,000 Venezuelans.
According to UNHRC Special Rapporteur, Alena Douhan, “sanctions have exacerbated the pre-existing economic and social crisis,” and crisis in development, “with a devastating effect on the entire population.” Today, Venezuela faces “a lack of necessary machinery, spare parts, electricity, water, fuel, gas, food and medicine,” as well as qualified personnel, namely, “doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers, professors, judges, police officers.” This situation has had “a great impact on all categories of human rights including the right to life, food, health and development.”
Bolivia has faced many coups orchestrated by the US and its allies. The coup of 2019 is the more salient example. President Evo Morales was illegally removed from office following a colour revolution-style campaign in domestic and international media about alleged election fraud, which was encouraged by the leaders of the Organisation of American States (OAS). Meanwhile, Western ambassadors took a direct role in promoting Jeanine Anez to the presidency, in clear violation of constitutional procedures, in particular, discussing domestic Bolivian policy at unofficial meetings at Catholic University of Bolivia on November 11 and 12, 2019. The ensuing clashes in the cities of Sacaba and Senkata between demonstrators and the police that sought to forcefully disperse them claimed the lives of almost 40 people.

Another instance of US interference in Bolivia’s domestic affairs was the events of 2008 that forced President Evo Morales to expel US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, who, per Bolivian government sources, met with the leaders of the city of Santa Cruz to discuss the secession of eastern departments from Bolivia. This discussion took place amid separatist demonstrations that damaged a Bolivian-Brazilian gas pipeline and killed 30 locals.

Moreover, the West put on an egregious display of disregard for international law and of engineering a pretext to breach the inviolability of a top Bolivian official when Evo Morales’ presidential plane was forced to land in Vienna on July 2, 2013 following his visit to Moscow. Spain, France, Portugal and Italy closed their airspace on suspicions that Edward Snowden was aboard the presidential plane. The then Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Garcia-Margallo made public the receipt of this intelligence without naming its source. This provocation resulted in the humiliating inspection of the Bolivian President’s aircraft to confirm Edward Snowden’s absence. A day later, Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki acknowledged during a press briefing that the US had been “in contact with a range of countries across the world who had any chance of having Mr Snowden land or even transit through their countries.”

January 3, 2020. Major General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, a unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was killed by a US drone strike at Baghdad Airport, Iraq. The Iranian military leader was on the US sanctions lists for the alleged “activities to disseminate disinformation” and assistance to the lawful Syrian government. The elimination of an official of one country on the territory of a third country is an unprecedented move. Many experts qualify this US crime as an act of state terrorism.

August 2020, the “poisoning” of Alexey Navalny. The EU, the UK and the United States imposed sanctions against a number of Russian citizens and GosNIIOKhT (State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology) for the alleged involvement in Navalny’s poisoning with “Novichok.” They did not cite any facts or evidence of their involvement.

In August 2021, the British Government announced the imposition of sanctions as part of its national sanction regime under far-fetched and absurd pretexts. These were personal restrictions as regards “the individuals directly responsible for carrying out the poisoning of Mr Navalny.”

It was claimed that the imposed sanctions seriously curtailed Russia’s ostensibly irresponsible and harmful behaviour and were a logical extension of the October 6, 2020 OPCW statement, which “confirmed” the conclusions of three independent international laboratories on Navalny’s poisoning by a nerve agent from the “Novichok” group.

***

Thus, London and Washington are the historical champions in fabricating pretexts for destructive actions, including the invasion of other states, their occupation, inflicting damage with destructive strikes and use of illegal sanctions, to name a few.

Clearly, the current long-term marathon of information terror is in the vein of the West’s traditional policy. With the prompting from the US and UK ruling circles, the world’s leading media are whipping up hysteria to brainwash their audiences and create a new reality by convincing everyone of Russia’s “imminent invasion of Ukraine” with endless repetitions of Russophobic reports.

