Gonzalo Lira: The Sitzkrieg We’re In

JUNE 28, 2022

أوروبا دخلت الحرب على التوقيت الأميركيّ فهل تخرج أميركا منها على التوقيت الأوروبيّ؟

 الإثنين 27 حزيران 2022

ناصر قنديل

لم يكن التصعيد الأميركي الأوروبي بوجه إيران وصولاً الى تعليق المفاوضات في فيينا بشروط تعجيزية، واعتماد إجراءات عدائية عبر الوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية، معزولاً عن النظرة الأميركية الأوروبية لمفهوم الحرب الواحدة ضد روسيا والصين وإيران، بعد فشل محاولات الفصل بين الملفات، واحتواء أو إغراء أو ترهيب أي من اطراف المثلث الآسيوي الصاعد وصولاً الى تفكيك الحلف الثلاثي الذي يهدد الهيمنة الغربية. ومثل خط الصعود كان خط النزول، فالمبادرة الأوروبية المنسقة أميركياً نحو استئناف المسار التفاوضي بأفكار إيجابية مع إيران، هي تعبير شامل عن الخلاصات التي رسمتها موازين القوى، سواء في جبهة المواجهة مع روسيا أو مع الصين أو مع إيران.

يتباهى الرئيس الأميركي بأنه أسقط 30 سنة من الاستثمار الروسي على العلاقات المميزة مع أوروبا، وأثبت مناعة التحالف الأميركي الأوروبي، ودرجة تماسك حلف الناتو، لكنه لا يستطيع أن يتجاهل أن هذا الإنجاز الذي تجلى بنجاح أميركا في جر أوروبا وراءها وبتوقيتها لدخول الحرب الأوكرانية في مواجهة روسيا، يبقى مؤقتاً طالما أن الحفاظ على هذا التماسك الأميركي الأوروبي يستدعي ضبط إيقاع الخطوات الأميركية على حجم قدرة أوروبا على السير، وطالما أن الاستثمار الروسي على العلاقة مع أوروبا لم يكن حملة علاقات عامة، بل انطلاقاً من حقائق تفرضها الجغرافيا الاقتصادية وفي طليعتها حقيقة أن روسيا القريبة هي أفضل مورد للغاز والنفط لأوروبا، من زاوية المصلحة الأوروبية، وأن النجاح الأميركي أوروبياً مشروط بأحد أمرين: الأول هو الفوز برهان إسقاط روسيا بالضربة المالية القاضية عبر العقوبات، التي صمّمت لدفع الاقتصاد والنظام المالي في روسيا للانهيار، ما يضمن نهاية سريعة للحرب التي لا يمكن الرهان على الجانب العسكري الصرف للفوز بها، وعند الانهيار المالي الروسي يتحقق الخضوع الروسي للشروط الأميركية الأوروبية، كما كانت تقول الخطة المفترضة. والثاني هو النجاح بتأمين بدائل كافية وبأسعار معقولة توفر الطاقة لأوروبا، وجدول زمني مناسب مع تزامن الخروج من مصادر الطاقة الروسية، وعندها تتحضّر أوروبا للتأقلم مع حرب طويلة تستطيع تحمل تداعياتها.

فشل الرهانان الأميركيان، رغم سلاسة الانصياع الأوروبي، واقتربت ساعة الحقيقة، فقد شرعت روسيا بوقف ضخ الغاز، والمخزونات الأوروبية لا تكفي للحد الأدنى من حاجات ومتطلبات الشتاء المقبل، وقد امتلأت الغابات الأوروبية بالعائلات تحول أشجارها الى حطب، واستبدلت في البيوت تجهيزات التدفئة على الغاز بتلك القديمة على الحطب، وعاد الفحم الحجري رغم نسب التلوث المرتفعة التي يتسبّب بها للدخول على الكثير من أوجه الاستخدام الصناعي، والحديث على أعلى المستويات عن تناوب المصانع الكبرى على يومين للعمل في الأسبوع وإقفال صناعات لا تحتاج الأسواق الداخلية منتوجاتها المخصصة للتصدير ويمكن الاستغناء عنها، وبلغ ارتفاع الأسعار نسباً متصاعدة، تتراوح بين 50% و100%، وهي مرشحة للتزايد، ومعها الاضطرابات الاجتماعية والسياسيّة المقبلة، وأول المؤشرات جاءت من الانتخابات الفرنسية.

بالتوازي كشفت كل الاتصالات والمحاولات التجارية والسياسية لتأمين الغاز من مصادر أخرى أن سقف المتاح لا يغطي أكثر من 30% من حجم الغاز الروسي لأوروبا، 10% من أميركا بضعف السعر الرائج، و10% من قطر والجزائر، لكن بعد العام 2024، و10% من غاز شرق المتوسط، ودونه تعقيدات سياسية وأمنية، كحال الغاز المفروض استخراجه وضخه من بحر عكا والمرتبط بمستقبل ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع لبنان، وأمن الاستجرار عبر المتوسط، وكلها بأكلاف عالية والحاجة لاستثمارات ضخمة، وانتظار لشهور او سنوات، بينما لم يعد موضع نقاش أي رهان على تهاوي الاقتصاد الروسي او انهيار النظام المالي للنقد الروسي، فسعر صرف الروبل الذي استعاد مكانته بعد اهتزاز لم يدم لأكثر من ثلاثة ايام، يحقق ارباحاً تتخطى الـ 50% بالقياس لسعره قبل الحرب، عاكساً نهضة اقتصادية داخلية ونمواً متزايداً في قطاعات جديدة وفرتها عملية تشغيل البنى التحتية لمنشآت الشركات الغربية التي غادرت الأسواق الروسية بفعل العقوبات.

ساعة الحقيقة الأميركية هي الاختيار بين المضي قدماً في خيار المواجهة دون أوروبا، التي بدأت علامات الإعياء والإنهاك تظهر عليها، وبدأت الانقسامات تهدد وحدتها، وصارت فرضية انسحاب تدريجيّ لدولها من خيار المواجهة مطروحة على الطاولة. وهذا يعني فقدان زخم المواجهة، في لحظة تعاني هذه المواجهة أصلاً من العجز عن تحقيق تقدم، سواء في المسار العسكري، أو في المسار الاقتصادي، والانفصال الأميركي عن أوروبا يعني منح روسيا ربحاً استراتيجياً بتلقف هذه التشققات الأوروبية والتعامل معها، وتخلي الأميركي عما تباهى به من الحفاظ على تماسك أميركا وأوروبا معا، أو القبول باعتبار الحفاظ على الوحدة مع أوروبا يبقى الأمر الأهم في أولويات المرحلة المقبلة، وهذا يعني أنه كما دخلت أوروبا الحرب على التوقيت الأميركي، فقد آن أوان أن تبدأ أميركا بالاستعداد للخروج منها على التوقيت الأوروبي.

الاستجابة الأميركية للدعوة الأوروبية للعودة الى مسار التفاوض لإنقاذ الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، وقبول تقديم ما يوصف بالتنازلات المؤلمة لتحقيق هذا الهدف، هي تعبير عن مسار سيتكرر على الجبهة الأوكرانية بحديث مواز عن تنازلات مؤلمة على الغرب وأوكرانيا تقديمها، تحت شعار دفع خطر المجاعة عن البشرية، وقد بدأ الترويج لهذا الشعار تمهيداً لنقلات دراماتيكية في مسار الحرب الأوكرانية، والحملة البريطانية التحذيرية من إذلال أوكرانيا ليست إلا استباق لهذا المسار المقبل.

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Exile on Main Street: The Sound of the Unipolar World Fading Away

June 22, 2022

The future world order, already in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states. The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back.

By Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

Let’s cut to the chase and roll in the Putin Top Ten of the New Era, announced by the Russian President live at the St. Petersburg forum  for both the Global North and South.

The era of the unipolar world is over.

The rupture with the West is irreversible and definitive. No pressure from the West will change it.

Russia has renewed with its sovereignty. Reinforcement of political and economic sovereignty is an absolute priority.

The EU has completely lost its political sovereignty. The current crisis shows the EU is not ready to play the role of an independent, sovereign actor. It’s just en ensemble of American vassals deprived of any politico-military sovereignty.

Sovereignty cannot be partial. Either you’re a sovereign or a colony.

Hunger in the poorest nations will be on the conscience of the West and euro-democracy.

Russia will supply grains to the poorer nations in Africa and the Middle East.

Russia will invest in internal economic development and reorientation of trade towards nations independent of the U.S.

The future world order, already in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states.

The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back.

How does it feel, for the collective West, to be caught in such a crossfire hurricane? Well, it gets more devastating when we add to the new roadmap the latest on the energy front.

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, in St. Petersburg, stressed that the global economic crisis is gaining momentum not because of sanctions, but exacerbated by them; Europe “commits energy suicide” by sanctioning Russia; sanctions against Russia have done away with the much lauded “green transition”, as that is no longer needed to manipulate markets; and Russia, with its vast energy potential, “is the Noah’s Ark of the world economy.”

For his part Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller could not be more scathing on the sharp decline in the gas flow to the EU due to Siemens’ refusal and/or incapacity to repair the Nord Stream 1 pumping engine: “Well, of course, Gazprom was forced to reduce the volume of gas supplies to Europe by 20%+. But you know, prices have increased not by 20%+, but by several times! Therefore, I’m sorry if I say that we don’t feel offended by anyone, we are not particularly concerned by this situation.”

If this pain dial overdrive was not enough to hurl the collective West – or NATOstan – into Terminal Hysteria, then Putin’s sharp comment on possibly allowing Mr. Sarmat to present his business card to “decision-making centers in Kiev”, those that are ordering the current shelling and killing of civilians in Donetsk, definitely did the trick:

“As for the red lines, let me keep them to myself, because this will mean quite tough actions on the decision-making centers. But this is an area that shouldn’t be disclosed to people outside the military-political leadership of the country. Those who deserve appropriate actions on our part should draw a conclusion for themselves – what they may face if they cross the line.”

Baby please, stop breaking down

Alastair Crooke has masterfully outlined  how the collective West’s zugzwang leaves it lumbering around, dazed and confused. Now let’s examine the state of play on the opposite side of the chessboard, focusing on the BRICS summit this Thursday in Beijing.

As much as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and ASEAN, now it’s time for a reinvigorated BRICS to step up its game. In conjunction, these are the key organizations/instruments that will be carving the pathways towards the post-unipolar era.

Both China and India (which between them were the largest economies in the world for centuries before the brief Western colonial interregnum) are already close and getting closer to “the Noah’s Ark of the world economy”.

The G20 – hostages of the Michael Hudson-defined FIRE scam that is the core of the financialized neoliberal casino – is slowly fading away, while a potential new G8 ramps up: and that is directly connected to BRICS expansion, one of the key themes of this week’s summit. An expanded BRICS with a parallel G8 configuration is bound to easily overtake the Western-centric one in importance as well as GDP by purchasing power parity (PPP).

BRICS in 2021 already added Bangladesh, Egypt, the UAE and Uruguay to its New Development Bank (NDB). In May, at Foreign Ministry-level debates, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Thailand were added to the 5 BRICS members. Leaders of some of these nations will be connected to the Beijing summit.

BRICS plays a completely different game from the G20. They aim for the grassroots, and it’s all about slowly “building trust” – a very Chinese concept. They are creating an independent Credit Rating Agency – away from the Anglo-American racket – and deepening a Currency Reserves Arrangement. The NDB – including its regional offices in India and South Africa – has been involved in hundreds of projects. Time will tell: one day the NDB will make the World Bank superfluous.

Comparisons between BRICS and the Quad, a U.S. concoction, are silly. Quad is just another crude mechanism to contain China. Yet there’s no question India treads on tightrope walker territory, as it’s a member of both BRICS and Quad, and made a vastly misguided decision to walk out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – the largest free trade deal on the planet – opting instead to adhere to the American pie-in-the-sky Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

Yet India, long term, skillfully guided by Russia, is being steered to find essential common ground with China in several key issues.

BRICS, especially in its expanded BRICS+ version, is bound to increase cooperation on building truly stable supply chains, and a settlement mechanism for resources and raw material trade, which inevitably has to be based in local currencies. Then the path will be open for the Holy Grail: a BRICS payment system as a credible alternative to the weaponized U.S. dollar and SWIFT.

Meanwhile, a torrent of bilateral investments from both China and India in the manufacturing and services sector around their neighbors is bound to lift up smaller players in both Southeast Asia and South Asia: think Cambodia and Bangladesh as important cogs in a vast supply wheel.

Yaroslav Lissovolik had already proposed a BEAMS concept as the core of this BRICS integration drive, uniting “the key regional integration initiatives of BRICS economies such as BIMSTEC, EAEU, the ASEAN-China free trade agreement, Mercosur and SADC/SACU.”

It’s only (BRICS) rock’n roll

Now Beijing seems eager to promote “an inclusive format for dialogue spanning all the main regions of the Global South via aggregating the regional integration platforms in Eurasia, Africa and Latin America. Going forward this format may be further expanded to include other regional integration blocks from Eurasia, such as the GCC, EAEU and others.”

Lissovolik notes how the ideal path from now on should be “the greater inclusivity of BRICS via the BRICS+ framework that allows smaller economies that are the regional partners of BRICS to have a say in the new global governance framework.”

Before he addressed the St. Petersburg forum on video, President Xi called Putin personally to say, among other things, that he’s got China’s back on all “sovereignty and security” themes. They also, inevitably, discussed the relevance of BRICS as a key platform towards the multipolar world.

Meanwhile, the collective West plunges deeper into the maelstrom. A massive national demonstration of trade unions this past Monday paralyzed Brussels – the capital of the EU and NATO – as 80,000 people expressed their anger at the rising and rising cost of living; called for elites to “spend money on salaries, not on weapons”; and yelled in unison “Stop NATO.”

It’s zugzwang all over again. The EU’s “direct losses”, as Putin stressed, provoked by the sanctions hysteria, “could exceed $400 billion a year”. Russia’s energy earnings have hit record levels. The ruble is at a 7-year high against the euro.

It’s a blast that arguably the most powerful cultural artifact of the entire Cold War – and Western supremacy – era, the perennial Rolling Stones, is currently on tour across a “caught in a crossfire hurricane” EU. On every show they play, for the first time live, one of their early classics: ‘Out of Time’.

Sounds much like a requiem. So let’s all sing, “Baby baby baby / you’re out of time”, as one Vladimir “it’s a gas, gas, gas” Putin and his sidekick Dmitry “Under My Thumb” Medvedev seem to be the guys really getting their rocks off. It’s only (BRICS) rock’n roll, but we like it.

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.

President Putin: St Petersburg International Economic Forum Plenary session

June 18, 2022

Ed Note:  This transcript is not fully complete but we post it because of the renewed DDoS attacks on Russian infrastructure.  When it is complete, we will do an update.   (Mr Putin was on top form with an excellent, even exhaustive and detailed economic tour de force for Russia, and then of course for the sane world, or our Zone B).

Pepe Escobar created a very high-level summary:

THE NEW ERA

Top Ten Breakdown – as announced by Putin

  • The era of the unipolar world is over.
  • The rupture with the West is irreversible and definitive. No pressure from the West will change it.
  • Russia has renewed its sovereignty. Reinforcement of political and economic sovereignty is an absolute priority.
  • The current crisis shows the EU is not ready to play the role of an independent, sovereign actor. It’s just an ensemble of American vassals deprived of any politico-military sovereignty.
  • Sovereignty cannot be partial. Either you’re a sovereign or a colony.
  • Hunger in the poorest nations will be on the conscience of the West and Euro-democracy.
  • Russia will supply grains to Africa and the Middle East.
  • Russia will invest in internal economic development and reorientation of trade towards nations independent of the US.
  • The future world order, currently in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states.
  • The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back.

A further summary from RT rounds it out:  https://www.rt.com/russia/557346-putin-spief-speech-takeaways/


http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/68669

President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also took part in the session. President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping and President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi addressed the session via videoconference.

The theme this year is New Opportunities in a New World.

* * *

Plenary session moderator Margarita Simonyan: Good afternoon, or almost evening.

As you may know, we had a minor technical issue. Thankfully, it has been dealt with quickly. We are grateful to those who resolved this.

We are also grateful to the audience.

We are grateful to our leader, President Vladimir Putin, for traditionally fitting this forum into his schedule so that he can tell us about economic prospects and other plans.

We are grateful to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev for attending our forum. We know that it is not an easy thing to do. Thank you for supporting our forum and our country. We really appreciate this.

We will have a lot of questions today. You may not like some of them, and I may not be happy to ask some of them. We would be much happier to speak only about good things, but this is impossible today.

Mr President, I would like to ask you to take the stand and to tell us what lies in store for us all. Thank you.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much. President Tokayev, friends and colleagues,

I welcome all participants and guests of the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

It is taking place at a difficult time for the international community when the economy, markets and the very principles of the global economic system have taken a blow. Many trade, industrial and logistics chains, which were dislocated by the pandemic, have been subjected to new tests. Moreover, such fundamental business notions as business reputation, the inviolability of property and trust in global currencies have been seriously damaged. Regrettably, they have been undermined by our Western partners, who have done this deliberately, for the sake of their ambitions and in order to preserve obsolete geopolitical illusions.

Today, our – when I say “our,” I mean the Russian leadership – our own view of the global economic situation. I would like to speak in greater depth about the actions Russia is taking in these conditions and how it plans to develop in these dynamically changing circumstances.

When I spoke at the Davos Forum a year and a half ago, I also stressed that … the era of a unipolar world order has come to an end. I want to start with this, as there is no way around it. This era has ended despite all the attempts to maintain and preserve it at all costs. Change is a natural process of history, as it is difficult to reconcile the diversity of civilisations and the richness of cultures on the planet with political, economic or other stereotypes – these do not work here, they are imposed by one centre in a rough and no-compromise manner.

The flaw is in the concept itself, as the concept says there is one, albeit strong, power with a limited circle of close allies, or, as they say, countries with granted access, and all business practices and international relations, when it is convenient, are interpreted solely in the interests of this power. They essentially work in one direction in a zero-sum game. A world built on a doctrine of this kind is definitely unstable.

After declaring victory in the Cold War, the United States proclaimed itself to be God’s messenger on Earth, …without any obligations and only interests which were declared sacred. They seem to ignore the fact that in the past decades, new powerful and increasingly assertive centres have been formed. Each of them develops its own political system and public institutions according to its own model of economic growth and, naturally, has the right to protect them and to secure national sovereignty.

These are objective processes and genuinely revolutionary tectonic shifts in geopolitics, the global economy and technology, in the entire system of international relations, where the role of dynamic and potentially strong countries and regions is substantially growing. It is no longer possible to ignore their interests.

To reiterate, these changes are fundamental, groundbreaking and rigorous. It would be a mistake to assume that at a time of turbulent change, one can simply sit it out or wait it out until everything gets back on track and becomes what it was before. It will not.

However, the ruling elite of some Western states seem to be harbouring this kind of illusions. They refuse to notice obvious things, stubbornly clinging to the shadows of the past. For example, they seem to believe that the dominance of the West in global politics and the economy is an unchanging, eternal value. Nothing lasts forever.

Our colleagues are not just denying reality. More than that; they are trying to reverse the course of history. They seem to think in terms of the past century. They are still influenced by their own misconceptions about countries outside the so-called “golden billion”: they consider everything a backwater, or their backyard. They still treat them like colonies, and the people living there, like second-class people, because they consider themselves exceptional. If they are exceptional, that means everyone else is second rate.

Thereby, the irrepressible urge to punish, to economically crush anyone who does not fit with the mainstream, does not want to blindly obey. Moreover, they crudely and shamelessly impose their ethics, their views on culture and ideas about history, sometimes questioning the sovereignty and integrity of states, and threatening their very existence. Suffice it to recall what happened in Yugoslavia, Syria, Libya and Iraq.

If some “rebel” state cannot be suppressed or pacified, they try to isolate that state, or “cancel” it, to use their modern term. Everything goes, even sports, the Olympics, bans on culture and art masterpieces just because their creators come from the “wrong” country.

This is the nature of the current round of Russophobia in the West, and the insane sanctions against Russia. They are crazy and, I would say, thoughtless.They are unprecedented in the number of them or the pace the West churns them out at.

The idea was clear as day – they expected to suddenly and violently crush the Russian economy, to hit Russia’s industry, finance, and people’s living standards by destroying business chains, forcibly recalling Western companies from the Russian market, and freezing Russian assets.

This did not work. Obviously, it did not work out; it did not happen. Russian entrepreneurs and authorities have acted in a collected and professional manner, and Russians have shown solidarity and responsibility.

Step by step, we will normalise the economic situation. We have stabilised the financial markets, the banking system and the trade network. Now we are busy saturating the economy with liquidity and working capital to maintain the stable operation of enterprises and companies, employment and jobs.

The dire forecasts for the prospects of the Russian economy, which were made in early spring, have not materialised. It is clear why this propaganda campaign was fuelled and all the predictions of the dollar at 200 rubles and the collapse of our economy were made. This was and remains an instrument in an information struggle and a factor of psychological influence on Russian society and domestic business circles.

Incidentally, some of our analysts gave in to this external pressure and based their forecasts on the inevitable collapse of the Russian economy and a critical weakening of the national currency – the ruble.

Real life has belied these predictions. However, I would like to emphasise that to continue being successful, we must be explicitly honest and realistic in assessing the situation, be independent in reaching conclusions, and of course, have a can-do spirit, which is very important. We are strong people and can deal with any challenge. Like our predecessors, we can resolve any task. The entire thousand-year history of our country bears this out.

Within just three months of the massive package of sanctions, we have suppressed inflation rate spikes. As you know, after peaking at 17.8 percent, inflation now stands at 16.7 percent and continues dropping. This economic dynamic is being stabilised, and state finances are now sustainable. I will compare this to other regions further on. Yes, even this figure is too much for us – 16.7 percent is high inflation. We must and will work on this and, I am sure, we will achieve a positive result.

After the first five months of this year, the federal budget has a surplus of 1.5 trillion rubles and the consolidated budget – a surplus of 3.3 trillion rubles. In May alone, the federal budget surplus reached almost half a trillion rubles, surpassing the figure for May 2021 more than four times over.

Today, our job us to create conditions for building up production and increasing supply in the domestic market, as well as restoring demand and bank financing in the economy commensurately with the growth in supply.

I mentioned that we have taken measures to reestablish the floating assets of companies. In most sectors, businesses have received the right to suspend insurance premiums for the second quarter of the year. Industrial companies have even more opportunities – they will be able to delay them through the third quarter as well. In effect, this is like getting an interest-free loan from the state.

In the future, companies will not have to pay delayed insurance premiums in a single payment. They will be able to pay them in equal installments over 12 months, starting in June next year.

Next. As of May the subsidised mortgage rate has been reduced. It is now 9 percent, while the programme has been extended till the end of the year. As I have mentioned, the programme is aimed at helping Russians improve their housing situation, while supporting the home building industry and related industries that employ millions of people.

