Hell on Earth Exists

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Made in the USA, assisted by its imperial partners, hell exists in raped and destroyed nations by US-led aggression.

It’s worst of all in ravaged Yemen since October 2001, a nation under attack by the US and complicit aggressors for nearly two decades without let-up.

According to World Food Program executive director David Beasley in remarks to Security Council members last week:

“Just two days ago, I was in Yemen, where over 16 million people now face crisis levels of hunger or worse.” 

“These aren’t just numbers. These are real people.” 

“And we are headed straight toward the biggest famine in modern history.” 

“It is hell on earth in many places in Yemen right now.”

“Around 400,000 children may die in Yemen this year without urgent intervention.” 

“That is roughly one child every 75 seconds.” 

“So, while we’re sitting here, every minute and a quarter, a child is dying.”

“Are we really going to turn our backs on them and look the other way?”

“To add to all their misery, the innocent people of Yemen have to deal with a fuel blockade.”

“(M)ost hospitals (still operating) only have electricity in their intensive care units because fuel reserves are so low.” 

“I know this first-hand because I’ve walked in the hospital.” 

“And the lights were off. The electricity was off.” 

“The people of Yemen deserve our help. That blockade must be lifted, as a humanitarian act.” 

“Otherwise, millions more will spiral into crisis.”

“Man made conflict is driving instability and powering a destructive new wave of famine that threatens to sweep across the world.” 

“The toll being paid in human misery is unimaginable.” 

“These looming famines have two things in common: they are primarily driven by conflict, and they are entirely preventable.”

“The cycle of violence, hunger and despair pulls in more and more individuals and families as the weeks and months pass.” 

“But the potential consequences are truly global: economic deterioration, destabilization, mass migration and starvation.”

“Beyond the immediate crisis, we also need to invest in peace, so that in the future, desperate families are not forced to the brink of survival by the bullet and the bomb.” 

“The costs of this violence are immense: just in 2019 $14.5 trillion dollars a year – 15 percent of global GDP.” 

“It would take a fraction of this money to fund the development programs that could transform the lives of people in fragile, conflict-scarred nations – and help lay new pathways to peace.”

Beasley added that he earlier warned that famines “of biblical proportions” are happpening in over three dozen countries.

He estimates around 270 million people worldwide today on the brink of starvation — what’s entirely avoidable but it’s happening because of endless wars and indifference to the health, welfare and rights of world’s most vulnerable people.

Millions reside in Yemen, victimized by US aggression because of its strategic location.

It’s near the Horn of Africa on Saudi Arabia’s southern border, the Red Sea, its Bab el-Mandeb strait — a key chokepoint separating Yemen from Eritrea through which millions barrels of oil pass daily — and the Gulf of Aden connection to the Indian Ocean.

It’s why war to gain and maintain control of the country rages endlessly.

Yemeni Houthi freedom fighters want their country back.   

They want US-led aggression ended, US/Saudi forces out of the country once and for all.

Millions of Yemenis on the brink of starvation want to live, not die.

The Saudis are waging US proxy war on the country, massacring thousands, destroying vital infrastructure —  schools, food storage facilities, residential areas, and hospitals, wrecking Yemen’s healthcare system.

Millions of Yemenis face endless violence, lack of treatment for illnesses and injuries, starvation, and for many in the country widespread famine.

The entire population is at risk.

Beasley warned that things are “sliding toward the brink of the abyss” today.

Millions of desperate people in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, South Sudan, the Sahel and elsewhere — dozens of countries where millions of people go hungry because of US aggression and/or support for endless wars.

Beasley visited Sana’a, Yemen’s Al Sabeen children’s hospital.

He was overwhelmed by horror stories and what he saw firsthand.

He witnessed pain, incredible hardships, sick children whose bodies were skin and bones, and countless numbers on the brink of death from preventable or treatable illnesses and hunger.

“If I showed you some of the pictures, you would not believe it, and no one with a heart at all could sit idly by and let this continue. No one,” he stressed!  

Ending war in Yemen and other countries, along with lots of money for food and healthcare are desperately needed to save lives. end pain and indescribable suffering.

Beasley estimates around 250,000 deaths in Yemen from war, untreated diseases and starvation.

A more accurate toll since Bush/Cheney launched aggression in the country almost two decades ago is likely at least ten-fold higher than Beasley’s estimate.

What’s going on won’t likely end unless world community members no longer tolerate US-led wars on humanity.

They continue in multiple theaters by hot and/or other means, the human toll mounting exponentially each day.

The Watchdogs of Imperialism and the Uyghur Genocide Slander

By Stephen Gowans

Source

Uyghur genocide slander 4b7ba

On February 26 the Canadian Parliament passed a motion, by a vote of 226 to 0, expressing the opinion that “the People’s Republic of China has” implemented “measures intended to prevent” Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim births and that these measures are “consistent with” the United Nations Genocide Convention.

The reality is that Beijing is not preventing Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim births, and a report by a German anthropologist widely cited as evidence that it is, contradicts this claim. That report, by Adrian Zenz, a fellow at a US government-created foundation whose mission is to bring about the end of communism and the Chinese Communist Party,  reveals that while Chinese family planning policy restricts the number of children Chinese couples are allowed to have, it does not prevent couples in any group, including Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims, from bearing children. Moreover, limits on family size are the same between the Han Chinese ethnic majority and religious minorities. There is, therefore, no discrimination in Chinese family planning policy on the basis of national, religious, or ethnic affiliation.

Perhaps aware their position was untenable, the parliamentarians sought to buttress their motion by citing political opinion in the United States, where “it has been the position of two consecutive administrations that Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims are being subjected to a genocide by the Government of the People’s Republic of China,” the motion observed. In an act of unseemly subservience to imperial power, Canada’s parliament constructed a motion, based on no evidence, to echo a point of view articulated in Washington, also based on no evidence.

Significantly, the last two consecutive administrations have designated China a rival, and therefore have politically-motivated reasons for slandering their challenger. Moreover, apart from using the hyper-aggressive US military to extort economic and strategic concessions from other countries, US administrations have a long record of fabrication to justify their aggressive actions. That “two consecutive administrations” have held that the Chinese are carrying out a genocide is evidence of nothing more than Washington continuing to operate in its accustomed fashion of churning out lies about states that refuse to be integrated into the US economic, military and political orbit. A Serb-orchestrated genocide against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo; hidden weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; moderate rebels in Syria: these are only the tip of the iceberg of US lies and calumnies offered as pretexts for imperial aggression. Genocide in Xinjiang is but the latest.

Below, I look at the genocide slander from four perspectives:

  1. The geostrategic context.
  2. Who is behind the accusation?
  3. How do the accusers define genocide?
  4. What is the evidence?

The geostrategic context

In 2003, Graham E. Fuller, a former vice-chair of the US National Intelligence Estimate and one-time CIA station chief in Kabul, wrote a book for the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Study at the Johns Hopkins University, titled The Xinjiang Problem. His co-author was the academic  S. Frederick Starr.

Fuller and Starr wrote that:

the historical record suggests that the decision of countries and even of international organizations to raise specific human rights issues is often politicized and highly selective. Many countries will devote attention to human rights issues in China in inverse proportion to the quality of their overall bilateral relationship.

It need not be said that today, 18 years later, the quality of overall bilateral relations between the United States and China has deteriorated sharply. China has emerged as a formidable competitor to US economic and technological supremacy, and US policy has shifted, beginning with the Obama administration, toward an explicit program of eclipsing China’s rise.

In recent days, US president Joe Biden has said “American leadership must meet … the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States.” The Wall Street Journal reports that Biden’s “goal is to stay ahead of China in semiconductors, artificial intelligence and other advances that are expected to define the economy and military of the future.” However, the US president, according to the newspaper, intends to portray the conflict as one based on “a clash of values: democracy vs. autocracy,” rather than a clash of economic interests.

At the base of a deteriorating Sino-US relationship, then, lies a commercial rivalry, on top of which Washington has layered a narrative about a clash of values. In a Foreign Affairs article written before he became president, Biden outlined a strategy of confronting China over the economic challenges it poses to US businesses, US domination of the industries of tomorrow, and US technological (and concomitant military) supremacy. Biden said he would use a human rights narrative to rally support for a US-led campaign against China.

Fuller and Starr continued: “It would be unrealistic,” they wrote, “ to rule out categorically American willingness to play the ‘Uyghur card’ as a means of exerting pressure on China in the event of some future crisis or confrontation.” Many “of China’s rivals have in the past pursued active policies in Xinjiang and exploited the Uyghur issue for their benefit.” Almost two decades later, with US hostility rising as Washington’s claim to primacy on the world stage is under challenge, the United States has decided to play the Uyghur card.

Who is behind the accusations?

A network of groups and individuals, animated by an antagonism to the Chinese Communist Party, and supportive of continued US global supremacy, are involved in originating the slanders against Beijing. At the center is the German anthropologist, Adrian Zenz.

Zenz’s opposition to Beijing lies in his religious beliefs. A fundamentalist Christian, he views communism, feminism and homosexuality, as abominations against God. Zenz also believes that he is on a divinely-inspired mission to bring about the demise of communist rule in China.

Zenz is a senior fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. The foundation, created by the US government to discredit an ideology which competes against the United States’ first favorite religion, US state-capitalism (Christianity being the second) seeks to free the world “from the false hope of Marxism” and save it from “the tyranny of communism” (the leitmotif of Hitler’s political career.) This it strives to do by educating future generations that “Marxist socialism is the deadliest ideology in history,” (one that, by this view, is fully capable of carrying out a genocide), a task the foundation sees as especially pressing today, when “Positive attitudes toward communism and socialism are at an all-time high in the United States.”

Zenz has also written anti-Beijing reports for the Jamestown Foundation,  an anti-Communist outfit supported by corporations, foundations, and wealthy individuals, whose mission is to shape public opinion against China and North Korea.

Adrian Zenz 8e3c6

The slanderers also include a number of Uyghur exile groups, including the World Uyghur Congress, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy. The NED is a US government-bankrolled organization whose first president conceded that it does overtly what the CIA used to do covertly, namely destabilize foreign governments by strengthening fifth columns. The NED does so under the cover of promoting democracy and human rights.  The organization has boasted on Twitter that it has been funding fifth columnists in Xinjiang since 2004.

Another propagator of anti-Beijing slanders is the Epoch Times, the newspaper of the Falun Gong. Like Zenz, the roots of Falun Gong’s anti-Beijing animus lie in reactionary religious convictions. The cult deplores gender equality, homosexuality, and communism as affronts against God.

How do the accusers define genocide?

Those who accuse Beijing of carrying out a genocide employ a ruse regularly used in the corporate world to dupe consumers and employees. The subterfuge is to redefine a word to mean something other than what the word would be reasonably interpreted to mean.

Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo used this ruse. He accused Beijing of trying to integrate Xinjiang and its Turkic people into the larger Chinese society. While this did not meet the definition of genocide, Pompeo labelled Beijing’s actions as genocide all the same.  According to the magazine Foreign Policy, State Department lawyers told Pompeo that Beijing’s actions in Xinjiang did not satisfy the UN convention’s definition of genocide. Pompeo, who has no respect for the truth, much less the contrary opinions of government lawyers, was undeterred.

The current US secretary of state Anthony Blinken also accused Beijing of genocide. Using the same ruse, Blinken pointed to non-genocidal actions, namely one million Uyghurs in ‘concentration camps’, to make the claim that Beijing was trying to destroy a Muslim minority.  The claim was a double deception. First, there are no Uyghur concentration camps in Xinjiang, and second, even if there were, concentration camps do not equal genocide. Blinken was likely trying to exploit the association of the Holocaust with German death camps to insinuate that concentration camps and genocide go together, like the artic and snow, and that the Chinese government, and its Communist Party, are contemporary expressions of Nazi horror.    

The source of the concentration camp allegation is yet another of Beijing’s political foes, an Islamist media outlet run by Uyghur separatists in Turkey, which serves as a platform for the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, an al-Qaeda affiliated jihadist outfit which seeks to transform Xinjiang into an Islamic State. ETIM is considered a terrorist organization by the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States—or was considered a terrorist organization by the United States until Pompeo removed the group from the US terrorism list in October, thereby eliminating an impediment that had limited the contribution the jihadists could make to the US project of destabilizing Xinjiang, propagating calumnies about the Chinese government, and ultimately undermining China’s ability to compete with US businesses on the world stage.

In July of last year, Zenz wrote a paper for the Jamestown Foundation on Uyghur birthrates, which appears to be the basis for the claim cited by Canadian parliamentarians that China is carrying out a genocide in Xinjiang. Zenz’s report raised the question of genocide only in its final sentence, and then only tentatively. It was, instead, the Jamestown Foundation editor, John Dotson, a former US naval officer and US Congressional staff researcher, who concluded in an introductory note that “Zenz presents a compelling case that the CCP party-state apparatus in Xinjiang is engaged in severe human rights violations that meet the criteria for genocide as defined by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” Zenz, however, concluded only that Chinese policies “might be characterized” as constituting “a demographic campaign of genocide per” the UN convention. To be sure, any policy might be characterized in any particular way one wants, but the ad rem question isn’t, can policy x be characterized as y, but is it y?  Zenz, unlike Dotson, was not prepared to say that Chinese birth control policy constitutes genocide. And there’s a good reason for this; it clearly doesn’t.

Zenz’s paper was a political tract erected on the foundations of a report on Beijing’s family planning policies and their effects on Uyghur and Han birthrates in Xinjiang. What the report showed, notwithstanding Dotson’s politically-motivated misinterpretation, was that:

  • Previously, Han Chinese couples were limited to one child, while Uyghur couples were allowed two in urban areas, and three in rural areas. Family planning restrictions were not rigidly enforced on Uyghur couples.
  • Today, Han Chinese couples are permitted to have as many children as Uyghur couples are permitted (two children in urban areas, and three in rural areas.)
  • Family planning restrictions are now rigidly enforced.
  • The change from lax to rigid enforcement has been accompanied by a decrease in the Uyghur birth rate.

Zenz’s report showed that the Uyghur population continued to grow, despite enforcement of family planning policies; Uyghur couples are not prevented from having children, (they’re only limited in the number of children they can have); and family planning rules apply equally to Han Chinese.

Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, reads as follows:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  • Killing members of the group;
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The relevant consideration is the fourth item, namely, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. Chinese family planning policy does not prevent births within the Uyghur population; it only restricts them, and the restriction is non-discriminatory; it applies equally to all groups.

What is the evidence?

US State Department lawyers told Pompeo there is no evidence of genocide in Xinjiang. As we have seen, that didn’t stop Pompeo–who once boasted that as CIA director “we lied, cheated, and stole“– from making the accusation. He simply changed the definition of genocide, carrying on the US state tradition of fabricating lies to advance its interests.

Bob Rae, Canada’s representative to the UN, accused China of committing genocide, and then said efforts should be made to gather evidence to demonstrate this to be true.

John Ibbitson, a columnist with Canada’s Globe and Mail, conceded that Chinese government actions in Xinjiang do not meet the UN definition of genocide, but that Beijing is carrying out a genocide all the same.

The watchdogs of imperialism

The United States is waging an economic and information war on China, to preserve its economic,  military, and technological supremacy. Washington is recruiting its citizens, its allies and their citizens, and the progressive community, into a campaign to protect the international dictatorship of the United States from the challenge posed by the peaceful rise of China. Every manner of slander has been hurled at China to galvanize popular opposition to Beijing and mobilize popular support for economic aggression and growing military intimidation against the People’s Republic, from accusations that Chinese officials concealed the spread of the coronavirus; to calumnies about Muslims being immured in concentration camps, subjected to forced labor, and targeted for genocide; that Beijing is violating the one state-two systems agreement in Hong Kong (when in fact it’s only implementing a security law to undergird the one state part of the accord) and that Beijing’s efforts to reunify the country by re-integrating a territory the US Seventh Fleet prevented it from reintegrating in 1950, are really acts of aggression against an independent country named Taiwan.

Progressive forces, from Democracy Now!, which has provided Adrian Zenz a platform to traduce Beijing, to the New Democratic and Green parties in Canada, which voted for the motion declaring a genocide is in progress in Xinjiang, collude in the campaign to protect and promote the profits of Western shareholders, investors, and bankers from the challenges posed by China’s rise. Lenin, who knew a thing or two about communism, international rivalries, and the perfidy of progressives, described the predecessors of today’s Democracy Nows, Greens, and New Democrats as the watchdogs of imperialism. His words echo through the corridors of time.

Biden Continues US War on Venezuelan Social Democracy

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, March 06, 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 27 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

***

Let’s not mince words.

Biden and hardliners around him are like their predecessors.

They’re hostile toward virtually everything just societies hold dear — notably democracy the way it should be.

The US and West have fantasy versions, the real thing virtually banned.

Established by Hugo Chavez in 1999, continued by Nicolas Maduro, Venezuelans have governance of, by, and for everyone equitably — social democracy.

US policymakers consider it a threat of a good example — why they’ve gone all out to replace it with fascist tyranny short of hot war that remains an ominous possibility.

Since establishment of Venezuelan social democracy, US regimes from the Clinton co-presidency to Obama/Biden, then Trump, and now Biden/Harris aim to return the country to client state status.

They seek control over its vast oil resources, the world’s largest.

In 2013, Obama/Biden killed Chavez. Poisoned or infected with cancer causing substances, four major surgeries in 18 months couldn’t save him.

At the time, William Blum explained that the CIA worked diligently to develop substances that could kill without leaving a trace.”

“I Personally believe that Hugo Chavez was murdered by the United States,” he said.

Coup plots against him and Maduro failed. Other dirty tricks worked no better, including intermittent, US orchestrated, street violence.

Virtually everything US regimes threw at Venezuela to eliminate its model social democracy failed.

Further attempts are virtually certain. The US is hellbent to transform all sovereign independent nations into subservient client states.

It’s likely just a matter of time before another attempted regime change plot surfaces.

At the same time, endless US war by other means continues.

In 2015, Obama/Biden declared Bolivarian social democracy an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States (sic).”

On Wednesday, Biden/Harris reaffirmed the above, saying the following:

“(C)ircumstances described in Executive Order 13692 (2015), and subsequent executive orders issued with respect to Venezuela, have not improved (sic), and they continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States (sic).”

“Therefore in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 USC 1622(d), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13692 (sic).”

Bolivarian Venezuela prioritizes peace, stability, and cooperative relations with other countries — threatening no one, surely not the USA, armed and dangerous with nuclear and other super-weapons.

Biden’s new executive order maintains a US state of war by other means on the Bolivarian Republic.

No US national emergency exists with Venezuela or any other countries. No US enemies exist.

So time and again they’re invented by US policymakers to justify what’s unjustifiable under international and US constitutional law.

On March 2, Tony Blinken’s spokesman Ned Price said the following:

His boss spoke with widely despised, usurper-in-waiting, self-declared Venezuelan president with no legitimacy Guaido.

“Blinken stressed the importance of a return to democracy in Venezuela through free and fair elections (sic).”

After Maduro’s PSUV party won an overwhelming legislative majority last December with over two-thirds public support — a landslide triumph — the EU withdrew support for Guaido as (self-declared) interim president (with no legitimacy).

Jimmy Carter called Venezuela’s electoral process “the best in the world” for good reason. Elections when held are scrupulously open, free and fair.

When Maduro was reelected in May 2018, over 150 members of the International Electoral Accompaniment Mission said the following:

“The technical and professional trustworthiness and independence of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela are uncontestable.”

The Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America, one of the observer groups, said “results communicated by the National Electoral Council reflect the will of the voters who decided to participate in the electoral process.”

Similar assessments follow all Bolivarian elections.

They shame US fantasy democracy — a totalitarian police state, masquerading as democratic.

According to Price, Blinken is “increas(ing) multilateral pressure… for a peaceful, democratic transition (sic).”

Longstanding US policy calls for eliminating Bolivarian social democracy, wanting Venezuela transformed into a vassal state under US-installed puppet rule.