ما كانت تخشاه «إسرائيل»… تحقّق

  الإثنين 21 شباط 2022

علي حيدر

لا تزال الجولة الاستطلاعية التي نفذتها المسيَّرة «حسان» التابعة لحزب الله، لمسافة 70 كلم شمال فلسطين المحتلة، تتفاعل داخل الكيان الإسرائيلي على المستويين الرسمي والإعلامي. إلا أن الأسئلة التي تشغل جهات القرار السياسي والأمني تنبع من الموقع والدور الذي أصبحت تلعبه المسيّرات في معادلات القوة، في ضوء تطورها والنتائج التي حققتها في المعارك التي شهدتها وتشهدها المنطقة، من أذربيجان – أرمينيا، إلى اليمن في دفاعه ضد العدوان السعودي – الإماراتي – الأميركي.

(أ ف ب )

من الواضح أن الصمت الذي خيَّم على المستوى الرسمي في كيان العدو ناجم عن إدراك لخطورة الرسائل وحراجة الموقف ومحدودية الخيارات. لذلك انتهى إلى قرار بتوجيه وزير الأمن بني غانتس رسالة ذكَّر فيها بقوة سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي متجاهلاً حقيقة أن هذا الأمر خبِره اللبنانيون منذ نشوء الكيان الإسرائيلي. إلا أن الجديد الذي يبدو أن العدو بدأ باستيعابه، هو أن ما كان يخشى حصوله قد تحقّق. إذ شكّلت الجولة الاستطلاعية للمسيّرة «حسان» ترجمة عملية للمخاوف التي عبَّر عنها كبار المسؤولين الإسرائيليين في مناسبات عدة، حول خطر امتلاك حزب الله مسيّرات متطورة وتأثير ذلك في معادلات القوة في المنطقة.

ويبدو أن حزب الله هدف من العملية النوعية، على مستوى القرار والأبعاد والرسائل والإنجاز العملياتي (فشل منظومات الاعتراض وسلاح الجو في إسقاطها)، إظهار جانب من قدراته المتطورة، لتعزيز معادلة الردع وتصويب تقديرات مؤسسات القرار في كيان العدو، لتكون خياراتها أكثر عقلانية في حسابات الكلفة والجدوى.

وقد يساعد في فهم خلفية حجم المخاوف التي أظهرها قادة العدو، استحضار قراءة الجهات المهنية والقيادية في كيان العدو لهذا التهديد الذي تم تناوله في مناسبات عدة، من موقع التحذير. فقد نقلت صحيفة «هآرتس»، في تموز الماضي، أن إيران «وجدت في المسيّرات رداً جزئياً على تفوق سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي، وأن الجيش قلق من أن تصل هذه القدرات إلى حلفائها في المنطقة. ويتقاطع هذا التقدير مع إعلان قائد المنطقة الوسطى في الجيش الأميركي الجنرال كينيث ماكنزي، في ضوء المسيرات المتطورة التي تصنعها إيران على نطاق واسع، «أننا للمرة الأولى منذ الحرب الكورية، نعمل من دون تفوق جوي كامل».

تهديد المسيرات من منظور استراتيجي إسرائيلي: سلاح فتاك، دقيق، وكاسر للتوازن

ارتقى التعبير عن المخاوف الإسرائيلية مع انكشاف مزيد من مزايا تطور المسيرات التي تصنعها إيران. ففي خطاب لوزير الأمن الإسرائيلي بني غانتس في 12/9/2021، في مؤتمر معهد السياسات التابع لمعهد هرتسيليا، حذر من أن «إحدى الأدوات النوعية التي طورتها إيران هي المسيرات غير المأهولة» التي تشكل «منظومة من السلاح الفتاك، والدقيق مثل الصواريخ الباليستية أو الطائرات القادرة على تجاوز آلاف الكيلومترات. وفي السياق نفسه، تناول رئيس وزراء العدو هذا التهديد المستجد في كلمته أمام الأمم المتحدة، في أيلول الماضي، مشيراً إلى أن المسيرات الإيرانية «مزوَّدة بأسلحة فتاكة، وقادرة على أن تهاجم في أي مكان وزمان. وهم يخططون لتغطية سماء الشرق الأوسط بهذه القوة الفتاكة». وأعرب عن قلق إسرائيل من أن «تزود إيران حلفاءها في اليمن وسوريا ولبنان بالمئات من هذا النوع، ولاحقاً بالآلاف».