Following a spike this spring, interest rates have been gradually coming down, as the Central Bank lowers the key rate. I believe that that this allows the subsidised mortgage rate to be further cut to 7 percent.

What is important here? The programme will last until the end of the year without change. It means that our fellow Russians seeking to improve their living conditions should take advantage of the subsidy before the end of the year.

The lending cap will not change either, at 12 million roubles for Moscow and St Petersburg and 6 million for the rest of Russia.

I should add that we must make long-term loans for businesses more accessible. The focus must shift from budget subsidies for businesses to bank lending as a means to spur business activity.

We need to support this. We will allocate 120 billion rubles from the National Wealth Fund to build up the capacity of the VEB Project Financing Factory. This will provide for additional lending to much-needed initiatives and projects worth around half a trillion roubles.

Colleagues,

Once again, the economic blitzkrieg against Russia was doomed to fail from the beginning. Sanctions as a weapon have proved in recent years to be a double-edged sword damaging their advocates and architects just a much, if not more.

I am not talking about the repercussions we see clearly today. We know that European leaders informally, so to say, furtively, discuss the very concerning possibility of sanctions being levelled not at Russia, but at any undesirable nation, and ultimately anyone including the EU and European companies.

So far this is not the case, but European politicians have already dealt their economies a serious blow all by themselves. We see social and economic problems worsening in Europe, and in the US as well, food, electricity and fuel prices rising, with quality of life in Europe falling and companies losing their market edge.

According to experts, the EU’s direct, calculable losses from the sanctions fever could exceed $400 billion this year. This is the price of the decisions that are far removed from reality and contradict common sense.

These outlays fall directly on the shoulders of people and companies in the EU. The inflation rate in some Eurozone countries has exceeded 20 percent. I mentioned inflation in Russia, but the Eurozone countries are not conducting special military operations, yet the inflation rate in some of them has reached 20 percent. Inflation in the United States is also unacceptable, the highest in the past 40 years.

Of course, inflation in Russia is also in the double digits so far. However, we have adjusted social benefits and pensions to inflation, and increased the minimum and subsistence wages, thereby protecting the most vulnerable groups of the population. At the same time, high interest rates have helped people keep their savings in the Russian banking system.

Businesspeople know, of course, that a high key rate clearly slows economic development. But it is a boon for the people in most cases. They have reinvested a substantial amount of money in banks due to higher interest rates.

This is our main difference from the EU countries, where rising inflation is directly reducing the real incomes of the people and eating up their savings, and the current manifestations of the crisis are affecting, above all, low-income groups.

The growing outlays of European companies and the loss of the Russian market will have lasting negative effects. The obvious result of this will be the loss of global competitiveness and a system-wide decline in the European economies’ pace of growth for years to come.

Taken together, this will aggravate the deep-seated problems of European societies. Yes, we have many problems as well, yet I have to speak about Europe now because they are pointing the finger at us although they have enough of their own problems. I mentioned this at Davos. A direct result of the European politicians’ actions and events this year will be the further growth of inequality in these countries, which will, in turn, split their societies still more, and the point at issue is not only the well-being but also the value orientation of various groups in these societies.

Indeed, these differences are being suppressed and swept under the rug. Frankly, the democratic procedures and elections in Europe and the forces that come to power look like a front, because almost identical political parties come and go, while deep down things remain the same. The real interests of people and national businesses are being pushed further and further to the periphery.

Such a disconnect from reality and the demands of society will inevitably lead to a surge in populism and extremist and radical movements, major socioeconomic changes, degradation and a change of elites in the short term. As you can see, traditional parties lose all the time. New entities are coming to the surface, but they have little chance for survival if they are not much different from the existing ones.

The attempts to keep up appearances and the talk about allegedly acceptable costs in the name of pseudo-unity cannot hide the main thing: the European Union has lost its political sovereignty, and its bureaucratic elites are dancing to someone else’s tune, doing everything they are told from on high and hurting their own people, economies, and businesses.

There are other critically important matters here. The worsening of the global economic situation is not a recent development. I will now go over things that I believe are extremely important. What is happening now does not stem from what happened during recent months, of course not. Moreover, it is not the result of the special military operation carried out by Russia in Donbass. Saying so is an unconcealed, deliberate distortion of the facts.

Surging inflation in product and commodity markets had become a fact of life long before the events of this year. The world has been driven into this situation, little by little, by many years of irresponsible macroeconomic policies pursued by the G7 countries, including uncontrolled emission and accumulation of unsecured debt. These processes intensified with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, when supply and demand for goods and services drastically fell on a global scale.

This begs the question: what does our military operation in Donbass have to do with this? Nothing whatsoever.

Because they could not or would not devise any other recipes, the governments of the leading Western economies simply accelerated their money-printing machines. Such a simple way to make up for unprecedented budget deficits.

I have already cited this figure: over the past two years, the money supply in the United States has grown by more than 38 percent. Previously, a similar rise took decades, but now it grew by 38 percent or 5.9 trillion dollars in two years. By comparison, only a few countries have a bigger gross domestic product.

The EU’s money supply has also increased dramatically over this period. It grew by about 20 percent, or 2.5 trillion euros.

Lately, I have been hearing more and more about the so-called – please excuse me, I really would not like to do this here, even mention my own name in this regard, but I cannot help it – we all hear about the so-called ‘Putin inflation’ in the West. When I see this, I wonder who they expect would buy this nonsense – people who cannot read or write, maybe. Anyone literate enough to read would understand what is actually happening.

Russia, our actions to liberate Donbass have absolutely nothing to do with this. The rising prices, accelerating inflation, shortages of food and fuel, petrol, and problems in the energy sector are the result of system-wide errors the current US administration and European bureaucracy have made in their economic policies. That is where the reasons are, and only there.

I will mention our operation, too: yes, it could have contributed to the trend, but the root cause is precisely this – their erroneous economic policies. In fact, the operation we launched in Donbass is a lifeline they are grabbing at to be able to blame their own miscalculations on others, in this case, on Russia. But everyone who has at least completed primary school would understand the true reasons for today’s situation.

So, they printed more money, and then what? Where did all that money go? It was obviously used to pay for goods and services outside Western countries – this is where the newly-printed money flowed. They literally began to clean out, to wipe out global markets. Naturally, no one thought about the interests of other states, including the poorest ones. They were left with scraps, as they say, and even that at exorbitant prices.

While at the end of 2019, imports of goods to the United States amounted to about 250 billion dollars a month, by now, it has grown to 350 billion. It is noteworthy that the growth was 40 percent – exactly in proportion to the unsecured money supply printed in recent years. They printed and distributed money, and used it to wipe out goods from third countries’ markets.

This is what I would like to add. For a long time, the United States was a big food supplier in the world market. It was proud, and with good reason, of its achievements, its agriculture and farming traditions. By the way, this is an example for many of us, too. But today, America’s role has changed drastically. It has turned from a net exporter of food into a net importer. Loosely speaking, it is printing money and pulling commodity flows its way, buying food products all over the world.

The European Union is building up imports even faster. Obviously, such a sharp increase in demand that is not covered by the supply of goods has triggered a wave of shortages and global inflation. This is where this global inflation originates. In the past couple of years, practically everything – raw materials, consumer goods and particularly food products – has become more expensive all over the world.

Yes, of course, these countries, including the United States continue importing goods, but the balance between exports and imports has been reversed. I believe imports exceed exports by some 17 billion. This is the whole problem.

According to the UN, in February 2022, the food price index was 50 percent higher than in May 2020, while the composite raw materials index has doubled over this period.

Under the cloud of inflation, many developing nations are asking a good question: why exchange goods for dollars and euros that are losing value right before our eyes? The conclusion suggests itself: the economy of mythical entities is inevitably being replaced by the economy of real values and assets.

According to the IMF, global currency reserves are at $7.1 trillion and 2.5 trillion euros now. These reserves are devalued at an annual rate of about 8 percent. Moreover, they can be confiscated or stolen any time if the United States dislikes something in the policy of the states involved. I think this has become a very real threat for many countries that keep their gold and foreign exchange reserves in these currencies.

According to analyst estimates, and this is an objective analysis, a conversion of global reserves will begin just because there is no room for them with such shortages. They will be converted from weakening currencies into real resources like food, energy commodities and other raw materials. Other countries will be doing this, of course. Obviously, this process will further fuel global dollar inflation.

As for Europe, their failed energy policy, blindly staking everything on renewables and spot supplies of natural gas, which have caused energy price increases since the third quarter of last year – again, long before the operation in Donbass – have also exacerbated price hikes. We have absolutely nothing to do with this. It was due to their own actions that prices have gone through the roof, and now they are once again looking for somebody to blame.

Not only did the West’s miscalculations affect the net cost of goods and services but they also resulted in decreased fertiliser production, mainly nitrogen fertilisers made from natural gas. Overall, global fertiliser prices have jumped by over 70 percent from mid-2021 through February 2022.

Unfortunately, there are currently no conditions that can overcome these pricing trends. On the contrary, aggravated by obstacles to the operation of Russian and Belarusian fertiliser producers and disrupted supply logistics, this situation is approaching a deadlock.

It is not difficult to foresee coming developments. A shortage of fertiliser means a lower harvest and a higher risk of an undersupplied global food market. Prices will go even higher, which could lead to hunger in the poorest countries. And it will be fully on the conscience of the US administration and the European bureaucracy.

I want to emphasise once again: this problem did not arise today or in the past three or four months. And certainly, it is not Russia’s fault as some demagogues try to declare, shifting the responsibility for the current state of affairs in the world economy to our country.

Maybe it would even be nice to hear that we are so powerful and omnipotent that we can blow up inflation in the West, in the United States and Europe, or that we can do things to throw everything into disorder. Maybe it would be nice to feel this power, if only there were truth in it. This situation has been brewing for years, spurred by the short-sighted actions of those who are used to solving their problems at somebody else’s expense and who have relied and still rely on the mechanism of financial emission to outbid and draw trade flows, thus escalating deficits and provoking humanitarian disasters in certain regions of the world. I will add that this is essentially the same predatory colonial policy as in the past, but of course in a new iteration, a more subtle and sophisticated edition. You might not even recognise it at first.

The current priority of the international community is to increase food deliveries to the global market, notably, to satisfy the requirements of the countries that need food most of all.

While ensuring its domestic food security and supplying the domestic market, Russia is also able to scale up its food and fertiliser exports. For example, our grain exports in the next season can be increased to 50 million tonnes.

As a priority, we will supply the countries that need food most of all, where the number of starving people could increase, first of all, African countries and the Middle East.

At the same time, there will be problems there, and not through our fault either. Yes, on paper Russian grain, food and fertilisers… Incidentally, the Americans have adopted sanctions on our fertilisers, and the Europeans followed suit. Later, the Americans lifted them because they saw what this could lead to.

But the Europeans have not backed off. Their bureaucracy is as slow as a flour mill in the 18th century. In other words, everyone knows that they have done a stupid thing, but they find it difficult to retrace their steps for bureaucratic reasons.

As I have said, Russia is ready to contribute to balancing global markets of agricultural products, and we see that our UN colleagues, who are aware of the scale of the global food problem, are ready for dialogue. We could talk about creating normal logistical, financial and transport conditions for increasing Russian food and fertiliser exports.

As for Ukrainian food supplies to global markets – I have to mention this because of numerous speculations – we are not hindering them. They can do it. We did not mine the Black Sea ports of Ukraine. They can clear the mines and resume food exports. We will ensure the safe navigation of civilian vessels. No problem.

But what are we talking about? According to the US Department of Agriculture, the matter concerns 6 million tonnes of wheat (we estimate it at 5 million tonnes) and 7 million tonnes of maize. This is it, altogether. Since global production of wheat stands at 800 million tonnes, 5 million tonnes make little difference for the global market, as you can see.

Anyway, Ukrainian grain can be exported, and not only via Black Sea ports. Another route is via Belarus, which is, incidentally, the cheapest way. Or via Poland or Romania, whichever you prefer. In fact, there are five or six export routes.

The problem is not with us, the problem is with the adequacy of the people in control in Kiev. They can decide what to do, and, at least in this particular case, they should not take their lead from their foreign bosses, their masters across the ocean.

But there is also the risk that grain will be used as payment for arms deliveries. This would be regrettable.

Friends,

Once again, the world is going through an era of drastic change. International institutions are breaking down and faltering. Security guarantees are being devalued. The West has made a point of refusing to honour its earlier commitments. It has simply been impossible to reach any new agreements with them.

Given these circumstances and against the backdrop of mounting risks and threats, Russia was forced to go ahead with the special military operation. It was a difficult but necessary decision, and we were forced to make it.

This was the decision of a sovereign country, which has еру unconditional right to uphold its security, which is based on the UN Charter. This decision was aimed at protecting our people and the residents of the people’s republics of Donbass who for eight long years were subjected to genocide by the Kiev regime and the neo-Nazis who enjoyed the full protection of the West.

The West not only sought to implement an “anti-Russia” scenario, but also engaged in the active military development of Ukrainian territory, flooding Ukraine with weapons and military advisers. And it continues to do so now. Frankly, no one is paying any attention to the economy or well-being of the people living there, they just do not care about it at all, but they have never spared money to create a NATO foothold in the east that is directed against Russia and to cultivate aggression, hatred and Russophobia.

Today, our soldiers and officers, as well as the Donbass militia, are fighting to protect their people. They are fighting for Russia’s future as a large, free and secure multiethnic country that makes its own decisions, determines its own future, relies on its history, culture and traditions, and rejects any and all outside attempts to impose pseudo-values steeped in dehumanisation and moral degradation.

No doubt, our special military operation goals will be fulfilled. The key to this is the courage and heroism of our soldiers, consolidated Russian society, whose support gives strength and confidence to the Russian Army and Navy and a deep understanding of the truth and historical justice of our cause which is to build and strengthen Russia as a strong sovereign power.

My point is that sovereignty cannot be segmented or fragmented in the 21st century. The components of sovereignty are equally important, and they reinvigorate and complement each other.

So, what matters to us is not only the defence of our political sovereignty and national identity, but also strengthening everything that determines our country’s economic, financial, professional and technological independence.

The very structure of Western sanctions rested on the false premise that economically Russia is not sovereign and is critically vulnerable. They got so carried away spreading the myth of Russia’s backwardness and its weak positions in the global economy and trade that apparently, they started believing it themselves.

While planning their economic blitzkrieg, they did not notice, simply ignored the real facts of how much our country had changed in the past few years.

These changes are the result of our planned efforts to create a sustainable macroeconomic structure, ensure food security, implement import substitution programmes and create our own payment system, to name a few.

Of course, sanction restrictions created many challenges for the country. Some companies continue having problems with spare parts. Our companies have lost access to many technological solutions. Logistics are in disarray.

But, on the other hand, all this opens up new opportunities for us – we often talk about this but it really is so. All this is an impetus to build an economy with full rather than partial technological, production, human and scientific potential and sovereignty.

Naturally, it is impossible to resolve such a comprehensive challenge instantly. It is necessary to continue working systematically with an eye to the future. This is exactly what Russia is doing by implementing its long-term plans for the development of branches of the economy and strengthening the social sphere. The current trials are merely resulting in adjustments and modifications of the plans without changing their strategic orientation.

Today, I would like to talk about the key principles on which our country, our economy will develop.

The first principle is openness. Genuinely sovereign states are always interested in equal partnership and in contributing to global development. On the contrary, weak and dependent countries are usually looking for enemies, fuelling xenophobia or losing the last remnants of their identity and independence, blindly following in the wake of their suzerain.

Russia will never follow the road of self-isolation and autarky although our so-called Western friends are literally dreaming about this. Moreover, we are expanding cooperation with all those who are interested in it, who want to work with us, and will continue to do so. … They make up the overwhelming majority of people on Earth.

I will not list all these countries now. It is common knowledge.

I will say nothing new when I remind you that everyone who wants to continue working or is working with Russia is subjected to blatant pressure from the United States and Europe; it goes as far as direct threats. However, this kind of blackmail means little when it comes to countries headed by true leaders who know the difference between their own national interests, the interests of their people – and someone else’s.

Russia will build up economic cooperation with these states and promote joint projects. At the same time, we will certainly continue to cooperate with Western companies that have remained in the Russian market despite the unprecedented arm-twisting – such companies exist, too.

We believe the development of a convenient and independent payment infrastructure in national currencies is a solid and predictable basis for deepening international cooperation. To help companies from other countries develop logistical and cooperation ties, we are working to improve transport corridors, increase the capacity of railways, transshipment capacity at ports in the Arctic, and in the eastern, southern and other parts of the country, including in the Azov-Black Sea and Caspian basins – they will become the most important section of the North-South Corridor, which will provide stable connectivity with the Middle East and Southern Asia. We expect freight traffic along this route to begin growing steadily in the near future.

But foreign trade is not our only priority. Russia intends to increase scientific, technological, cultural, humanitarian and sports cooperation based on equality and mutual respect between partners. At the same time, our country will strive for responsible leadership in all these areas.

The second principle of our long-term development is a reliance on entrepreneurial freedom. Every private initiative aimed at benefiting Russia should receive maximum support and space for implementation.

The pandemic and the more recent events have confirmed how important flexibility and freedom are in the economy. Russian private businesses – in tough conditions, amid attempts to restrain our development by any means – have proved they can compete in global markets. Private businesses should also be credited for Russia’s adaptation to rapidly changing external conditions. Russia needs to ensure the dynamic development of the economy – naturally, relying on private business.

We will continue to reduce administrative hurdles. For example, in 2016–2018, we imposed a moratorium on routine audits of small businesses. Subsequently, it was extended through 2022. In 2020, this moratorium was extended to cover mid-sized companies. Also, the number of unscheduled audits decreased approximately fourfold.

We did not stop at that, and last March, we cancelled routine audits for all entrepreneurs, regardless of the size of their businesses, provided their activities do not put people or the environment at high risk. As a result, the number of routine audits has declined sixfold compared to last year.

Why am I giving so many details? The point is that after the moratorium on audits was imposed, the number of violations by entrepreneurs – this was the result – has not increased, but rather it has gone down. This testifies to the maturity and responsibility of Russian businesses. Of course, they should be offered motivation rather than being forced to observe regulations and requirements.

So, there is every reason to take another radical step forward, that is, to abandon, for good and on a permanent basis, the majority of audits for all Russian businesses, except on risky or potentially dangerous activities. Everyone has long since understood that there was no need to check on everyone without exception. A risk-oriented approach should be at work. I ask the Government to develop the specific parameters of such a reform in the next few months.

There is another very sensitive topic for business, which has also become important today for our national security and economic resilience. To reduce and bring to a minimum all sorts of abuse and loopholes to exert pressure on entrepreneurs, we are consistently removing loose regulations from criminal law that are applied to economic crimes.

Last March, a law was signed, under which tax-related criminal cases against entrepreneurs shall only be brought before a court by the tax service – there is no other way. Soon a draft law will be passed on reducing the statute of limitations for tax-related crimes and on rejecting lawsuits to initiate criminal proceedings after tax arrears have been paid off.

Working comprehensively, although prudently, we need to decriminalise a wide range of economic offenses, for instance, those that punish businesses without a licence or accreditation. This is a controversial practice today because our Western partners illegitimately refuse to provide such licenses.

Our own agencies must not single-handedly make our businesses criminally liable for actually doing nothing wrong. The problem is this, and small businesses understand it very well – if a licence has expired, and Western partners refuse to extend it, what are businesses to do, wrap up operations? By no means, let them work. State oversight should continue, but there should be no undue interference in business.

It also makes sense to think about raising the threshold of criminal liability for unpaid customs duties and other such taxes. Additionally, we have not for a long time reconsidered the parameters of the terms ‘large’ and ‘very large’ economic loss for the purposes of economic offences despite inflation accruing 50 percent since 2016. The law now fails to reflect the current realities and needs to be corrected.

We need to reconsider the conditions for detaining entrepreneurs and for extending preliminary investigations. It is no secret that these practices have long been used inappropriately.

Businesses have been forced to cease operations or go bankrupt even before the investigation is over. The reputation of the owners and of the brand name suffers as a result, not to mention the direct financial loss, loss of market share and jobs.

I want to ask law enforcement to put an end to these practices. I also ask the Government and the Supreme Court to draft appropriate legislation before October 1 of this year.

In addition, at the Security Council, a special instruction was given to look into criminal cases being opened without later proceeding to court. The number of such cases has grown in recent years. We know the reasons. A case is often opened without sufficient grounds or to put pressure on individuals. We will discuss this in autumn to take legislative action and change the way our law enforcement agencies work.

It goes without saying that regional governments play a major role in creating a modern business environment. As is customary during the St Petersburg Forum, I highlight the regions that have made significant progress in the National Investment Climate Rankings compiled by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives.

There have been changes in the top three. Moscow and Tatarstan have remained at the top and were joined by the Moscow Region which, in a span of one year, went from eighth place to the top three. The leaders of the rankings also include the Tula, Nizhny Novgorod, Tyumen, Novgorod, and Sakhalin regions, St Petersburg and Bashkortostan.

Separately, I would like to highlight the regions that have made the greatest strides such as the Kurgan Region, which moved up 36 spots; the Perm Territory and the Altai Territory, up 26 spots; Ingushetia, up 24 spots; and the Ivanovo Region which moved up 17 spots.

I want to thank and congratulate our colleagues in the regions for their good work.

The federal government and regional and municipal governments should focus on supporting individual business initiatives in small towns and remote rural communities. We are aware of such stories of success. That includes developing popular software and marketing locally produced organic food and environmentally friendly products nationwide using domestic websites.

It is important to create new opportunities, to introduce modern retail formats, including e-commerce platforms, as I mentioned above, and to cut the logistics, transportation and other costs, including by using upgraded Russian Post offices.

It is also important to help small business employees, self-employed individuals and start-up entrepreneurs acquire additional skills and competencies. Please include corresponding measures tailored specifically to small towns and rural and remote areas as a separate line in the national project for promoting small and medium-sized businesses.

Today I would like to address our officials, owners of large companies, our business leaders and executives.

Colleagues, friends,

Real, stable success and a sense of dignity and self-respect only come when you link your future and the future of your children with your Fatherland. We have maintained ties with many people for a long time, and I am aware of the sentiments of many of the heads and owners of our companies. You have told me many times that business is much more than just making a profit, and I fully agree. It is about changing life around you, contributing to the development of your home cities, regions and the country as a whole, which is extremely important for self-fulfilment. There is nothing like serving the people and society. This is the meaning of your life and work.

Recent events have reaffirmed what I have always said: it is much better at home. Those who refused to hear that clear message have lost hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in the West, in what looked like a safe haven for their assets.

I would like to once again say the following to our colleagues, those who are both in this audience and those who are not here: please, do not fall into the same trap again. Our country has huge potential, and there are more than enough tasks that need your contribution. Invest here, in the creation of new enterprises and jobs, in the development of the tourism infrastructure, support schools, universities, healthcare and the social sphere, culture and sport. I know that many of you are doing this. I know this, but I wanted to say it again.