The above is how the scourge of US imperialism operates worldwide.

All nations free from its control are targeted for regime change — wars by hot and/or other means its favored strategies.

Illegal sanctions are weapons of war by other means.

Blinken said they’ll remain in place to continue US maximum pressure on the country.

Venezuelan social democracy conflicts with US imperial aims to dominate planet earth, control its resources, and exploit its people everywhere.

As long as Bolivarianism exists, both right wings of the US war party won’t likely cease trying to eliminate it.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/how-wall-street-fleeces-america/

“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/banker-occupation-waging-financial-war-on-humanity/

Featured image: Protest against U.S. intervention on Venezuela, in front of the White House, Washington DC. (Credit)

Damascus and Moscow Slam Escalated US Aggression in Syria

See the source image

By Stephen Lendman

Source

On Thursday, Biden regime terror-bombing strikes in Syria showed his contempt for the rule of law and unbending hostility toward Damascus and Tehran.

It also showed the illusion of his diplomatic outreach to Iran, an act of rhetorical head-fake deception with no policy action follow-through.

On Thursday, Blinken’s spokesman Price pretended otherwise, saying:

“(O)ur approach recognizes that maximum pressure accompanied by the lack of diplomatic engagement got us to where we are.” 

“That is why we are embarking on a different path, one that prioritizes real, principled, clear-eyed diplomacy (sic).”

Actions are polar opposite, indicating more of the same ahead.

Falsely blaming Iran for strikes on US bases and Baghdad’s Green Zone it had nothing to do with, followed by sending a message to Tehran by terror-bombing Syria, shows no change in maximum failure policy toward the Islamic Republic.

So does refusal to return to JCPOA compliance and lift illegally imposed sanctions.

Endless US war on Iran by other means continues under Biden.

Ignore rhetoric by regime officials. Follow their actions.

They show continuation of Trump’s anti-Iran agenda instead of going another way.

Biden officials also relentlessly push the phony threat of Iran advancing toward developing and producing nukes — knowing reality is polar opposite.

Where the Islamic Republic hasn’t gone for over 42 years, it shows no intention of moving toward now.

Yet the Big Lie otherwise persists in Washington, other Western capitals and Tel Aviv.

It refuses to die because Big Lies keep it alive.

In response to Biden’s escalated aggression, Syria’s Foreign Ministry said the following:

“In a flagrant violation of the rules of international law and Charter of the United Nations, the US warplanes on Thursday, February 25, 2021, launched a cowardly aggression by bombing some areas in Deir Ezzor province near the Syrian-Iraqi borders,” adding:

It sent a message to Damascus and Tehran that Biden intends continuation of endless aggression in Syria that aims to gain another US client state along with seeking to isolate Iran regionally.

It shows no change in US hostility toward the Islamic Republic, no intention to engage with its officials diplomatically according to the rule of law, no change in longstanding US regional imperial aims.

They’re all about dominating the Middle East, partitioning targeted countries for easier control, plundering their resources, and exploiting their people.

US ruling authorities aim to achieve their objectives through endless wars by hot and other means — even though they haven’t succeeded and won’t likely ahead.

It’s futile for Iran to believe that Biden will diverge from Trump’s hardline agenda.

Since taking office, he’s followed Trump’s toughness and escalated aggression, showing more of the same is highly likely.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry also slammed endless Israeli aggression, its undeclared war on the country with no end of it in prospect, so-called “international forces” in the country pursuing the same agenda, and high crimes by ISIS and other terrorists the West and Jewish state support.

The Syrian Arab Republic affirms its determination to defeat illegal occupation, eliminate the scourge of terrorism, and liberate “every inch” of its territory.

Moscow criticized Biden’s aggression, a Foreign Ministry statement saying:

“We strongly condemn such actions and call for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity to be unconditionally respected.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “(w)e are closely monitoring the situation on the ground.”

“We are in permanent contact with Syrian colleagues.”

Russia’s presidential envoy to Syria said the Biden regime has yet to cooperate with Russia on issues relating to Syria or Iran.

Sergey Lavrov said Russia was only notified of US airstrikes four to five minutes in advance, a useless, offensive heads-up, adding the following:

“We have recently heard different information from different sources.” 

“While we cannot confirm this, we want to ask the Americans directly.” 

“Reportedly, they could be making a decision to never leave Syria at all, eventually leading to the destruction of the country as a whole.”

There’s no ambiguity about US aims. Wars by hot and other means continue endlessly, no resolution in prospect anywhere.

Permanent occupation of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and numerous other countries is planned.

Regime change targets all nations free from US control, wanting pro-Western puppet rule replacing their sovereign independence.

US rage for unchallenged dominance over planet earth, its resources and populations makes unthinkable global war possible.

Going another way with Iran and other independent nations was never Washington’s intention and surely isn’t now.

Biden Says That America Is Back, But That Might Be A Bad Thing

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Biden Says That America Is Back, But That Might Be A Bad Thing

The world shouldn’t celebrate President Biden’s declaration that “America is back” but should tremble in fear. He doesn’t mean that it’s returning to the international community as an equal member, but that it’s doubling down on its bad habits.

US President Joe Biden thundered that “America is back” while addressing the Munich Security Conference last week via video, but his understanding of what this means might be a bad thing for the rest of the world. There were high hopes that he’d pragmatically re-engage with the international community in order to right his predecessor’s many foreign policy wrongs, but it seems from the rest of the words that he shared during his speech that he has other motivations in mind. The problem is that President Biden revealed how ideological his envisioned foreign policy is, which will inevitably contribute to further international instability in the future.

According to the American leader, the world is presently at an inflection point between democracy and what he described as “autocracy”. He said that his country’s “galvanizing mission” must therefore be to “demonstrate that democracies can still deliver for our people in this changed world” since he’s convinced that “it’s the single best way to revitalize the promise of our future.” In and of itself, that wouldn’t be an issue so long as the US focused solely on improving the state of its democracy at home, but regrettably, he wants to impose its interpretation of this governing system onto the rest of the world in a paradoxically undemocratic way.

Democracy is supposed to be about respecting differences, yet President Biden proclaimed that America will “speak out to defend [its values] around the world”, which differ from other countries’. Every state should have the right to practice their own form of democracy at home in line with their national traditions and culture without coming under pressure from abroad for this choice. Just like every person in a democracy should be able to do whatever they’d like as long as it’s peaceful, responsible, and doesn’t infringe on others’ rights, so too should every member of the international community be able to do this as well.

Unfortunately, President Biden’s ideologically driven foreign policy denies this right to China, which discredits America’s pro-democratic approach to International Relations. He proposed that “the United States, Europe, and Asia work together to secure the peace and defend our shared values and advance our prosperity across the Pacific” due to what he described as their “long-term strategic competition with China”. He also said that “We have to push back against the Chinese government’s economic abuses and coercion that undercut the foundations of the international economic system. Everyone — everyone — must play by the same rules.”

That statement is extremely hypocritical since it doesn’t align with reality. It’s the US that carries out economic abuses and pursues a policy of coercion against others which confirms it’s unwillingness to play by the same rules as everyone else. This is proven by its trade war against China and reliance on illegal sanctions as a foreign policy tool. China, by contrast, has always complied with international law and the rules of the World Trade Organization. Beijing doesn’t believe that there should be any double standards in this respect. It’s consistently advocated for America to return back to respecting international rules and norms instead of violating them.

President Biden’s messianic belief in America’s mission to impose its national interpretation of democracy onto others seems to have made him think that it’s acceptable to apply double standards towards this end. That’s the only explanation for why he’d so shamelessly lie to the rest of the world by claiming that China carries out a policy of economic abuses and coercion when that’s actually what his own country has a proven track record of doing. This observation strongly implies that the fundamental fallacy of his foreign policy is the mistaken assumption that America’s model of democracy is universal and that this thus makes the country exceptional.

That’s not true, though. America isn’t better than anyone else like the country’s conservatives claim, nor is it “the first among equals” like its liberals seem to believe. It’s simply just another member of the international community, albeit the one which is arguably the most responsible for destabilizing the world because of its dangerous belief in its own messianic mission and exceptionalism. Considering this, the world shouldn’t celebrate President Biden’s declaration that “America is back” but should tremble in fear. He doesn’t mean that it’s returning to the international community as an equal member, but that it’s doubling down on its bad habits.

Shouldn’t All Republicans Applaud Biden’s Syria Strike?

By Andrew Korybko

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Shouldn

President Biden’s Thursday night strike on Eastern Syria against alleged pro-Iranian militias there surprisingly prompted some criticism from influential Republicans like Don Jr., which was unexpected because one would have thought that they’d applaud his aggression since it advances the security interests of their country’s “Israeli” ally and also made it less likely that his efforts to revive the nuclear negotiations will succeed.

American politics is characterized by hypocrisy, and nowhere is this seen more clearly at the moment than with President Biden’s Thursday night strike on Eastern Syria against alleged pro-Iranian militias there. Breitbart pointed out how the American leader and some of his officials like Vice President Harris and spokeswoman Psaki criticized former President Trump’s assassination of Iranian Major General Soleimani at the start of last year yet ironically went and supported a similar killing albeit against much lesser-known figures a little less than a month after taking office. That’s a valid observation to make, but equally valid is the fact that influential Republicans like Don Jr. are also being hypocritical for criticizing Biden for the first attack of his presidency. After all, one would have thought that they’d applaud his aggression since it advances the security interests of their country’s “Israeli” ally and also made it less likely that his efforts to revive the nuclear negotiations will succeed. It also deserves mentioning that Trump himself bombed Syria just several months into his presidency in response to false claims that President Assad carried out a chemical weapons attack.

What’s happening here isn’t that everyone suddenly had a change of heart and coincidentally reversed their prior positions at the same time, but simply that they’re behaving as they’re expected to considering their current political positions. Opposition figures usually always criticize the ruling party’s strikes, hoping that this will endear them more to anti-war voters who are largely skeptical of larger military involvement overseas, whether for reasons of principle, security, and/or financial cost. Biden and his ilk behaved this way when Trump killed Soleimani, which is the exact same role that Don Jr. is now playing. Trump himself, while thankfully not starting another major war during his term in office unlike other presidents over the past four decades or so, went back on his prior anti-war pledges from the campaign trail by bombing Syria so soon after entering the White House. Just like Biden nowadays, this proves that opposition figures who are critical of the incumbents’ military actions abroad almost always end up carrying out their own such attacks because they believe in their own way — whether rightly or wrongly — that they do indeed support America’s national interests.

Trump’s Syria strike was the result of “deep state” manipulations while Biden’s was much more voluntary on his part, but nevertheless, they both served to send a message to Iran’s Syrian ally that the US won’t go “soft” on it despite Trump’s prior peaceful talk and Biden’s ongoing attempts to revive the nuclear deal with Tehran. About the most recent attack and the context in which it was carried out, Biden was also pressured by domestic factors to show Republicans that he won’t be “soft” on Iran either despite his administration’s diplomatic outreaches to it and their policy shift regarding Yemen. Although some criticized Trump for his proud pro-”Israeli” foreign policy sympathies, Biden is just as bad from this perspective because he directly targeted alleged pro-Iranian militias in Syria as a strong showing of his administration’s “goodwill” towards Tel Aviv in response to their concern that Washington is neglecting its regional interests by wanting to re-enter into nuclear talks with Tehran. Those negotiations might now be more difficult to revive than ever since Iran’s ruling “reformists” are under severe pressure from the “principalists” not to talk to the US until after June’s elections.

These two outcomes — the US’ clear signs of geostrategic fealty to “Israeli” regional security interests and potentially self-sabotaging the nuclear talks with Tehran — arguably align with Republican foreign policy interests and were unquestionably advanced by Trump himself during his tenure through his assassination of Major General Soleimani and decision to withdraw from the JCPOA. Many Republicans, however, don’t want to remember this since they’re just interested in criticizing the incumbent leader of their rival party due to how sour they still are over the contentious outcome of last year’s elections. Had Trump won re-election and been the one to bomb Syria last Thursday instead, they’d all probably be cheering him and praising his decisive military support for “Israeli” regional security interests at Iran’s alleged expense. At the same time, those Democrats who stand in support of Biden’s latest strike would have probably condemned it had Trump been the President who authorized the attack. This is all so predictable, yet few are talking about it because they’re blinded by the desire to make rhetorical points of relevance in the immediate moment.

The explained dynamic probably won’t ever change because the American people are so easily manipulable. Although outliers certainly exist as proven by the reader themselves for even being interested in this analysis in the first place, the majority have been conditioned to react to political rhetoric instead of think on their own. Partisan politics plays an enormous role in all of this since it’s rare for the average Democrat or Republican to criticize their side, especially when doing so would place them in the same camp as their opponents. That’s why so few Republicans can bring themselves to applaud Biden’s Syria strike even though they’d have likely praised it to high heaven had Trump been the one to carry it out. Similarly, few Democrats want to call Biden and his team out for their hypocrisy in criticizing Trump’s assassination of Soleimani yet nevertheless authorizing the assassination of a much higher number of lesser-known individuals allegedly linked to Iran. At the end of the day, more such examples are inevitable since this dynamic will remain the same so long as Americans continue to allow themselves to be manipulated in such simplistic political-rhetorical ways.

Another Step Back for Biden: Attack on Syria Draws Establishment Cheers

Alan Macleod

February 26th, 2021

By Alan Macleod

Source

WASHINGTON — Barely a month into his presidency, Joe Biden launched an airstrike on Syria yesterday. The attack was reportedly aimed at militias close to the Iraq border, killing 22 people — considerably more than the White House first claimed. In the attack, 1.75 tons of bombs were dropped on a small border-crossing village, according to The New York Times.

It was commonly reported that the target of the raid was pro-Iran forces — specifically, members of the Popular Mobilization Front, a contingent of Iraqi militia groups formed to fight ISIS that were eventually brought under the command of the Iraqi government. In its headline, the Times described the militias as such, although in the body of its report the paper admitted it had no evidence and was not sure this was the case.

U.S. government spokespersons framed the decision to bomb a country over 6,000 miles away as “defensive in nature” and as a response to attacks on American personnel in the region. The Syrian government characterized the incident as “cowardly” and a violation of international law.

Predictable cheers (and jeers)

The news was met with cheers from many of Biden’s more prominent supporters. “Good. Targeting our troops should carry a consequence,” wrote Time columnist David French. Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul was of a similar opinion, tweeting his approval of the attack. “So different having military action under Biden. No middle school-level threats on Twitter. Trust Biden and his team’s competence,” reacted Amy Siskind, a prominent liberal writer.

Others in the press were equally delighted. “By authorizing air strikes, the U.S. president showed he won’t ignore Tehran’s provocations while pursuing diplomacy,” wrote Bloomberg columnist Bobby Ghosh. Ghosh claimed that the strike would be sure to snap Iran out of its “sense of impunity” and deter any more “aggression” against the United States.

While the bombing drew applause from establishment Democrats, it also elicited condemnation from anti-war voices. “This is basically the polar opposite of getting back in the peace agreement, which was what [Biden] promised to do. A liar and a warmonger,” concluded political commentator Kyle Kulinski. “You will never bomb your way to peace,” reacted progressive activist and podcast host Jordan Uhl.

No step forward, two steps back

The news of the bombing came at the same time as reports that the new administration was planning to drop its attempts to pass a federal $15 minimum wage. Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that a $15 minimum wage could not be part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan. It is perfectly within the power of the Vice President Kamala Harris, serving in her capacity as president of the Senate, to overrule the decision and push forward with the plan regardless. However, reports suggest the Biden administration is not looking to do so. “Today Biden approved an airstrike in Syria and the Senate parliamentarian shot down the federal minimum wage hike through reconciliation. Dems can overrule her but Biden doesn’t want to. Dems will lose everything in the midterms and possibly the next general election. And they’ll deserve it,” fumed Ana Kasparian of “The Young Turks.”

The news capped off a month marked largely with disappointment for progressives. After campaigning on a promise to “immediately” send out a $2,000 check to every American, Biden has walked back that offer to a means-tested $1,400, something that is still stuck in negotiations and will only be sent out in the spring at the earliest.

Earlier this week, Trump-era child prisons along the Mexican border were reopened, this time with the word “bienvenidos” (Spanish for “welcome”) daubed on their exterior. Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent insisted that Biden’s camps were fundamentally different. “What Biden is doing has nothing in common with ‘kids in cages,’” he wrote, describing them merely as “warehouse-like facilities.”

The new president’s Middle Eastern policies have left many pro-peace figures disappointed. While pledging to end the war in Yemen as part of his election campaigning, Biden has merely promised to halt support for “offensive” Saudi actions and pause “relevant” arms sales. Yet his administration simultaneously reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s right to defend itself and immediately began condemning supposed Houthi attacks on its neighbor to the north, suggesting that the change is one of semantics rather than policy. Earlier this week, State Department official Timothy Lenderking also, according to an official communication, bizarrely “expressed gratitude for Saudi Arabia’s generous support over the decades for the people of Yemen.” Biden has also approved the controversial Trump-era decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

While few expected him to be an anti-war president, the expectation on Iran was that Biden would return to the nuclear deal signed by President Barack Obama, a deal that kept a lid on U.S. aggression against the country. However, the 78-year-old Delawarean is dragging his feet on that, too. This latest strike is hardly likely to improve matters.

Biden Deploying More US Troops to Middle East

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By Stephen Lendman

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Throughout his time in Washington from the early 1970s, Biden supported all US wars of aggression against invented enemies.

Will he escalate inherited conflicts in multiple countries, perhaps launch one or more new ones?

Like his predecessors, peace and stability are off the table.

A permanent state of forever war is highly likely to continue on his watch.

It’s been hard-wired US policy throughout most of the post-WW II period.

When Biden took office, Syria’s UN envoy Bashar al Jaafari called on his regime to end a near-decade of US war in his country, saying the following:

“The American occupation forces continue to plunder Syria’s wealth of oil, gas and agricultural crops, burning and destroying what it cannot steal,” adding:

“The new (US regime) must stop acts of aggression and occupation, plundering the wealth of my country, (and) withdraw its occupying forces.”

It must “stop supporting (jihadists), illegal entities, and attempts to threaten Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.”

Obama/Biden launched aggression against Syria in early 2011, a failed attempt to transform the country into a pro-Western vassal state and isolate Iran.

Biden/Harris have no intention of ending US forever war on Syria and its people — despite failure to achieve the aims of its predecessors.

The US is building one or more new bases in the country, suggesting no end to permanent occupation and war.

More Pentagon troops are being deployed to Syria and Iraq — on the phony pretext of combatting an ISIS resurgence the US supports, a statement by Pentagon spokeswoman Jessica McNulty saying the following:

“The US is participating in the force generation process for NATO Mission Iraq and will contribute its fair share to this important expanded mission (sic),” adding: 

“The US and its partners in the global coalition to defeat ISIS (sic) remain committed to ensuring the enduring defeat of ISIS (sic), and the department looks forward to continued consultations with Iraq, NATO, and the global coalition going forward (sic).”

According to US installed NATO secretary general Stoltenberg, thousands more alliance troops are being sent to Iraq — on the phony pretext of combatting ISIS.

Defying reality, he added that US-controlled NATO occupation of Iraq will “expand (to) fight terrorism” the alliance supports.

He falsely claimed that the expanded mission comes “at the request of the Iraqi government (sic).”

“It is carried out with full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (sic).”

The vast majority of Iraqis and members of parliament want their country back. They want unacceptable US occupation ended.

US hardliners intend permanent occupation of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, and other countries, along with a permanent state of war on these nations and their long-suffering people.

Trump wanted US troops withdrawn from the region but failed to achieve this objective.

Biden wants more Pentagon occupying forces sent to Middle East countries, more likely to Afghanistan.

US war secretary Austin “welcomed” greater numbers of US and NATO forces in the Middle East and elsewhere, saying:

“From Afghanistan and the Middle East, across Europe, Africa and our own hemisphere, to the wide expanse of the Western Pacific, the United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with allies old and new, partners big and small (sic),” adding: 

“Each of them brings to the mission unique skills, knowledge and capabilities.” 