لكن من الواضح أنه لم يخطر في بال بينيت وغانتس أن ينتقل حزب الله إلى مرحلة صناعة المسيّرات محلياً كما أعلن الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله أخيراً، وحرص على أن يلمس الإسرائيلي بشكل مباشر مستوى تطورها عبر اختراق منظومات الدفاع الجوي الإسرائيلي في ذروة استعداداتها.

من الواضح أن تناول غانتس وبينيت بعبارات متشابهة للتهديد الذي تمثله المسيرات كان نتاج بحث وتقدير الأجهزة المهنية المختصة في جيش العدو، ويكشف عن حجم مخاوف المستويات القيادية من التهديد المتصاعد لهذا النوع من الأسلحة التي تنضم إلى مروحة أخرى من الأدوات العسكرية، في سياق مسار تصاعدي من تطور معادلات القوة في المنطقة.

خطر المسيّرات يوازي خطر الصواريخ الدقيقة

الخبير الإسرائيلي في الدفاع ضد الصواريخ، عوزي روبين، أشار في دراسة مفصلة قبل 3 أشهر حول سلاح المسيرات وموقعه في سلم التهديدات المحدقة بإسرائيل، إلى أن تطوره وصل إلى مرحلة يشكل فيها تهديداً من الدرجة الأولى على إسرائيل يصعب اعتراضه.

وبعدما تناول مسار تطور المسيرات من الناحية التقنية، لفت إلى أن صناعة المسيرات أقل كلفة وأبسط من صناعة الصواريخ، وهي تشكل سلاحاً دقيقاً قادراً على إصابة أهداف محددة بدقة متر أو مترين. وأضاف روبين الذي ترأس منظومة حيتس لمدة ثماني سنوات، أن من المزايا التي تمنح المسيرات تفوقاً أنه «من غير الممكن التنبؤ مسبقاً من أي اتجاه ستصل»، ما يجعل من الصعب تشخيصها واعتراضها. كما أن بعض المسيرات الإيرانية تتمتع بالقدرة على التخفي ولا تستطيع الرادارات كشفها ما يفاقم من صعوبة اعتراضها.

وتناول بعضاً من المخاطر العملياتية التي يمكن أن تشكلها المسيرات على إسرائيل، موضحاً أن النوع الهجومي والانتحاري منها يمكن أن يضرب نقاطاً حاسمة مثل مخازن الطوارئ وتجمعات المدرعات. إضافة إلى أنه يمكن أن تستهدف قوات الجيش الإسرائيلي خلال حركته وإرباك مناورته البرية. كما يمكن أن تضرب منظومات الدفاع الجوي للجيش، في إشارة إلى القبة الحديدية وغيرها من المنظومات الاعتراضية. وخلص إلى أنه من غير الممكن النظر إلى المسيّرات كوسيلة ثانوية من أجل «الإزعاج، والجمع والردع»، وإنما وسيلة يمكن أن تشكل «كاسراً للتوازن»، يوازي خطرها خطر الصواريخ الدقيقة.


يريدون دفع الناس الى الجنون!

كتب يوآف ليمور، معلق الشؤون العسكرية في صحيفة «إسرائيل هيوم» تعليقاً على ما جرى:
«حققت إيران قفزة كبيرة في السنوات الأخيرة في قدرات طائراتها المسيّرة. هذه الطائرات تحلّق بعيداً، تحمل وقوداً وأسلحة أكثر، وقادرة على التخفّي بشكل أفضل من ذي قبل. وعلى عكس الصواريخ، فان المسيّرات والصواريخ المجنّحة يصعب اسقاطها لأنها تطير ببطء وقريبة جداً من الأرض. ومن غير المعقول ان نصف منطقة الشمال تدخل الى الملاجئ في كل مرة تدخل فيها مسيّرة الى إسرائيل. هذا يمنح حزب الله (او حماس في الجنوب) طريقة سهلة للغاية لدفع إسرائيل إلى الجنون متى شاء.