This is how the Bakhrushin, Morozov, Shchukin, Ryabushinsky, Akchurin, Galeyev, Apanayev, Matsiyev, Mamontov, Tretyakov, Arsanov, Dadashev and Gadzhiyev families understood their noble mission. Many Russian, Tatar, Buryat, Chechen, Daghestani, Yakutian, Ossetian, Jewish, Armenian and other merchant and entrepreneurial families did not deprive their heirs of their due share, and at the same time they etched their names in the history of our country.

Incidentally, I would like to note once again that it remains to be seen what is more important for potential heirs: money and property or their forefathers’ good name and service to the country. The latter is something that cannot be squandered or, pardon my language, wasted on drink.

A good name is something that will always belong to your descendants, to future generations. It will always be part of their lives, going from one generation to another, helping them and making them stronger than the money or property they might inherit can make them.

Colleagues,

A responsible and well-balanced macroeconomic policy is the third guiding principle of our long-term development. In fact, this policy has largely enabled us to withstand the unprecedented pressure brought on by sanctions. Let me reiterate that this is an essential policy in the long term, not just for responding to the current challenges. We will not follow in the footsteps of our Western colleagues by replicating their bitter experience setting off an inflation spiral and disrupting their finances.

Our goal is to ensure robust economic growth for years to come, reducing the inflation burden on our people and businesses and achieving the mid- and long-term target inflation rate of four percent. Inflation was one of the first things I mentioned during my remarks, so let me tell you this: we remain committed to this target of a four-percent inflation rate.

I have already instructed the Government to draft proposals regarding the new budget guidelines. They must ensure that our budget policy is predictable and enables us to make the best use of the external economic conditions. Why do we need all this? To put economic growth on a more stable footing, while also delivering on our infrastructure and technological objectives, which provide a foundation for improving the wellbeing of our people.

True, some international reserve currencies have set themselves on a suicidal path lately, which is an obvious fact. In any case, they clearly have suicidal intentions. Of course, using them to ‘sterilise’ our money supply does not make any sense. Still, the principle of planning one’s spending based on how much you earn remains relevant. This is how it works, and we understand this.

Social justice is the fourth principle underpinning our development. There must be a powerful social dimension when it comes to promoting economic growth and business initiatives. This development model must reduce inequality instead of deepening it, unlike what is happening in other countries. To be honest, we have not been at the forefront when it comes to delivering on these objectives. We have yet to resolve many issues and problems in this regard.

Reducing poverty and inequality is all about creating demand for Russian-made products across the country, bridging the gap between regions in terms of their capabilities, and creating new jobs where they are needed the most. These are the core economic development drivers.

Let me emphasise that generating positive momentum in terms of household income growth and poverty reduction are the main performance indicators for government agencies and the state in general. We need to achieve tangible results in this sphere already this year, despite all the objective challenges we face. I have already assigned this task to the Government.

Again, we provide targeted support to the most vulnerable groups – pensioners, families with children, and people in difficult life situations.

Pensions are indexed annually at a rate higher than inflation. This year, they have been raised twice, including by another 10 percent on June 1.

The minimum wage was also increased by 10 percent at the same time, and so was the subsistence minimum – a reference figure used to calculate many social benefits and payments – accordingly, these benefits should also grow, increasing the incomes of about 15 million people.

In recent years, we have built a holistic system to support low-income families with children. Women are entitled to state support from the early stages of pregnancy and until the child reaches the age of 17.

People’s living standards and prosperity are the most important demographic factors; the current situation is quite challenging due to several negative demographic waves that have recently overlapped. In April, less than a hundred thousand children were born in Russia, almost 13 percent less than in April 2020.

I ask the Government to continue to keep the development of additional support measures for families with children under review. They must be far-reaching and commensurate with the magnitude of the extraordinary demographic challenge we are facing.

Russia’s future is ensured by families with two, three and more children. Therefore, we need to do more than provide direct financial support – we need to target and direct the healthcare system, education, and all areas that determine the quality of people’s lives towards the needs of families with children.

This problem is addressed, among other approaches, by the national social initiatives, which regional teams and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives are implementing together. This autumn, we will assess the results of their work, review and rank the Russian regions by quality of life in order to apply the best experiences and practices as widely as possible throughout the country.

Prioritising the development of infrastructure is the fifth principle underlying Russia’s economic policy.

We have scaled up direct budget spending on expanding transport corridors. An ambitious plan for building and repairing the federal and regional motorway core network will be launched next year. At least 85 percent of the roads are to be brought up to code within the next five years.

Infrastructure budget lending is a new tool that is being widely used. The loans are issued for 15 years at a 3 percent APR. As I mentioned before, they are much more popular than we originally thought. The regions have multiple well-thought-out and promising projects that should be launched at the earliest convenience. We will look into how we can use this support measure. We debated this issue last night. What I am saying is that it is a reliable tool.

Upgrading housing and utilities services is a separate matter with a backlog of issues. The industry is chronically underinvested to the tune of 4.5 trillion rubles. Over 40 percent of networks need to be replaced, which accounts for their low efficiency and big losses. About 3 percent of the networks become unusable every year, but no more than 2 percent get replaced, which makes the problem even worse every single year.

I propose consolidating resources and launching a comprehensive programme for upgrading housing and utilities, and synchronizing it with other infrastructure development and housing overhaul plans. The goal is to turn the situation around and to gradually reduce the number of dated networks, just like we are doing by relocating people from structurally unsafe buildings or fixing roads. We will discuss in detail housing and utilities and the construction complex with the governors at a State Council Presidium meeting next week.

On a separate note, I propose increasing resources to fund projects to create a comfortable urban environment in small towns and historical settlements. This programme is working well for us. I propose allocating another 10 billion rubles annually for these purposes in 2023–2024.

We will allocate additional funds for renovating urban areas in the Far Eastern Federal District. I want the Government to allocate dedicated funds to this end as part of the programmes for infrastructure budget lending and housing and utilities upgrading, as well as other development programmes.

Promoting comprehensive improvements and development for rural areas is a top priority for us. People who live there are feeding the country. We now see that they are also feeding a major part of the world, so they must live in comfort and dignity. In this connection, I am asking the Government to allocate additional funding for the corresponding programme. Export duties on agricultural produce can serve as a source of funding here. This is a permanent source of revenue. Of course, there can be fluctuations, but at least this ensures a constant flow of revenue.

On a separate note, I suggest that we expand the programmes for upgrading and modernising rural cultural centres, as well as regional theatres and museums by allocating six billion rubles for each of these projects in 2023 and 2024.

What I have just said about cultural institutions is something that people are really looking forward to, something they really care about. Let me give you a recent example: during the presentation of the Hero of Labour medals, one of the winners, Vladimir Mikhailov from Yakutia, asked me directly for help with building a cultural centre in his native village. This was during the part of the ceremony where we meet behind closed doors. We will definitely do this. The fact that people are raising this issue at all levels shows that they are really eager to see these projects implemented.

At this point, I would like to make a sidenote on a topic that is especially relevant now, since we are in early summer, when Russians usually take their summer vacations.

Every year, more and more tourists want to visit the most beautiful corners of our country: national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves. According to available estimates, this year this tourist flow is expected to exceed 12 million people. It is essential that all government bodies, businesses and tourists are well aware of what they can and cannot do in these territories, where they can build tourism infrastructure, and where such activity is strictly prohibited because it endangers unique and fragile ecosystems.

The draft law governing tourism in special protected territories and regulating this activity in a civilised manner is already in the State Duma.

In this context, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we must figure out in advance all the relevant estimates and ensure that the decisions are well-balanced. We need to be serious about this.

I would like to place special emphasis on the need to preserve Lake Baikal. In particular, there is a comprehensive development project for the city of Baikalsk, which must become a model of sustainable, eco-sensitive municipal governance.

This is not just about getting rid of the accumulated negative environmental impacts from the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill, but about setting a higher standard of living for the city and transforming it into a signature destination for environmental tourism in Russia. We need to rely on the most cutting-edge technologies and clean energy when carrying out this project.

Overall, we will be developing clean technology to achieve the goals we set in the environmental modernisation of production facilities, and to reduce hazardous emissions, especially in large industrial centres. We will also continue working on closed-loop economy projects, green projects and climate preservation. I spoke about these issues in detail at this forum last year.

Consequently, the sixth cross-cutting development principle that consolidates our work is, in my opinion, achieving genuine technological sovereignty, creating an integral system of economic development that does not depend on foreign institutions when it comes to critically important components. We need to develop all areas of life on a qualitatively new technological level without being simply users of other countries’ solutions. We must have technological keys to developing next-generation goods and services.

In the past years, we have focused a lot of attention on import substitution, succeeding in a range of industries, including agriculture, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, defence production and several others.

But I should stress that there is a lot of discussion in our society about import substitution. And it is not a cure-all nor a comprehensive solution. If we only imitate others when trying to replace foreign goods with copies, even if very high-quality ones, we may end up constantly playing catch-up while we should be one step ahead and create our own competitive technologies, goods and services that can become new global standards.

If you remember, Sergei Korolyov did not just copy or locally upgrade captured rocket technology. He focused on the future and proposed a unique plan to develop the R-7 rocket. He paved the path to space for humankind and in fact set a standard for the entire world, for decades ahead.

Proactively – this is how founders of many Soviet research programmes worked at the time. And today, building on that groundwork, our designers continue to make progress and show their worth. It is thanks to them that Russia has supersonic weapons that do not exist in any other country. Rosatom remains the leader in nuclear technology, developing our fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers. Many Russian AI and Big Data solutions are the best in the world.

To reiterate, technological development is a cross-cutting area that will define the current decade and the entire 21st century. We will review in depth our approaches to building a groundbreaking technology-based economy – a techno economy – at the upcoming Strategic Development Council meeting. There is so much we can discuss. Most importantly, many managerial decisions must be made in the sphere of engineering education and transferring research to the real economy, and the provision of financial resources for fast-growing high-tech companies. We will also discuss the development of cross-cutting technologies and progress of digital transformation projects in individual industries.

To be clear, of course it is impossible to make every product out there, and there is no need for that. However, we need to possess critical technologies in order to be able to move swiftly should we need to start our own production of any product. This is what we did when we quickly started making coronavirus vaccines, and most recently launched the production of many other products and services.

For example, after dishonest KamAZ partners left the Russian market, their place was taken by domestic companies, which are supplying parts for traditional models and even advanced mainline, transport and heavy-duty vehicles.

The Mir card payment system has successfully replaced Visa and MasterCard on the domestic market. It is expanding its geography and gradually gaining international recognition.

The St Petersburg Tractor Plant is another case in point. Its former foreign partner stopped selling engines and providing warranty maintenance. Engine builders from Yaroslavl and Tutayev came to the rescue and started supplying their engines. As a result, the output of agricultural equipment at the St Petersburg Tractor Plant hit a record high in March-April. It did not decrease, but hit an all-time high.

I am sure there will be more positive practices and success stories.

To reiterate, Russia possesses the professional, scientific and technological potential to develop products that enjoy high demand, including household appliances and construction equipment, as well as industrial and service equipment.

Today’s task is to scale up the capacities and promptly get the necessary lines up and running. One of the key issues is comfortable work conditions for the businesses as well as the availability of prepared production sites.

I ask the Government to submit key parameters of the new operating guidelines for industrial clusters by the autumn. What is critical here?

First – financing. The projects launched in these clusters must have a long-term credit resource for up to ten years at an annual interest rate below seven percent in rubles. We have discussed all these issues with our economic agencies as well. Everyone agreed, so we will proceed.

Second – taxation. The clusters must have a low level of relatively permanent taxes including insurance contributions.

Third – supporting production at the early, kick-off stage, forming a package of orders including subsidising the purchases of ready products by such enterprises. This is not an easy issue but I think subsidies may be required. They are needed to ensure the market. We just have to work it out.

Fourth – simplified administration including minimal or no inspections as well as convenient customs monitoring that is not burdensome.

Fifth, and probably the most important – we need to set up mechanisms of guaranteed long-term demand for the new innovative products that are about to enter the market. I remind the Government that such preferential terms and respective industrial clusters must be launched as early as January 1, 2023.

On a related note, I want to say that both new and already operating points of industrial growth must attract small businesses and engage them in their orbit. It is crucial for entrepreneurs, for small entities to see the horizon and grasp their prospects.

Therefore, I ask the Government together with the SME Corporation [Federal Corporation for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises] and our biggest companies to launch an instrument for long-term contracts between companies with state participation and SMEs. This will ensure demand for the products of such enterprises for years ahead whereas suppliers can confidently undertake commitments to launch a new manufacturing facility or expand an existing one to meet that order.

Let me add that we have substantially shortened the timeframe for building industrial sites and eliminated all the unnecessary burdensome procedures. Still, there is much more we can do here. We have things to work on, and places to go from here. For example, building an industrial facility from the ground up takes anywhere from eighteen months to three years, while the persistently high interest rates make it harder to buy suitable land plots.

Given this, I suggest launching industrial mortgages as a new tool for empowering Russian businesses to quickly start making all the products we need. What I mean are preferential long-term loans at a five-percent interest rate. Companies planning to buy new manufacturing space will be entitled to these loans. I am asking the Government to work out all the details with the Russian banking sector so that the industrial mortgage programme becomes fully operational soon.

Friends,

Changes in the global economy, finances and international relations are unfolding at an ever-growing pace and scale. There is an increasingly pronounced trend in favour of a multipolar growth model in lieu of globalisation. Of course, building and shaping a new world order is no easy task. We will have to confront many challenges, risks, and factors that we can hardly predict or anticipate today.

Still, it is obvious that it is up to the strong sovereign states, those that do not follow a trajectory imposed by others, to set the rules governing the new world order. Only powerful and sovereign states can have their say in this emerging world order. Otherwise, they are doomed to become or remain colonies devoid of any rights.

We need to move forward and change in keeping with the times, while demonstrating our national will and resolve. Russia enters this nascent era as a powerful sovereign nation. We will definitely use the new immense opportunities that are opening up for us in this day and age in order to become even stronger.

Thank you for your attention.

Margarita Simonyan: Thank you, Mr President.

I would very much like to say that after such exhaustive remarks and such an exhaustive analysis, we have nothing left to talk about, because you have answered all the questions. Still, some questions remain, and we will certainly ask them.

And now I would like to ask President Tokayev to come over here and share with us his perspective on the processes taking place in his country, in our country, and in relations between our countries and in the world.

Thank you.

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: President Putin,

forum participants,

I congratulate everyone on a significant event – the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum. I thank President Putin for the invitation and for the warm and cordial welcome in the cultural capital of Russia.

Over the past quarter of a century, the St Petersburg Forum has deservedly gained respect as a prestigious expert platform and occupies a worthy place among other world discussion platforms.

Today, we are meeting in rather extraordinary circumstances – I am referring to the elevated political and economic turbulence. The global upheavals caused by the pandemic and the rising geopolitical tensions have led to a new reality. Globalisation has given way to an era of regionalisation, with all its inherent advantages and disadvantages. Be that as it may, the process of reformatting traditional economic models and trade routes is accelerating.

The world is changing rapidly – unfortunately, in most cases it is not for the better. Inflation in many countries is breaking ten-year records, global economic growth is slowing down, and competition for investment and resources is intensifying.

There are constraining factors for economic growth such as climate change, growing migration flows, and faster technological change. We certainly pay attention to these processes.

Speaking about the new reality, it is important to bear in mind the rapidly changing structure of the international order – even the seemingly stable East-West, North-South vectors of interaction are shifting. It is important for the countries in our region not only to find the right answers to all these challenges, but also to try to make the most of them. Therefore, we have to consistently reach our full potential for cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union. The project to link Eurasian integration with China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is relevant here.

As you know, Kazakhstan is now implementing large-scale political and economic reforms. Their goal is to reset public administration and build a fair, new Kazakhstan. We are working to ensure that there is a correlation between economic growth and rising living standards for our people. We want to achieve sustainable development of trade and economic ties, open new production lines, support the growth of human capital, and make investments.

As part of our large-scale effort to modernise the country, we are drafting new rules of the game in the economy without glaring monopolies and rampant corruption. Our priority is to support businesses and improve the business climate with a view to providing the utmost protection for the rights of investors, and promoting stability and predictability. We will continue meeting all of our commitments to our traditional partners. Kazakhstan will continue building an inclusive, fair society without social inequality.

I believe that to ensure sustainable development of all countries of the region, it is necessary to determine new horizons of cooperation and create new growth points in our economies. Along with this, we must always remember the very important task of ensuring international and regional security.

In this context, I would like to draw your attention to the following points.

The first task, as I have already mentioned, is to strengthen the capacity of the Eurasian Economic Union. This task remains relevant for us. The aggregate size of the economies of its members exceeds $2 trillion. This is an enormous market with free movement of goods, capital, services and workforce. At any rate, this is what it should be.

Despite the pandemic and geopolitical upheavals, cooperation in the EAEU continues to grow stronger. Last year, its trade reached a record $73 billion, which is a third higher than last year.

Russia has been and remains Kazakhstan’s key economic partner in the EAEU. Last year, our trade went up by almost a third to exceed $24 billion. These are record figures for us. The dynamics remains positive this year as well. Our trade increased by over 12 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

I believe that, considering the new reality, it would be appropriate and useful to develop an innovative trade strategy within the Eurasian Economic Union. Instead of imposing counter-sanctions, which, frankly, are unlikely to be productive, a more proactive and flexible trade policy should be pursued covering the Asian and the Middle Eastern markets. Kazakhstan could be instrumental in its role of a buffer market.

Overall, the ultimate success of Eurasian integration largely, if not massively, depends on our effective common trade strategy. Kazakhstan and Russia can break new ground in industrial cooperation.

We have a special plan, a programme for industrial cooperation in the new circumstances. Investors from Russia will be provided with industrial sites complete with infrastructure, and a favourable investment climate will be created for them. As a matter of fact, this is already being done.

The full unlocking of our countries’ agricultural potential is particularly important in these circumstances. According to the FAO [the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations], Russia and Kazakhstan are global leaders in terms of available agricultural land. This fact is of particular importance in light of declining global food security. According to the UN, the number of malnourished people will go from 270 million to 323 million this year.

Providing people with high-quality and safe food remains a priority and a factor in maintaining internal stability.

To create a reliable food system, it is important to implement innovative solutions and advanced technologies, as well as to cut food losses.

Approaches to ensuring food security should be developed at the national level and within regional associations, including the EAEU with account taken of the interests of all state participants. Achieving declared goals in this extremely important area is unlikely without coordinated work.

In other words, fighting skyrocketing inflation and food shortages is our common challenge, which will remain a priority in the foreseeable future, because it directly concerns the well-being of our people. Our countries’ potential makes it possible to consistently and fully supply our markets with the necessary foods, as the President of Russia convincingly demonstrated today.

Secondly, I believe that it is essential that we continue expanding trade and economic cooperation with third countries. Kazakhstan is proactively involved in integration processes, and has always stood for mutually beneficial cooperation with other international organisations.

As far as I know, there has been much interest on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia’s initiative to build a Greater Eurasian Partnership. This concept consists of offering regional organisations a platform for creating a common space of equal cooperation. It is for this reason that Kazakhstan continues to have a positive outlook on the effort to build the Greater Eurasian Partnership.

This year, Kazakhstan chairs the Commonwealth of Independent States. Over the years, this structure has built up a positive track record despite all the geopolitical challenges, which proves that multilateral dialogue tools are effective.

I believe that the CIS is perfectly suited for serving as a foundation for this megaproject. I am referring to Greater Eurasia, or the Greater Eurasian Partnership. It can encompass the SCO, ASEAN, and the Eurasian Economic Union as its integral elements.

Over the next decade, China, India, as well as countries in the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, which have traditionally been friendly to us, can become major investors in the economies of our region.

China has already emerged as Kazakhstan’s main economic and foreign trade partner. This country invested in our economy more than $22 billion over the past 15 years. For this reason, strengthening our multilateral cooperation with China is a very important goal for our country.

Of course, the economy matters today just as much as political considerations. I believe that we have to promote business-to-business ties and build new transport and logistics corridors. Today, we treat these matters as our top priorities when meeting with people from Russia and other interested nations.

There is a lot of potential for combining our efforts to develop a pool of breakthrough innovation and technology projects, as well as uninterrupted transportation and logistics chains. At the end of the day, this will create new economic growth opportunities for our countries.

Thirdly, Kazakhstan maintains its unwavering commitment to international efforts to combat climate change. We will be consistent in our efforts to promote green investment and carry out corresponding projects. Environmental problems are global in nature, affecting almost all countries without exception, including Kazakhstan.

Last year, our farmers had serious problems due to a draught that was triggered by low rainfall and low water level in rivers. The cross-border Ural River is in critical condition. We call it Zhayyq on our territory.

I believe we should tackle such problems together when faced with such long-term challenges to the sustainable development of our states. I think we should give serious thought to the prospects of introducing the principles of closed-loop or circular economy. We are working to reduce the GDP’s energy-output ratio, expand the renewable energy sector and reduce transit losses in this area.

The similarity of our economies, industrial infrastructure ties between our two countries and geography as such are prompting us to pool efforts in this strategically important area as well. I hope that together we will manage to draft effective approaches and specific measures for tangible progress in this field.

Fourthly. High quality human resources and constructive inter-cultural dialogue are a reliable source of economic growth. As part of the UN-proclaimed International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures, we will continue our policy of preserving the cultural diversity of our country and promoting international dialogue between civilisations.

In September our capital will host yet another congress of world and traditional religions. We welcome the participation of religious figures from Russia in this forum. Practically all of them confirmed their participation.

Kazakhstan is actively reformatting the system of its higher education with the participation of leading foreign universities, including Russian ones. The deepening of international academic ties has special significance for promoting the traditions of bilateral cooperation.

I am convinced that the successful implementation of a number of joint educational and cultural initiatives will allow us to make a tangible contribution to the steady economic advance of our country.

Participants of the forum,

Kazakhstan proceeds from its firm conviction that Eurasia is our common home and that all countries on our continent should closely cooperate in the community. We are confident that the building of a peaceful, stable and economically strong Eurasia will become a major factor of sustainable development and inclusive growth on a global scale.

I am convinced that this prestigious discussion venue that unites top class experts has great potential in searching for constructive ideas aimed at normalising the international situation and recovering the positive dynamics of the world economy.

Thank you for your attention.

Margarita Simonyan: Thank you very much, President Tokayev.

Eurasia is indeed our common home. We all want this home to be safe and prosperous through God’s help and our mutual efforts.

And now we will turn to Africa. We have a video address from President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Can we have it on the screens, please? Thank you.

President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi: In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful,

President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin,

Ladies and gentlemen,

At the outset, allow me to extend to His Excellency, President Vladimir Putin, my sincere congratulations on the silver jubilee of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Since 1997, when it has been held for the first time, the forum has become a leading platform for the business community and a remarkable economic event that seeks to discuss the key economic issues facing emerging markets and the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Arab Republic of Egypt, as a guest country, will be part of this year’s session of the forum, which marks the 25th anniversary of its launch, thus confirming the distinguished level that Egyptian-Russian economic relations have reached over the recent years.