“And each of them represents a relationship worth tending, preserving and respecting. We will do so.”

Before Trump left office, acting war secretary Miller said the following:

“The drawdown of US force levels in Iraq is reflective of the increased capabilities of the Iraqi security forces.” 

“Our ability to reduce force levels is evidence of real progress.”

Biden reversed dubious “progress” in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.

A state of greater US war in multiple countries exists than when he took war.

Is much more of the same coming, perhaps facilitated by one or more US false flags?

According to a White House statement,” the Biden regime claims the “right (to strike its enemies) at a time and place of (its) choosing.”

Is escalated US aggression in Syria and Iraq coming?

Will Iran be falsely blamed for things it had nothing to do with as before?

Resurgence of US supported ISIS appears part of a Biden regime plan for greater belligerence instead of turning a page for peace and stability in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Al-Houthi to Al-Mayadeen: We are ready for war and peace – Biden to Remove Yemen’s Ansarullah from Terror List الحوثي للميادين: جاهزون للحرب والسلام وبايدن يرفع أنصار الله اليمني من قائمة الإرهاب

Al-Houthi to Al-Mayadeen: We are ready for war and peace

الحوثي للميادين: مستعدون للحرب وللسلام.. والكلام عن التقسيم مجرد شعارات

A member of the Yemeni Supreme Political Council confirms that his country is waiting for the words of the US President on stopping the war to be converted into action, and affirms the readiness of “Ansar Allah” for dialogue in the interest of the Yemenis.


Muhammad Ali Al-Houthi, said in an interview with Al-Mayadeen that Washington is supposed to “stop the Saudi-Emirati war on our country and this is what we are waiting for,” describing the US President’s statements regarding stopping the war as “mere statements,” while what is expected. Stop the war and lift the blockade. “

Al-Houthi stressed that what Saudi Arabia and the UAE have done is “full-fledged terrorism,” adding that the Saudi coalition has tried “against us the military war since 2004 and has not worked with us, and we are not afraid of them and are ready to continue more.”

Al-Houthi emphasized that what Saudi Arabia and the UAE did was “terrorism with full descriptions,” explaining that the Saudi alliance had tried launched a military war against us since 2004, “We are not afraid of this war and are ready to continue the confrontation, but we are with peace,” he said. “all matters can be resolved during peace negotiations if arrogance is put aside.” Al-Houthi called on Washington to impose according to the war on its followers and to take serious decisions in this context, pointing out the absence of communication with the United States until now.

Earlier, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a halt to his country’s support for the war in Yemen, saying, “I have asked my Middle East team to act on a cease-fire  to deliver humanitarian aid and open dialogue.”

Al-Houthi said Biden put forward a halt to the war on Yemen during his campaign because he wanted to “restore U.S. policy” after former President Donald Trump, adding: “If Biden violates the cessation of the war on Yemen that he has pledged to stop, it undermines the confidence of the American voter and that’s what he doesn’t want.”

He also urged Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to stop the war and turn to the peace of the brave,” stressing that “Ansar Allah” will dialogue according to “the dictates of the Yemeni interest, and we do not accept anyone to be humiliated. We and they will be equals to speak in a way that takes care of our interests and their interests. “

Al-Houthi considered that the political solution should be “subject to a referendum by the Yemeni people, and whatever the people are satisfied with, we will accept it.”

Al-Houthi called for an end to the aggression and the embargo imposed on his country, as well as the payment of compensation from the countries of aggression similar to those received by Kuwait from Iraq.

He said the Yemeni armed forces will stop bombing coalition targets “if all the countries of aggression stop bombing,” stressing the right of the Yemeni people to “defend themselves”, using weapons manufactured locally, he said.

Al-Houthi also pointed out that there are video meetings of leaders in “ISIS” and “al-Qaeda” with Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar in Aden, stressing that the threat of “ISIS” comes from Saudi Arabia and America.

On the position of other countries participating in the aggression in one way or another, al-Houthi said that selling arms to the coalition is a “crime”, and “the British know who the Yemenis are, the Yemeni people have liberated their land from British colonialism, and the Yemeni army can now reach them, we have sophisticated weapons.”

On the future of the solution and the prospects for partition, al-Houthi said the UN Security Council is talking about the territorial integrity of Yemen, calling some of the words of secession “just slogans to mobilise fighters.”

At the end of the interview, a member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council called on the Yemeni people to be aware and cautious “especially in the peace phase”, and praised the efforts of the Yemeni armed forces and their role in maintaining the country’s independence.

Biden to Remove Yemen’s Ansarullah from Terror List

By Staff, Agencies

The US announced that it is heading towards delisting Yemen’s Ansarullah group as a terrorist organization, removing a block that humanitarian groups said jeopardized crucial aid.

The grinding six-year Saudi aggression in Yemen has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions, triggering what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

A State Department spokesperson said Friday they had “formally notified Congress” of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s intent to revoke the terrorist designations.

The move, which will take effect shortly, comes a day after Biden announced an end to US support for the Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen.

“Our action is due entirely to the humanitarian consequences of this last-minute designation from the prior administration,” they said.

Blinken’s predecessor Mike Pompeo announced the designation days before leaving office last month.

الحوثي للميادين: جاهزون للحرب والسلام

الحوثي للميادين: مستعدون للحرب وللسلام.. والكلام عن التقسيم مجرد شعارات

عضو المجلس السياسي الأعلى اليمني يؤكد أن بلاده تنتظر تحويل كلام الرئيس الأميركي بشأن وقف الحرب إلى أفعال، ويؤكد استعداد “أنصار الله” للحوار بما يخدم مصلحة اليمنيين.

قال عضو المجلس السياسي الأعلى في اليمن محمد علي الحوثي، في مقابلة مع الميادين، إن من المفترض أن “توقف واشنطن الحرب السعودية – الإماراتية على بلدنا وهذا ما ننتظره”، واصفاً تصريحات الرئيس الأميركي بشأن وقف الحرب بأنها “مجرد تصريحات”، فيما المنتظر “وقف الحرب ورفع الحصار”. 
 
 وأكد الحوثي أن ما فعلته السعودية والإمارات هو “إرهاب مكتمل الأوصاف”، موضحاً  أن التحالف السعودي جرّب “ضدنا الحرب العسكرية منذ عام 2004 ولم تنفع معنا، ونحن لا نخشاهم ومستعدون للاستمرار أكثر”. 

وتابع: “نحن لا نخاف هذه الحرب ومستعدون للاستمرار في المواجهة لكننا مع السلام”، موضحاً أن “كل الأمور قابلة للحل خلال مفاوضات السلام في حال تم تنحية العجرفة”.

ودعا الحوثي واشنطن لفرض وفق الحرب على أتباعها واتخاذ قرارات جادة في هذا الإطار، مشيراً إلى غياب التواصل مع الولايات المتحدة حتى الساعة.

وكان الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن قد أعلن، في وقت سابق، وقف دعم بلاده للحرب على اليمن، قائلاً: “طلبت من فريقي المختص للشرق الأوسط العمل لوقف إطلاق النار لإيصال المساعدات الإنسانية وفتح الحوار”.

ورأى الحوثي أن بايدن طرح وقف الحرب على اليمن خلال حملته الانتخابية، لأنه يريد “ترميم السياسة الأميركية” بعد الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب، وأضاف: “إذا أخلّ بايدن بوقف الحرب على اليمن التي تعهد بوقفها فإنه يخل بثقة الناخب الأميركي وهذا ما لا يريده”.
 
كما وحثّ الملك السعودي سلمان بن عبد العزيز على وقف الحرب وأن “تتجه السعودية إلى سلام الشجعان”، مشدداً على أن “أنصار الله” ستحاور وفق “ما تمليه المصلحة اليمنية، ولا نرضى لأحد أن يكون ذليلاً، سنكون نحن وهم أنداداً لنتحدث بما يرعى مصالحنا ومصالحهم”.

واعتبر الحوثي أن الحل السياسي ينبغي أن “يخضع لاستفتاء الشعب اليمني، وما يرضى به الشعب سنقبل به”.

وطالب الحوثي بوقف العدوان والحصار المفروض على بلاده، كما دعا لصرف تعويضات من دول العدوان مماثلة للتعويضات التي حصلت عليها الكويت من العراق.

وأعلن أن القوات المسلحة اليمنية ستتوقف عن قصف أهداف التحالف “إذا توقفت جميع دول العدوان عن القصف”، مؤكداً حق الشعب اليمني في أن “يدافع عن نفسه”، وذلك باستخدام الأسلحة التي يجري صناعتها محلياً، وفق قوله. 

كما وأشار الحوثي إلى وجود لقاءات مصورة لقيادات في “داعش” و”القاعدة” مع نائب الرئيس علي محسن الأحمر في عدن، مشدداً على أن خطر “داعش” يأتي من السعودية وأميركا.

وبشأن موقف الدول الأخرى المشاركة في العدوان بشكل أو بآخر، قال الحوثي إن بيع السلاح للتحالف هو “جريمة”، و”البريطانيون يعرفون من هم اليمنيون فالشعب اليمني حرر أرضه سابقاً من الاستعمار البريطاني، وبإمكان الجيش اليمني حالياً الوصول إليهم، فنحن نمتلك أسلحة متطورة”. 

وحول مستقبل الحل واحتمالات التقسيم، أشار الحوثي إلى أن مجلس الأمن الدولي يتحدث عن وحدة الأراضي اليمنية، معتبراً كلام البعض عن الانفصال “مجرد شعارات لحشد المقاتلين”.

ودعا عضو المجلس السياسي الأعلى في اليمن، في ختام المقابلة، الشعب اليمني أن يكون على مستوى عالٍ من الوعي والحذر “خاصة في مرحلة السلام”، كما وأشاد بجهود القوات المسلحة اليمنية ودورها في الحفاظ على استقلال البلاد. 

بايدن يرفع أنصار الله اليمني من قائمة الإرهاب

Biden to Remove Yemen’s Ansarullah from Terror List

الموظفين والوكالات

أعلنت الولايات المتحدة أنها تتجه نحو شطب جماعة أنصار الله اليمنية من القائمة كمنظمة إرهابية، قالت منظمات إنسانية إنها تعرض المساعدات الحاسمة للخطر.

لقد أدى العدوان السعودي الطاحن الذي دام ست سنوات في اليمن إلى مقتل عشرات الآلاف وتشريد الملايين، مما تسبب في ما تسميه الأمم المتحدة أسوأ كارثة إنسانية في العالم.

وقال متحدث باسم وزارة الخارجية الاميركية الجمعة انهم “ابلغوا الكونغرس رسميا” بعزم وزير الخارجية الاميركي انتوني بلينكن على الغاء هذه التصنيفات الارهابية.

وتأتي هذه الخطوة، التي ستدخل حيز التنفيذ قريباً، بعد يوم واحد من إعلان بايدن إنهاء الدعم الأمريكي للعمليات الهجومية التي تقودها السعودية في اليمن.

واضافوا ” ان تحركنا يرجع تماما الى العواقب الانسانية لهذا التصنيف فى اللحظة الاخيرة من الادارة السابقة ” .

وكان مايك بومبيو، سلف بلينكن، قد أعلن عن تعيينه قبل أيام من مغادرته منصبه الشهر الماضي.

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ملامح السياسة الخارجيّة لإدارة بايدن

ناصر قنديل

إذا كان جو بايدن قد رفض الموافقة على حرب الخليج الأولى في زمن انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتيّ وذروة الشعور الأميركي بالقوة في عهد الرئيس جورج بوش الأب، ورفض الموافقة على حرب الخليج الثانية في ذروة الاندفاعة الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط مع حروب جورج بوش الإبن، بمثل ما عارض التدخل في ليبيا في ذروة المناخ الذي وضع التدخل في دائرة الدفاع عن حقوق الإنسان الذي أثاره الربيع العربي والتغطية التي وفرتها الجامعة العربية، فمن الطبيعي عدم توقع أن يتبنى بايدن لغة الحرب، في ظروف التراجع والضعف والانقسام والعزلة التي تحكم الحركة الأميركية، إلا بتوافر شروط مشابهة لحرب البلقان التي انتهت بزوال يوغوسلافيا الموحّدة عن الخريطة الأوروبية، والتي كانت الحرب الوحيدة التي أيّدها بايدن. وهذا الفارق بين بايدن وسواه لا يجوز أن تتم مقاربته من خلال اعتبار رؤساء الحرب أسوأ، ورؤساء المنهج الدبلوماسي أقل سوءاً، بل من خلال تفاوت المدارس الأميركية في مقاربة كيفية الفوز بمشروع الهيمنة، وهنا يستطيع بايدن الادعاء انه الأكثر من زملائه في الرئاسة، جمهوريين وديمقراطيين، خبرة في السياسة الخارجية وحدود القوة المنفردة في صناعتها، وفعالية الدبلوماسية في تحقيق الأفضل منها بأقل الخسائر والأكلاف، خصوصاً أن الفشل كان رفيقاً ملازماً لمنهج الحروب.

في ظل وضع داخلي شديد القسوة وتورط بأزمات دولية كبرى، تحتاج ادارة بايدن لترسيم أولويات السياسة الخارجية التي تتيح لها، منح الوضع الداخلي الاهتمام الرئيسي، والأولويات تقع ضمن ترسيخ المفهوم الذي يشكل أصل عقيدة بايدن في رسم السياسة الخارجية، ومضمونها أن السباق والتنافس والتحدّي، عناوين يمكن توفير فرص أفضل لخوضها من ضمن الانخراط في التفاهمات من توهّم خوضها عبر القطيعة والعدائية. وهذا مضمون وجوهر ما كتبه في مقالته التي نشرها في شهر آذار 2020 في مجلة الفورين أفيرز، وعنوان هذا المنهج الذي يتبنّاه بايدن هو اتهام دعاة التفرّد الأميركي بلغة القوة والعقوبات والعدائيّة، بجهل أهمية الدبلوماسية في تشكيل موازين القوى، ويسمّي انصار بايدن هذه العقيدة بإعادة الخصوم الى العلبة، اي علبة الاتفاقيات والتفاهمات، التي تعيد حشد الحلفاء في جبهة واحدة، خصوصاً ضمان وحدة الموقف الاميركي والأوروبي وتوفير فرص إحراج روسيا والصين لضمان إجماع دولي عبر الأمم المتحدة، والتحكم بمراقبة الخصوم وإرهاقهم بطلبات التقيد بالضوابط، وملاحقتهم في كل محاولة للخروج من العلبة. فالسباق والتنافس والتحدي، يتجسد سباق تسلح مع روسيا وتنافساً اقتصادياً مع الصين وتحدياً نووياً مع إيران. والحصيلة ان إيران اقرب لربح التحدي النووي إذا خرجت من العلبة وهي الاتفاق النووي. وروسيا أقرب لبلوغ تحديات عسكرية نوعية إذا خرجت من العلبة وهي اتفاقية ستارت، والصين أقرب لرسم سقوف تنافس قياسية اذا بقيت خارج العلبة وهي التطبيق الصارم لاتفاقية المناخ التي ترفع أكلاف الإنتاج وتقيد نسب النمو، وتفرض ضوابط على استهلاك الطاقة.

حدّد دانيال ر. ديبتريس الكاتب في “أولويات الدفاع” وكاتب العمود في “نيوزويك” 4 قضايا وصفها بأنها ذات أولوية في السياسة الخارجية الأميركية، ويجب على إدارة الرئيس جو بايدن إنجازها خلال 100 يوم الأولى من ولايته. وفصّل ديبتريس في مقال له في موقع «ناشونال إنترست» الأميركي في هذه القضايا قائلاً إنها تتضمن أولوية العودة لاتفاقية وقف سباق التسلح مع روسيا واتفاقية باريس للمناخ، والتهدئة مع إيران، والخروج من اليمن، وجدولة الانسحاب من افغانستان.

سيشكل ملف اليمن نقطة الانطلاق التي تمهد لرسم السياسة الأميركية في المنطقة، حيث بات محسوماً عزم بايدن على إلغاء تصنيف انصار الله على لائحة الإرهاب، رغم الاعتراض السعودي، وليس خافياً اللوم الأميركي على السعودية في استمرار الحرب في كل تصريحات فريق بايدن وفي طليعتهم وزير خارجيته طوني بلينكن ومستشاره للأمن القومي جايك سوليفان ومدير المخابرات وليم بيرينز، ودعوة السعودية للخروج العاجل من هذه الحرب، وبمثل ما سيشكل هذا التحرك الأميركي على جبهة اليمن رأس جسر لإعادة الثقة مع إيران، يمثل التمسك الذي يبديه بايدن وفريقه بموقع متميز للأكراد سبباً لتجاذب سيحكم المشهد الإقليمي في سورية والعراق ومع تركيا وإيران.

يخوض روبرت مالي المرشح الأبرز لتولي الملف الإيراني في فريق بايدن والصديق المقرب لتوني بلينكن في تفاصيل العودة للاتفاق النووي، مستعرضاً قضية مَن يعود أولاً، وقضية رفع العقوبات وطلب إيران للتعويضات، ووهم الحديث عن عزلة دولية تعيشها ايران، ليصل الى حتمية انطلاق ديناميكيّة دبلوماسية تنتهي بالعودة للاتفاق النووي والغاء العقوبات.

يعتقد بعض الخبراء الذين ينطلقون من عقيدة بايدن للانخراط الدبلوماسي بديلاً للتفرد والقوة والعقوبات، ان بايدن سيرسم ثوابت عامة لمقاربته لحل القضية الفلسطينية على قاعدة صيغة الدولتين من دون ان يتورط بمبادرات لإطلاق التفاوض، مكتفياً بتثبيت التحالف الاستراتيجي والدعم العسكري والمالي لـ”إسرائيل”، وتثبيت الانفتاح السياسي والمالي على السلطة الفلسطينية، بينما سيشكل السعي لتوسيع الدور المصريّ وإعادة إحياء الجامعة العربية بزعامة مصرية تستعيد سورية إليها، عنوان الرؤية الأميركية لخريطة المنطقة، لتشكل عامل توازن مع الدورين التركي والإيراني، والسعي لتخفيض منسوب التعاظم في محور المقاومة خصوصاً في سورية والعراق.

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Baghdad on the Potomac: Welcome to the Blue Zone

Via The Saker

Baghdad on the Potomac: Welcome to the Blue Zone

January 19, 2021

The star of the Joe and Kammy Regime Change Show

The season opening of the Joe and Kammy Regime Change Show could not be a more appropriate roomful of mirrors reflecting the self-described US “political elite”.

During the 2000s, I came face to face with Baghdad’s Green Zone multiple times. I always stayed, and worked, in the hyper-volatile Red Zone – as you may check in my 2007 book Red Zone Blues.

We knew then that blowback would be inevitable.

But still, we could never have imagined such a graphic simulacrum: the Green Zone fully replicated in the heart of imperial D.C. – complete with walls, barbed wire, multiple checkpoints, heavily armed guards.

That is even more significant because it ends a full “new world order” geopolitical cycle: the empire started bombing – and cluster bombing – Iraq 30 years ago. Desert Storm was launched in January 17, 1991.

The Blue Zone is now “protected” by a massive 26,000 plus troop surge – way more than Afghanistan and Iraq combined. The Forever Wars – which you may now relieve through my archives – have come back full circle.

Just like an ordinary Iraqi was not allowed inside the Green Zone, no ordinary American is allowed inside the Blue Zone.

Just like the Green Zone, those inside the Blue Zone represent none other than themselves.

The D.C. Blue Zone map

And just like the Green Zone, those inside the Blue Zone are viewed by half of the population in the Red Zone as an occupying force.

Only satire is capable of doing poetic justice to what is, de facto, the Potemkin inauguration of a hologram. So welcome to the most popular president in history inaugurated in secret, and fearful of his own, fake, Praetorian Guard. The Global South has seen this grisly show before – in endless reruns. But never as a homegrown Hollywood flick.