الاستراتيجية الإيرانية واضحة، وهي تطويق إسرائيل بالصواريخ بكافة انواعها، بما في ذلك المسيّرات والصواريخ المجنحة. وهذا يسمح لإيران بشن هجوم مفاجئ وأكثر دقة على إسرائيل، عندما تقرر، كما حاولت مرات عدة في الماضي.
يوجد لدى الايرانيين عدد كبير من الملفات المفتوحة مع إسرائيل، وعدد غير قليل من عمليات الانتقام التي يسعون لتنفيذها.

ايران لن تنحرف عن طريقها. هذا ليس من طبيعة النظام، وبالتأكيد ليس من طبيعة الحرس الثوري. والفهم الاستراتيجي هذا يستوجب الآن فحص السياسات الإسرائيلية، في كافة الساحات».

من ملف : ما كان العدو يخشاه… تحقّق

NATO No Longer a Defensive Alliance Is a Tool of Aggression

The situation is worsening

February 21, 2022

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Global Research,

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***

Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO who answers to Washington declared today (Feb 19) at the Munich Security Conference that “if the Kremlin’s aim is to have less NATO on its borders, it will only get more NATO.” He says NATO is beefing up its forces “across the alliance,” that is, in the NATO countries on Russia’s borders. See this.

This is an extremely aggressive response to Russia’s concern about missile bases placed on her borders. To speak frankly, Stoltenberg is inviting a Russian attack before she finds herself with more missile bases on her borders.

As if this isn’t enough and with Russia already concerned with the unwillingness of the West to abide by any agreements, treaties, and international law, the president of Ukraine declared today at the Munich Security Conference that Ukraine was on the verge of renouncing the Budapest Memorandum in which Ukraine agreed to abstain from nuclear weapons in exchange for its independence from Russia.  As Ukraine has already broken the Minsk Agreement, there is no reason for Ukraine to keep to the Budapest Memorandum. See this.

So, Russia goes to the US and NATO and says frankly: “You are making us uncomfortable by putting missile bases on our borders and by your plans to bring Ukraine into NATO.  This is not something we can accept.  Here is our proposal for mutual security.”  And the reply is more NATO military expansion and Ukraine developing nuclear weapons.

There was never any possibility of any success of Russian negotiations with Ukraine, because Ukraine is not a sovereign country and cannot make its own decisions.  Ukraine is Washington’s pawn used to cause trouble for Russia. Russia brought this upon herself by standing aside while Washington overthrew the Ukraine government and installed a Washington puppet.  Biden, Blinken, Stoltenberg, and the rest of the crew have made it completely clear that they intend to make Russia less secure.  The West thinks that this is riskless because all the Russians will do is complain and ask for more negotiations.  Washington has Russia trapped in the self-defeating process of answering Washington’s accusations. 

Perhaps Biden, Blinken, and Stoltenberg are right.  But on the other hand, what would you do if you were the government of a vast country allied with China and armed with a military force that can walk through any force NATO can muster as if it were a wet paper bag?  Would you sit there wasting time and energy in negotiations that only make things worse while your enemies build up their forces on your borders and Ukraine acquires nuclear weapons?  

Washington Has Been Predicting a Russian Invasion of Ukraine for Eight Years. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

You would only if you were foolish.

I don’t know what Putin has learned.  I have learned that previous Russian and Soviet governments were correct in realizing that Russian security required buffers.  There are solid reasons Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, and Central Asia were integral parts of Russia and the Soviet Union. The Soviet government formed the Warsaw Pact (East European countries) as a buffer to NATO, which was formed first.  The weak Yeltsin government, by agreeing to strip Russia of her buffers, has produced the insecurity that Putin has tried to resolve peacefully.

Biden, Blinken, Stoltenberg, Inc. have made it clear that there will be no peaceful resolution except the Kremlin’s acceptance of Washington’s hegemony.  As I have written for years, Russia’s choice is surrender or fight.  

I still think peace is achievable, but not until there is a demonstration of judicious Russian force. The West needs to understand that Russia means it when she says she has had enough.