This year’s forum is being held amid unprecedented political and economic challenges of a strategic nature. We hope that the outcomes of the forum will contribute to finding effective solutions to these challenges in a way that mitigates the impact of the global economic crisis and its negative repercussions on many countries in the world, especially the economies of emerging countries, takes the concerns and interests of all parties into account, and achieves the security and tranquility of peoples.

This would be achieved through long-term political understandings that open the way for the growth of the global economy, especially in the wake of the severe coronavirus pandemic, which has cost our societies many victims and considerable money and resources, thus making us keen to avoid any slowdown in the global economy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me use this opportunity to reiterate that the Arab Republic of Egypt values its firm, historic friendship relations with the Russian Federation, and values the tangible progress the two countries’ relations have been witnessing over the past years in a multitude of vital sectors, for the two countries’ economies and the prosperity of the two peoples.

The Arab Republic of Egypt and the Russian Federation have been engaged over the past years in the implementation of mega and ambitious projects that serve our countries and respond to the aspirations of our peoples to realise more economic progress.

The most prominent of these are: the project for the establishment of the Dabaa nuclear power plant, which comes within the context of the Egyptian State’s strategy to expand national projects for the use of new and renewable sources of energy.

Another project is the establishment of the Russian Industrial Zone in the Economic Zone of the Suez Canal, which is meant to become an important platform for industry in Africa.

This is in addition to cooperation between the two countries to upgrade the Egyptian railway network and other joint ventures that realise the benefit of the two peoples.

Ladies and gentlemen,

You must be aware that the exceptional events that have been taking place in the Arab Republic of Egypt over the past decade had their immense impact on the overall economic situation in the country. The Egyptian people stood up to surmount this crisis by supporting a clear vision, based on investing in the Egyptian citizen and developing his capabilities.

Therefore, Egypt Vision 2030 was launched to reflect the state’s long-term strategic plan to achieve the principles and goals of sustainable development, with its economic, social and environmental dimensions.

Based on this vision, the Government of Egypt has modernised its legislative structure to enable Egypt to attract more foreign investment. This qualified Egypt to become the top destination for attracting foreign investments in Africa and one of the few countries in the world capable of achieving a growth rate of up to 3.3 percent in 2021, despite the negative challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19 and their impact on the global economy. We expect the Egyptian economy to grow by 5.5% during the current fiscal year. The country’s non-petroleum exports also increased during 2021 to reach $32 billion.

Egypt has also succeeded, within the framework of its strategy to increase its capabilities, to implement mega agricultural projects that are aimed at increasing agricultural land by almost 2 million feddans.

This is in addition to the mega projects Egypt is implementing in the fields of transport, by expanding thousands of kilometers of roads and upgrading Egypt’s transport system by introducing new projects. Those include the high-speed rail that will constitute a means to link the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, thus boosting and facilitating international trade.

Adding to this are the mega industrial projects and the numerous projects in the field of clean energy production, which have been established in Egypt at a rapid pace over the past period.

Despite the previously-mentioned national efforts, Egypt’s actions and efforts to achieve progress were hit recently by economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The world was partially recovering from its effects and repercussions, when it was hit again by a great economic crisis that cast a shadow over growth rates and negatively affected states’ budgets, reflecting on the rise of fuel prices and the decline in the value of the national currencies in the face of hard currencies. This is in addition to the disruption in supply chains, the emergence of the food crisis, as well as the irregular movement of civil aviation. This sector is connected with vital fields of the Egyptian economy, primarily tourism and insurance.

Addressing this crisis, which has an international character, requires international efforts and collaboration among all parties in order to get matters back to their normal state, particularly the movement of maritime traffic and the regularity of supply chains, particularly foodstuff, such as grain and vegetable oil.

This also requires working toward restoring calm and stability at the international level, in order to mitigate the impact of this economic crisis on the peoples, who seek peace and development.

I also call on all companies participating in this forum and others to take advantage of this huge opportunity that is provided by investing in Egypt in all fields.

I would not miss, before concluding my speech, thanking the people of Saint Petersburg, this brave city throughout history, which at the same time represents an icon for culture and openness on the outside world.

Finally, I would like, once again, to thank His Excellency, President Vladimir Putin, for his kind invitation for Egypt to participate in this forum as a guest of this round, wishing the forum and the participants all success and blessings and wishing our friendly countries more constructive cooperation, prosperity and progress. We pray God Almighty to spread peace and stability across the world and to spare our peoples the scourge of war and its economic and social impact by giving priority to the language of dialogue, understanding and co-existence.

Thank you.

Margarita Simonyan: We are grateful to the President of Egypt. I think that the people of the host city should be especially pleased to hear his warm words about St Petersburg.

We have just a little time left before the discussion begins. They say anticipation increases desire.

We will now listen to an address by President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping.

President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping (retranslated): President Putin, ladies and gentlemen, friends,

I am delighted to have this opportunity to address the plenary session of the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum, which I attended in person three years ago.

In February this year, President Putin visited China and attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. We had a detailed exchange of views, following which we reached a vital agreement on expanding our comprehensive practical cooperation and implementing the concept of global governance based on joint consultations, joint participation and joint use.

Cooperation between China and Russia is currently ascending in all spheres. Our bilateral trade reached $65.8 billion over the first five months of this year. We can expect to attain new records by year-end. This is evidence of the high resilience and ingenious potential of Chinese-Russian cooperation.

The world is entering a new period of turbulence and transformation amid the ongoing radical changes and the coronavirus pandemic. There is an obvious trend of anti-globalism, a growing divide between the South and the North, and a weakening of cooperation drivers in the area of development, which could plunge the erratically reviving global economy into a deep recession and create unprecedented challenges to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

According to ancient Chinese words of wisdom, a clever man sees a seed of crisis in every opportunity and an opportunity in every crisis. Danger and opportunity always go together. By overcoming danger, you get opportunity. Strength lies in confidence. The more there are difficulties, the more important it is to remain confident.

During last year’s session of the UN General Assembly, I proposed a Global Development Initiative, which was positively received and supported by a number of international organisations, including the UN, and about a hundred countries.

Today, at a time when the international community is ever more interested in achieving more equitable, sustainable and secure development, we should seize opportunities, meet challenges head-on, and work on the implementation of the Global Development Initiative to build a shared future of peace and prosperity.

First, we need to create conditions for development. It is important that we follow true multilateralism, respect and support all countries’ pursuit of development paths suited to their national conditions, build an open world economy, and increase the representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries in global economic governance with a view to making global development more balanced, coordinated and inclusive.

Second, we need to strengthen development partnerships. It is important that we enhance North-South and South-South cooperation, pool cooperation resources, platforms and networks of development partnerships, and scale up development assistance in order to forge greater synergy for development and close the development gap.

Third, we need to advance economic globalization. It is important that we enhance the coordination of development policies and international rules and standards, reject attempts at separation, supply disruption, unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure, remove trade barriers, keep global industrial and supply chains stable, tackle the worsening food and energy crises, and revive the world economy.

Fourth, we need to pursue innovation-driven development. It is important that we unlock the potential of innovation-driven growth, improve the rules and institutional environment for innovation, break down barriers to the flow of innovation factors, deepen exchanges and cooperation on innovation, facilitate deeper integration of science and technology into the economy, and make sure the fruits of innovation are shared by all.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

The fundamentals of the Chinese economy are its strong resilience, enormous potential and long-term sustainability, which remain unchanged. We have full confidence in China’s economic development. China will continue to promote high-quality development, promote openness with firm resolve, and pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

China stands ready to work with Russia and all other countries to explore development prospects, share growth opportunities, and make new contributions to deepening global development cooperation and building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Thank you.

Margarita Simonyan: Thank you, Mr President.

Coming to learn Chinese wisdom and some of Chinese sagacity is always a good thing, especially now that Chinese wisdom might come in useful for the entire world.

Mr President, I would like to show you something that I have brought with me especially. It is juice, and it used to be so nicely coloured. It does not matter what sort of juice it is; you cannot even see the brand here, although it is a popular one. And now – do you see? A small picture and the rest is white. Why is that? And this is happening on a massive scale.

Because we ran out of paint. The producer of paint for such packaging has left Russia, and the producer of the packaging also announced that they are leaving. I bought this two weeks ago, and soon this will disappear. As a result, we will have to pour it into bottles or three-litre glass jars, like it was in my childhood, unless we discover that we do not produce bottles either.

There are conflicting opinions on this. You have touched upon this issue today. Some of the participants – a considerable part, maybe even the majority – came here by Sapsan trains. Some say “We will swap Sapsans for Chinese trains, they are even better,” since Siemens has gone. Others say “We will learn to make them ourselves.” Let me remind you that we launched our own high-speed trains in 1984, I think they were called ER200. I was four years old, did not go to school yet, but we already had high-speed trains – but we do not have them any longer. It is sad, isn’t it?

And there are also people who say that no, we cannot replace all that, we can use Sapsan trains for another couple of years and then we will just give up high-speed railways, which means we will step back from what we got used to. And it is like this with everything: telephones, computers, everything we got used to. This is a very sad, I would even say heartbreaking plan.

Maybe there is a different plan?

Vladimir Putin: Whenever any decisions are taken, the key issues must be to singled out. What is key for us? Being independent, sovereign and ensuring future-oriented development both now and for the future generations? Or having packaging today?

Unless we have sovereignty, we will soon have to buy everything and will only produce oil, gas, hemp fibre, saddles and sell rough logs abroad.

It is inevitable. I have already said so in my speech: only sovereign countries can expect to have a sovereign future. That does not mean, however, that we need to plunge back into a situation of 30, 40 or 50 years ago.

Regarding packaging. I do not think it is such a complicated thing that either our partners from other countries can replace, who will be pleased to occupy this market sooner or later, or we will be able to make ourselves.

Margarita Simonyan: You do not see it, but President Tokayev is nodding his head: they will probably be able to replace it.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: Absolutely, this is not a problem.

Vladimir Putin: Of course, we will able to replace it.

The question is about a totally different matter. We keep talking about import substitution. In my speech here I also said – and I will just add a couple of words so as not to take too much time while answering only one question.

The issue is not about import substitution, the issue is to establish our own capabilities based on progress in education, science and new promising schools of engineering. We will always be given packaging materials and other simple things, event telephones and smartphones. What we have never been given and never will be is critically important technologies. We have never been given them before even though we had problem-free relations with our Western partners in the previous decades. This is the problem.

And when we begin to stand up for our rights, we are immediately slapped with some sanctions and restrictions; this is what the problem is all about. Therefore, we must commit ourselves to that and have the capacity to reproduce critically important technologies on the basis of what I mentioned. And with that base we will always be able to manufacture the goods you mentioned: packaging materials, telephones and smartphones. If we realise that and keep focusing on solving fundamental issues, we will resolve everything else without a problem.

Let me reiterate: others are already coming to that place – those who produce the packaging materials, those who produce the paints. We are also starting to produce paints and other consumer goods as well as goods employed in industry in a broader sense. We can make anything – I have absolutely no doubt about that.

Obviously, some things will be lost, other things will be made on a new basis, much more advanced – the way it happened earlier. Therefore, when we talk about import substitution, we will substitute something while other things will have to be done on a totally new promising basis of our own making.

Margarita Simonyan: Thank you. President Tokayev, would you like to add anything?

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: I think everything is clear here, and judging by President Putin’s extremely interesting speech, we can understand that he is thinking in the categories of historical perspective, so to say.

Margarita Simonyan: As always.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: And juice packaging has no place here.

Indeed, it is a small problem, nature abhors a vacuum: others will come who will be producing juice packaging that is just as good, and local producers will appear.

The issue is about something else. In particular, I said in my speech about the importance of Eurasian cooperation, about the importance of uniting efforts to resolve unexpected problems. I think we will arrive at the result we are seeking on this road.

To be continued.

The Empire Strikes Back: Imperialism’s global war on multipolarity

June 15, 2022

This is a series of talks where each talk is short and one can enjoy the long video in shorter pieces.  An absolute must-listen is the convenor’s (Radhika Desai) opening statement which explains so clearly the concept of multi-polarity or pluripolarity.

The second one by Victor Gao brings a new view to how China perceives these changes in our world.

Ben Norton from Multipolarista takes a look at the influence of socialism in the Belt and Road Initiative.

All of these are worth listening to, and it is easy as the presentations are short, and one can come back to it.

Topics include: * NATO, AUKUS and the military infrastructure of the New Cold War * The evolving China-Russia relationship and the West’s response * The Biden administration’s undermining of the One China Principle * Solomon Islands and the West’s plan for hegemony in the Pacific * NATO’s plan for Ukraine and how this impacts China * Prospects for sovereign development in the Global South

Speakers: * Victor Gao (Vice President, Center for China and Globalization) * Ben Norton (Editor, Multipolarista) * Li Jingjing (Reporter, CGTN) * Jenny Clegg (Author, ‘China’s Global Strategy: Toward a Multipolar World’) * Danny Haiphong (Author, ‘American Exceptionalism and American Innocence’) * Chris Matlhako (SACP Second Deputy General Secretary) * Mustafa Hyder Sayed (Executive Director, Pakistan-China Institute) * Professor Ding Yifan (Senior Fellow, Taihe Institute, China) * Ju-Hyun Park (Writer and organizer, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development) * Rob Kajiwara (President, Peace For Okinawa Coalition) * Sara Flounders (United National Antiwar Coalition, International Action Center) * Yury Tavrovsky (Chairman, Russian-Chinese Committee for Friendship, Peace and Development)

Sitrep Operation Z: Beginning of this End (but there are other beginnings and other ends)

June 10, 2022

Source

by Amarynth

The SMO is beginning to end.  We can classify it now as a perfect real world training ground for Russian military and is in its final stages.   The ‘punitive war’ by their own actions, is heating up in Europe, and the world war between a single polar hegemon and a multi-polar world.  At the Saker Blog we will continue with presenting good sources until the last battle is fought, but we go with Martyanov, that the minutae is almost boring now.

We start with Military Summary for end of June 9th.  This is an important one as it visually shows the Russian progress.  He also on various occasions talks about collapse of the Ukrainian front lines and describes how that is happening.  He also updates on new Russian weapons being used.

https://rumble.com/v17wh8w-ukraine.-military-summary-and-analysis-09.06.2022.html

Then, it is good to take a look at Brian Berletic, whose audience is more toward the English speaking world.  His expectation still is a long war. This of course is debatable.  The take-away from Berletic is Russian Gains, Ukrainian Grain, Kiev Admits Losses.

Follow from a Berletic recommendation to catch up with the Ukrainian Commander who defected to Russia.

Also follow Andrey Martyanov here:  http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/06/larch-defines-moral-point-larrys-friend.html

He is hoping to get a video out on the issue of both losses and operations of 4 SU-57 which have been confirmed by Ria as fully netcentric (in Russian), and effective against Ukie Air Defense.

The biggest problems remaining is the Ukrainians using civilians as human shields and the shelling into Donetsk

Both of these will reduce as the Ukrainians get dead.

On the three mercenaries that received the death penalty by firing squad, the Russian FM:

The foreign fighters in Donetsk who were sentenced to death are not legal combatants and therefore are not protected by international humanitarian law, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

According to the official, the UK is yet to reach out to the breakaway state’s authorities, regarding two British citizen’s fate.

Liz Truss?  What can we say?  She is proclaiming loudly that they are prisoners of war.   So, it is easy to reason that if she recognizes to British fighters are prisoners of war, legally, who is it that is fighting against Russia?

Ruble Strengthens again .. Despite Central Bank Cutting Interest Rates

The US dollar fell below 57 rubles on Moscow’s Exchange.

The Euro also slumped under 60 rubles – even as the Central Bank cut interest rates 1.5 percentage points.

Finally, a horrible delight or a stark naked expression of Russian feelings.  This is the real Russian sentiment to the Ukronazis from a Russian teenager.  (Oofff.. its wild!)

https://odysee.com/$/embed/russia-russian-teenager-on-ukrainians/217f5c5011a79abc84a2e8bc7799d1321a7a1e4c

Will the Global South break free from dollarized debt?

In his latest book, economist Michael Hudson pits socialism against finance capitalism and tears apart the ‘dream civilization’ imposed by the 1 percent.

June 09, 2022

By Pepe Escobar

Let’s jump straight into the fray. Hudson begins with an analysis of the “take the money and run” ethos, complete with de-industrialization, as 90 percent of US corporate revenue is “used to share buybacks and dividend payouts to support company stock prices.”

Michael Hudson’s new book on the world’s urgent global economic re-set is sure to ruffle some Atlanticist feathers.Photo Credit: The Cradle

With The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism, Michael Hudson, one of the world’s leading independent economists, has given us arguably the ultimate handbook on where we’re at, who’s in charge, and whether we can bypass them.

That represents the apex of “Finance Capitalism’s” political strategy: to “capture the public sector and shift monetary and banking power” to Wall Street, the City of London and other western financial centers.

The whole Global South will easily recognize the imperial modus operandi: “The strategy of US military and financial imperialism is to install client oligarchies and dictatorships, and arm-twist allies to join the fight against designated adversaries by subsidizing not only the empire’s costs of war-making (“defense”) but even the imperial nation’s domestic spending programs.” This is the antithesis of the multipolar world advocated by Russia and China.

In short, our current Cold War 2.0 “is basically being waged by US-centered finance capitalism backing rentier oligarchies against nations seeking to build up more widespread self-reliance and domestic prosperity.”

Hudson presciently reminds us of Aristotle, who would say that it is in the interest of financiers to wield their power against society at large: “The financial class historically has been the major beneficiary of empires by acting as collection agents.”

So inevitably the major imperial leverage over the world, a true “strategy of underdevelopment,” had to be financial: instrumentalizing IMF pressure to “turn public infrastructure into privatized monopolies, and reversing 20th century pro-labor reforms” via those notorious ‘conditionalities’ for loans.

No wonder the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), established in Belgrade in 1961 with 120 nations and 27 observers, became such a threat to US global strategy. The latter predictably fought back with a slew of ethnic wars and the earliest incarnations of color revolution – fabricating dictatorships on an industrial scale, from Suharto to Pinochet.

The culmination was a cataclysmic Houston get-together in December 19, 1990 “celebrating” the dissolution of the USSR, as Hudson reminds us how the IMF and the World Bank “laid out a blueprint for Russia’s leaders to impose austerity and give away its assets – it didn’t matter to whom – in a wave of ‘shock therapy’ to let the alleged magic of free enterprise create a neoliberal free-for-all.”

Lost in a Roman wilderness of debt

To a large extent, nostalgia for the rape-and-pillaging of 1990s-era Russia fuels what Hudson defines as the New Cold War, where Dollar Diplomacy must assert its control over every foreign economy. The New Cold War is not waged only against Russia and China, “but against any countries resisting privatization and financialization under US sponsorship.”

Hudson reminds us how China’s policy “followed almost the same path that American protectionism did from 1865 though 1914 – state subsidy for industry, heavy public-sector capital investment…and social spending on education and health care to upgrade the quality and productivity of labor. This was not called Marxism in the United States; it was simply the logical way to look at industrialization, as part of a broad economic and social system.”

But then, finance – or casino – capitalism gained steam, and left the US economy mainly with “agribusiness farm surpluses, and monopolies in information technology (largely developed as a by-product of military research), military hardware, and pharmaceutical patents (based on public seed-money to fund research) able to extract monopoly rent while making themselves largely tax-exempt by using offshore banking centers.”

That’s the current State of Empire: relying only “on its rentier class and Dollar Diplomacy,” with prosperity concentrated in the top one percent of establishment elites. The inevitable corollary is US diplomacy imposing illegal, unilateral sanctions on Russia, China and anyone else who defies its diktats.

The US economy is indeed a lame post-modern remake of the late Roman empire: “dependent on foreign tribute for its survival in today’s global rentier economy.” Enter the correlation between a dwindling free lunch and utter fear: “That is why the United States has surrounded Eurasia with 750 military bases.”

Delightfully, Hudson goes back to Lactantius, in the late 3rd century, describing the Roman empire on Divine Institutes, to stress the parallels with the American version:

“In order to enslave the many, the greedy began to appropriate and accumulate the necessities of life and keep them tightly closed up, so that they might keep these bounties for themselves. They did this not for humanity’s sake (which was not in them at all), but to rake up all things as products of their greed and avarice. In the name of justice they made unfair and unjust laws to sanction their thefts and avarice against the power of the multitude. In this way they availed as much by authority as by strength of arms or overt evil.”

Socialism or barbarism

Hudson succinctly frames the central issue facing the world today: whether “money and credit, land, natural resources and monopolies will be privatized and concentrated in the hands of a rentier oligarchy or used to promote general prosperity and growth. This is basically a conflict between finance capitalism vs. socialism as economic systems.”

To advance the struggle, Hudson proposes a counter-rentier program which should be the Global South’s ultimate Blueprint for responsible development: public ownership of natural monopolies; key basic infrastructure in public hands; national self-sufficiency – crucially, in money and credit creation; consumer and labor protection; capital controls – to prevent borrowing or denominating debts in foreign currency; taxes on unearned income such as economic rent; progressive taxation; a land tax (“will prevent land’s rising rental value from being pledged to banks for credit to bid up real estate prices”); use of the economic surplus for tangible capital investment; and national self-sufficiency in food.

As Hudson seems to have covered all the bases, at the end of the book I was left with only one overarching question. I asked him how he analyzed the current discussions between the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and the Chinese – and between Russia and China, further on down the road – as being able to deliver an alternative financial/monetary system. Can they sell the alternative system to most of the planet, all while dodging imperial financial harassment?

Hudson was gracious enough to reply with what could be regarded as the summary of a whole book chapter: “To be successful, any reform has to be system-wide, not merely a single part. Today’s western economies have become financialized, leaving credit creation in private hands – to be used to make financial gains at the expense of the industrial economy… This aim has spread like leprosy throughout entire economies – their trade patterns (dependency on US agricultural and oil exports, and IT technology), labor relations (anti-unionism and austerity), land tenure (foreign-owned plantation agriculture instead of domestic self-reliance and self-sufficiency in food grains), and economic theory itself (treating finance as part of GDP, not as an overhead siphoning off income from labor and industry alike).”

Hudson cautions that “in order to break free of the dynamic of predatory finance-capitalism sponsored by the United States and its satellites, foreign countries need to be self-sufficient in food production, energy, technology and other basic needs. This requires an alternative to US ‘free trade’ and its even more nationalistic ‘fair trade’ (deeming any foreign competition to US-owned industry ‘unfair’). That requires an alternative to the IMF, World Bank and ITO (from which Russia has just withdrawn). And alas, an alternative also requires military coordination such as the SCO [the Shanghai Cooperation Organization] to defend against the militarization of US-centered finance capitalism.”