When in doubt, blame China

Meanwhile, trapped inside the Blue Zone, the White House has been busy compiling an interminable list of accomplishments.

Multitudes will go berserk relieving the appalling foreign policy disasters, courtesy of American Psycho Mike Pompeo; debunking the official narrative partially or as a whole; and even agreeing with the odd “accomplishment”.

Yet close attention should be paid to a key item: “Colossal Rebuilding of the Military”.

This is what is going to play a key role beyond January 20 – as Gen Flynn has been extremely busy showing evidence to the military, at all levels, of how “compromised” is the new Hologram-in-Chief.

And then there’s the rolling, never-ending November 3 drama. Blame should be duly apportioned. Impeachment, digital witch hunts, rounding up “domestic terrorists”, that is not enough. “Foreign interference” is a must.

Enter Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe, adamantly stating that “the People’s Republic of China sought to influence the 2020 U.S. federal elections.”

Ratcliffe was referring to a report sent to Congress on January 7 by the DNI’s Chief of the Solutions Division, or analytic ombudsman Barry Zulauf, side by side with an assessment about “foreign interference”.

A legitimate question is why it took them so long to finish this report. And it gets wackier: the full intel on the report about foreign interference was scotched by none other than CIA higher-ups.

The ombudsman states that the groups of analysts working on Russian and Chinese interference used different standards. Russia, of course, was guilty from the start: a categorical imperative. China had the benefit of the doubt.

Ratcliffe actually states that some analysts refused to blame Beijing for election interference because they were – what else – Never Trumpers.

So Langley, we’ve got a problem. Pompeus “We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal” Minimus is CIA. He qualifies the Chinese Communist Party as the greatest evil in the history of mankind. How would he not influence his minions to produce, by any means necessary, any instance of Chinese election interference?

At the same time, for the Dem Deep State faction, Russia is perpetually guilty of…whatever.

This rift inside the Deep State roomful of mirrors delightfully reverberates the Blue Zone/Red Zone schism.

Needless to add, in both the ombudsman’s report and Ratcliffe’s letter, there is absolutely no hard evidence of Chinese interference.

As for Russia, apart from election interference – once again, no evidence – the Dem Deep State Dementia apparatus is still busy trying to blame Moscow also for 1/6. The latest gambit centers on a MAGA chick who may have stolen Pelosi’s laptop from her office at the Capitol to sell it to the SVR, Russian foreign intel.

The whole Global South – Baghdad’s Green Zone included – just can’t get enough of the greatest show on earth. Do they sell bananas in the Blue Zone?

US economic decline and global instability

US economic decline and global instability

January 19, 2021

by Phillyguy for The Saker Blog

Summary

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s preeminent economic and military power. Seven decades later, American power is in decline, a direct consequence of decades of neoliberal economic policies, spending large amounts of public money on the military and attainment of economic/military parity by Russia and China. These policies have eroded US economic strength and are undermining the role of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, key pillars of US global power. In this essay, we highlight how this situation evolved and its implications for US foreign policy and international relations.

Foundations of American Global Hegemony

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s leading military and economic power. This power was further solidified at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in 1944, which came to be known as the ‘Bretton Woods Agreement’. This agreement: 1) pegged the value of member country’s currencies to the US dollar, which was pegged to the price of gold, and 2) created the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, later known as the World Bank. The purported goals of the Bretton Woods system were to ‘stabilize currencies and promote international economic growth’. This conference also recognized the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. 12

International economic relations started to change in the mid-1970s as US corporate profits began to stagnate/decline, a direct consequence of spending lots of taxpayer money on wars in Korea and Vietnam and increased competition from rebuilt economies in Europe, primarily Germany (Marshall Plan) and Asia- Japan, South Korea (Korean and Vietnam wars) and more recently China. US policy makers responded to these economic challenges in several ways. 1) Recognizing that the government had insufficient gold reserves to cover all of the dollars in circulation, in 1971 President Richard Nixon was forced to suspend convertibility of the dollar into gold, effectively devaluing the US dollar and making it a fiat currency. 3 2) In the early 1980s, US policy makers began instituting neoliberal economic policies. Neoliberalism can be broadly defined as policies promoting free-market capitalism, deregulation, and a reduction in government spending and was widely promoted in the US by President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) and in the UK by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1975-1990). 4 These policies included multiple tax cuts for the wealthy, financial deregulation, attacks on labor and poor, job outsourcing and spending $ trillions of taxpayer money on the military. 5 A short description of these policies and their impact on US society follows.

Tax Cuts

Beginning with the Reagan Administration, a number of tax cuts were enacted which reduced and/or eliminated top tax rates, corporate taxes and inheritance taxes (aka ‘death tax’; see Table 1). It should be noted that to market this legislation and ‘sell’ it to a generally uninformed American public, these bills frequently contain words or phrases in their titles which convey a positive and progressive message, such as ‘Economic Recovery’, ‘Tax Reform’, ‘Economic Growth and Tax Relief’, ‘Jobs and Growth’ and ‘Jobs Act’. After all, who is against ‘Economic Recovery’ and ‘Growth’ or a ‘Jobs Act’? However, to quote Phaedrus (Greek; circa 444 – 393 BC) ‘things are not always what they seem’. Each of these pieces of legislation was the result of massive lobbying campaigns by large financial interests- banks and corporations, with the goal of rolling back ‘New Deal’ tax and economic legislation enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the depths of the Great Depression (1933-1939) 67 and ‘open up’ the economy to unregulated and risky financial schemes, which under the right circumstances can yield substantial profits, but when things do not proceed as planned, can lead to large losses, as observed during the 2008 financial collapse. An analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) concluded that between 2001-2018, 65% of the benefit from these tax cuts went to the wealthiest (top 20%) households, while federal tax revenues declined $5.1 Trillion and federal deficits grew $5.9 Trillion. 8 As a result of the COVID19 pandemic, federal deficits are now hemorrhaging.

Attacks on Labor and Poor

In 1981, members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) went on strike. President Reagan declared the strike a threat to ‘national safety’ and ordered all workers back to work, under the Taft-Hartley Act (1947). Of the circa 13,000 striking air traffic controllers, only 1,300 returned to work; Reagan fired the remaining 11,345 air traffic controllers who were still out. 9 The decline in labor solidarity was readily apparent as there was little support for striking PATCO workers from other unions. As a result, this began a frontal assault on union workers and labor.

During the 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton vowed to ‘end welfare as we have come to know it’ 10 and in 1996, signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, creating the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (aka TANF) program 11, which changed the financing and benefit structure of cash assistance to poor people, Predictably, these changes did not ‘end welfare’ but increased poverty. Not surprisingly, Conservatives in Congress want to use the TANF model to ‘reform’ other federal programs such as Medicaid.

Job Outsourcing

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), enacted Jan, 1994, created a ‘free trade’ agreement between Canada, Mexico, and US. While not fully appreciated at the time, this trade agreement would have a major impact on US industrial policy and jobs. NAFTA enabled large American corporations such as auto makers- Ford, General Motors, etc., to build manufacturing plants in Mexico taking advantage of lower wage rates and import the finished products back into the country duty free. The savings in labor costs is significant- the 2020 manufacturing wage in the US- $23/hr 12 vs $2.50/hr in Mexico 13 (90% lower) and not surprisingly, decreased labor costs boost corporate profits. On the negative side, NAFTA has: 1) led to the loss 4.5 million manufacturing jobs, with many of these displaced workers were forced to take lower paying jobs, 2) reduced growth in the export of manufactured products and services, 3) increased trade deficits with Canada and Mexico 14.

Job outsourcing has acquired the acronym ‘Globalization’ implying that it is a natural form of economic evolution, enabling large corporations to make their operations more cost-effective and efficient. Not surprisingly, the reality is somewhat different. Since passage of NAFTA, large corporations from the US and other countries have moved their manufacturing to Mexico, China, India, and other low-wage platforms to reduce labor costs, take advantage of lax environmental regulation and more favorable tax policies which increase corporate profits. It should be stressed that these polices have been voluntarily enacted by large financial interests in the US and other countries based on economic decisions and the relentless drive of capitalism to maximize corporate profits. During his 2016 ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign, presidential candidate Donald Trump repeatedly stated that China has ‘stolen’ American jobs and been involved in massive ‘theft’ of intellectual property 15 . Indeed, China has aggressively pursued economic development and has clearly taken advantage of technology transfer by multinational corporations 16. However, China is certainly not unique as these practices are frequently used by other developing countries. For example, during the Industrial Revolution (circa 1760-1840), the developing US manufacturing base relied largely on knowledge and technologies that had been developed in Europe, primarily the UK. No doubt, some of this technology was acquired by unscrupulous methods. Thus, while Trump was correct in pointing out that many American jobs had indeed moved to China, he has repeatedly failed to acknowledge that these jobs were deliberately moved by American corporations because it is more profitable. Trump’s allegations also beg the obvious question, if large US corporations and their functionaries in government were concerned about technology transfer to China, they should not have moved their production and associated ‘sensitive’ technology out of the US in the first place. Following his electoral victory in 2016, Trump attempted to force corporations to repatriate outsourced jobs. While some US-based firms left China, little of this production was moved back to the US; the vast majority were relocated to Vietnam, Thailand, India, Mexico and other low-wage platforms 17. A fundamental axiom of Capitalism is that business enterprises always seek the highest rate of return on their capital investments. Further, US CEO compensation is typically tied to stock price. Given this reality, large US corporations have curtailed domestic business spending (i.e., investing in new plants and equipment) and instead have allocated large amounts of money for stock buybacks. The reason for this behavior is clear- investments in new plants and equipment have payback periods ranging from years-decades, while spending money on share buybacks and stock futures results in near instantaneous increase of equity prices and higher financial compensation for corporate management. No one forced the CEOs of Apple, Nike, Levis, GM, etc. to move their RD/production facilities to China or other countries. Rather, this was done deliberately to maximize corporate profits. Unfortunately, the proverbial ‘chickens are coming home to roost’. The US is lagging behind China in 5G technology because corporate CEOs have been more interested in boosting stock price and their financial compensation, rather than investing in new plants and equipment to compete with China in this technology.

Financial Deregulation

The Glass-Steagall Act was part of the Banking Act of 1933, and established a barrier or ‘firewall’ between commercial banks, which accept deposits from working people and issue loans and investment banks that sell investment products, such as stocks and bonds. 7 Not surprisingly the financial industry lobbied heavily to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act; in 1999, this lobbying paid off as Bill Clinton enacted the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA; aka the Financial Services Modernization Act), which repealed the depression era Glass-Steagall Act thus loosening regulations on banking. Prior to leaving office, Clinton also signed The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA) into law, which exempted over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives from regulation.

A derivative is defined as a financial security whose value is based or ‘derived’ from an underlying asset- bonds, commodities, currencies, interest rates, stocks and market indexes. 18 Not surprisingly, derivatives can potentially yield a large financial reward to savvy investors. On the down side, derivatives carry significant ‘market risk’ and lead to financial losses, which can rapidly accelerate during periods of collapsing equity prices. Warren Buffett has described the $ multi-quadrillion derivatives market as “financial weapons of mass destruction. 19 As Pepe Escobar has pointed out, ‘If Tehran were totally cornered by Washington, with no way out, the de facto nuclear option of shutting down the Strait of Hormuz would instantly cut off 25 percent of the global oil supply. Oil prices could rise to over $500 a barrel or more even $1000 a barrel. The 2.5 quadrillion of derivatives would start a chain reaction of destruction.’ 20

Financial deregulation enacted during the Clinton Administration (see Table 1) have been considered a major cause of the 2007-2008 GFC. 21 As pointed out by Pam Martins-

‘The Glass-Steagall Act had kept the U.S. financial system safe for 66 years. It took just nine years after its repeal by Clinton for Wall Street to enrich its own pockets to the tune of billions of dollars, blow up the U.S. economy, and then collect an astounding and secret $29 trillion in below-market-rate loans from the Federal Reserve to bail itself out.’ 22

Unfortunately, none of the structural economic problems giving rise to the 2008 crisis were resolved and as we are now seeing, have returned with a vengeance from the COVID19 pandemic. As a result, American Capitalism confronts the deepest crisis since the Great Depression, plagued by excess capacity and slack demand, high unemployment, with millions of families facing eviction from their homes, food insecurity, loss of medical insurance and financial ruin. Debt levels have exploded- projected US government debt for 2020- $3.1 Trillion (CBO estimate), while total debt levels are projected to reach $80 trillion, up from $71 trillion at the end of last year. 23 A further indication of the severe structural economic problems confronting American capitalism is that the financial industry has been unable to recover from the Global Financial crisis of 2008 and is still dependent on taxpayer support to function. Indeed, since April, the FED has pumped circa $ 7 Trillion of taxpayer-backed funds to Wall St for share buybacks and to purchase toxic corporate debt and mortgage-backed securities. 24 Without this support, many corporations and banks will collapse. 25

Enduring Economic Power

Despite continuing economic decline, the US still wields considerable global economic power, which stems from several factors.

1) Dollar- The US dollar is the world’s reserve currency, and as of 2019, comprises 60% of central bank foreign exchange reserves; circa 90% of forex trading involves the U.S. dollar. 2627 The dollar (i.e., ‘Petrodollar’) is used for purchase of crude oil. 28

2) FED– The US Federal Reserve System was set up following the 1910 secret meeting of executives from large banks- J.P. Morgan, Rockefeller, and Kuhn, Loeb & Co. for ten days on Jekyll Island, Georgia, which was followed by Congress passing the Federal Reserve Act (Dec, 1913), which established the Federal Reserve System as the central bank of the United States. The Chairman, currently Jerome Powell, and FED Governors are appointed by the US President. Thus, the ‘FED’ was set up by private bankers to support the interests of large banks and has effectively no public control over its actions. 29 Of the 12 Reserve banks in the Federal Reserve System, the New York FED (NY FED) wields the most power. 30 The NY FED directs monetary policy through open market operations, emergency lending facilities, quantitative easing, and foreign exchange transactions. It also stores gold on behalf of the U.S. and foreign governments, other nation’s central banks, and international organizations. FED policies, such as setting interest rates and money supply are closely followed by the European Central Bank (ECB), Bank of England, Bank of Japan (BOJ) and other central banks.

3) SWIFT– The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system is used to conduct financial transactions between 11,000 SWIFT member institutions and is the largest financial network in the world. 31 SWIFT is described as a ‘cooperative society’ under Belgian law, owned by its member financial institutions and headquartered in La Hulpe, Belgium. Due to its dominant global economic position, the US has been able to exert a strong influence on SWIFT policies, such as enforcing unilateral US economic sanctions (effectively a form of financial warfare) on the Islamic Republic of Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea and other countries deemed an obstacle to US global hegemony. 32

WWII and subsequent events shaping US foreign policy

Nuclear Attacks on Japan

The twentieth century was marked by turbulence, economic depression, war and economic prosperity. Eclipsing all prior conflicts, WWII was the deadliest conflict in human history, resulting in circa 75 million fatalities, with approximately twice as many civilian vs military casualties. During the war, the Soviet Union, much of Europe and Japan experienced high casualties and physical destruction. At the end of the war, the US dropped ‘Little Boy’ an enriched uranium gun-type fission device on Hiroshima, Japan on Aug 6, 1945, followed 3 days later, with ‘Fat Man’, a plutonium implosion-type nuclear weapon dropped on Nagasaki, resulting in circa 250,000 casualties. 33

While much has been written about the decision by the US to attack Japan, when the outcome of the war was all but certain, several things stand out.

1) The Soviet Union suffered the most physical destruction and casualties in WWII, a minimum of 25 million. In comparison, the US experienced circa 400,000 casualties.

2) During the war, the Soviet Union was an ally of the US/allied forces. As the war began winding down, this relationship rapidly changed, as the ruling elite, led by President Harry Truman were positioning the US as the world’s leading military power and viewed the USSR as a threat to American global hegemony. Thus, by dropping atomic bombs on Japan, the US was: i) sending an unmistakable message to the global community of US military might, and ii) also sending a warning to Stalin and the Soviet Union to not interfere with US global policies.

3) As pointed out by Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Center for Research on Globalization, as early as 1945 “the Pentagon had envisaged blowing up the Soviet Union with a coordinated nuclear attack directed against major urban areas. The Pentagon estimated that a total of 204 atomic bombs would be required to Wipe the Soviet Union off the Map”. 34

Iron Curtain & Truman Doctrine

On March 5, 1946 former British PM Winston Churchill delivered a speech at Westminster College, Fulton, MO, dubbed the ‘Iron Curtain speech’, stating

‘From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an ‘iron curtain’ has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.’ 35 In his speech, Churchill stressed the need for the US and UK to work together, acting as ‘guardians of peace and stability’ against the menace of Soviet communism. As a representative of the [former] British Empire, Churchill was signaling that the UK would willingly serve as a junior partner to American imperialism.

In a speech to Congress March 12, 1947, President Harry Truman laid out the ‘Truman Doctrine’, whose primary goal was to ‘contain Soviet geopolitical expansion’ and more broadly, implied American support for other countries ‘threatened’ by Soviet communism. The Truman Doctrine became the bedrock of post-WWII US foreign policy and in 1949, led to establishment of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Truman’s speech is considered by many to be the start of the ‘Cold War’.

Demise of Soviet Union

Between 1988–1991 the Soviet Union experienced a process of internal disintegration which began with growing unrest in its various constituent republics are subsequent political and legislative conflicts between the republics and the central government. This is not surprising considering that the country was the largest country in the world, covering a vast land mass of 22,400,000 square km2 with a diverse population of circa 290 million consisting of 100 distinct nationalities. In addition, the USSR faced near continuous hostility from the US, UK and other imperialist powers since its very inception. The collapse of the Soviet Union and ‘end’ of the Cold War was interpreted by some in the US, notably Charles Krauthammer as the beginning of a US-directed ‘unipolar’ movement and a ‘new world order’ by President GW Bush. As is usually the case in global affairs, things did not go exactly as planned- the cold war never ‘ended’ and a ‘multipolar’ world emerged.

Project for the New American Century (PNAC)

The PNAC was founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan in the Spring of 1997 as ‘a non-profit, educational organization’ that had a neo-conservative philosophy with close ties to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and endorsed strong American global leadership. 36 The PNAC had a particular focus on Iraq, predating the Bush Presidency and in Jan, 1998, sent a letter to then President Bill Clinton stating:

‘We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding……We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S……That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power’. 37

In Sept 2000, ironically a year prior to 911, the PNAC would publish an influential policy document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” that would serve as a blueprint for US foreign policy in the 21st century. Summarized in its Statement of Principles:

‘As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world’s most preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievement of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?’

‘[What we require is] a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.’

‘Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership of the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of the past century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.” 38

The PNAC advocated: 1) increased ‘defense’ spending to ‘carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future’, 2) ‘strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values’, 3) ‘promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad’, and 4) ‘accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles’.

Many PNAC members would go on to hold high level positions in the GW Bush administration, including: Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, John Bolton, Dick Cheney (Vice President), Eliot Cohen, Paula Dobriansky, Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Richard Perle, Peter Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Zoellick, William Schneider and James Woolsey. 39 Not surprisingly, these individuals would play a major role in shaping post-911 US foreign policy.