What would be an example of judicious force?  Perhaps this:

  • The Kremlin accepts the vote of the Donbass Russians to be returned to Russia like Crimea.  This would end the violence in Ukraine as not even the Ukrainian neo-Nazis are stupid enough to attack Russia.
  • The Kremlin announces that Ukraine is in no danger from Russia unless Ukraine becomes a NATO member, accepts US missile bases, or begins developing nuclear weapons, in which case Ukraine will be destroyed.
  • The US missile bases in Poland and Romania will be removed or Russia will remove them.
  • There will be no further strengthening of NATO military forces in NATO countries bordering Russia.  Any such forces will be destroyed upon arrival.

The red lines would be clear.  If the West crosses them, it will be the West that is responsible for the violence. 

If nothing of this sort is done, Washington will keep pushing until Russia has to take far more drastic action that would bring a much greater chance of nuclear war.  

It is clear from Washington’s negative response to Russia’s demand that her security concerns be addressed that negotiations are pointless.  Washington controls the Western media, and the media spins the outcome to Washington’s satisfaction.  More negotiation just means more Russian frustration.

It is difficult for the Kremlin to act in Russia’s interest because of the Russian fifth column consisting of the Atlanticist Integrationists. These are influential people and organizations who are more concerned to be a part of the West than they are with Russian sovereignty.  Globalism is everywhere, including in the Russian government and economic establishment.  Russian economists have been indoctrinated by their Western counterparts that Russia needs foreign exchange in order to develop the Russian economy.  Consequently, they think energy sales to Europe should be billed in dollars or euros, which strengthens the dollar and the euro instead of the ruble.  It is a sad situation when a country’s economists recommend a policy that strengthens the enemy’s currency instead of its own.

Washington is relying on the Atlanticist Integrationists and the Western-financed NGOs, which the Russian government foolishly permits to operate against itself inside Russia, to make it difficult for Putin to meet the challenges that Washington is bringing in order to weaken and destabilize Russia.

Russia cannot negotiate away either the US military/security complex’s need for an enemy to justify its power and budget or Washington’s desire for hegemony.  This is the reality that Putin faces.

Putin and Lavrov keep trying to rely on reason and fact, but in the West reason and fact have lost their influence.  Reason is a “white construct” that white people who are “systemic racists” use to oppress people of color.  Biologically-based gender is not even a fact.  A physical man can declare himself a woman, and a physical woman can declare herself to be a man. Employers, schools, even the military have to accept the self-declaration of gender regardless of fact, or courts rule they are in violation of the Civil Rights Act and are discriminating on the basis of sex.

The Western world has replaced reason and fact with narratives.  Narratives are official explanations that no matter how false carry the imprimatur of truth. To challenge them can be life-threatening.  We are not yet shot in the back of the head in the Lubyanka.  Instead, we are declared to be “domestic terrorists,” “Russian agents,” “disinformation agents,” “enemies of democracy.”  We are deplatformed, fired from our jobs, our medical licenses are taken away, we are arrested and our property seized for protesting a narrative as is currently happening to the Canadian  protesters.  

Independent scientists of the highest reputation have proven that the Covid narrative is incorrect, that the mRNA vaccines are more dangerous to most people than Covid itself.  Yet the scientific facts do not correct the narrative.  Instead, the narrative bans the facts.  

How is it possible that Putin and Lavrov expect to negotiate with a culture in which reason and fact do not exist? Why do they continue in this folly? Is the reality they face too much to accept compared to the pretend world of negotiation?

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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts writes on his blog site, PCR Institute for Political Economy, where this article was originally published. He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

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Copyright © Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Global Research, 2022

Why Did Biden Call Putin?

February 12, 2022

Simple: to make sure that in case false flag happens (which is most likely) the US assets and “decision-making centers” are not annihilated. But that is not how it is going to work. While Biden declares:

According to a White House readout of the call, Biden warned Putin that the US and its allies would “respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia” in the event of an invasion, and that such military action would “diminish Russia’s standing” internationally. Biden, who has thus far ruled out sending US troops to Ukraine, said that should diplomacy fail, America is “equally prepared for other scenarios.”