Hudson does see some sunlight ahead: “As to your question of whether Russia and China can ‘sell’ this vision of the future to the Global South and Eurasian countries, that should become much easier by the end of this summer. A major byproduct (not unintended) of the NATO war in Ukraine is to sharply raise energy and food prices (and shipping prices). This will throw the balance of payments of many Global South and other countries into sharp deficit, creating a crisis as their dollar-denominated debt to bondholders and banks falls due.”

The key challenge for most of the Global South is to avoid default:

“The US raise in interest rates has increased the dollar’s exchange rate not only against the euro and Japanese yen, but against the Global South and other countries. This means that much more of their income and export revenue must be paid to service their foreign debt – and they can avoid default only by going without food and oil. So what will they choose? The IMF may offer to create SDRs to enable them to pay – by running even further into dollarized debt, subject to IMF austerity plans and demands that they sell off even more of their natural resources, forests and water.”

So how to break free from dollarized debt? “They need a critical mass. That was not available in the 1970s when a New International Economic Order was first discussed. But today it is becoming a viable alternative, thanks to the power of China, the resources of Russia and those of allied countries such as Iran, India and other East Asian and Central Asian countries. So I suspect that a new world economic system is emerging. If it succeeds, the last century – since the end of World War I and the mess it left – will seem like a long detour of history, now returning to what seemed to be the basic social ideals of classical economics – a market free from rent-seeking landlords, monopolies and predatory finance.”

Hudson concludes by reiterating what the New Cold War is really all about:

“In short, it is a conflict between two different social systems, each with their own philosophy of how societies work. Will they be planned by neoliberal financial centers centered in New York, supported by Washington’s neo-cons, or will they be the kind of socialism that the late 19th century and early 20th century envisioned – a ‘market’ and, indeed, society free from rentiers? Will natural monopolies such as land and natural resources be socialized and used to finance domestic growth and housing, or left to financial interests to turn rent into interest payments eating into consumer and business income? And most of all, will governments create their own money and steer banking to promote domestic prosperity, or will they let private banks (whose financial interests are represented by central banks) take control away from national treasuries?”

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Operation Z+: On Raising the Iron Curtain Which Hangs Over Europe

June 05, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

From Kaliningrad on the Baltic to Odessa on the Black Sea an iron curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of Western, Central and Eastern Europe, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the American sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to American influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from the Great Satan in Washington, cutting off that dark and tiny Western world from the teeming billions of toiling humanity, in China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, indeed all the Muslim World, all Africa and all Latin America. It is they who are now looking with hope to Russia, to her light to free the world, to her wheat to feed the world, and to her oil to warm the world.

The Fulton Speech II

‘And I heard a voice in the midst of the beasts saying, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine’.

The Apocalypse 6:6

Introduction: 6 June 1945

There is a type of history known as ‘What if History’. Its correct name is ‘Suppositional History’. Quite simply, it deals with logical but parallel universes of the imagination and asks, ‘What if/suppose X had not happened, and Y had happened instead, what would Z be like today? One jump of the imagination and we can arrive in a very logical, quite plausible, yet actually non-existent, world. One of these what-if questions is: What would have happened if the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ (British, Americans and Canadians) had not invaded Normandy on 6 June 1944 or else had been repelled? The answer we come to is that the Red Army would not have stopped in Berlin in May 1945. It would have gone on, leaving Berlin and the suicide of Hitler far behind them, and almost unopposed, it would have gone on to the very coasts of Western Europe.

Then the phrase ‘The Normandy Landings’ would have had a very different meaning. 6 June 1945 would have looked very different from 6 June 1944. Ironically, the fact that D-Day happened means that Western Europe was never liberated from the Nazi mentality (1). In other words it was never freed from that bizarre ideology and mentality of Western Supremacism, which declares that ‘The West is Best’. In 2022 we are still paying the price for this failure to finish World War II. This is why it is absurd to talk of World War III; World War II has not finished yet (2). Yet, perhaps some of us will one day see Russian troops liberating Europe, not only as far as Paris as in 1814, but as far as Normandy and even beyond, to the islands across the sea, to what the ancients called ‘Ultima Thule’.

Operation Z

Today’s conflict in the Ukraine would have been over by now, if the West had not constantly escalated it, continually creating new provocations and refusing to allow their puppet regime in Kiev to surrender. As a result, the Russian Federation Forces and Allies are having to destroy not only Kiev Army military equipment but also swathes of NATO equipment, brought in from Western Europe and ultimately even from the USA. Once that equipment, much of it obsolete, has been used up, destroyed by Russian missiles, NATO will be on the run. So what could happen then? Some will object, but the Russian Federation only wanted to liberate the Donbass? Was it then lying? Did it want to occupy all the Ukraine after all or even go further?

No, it was not lying, but because of the host of Western-inspired provocations, such as cutting off water and power to the Crimea, the Federation is being obliged to occupy not only the Russian-speaking East, but also the Russian-speaking South of the Ukraine. Moreover, since the North and the West of the Ukraine are being sent new and threatening weapons (a lot had already been supplied in the years and months before the Special Operation, in preparation for the Ukrainian campaign to genocide the Donbass and invade the Crimea in early March 2022), they too will have to be dealt with in some way or other. Since so many millions of anti-Russian Ukrainians have left the North and the West of the Ukraine for the West, the Russian task may no longer be so difficult. Demilitarisation means what it says – destroying everything that NATO sends, however that plays out.

The latest news is that the idiotic and ignorant British Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, now wants to NATO-ise Moldova. So that too will have to be cleared. Since the total strength of the Moldovan Army, many of whom are pro-Russian anyway, is 5,000, it should not be difficult. But why stop there? If the Ukraine and Moldova can be cleared by the end of 2022, which is possible, there comes 2023. As we have mentioned previously, we have the concept of Operation Z+. What does that mean? It means the demilitarisation and denazification of the whole world, beginning with the small but densely-populated European Peninsula.

This means not only liberating the peoples of the present EU from crushing ‘defence’ (= offence) costs, which have so impoverished its peoples for so long. Above all it means internal liberation, ridding the peoples of Europe of the millennial parasite of the Nazi ideology and mentality, with which they have been so infected by their elite that it has become an unconscious but integral part of Western culture. This is so much so that they do not even realise that they are Nazis and would be shocked by the mere suggestion. Yet, it is precisely this disease of Western Supremacism that has deformed, twisted, brainwashed, manipulated and deluded the Western world for so long.

Of course, such a highly ambitious project cannot happen just like that. We are talking about slow, progressive and generational change, and by no means necessarily by military means. Here below, as an example, is a 44-year programme. This is not at all realistic in its precision (timetables never work – reality takes over), but it does set a sort of guideline or target to move towards. And all is possible, once the Ukraine has been delivered from the bonds of Satan. The bonds of Satan, after all, are the meaning of the flying of the Ukrainian flag in the Collective West and its use, for instance, on Twitter and Facebook accounts. Let us explain:

Those who have little concept of where the Ukraine is, or the fact that this artificial hotchpotch of an ‘independent’ country (in fact, a US colony) has only existed for some thirty years and that it has oppressed and exiled millions of people and murdered tens of thousands in the name of its Nazi ideology, do know one thing: Flying a Ukrainian flag means displaying their own self-interest – the Ukrainian flag represents the flag of their personal, though usually quite unconscious, Nazi ideology of Western Supremacism (3). Once the Ukraine has been cleansed by Operation Z, somewhere they know that they will be cleansed next. They fear that cleansing. The coming of reality will terrify the deluded with the frightening words: after Z comes Z+.

Operation Z+

1. 2022: The Liberation of the ‘Ukraine’ and Moldova

Nobody knows when the demilitarisation of what will remain of the old Ukraine will be complete. The old Ukraine could collapse in weeks, with a military coup against the puppet-traitor Zelensky, or it could take a year or even more. We make no forecasts. At the moment NATO is escalating the conflict even further, but from the very outset this always was a proxy war between Washington and Moscow. In any case, it seems as if a military government will be required for the future Ukraine (population 15 million?) in its new borders. Ukrainian civilian governments, led by Non-Ukrainian oligarchs and their puppets, have all been utterly corrupt, to the benefit and the intention of the West.

Nobody knows what will happen in the far west of the Ukraine. Will the three provinces of Volyn, Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk return to Poland? Or perhaps more than three will leave? Will so-called ‘Transcarpathia’ (a nonsensical name – it is Kiev that is across the Carpathians), or to call it by its proper names, Carpatho-Russia/Subcarpathian Rus/Ruthenia, return to Hungary or Slovakia, or will it become part of the Russian Federation? Moldova, which has nearly half of its four million population abroad, in exile, is utterly corrupt, making it the poorest country in Europe and ensuring that mass emigration. This problem too will surely have to be dealt with.

2. 2023-2026: The Liberation of the Baltic States

Physically, the tiny and unviable Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, could be conquered and demilitarised swiftly. However, their ‘refascistisation’ under NATO/Nazi US-colonial governments, their deindustrialisation (forcing some 40% of the population to emigrate) and the sadistic oppression of their Russian minorities are all problems that will have to be dealt with. These countries will take time to denazify, even though their population is today barely four million.

3. 2027-2030: The Liberation of the Eastern Balkans

Once the utterly corrupt, US-installed elites of Romania and Bulgaria have been dealt with and NATO terrorist equipment removed, these countries can return to normality.

4. 2031-2034: The Liberation of the Western Balkans

The problems of ex-Yugoslavia and Albania were not only found to be insoluble by the West, the West made them far worse. There must be solutions for maltreated Serbia and Bosnia. Croat and Muslim parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina could be exchanged with Croatia for East Slavonia, which must be returned to Serbia. Some population exchanges would be necessary. Serbia and Montenegro will reunite, once the pro-US traitors of the elite have been removed. Slovenia presents no problem as it is homogeneous. North Macedonia is now an independent country.

However, there remains the problem of Kosovo, divided between Serbians and Albanians. Only great investment and prosperity in the huge tourist potential of Albania, at present the European capital of car-thieves, gun-runners and drug-smugglers, could draw back Albanians from Kosovo to their own country and also attract the Albanian minorities from Montenegro and North Macedonia to a newly prosperous ancestral homeland, so returning those lands to Slavs and making them homogenous again. Goodbye, Camp Bondsteel.

5. 2035-2038: The Liberation of Austro-Hungary

We believe that Hungary would be liberated very quickly, Austria would take longer, but there are some promising signs there. The EU is not popular in either.

6. 2039-2042: The Liberation of the Hellenes

Greece could be liberated relatively easily: Nazism has never dominated there, except among its US-colonial politicians. Cyprus, grabbed by Imperialist Britain in 1878 and let out to it like a piece of real estate, is more complex. The British – in fact – American base there would have to be removed. Although Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots get on well, there is the problem of the US and British-sponsored Turkish invasion of North Cyprus in 1974 and Turkish settlers from the mainland now there. Here Turkey must receive compensation elsewhere, so that Cyprus can be restored.

7. 2043-2046: The Liberation of the West Slavs

Slovakia might be liberated quite easily, but not so much the Germanised Czech Lands or Poland. Nazi operations like Akcja Visla in 1947, when the south-eastern Lemko Rusin minority were terrorised by Fascist Polish troops and forcibly removed from the Beskids show just how vicious Poland can be. Few now recall that Poland had a Fascist government before 1939 and took part in dismembering Czechoslovakia together with Hitler. Yet, it is a fact. Progress here could be slow, even in the 2040s.

8. 2047-2050: The Liberation of the German Lands

This means denazifying (and de-Americanising) the German Lands, in other words, restoring those lands at last to the German Peoples, den deutschen Volken. We do not see Germany remaining as a single nation. It would be better if it returned to being four, five or more different countries, such as Bavaria, Saxony, Hannover, Brandenburg and Westphalia.

9. 2051-2054: The Liberation of the Border German Peoples

By Border German Peoples, we mean the most latinised Germanic peoples, where French or Italian is sometimes also spoken, that is, those in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the artificial, Ukrainian-like (British-invented) country of Belgium, which is in fact part of the Southern Netherlands and, to a smaller extent, part of Northern France. Brussels, its overgrown village of a capital with a large immigrant population, may collapse very quickly once it has been cleansed of the cancerous EU and NATO headquarters.

10. 2055-2058: The Liberation of the Western Latin Peoples

The Western Latin peoples (the Eastern Latin peoples are the Romanians and the Moldovans), are those of France, Corsica, Italy, San Marino, Andorra, Spain, Catalonia, Portugal and their Non-Latin minorities, the Bretons and the Basques. With elites removed, here the ordinary people can at last come to the fore.

11. 2059-2062: The Liberation of the Nordic Peoples

Here we mean the Scandinavian and Nordic countries – Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland. All have very small populations, but all too often have the hypocritical woke mentality of the Nazis. We only have to look at their attitude during the Second World War. Finland fought with the Nazis, Denmark and Norway hardly resisted and ‘neutral’ Sweden willingly supplied essential raw materials to the Reich.

12. 2063-2066: The Liberation of the Isles

This might be the most problematic of all. However, Ireland, soon to be reunited, would surely welcome full liberation, Republican Scotland too, even Wales: only a few are affected there in these Celtic lands of low population. But there is still England, which has to be freed from alien ‘Britain’ and so restored. That which has poisoned England and English life for nearly a millennium, the British Establishment, centred in the Norman-founded City of London (the Old English Capital was Winchester) and spreading its tentacles throughout the country, must be removed.

Consisting of parasitic politicians, with its current Bully Bunter English public schoolboy leader Johnson, the Armed Forces, the Secret Police (politely called MI5), aristocrats, bankers and industrialists, their propaganda mouthpiece, the BBC, condescendingly utilised to control the plebs with the other oligarchic media, as well as other government arms, the Establishment does not represent England, only Britain. Let the oppressed provinces of England rise and reject the gangrene of the tentacular Metropolitan elite. Instead of a Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, imported in order to avoid having a Catholic on the throne, let a Non-French/Welsh/ Scottish/Dutch/German but English monarch at last come to the throne after a thousand years and a trillion tears. Only so can the British abscess be lanced and England healed from its millennial brain and soul-fever.

Conclusion

Here then is a suggestion for raising the European iron curtain, by denazifying, deNATOfying, deEUing and so liberating the European Peninsula of North-Western Eurasia. Some will say that, even spread over 44 years, this project is hopelessly optimistic, it is even impossible; others will say that it is pessimistic, that all could happen within a few years, for Western Europe is a house of cards. We do not know who is right. Is there even a Russian appetite for this? Not without popular support on the ground. Without popular support, no invader can win – even the USA must know this from its defeats in Vietnam and Afghanistan. However, in any case, if the West continues to escalate the conflict in the Ukraine, inevitably it will have to pay for the consequences of its great foolishness. You should not play American roulette (4), especially when you live in a house of cards.

Yet, if multipolar Afro-Eurasia is to forge ahead at full speed, Europe must be liberated from its Western Supremacist/Nazi ideology. And the New Worlds will also have to sort themselves out, though with help. Russia can help in Latin America, China in Oceania. As for North America, the USA will yet collapse into its component parts, with the southern States returning to Mexico, New England going to Canada, other parts becoming independent Confederations, Alaska returning to the Russian Federation, thus restoring the Federation as a tricontinental nation, which is its destiny. Perhaps the denazified British Isles and Ireland could play a useful role in the States that will remain? Of course, we know nothing of how far or fast such an ambitious vision could progress. But frankly, if only 10% of any of the above were achieved, that would be huge and miraculous progress.

Notes:

1. See our article on this site: ‘What Does Nazism Mean?’ (29th March 2022)

2. Many would say that World War II was itself merely the continuation of World War I. The French Marshal Foch considered that the Treaty of Versailles which officially ended the War would lead to a new War. As it was being signed in June 1919, he said: ‘This is not peace. It is an armistice for 20 years’. His forecast was exact to the very year.

3. See our article on this site ‘What Sort of People Fly a Ukrainian Flag?’ (3rd May 2022)

4. This is the correct name for so-called ‘Russian roulette’. It never existed in Russia, but was invented by a US writer for a work of fiction in 1937. Presumably he gave it the Russian name as it sounded ‘exotic’ to him. Another crazy and racist Russophobic invention that only gun-obsessed cowboys with their cult of violence could think up.

لبنان: مقاومة من أجل السيادة و«معارضة» تستبيحها!


الجمعة 3 حزيران 2022

 العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط _

من أبشع ما يعتمد في السياسة في لبنان هو تقليب الحقائق وتحريف الكلام عن مواضعه، واستعمال العبارة والمصطلح بعكس ما وضعا له أصلاً. نقول هذا وفي ذهننا ما يدّعيه البعض من أنه يعمل من أجل السيادة الوطنية وتنظر في فعله فتراه ينتهك السيادة ويعادي لا بل يقاتل من يعمل حقيقة من أجلها ثم يجعل نفسه أداة بيد الخارج المنتهك لهذه السيادة.

فللسيادة كما هو مستقرّ عليه مفهوم فلسفيّ وفقهيّ وقانونيّ، يوكد أنها امتلاك السلطة العليا على الذات بحيث لا يعلوها سلطة، فتكون الذات السيدة مقرّرة لنفسها وبنفسها بشكل مطلق لا يحده قيد ولا تنازعها سلطة أخرى ولا يفرض عليها إملاء صادر عن آخر.

وعندما نقول الذات فإننا نعني أيّ ذات وبمراتبها الأساسية الثلاث بدءاً بالذات القدسية العليا أيّ الله سبحانه وتعالى مروراً بالذات الإنسانية الطبيعية الفردية أيّ الإنسان الفرد، وانتهاءً بالذات المتشكلة اعتبارياً او معنوياً من جماعات أو إرادات وكيانات وعلى رأسها الشخصية الاعتبارية العليا التي تمثل الدولة.

والدولة كما هو متفق عليه في المبادئ السياسية والقانونية حتى والفلسفية هي الكيان الذي ينشأ نتيجة توفر عناصر ثلاثة هي الشعب والأرض والسلطة، والسيادة في الدولة هي أصلاً للشعب وتمارسها السلطة. فالشعب سيد نفسه ويختار او يقبل بسلطة تمارس هذه السيادة بحيث لا يكون في الدولة إلا سلطة واحدة هي السلطة العليا التي لا تعلوها سلطة والتي تقرّر للدولة ما تراه مناسباً لها دون ان يفرض عليها أحد قرار، وعندما نتحدّث عن السلطة فإننا لا ننسى تعدّد الأنظمة الدستورية التي بموجبها تتشكل السلطة ومدى ارتباط او انبثاق هذه السلطة عن الشعب او قبول الشعب بها او فرضها عليه او إذعانه لها.

إذن هناك تمييز بين صاحب السيادة ومن يمارسها. هكذا أجمعت دساتير الدول الحديثة بأن تضمّنت النص على انّ الشعب هو صاحب السيادة والسلطة هي من يمارس هذه السيادة بتفويض من الشعب، تفويض تفسّره نظرية العقد الاجتماعي الذي التقت عليه الفلسفة السياسية لتبرّر كيفية تنازل الفرد عن جزء من حريته وحقوقه لصالح المجتمع والسلطة الوحيدة القائمة فيه من أجل حماية ما تبقي له من حقوق وفي طليعتها الحق بالوجود والأمن.

بيد أنّ الفرد يتنازل للدولة أو بصيغة أدقّ للسلطة في الدولة عن بعض حقوقه من أجل أن تضمن له او توفر له كلّ ما تبقى له من حقوق. فالتنازل هذا هو تنازل مشروط، والشرط الرئيس هو امتلاك الدولة او السلطة في الدولة الطاقة والقوة والقدرة على حماية هذا الجزء المتبقي من الحقوق فإنْ قصرت السلطة في سعيها جاز لمن فوّضها او تنازل لها عن حقّ ان يستعيد بعض او كل ما تنازل عنه حتى يمارس بنفسه تلك الحقوق وبشكل خاص حق الدفاع المشروع عن النفس الذي ضمنته كلّ المواثيق.. هذه هي القواعد والمبادئ التي ترعى السيادة وممارستها. فأين لبنان من ذلك؟

في نظرة على الواقع اللبناني نجد أمرين هامين: الأول ضعف الدولة وعجز السلطة القائمة فيها عن توفير ما يتطلبه الوجود الآمن والعيش الكريم للشعب، والثاني استباحة لبنان وانتهاك سيادته من الخارج. فإذا أردنا ان نفصّل اكثر في هذا فإننا نتوقف عند نماذج صارخة لهذا الانتهاك ومنها:

ـ التدخل الأجنبي في تشكيل السلطة في لبنان وسير أعمالها،

حيث اعتاد لبنان على التدخل الأجنبي في تشكيل سلطته وبدل أن تكون السلطة نتاج إرادة شعبية كما يملي مفهوم السيادة الصحيحة، فقد اعتاد اللبنانيون علي التسليم والخضوع للقرار الأجنبي في اختيار من يلي الحكم بدءاً من انتخاب رئيس الجمهورية وصولاً الى انتخاب النواب وكذلك التدخل في تعيين الوزراء وتشكيل الحكومة. وقلّ ان تجد دولة في العالم يتصرف فيها السفراء الأجانب بالشكل الذي يتصرفون فيه في لبنان، حيث يكاد يظهر السفير الأميركي والفرنسي والسعودي وغيرهم من سفراء الغرب والعرب في لبنان يظهرون بمظهر المرجعية النافذة القرار والتعليمات والتوجيهات التي تعلو سلطة الدولة وتطيح بسيادتها.

ـ الفيتو الغربي على إقامة لبنان علاقات دولية مع الشرق.

إنّ من وجوه أعمال السيادة، كما هو متفق عليه هو حق الدولة في إقامة العلاقات الخارجيّة مع من تشاء من الدول الأخرى، لكن لبنان الخاضع للإملاءات الغربية وبشكل خاص للأميركية منها لا يستطيع أن يقيم علاقات مع الشرق خاصة الصين وإيران وروسيا لسدّ حاجاته ودعم اقتصاده، وفي الوقت الذي تشتدّ الحاجة اللبنانية لتلك العلاقات تشتدّ الضغوط الأميركية لمنعها وتنصاع السلطة في لبنان لتلك الضغوط في دليل إضافي على انّ فوق سلطة لبنان سلطة أخرى أجنبية تقرّر لها وتلزمها في أبشع صورة من صور انتهاك السيادة.

ـ منع لبنان من حلّ مسألة النازحين السوريين.

من المنطقيّ والطبيعيّ أن يقوم لبنان بالتنسيق مع سورية لتنظيم عودة النازحين السوريين الى وطنهم، خاصة بعد ان انتصرت سورية وأفشلت الحرب الكونية التي استهدفتها، ومن مصلحة لبنان أن يتخفف من عبء مليون ونصف مليون لاجئ سوري اليه، خاصة أنّ وجودهم يفاقم الأعباء على الوضع الاقتصادي اللبناني المنهار، إلا انّ الغرب وبقيادة أميركية يمنع السلطة اللبنانية من القيام بذلك ليستعمل النازحين ورقة لابتزاز سورية وترضخ السلطة لهذا الإملاء.