911 and Eruption of US Military Activity

On the morning of Tuesday, Sept 11, 2001 the US experienced the deadliest attack in its history. According to the ‘official’ narrative, nineteen people affiliated with al-Qaeda, a radical Islamic group, hijacked 4 jet aircraft- 2 from Boson, 1 from Newark and 1 from Washington Dulles. Two of these aircraft subsequently crashed into the World Trade Center (WTC) in NYC resulting in the collapse of building 1 (WTC1) and building 2 (WTC2), one hit the Pentagon and the fourth crashed into an empty field in Shanksville, PA. 40 Two decades later, there are still multiple outstanding questions about 911, including what did the intelligence community- FBI, CIA know about the hijackers prior to 911, why didn’t the Pentagon immediately scramble fighter jets to intercept the hijacked aircraft, and why did steel framed buildings that had been ostensibly engineered to survive an impact from an airplane, rapidly collapse? 41

As it turned out, 911 would be a ‘watershed’ event, showcased in President George W. Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address where he delivered his [in]famous ‘axis of evil’ speech, designating three countries- North Korea, Iran and Iraq- as rogue states that he claimed ‘harbored, financed and aided terrorists’. 42 Indeed, 911 would set the stage for US military engagements, currently stretching from the Levant, to Caspian Basin, Persian Gulf, South-Central Asia, China Sea, Indian Ocean, Horn of Africa, the Maghreb, to Eastern Europe and Russian border (Figure 1). 4344. These conflicts and conflict zones are summarized in Table 2.

Invasion of Afghanistan

The Pentagon has had a longstanding interest in Afghanistan, due to its strategic location in southern Asia- sharing borders with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan to the north, Iran to the west, and Pakistan to the south and east. During the Soviet–Afghan War (1979-1989), the Mujahideen, headed by Osama Bin Laden fought a nine-year guerrilla war against the Soviet Army and Afghanistan government, receiving material and financial support from the US, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other countries and has been described as a ‘Cold War-era proxy war’, pitting the US against the USSR. In October 2001, immediately following 911, the U.S. launched its invasion of Afghanistan, rapidly ‘defeating’ the Taliban, and soon thereafter, installing a new government headed by Hamid Karzai in Kabul, and declaring the country ‘liberated’. 45. It soon became obvious that this rapid ‘success’ would be short lived. Despite spending over $1 trillion of US taxpayer money and deploying more than 100K troops, the conflict in Afghanistan continues and is the longest war in US history. The Taliban currently control >50% of Afghan territory and Afghanistan has the dubious distinction of supplying >90% of the world’s heroin 46

War on Iraq

Following defeat of the Central Powers in WWI, the Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920) assembled diplomats from 32 countries, resulting in the creation of the League of Nations, denounced by Lenin as a “thieves’ kitchen” and the ‘awarding’ of German and Ottoman overseas possessions as “mandates,” primarily to Britain and France. 47 Well aware of Iraq’s large energy reserves and strategic importance, Winston Churchill managed to cobble together Basra, Bagdad and Mosul into the ‘state’ of Iraq, while at the same time, carve out the state of Kuwait, which has 499 km of Coastline on the Persian Gulf, compared with Iraq, which has 58 km. 4849 This was likely done to limit Iraqi coast line and access to the Gulf.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and 911 attacks provided the directors of US foreign policy considerable latitude to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy. As described above, the PNAC laid out their perspective in their 2000 policy manifesto ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses’. The Bush Administration was literally infiltrated with PNAC members, led by Vice President Dick Chaney and Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld who were well aware of Iraq’s large energy reserves and was ‘ripe’ for the picking. All that was missing was a ‘marketing’ strategy, using 911 as a rationale for initially invading Iraq and then attempting to widen US control of other countries in the Middle East, with the goal of governing the regions vast energy reserves and selling this to a skeptical American public. This was accomplished using corporate media and testimony by Colin Powell, a respected former four-star Army General and 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The stage would be set by a 2002 piece by Michael Gordon and Judith Miller in the paper of record (NYT), alleging that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was secretly building ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (WMD). 50 This piece would form the basis of Collin Powell’s Feb 5, 2003 Speech before the UN, setting up a casus belli (Latin, ‘occasion for war’) for the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. 51 As is now well known, the piece by Gordon and Miller was essentially fabricated as was much of Powell’s UN speech. 52 As preparations for Invading Iraq were being formulated, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others estimated the costs of the conflict to be below $100 billion and ‘reassuring’ nervous Americans that Iraq’s oil ‘would cover’ the cost of the war. 53 As is now readily apparent, the Iraq war which is still ongoing, has been a strategic disaster, resulting in thousands of American casualties, killing or displacing circa 25% of the Iraq population, led to the creation of ISIS and has cost US taxpayers circa $ 5 Trillion. The extent of this disaster was pointed out in vivid detail by Thomas Ricks, former US military reporter for the Washington Post, in his 2006 book- ‘Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005. As pointed out by General Wesley Clark in his 2007 interview with Amy Goodman, US plans to invade Iraq were formulated within days after 911. In addition, these plans also included strategies for ‘taking out’ six other countries in 5 years, including Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.” 43

Libya, Syria and Yemen

On Mar 19, 2011 a multi-state NATO-led coalition began a military intervention in Libya, to implement UNSC Resolution 1973, which ‘demanded’ an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians and imposed a no-fly zone and new sanctions on the Qadhafi regime and its supporters. This resolution would be used by US/NATO to overthrow the Libyan government and kill Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would later ‘joke’ about Qaddafi’s death, commenting ‘We came, we saw, he died’. 54 In a 2016 interview with the BBC, President Barack Obama stated- failing to prepare for the aftermath of the ousting of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi was the ‘worst mistake’ of his presidency’. 55 Gaddafi’s removal plunged the country into chaos and became an international arms bazaar for radical Islamic groups, as he predicted. 56 Since 2014, the country has fractured- split between forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), supported by Turkey and Qatar and the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Benghazi-based Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and supported by Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia.

The US has been intent on ‘regime change’ in Syria since at least 2007. 43 Syria occupies a strategic position in Western Asia, sharing borders with Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan (see Figure 1). Direct US involvement in the war on Syria began in 2014, with the support of US vassals- Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel, with the goal of removing President Bashar al-Assad from power, a policy which remains in effect today. Due to the loyalty of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) along with support from Hezbollah, the Islamic Republic or Iran and Russian Air Force and advisors, Syrian forces have fortified control over much of the country and Bashar al-Assad remains in power.

Yemen occupies a strategic position on the Arabian Peninsula, abutting the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which connects the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Thus, the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait is considered a strategic ‘chokepoint’ that can be closed during a military crisis and thus, of interest to major global powers. 57 In 2015, the Houthi Ansarullah movement overthrew the Yemeni government, led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, forcing him to flee to neighboring KSA. In response, Mohammed bin Salman (aka MBS), Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, formed a ‘coalition’ consisting of circa 10 countries, including Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)- the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, along with Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Morocco. While not directly involved in the Yemen conflict, the US, UK and other imperialist countries have provided the Saudi coalition with intelligence, logistical and material support. 58 As pointed out by HRW and others, the war on Yemen has been a humanitarian disaster, leading to massive cholera epidemics, poverty, starvation and physical destruction of the country’s infrastructure. 5759

2021 and Beyond

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s dominant economic and military power. This power has been facilitated by the dollar’s privileged status as the world’s reserve currency, giving Washington the ability to print money and effectively ‘weaponize’ the dollar. Since the mid-1970s, US global power has been systematically undermined from decades of neoliberal economic policies and costly wars. Since 2001, the US has been involved in conflicts in Afghanistan (longest war in US history), Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. These conflicts have been humanitarian disasters, resulting in the injury or death of thousands of American soldiers, while displacing/killing an estimated 37 million people in the affected countries. The ongoing refugee ‘crisis’ in Europe is a direct consequence of these wars, with millions of people escaping the chaos, violence and poverty that US/NATO wars have created. 60

The costs of these wars to American taxpayers have been staggering. In addition to spending circa $14 trillion on the Pentagon (2001-2020) 61, post-911 conflicts have cost taxpayers circa $6.4 trillion. 60 Despite expending astronomical amounts of financial and human capital on these wars, the American empire has been unable to extract significant imperial rent from these countries. Unfortunately, the Pentagon is incapable of extricating itself from these conflicts as doing so is an admission of failure and by extension military/geopolitical weakness. No amount of jingoistic and bellicose rhetoric from politicians in Washington or talking heads on corporate media changes this reality.

The Trump administration has accelerated US global isolation by exiting or contemplating leaving: Paris Climate Accord, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA; Iran Nuclear deal), Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Open Skies Treaty, UN Human Rights council, World Trade Organization (WTO) and several other agreements. 62 At the same time, China has been actively negotiating multiple trade agreements, including: $400 billion comprehensive energy and security agreement with Iran 63; Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with 15 Asian countries including Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia and is the largest trade deal in history 64; EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment 65. Significantly, the US is not a party to any of these agreements and trade will be conducted using regional currencies, excluding the dollar. Not surprisingly, these trade deals are exacerbating tensions between the US, China and other countries. 66 US economic decline has now progressed to the point where the very survival of the American Empire depends on continued money printing to prop up Wall St and large banks, subsidize the military and war. This was recently summarized by economist Richard Wolff- “The Federal Reserve is sustaining US capitalism — directly by loaning to corporations and indirectly by loaning to the federal government — to run a huge deficit, excess of trillion dollars… The federal government is not an intrusion; the federal government is the only thing that keeps private capitalism from a complete bust… And what do we know about this way that the Federal Reserve is keeping capitalism going? It’s funding the most extreme inequality in a century of American history.” 25

Thus, the US is stuck between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place’. The very functioning of the American state- keeping Wall St. and large banks solvent and funding the Pentagon and ongoing wars, requires continued public support- i.e., providing unlimited amounts of ultra-cheap money from the Treasury, as laid out in a recent presentation by FED chair Jerome Powell. 67 Indeed, anytime there is so much as a hint that interest rates are going up, equity markets fall. These policies have become so ingrained and accepted as the ‘normal’ functioning of the state, that they were not addressed by Donald Trump or Joe Biden, during the 2020 campaign. The problem is that this is further undermining the strength of the dollar and jeopardizing its role as the world’s reserve currency 68, readily seen from the rising price of gold, which increased 25% last year. History tells us that over the last 700 years, world reserve currencies maintain their position on average 100 years. 69 At this point, the dollar has been the reserve currency for 77 years. 70 As the global economic vise continues to tighten, American foreign policy is becoming increasingly reckless and bellicose, while debt levels continue rising, putting increasing downward pressure on the dollar. When the dollar crashes the American Empire will crash with it. The American ruling elite are courting a rendezvous with disaster.

Notes

1. Bretton Woods Agreement and System by James Chen Apr 30, 2020; Link:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/brettonwoodsagreement.asp

2. Launch of the Bretton Woods System- The international currency system became operational in 1958 with the elimination of exchange controls for current-account transactions By Robert L. Hetzel Federal Reserve History; Link: https://www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/bretton_woods_launched

3. Nixon Ends Convertibility of US Dollars to Gold and Announces Wage/Price Controls- With inflation on the rise and a gold run looming, President Richard Nixon’s team enacted a plan that ended dollar convertibility to gold and implemented wage and price controls, which soon brought an end to the Bretton Woods System. By Sandra Kollen Ghizoni, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Aug 1971; Link: https://www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/gold-convertibility-ends

4. The Politics of Privatization: How Neoliberalism Took Over US Politics By Brett Heinz; Sept 8, 2017; Link: http://www.faireconomy.org/the_politics_of_privatization

5. Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems- Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative? By George Monbiot Apr 15, 2016; Link: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

6. New Deal by History.com Editors Nov 27, 2019; Link: https://www.history.com/topics/great-depression/new-deal

7. Glass-Steagall Act by History.com Editors Aug 21, 2018; Link: https://www.history.com/topics/great-depression/glass-steagall-act

8. Federal Tax Cuts in the Bush, Obama, and Trump Years Report July 11, 2018 Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy; Link: https://itep.org/federal-tax-cuts-in-the-bush-obama-and-trump-years/

9. Labor Day: Ronald Reagan and the PATCO Strike by David Macaray HuffPost Aug 20, 2017; Link: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/labor-day-ronald-reagan-and-the-patco-strike_b_59a6d604e4b05fa16286beb1

10. How Bill Clinton’s Welfare Reform Changed America- Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign placed welfare reform at its center, claiming that his proposal would “end welfare as we have come to know it.” By Mary Pilon Aug 29, 2018; Link: https://www.history.com/news/clinton-1990s-welfare-reform-facts

11. The Real Lessons from Bill Clinton’s Welfare Reform- The 1996 creation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program effectively killed cash assistance. Now, Republicans want to use it as a model for the rest of the social safety net. By Vann R. Newkirk II Feb 5, 2018; Link:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/welfare-reform-tanf-medicaid-food-stamps/552299/

12. United States Average Hourly Wages in Manufacturing-1950-2020 Data; Link: https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/wages-in-manufacturing

13. Mexico Nominal Hourly Wages in Manufacturing- 2007-2020 Data; Link: https://tradingeconomics.com/mexico/wages-in-manufacturing

14. NAFTA’s Legacy: Lost Jobs, Lower Wages, Increased Inequality; Link: https://www.citizen.org/wp-content/uploads/nafta_factsheet_deficit_jobs_wages_feb_2018_final.pdf

15. The White House is only telling you half of the sad story of what happened to American jobs by Linette Lopez Jul 25, 2017; Link: https://www.businessinsider.com/what-happened-to-american-jobs-in-the-80s-2017-7

16. China, Saudi Arabia and the US: Shake Up and Shake Down. By Prof. James Petras Global Research, Dec 04, 2017; Link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/china-saudi-arabia-and-the-us-shake-up-and-shake-down/5621487

17. Why bringing manufacturing jobs to the U.S. from China is “highly unlikely” by Victoria Craig Marketplace Morning Report Aug 27, 2020; Link: https://www.marketplace.org/2020/08/27/trump-manufacturing-jobs-china-trade-war-deal/

18. Derivative By Jason Fernando Dec 5, 2020; Link: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/derivative.asp

19. What are the Main Risks Associated with Trading Derivatives? By J.B. Maverick Apr 3, 2020; Link: https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/070815/what-are-main-risks-associated-trading-derivatives.asp

20. War on Iran & Calling America’s Bluff by Pepe Escobar April 24, 2019; Link: https://consortiumnews.com/2019/04/24/pepe-escobar-war-on-iran-calling-americas-bluff/

21. Bill Clinton – 25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis – TIME; Link:

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1877351_1877350_1877322,00.html

22. The Bizarre Action in U.S. Treasuries Is Linked to the U.S. National Debt and the Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: Aug 29, 2019; Link: https://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/08/the-bizarre-action-in-u-s-treasuries-is-linked-to-the-u-s-national-debt-and-the-repeal-of-the-glass-steagall-act/

23. World economy engulfed by “debt tsunami” by Nick Beams Nov 20, 2020; Link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/11/21/debt-n21.html

24. The Fed Man Song (to the music of Beatles ‘The Taxman’) by Jack Rrasmus Nov 16, 2020; Link:

The Fed Man Song (to the music of Beatles ‘The Taxman’)

25. Capitalism is on life support by Richard Wolff Democracy at Work Jan 4, 2021; Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYrgFU-P63g

26. IMF Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER); Link:

https://data.imf.org/?sk=E6A5F467-C14B-4AA8-9F6D-5A09EC4E62A4

27. Why the US Dollar Is the Global Currency By Kimberly Amadeo July 23, 2020; Link: https://www.thebalance.com/world-currency-3305931

28. The Rise of the Petrodollar System: “Dollars for Oil” By Jerry Robins Thu, Feb 23, 2012; Link: https://www.financialsense.com/contributors/jerry-robinson/the-rise-of-the-petrodollar-system-dollars-for-oil

29. Federal Reserve Act; Link: https://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/fract.htm

30. Federal Reserve Bank of New York By Investopedia Staff Dec 18, 2020; Link: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/federal-reserve-bank-of-new-york.asp

31. SWIFT; Link: https://www.swift.com

32. SWIFT and the Weaponization of the U.S. Dollar- The U.S. has used the system as a stick before. Continuing down this path could trigger de-dollarization and an ensuing currency crisis. Saturday, Oct 6, 2018; Link: https://fee.org/articles/swift-and-the-weaponization-of-the-us-dollar/

33. The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Link:

https://www.atomicarchive.com/resources/documents/med/med_chp10.html

34. “Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map”, 204 Atomic Bombs against 66 Major Cities, US Nuclear Attack against USSR Planned During World War II When America and the Soviet Union Were Allies. By Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, Oct 27, 2018; Link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/wipe-the-ussr-off-the-map-204-atomic-bombs-against-major-cities-us-nuclear-attack-against-soviet-union-planned-prior-to-end-of-world-war-ii/5616601

35. The Sinews of Peace (‘Iron Curtain Speech’) Mar 5, 1946; Link: https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1946-1963-elder-statesman/the-sinews-of-peace/

36. Project for the New American Century Oct 16, 2019; Link: https://militarist-monitor.org/profile/project_for_the_new_american_century/

37. 1998 PNAC Letter to President Clinton on Iraq Jan 26, 1998; Link: https://zfacts.com/zfacts.com/metaPage/lib/98-Rumsfeld-Iraq.pdf

38. Rebuilding America’s Defenses- Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century. A Report of The Project for the New American Century By Donald Kagan, and Thomas Donnelly Sept, 2000; Link: https://cryptome.org/rad.htm; https://archive.org/details/RebuildingAmericasDefenses

39. List of PNAC Members associated with the Administration of George W. Bush; Link: https://gyaanipedia.fandom.com/wiki/List_of_PNAC_Members_associated_with_the_Administration_of_George_W._Bush

40. The 9/11 Commission Report- Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States; Link: https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report_Exec.pdf

41. Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth; Link: www.ae911truth.org

42. President Bush cites ‘axis of evil,’ Jan. 29, 2002 By Andrew Glass Politico Jan 29, 2019; Link: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/29/bush-axis-of-evil-2002-1127725

43. “We’re going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran.” Interview with General Wesley Clark Global Research, Feb 06, 2018; Link: https://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166

44. A Timeline of the U.S.-Led War on Terror- In the wake of the attacks of 9/11, President George W. Bush called for a global “War on Terror,” launching an ongoing effort to thwart terrorists before they act. By History.com Editors May 5, 2020; Link: https://www.history.com/topics/21st-century/war-on-terror-timeline

45. A timeline of U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan since 2001 AP July 6, 2016; Link:

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2016/07/06/a-timeline-of-u-s-troop-levels-in-afghanistan-since-2001/

46. Washington’s Twenty-First-Century Opium Wars: How a Pink Flower Defeated the World’s Sole Superpower- America’s Opium War in Afghanistan by Alfred McCoy Tom Dispatch Feb 21, 2016; Link: https://tomdispatch.com/alfred-mccoy-washington-s-twenty-first-century-opium-wars

47. The First World War – A Marxist Analysis of the Great Slaughter by Alan Woods June 2, 2019; Link: https://www.marxist.com/first-world-war-a-marxist-analysis-of-the-great-slaughter/16.-the-treaty-of-versailles-the-peace-to-end-all-peace.htm

48. Paris 1919: How the Peace Conference Shaped the Middle East; Link:

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=afb36eefd9184d99afb1d654dc987767

49. The Impact of Western Imperialism in Iraq, 1798-1963 By Geoff Simons Dec, 2002; Link: https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/169-history/36399.html

50. Threats and Responses: The Iraqis; U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts By Michael R. Gordon and Judith Miller NYT Sept. 8, 2002; Link:

https://www.nytimes.com/svc/oembed/html/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2002%2F09%2F08%2Fworld%2Fthreats-responses-iraqis-us-says-hussein-intensifies-quest-for-bomb-parts.html#?secret=uidQmCNcdY

51. Colin Powell Still Wants Answers- In 2003, he made the case for invading Iraq to halt its weapons programs. The analysts who provided the intelligence now say it was doubted inside the C.I.A. at the time. By Robert Draper NYT Jan. 11, 2021; Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/16/magazine/colin-powell-iraq-war.html

52. Lie After Lie: What Colin Powell Knew About Iraq 15 Years Ago and What He Told the U.N.- The evidence is irrefutable: Powell consciously deceived the world in his 2003 presentation making the case for war with Saddam Hussein. By Jon Schwarz

Jon Schwarz The Intercept Feb 6, 2018; Link:

https://theintercept.com/2018/02/06/lie-after-lie-what-colin-powell-knew-about-iraq-fifteen-years-ago-and-what-he-told-the-un/