Both sides know that militarily the US (and NATO) are impotent and Russia’s strategic ambivalence is what drives Washington crazy. After all, Russia may decide to go all in, but in this case it is not going to be 404 only. Who said that Baltic States can not be “included” in the package? There are so many possibilities. As RT reports further:

Should Russia take military action, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Saturday of a “resolute, massive and united trans-Atlantic response.” However, President Biden has thus far ruled out sending US troops to Ukraine, choosing instead to send thousands to Poland and Romania instead. Before speaking to Biden, Putin spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron by phone for nearly two hours. French officials told AFP that Putin wants an independent Ukraine that would remain out of the NATO alliance, something Western leaders have ruled out. Moscow has long insisted that NATO arms on its border would constitute an unacceptable security risk.

I am on record, Russia is not afraid of “sanctions” and there could be no any military response by NATO because the only response the US can offer militarily is a nuclear one, but even the most ludicrous hawks in D.C. want to live, with the exception of a dozen or two  of total fanatics in US Admin and Congress. My guess will be, since, as I am also in record ad nauseam, US “strategists” (Council on Foreign Relations, Atlantic Council, AEI etc.) are one trick ponies, they developed a “strategy” (or, rather, strategery) which, as is always the case with cowardly bullies, was designed based on a faulty “understanding” of conflict and lack of knowledge of Russia, and the hope was for an initial bullying effect on Russia. They couldn’t calculate consequences because they do not have situational awareness. Russia responded in kind and continues to show a very big stick protruding from behind Russia’s back. And now, the US is cornered and is in panic mode, because Russia’s military exercises are a very good demonstrator of a military capability which IS excessive for hypothetical “invasion” of 404 but also sufficient to achieve much larger objectives. And Washington doesn’t know what those objectives may be. They panic now, because they have no idea. Staying in the dark is extremely unpleasant.

Milley’s called Gerasimov yesterday for a reason. Russia has enough forces to smash NATO in Eastern Europe without much effort. Here is just one example:

MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. Russia has handed a note to US military attache in connection with the US nuclear-powered submarine’s incident in Russia’s waters near the Kuril Islands, the Defense Ministry said on Saturday. “On February 12, a representative of the office of the military attache for defense issues at the US Embassy in Moscow has been handed over a note at the Main Directorate of the International Military Cooperation of Russia’s Defense Ministry in connection with the violation of Russia’s state border by the US Navy’s submarine,” the statement said.

Submarines in the exercise areas are nothing new, Russia, US, UK do this all the time, what is new is that this one was detected and tracked within Russia’s territorial waters.

According to the ministry, a Virginia-class submarine belonging to the US Navy was detected on February 12, 2022 at 10.40 (Moscow Time) in the area of the Pacific Fleet’s drills near Iturup Island of the Kuril Islands. Under the guiding documents on protection of the Russian state border in the underwater environment, the crew of the Pacific Fleet’s frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov used appropriate means. The US submarine started a self-propelled simulator to split the target image on radar and acoustic control means into two parts and retreated from Russian territorial waters at a maximum speed, the ministry said.

And this very public move by Russia was also done for a reason–to demonstrate that there are enough forces to deal with any threat. Russia plans to start the exercises of a nuclear triad pretty soon too (in Russian). So, a lot of firepower on display. Scary, eh?


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American Overlord Demands Europe Sign Suicide Note

February 12, 2022

By Finian Cunningham

Source

The Anglo-Americans are running a modern-day reworking of Operation Overlord, the June 1944 military invasion plan billed to liberate Western Europe from Nazi Germany. This time around, the billed objective is to “liberate” the European Union from its “tyrannical” dependency on Russian natural gas.

In reality, the unspoken objective is to maintain U.S. tyrannical control over Europe. That control is essential for upholding American hegemony and global power. The ultimate price is economic devastation and even war for Europe which the “noble” American hegemon is all too willing for its peons to pay.

This week, U.S. President Joe Biden showed off his overlord status when he arrogantly spoke for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a White House press conference. Biden was asked about the fate of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany in the hypothetical event of an invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Biden didn’t skip a beat to consult with the German leader. He peremptorily asserted the gas project would be terminated.