ـ العدوان “الإسرائيلي” وانتهاك السيادة بوجوهها المتعددة.

منذ قيامها مغتصبة لفلسطين دأبت “إسرائيل” على الاعتداء على لبنان في كلّ الميادين براً وبحراً وجواً. وقد بات العدوان “الإسرائيلي” المستمر والمتمادي يشكل وجهاً من أبشع وجوه انتهاك السيادة اللبنانية، حيث إنّ “إسرائيل” تحتلّ أرضاً في لبنان منذ العام ١٩٦٧ ووصلت باجتياحها الى بيروت في العام ١٩٨٢ وتسيطر على الأجواء اللبنانية التي حوّلتها الى فضاء تدريب لطيرانها ومنصات اعتداء على سورية، وكذلك فإنّ تصرفاتها البحرية ومنعها الشركات الأجنبية من التنقيب عن الثروات النفطية في المنطقة الاقتصادية اللبنانية الخالصة، كلّ ذلك يشكل انتهاكاً صارخاً للسيادة اللبنانية، انتهاكاً وقفت الدولة اللبنانية عاجزة أمامه، لا بل انها خضعت في العام ١٩٨٣ للإملاء الأميركي ووقعت مع “إسرائيل” اتفاقية ١٧ أيار التي تتنازل فيها الدولة عن سيادتها في الجنوب لمصلحة العدو، وتقف الآن مكتوفة امام ملف الحدود البحرية واستخراج النفط والغاز.

في مواجهة هذا الانتهاك “الإسرائيلي” المتمادي والعجز الرسمي اللبناني، بادرت فئة من اللبنانيين للدفاع عن سيادة لبنان حيث عجزت السلطة اللبنانية، وبالتالي انّ هذه المبادرة المقاومة للانتهاك تعتبر تعبيراً صحيحاً عن ممارسة حق ووجهاً من وجوه الدفاع عن السيادة التي انتهكها العدو وقصرت سلطة الدولة عن حمايتها ولا يكون في هذا التصدي انتهاك للسيادة، كما يدعي المرجفون، بل يكون خدمة وطنيّة لحماية السيادة التي عجزت سلطة الدولة عن صيانتها.

إنّ قيام المقاومة بالمدافعة عن الأرض والحقوق والثروة يكون فعلاً من أجل صيانة السيادة في ظلّ عجز الدولة عن ذلك، بينما يكون التقاعس عن ممارسة الحقّ المشروع بالدفاع عن النفس بعد عجز سلطة الدولة عن ذلك يكون تفريطاً بالسيادة خلافاً لما يدّعيه البعض من أدوات السفارات في لبنان والذين يطلقون على انفسهم زوراً تسمية “سياديين” وهي تسمية معاكسة للحقيقة. ويكون التصويب على المقاومة تفريطاً بالسيادة وخدمة للعدو وانصياعاً للخارج. فالمقاومة هي بصدق “مقاومة من أجل السيادة” في مقابل مدّعي السيادة الذين هم في الحقيقة أتباع وعملاء للسفارات ومرتزقة لدول أجنبيّة تهدف الى تجريد لبنان من عناصر قوته واستباحة سيادته.

إنّ لبنان من دون المقاومة يعيش وللأسف العجز والعدوان وانتهاك السيادة، واقع لا يمكن أن يعالج إلا عبر إقامة الدولة المدنية القوية العادلة القادرة التي تؤمّن للشعب حقوقه وفي طليعتها الوجود الآمن والعيش الكريم عبر إلغاء الطائفية السياسية واعتماد قانون انتخاب وطني خارج القيد الطائفي ثم بناء الجيش القوى الذي يستطيع ان يواجه الأخطار الداخلية والخارجية وتأكيد تقييد السفراء الأجانب بحدود صلاحياتهم وفقاً لاتفاقية فيينا..

نعم نقول إنّ لبنان في واقعه القائم هو دولة منتهكة السيادة ولا يوجد فعلياً ومضة مضيئة في أفقها لحفظ هذه السيادة إلا المقاومة التي امتنعت عن ممارسة السلطة وركزت على مواجهة العدوان الخارجي، يساندها في ذلك قسم كبير من الشعب هو الأكثرية الوطنية الواضحة وتتكامل مع الجيش اللبناني ليكتمل عقد ثلاثية قوة لبنان “شعب وجيش ومقاومة” في حماية السيادة، ثلاثية تشكل حاجة للبنان حتى بناء الدولة القادرة دون التوقف عند نعيق الناعقين.

*أستاذ جامعيّ ـ باحث استراتيجيّ

CHRIS HEDGES: NO WAY OUT BUT WAR

MAY 23RD, 2022

By Chris Hedges

Source

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (Scheerpost) — The United States, as the near unanimous vote to provide nearly $40 billion in aid to Ukraine illustrates, is trapped in the death spiral of unchecked militarism. No high speed trains. No universal health care. No viable Covid relief program. No respite from 8.3 percent inflation. No infrastructure programs to repair decaying roads and bridges, which require $41.8 billion to fix the 43,586 structurally deficient bridges, on average 68 years old. No forgiveness of $1.7 trillion in student debt. No addressing income inequality. No program to feed the 17 million children who go to bed each night hungry. No rational gun control or curbing of the epidemic of nihilistic violence and mass shootings. No help for the 100,000 Americans who die each year of drug overdoses. No minimum wage of $15 an hour to counter 44 years of wage stagnation. No respite from gas prices that are projected to hit $6 a gallon.

The permanent war economy, implanted since the end of World War II, has destroyed the private economy, bankrupted the nation, and squandered trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. The monopolization of capital by the military has driven the US debt to $30 trillion, $ 6 trillion more than the US GDP of $ 24 trillion. Servicing this debt costs $300 billion a year. We spent more on the military, $ 813 billion for fiscal year 2023, than the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined.

We are paying a heavy social, political, and economic cost for our militarism. Washington watches passively as the U.S. rots, morally, politically, economically, and physically, while China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, and other countries extract themselves from the tyranny of the U.S. dollar and the international Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a messaging network banks and other financial institutions use to send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions. Once the U.S. dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency, once there is an alternative to SWIFT, it will precipitate an internal economic collapse. It will force the immediate contraction of the U.S. empire shuttering most of its nearly 800 overseas military installations. It will signal the death of Pax Americana.

Democrat or Republican. It does not matter. War is the raison d’état of the state. Extravagant military expenditures are justified in the name of “national security.” The nearly $40 billion allocated for Ukraine, most of it going into the hands of weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon Technologies, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing, is only the beginning. Military strategists, who say the war will be long and protracted, are talking about infusions of $4 or $5 billion in military aid a month to Ukraine. We face existential threats. But these do not count. The proposed budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in fiscal year 2023 is $10.675 billion. The proposed budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is $11.881 billion. Ukraine alone gets more than double that amount. Pandemics and the climate emergency are afterthoughts. War is all that matters. This is a recipe for collective suicide.

There were three restraints to the avarice and bloodlust of the permanent war economy that no longer exist. The first was the old liberal wing of the Democratic Party, led by politicians such as Senator George McGovern, Senator Eugene McCarthy, and Senator J. William Fulbright, who wrote The Pentagon Propaganda Machine. The self-identified progressives, a pitiful minority, in Congress today, from Barbara Lee, who was the single vote in the House and the Senate opposing a broad, open-ended authorization allowing the president to wage war in Afghanistan or anywhere else, to Ilhan Omar now dutifully line up to fund the latest proxy war. The second restraint was an independent media and academia, including journalists such as I.F Stone and Neil Sheehan along with scholars such as Seymour Melman, author of The Permanent War Economy and Pentagon Capitalism: The Political Economy of War. Third, and perhaps most important, was an organized anti-war movement, led by religious leaders such as Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr. and Phil and Dan Berrigan as well as groups such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). They understood that unchecked militarism was a fatal disease.

None of these opposition forces, which did not reverse the permanent war economy but curbed its excesses, now exist. The two ruling parties have been bought by corporations, especially military contractors. The press is anemic and obsequious to the war industry. Propagandists for permanent war, largely from right-wing think tanks lavishly funded by the war industry, along with former military and intelligence officials, are exclusively quoted or interviewed as military experts. NBC’s “Meet the Press” aired a segment May 13 where officials from Center for a New American Security (CNAS) simulated what a war with China over Taiwan might look like. The co-founder of CNAS, Michèle Flournoy, who appeared in the “Meet the Press” war games segment and was considered by Biden to run the Pentagon, wrote in 2020 in Foreign Affairs that the U.S. needs to develop “the capability to credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours.”

The handful of anti-militarists and critics of empire from the left, such as Noam Chomsky, and the right, such as Ron Paul, have been declared persona non grata by a compliant media. The liberal class has retreated into boutique activism where issues of class, capitalism and militarism are jettisoned for “cancel culture,” multiculturalism and identity politics. Liberals are cheerleading the war in Ukraine. At least the inception of the war with Iraq saw them join significant street protests. Ukraine is embraced as the latest crusade for freedom and democracy against the new Hitler. There is little hope, I fear, of rolling back or restraining the disasters being orchestrated on a national and global level.  The neoconservatives and liberal interventionists chant in unison for war. Biden has appointed these war mongers, whose attitude to nuclear war is terrifyingly cavalier, to run the Pentagon, the National Security Council, and the State Department.

Since all we do is war, all proposed solutions are military. This military adventurism accelerates the decline, as the defeat in Vietnam and the squandering of $8 trillion in the futile wars in the Middle East illustrate. War and sanctions, it is believed, will cripple Russia, rich in gas and natural resources. War, or the threat of war, will curb the growing economic and military clout of China.

These are demented and dangerous fantasies, perpetrated by a ruling class that has severed itself from reality. No longer able to salvage their own society and economy, they seek to destroy those of their global competitors, especially Russia and China. Once the militarists cripple Russia, the plan goes, they will focus military aggression on the Indo-Pacific, dominating what Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, referring to the Pacific, called “the American Sea.”

You cannot talk about war without talking about markets. The U.S., whose growth rate has fallen to below 2 percent, while China’s growth rate is 8.1 percent, has turned to military aggression to bolster its sagging economy. If the U.S. can sever Russian gas supplies to Europe, it will force Europeans to buy from the United States. U.S. firms, at the same time, would be happy to replace the Chinese Communist Party, even if they must do it through the threat of war, to open unfettered access to Chinese markets. War, if it did break out with China, would devastate the Chinese, American, and global economies, destroying free trade between countries as in World War I. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Washington is desperately trying to build military and economic alliances to ward off a rising China, whose economy is expected by 2028 to overtake that of the United States, according to the UK’s Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The White House has said Biden’s current visit to Asia is about sending a “powerful message” to Beijing and others about what the world could look like if democracies “stand together to shape the rules of the road.” The Biden administration has invited South Korea and Japan to attend the NATO summit in Madrid.

But fewer and fewer nations, even among European allies, are willing to be dominated by the United States. Washington’s veneer of democracy and supposed respect for human rights and civil liberties is so badly tarnished as to be irrecoverable. Its economic decline, with China’s manufacturing 70 percent higher than that of the U.S., is irreversible. War is a desperate Hail Mary, one employed by dying empires throughout history with catastrophic consequences. “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable,” Thucydides noted in the History of the Peloponnesian War.

A key component to the sustenance of the permanent war state was the creation of the All-Volunteer Force. Without conscripts, the burden of fighting wars falls to the poor, the working class, and military families. This All-Volunteer Force allows the children of the middle class, who led the Vietnam anti-war movement, to avoid service. It protects the military from internal revolts, carried out by troops during the Vietnam War, which jeopardized the cohesion of the armed forces.

The All-Volunteer Force, by limiting the pool of available troops, also makes the global ambitions of the militarists impossible. Desperate to maintain or increase troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military instituted the stop-loss policy that arbitrarily extended active-duty contracts. Its slang term was the backdoor draft. The effort to bolster the number of troops by hiring private military contractors, as well, had a negligible effect. Increased troop levels would not have won the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but the tiny percentage of those willing to serve in the military (only 7 percent of the U.S. population are veterans) is an unacknowledged Achilles heel for the militarists.

“As a consequence, the problem of too much war and too few soldiers eludes serious scrutiny,” writes historian and retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich in After the Apocalypse: America’s Role in a World Transformed. “Expectations of technology bridging that gap provide an excuse to avoid asking the most fundamental questions: Does the United States possess the military wherewithal to oblige adversaries to endorse its claim of being history’s indispensable nation? And if the answer is no, as the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq suggest, wouldn’t it make sense for Washington to temper its ambitions accordingly?”

This question, as Bacevich points out, is “anathema.” The military strategists work from the supposition that the coming wars won’t look anything like past wars. They invest in imaginary theories of future wars that ignore the lessons of the past, ensuring more fiascos.

The political class is as self-deluded as the generals. It refuses to accept the emergence of a multi-polar world and the palpable decline of American power. It speaks in the outdated language of American exceptionalism and triumphalism, believing it has the right to impose its will as the leader of the “free world.” In his 1992 Defense Planning Guidance memorandum, U.S. Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz argued that the U.S. must ensure no rival superpower again arises. The U.S. should project its military strength to dominate a unipolar world in perpetuity. On February 19, 1998, on NBC’s “Today Show”, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave the Democratic version of this doctrine of unipolarity. “If we have to use force it is because we are Americans; we are the indispensable nation,” she said. “We stand tall, and we see further than other countries into the future.”

This demented vision of unrivaled U.S. global supremacy, not to mention unrivaled goodness and virtue, blinds the establishment Republicans and Democrats. The military strikes they casually used to assert the doctrine of unipolarity, especially in the Middle East, swiftly spawned jihadist terror and prolonged warfare. None of them saw it coming until the hijacked jets slammed into the World Trade Center twin towers. That they cling to this absurd hallucination is the triumph of hope over experience.

There is a deep loathing among the public for these elitist Ivy League architects of American imperialism. Imperialism was tolerated when it was able to project power abroad and produce rising living standards at home. It was tolerated when it restrained itself to covert interventions in countries such as Iran, Guatemala, and Indonesia. It went off the rails in Vietnam. The military defeats that followed accompanied a steady decline in living standards, wage stagnation, a crumbling infrastructure and eventually a series of economic policies and trade deals, orchestrated by the same ruling class, which deindustrialized and impoverished the country.

The establishment oligarchs, now united in the Democratic Party, distrust Donald Trump. He commits the heresy of questioning the sanctity of the American empire. Trump derided the invasion of Iraq as a “big, fat mistake.” He promised “to keep us out of endless war.” Trump was repeatedly questioned about his relationship with Vladimir Putin. Putin was “a killer,” one interviewer told him. “There are a lot of killers,” Trump retorted. “You think our country’s so innocent?” Trump dared to speak a truth that was to be forever unspoken, the militarists had sold out the American people.

Noam Chomsky took some heat for pointing out, correctly, that Trump is the “one statesman” who has laid out a “sensible” proposition to resolve the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The proposed solution included “facilitating negotiations instead of undermining them and moving toward establishing some kind of accommodation in Europe…in which there are no military alliances but just mutual accommodation.”

Trump is too unfocused and mercurial to offer serious policy solutions. He did set a timetable to withdraw from Afghanistan, but he also ratcheted up the economic war against Venezuela and reinstituted crushing sanctions against Cuba and Iran, which the Obama administration had ended. He increased the military budget. He apparently flirted with carrying out a missile strike on Mexico to “destroy the drug labs.” But he acknowledges a distaste for imperial mismanagement that resonates with the public, one that has every right to loath the smug mandarins that plunge us into one war after another. Trump lies like he breathes. But so do they.

The 57 Republicans who refused to support the $40 billion aid package to Ukraine, along with many of the 19 bills that included an earlier $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine, come out of the kooky conspiratorial world of Trump. They, like Trump, repeat this heresy. They too are attacked and censored. But the longer Biden and the ruling class continue to pour resources into war at our expense, the more these proto fascists, already set to wipe out Democratic gains in the House and the Senate this fall, will be ascendant. Marjorie Taylor Greene, during the debate on the aid package to Ukraine, which most members were not given time to closely examine, said: “$40 billion dollars but there’s no baby formula for American mothers and babies.”

“An unknown amount of money to the CIA and Ukraine supplemental bill but there’s no formula for American babies,” she added. “Stop funding regime change and money laundering scams. A US politician covers up their crimes in countries like Ukraine.”

Democrat Jamie Raskin immediately attacked Greene for parroting the propaganda of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Greene, like Trump, spoke a truth that resonates with a beleaguered public. The opposition to permanent war should have come from the tiny progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which unfortunately sold out to the craven Democratic Party leadership to save their political careers. Greene is demented, but Raskin and the Democrats peddle their own brand of lunacy. We are going to pay a very steep price for this burlesque.

زلّة لسان

الإثنين 23 أيار 2022

بثينة شعبان 

صحيح أن العيون تتّجه إلى أوكرانيا لمعرفة نتيجة الحسم العسكري بين روسيا وحلف الناتو العدواني هناك، ولكن ما يجري بالتوازي من إعادة تشكُّلات وصياغات في عالم اليوم قد يكون هو الأهم.

لم تكن زلّة لسان الرئيس جورج بوش الابن لتحدث في ظروف أكثر مواءمة وخدمة لما تحاول الصين وروسيا أن تؤكداه، وسط أحداث متسارعة ومعقدة؛ فقد قال الرئيس بوش الابن: ” قرار رجل واحد لشن غزو وحشيّ غير مبرّر للعراق… آه… أقصد لأوكرانيا”، وضحك الجمهور، وأعاد هو: “العراق، العراق”، وسط أنباء جادة يتحدّث بها الرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ عن شكل العالم المقبل، في كلمته المهمة في الـ 21 من نيسان/ أبريل لمنتدى بواو الآسيوي، ووسط إعلان وزارة الخارجية الروسية بعد مناقشة نسخة جديدة من مفهوم السياسة الخارجية الروسية في ضوء الحرب الغربية على روسيا باستخدام أوكرانيا.

زلّة لسان

وبدلاً من أن يستنكر القرّاء والمشاهدون كل القرارات الأحادية والحروب غير الشرعية التي شنّتها الولايات المتحدة على الشعوب الآمنة في أفغانستان والعراق وليبيا وسوريا واليمن، فقد أتت زلّة لسان جورج بوش الابن، المسؤول هو وأبوه عن مقتل الملايين من المدنيين العراقيين حصاراً وقتلاً وإرهاباً ووباءً، لتكشف ما حاول هو وإدارته والإدارات السابقة واللاحقة أن يخفوه، وبرهن (ولتبرهن) أنه يسكن في “لا وعيهم” من غزو ظالم وغير مبرر للعراق، ما زال الشعب العراقي يدفع ثمنه في كل يوم من حياة أبنائه.

كما أنّ عمليات النهب الأميركية للموارد العراقية والليبية والسورية جريمة تطال لقمة عيش جميع أبناء الشعب العربي في هذه البلدان، لأن هذا النهب الاستعماري لموارد الشعب السوري واحتلال أرضه وسرقة نفطه وقمحه قد تمثّل زلّات لسان لرؤساء ومسؤولين أميركيين في المستقبل، ولكنه (ولكنها) جريمة إبادة جماعية لما سببه (سبّبته) من آلام وموت للمدنيين المحاصرين.

ولكن العالم اليوم لم يعد بحاجة إلى الكشف عن المستور، لأنه لم يتبقَّ هناك مستور أصلاً سوى حملات التضليل الإعلامية التي يصدّرها الغرب للعالم، وينسج من خلالها أكاذيبه وأوهامه. والخطوة الأولى المجدية في عالم اليوم هي أن يتبنّى جميع الحريصين على حياة البشر إما مقاطعة هذا الإعلام الغربي المزيّف، وإما التساؤل بشأن كل سردية يتبنّاها حيال أي قضية في العالم. إنني أجد نفسي أعيد صياغة ما أقرأه من إعلام غربي حول سوريا أو فلسطين أو لبنان أو إيران أو أوكرانيا أو الصين، وأتساءل اليوم ما هي جدوى قراءة إعلام أصبحنا نعلم علم اليقين أنه مكرّس لخدمة أهداف استعمارية لمن يشنّون الحروب على دولنا ويقومون باحتلال أرضنا ودعم الإرهاب ضد شعبنا وتمويله وإرسال الإرهابيين وتسليحهم واحتلال أرض أشقائنا وأصدقائنا، ويعطّلون أيّ قرارات أمميّة تحاول أن تحقق ولو جزءاً من العدالة للشعوب المستضعفة؟؟ 

فإذا كان اجتماع وزارة الخارجية الروسية قد ناقش مهامّ السياسة الخارجية الروسية في ضوء الحقائق الجيوسياسية المتغيّرة جذرياً، فإن هذه الحقائق قد تغيّرت بالنسبة إلى العرب منذ وعد بلفور وسايكس بيكو واحتلال فلسطين من قبل عصابات الإرهاب الصهيونية، ومنذ غزو العراق وقصف ليبيا، وشنّ حرب إرهابية على مدى عقد ونيّف على سوريا، وتدمير حياة المدنيين العرب في اليمن، ومع ذلك لم يعقد العرب اجتماعاً واحداً لدراسة الوضع المستجد حيالهم، ودراسة الخطوات التي يمكن اتخاذها لحماية أنفسهم من سياسة التشظّي وتفتيت البلدان والشعوب إلى طوائف وأعراق وإثنيات على حساب اللُحمة الوطنية المنشودة، وهي سياسة فرّقْ تسُدْ الاستعمارية التي تستهدف العرب جميعاً.

إنّ النقاش الدائر في روسيا والصين يُري أن البلدين يدركان أن العالم قد تغيّر، وأن لا عودة تُرتجى إلى عالم ما قبل الـ 24 من شباط، وهو تاريخ انطلاق العملية العسكرية الروسية في أوكرانيا، ولذلك فإنهما منشغلان بوضع المرتسمات الجديدة لعالم ما بعد اليوم وعالم المستقبل. ومن يقرأ كلمة الرئيس شي جين بينغ يجد أنها تضع رؤية للتحديات التي طرأت على عالم اليوم، ومساراً للتعامل معها بجدية لضمان السير إلى الأمام رغم كل التحديات. ويؤكد خطاب بينغ أن زمن الحرب الباردة ونزعة الهيمنة وسياسة القوة ستكون جزءاً من الماضي، وقد طرح مبادرة الأمن العالمي من خلال التمسّك بمفهوم الأمن المشترك والشامل والتعاوني والمستدام، والعمل معاً على صيانة السلام والأمن في العالم، ومعارضة السعي إلى الأمن القومي على حساب الأمن القومي للغير.

في هذه المرحلة المفصلية بتشكُّل عالم جديد وسعي الأطراف في الشرق لأن تكون فاعلة في تشكيل هذا العالم، لاقتناعهم بأنّ أسس الهيمنة الغربية آيلة إلى الزوال، وأنها أصبحت مرفوضة وغير قادرة على الاستمرار، وأنها تخوض معركة منازعة أخيرة مهما بدت أنها طويلة اليوم، ولكنها ستكون الأخيرة.