53. The cost of the Iraq war Mar 19, 2013; Link: https://www.registerguard.com/article/20130319/OPINION/303199842

54. The Libya Gamble- A New Libya, with ‘Very Little Time Left’. The fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi seemed to vindicate Hillary Clinton. Then militias refused to disarm, neighbors fanned a civil war, and the Islamic State found refuge. By Scott Shane and Jo Becker NYT Feb. 27, 2016; Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/us/politics/libya-isis-hillary-clinton.html

55. President Obama: Libya aftermath ‘worst mistake’ of presidency BBC April 11, 2016; Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36013703

56. Coups and terror are the fruit of Nato’s war in Libya- The dire consequences of the west’s intervention are being felt today in Tripoli and across Africa, from Mali to Nigeria by Seumas Milne The Guardian May 22, 2014; Link: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/22/coups-terror-nato-war-in-libya-west-intervention-boko-haram-nigeria

57. Strategic Importance of the Indian Ocean, Yemen and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait by Phillyguy for The Saker Blog Aug 5, 2020; Link: https://thesaker.is/strategic-importance-of-the-indian-ocean-yemen-and-bab-el-mandeb-strait/

58. Ending the Yemen war is both a strategic and humanitarian imperative by John R. Allen and Bruce Riedel Brookings Monday, Nov 16, 2020;

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/11/16/ending-the-yemen-war-is-both-a-strategic-and-humanitarian-imperative/embed/#?secret=48yOxEXf85

59. U.S. War Crimes in Yemen: Stop Looking the Other Way- The State Department warned for years that the U.S. was complicit in war crimes in Yemen. No one put a stop to it. Foreign Policy in Focus by Andrea Prasow Sept 21, 2020; Link:

https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/09/21/us-war-crimes-yemen-stop-looking-other-way

60. Costs of War Brown University; Link: https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar

61. U.S. military spending from 2000 to 2019; Link: https://www.statista.com/statistics/272473/us-military-spending-from-2000-to-2012/

62. Here are all the treaties and agreements Trump has abandoned By Zachary B. Wolf and JoElla Carman, CNN Fri, Feb 1, 2019; Link: https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/01/politics/nuclear-treaty-trump/index.html

63. A China-Iran bilateral deal: Costs all around- Beijing sees an opportunity in Tehran’s international isolation – but may not realise the tangle it is entering. By Jeffrey Payne Sept 2, 2020; Link: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/china-iran-bilateral-deal-costs-all-around

64. China signs huge Asia Pacific trade deal with 14 countries By Jill Disis and Laura He, CNN Business Tue Nov 17, 2020; https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/16/economy/rcep-trade-agreement-intl-hnk/index.html

65. The Strategic Implications of the China-EU Investment Deal- The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment is a win for China, and a blow to transatlantic relations. By Theresa Fallon Jan 4, 2021; Link: https://thediplomat.com/2021/01/the-strategic-implications-of-the-china-eu-investment-deal/

66. EU–US tensions mount after EU signs trade deal with China by Alex Lantier Jan 4, 2021; Link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/01/05/euch-j05.html

67. Fed chief pledges massive support for Wall Street will not cease by Nick Beams Jan 16, 2021; Link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/01/16/powl-j16.html

68. Is the US Dollar’s Role as the World’s Reserve Currency Under Threat? International Banker. Sept 30, 2020; Link: https://internationalbanker.com/finance/is-the-us-dollars-role-as-the-worlds-reserve-currency-under-threat/

69. 3 Major Signs That Precede the Fall of World Reserve Currencies- Economics by Graham Smith Oct 24, 2019; Link: https://news.bitcoin.com/3-major-signs-that-precede-the-fall-of-world-reserve-currencies/

70. 75 Years ago the U.S. Dollar Became the World’s Currency. Will that last? By Greg Rosalsky Jul 30, 2019; Link:

https://knpr.org/npr/2019-07/75-years-ago-us-dollar-became-worlds-currency-will-last

Figure 1 and Tables 1, 2

Figure 1. Map of Western Asia and Middle East. Source: https://ian.macky.net/pat/map/easa/easa.html

Table 1. Major economic legislation since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

DateTitleAdministration
1981Economic Recovery Tax ActReagan
1986Tax Reform Act of 1986Reagan
2001Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA)GW Bush
2003Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (JGTRRA)GW Bush
2010Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation ActBush/Obama
2012American Taxpayer Relief ActBush/Obama
2017Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)Trump
1993North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)Clinton
1996Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA)Clinton
1999Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA; Financial Services Modernization Act)Clinton
2000Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA)Clinton

Table 2. US involvement in conflicts and conflict zones since 911.

ConflictAdministrationDate
AfghanistanGW Bush2001-present
IraqGW Bush2003-present
LibyaObama2011- present
UkraineObama2014-present
SyriaObama2014-present
YemenObama2014-present
Eastern Europe/Russian BorderClinton- Trump1997-Present
China Sea/Western PacificObama/Trump2011-present
Persian GulfBush/Obama/Trump2003-present

‘Beyond Vietnam’: Where Do We Go from Here?

January 14, 2021

Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968)

By Benay Blend

In “Beyond Vietnam” (1967), his speech delivered at the Riverside Church in New York, Martin Luther King opened by quoting from Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. “A time comes when silence is betrayal,” King explained, then concluded: “That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.”

King’s words that followed still ring true today. In what was perhaps the most significant, but least appreciated, speeches of his career, King warned against falling into “conformist thought,” in particular regarding official policy during times of war.

There is no war today like Vietnam, but there is an ongoing foreign policy that commits imperialist acts abroad. As Peter Dreier notes, over 50 years since King’s Riverside Church address, the US remains involved in several ground wars as well as a war on “terrorism,” which is principally a battle against Muslims as well as immigrants, the latter of whom are motivated to flee their countries because of US-sponsored violence abroad.

In particular, there is foreign aid that goes, among other destinations, to the state of Israel. In this way, the Unites States allows the Zionist state to continue its Occupation of Palestinians by using all the brutality that we used in Vietnam.

As Ramzy Baroud observes, by going against “not only the state apparatus” but also the “liberal hierarchy” which posed as if they were his allies, King’s self-described “inner truth” cost him some support. “It was a lonely, moral stance,” wrote Michelle Alexander. “And it cost him.”

In her landmark Opinion Piece published one year ago in the New York Times, Alexander goes on to hold up King’s example as a standard that still holds true today. In particular, Alexander is concerned with questioning her own silence on what she calls “one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine.”

Alexander circumvents King’s well-known advocacy for Israel’s “right to exist” by suggesting that “if we are to honor King’s message and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel’s actions.”

It is impossible to know how King’s position on the Middle East would have changed over time. Building on Alexander’s piece, David Palumbo-Liu cites King’s opposition to apartheid South Africa as a clue to how he would feel towards the same practices in Israel today.

“The fact that King explicitly linked colonialism and segregation suggests that he would indeed recognize the expansion of the occupation as a settler-colonial project. If he did, he would then have to reevaluate his support for Israel pre-1967, as so many others have in recent years. He might well have come to recognize the absolute continuity between the 1948 dispossession, exile, and colonization of Palestinians and the post-1967 occupation.”

Indeed, Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, Israel’s largest human rights organization, has just called for the end of “the systematic promotion of the supremacy of one group of people over another,” i.e. apartheid very similar to what existed in South Africa.

In other ways King’s voice speaks to present-day concerns. In his 1968 call for an “economic bill of rights,” King challenged the notion that this country could afford both “guns and butter,” a conundrum that still prevails today. “We have come to see that this is a myth,” he explained, “that when a nation becomes involved in this kind of war, when the guns of war become a national obsession, social needs inevitably suffer.”

Theoretically we are not at war. On the other hand, as long as we give military aid to countries that repress their people we are not at peace. At a time when Congress continues to propose huge increases in the country’s military budget by cutting programs for the poor, King’s speech holds true today.

As Ramzy Baroud observes, there has been very little direct aid to Americans struggling under the impact of the virus, yet Congress continues to provide Israel with enormous sums of money ostensibly for defense. In reality, these funds are very much needed at home.

“The mere questioning of how Israel uses the funds – whether the military aid is being actively used to sustain Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, finance Jewish settlements, fund annexation of Palestinian land or violate Palestinian human rights,” Baroud explains, remains a “major taboo.”

Many years ago, Reverend King described “adventures like Vietnam” as “some demonic, destructive suction tube” that drew “men and skills and money” into the effort to keep it going. What would he think now of massive funds that go to another country which oppresses its people in ways similar to the Jim Crow South in which King was born?

At the closing of her memorial to Martin Luther King, Alexander pledges “to speak with greater courage and conviction about injustices beyond our borders, particularly those that are funded by our government, and stand in solidarity with struggles for democracy and freedom. My conscience leaves me no other choice.”

King, too, chose to address his vision “beyond Vietnam,” thereby to “a world that borders on our doors.”

In a statement regarding the January 6th right-wing riots in D.C., the US Peace Council reiterated that guns at the expense of butter were part of the root cause of disaffection. “While a record $740B military appropriation sailed through Congress with only 20 Democrats in opposition,” the statement read, “desperately needed reforms that benefit working people have been sidetracked.”

Moreover, the statement refuted a comment often heard in response to recent riots. According to the press and much of social media, what happened at the Capital was “sedition,” because this is America, and its “not who we are.” In reality, notes the Peace Council, what is happening today

“is a microcosm of what the capitalist financial institutions and elites have wreaked upon the planet through trade agreements and an imperialist foreign policy that has suppressed populations through illegal acts of interference, aggression, and economic warfare designed to create the conditions for exploitation, the theft of land and resources and environmental destruction.”

Because the root causes of our problems extend beyond our borders, the Council calls for solutions very much in the manner of King’s focus on the global nature of oppression. Accordingly, the statement concludes that:

“A unified grassroots mass movement is needed to address the fundamental class contradictions of the system as a whole and not limit itself to fighting against the symptoms solely by seeking cosmetic changes through elections and reforms from above. We need to bring all contingents of the people’s movement — labor, social justice, civil rights, human rights, environmental, peace — together under a single coordinated network, with a clear agenda that addresses the root causes of the present crisis and not only its variegated symptoms.”

In this way, more people will come to understand that the catastrophes we face will not be solved as long as what we allow to be done in our name abroad comes home to our nation’s capital. King knew that local police, in conjunction with para-military hate groups, used violence in much the same way as the far-right factions that more recently invaded D.C.

In both cases, the Klan and other groups were/are motivated by a desire to oppose the struggle for civil rights at home. Nevertheless, “our actions cannot be limited to the US,” concludes the US Peace Council, “because if the global elites are willing to oppress and exploit people anywhere, the crises we face will continue.”

The United States, concluded King, is “on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.” In order to solve domestic problems while promoting global peace, he suggested “giv[ing] up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments,” and, he might have added, ending aid to countries like Israel that use the funds to wreak violence on Palestinians under the Occupation.

With “Beyond Vietnam,” concludes Baroud, King “courageously broke free from the confines of American exceptionalism,” thereby joining the civil rights struggle to “a worldwide movement of struggles against racism, colonialism and war.”

In 2021, it is more important now than ever to heed King’s words. Indeed, as Baroud suggests, “new strategies” will have “to replace the old ones” for the Palestinian struggle to succeed. His vision calls for unity among all factions, bringing together Palestinians in the homeland and elsewhere to formulate a blueprint for One Democratic State that would grant the Right of Return.

Harking back to King’s international idea, Baroud calls for “a global solidarity movement that rallies behind a unified Palestinian vision,” a plan that bypasses official circles that have done little to promote peace. While Baroud’s strategy focuses on freedom for the Palestinian people, if such a movement becomes one of transnational mutuality, it would be possible to bring about the liberation of all oppressed people worldwide, thereby remaining true to the “other, more revolutionary, radical and global King” that Baroud explains is more often “hidden from view.”

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the American Empire

 December 5, 2020

We’re now living in an age of opacity, as Rudy Giuliani pointed out in a courtroom recently. Here was the exchange:

“‘In the plaintiffs’ counties, they were denied the opportunity to have an unobstructed observation and ensure opacity,’ Giuliani said. ‘I’m not quite sure I know what opacity means. It probably means you can see, right?’

“‘It means you can’t,’ said U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann.

“‘Big words, your honor,’ Giuliani said.”

Big words indeed! And he couldn’t have been more on the mark, whether he knew it or not. Thanks in part to him and to the president he’s represented so avidly, even as hair dye or mascara dripped down his face, we find ourselves in an era in which, to steal a biblical phrase from Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, all of us see as if “through a glass darkly.”

As in Election Campaign 2016, Donald Trump isn’t the cause but a symptom (though what a symptom!) of an American world going down. Then as now, he somehow gathered into his one-and-only self so many of the worst impulses of a country that, in this century, found itself eternally at war not just with Afghans and Iraqis and Syrians and Somalis but increasingly with itself, a true heavyweight of a superpower already heading down for the count.

Here’s a little of what I wrote back in June 2016 about The Donald, a reminder that what’s happening now, bizarre as it might seem, wasn’t beyond imagining even so many years ago:

“It’s been relatively easy… — at least until Donald Trump arrived to the stunned fascination of the country (not to speak of the rest of the planet) — to imagine that we live in a peaceable land with most of its familiar markers still reassuringly in place… In truth, however, the American world is coming to bear ever less resemblance to the one we still claim as ours, or rather that older America looks increasingly like a hollowed-out shell within which something new and quite different has been gestating.

“After all, can anyone really doubt that representative democracy as it once existed has been eviscerated and is now — consider Congress Exhibit A — in a state of advanced paralysis, or that just about every aspect of the country’s infrastructure is slowly fraying or crumbling and that little is being done about it? Can anyone doubt that the constitutional system — take war powers as a prime example or, for that matter, American liberties — has also been fraying? Can anyone doubt that the country’s classic tripartite form of government, from a Supreme Court missing a member by choice of Congress to a national security state that mocks the law, is ever less checked and balanced and increasingly more than ‘tri’?”

Even then, it should have been obvious that Donald Trump was, as I also wrote in that campaign year, a wildly self-absorbed symptom of American-style imperial decline on a planet increasingly from hell. And that, of course, was four years before the pandemic struck or there was a wildfire season in the West the likes of which no one had imagined possible and a record 30 storms that more or less used up two alphabets in a never-ending hurricane season.

In the most literal sense possible, The Donald was our first presidential candidate of imperial decline and so a genuine sign of the times. He swore he would make America great again, and in doing so, he alone, among American politicians of that moment, admitted that this country wasn’t great then, that it wasn’t, as the rest of the American political class claimed, the greatest, most exceptional, most indispensible country in history, the sole superpower left on Planet Earth.

An American World Without “New Deals” (Except for Billionaires)

In that campaign year, the United States was already something else again and that was more than four years before the richest, most powerful country on the planet couldn’t handle a virus in a fashion the way other advanced nations did. Instead, it set staggering records for Covid-19 cases and deaths, numbers that previously might have been associated with third-world countries. You can practically hear the chants now as those figures continue to rise exponentially: USA! USA! We’re still number one (in pandemic casualties)!

Somehow, in that pre-pandemic year, a billionaire bankruptee and former reality TV host instinctively caught the mood of the moment in an ever-less-unionized American heartland, long in decline if you were an ordinary citizen. By then, the abandonment of the white working class and lower middle class by the “new Democrats” was history. The party of Bill and Hillary Clinton had long been, as Thomas Frank wrote recently in the Guardian, “preaching competence rather than ideology and reaching out to new constituencies: the enlightened suburbanites; the ‘wired workers’; the ‘learning class’; the winners in our new post-industrial society.”

Donald Trump arrived on the scene promising to attend to the abandoned ones, the white Americans whose dreams of better lives for themselves or their children had largely been left in the dust in an ever-more-unequal country. Increasingly embittered, they were, at best, taken totally for granted by the former party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (In the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton didn’t even consider it worth the bother to visit Wisconsin and her campaign underplayed the very idea of focusing on key heartland states.) In the twenty-first century, there were to be no “new deals” for them and they knew it. They had been losing ground — to the tune of $2.5 trillion a year since 1975 — to the very billionaires whom The Donald so proudly proclaimed himself one of and to a version of corporate America that had grown oversized, wealthy, and powerful in a fashion that would have been unimaginable decades earlier.

On entering the Oval Office, Trump would still offer them blunt words, which would ring bells in rally after rally where they could cheer him to death. At the same time, with the help of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, he continued the process of abandonment by handing a staggering tax cut to the 1% and those very same corporations, enriching them ever so much more. So, of course, would the pandemic, which only added yet more billions to the fortunes of billionaires and various corporate giants (while granting the front-line workers who kept those companies afloat only the most meager and passing “hazard pay”).

Today, the coronavirus here in the United States might be more accurately relabeled “the Trump virus.” After all, the president really did make it his own in a unique fashion. Via ignorance, neglect, and a striking lack of care, he managed to spread it around the country (and, of course, the White House itself) in record ways, holding rallies that were visibly instruments of death and destruction. All of this would have been clearer yet if, in Election Campaign 2020, he had just replaced MAGA as his slogan with MASA (Make America Sick Again), since the country was still going down, just in a new way.

In other words, ever since 2016, Donald Trump, wrapped up eternally in his own overwrought self, has come to personify the very essence of a bifurcated country that was heading down, down, down, if you weren’t part of that up, up, up 1%. The moment when he returned from the hospital, having had Covid-19 himself, stepped out on a White House balcony, and proudly tore off his mask for all the world to see summed up the messaging of this all-American twenty-first-century moment perfectly.

Waving Goodbye to the American Moment

Unique as Donald Trump may seem in this moment and overwhelming as Covid-19 might be for now, the American story of recent years is anything but unique in history, at least as so far described. From the Black Death (bubonic plague) of the fourteenth century to the Spanish Flu of the early twentieth century, pandemics have, in their own fashion, been a dime a dozen. And as for foolish rulers who made a spectacle of themselves, well, the Romans had their Nero and he was anything but unique in the annals of history.

As for going down, down, down, that’s in the nature of history. Known once upon a time as “imperial powers” or “empires,” what we now call “great powers” or “superpowers” rise, have their moments in the sun (even if it’s the shade for so many of those they rule over), and then fall, one and all. Were that not so, Edward Gibbon’s classic six-volume work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, would never have gained the fame it did in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Across the planet and across time, that imperial rising and falling has been an essential, even metronomic, part of humanity’s story since practically the dawn of history. It was certainly the story of China, repeatedly, and definitely the tale of the ancient Middle East. It was the essence of the history of Europe from the Portuguese and Spanish empires to the English empire that arose in the 18th century and finally fell (in essence, to our own) in the middle of the last century. And don’t forget that other superpower of the Cold War, the Soviet Union, which came into being after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and grew and grew, only to implode in 1991, after a (gulp!) disastrous war in Afghanistan, less than 70 years later.

And none of this, as I say, is in itself anything special, not even for a genuinely global power like the United States. (What other country ever had at least 800 military garrisons spread across the whole planet?) If this were history as it’s always been, the only real shock would perhaps be the strikingly bizarre sense of self-adulation felt by this country’s leadership and the pundit class that went with it after that other Cold War superpower so surprisingly blew a fuse. In the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Soviet Union’s plunge to its grave in 1991, leaving behind an impoverished place once again known as “Russia,” they engaged in distinctly delusional behavior. They convinced themselves that history as it had always been known, the very rise and fall and rise (and fall) that had been its repetitious tune, had somehow “ended” with this country atop everything forever and beyond.

Not quite three decades later, in the midst of a set of “forever wars” in which the U.S. managed to impose its will on essentially no one and in an increasingly chaotic, riven, pandemicized country, who doesn’t doubt that this was delusionary thinking of the first order? Even at the time, it should have been obvious enough that the United States would sooner or later follow the Soviet Union to the exits, no matter how slowly, enveloped in a kind of self-adoration.