“There will be no longer a Nord Stream 2,” said Biden without hesitation. “We will bring an end to it.”

The American president was asked how this could be done given that the functioning of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is nominally under the control of Germany, not the United States. “We will — I promise you, we’ll be able to do it,” asserted Biden without so much as a hint of seeking any kind of agreement from the German chancellor.

The assuredness of Washington’s presumed ability to over-ride European sovereignty was a revealing and disturbing display of American imperial arrogance.

It was also an excruciating display of American contempt for supposed European “allies”. Scholz, Germany, Europe, was made to look like a nonentity by Biden. Later press reports indicated that too.

Washington and London have led the ramping up of geopolitical tensions with relentless accusations that Russia is about to invade Ukraine and jeopardize European security. From the way the Anglo-American propaganda has contrived it, one would think that the scenario is a re-run of Nazi aggression threatening Europe for which they alone are the noble defenders. Putin is Hitler, the Kremlin is the Third Reich, and diplomacy is appeasement, so the preposterous propaganda goes.

Moscow has repeatedly said it has no intention to invade Ukraine and that in fact it is Russia that is being threatened by the U.S.-led NATO military alliance after year-on-year expansion of the bloc all the way to Russia’s borders.

Ratcheting up the tensions further, Washington and London are demanding that Europe must adopt draconian sanctions against Moscow including the commitment to abandon the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. That pipeline took five years and a €10-billion investment to complete despite constant American objections. The crisis over Ukraine contrived by Washington and its British flunkey have ensured that the gas supply has been suspended for the past six months despite an energy crunch in Europe. What the Anglo-American overlords want to see finally is the entire gas project being scrapped. That’s the end-game even if it means European households freezing from un-payable gas bills. The overlords don’t care.

That’s why the Americans and the Brits are doing their best to scupper any diplomatic effort to calm the inordinate crisis with Russia over Ukraine. Hence, Washington and London are funneling weapons to Ukraine and deploying paratroopers to Eastern Europe in a reckless bid to escalate the confrontation.

While visiting the White House this week, Chancellor Scholz was peppered with petulant demands to explicitly state that the Nord Stream 2 project would be axed “if Russia invaded Ukraine”. Scholz refused to state that, although in an apparent attempt to offer a sop he claimed that Germany and the United States were united in their resolve. There is a palpable peeved sense among the Americans and British that Berlin is not being sufficiently hostile towards Russia.

Likewise, when French President Emmanuel Macron went to Moscow this week for diplomatic talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin there was also an unmistakable sense of rancor from Washington and London that their militaristic “unanimity” was being undermined.

There’s little doubt that Berlin and Paris know that the Anglo-American bravado is a cynical provocation that is “nobly” signing a suicide note on behalf of Europe in the event of a war with Russia.

Macron’s bitter experience of France being shafted last year by the U.S., Britain and Australia over the €50 billion AUKUS submarine contract has probably helped engender a bit of healthy skepticism too. He’s also got an eye on French presidential elections in April.

The bottomline is that Washington wants to sabotage the strategic partnership between Europe and Russia for energy trade and the general normalization of relations. The objectives are maintaining U.S. hegemony, selling its own more expensive gas to Europe and of course endless sales of weapons for NATO members in a perennially agitated state of insecurity. The Brits as ever are in it for ingratiating with Uncle Sam and serving their usual function of being the geopolitical butler to U.S. imperial power.

Energy analysts know that Germany and Europe cannot survive economically without Russia gas, which accounts for at least 40 percent of the continent’s consumption. Even Biden at the White House press conference could not pretend that the U.S. was able replace Russia’s supply. If Russia’s gas trade to Europe was to be disrupted by conflict or deeper sanctions the repercussions for the European Union’s economies would be devastating. There is no way that Germany, France and the EU could survive without Russian oil and gas. For the U.S. and Britain to demand that Berlin make definitive statements about cancelling Nord Stream 2 is a form of coercion and blackmail. Operation Overlord II.

But the infernal danger is that Washington and London are pushing Europe and the world towards the abyss of a nuclear with Russia. That’s how demonic the failing Anglo-American imperium is.

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