في هذه المرحلة يتهدّد العرب جميعاً خطران أساسيان، إضافة إلى خطر الصهيونية الجاثمة على ضمير الأمة وأرض فلسطين والجولان، ألا وهما: الخطر العثماني الإخواني، وخطر أن لا يجد العرب لأنفسهم موطئ قدم إذا ما استمروا في حالة الفرقة والتشظّي التي يعيشونها اليوم، والتي لا يبدو أن هناك جهداً حقيقياً وواعداً للتخلص منها. فالخطر العثماني الإخواني اليوم حقيقي على سوريا والعراق وليبيا، حيث يحتل الأرض ويقيم القواعد وينشر لغته وثقافته وأكاذيبه وعملاءه من إخوان الشياطين، ويُلبس هيمنته لبوس الحرص على اللاجئين أو المسلمين أو محاربة التنظيمات الكردية، وهو لبوس لا يقل خطراً علينا جميعاً من وعد بلفور واتفاقية سايكس بيكو.

واللافت أنه بدأ بأسلوب مختلف بمحاولة تدنيس أرض الجزائر الطاهرة، من خلال اتخاذ الجزائر بوابة للدخول إلى شمال أفريقيا وأفريقيا، بعد أن فشل في أن تكون تونس منصة انطلاقه لنشر فكر الإخوان المسلمين وعقيدتهم في شمال أفريقيا. وفي هذه البلدان تتعدّد أساليبه وأدوات مكره؛ فحيث لا يستطيع (يتمكّن من) الاحتلال المباشر، قد يلجأ إلى التسلل الاقتصادي أو العقائدي كي يثبّت أقدامه في المكان، وينطلق منه لتحقيق غاياته وأهدافه التي لا تختلف بين شمال قبرص والشمال السوري والشمال العراقي والليبي والعمق الجزائري.

صحيح أن العيون تتّجه إلى أوكرانيا لمعرفة نتيجة الحسم العسكري بين روسيا وحلف الناتو العدواني هناك، ولكن ما يجري بالتوازي من إعادة تشكُّلات وصياغات في عالم اليوم قد يكون هو الأهم، لأنه هو الذي يُرسي أسس العالم الجديد وشكله، وسوف تكون الغلبة، ولا شكّ، لمن يخطط ويفكّر من اليوم أو من البارحة، أين سيكون تموضعه في هذا العالم، وكيف وما هي الميزات والأدوات التي يمتلكها كي يكون رقماً صعباً في عالم يسهم في بنيانه ويشكّل جزءاً من هويته وتوجّهاته.

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

Russia Rewrites the Art of Hybrid War

May 20, 2022

Hybrid War is being fought predominantly in the economic/financial battleground – and the pain dial for the collective West will only go up.

By Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross posted. 

The ironclad fictional “narrative” imposed all across NATOstan is that Ukraine is “winning”.

So why would weapons peddler retrofitted as Pentagon head Lloyd “Raytheon” Austin literally beg since late February to have his phone calls answered by Russian Defense Minister Shoigu, only to have his wish finally granted?

It’s now confirmed by one of my top intel sources. The call was a direct consequence of panic. The United States Government (USG) by all means wants to scotch the detailed Russian investigation – and accumulation of evidence – on the US bioweapon labs in Ukraine, as I outlined in a previous column.

This phone call happened exactly after an official Russian statement to the UN Security Council on May 13: we will use articles 5 and 6 of the Convention on the Prohibition of Bioweapons to investigate the Pentagon’s biological “experiments” in Ukraine.

That was reiterated by Under Secretary-General of the UN in charge of disarmament, Thomas Markram, even as all ambassadors of NATO member countries predictably denied the collected evidence as “Russian disinformation”.

Shoigu cold see the call coming eons away. Reuters, merely quoting the proverbial “Pentagon official”, spun that the allegedly one-hour-long call led to nothing. Nonsense. Austin, according to the Americans, demanded a “ceasefire” – which must have originated a Siberian cat smirk on Shoigu’s face.

Shoigu knows exactly which way the wind is blowing on the ground – for Ukrainian Armed Forces and UkroNazis alike. It’s not only the Azovstal debacle – and Kiev’s all-around army breakdown.

After the fall of Popasnaya – the crucial, most fortified Ukrainian stronghold in Donbass – the Russians and Donetsk/Luhansk forces have breached defenses along four different vectors to north, northwest, west and south. What’s left of the Ukrainian front is crumbling – fast, with a massive cauldron subdivided in a maze of mini-cauldrons: a military disaster the USG cannot possibly spin.

Now, in parallel, we can also expect full exposure – on overdrive – of the Pentagon bioweapons racket. The only “offer you can’t refuse” left to the USG would be to present something tangible to the Russians to avoid a full investigation.

That’s not gonna happen. Moscow is fully aware that going public with illegal work on banned biological weapons is an existential threat to the US Deep State. Especially when documents seized by the Russians show that Big Pharma – via Pfizer, Moderna, Merck and Gilead – was involved in several “experiments”. Fully exposing the whole maze, from the start, was one of Putin’s stated objectives.

More “military-technical measures”?

Three days after the UN presentation, the board of the Russian Foreign Ministry held a special session to discuss “the radically changed geopolitical realities that have developed as a result of the hybrid war against our country unleashed by the West – under the pretext of the situation in Ukraine – unprecedented in scale and ferocity, including the revival in Europe of a racist worldview in the form of cave Russophobia, an open course for the ‘abolition’ of Russia and everything Russian.”

So it’s no wonder “the aggressive revisionist course of the West requires a radical revision of Russia’s relations with unfriendly states.”

We should expect “a new edition of the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation” coming out soon.

This new Foreign Policy Concept will elaborate on what Foreign Minister Lavrov once again stressed at a meeting honoring the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy: the US has declared an all-round Hybrid War on Russia. The only thing lacking, as it stands, is a formal declaration of war.

Beyond the disinformation fog veiling the application of Finland and Sweden – call them the Dumb and Dumber Nordics – to join NATO, what really matters is another instance of declaration of war: the prospect of missiles with nuclear warheads stationed really close to Russian borders. Moscow already warned the Finns and Swedes, politely, that this would be dealt with it via “military-technical measures”. That’s exactly what Washington – and NATO minions – were told would happen before the start of Operation Z.

And of course this goes much deeper, involving Romania and Poland as well. Bucharest already has Aegis Ashore missile launchers capable of sending Tomahawks with nuclear warheads at Russia, while Warsaw is receiving the same systems. To cut to the chase, if there’s no de-escalation, they will all eventually end up receiving Mr. Khinzal’s hypersonic business card.

NATO member Turkey, meanwhile, plays a deft game, issuing its own list of demands before even considering the Nordics’ gamble. Ankara wants no more sanctions on its purchase of S-400s and on top if be re-included in the F-35 program. It will be fascinating to watch what His Master’s Voice will come up with to seduce the Sultan. The Nordics engaged in a self-correcting “clear unequivocal stance” against the PKK and the PYD is clearly not enough for the Sultan, who relished muddying the waters even more as he stressed that buying Russian energy is a “strategic” issue for Turkey.

Counteracting financial Shock’n Awe

By now it’s evidently clear that open-ended Operation Z targets unipolar Hegemon power, the infinite expansion of vassalized NATO, and the world’s financial architecture – an intertwined combo that largely transcends the Ukraine battleground.

Serial Western sanctions package hysteria ended up triggering Russia’s so far quite successful counter-financial moves. Hybrid War is being fought predominantly in the economic/financial battleground – and the pain dial for the collective West will only go up: inflation, higher commodity prices, breakdown of supply chains, exploding cost of living, impoverishment of the middle classes, and unfortunately for great swathes of the Global South, outright poverty and starvation.

In the near future, as insider evidence surfaces, a convincing case will be made that the Russian leadership even gamed the Western financial gamble/ blatant robbery of over $300 billion in Russian reserves.

This implies that already years ago – let’s say, at least from 2016, based on analyses by Sergey Glazyev – the Kremlin knew this would inevitably happen. As trust remains a rigid foundation of a monetary system, the Russian leadership may have calculated that the Americans and their vassals, driven by blind Russophobia, would play all their cards at once when push came to shove – utterly demolishing global trust on “their” system.

Because of Russia’s infinite natural resources, the Kremlin may have factored that the nation would eventually survive the financial Shock’n Awe – and even profit from it (ruble appreciation included). The reward is just too sweet: opening the way to The Doomed Dollar – without having to ask Mr. Sarmat to present his nuclear business card.

Russia could even entertain the hypothesis of getting a mighty return on those stolen funds. A great deal of Western assets – totaling as much as $500 billion – may be nationalized if the Kremlin so chooses.

So Russia is winning not only militarily but also to a large extent geopolitically – 88% of the planet does not align with NATOstan hysteria – and of course in the economic/financial sphere.

This in fact is the key Hybrid War battleground where the collective West is being checkmated. One of the next key steps will be an expanded BRICS coordinating their dollar-bypassing strategy.

None of the above should overshadow the still to be measured interconnected repercussions of the mass surrender of Azov neo-Nazis at UkroNazistan Central in Azovstal.

The mythical Western “narrative” about freedom-fighting heroes imposed since February by NATOstan media collapsed with a single blow. Cue to the thunderous silence all over the Western infowar front, where no mutts even attempted to sing that crappy, “winning” Eurovision song.

What happened, in essence, is that the creme de la creme of NATO-trained neo-Nazis, “advised” by top Western experts, weaponized to death, entrenched in deep concrete anti-nuclear bunkers in the bowels of Azovstal, was either pulverized or forced to surrender like cornered rats.

Novorossiya as a game-changer

The Russian General Staff will be adjusting their tactics for the major follow-up in Donbass – as the best Russian analysts and war correspondents incessantly debate. They will have to face an inescapable problem: as much as the Russian methodically grind down the – disaggregated – Ukrainian Army in Donbass, a new NATO army is being trained and weaponized in western Ukraine.

So there is a real danger that depending on the ultimate long-term aims of Operation Z – which are only shared by the Russian military leadership – Moscow runs the risk of encountering, in a few months, a mobile and better weaponized incarnation of the demoralized army it is now destroying. And this is exactly what the Americans mean by “weakening” Russia.

As it stands, there are several reasons why a new Novorossiya reality may turn out to be a positive game-changer for Russia. Among them:

  1. The economic/logistics complex from Kharkov to Odessa – along Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolaev – is intimately linked with Russian industry.
  2. By controlling the Sea of Azov – already a de facto “Russian lake” – and subsequently the Black Sea, Russia will have total control of export routes for the region’s world-class grain production. Extra bonus: total exclusion of NATO.
  3. All of the above suggests a concerted drive for the development of an integrated agro-heavy industry complex – with the extra bonus of serious tourism potential.

Under this scenario, a remaining Kiev-Lviv rump Ukraine, not incorporated to Russia, and of course not rebuilt, would be at best subjected to a no-fly zone plus selected artillery/missile/drone strikes in case NATO continues to entertain funny ideas.

This would be a logical conclusion for a Special Military Operation focused on precision strikes and a deliberate emphasis on sparing civilian lives and infrastructure while methodically disabling the Ukrainian military/logistics spectrum. All of that takes time. Yet Russia may have all the time in the world, as we all keep listening to the sound of the collective West spiraling down.

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.

FM Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy

May 16, 2022

Moscow, May 14, 2022

Mr Lukyanov,

Mr Karaganov,

Colleagues,

I am glad to be here again, at this anniversary assembly. Last time, we met in this room on October 2, 2021. But I have an impression that this was in a totally different historical epoch.

I would like to congratulate you on the 30th anniversary of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy. Its activities are a fine example of Russian expert involvement in the foreign policy process. From the very start, the Council has brought together professionals, including politicians, state officials, journalists, academics, and entrepreneurs.  Throughout these years, this has ensured an effective and rewarding combination of practical experience and impeccable knowledge of the subject matter. Therein lies the key to comprehending the most complex international processes, particularly at stages like the present one. Advice, analytical materials, and debates (occasionally heated debates involving a clash of opinions) are of much help to us. We invariably take them into consideration in our foreign policy activities.

It is a cliche to say that this meeting is taking place at a historical turning point. I agree with the experts (Mr Karaganov and Mr Lukyanov have written a lot about this), who say that we again have to choose a historical path, like we did in 1917 and 1991.

The external circumstances have not just changed radically; they are changing ever more profoundly and extensively (though not becoming more elevated, unfortunately) with each passing day. And our country is changing along with them. It is drawing its conclusions. The choice we have taken is made easier by the fact that the “collective West” has declared a total hybrid war against us. It is hard to forecast how long this will last. But it is clear that its consequences will be felt by everyone without exception.

We did everything in our power to avoid a direct conflict. But they issued a challenge and we have accepted it. We are used to sanctions. We have been living under one or another form of sanctions for a long time now. The surprising thing is a surge of rabid Russophobia in almost all “civilised” countries. They have thrown to the wind their political correctness, propriety, rules, and legal norms. They are using the cancel culture against all things Russian. All hostile actions against our country are allowed, including robbery. Russian cultural figures, artists, athletes, academics, businesspeople and just ordinary citizens are exposed to harassment.

This campaign has not bypassed Russian diplomats. They often have to work under extreme conditions, occasionally with a risk to their health or life. We do not remember anything like the current massive and synchronised expulsion of diplomats happening even in the grimmest Cold War years. This is destroying the general atmosphere of relations with the West. On the other hand, this is freeing up energy and human resources for work in the areas with which our country’s future development should be associated.

In accordance with the demands of the times, we are carrying out our professional duties conscientiously and to the fullest extent. There are no traitors among our diplomats, although such attempts have been made from abroad and within the country. We do our best to defend the rights and interests of Russian citizens abroad. When the West hysterically reacted to the beginning of our special military operation and all flights were cancelled, we immediately helped Russians who were abroad at the time to return home. The routine consular services to Russians (of which there have always been many) are provided as always. It is clear that the situation demands that the diplomatic service works in a special regime. This is required by the new tasks set by the country’s leadership to protect national interests.

This is not only and not so much about Ukraine, which is being used as an instrument to contain the peaceful development of the Russian Federation in the context of their course to perpetuate a unipolar world order.

The Americans started preparing the current crisis long ago, right after the end of the Cold War, having decided that the way to global hegemony was then open. NATO’s eastward expansion has been one of the key components of such a course. We tried hard to convince them not to do this. We showed where and why our red lines are drawn. We were flexible, ready to make concessions and look for compromises. All this proved futile. President Vladimir Putin reminded us of this once again in his speech on May 9 on Red Square.

Today Western countries are ready to oppose Russia, as they now say, “to the last Ukrainian”. At first glance, this is a very convenient position, especially for the United States, which is managing these processes from across the ocean. At the same time, they are weakening Europe by clearing its markets for its goods, technologies and military-technical products.

In fact, the situation has many layers. Russia, the United States, China and all others realise that it is being decided today whether the world order will become fair, democratic and polycentric, or whether this small group of countries will be able to impose on the international community a neo-colonial division of the world into those who consider themselves “exceptional” and the rest – those who are destined to do the bidding of the chosen few.

This is the aim of the “rules-based order” concept that they have sought to introduce into general circulation for years. No one has seen, or discussed, or approved these “rules”, but they are being imposed on the international community. As an example, let me quote a recent statement by US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, who called for a new Bretton Woods framework and said that the United States would practice “the friend-shoring of supply chains to a large number of trusted countries” that shared “a set of [liberal] norms and values about how to operate in the global economy.” The hint is absolutely clear: the US dollars and the “benefits” of the international financial system are only for those who follow these American “rules.” Dissenters will be punished. Clearly, Russia is not the sole target, all the more so as we will fight back. The attack is aimed at all those capable of conducting an independent policy.  Take, for example, Washington’s pet Indo-Pacific strategy, which is directed against China. In parallel, it seeks to firmly and reliably harness India to the US and NATO. In the spirit of the Monroe doctrine, the United States wants to dictate standards to Latin America. The inevitable question is whether the Americans are really able to follow the key principle of the UN Charter, which states: “The Organisation is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.”

The “rules-based order” envisions neither democracy, nor pluralism even within the “collective West.” The case in point is the revival of tough bloc discipline and an unconditional submission of the “allies” to Washington’s diktat. The Americans will not stand on ceremony with their “junior partners.” The EU will finally lose all attributes of independence and obediently join the Anglo-Saxon plans to assert the unipolar world order, while sacrificing the Europeans’ quality of life and key interests in order to please the United States. Just recall how Victoria Nuland defined the EU’s place in Washington’s plans to reformat Ukraine in her conversation with the US Ambassador in Kiev in December 2013, at the height of the Maidan riots. Her prediction came true in its entirety. In security matters, the EU is also blending in with NATO, which, in turn, is making increasingly louder claims about its global ambitions. What defensive alliance? We are being told and assured to this day that NATO’s expansion is a defensive process and threatens no one. The Cold War defence line ran along the Berlin Wall – concrete and imagined – between the two military blocs. Since then, it has been moved east five times. Today, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and others are telling us that NATO has a global responsibility to solve security problems, primarily in the Indo-Pacific region. As I understand it, the next defence line will be moved to the South China Sea.

It is being insinuated that NATO as the vanguard of the community of democracies should replace the UN in matters of international politics, or at least bring global affairs under its sway. The G7 should step in to run the global economy and from time to time invite benevolently the extras the West needs at this or that moment.

Western politicians should accept the fact that their efforts to isolate our country are doomed. Many experts have already recognised this, even if quietly and off the record, because saying this openly is “politically incorrect.” But this is happening right now. The non-Western world is coming to see that the world is becoming increasingly more diverse. There is no escaping this fact. More and more countries want to have a real freedom to choose their development ways and integration projects to join. An increasing number of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are refusing to abandon their national interests and to pull chestnuts out of the fire for the former parent countries. An overwhelming majority of our partners, who have felt the effects of Western colonialism and racism, have not joined the anti-Russia sanctions. The West, which President Putin described as the “empire of lies,” has not been considered an ideal of democracy, freedom and well-being for a long time. By plundering other countries’ material assets, the Western countries have destroyed their reputation of predictable partners who honour their commitments. Nobody is safe from expropriation and “state piracy” now. Therefore, not just Russia but also many other countries are reducing their reliance on the US dollar and on Western technologies and markets. I am sure that a gradual de-monopolisation of the global economy is not a distant future.

We have taken note of Fyodor Lukyanov’s article published in the newspaper Kommersant (on April 29, 2022), in which he writes, with good reason, that the West will not listen to us or hear what we have to say. This was a fact of life long ago, before the special military operation, and a “a radical reorientation of assets from the west to other flanks is a natural necessity.” I would like to remind you that Sergey Karaganov has been systematically promoting this philosophy by for many years. It is perfectly clear to everyone that the process has begun and not on our whim – we have always been open to an equal dialogue – but because of an unacceptable and arrogant behaviour of our Western neighbours, who have followed Washington’s prompting to “cancel Russia” in international affairs.

Forging closer ties with the like-minded forces outside of what used to be referred to as the Golden Billion is an absolutely inevitable and mutually driven process. The Russia-China relations are at their all-time high. We are also strengthening our privileged strategic partnerships with India, Algeria, and Egypt. We have taken our relations with the Persian Gulf countries to a whole new level. The same applies to our relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as other countries in Asia-Pacific, in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

We are fully aware of the fact it is at this juncture, which perfectly lends itself to be called a turning point, that the place for Russia and all other countries and forces in the future international architecture will be determined.

We believe the aim of Russia’s diplomacy is, on the one hand, to act with great resolve to fend off all adversarial attacks against us, while, on the other hand, to consistently, calmly and patiently reinforce our positions in order to facilitate Russia’s sustained development from within and improve the quality of life for its people. There is much to be done, as usual. We always have a packed agenda, but in the current environment we are witnessing a serious shift in the mindsets of many of our comrades in all spheres of Russia’s life. This makes meetings held by the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy especially useful because they help nurture ideas which make their way into Russia’s foreign policy.

The World’s Future Hangs In The Balance: Erdogan Will Decide

15 MAY 2022

The World

On the one side, the U.S.-and-allied side, stands Davos, the Bilderbergers, the Trilateralists, and the rest of the “Washington Consensus,” the view of the U.S.-and-allied side, that America should control the world; and, on the other side stands the United Nations side, the view that neutral and internationally democratically based and neutrally applied international laws should instead control the world, without favoring America’s, or any other country’s, billionaires.

By Eric Zuesse

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s next book (soon to be published) will be AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change. It’s about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan will decide the future of the world; and, on Friday the 13th day of May in 2022, he gave his first indication of what that decision will be — that it will be for a global future of hope for international freedom and democracy, and against a global future of ever-increasing concentration of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands. In this, his first statement on the subject, he spoke actually in favor of the world’s public, against the world’s aristocrats (or ‘oligarchs’, as The West’s billionaires refer to billionaires who are not in the richer Western countries).

This key decision, upon which the world’s future now depends, will be between a continuing erosion of the significance of international law (which laws come from the U.N. and its agencies) and a proportionate increase in what the U.S. Government calls “the rules-based international order,” in which America’s Government increasingly controls (and even sets) those “rules” that will replace international laws; versus a future in which what erodes will instead be the U.S. Government’s international power to control the world in its own (billionaires’) favor, and, so a future that correspondingly benefits the global public (the very people who suffer from the aristocracies’ — especially America’s aristocracy’s — increasing control over the entire world). On the one side, the U.S.-and-allied side, stands Davos, the Bilderbergers, the Trilateralists, and the rest of the “Washington Consensus,” the view of the U.S.-and-allied side, that America should control the world; and, on the other side stands the United Nations side, the view that neutral and internationally democratically based and neutrally applied international laws should instead control the world, without favoring America’s, or any other country’s, billionaires. 

Here is how the Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning U.S. President Barack Obama, in a speech that he delivered to America’s future generals, at West Point Military Academy, on 28 May 2014, stated the U.S. Government’s position on this matter, which is the key issue concerning international relations, and the global future: 

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums. … It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world.

He was telling his military that America’s economic competition, against the BRICS nations, is a key matter for America’s military, and not only for America’s international corporations; he was saying that U.S. taxpayers fund America’s military at least partially in order to impose the wills and extend the wealth of the stockholders in America’s corporations abroad; and he was saying that the countries against which America is in economic competition are “dispensable,” but that America “is and remains the one indispensable nation.” So, ONLY America is “indispensable”; all OTHER nations are not, in that view. Not even America’s ‘allies’ — such as Germany, France, Japan, etc. — are. All of them are “dispensable. This, supposedly, also (and most especially) authorizes America’s weapons and troops to fight against countries whose “governments seek a greater say in global forums.” In other words, Obama was saying: Stop the growing economies from growing faster than America’s. 