A quarter-century later, Donald Trump would be the living evidence that this country was anything but immune to history, though few then recognized him as a messenger of the fall already underway. Four years after that, in a pandemicized land, its economy a wreck, its military power deeply frustrated, its people divided, angry, and increasingly well-armed, that sense of failing (already felt so strongly in the American heartland that welcomed The Donald in 2016) no longer seems like such an alien thing. It feels more like the new us — as in U.S.

Despite the oddity of The Donald himself, all of this would just be more of the same, if it weren’t for one thing. There’s an extra factor now at work that’s all but guaranteed to make the history of the decline and fall of the American empire different from the declines and falls of centuries past. And no, it has next to nothing to do with (blare of trumpets!) Donald Trump, though he did long ago reject climate change as a “Chinese hoax” and, in every way possible, thanks to his love of fossil fuels, give it as much of a helping hand as he could, opening oil lands of every sort to the drill, and dismissing environmental regulations that might have impeded the giant energy companies. And don’t forget his mad mockery of alternative power of any sort.

I could go on, of course, but why bother. You know this part of the story well. You’re living it.

Yes, in its own distinctive fashion, the U.S. is going down and will do so whether Donald Trump, Joe Biden, or Mitch McConnell is running the show. But here’s what’s new: for the first time, a great imperial power is falling just as the earth, at least as humanity has known it all these thousands of years, seems to be going down, too. And that means there will be no way, no matter what The Donald may think, to wall out intensifying stormsfires, or floodsmega-droughtsmelting ice shelves and the rising sea levels that go with them, record temperatures, and so much more, including the hundreds of millions of people who are likely to be displaced across a failing planet, thanks to those greenhouse gases released by the burning of the fossil fuels that Donald Trump loves so much.

Undoubtedly, the first genuine twist in the rise-and-fall version of human history — the first story, that is, that was potentially all about falling — arrived on August 6th and 9th, 1945 when the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It soon became apparent that such weaponry, collected in vast and spreading arsenals, had (and still has) the power to quite literally take history out of our hands. In this century, even a “limited” regional war with such weaponry could create a nuclear winter that might starve billions. That version of Armageddon has at least been postponed time and again since August 1945, but as it happened, humanity proved quite capable of coming up with another version of ultimate disaster, even if its effects, no less calamitous, happen not with the speed of an exploding nuclear weapon, but over the years, the decades, the centuries.

Donald Trump was the messenger from hell when it came to a falling empire on a failing planet. Whether, on such a changing world, the next empire or empires, China or unknown powers to come, can rise in the normal fashion remains to be seen. As does whether, on such a planet, some other way of organizing human life, some potentially better, more empathetic way of dealing with the world and ourselves will be found.

Just know that the rise and fall of history, as it always was, is no more. The rest, I suppose, is still ours to discover, for better or for worse.


By Tom Engelhardt
Source: Tom Dispatch

NATO – A Comatose Body Whose ‘Mission’ Seems To Be Little More Than To Preserve And Expand Itself.

NATO –  A  Comatose Body Whose ‘Mission’ Seems To Be Little More Than To  Preserve And Expand Itself.

November 28, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

PART 1.

In 1851, France had the misfortune to fall victim to a coup by the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, who styled himself Napoleon III. Karl Marx had been an enthusiastic supporter of the French 1848 uprising – one among those which had taken place throughout Europe – and viewed the coup as the work of a buffoon who happened to put together an odd coalition of social classes– businesspeople, aristocratic landlords, and a rabble of barely employed street peddlers and other workers with no consciousness of their own class interests. With his wicked wit, Marx saw Napoleon III as a dramatic come-down for France from the European-wide empire of Napoleon I. Marx wrote the famous words:

“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He (Hegel) forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

In addition to the self-perpetuating, bloated monstrosity of NATO there should be added the various spook agencies, CIA, MI5, MI6 MOSSAD, BND, 5-EYES, and the rest whose mission is generally unstated and, for many, clouded in secrecy but nonetheless visible enough to those with eyes to see. Their permanent existence as a state within a state and their purported goals concerning ‘national security’ are not necessarily made clear, and, in fact, they might often be the very opposite of what they claim. Also included in the list of non-state actors are the NGOs such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which in fact is not an NGO since it receives funding from the US government which makes it a GO. Along with this is the Human Rights Watch (HRW) as well as Soros’s Open Society Foundation, and these are just some of the lavishly underwritten think tanks and secretly funded organizations which have proliferated into the rich soil that sustains them. (Please see Ray McGovern on MICCIMATT) – Military Industrial Congressional Intelligence Media Academic Think Tanks, in this respect. (1) Just how large these sprawling bureaucracies are and how far their influence reaches is almost impossible to ascertain. It could I suppose be compared to a late stage carcinoma on the body politic which is actually killing the host. Given the enormous dimensions of this geo-political super-blob I will restrict myself to a few but telling examples of its activities and their outcomes.

The Trial Run: NATO And The Destruction Of Yugoslavia

In the early 1990s NATO had been taking a particular interest in the events in the independent sovereign state of Yugoslavia. Between June 1991 and April 1992, four republics declared independence, and, egged on by Germany, the local NATO enforcer, Slovenia, and Croatia were the most important. Only Serbia and Montenegro remained federated but the status of ethnic Serbs outside Serbia and Montenegro, and that of ethnic Croats outside Croatia, remained unsolved. This was the beginning of the deconstruction of Yugoslavia – part of a longer-term dismantling which would ultimately also include reducing the USSR/Russia to vassal status or failing that, of outright occupation. This contrived disintegration of Yugoslavia ultimately laid the early basis for the complete fragmentation of the Yugoslav state. The secessionist crisis which had started in 1991 ultimately laid the basis for overt NATO intervention in the Kosovo war in 1999, all of which is well-documented.

In 1999 NATO openly entered the conflict and began a massive blitz against the rump state of Serbia, a country with no aerial defence capability, and which was subjected to a merciless bombardment of the country with thousands of cruise missiles and bombs in what would become the largest military assault in Europe since the Second World War. NATO’s campaign of air and missile strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which consisted of Serbia and Montenegro, lasted 78 days, ending on June 10, 1999. During the campaign, dubbed ‘Operation Noble Anvil’ by NATO, alliance warplanes carried out some 2,300 sorties against 995 facilities, firing nearly 420,000 missiles, bombs and other projectiles with a total mass of about 22,000 metric tonnes. Belgrade was a chief target and the bombs also fell on especial targets such as the Chinese Embassy and the City’s important radio/tv station where a number of Serbian journalists were at work. An accident. Maybe. Apologies? Of course not, these were ‘good bombs’ after all.

This set down the marker for future NATO regime changes. Yugoslavia was followed by both the enlargement of NATO and the conduct of US-NATO wars and military interventions in the Middle East starting with Iraq, along with the fabled Weapons of Mass Destruction. The conduct of US-NATO wars and military interventions in the Middle East which had spread into Iraq, was also to spread to Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iran.

And all of these interventions followed a similar pattern.

The NATO war machine operated by lining up the above states for ‘regime change’. This represented something of a change from the usual pattern as NATO had always regarded itself as being a defensive barrier to Soviet/Russian ‘aggression’. But the Yugoslav operation signalled a 180-degree change of policy. This caused some misgivings within the alliance as the United States had pushed NATO to become an offensive rather than a purely defensive security organization.

‘’The alliance now also pursues military missions in the areas such as the Balkans, Afghanistan, the Middle-East, and North Africa. All of those theatres lie outside, – in some cases far outside – NATO’s original territorial concern. Such military missions are also vastly different from NATO’s original purpose: i.e., the defence of Western Europe from possible aggression by the (then) Soviet Union.’’ (2)

What was of crucial importance to these wars of choice, however, was the role played by the MSM. It was the demonization of Heads of State in the targeted countries – in turn Milosevic, Saddam and Gaddafi found themselves caste as pantomime villains in a rogues gallery of ne’er-do-wells who were subjected and groomed by the MSM for these roles. Granted Saddam and Gaddafi were not Martin Luther King or Gandhi, but they were however the legitimate Heads of State of their own nations. It could be argued that Obama, Cameron, and Sarkozy also had blood on their hands, but for some reason, best known to the western MSM and to the political class, this didn’t count.

But Milosevic was a more difficult nut to crack. Not that the NATO defamation brigade didn’t try. The anti-Milosevic crescendo was key element in the myth structure which held that Milosevic incited the Serbs to violence, setting loose the genie of Serb nationalism from the bottle that had contained it under Tito. But neither these remarks by Milosevic nor his June 28, 1989, speech on the six-hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo had anything like the characteristics imputed to them. Instead Milosevic used both speeches to appeal to multi-ethnic tolerance, accompanied by a warning against the threat posed to Yugoslavia by nationalism—“hanging like a sword over their heads all the time”

The MSM-concocted crescendo surrounding Milosevic was reaching hysterical heights. In a commentary in 2000, Tim Judah wrote that Milosevic was responsible for wars in “Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo (Wow! Not bad, that’s some going! – FL) four wars since 1991 and [that] the result of these terrible conflicts, which began with the slogan ‘All Serbs in One State,’ is the cruellest irony.” Sometime journalist, sometime spokesperson for the ICTY at The Hague, Florence Hartmann of Le Monde, and The New York Times’s Marlise Simons wrote about the “incendiary nationalism” of the man who “rose and then clung to power by resurrecting old nationalist grudges and inciting dreams of a Greater Serbia … the prime engineer of wars that pitted his fellow Serbs against the Slovenes, the Croats, the Bosnians, the Albanians of Kosovo and ultimately the combined forces of the entire NATO, wrote that “Long before the war began, Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia and, following his example, Franjo Tudjman in Croatia, had turned their backs on the Yugoslav ideal of an ethnically mixed federal State and set about carving out their own ethnically homogeneous States.’’ Such were the accusations. But then something strange happened:

It was reported on Wednesday 28 February 2007 00.08 GMT that Slobodan Milosevic, who it is alleged had died of a heart attack in 2006, was posthumously exonerated on Monday when the international court of justice ruled that Serbia was not responsible for the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica. The former president of Serbia had always argued that neither Yugoslavia nor Serbia had command of the Bosnian Serb army, and this has now been upheld by the world court in The Hague. By implication, Serbia cannot be held responsible for any other war crimes attributed to the Bosnian Serbs.

The allegations against Milosevic over Bosnia and Croatia were cooked up in 2001, two years after an earlier indictment had been issued against him by the separate International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at the height of NATO’s attack on Yugoslavia in 1999. Notwithstanding the atrocities on all sides in Kosovo, NATO claims that Serbia was pursuing genocide turned out to be war propaganda, so the ICTY prosecutor decided to bolster a weak case by trying to “get” Milosevic for Bosnia as well. It took two years and 300 witnesses, but the prosecution never managed to produce conclusive evidence against its star defendant, and its central case was conclusively blown out of the water. (3)

All very convincing and indeed incontrovertible to most rational and neutral observers, but water off a duck’s back for the western MSM, who either simply ignored the findings or found new pastures to cultivate. After the Yugoslavian denouement, the western MSM found itself at a loose end. They had to find somethinnegative to write about Russia, since this was their apparent raison d’etre. This consisted of an ongoing barrage of propaganda including 9/11, Iraq and the WMDs, the recruitment, training, and funding of a US foreign legion of Jihadists pursuing war against Syria, Yemen, Iran and Libya, some still live and ongoing (see below).

PART 2

Politics as Theatre – Graham Greene 1904-1991 Our Man In Havana And The Quiet American.

The above were fictional stories of a transparently bungled MI6 stunt in Cuba and similar CIA cack-handed intrigue in Indo-China. Both shed some light on these James Bond wannabees: what and who they are, how the operate, and just how successful their little plots turn out. Talking of MI6 for example the fact that a group of famous British writers, Graham Greene, Arthur Ransome, Somerset Maugham, Compton Mackenzie and Malcolm Muggeridge, and the philosopher A.J. “Freddie” Ayer, all worked for MI6, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service. They are among the many exotic characters who agreed to spy for Britain, mainly during wartime, and who appear in a first authorised history of MI6. Generally these were spies during the war against Germany, so they could be forgiven for their adopting this ‘profession’ (sic). More to the point, however, was that the CIA/MI6 was staffed by complete fools, as is instanced in two of Greene’s novels, to wit: Our Man In Havana, which was frankly hilariouscompared to the more disturbing tale, The Quiet American.

Our Man in Havana is a black semi-comedy, set in Havana during the Fulgencio Batista regime. James Wormold, a British vacuum cleaner retailer, is approached by MI6 operative, Hawthorne, who tries to recruit him for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). Wormold’s wife had left him and now, he lives with his beautiful 16-year-old daughter, Milly, who is devoutly Catholic, but also materialistic and manipulative. Since Wormold does not make enough money to pay for Milly’s extravagances, he accepts the offer of a side job in espionage. Because he has no information to send to London, Wormold fabricates his reports using information found in newspapers and invents a fictitious network of agents. Some of the names in his network are those of real people (most of whom he has never met), but some are made up. Wormold tells only his friend and World War I veteran, Doctor Hasselbacher, about his spy work, hiding the truth from Milly.

At one point, he decides to make his reports “exciting” by sending to London sketches of what he describes as a ‘secret military installation’ in the mountains, actually vacuum cleaner parts scaled to a large size. In London, nobody except Hawthorne, the only one to know that Wormold sells vacuum cleaners, doubts this report. However, Hawthorne keeps quiet for fear of losing his job. In the light of the new developments, London sends Wormold a secretary, Beatrice Severn, and a radio assistant codenamed “C” with much spy paraphernalia. Wormwold is eventually uncovered as being a complete imposter. To avoid embarrassment and silence him from speaking to the press, MI6 offers Wormold a teaching post at headquarters and recommends him for the Order of the British Empire. (Episode closed. Not quite. Of course it was fiction, but does the Steele Dossier or, Russiagate ring a bell?)

Similarly, in another of Greene’s novels set in the first US involvement in the Indo-China War, The Quiet American, the British journalist Thomas Fowler is befriended by an American Aid worker, Alden Pyle, who it is understood works for a US aid agency. Actually he is not what he seems and was working for the CIA all along, this was eventually teased out by Fowler, with a romantic background which also involved a triangular relationship between Fowler-Pyle and Fowler’s Vietnamese mistress. Pyle was ultimately uncovered and assassinated by a Vietcong agent.

So much for the fiction.

MI6 – Libya – A Fools’ Playground For Wannabee James Bond Devotees.

In a more serious vein, however, where an actual example of MI6 buffoonery came to light occurred with the Jihadist bomb outrage, carried out by the Jihadist Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG – see below) in Manchester UK in 2017. Most detail was not published in the MSM except by the superb investigative journalism of Patrick Cockburn writing in The Independent. Cockburn’s report is worth quoting here in full.

‘’The culpability of the British government and its intelligence agencies which enabled suicide bomber LIFG Salman Abedi to blow himself up at a pop concert in Manchester is being masked one year later by the mood of grief and mourning over the death and injury of so many people.

It is heartrending to hear injured children and the relatives of the dead say they do not hate anybody as a result of their terrible experiences and, if they feel anger at all, it is only directed towards the bomber himself. Victims repeatedly say that they did not want the slaughter at the Manchester Arena to be used to create divisions in their city.

The downside of this praiseworthy attitude is that it unintentionally lets off the hook those British authorities whose flawed policies and mistaken actions really did pave the way towards this atrocity. Appeals against divisiveness and emphasis on the courage of survivors have muted attacks on the government, enabling it to accuse those who criticise it of mitigating the sole guilt of Abedi.

This attitude is highly convenient for former Prime Minister David Cameron who decided in 2011 on military intervention against Muammar Gaddafi. His purported aim was humanitarian concern for the people of Benghazi, but – as a devastatingly critical report by the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs said last year – this swiftly turned into “an opportunistic policy of regime change”.

This NATO intervention succeeded and by the end of the year Gaddafi was dead. Real power in Libya passed to Islamist militias, including those with which the Abedi family were already associated. Pictures show Salman’s brothers posing with guns in their hands. Libya was plunged into an endless civil war and Benghazi, whose people including British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and French president Nicolas Sarkozy were so keen to save, is today a sea of ruins. Inevitably, ISIS took advantage of the anarchy in Libya to spread its murderous influence.

This is the Libyan reality, which was created by Cameron and Sarkozy, with sceptical support from Barack Obama, the then US president, who famously referred to the Libyan debacle as a “shit show”.

Libya became a place where the Abedi family, returning from their long exile in Manchester, were able to put their militant Islamist beliefs into practice. They absorbed the toxic variant of Islam espoused by the Al-Qaeda clones, taking advantage of their military experience honed in the Iraq war, such as how to construct a bomb studded with pieces of metal designed to tear holes in human flesh. The bomb materials were easily available in countries like Britain.

Salman Abedi was responsible for what he did, but he could not have killed 22 people and maimed another 139 others, half of them children, if the British government had not acted as it did in Libya in 2011. And its responsibility goes well beyond its disastrous policy of joining the Libyan civil war, overthrowing Gaddafi, and replacing him with warring tribes and militias.

Manchester had since the 1990s become a centre for a small but dangerous group of exiled Libyans belonging to anti-Gaddafi groups, such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, originally formed by Libyans fighting the communists in Afghanistan. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, strict measures were taken by MI5 and the police against Libyans thought likely to sympathise with al-Qaeda in Iraq and, later, ISIS. They were subject to counter-terrorism control orders monitoring and restricting their movements and often had their passports confiscated.

But no sooner had Britain joined the war against Gaddafi than these suspected terrorists became useful allies. Their control-orders were lifted, their passports returned, and they were told that the British government had no problem with them going to Libya to fight against Gaddafi. In place of past restrictions, they were allowed to pass to and fro at British airports. Some militants are reported as saying that when they had problems with counter-terrorism police when flying to Libya, the MI5 officers with whom they were in touch were willing to vouch for them and ease their way to the battlefront in Libya, where MI6 was cooperating with Qatar and UAE as financiers of the armed opposition.

This opportunistic alliance between the British security services and Libyan Salafi-jihadis may explain why Salman Abedi, though by now high up on the list of potential terrorists, was able to fly back to Manchester from Libya unimpeded a few days before he blew himself up

There should be far more public and media outrage about the British government’s role in the destruction of Libya, especially its tolerance of dangerous Islamists living in Britain to pursue its foreign policy ends. The damaging facts about what happened are now well established thanks to parliamentary scrutiny and journalistic investigation.

The official justification for British military intervention in Libya is that it was to prevent the massacre of civilians in Benghazi by Gaddafi’s advancing forces. The reason for expecting this would happen was a sanguinary speech by Gaddafi which might mean that he intended to kill them all. David Cameron, along with Liam Fox as defence minister at the time and William Hague as foreign secretary, have wisely stuck with this explanation and, as a defence of their actions, they are probably right to do so. But a report by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee says that the belief that Gaddafi would “massacre the civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence”. It points out that he had retaken other towns from the rebels and not attacked the civilian population.

These facts notwithstanding the British still followed the French lead in military intervention and Sarkozy similarly justified his policy as being in defence of the people of Benghazi. We are a little better informed about the real French motives thanks to a report, revealed through the Freedom of Information Act, made in early 2011 by Sidney Blumenthal, an unofficial advisor to Hillary Clinton, the then US secretary of state, after a meeting he had had with French intelligence officials about Sarkozy’s motives for intervention.

The officials told Blumenthal that Sarkozy’s plans were driven by five main causes, the first being “a desire to gain a greater share of Libyan oil production” and the next being to increase French influence in North Africa. His other aims were to improve his own political standing in France, enable the French military to reassert their position in the world, and prevent Gaddafi supplanting France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa.

The intelligence officials make no mention of any concern on the part of Sarkozy for the safety of the Libyan people. Conceivably the British Foreign Policy Team of David Cameron, William Hague, and Liam Fox, had much purer and more altruistic motives than their French counterparts. But it is more likely that the aim was always regime change in the national interest of those foreign powers who brought it about.