There is a word for the American Government’s supremacist ideology: it is called “neoconservatism.” The general phrase that describes it is “imperialist fascism.” (Neoconservatism is purely America’s imperialist fascism.) Imperialist fascism (of ANY sort) is exactly what America’s President FDR had invented and intended the U.N. to terminate permanently by creating the United Nations to be an international democracy of nations outlawing any and all imperialisms, but FDR’s immediate successor, Truman, instead chose to continue imperialist fascism, but this time for America itself to become the all-encompassing global power. (He was the original neoconservative.) America quickly became the imperialist-fascist power; and, it has remained so even after the Soviet Union ended in 1991 — in fact, that event super-charged America’s fascist imperialism. And Obama super-super-charged it, by his February 2014 coup that grabbed Ukraine on Russia’s border, as a launching-pad from which Russia will ultimately be attacked.

Like another neoconservative, though of the opposite political Party, John Bolton, famously said: if the U.N. headquarters building “lost ten stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” America’s Presidents and Congresses are bipartisanly neoconservative, almost 100% in favor of ceaseless increases in the control that America’s Government has over the world. They are happy that the U.N. has become little more than a talking-forum.

That brings us to the present.

On 13 May 2022, Reuters headlined “Erdogan says Turkey not supportive of Finland, Sweden joining NATO”, and reported that

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday it was not possible for NATO-member Turkey to support plans by Sweden and Finland to join the pact, saying the Nordic countries were “home to many terrorist organisations”.

Finland’s plan to apply for NATO membership, announced Thursday, and the expectation that Sweden will follow, would bring about the expansion of the Western military alliance that Russian President Vladimir Putin aimed to prevent by launching the Ukraine invasion.

“We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we don’t hold positive views,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.

Irrespective of how he might define “terrorist organizations,” what he really was saying there is that Turkey, as a member of America’s NATO military alliance against Russia, will veto the proposed addition to NATO (i.e., to its Article 5, which obligates every NATO member-nation to attack and join in conquering any nation that attacks ANY nation that is a member of America’s NATO military alliance) of Finland, which has the second-nearest border to Moscow (only a 7-minute missile-flying-time away), which is second ONLY to Ukraine (which is just a 5-minute missile-flying-time away from Moscow), as being the Russia-bordering nation that would pose the biggest danger to Russia if added to NATO. 

By Erdogan’s siding with Putin, not Biden, on this, the most crucial decision in international relations in our time, Erdogan would be standing firmly WITH the nations that the super-imperialist fascist Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama derisively referred to as being not merely “dispensable” but also as being the “rising middle classes [who] compete with us, and governments [who] seek a greater say in global forums” — Erdogan was siding there AGAINST the mono-polar U.S. global empire, and FOR the multi-polar global community of independent nations under international law (NOT “the rules-based international order” in which America’s Government increasingly controls, and even sets, those “rules” that would replace international law). 

NATO’s Article 10 states that:

The Parties may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to this Treaty. Any State so invited may become a Party to the Treaty by depositing its instrument of accession with the Government of the United States of America. The Government of the United States of America will inform each of the Parties of the deposit of each such instrument of accession.

Turkey, according to Erdogan on May 13th, will veto not only Finland but also Sweden.

NATO’s Article 5 states that:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

If the United States Government succeeds in its (ever since 25 July 1945) ceaseless drive ultimately to replace the U.N. by itself (America) as being the ultimate source of “the international order,” then ONLY America’s billionaires will possess real seats at the international tables where the fates of nations and of their respective publics are being determined. Perhaps Erdogan is finally throwing in his lot with Russia, China, Iran, and the other nations that are standing opposed to imperialistic fascism, and in favor of the international democracy of nations that FDR had hoped would follow in World War II’s immediate wake (but which Truman made neutered and devoid of any real power). No other NATO-member-nation’s leader has, thus far, been so bold as to have announced that his nation will vote in NATO against Finland’s bid to join NATO.

Erdogan’s rationale for his statement, and the extent of his commitment to it, weren’t made entirely clear in that statement, but, in any case, his statement on the matter, at that time, was strong enough to cause America’s international propaganda-agency, RFE/RL, to headline “Turkey’s Erdogan Says He Opposes NATO Membership for Sweden, Finland”, and to allege that “Ankara risks a backlash from its NATO partners over its opposition to Sweden’s and Finland’s membership.” Certainly, there would be a “backlash” from Biden, who, after all, heads the only ‘indispensable’ country.

However, on May 14th, Reuters headlined “Exclusive: Turkey ‘not closing door’ to Sweden, Finland NATO entry, Erdogan advisor says”, and revealed that this matter was merely a negotiating ploy by Erdogan, to get the Kurdish separatist organization, PKK, which is called “terrorist” by Turkey, outlawed in Europe too. Erdogan has no principled position regarding the U.S. Government’s taking over the entire world, but instead is using the issue of Finland and Sweden being allowed into NATO as a lever to force those two countries, and all of the EU, to outlaw the PKK. This internal Turkish matter, not the world’s future, is what motivates him; and he is using the NATO-expansion question in order to force other countries to assist Turkey’s Government to crush the PKK, against which Turkey has been fighting for decades.  

The US wants to keep its status as a superpower at any cost

May 14, 2022

Source

By Zamir Awan

The US is desperate to sustain its hegemony and supremacy. It is taking extreme measures and can go to any extent to keep its hegemony and supremacy. Its Petrodollars policy has been playing a significant role, but, facing challenges recently and the US is getting nervous and crazy.

The petrodollar is any U.S. dollar paid to oil-exporting countries in exchange for oil. The dollar is the preeminent global currency. As a result, most international transactions, including oil, are priced in dollars. Oil-exporting nations receive dollars for their exports, not their own currency.

In addition, most oil-exporting nations own their oil industries. That makes their national income depends on the dollar’s value. If it falls, so does their government’s revenue. As a result, most of these oil exporters also peg their currencies to the dollar. That way, if the dollar’s value falls, so does the price of all their domestic goods and services. That helps these countries avoid wide swings in inflation or deflation.

The petrodollar system is tied to the history of the gold standard. After World War II, the United States held most of the world’s supply of gold. It agreed to redeem any U.S. dollar for its value in gold if the other countries pegged their currencies to the dollar. Other countries signed this deal at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference. It established the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

On February 14, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the alliance with Saudi Arabia.1 He met with Saudi King Abd al-Aziz. The United States built an airfield at Dhahran in return for military and business training. This alliance was so critical that it survived subsequent years of differences of opinion over the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The 1945 agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia cemented the relationship between the dollar and oil. The petrodollar was born. In 1971, U.S. stagflation prompted runs on the dollar. Many countries asked to redeem their U.S. dollars for gold. To protect the remaining U.S. gold reserves, President Richard Nixon removed the dollar from the gold standard. As a result, the value of the dollar plummeted. That helped the U.S. economy as its export values also decreased, making them more competitive. A falling dollar hurt oil-exporting countries because contracts were priced in U.S. dollars. Their oil revenue dropped along with the dollar. The cost of imports, denominated in other currencies, increased.

In 1973, Nixon asked Congress for military aid to Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The newly-formed Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries halted oil exports to the United States and other Israeli allies. The OPEC oil embargo quadrupled the price of oil in six months. Prices remained high even after the embargo ended. In 1979, the United States and Saudi Arabia negotiated the United States-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation. They agreed to use U.S. dollars for oil contracts. The U.S. dollars would be recycled back to America through contracts with U.S. companies. These companies improve Saudi infrastructure through technology transfer.

The United States uses the power of petrodollars to enforce its foreign policy. But many countries don’t fight back. They are afraid it would mean the collapse of the petrodollar system.

However, there was strong thinking against the Petrodollar concept and few Arab leaders declared to trade oil; in local currencies or any other currency, de-linking from dollars. The leading role was played by President Sadden Hussain, Col. Qaddafi of Libya, and the Syrian President. The US has punished them and changed the regimes in such countries.

China called for a replacement of the U.S. dollar as a global currency. Although, it is one of the largest foreign holders of the dollar. China influences the U.S. dollar by pegging its currency, the yuan, to it. China has signed a currency swap agreement with more than twenty countries and already trading with them in Yuan or local currencies. China is importing oil and gas from a few Arab nations in Yuan.

Russia has demanded to settle Gas bills in Rubles and a few European countries are already agreed to pay in Rubles. EU has also no objections if any member state pays in Rubles instead of Dollars. Russia is trading with few other nations in Rubles or local currencies instead of Dollars.

Russia has slashed the value of the dollar and the euro by 30% in a jiffy by linking the Russian Ruble to the value of gold and declaring to supply oil only against the Russian Ruble. Russia’s move means that now the entire world, especially Western Europe and Japan will buy the Russian Ruble by selling dollars in huge quantities, as the Russian Ruble has become the world’s most stable currency overnight after being linked to gold.

America, which does not mass-produce anything other than weapons and ammunition, is caught in a terrible economic crisis. In the event of a shrinking dollar, the US cannot cover its 306 billion budget deficit. This will cause severe unemployment and adversely affect the social safety net. This is the economic atom bomb that Joe Biden was aware of when he was talking about the removal of Putin in Poland.

Putin orders European countries to make payments of Gas and Oil in terms of Rubble and open the account in Russian banks. It will weaken the American sanctions on Russia. Although Russia has not retaliated against the American sanctions so aggressively, introduced its policies to counter the sanctions successfully.

The rapid decline of the US has made its leadership nervous and crazy. They are taking all possible measures to sustain their hegemony and supremacy. Even, though the Ukraine war is only a phenomenon, the objective is to maintain status-co. unfortunately, the US is not interested in global peace, stability, or saving human lives. The only priority is to maintain its hegemony and supremacy. To achieve this goal, the US can sacrifice Ukraine, Europe, or any heavy price. The US policy in the Ukraine war is to add fuel to fire, there is no will to stop the war, ceasefire, or save human lives. They are providing weapons, and arming civilians to lead toward a prolonged civil war, to bleed Russian and keep many countries over-engaged and let the US maintain its monopoly and the upper hand.

Russia was reluctant to attack Ukraine and has been observing restrains for quite along. Showing its genuine security concerns and alarming the US with serious consequences, but, the US kept its policy to encircle Russia.

The haphazard joining of NATO by Finland and the defense agreement with the UK is also equally a genuine threat to Russia. Russia and Finland share a long common border. Joining NATO, means, the deployment of NATO forces along the Russian border, which is a direct threat. Joining NATO by other Scandinavian nations is also a serious and matter of deep concern for Russia.

It seems the US has only one priority which is to sustain its position in the geopolitics, it ignores the genuine concerns of other nations. We are scared of the future of geopolitics and afraid the days to come may be harsh for humankind.

In history, many nations rose to the status of superpowers and ruled the world for a certain period of time, then, meltdown and passed the status of superpower to other rising nations. Like Roman Empire, Ottoman Empire, Greek Empire, British, and French empires, etc. But, The US is not willing to accept the natural cycle of superpowers and can go to any extent to keep its status of superpower forever, which is not rational nor natural, it might cause irrecoverable loss to humankind. Unfortunate!


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Interpreting Turkey’s Opposition To Finland & Sweden’s Planned NATO Membership

14 MAY 2022

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

The more that President Erdogan exposes the manipulative means through which countries like those two NATO aspirants support terrorism against the Turkish people, the more that their international reputations will be damaged, which will in turn harm their influence seeing as how Finland and Sweden’s are disproportionately derived from their soft power.

Turkish President Erdogan said on Friday that his country isn’t supportive of Finland and Sweden’s planned NATO membership because of their governments’ backing of the terrorist-designated PKK. This Kurdish separatist group is responsible for multiple terrorist attacks across the decades, but its Syrian wing, the YPG, is regarded by the US-led West as a key ally against ISIS. Ankara and Washington’s polar opposite stances towards that branch are the reason why they began falling out in the middle of the last decade. This issue has once again come to the fore in light of two recent events.

The first is of course Finland and Sweden’s planned NATO membership, while the second is the US’ decision to waive its anti-Syrian sanctions in the YPG-controlled northeast of the Arab Republic. President Erdogan also expressed his opposition to that move on the same day that he condemned those two countries’ support of Kurdish terrorists. These developments created the opportunity for the Turkish leader to once again raise awareness of his country’s stance towards that group and its regional branches in the hopes of pressuring the US-led West to distance themselves from it.

The challenge that he’s forced to confront, however, is that his mutual defense ally considers terrorist-designated Kurdish separatists to be more important regional partners than his own country. The reason for this is that its Syrian branch serves as the US’ proxies for continuing its military occupation of the agriculturally and energy-rich northeastern region as well as its means for manipulating its stalled constitutional reform process. From the perspective of the US’ grand strategic interests, these objectives are considered to take precedence over retaining ties with its decades-long Turkish ally.

Although it’ll never be openly admitted, America might also be preparing to employ these same Kurdish groups as anti-Turkish proxies in the scenario that those countries drift further apart and Washington considers it advantageous to utilize them as a means for punishing its wayward ally. It’s this possibility that concerns Turkish strategists the most since it could prove to be extremely destabilizing for their geostrategically positioned civilization-state. That’s why President Erdogan uses every relevant opportunity to pressure the US-led West to cut off its Kurdish proxies.

It’s extremely unlikely that this well-intended campaign against America will ever succeed though, but it at the very least raises maximum global awareness about its unprincipled policy of literally endangering the security of its decades-long mutual defense ally all for the purpose of advancing its interests vis a vis Syria at Turkey’s expense. Furthermore, it should go without saying that the US’ European partners like Finland and Sweden are unlikely to change their governments’ policy of wholeheartedly supporting terrorist-designated Kurdish separatists because Washington exercises hegemonic influence over them.

Even so, Turkey can still hit those two countries where it hurts the most by continuing to talk about their scandalous support of the PKK. That’s because a disproportionate share of their influence is derived from their soft power, particularly the impression that they’re supposedly neutral, principled, and peaceful states that are shining examples in all respects for the entire international community. The dark reality, however, is that their backing of the PKK exposes them as American stooges. Moreover, it also suggests that their so-called “humanitarian policies” are actually anti-humanitarian to the core.

Finland and Sweden essentially consider the Kurds to be a so-called “oppressed minority” in West Asia, including in Turkey. Their unipolar liberal-globalist worldview is such that they believe that those people deserve the US-led West’s full support as a result, to which end they aim to disguise their tacit endorsement of those separatist-terrorist Kurdish groups like the PKK on a so-called “humanitarian basis”. Its Syrian wing’s rebranding as anti-ISIS fighters who saved their people from their terrorist rivals’ planned genocide of them endeared the PKK in the hearts and minds of many Westerners.

This in turn facilitated the US-led West’s efforts to continue supporting them in all respects on a false humanitarian pretext. The more that President Erdogan talks about this and exposes the manipulative means through which countries like those two NATO aspirants support terrorism against the Turkish people, the more that their international reputations will be damaged, which will in turn harm their influence seeing as how Finland and Sweden’s are disproportionately derived from their soft power. In other words, this is an asymmetrical response to the threat that they pose to his country’s security.

That said, it remains unclear whether Turkey will formally block their NATO membership, which could provoke an intensification of the US-led West’s years-long Hybrid War against it that he might not be prepared for fully defending against at this time. If he ultimately supports their applications, then it can be considered that he did so knowing that the alternative could have been an exacerbation of the threats that his formal allies are nowadays posing to Turkey’s national security. In any case, it’s clear that Turkey’s troubled ties with the US-led West won’t improve anytime soon no matter what happens.

Lebanese Elections 2022: Purchasing Votes vs. Coordinated, Clear Program to Handle Lebanon’s Crises

May 12, 2022

By Mohammad Youssef

The electoral process for Lebanon’s parliamentary election has already started for the Lebanese expatriates. This has put an end for all the rumors, speculations and skepticism that it is not going to take place. Meanwhile, the preparations for the elections inside Lebanon on May 15 are lively and vibrant.

The event, of course is very important and comes at a very sensitive juncture of the country’s history. Many international and regional parties, namely the United States and Saudi Arabia, along with their local agents pin hopes that the result of the elections will pave the way for a major transformation in the political scene which could usher in a new era for a new chapter of heightened and more intense presence in the Lebanese politics.

Those countries have given a signal and directives for their local agents to open fire on Hezbollah arms and to raise slogans about disarming the resistance as the only goal of their electoral campaigns.

However, the turnout of the first and preliminary elections outside the country was not up to their expectations.

First, the proportions of those who participated didn’t match their anticipations. The ‘Lebanese Forces’ party and its allies expected 80 percent participation, especially in Saudi Arabia, Australia and other countries where they play their ground. They openly and vulgarly threatened those who do not vote for their electoral list to be kicked out of those countries. Moreover, they used every possible tool to propagate their electoral advertisement.

In Lebanon, the Saudi ambassador and in a very vulgar breach of the diplomatic norms has visited some candidates in different parts of the country and lobbied for their support.

News about bribes and votes purchase are upcoming from every area where the pro-American and pro-Saudi camp is active.

It is noteworthy that regardless of all of this, this front has not been able so far to yield any success in its efforts to present a unified image about its campaigns and goals.

On the other hand, the counter front represented by Hezbollah and its allies, has shown a very coordinated performance and sent images and messages of strength to the public.

The coordinated efforts and organized campaigns, along with the crowded rallies of their supporters have greatly added to Hezbollah and its allies’ already very positive public image.

The electoral program of the party and its domestic priorities in reform, fighting corruption, and remedying economy and financial crisis is doable and promises salvation.

If the results of what happened in the election front so far are to be taken as an indicator to the final results, one can simply predict that Hezbollah and its allies are going to win the elections and the majority again.

Hopefully, this will happen. If so, the Lebanese people will be surely experiencing a new way of approaching and solving their different problems in democratic and peaceful ways, yet with more bold and sovereign decision to discard all foreign pressures and blackmail. Such a handling will prioritize the Lebanese interest and work accordingly.

It is a long way to go, maybe, but it is the method and venue to salvation and rescue that has no replacement.

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النفط والغاز بين برّي ونصرالله: مهلة شهر

الثلاثاء 10 أيار 2022

ناصر قنديل

خرجت الحملات الانتخابيّة من قتامة البؤس والسواد، التي خيّمت على قلوب الناس بشحوب، فشلت جماعات التغيير بإزالته بعدما فقدت أيّ بريق للتميّز والتحقت كلياً بالمعسكر الداعي لأولوية مواجهة المقاومة وسلاحها، وصارت مجرد صوت في سرب المغردين تحت مظلة السفارات الملوّنة، وقد وضعت البلاد بين خيارين لما بعد الانتخابات، كل منهما أشد قتامة من الآخر: الأول استمرار المناوشات السياسيّة تحت عنوان السلاح، كما كان عليه الحال قبلها، وربما وصول المناوشات إلى ما هو أسوأ، من تهديد للاستقرار الأمني، بالفوضى إن لم يكن بخطر الفتن والحرب الأهليّة، والثاني هو هدوء جبهات المناوشات لصالح السير ببرنامج الحكومة الاقتصادي والمالي، وما يتضمنه من رفع للضرائب وحسومات على الودائع وانتظار عائدات التسول الدولي والإقليمي، واستمرار أزمات الكهرباء وتفاقم أزمات الاستشفاء وارتفاع أكلاف التعليم، ما يضع أغلب اللبنانيين أمام خيار الهجرة الحتميّة لمن يتيسر له ذلك، وبقاء الباقين للعيش في الجوع والذل.

هذا المشهد القاتم بدأ الانقشاع لصالح كوة ضوء مع كلام الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، عن معادلة الغاز والنفط بوليصة تأمين لبنان ضد الجوع والتسوّل والانهيار، وعن موقع قوة المقاومة المالي والاقتصادي في الاستعداد لضرب اليد على الطاولة بمقدرات تملكها المقاومة، وهي جاهزة لاستخدامها، لفرض تسريع التنقيب وصون الحقوق كاملة، شرط أن تخرج الحكومة من العبودية العمياء للمشيئة الأميركية، التي تقوم على مواصلة التفاوض المديد بلا جدوى، مع زيادة الضغوط على الدولة ورموزها لانتزاع تنازلات من حقوق لبنان في ثرواته البحرية، ربما تكون حاضرة في المساومات التي سيجريها الأميركيّون مع مرشحي رئاسة الجمهورية، وبالتوازي مواصلة الحملات على المقاومة لتحييد تأثيرها وقدرتها الرادعة عن ملف الغاز والنفط، لكن كلام السيد نصرالله بقي أملا صعب المنال، لأن صناعة القرار في الدولة تحكمها حسابات ومصالح تقع في أغلبها في خانة الخشية من الأميركي وما يهدّد به من عقوبات تطال أموال المسؤولين وعائلاتهم وحاشياتهم.

جاء كلام رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري ليضع خريطة طريق لكلام السيد نصرالله، فيقول سنمنح التفاوض مهلة شهر، وإذا لم يتم التوصل الى نهاية مرضية تضمن الحقوق اللبنانية، التي يبدو أنه بات محسوماً التوافق على اعتبارها محددة بالخط الـ 23 وفقاً لكلام رئيس الجمهورية العماد ميشال عون يوم أمس، فعندها يطلب من الشركات التي تم تلزيمها التنقيب في البلوكات الحدودية التي يفترض أنها تختزن ثروات طائلة، أن تبدأ التنقيب تحت طائلة تلزيم شركات أخرى إذا تخلفت عن ذلك، وقيمة كلام الرئيس بري أنه أولاً يصدر عن رئيس السلطة التشريعية الذي يعتبر عراب المفاوضات وراعيها، وثانياً لكونه وضع معادلة مهلة الشهر التي سيسمعها الأميركيون والإسرائيليون ويقيمون لها حساباً، يعلمون أنه سيصعب رفضها من سائر أركان الدولة بعد مضي سنوات على المسار التفاوضيّ، وأكثر من سنة ونصف على الاتفاق على الإطار التفاوضي، وثالثاً لأن الأميركيين والإسرائيليين يضعون في حسابهم إذا امتنعت الشركات التي رست عليها التلزيمات عن التنقيب أن يكون البديل إما شركة روسية تستفيد من لحظة التصادم الروسي الغربي الراهنة، أو شركة إيرانية وفقاً لما سبق وأعلنه السيد نصرالله حول جهوزيتها للمهمة، وفي الحالين لفرصة وضع المقاومة لمعادلة الردع قيد التنفيذ، تمنعونا نمنعكم، وما يمكن أن تؤول إليه الأمور في هذه الحالة.

خلال الصيف يبدو أننا سنكون على موعد مع تطورات متسارعة في ملف التنقيب عن الغاز والنفط، سواء عبر نهاية إيجابية أو سلبية للمسار التفاوضيّ. وهذا يفتح الباب لارتفاع منسوب الأمل لدى اللبنانيين بأن تشكل الانتخابات النيابية نقطة تحوّل نحو مرحلة جديدة يكون فيها للحلول الاقتصادية والمالية، التي تحفظ لهم البقاء في بلدهم، بكرامة العيش، بدلاً من خياري الهجرة أو التسول والذل.

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