It is easy enough to convict Cameron and Sarkozy of hypocrisy, but a more telling accusation is that they betrayed the very national interests that they were seeking to advance. They destroyed Libya as a country, reduced its six million people to misery and played into the hands of men like Salman Abedi.’’ (4)

The whole squalid episode qualified as another MI5/6, CIA, and the French DGSE, operation carried out under the NATO umbrella and gave us the ‘shit show’ as enunciated by Obama. Of course the whole tawdry affair bore the customary NATO imprimatur: An EU-US-NATO led operation. Hardly an R2P operation, more like an R2B (Responsibility to Bomb). Its sticky fingers were as usual all over the joint campaign. It should be understood that NATO is an organization which exists to solve the problems it first created.

NATO – Who’s Next For Membership And/or Regime Change?

In any sane world the above would read as being a purely rhetorical question. Unfortunately, however, we do not live in a sane world. We live in Washington’s post-Westphalian world of an out-of-control Leviathan that has remained seemingly indifferent with Turkey’s seizure of Northern Cyprus, Israel’s acquisition of the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Worst of all has been Saudi Arabia’s atrocity-ridden war of aggression and extermination against Yemen – a policy in which the latter Obama and Trump administrations actively assisted and was carried out with NATO weapons, trainers, and the sustained bombing of civilian targets. (Guernica anyone!?) ‘’In this post-Westphalian world the United States and its allies have violated all those principles contained in the UN prescriptions whenever it seemed expedient to do so. It seems exceedingly difficult to square a rules-based international system with ongoing violations which have taken place in Indo-China and Yugoslavia and Iraq, even if this is carried out under a flag of convenience.’’ (5)

Respecting the Westphalian premise of spheres of influence would require a necessarily reduced application of the US’s military prerogatives; prerogatives which it has continued to exercise since 1945 in order to achieve its foreign policy objectives. It is taken as normal that the US may intervene at any time and place on the planet as it suits. The Monroe Doctrine has apparently become globalized.

But the emerging Eurasian bloc have a rather different perspective on affairs. They maintain an (irritating to western eyes) adherence to the Westphalian principles (1648). From their standpoint this should form a universal basis for peaceful coexistence. The Westphalian principles can be briefly delineated as follows:

  • States existed within their own recognised borders.
  • Each States sovereignty was recognised by the others.
  • Principles of non-interference were agreed.
  • Religious differences between states were tolerated.
  • States might be monarchies or republics.
  • Permanent State interests or raison d’etat was the organizing principle of international relations.
  • War was not eliminated, yet it was mitigated by diplomacy and balance-of-power politics
  • The object of a balance-of-power was to prevent one state from becoming so powerful that it could conquer others and destroy world order.

This was a very different philosophy and global project from the one that NATO, the US neo-cons, MSM, deep-state and spook bureaucracies have in mind. But how to reconcile the irreconcilable? There must be a meeting of minds for diplomacy to set out such matters and set workable limits on the goals of contending parties. But, in Hamlet’s words, ‘Ay, there’s the rub’. At the present time there are no signals from the US war party who are attempting to delegitimize the entire concept of spheres of influence, and, as such, is a non-starter for even reasonably cordial relationships between East and West. However,

‘’What is worse is the apparent US attitude that Russia is not entitled to even a minimum-security zone adjacent to its homeland. Pushing Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, after already admitting the Baltic republics, reduces any Russian security buffer to a nullity. Conducting NATO military exercises within mere miles (and at least in one case barely hundreds of yards) of the Russian border highlights such menacing arrogance. A fundamental change in Washington’s approach is essential.’’(6)

Agreed, but it takes two to tango. And it would appear that the US is not going to take to the dance floor any time soon. Instead, for example, the following brainless responses to any minimal peace proposals emanating from the Eurasian bloc are revealing. After the Yugoslavian denouement, the western MSM found itself at a loose end. They had to find something negative to write about Russia. However, instead of reciprocated and reasoned diplomacy on the part of the West and its various agencies we got the following. A piece of journalistic fluff.

The Navalny Episode.

The whole farcical Navalny episode should be an object lesson in just how totally incompetent and amateurish whole western security agencies appear to be. The CIA-MI6-BND mob seems to be on the loose! In a ridiculously burlesque performance the whole fabric of western society was supposed to be apparently undermined by the devious Vlad the compulsive poisoner who strikes yet again. Cue the predictable MSM cacophony from the usual suspects subjecting us to the ‘two-minutes-hate’’ routine. Russia did it! Russia did it! Putin personally took charge of it. NATO should stand together and forestall the challenges of Russian dirty tricks. Blah, blah blah.

The wholly foreseeable reaction of the western establishment, politicians and MSM, was to have an expected mass apoplectic seizure. Something must be done! Yes, and we know precisely what that something is. It is clear as daylight that this stunt is intended to scuttle the Nordstream-2 deal between Germany and the Russian Federation, a deal which was almost finalised and is still awaiting implementation.

The story (fantasy) goes something like this. Suddenly a political nobody – Navalny – was allegedly poisoned by Putin (but of course) using the deadly one tiny drop of Novichok – which reputedly wipes out a whole city. Only as with the Skripals it didn’t work, well, ahem, we’ll just pass on that.

The whole parody – worthy of a Monty Python sketch – has been orchestrated by the western spook agencies governments and MSM whose sole object is to engineer the cancellation of Nordstream-2 which, if it happens, will mean that the Americans will be able to export their very expensive LNG, sending their little armada across the Atlantic. More fool the Germans if they agree to this directive. But this abject surrender was entirely predictable and in keeping with the squirming deference of the euro-vassals to the US’s NATO allies, Germany being one.

Norway being another. One only has to listen to a complete dolt like Jens Stoltenberg – member of the Norwegian Labour party and ex-Prime Minster now Secretary-General of NATO – to realise how monumental the problem is when the said Mr Stoltenberg talks quite enthusiastically about the future entry of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO.

This is the fire which the ‘West’ is now playing with. The NATO idiocracy is now calling the shots and such a move of incorporating Ukraine and Georgia into NATO would be a virtual declaration of war against Russia. Russia’s response might well be a message from Elvis.

‘’If you’re looking for trouble, you’ve come to the right place.’’

NOTES

(1) McGovern and Bureaucracy – passim.

(2) This observation is usually attributed to Richard Sakwa, author of Frontline Ukraine and Russia Against The World. But I think that it might have been influenced by J.A.Schumpeter who once remarked that in Ancient Egypt ‘‘a class of professional soldiers formed during the war against the Hyskos persisted even when those wars were over – along with those warlike instincts and interests’’. But Schumpeter capped this part of the narrative with a pithy summary of his viewpoint: ‘’Created by wars that required it, the military machine now created the wars it required.’’ J.A.Schumpeter Critical Exposition Chapter 2, p.63. Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers – John Medearis. Also Ted Galen Carpenter – NATO – The Dangerous Dinosaur – passim.

Sure sounds like NATO to me (FL)

(3) John Laughland – Travesty: The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the corruption of International Justice

(4) Patrick Cockburn – The Independent – passim

(5) Ted Galen Carpenter – NATO: The Dangerous Dinosaur – page.9

(6) Ted Galen Carpenter – Ibid, page.144

Meet the new boss!

Syria: The complicated scene

By Abir Bassam

November 24, 2020 – 10:49

It is a dirty war that has been going on in Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Almost nine and a half tragic years have passed. The three countries were subjected to all kinds of terror and brutally destroyed. Actually, what has been going on is a world war! All weapons were used and tested and many countries were involved.

It was a real dirty war, in which the West and the Americans and their allies in the region have used the worst kind of men: a group of collaborators and barbaric terrorists. 

The worst kinds of mercenaries from all over the world were sent to Syria. They practices the ugliest inhumane deeds: they decapitated heads, literally ate hearts, and burned people alive to death. 

These groups were directly led by generals from the U.S., France, and Turkey. This information was supported by different informed resources that reported capturing French, British, and Turkish officers since 2015, in particular, during the invasion of Idlib. The district was invaded by a tenth of thousands of terrorists from Nusra, especially its group Fateh al-Sham which is directly supported and trained by Turkey, and Ahrar al-Sham which was directly supported by the Americans. The invasion was directly led by the Turkish tank battalions and the NATO alliances. 

By December 2015, the northeast of Syria was also invaded by another terrorist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS]. ISIS was created with the utmost attention of Hilary Clinton, during Barak Obama’s administration. This was revealed by Donald Trump during his election campaign in 2016. ISIS swept over the al-Jazeera region and extended to Palmira through the Syrian Desert and occupied Homos, the biggest Syrian district. It was directly protected by the American extending military bases in northern Syria and the eastern base in al-Tanf. ISIS attacked both the Syrian government forces and the opposition factions. 

The plan was to allow ISIS invasion of northern-eastern Syria territories and western-northern Iraqi territories in order to terminate the opposition factions in the region. It was carefully planned by Obama’s administration and in particular his vice president Joe Biden, the new president of the United States of America.

Under the pretense of fighting terrorism, the Americans were back in Iraq and restored bases in Iraq, built new ones in Syria and reestablished new militia groups in the area of the northeast, mainly Kurdish groups. They were trained and equipped by the Americans. For the U.S., it was a necessary step to launch a Kurdish federalism on the Syrian territories.  

Nonetheless, the U.S. had set the return plan before withdrawing from Iraq in 2010. Upon its departure, the American administration empowered the al-Qaeda group in Iraq, and supported its existence, as Trump declared and accused Hillary Clinton of being the mastermind behind it. ISIS was basically the American approach to siege Syria, and eventually, apply the plan of division in the region and establish a Kurdish state. 

Saying that may seem to be naive and simple. However, executing the plan required initiating “revolutions” in other Arab countries, recruiting media specialists, recruiting special personnel to initiate eruptions by social media, and consuming billions of dollars in the process, of which the Saudi kingdom and Qatar were the main contributors.

In 1992, I was on a visit to al-Hassaka and al-Qamishli. I was just a young beginner in journalism. I was conducting an investigation report about the Yazidis. At that stage, a large number of Yazidis and Kurds were immigrating to Syria. They escaped the biased and brutal treatment of Saddam Hussein and the fanatic Turks. These Kurds were building a wide network in Europe. They bought sympathy and support to establish a federation in Iraq in 1996. The process was facilitated by the Americans after the second Persian Gulf War in 1991 as Saddam’s power was fading.

The idea of having a similar kind of federation in Syria became appealing to both the Americans and Israelis. The size of Israeli foreign intelligence service Mossad’s presence in the Iraqi Kurdistan is not a secret anymore. It is an established fact. The Americans also facilitated the Israeli presence in northeast Syria, especially those who came with American nationality to work in the oil fields.

The Turkish president Erdogan was one of the supporters of the American plan to dismantle Syria. Erdogan was able to recruit Qatar to the best interest of Turkey. Both countries were discontent with the Syrian government’s refusal to allow building the Qatari gas pipeline to Turkey through its territories. Syria saw that a move that would discomfort its allies in Russia and Iran. However, Erdogan had bigger plans in Syria. In the northwest region, Erdogan mainly saw the Idlib and Aleppo districts as the extent of Turkey, and a head starts to initiate the Ottoman dream. 

This dream vanished to thin air when Syria started liberating the area occupied by ISIS in West Euphrates, and al-Gab plain after cleaning the Damascus area, Homos, and the center of Syria from terrorism with unlimited support from Russia. The second shock Erdogan received when the Americans started supporting the establishment of the Kurdish federation in al-Hassaka. 

The Kurdish militia was founded in October 2015 under the name Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF]. SDF in its formation includes Kurds from Syria and others who came mainly from Turkey and other countries, most of them do not speak Arabic, unlike the Syrian Kurds. 60% of the militia includes Arab Syrians, according to the Pentagon. There are other nationalities included among the formation of SDF, who are Turkmens, Armenians, Circassians, and Chechens, who came from all over Asia.

In 2016, SDF updated its constitution from a separate federal state into an Autonomous Administration of Northern and East Syria [NES] and declared SDF as its official defense force, which complicated the Syrian political scene, furthermore. Now NES or SDF are cooperating with the official American forces in east-north of Syria and serve as “the Southern Lebanese Army, [SLA]” in South Lebanon during the Israeli occupation in South Lebanon. As SLA has tried to establish an independent state in South Lebanon, SDF or NES is trying to acquire the same course. 

Since 2018 the Syrian army, with the help of allies – Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah- has been able to liberate most of the occupied lands. However, the liberation coincided with the rise of economic pressure on Syria. The price of the Syrian lira if compared to the American dollar dropped and its purchasing value decreased. It was due to the economic sanctions that were imposed on Syria, and lately “Caesar Law” which was activated in the mid of June 2020. 

In 2018, the American troops withdrew from the north of Syria and were redeployed in the al-Hassaka district around the Syrian richest oil fields. The American companies, in particular ARAMCO, are now draining the Syria oil to the interest of NES and financing the American troops stationed in the northern-eastern area of the Euphrates in Syria. Actually, Syria is facing an internal problem with the lack of petroleum resources. The hard winter is coming and the lines for buying the diesel needed for heating the houses will be crowded as much as the lines for gasoline.

After burning and stealing the wheat plains in the al-Jazeera district by the Americans and the Turks, the bread prices went 25% higher. Shortage in bread supplies was triggered by the government’s decision to set the bread rations. The Americans were literally applying Kissinger’s policy which states that nations are ruled by bread, not by arms. The shortage of bread and petroleum products is new to the Syrian population; therefore, the successive Syrian governments are facing major challenges since the beginning of 2019. 

Caesar Law added additional pressure on the countries that may establish economic and commercial deals with Syria. The law was imposed at a time in which the world is suffering from COVID-19 epidemic, which spread in Syria as well. In addition, Syria needs to deal with the issue of the Syrian refugees. It is a dilemma that needs to be dealt with appropriately. The refugees’ dilemma is used as a political card to force the Syrians to submit to the American political demands, which are set on two levels: national and international.

On the national level, the international community wants to pressure the Syrian government into implementing a new constitution based on the sectarian division of power, just like Lebanon, which would diminish the presidential authority and redistribute it, as it happened in Tunisia and Sudan, which would divide the power of the head of the state. The second issue is related to the question of the forcibly disappeared people, who were kidnapped or killed by the rebel groups, and treating the killers and kidnappers as political opponents without subjecting them to trials. This issue will be a matter of conflict, and will not be accepted by those whose families and friends were kidnapped or killed. This fact was revealed a few days ago by the new Syrian Foreign Minister, Mr. Feisal Muqdad. 

On the international level, the requirements of the international community, i.e. the U.S., have become common knowledge.  Since 2003, after the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. secretary of state, Colin Powell, came to Syria and laid down the U.S. demands: dismantling Hezbollah arms, ending Syrian support to the resistance groups in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq, and ending cooperation with Iran in the region. The end means, as usually explained, is ensuring the security of Israel. 

Naturally, the Syrians refused American demands. Therefore, we should make no mistake and assume that what had happened in the Arab region under the pretense of “Arab Spring” was meant for the destruction of Syria in order to dismantle it into minor sectarian states that can be easily controlled to the best interest of “Israel” and America.

Hence, Syria requires two essential needs to start its reconstruction process: the first is lifting the sanctions imposed on it; and the second is to end the American occupation in the northeast area. However, the West insists on linking lifting the sanctions to the political process. But when it comes to the achievement of the liberation from the Americans this process cannot be realized unless the national resistance would be highly activated in the northeast of Syria. It is America that we all know. It did not end its occupation of Vietnam, Korea, and eventually Iraq in 2010 until the number of causalities becomes unbearable in the American community.

Syria’s essential needs were clearly stated by its president Bashar Al-Assad on two occasions, the first was during a video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the 10th of November. The second time was in his speech at the opening of the International Conference on the Return of the Refugee in Damascus [ICRRD] on the 11th of November.

During his visit on the 5th of November to the exhibition “Producers 2020” in “Tekia Sulaymaniyah” in the capital, Damascus. It was attended by producers from the Aleppo governorate whose facilities, workshops, and shops were damaged during the war. President al-Assad talked about the economic impact of the issue of shortage of oil supplies and burning the wheat fields in northeastern regions. 

He also explained that the economic problem was clearly becoming worse when the banks in Lebanon blocked the Syrian deposits. President al-Assad said that there is vagueness about the Syrian deposit’s estimations. Its assessment ranges from 20 billion dollars to 42 billion dollars. The blockade has been going on for years. He added the crisis began years before the Caesar Law and began years after the siege. It coincided with the money disappearance in the Lebanese banks. Furthermore, al-Assad declared that we do not know what the real number is, and this figure for an economy like the Syrian one is a frightening number.

Al-Assad’s declaration became one week before ICRRD to which Lebanon was invited. Was this a message to Lebanon? It could be, although many observers have denied it. The denial is basically based on Syria’s previous special treatment of Lebanon. Lebanon in the Syrian considerations are two contradictory facts: the first, Lebanon is an opening to the western world with bipolar swings. The first swing expressed in the historical Arab and regional ideology.

And the second swing is expressed in the lining towards a Western ideology, with the tendency to sign normalization agreements with “Israel”. The second group was of great concern to the Syrians since the creation of Lebanon. It is known as the right-wing groups, who allied with the Americans and the Israelis. 

The second fact, Lebanon as a state is based on providing services and tourism. It is considered to be the lung that Syria needs to breathe with. However, this lung health became worse since 2011, when the United States accused the Lebanese Canadian Bank of laundering terrorism money. And then again in 2016, since many banks faced the same accusations and were prohibited to deal with customers that the U.S. listed them as Hezbollah members.

Accordingly, the Lebanese banks froze several balances for many customers and in particular the Syrian customers that were importing goods to Syria through Lebanon after imposing an embargo on Syria. It is clear for the Syrians, regardless of the unique relationship with Hezbollah, it is about time that Lebanon should release these balances, and pay its debts to Syria, especially the debts that have been accumulating since 1990, which are the revenues from selling electricity.

Syria, as President al-Assad explained, will need its money in the process of rebuilding the country’s main infrastructure and vital installations, which were destroyed during the liberation war against the terrorist groups. It is a call for Lebanon to join forces with Syria to demand lifting the embargo and to be excluded from Cesar Law consequences because Lebanon needs to open up to Syria for commercial trades towards the east, in particular, to Arab countries, or Lebanon will be demanded to pay back its debts. 

The Americans were pushing Syria and the region since 1973 towards peace and normalization treaties with “Israel”. However, Syria has proven that such an agreement would be difficult to execute unless it was a “peace for land” agreement, which would ensure the right of return of the Palestinian people. An equation, nor the Israeli, neither the Americans are willing to sign for. In addition, Syria’s main condition, during the negotiations held in Oslo in 1992, was the return of all occupied Arab territories. However, the series of recognitions Trump has approved throughout his reign made the return to the negotiation table almost impossible. It also pushed into more complications with the relation between Syria and Lebanon since the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005. The need to separate the Syrian-Lebanese course in the peace process is becoming a must for the Americans. A need until today could not be achieved.

Syria now is subjected to American pressure that requires its approval to initiate peace and normalization agreements with Israel. This goal so far was difficult to achieve, especially after Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel. Even Syria’s allies, in particular Russia, cannot force the Syrians to give up part of their land. Syria’s war on terror has spared all its allies the tragedy of dragging this war into their own territories. 

Hence, Syria prepaid in blood for the security of its “friends” now. History will, sooner or later, reveal this fact. Syria’s insistence on the unity of its land, and its refusal to have any divided authority is now a fact. The Syrians cannot compromise it, and the allies cannot go against it. The course of negotiations the allies led in Astana and Sochi has affirmed it. However, this fact has complicated the Syrian scene furthermore. It might even force the Americans to lead directly the war in the region, whether in arms or diplomacy, since the proxies have proven their disabilities.

RELATED NEWS

How Joe Biden Plans to Make The American Empire Great Again

Joe Biden Foreign Policy Feature photo

By Dan Cohen

Source

Throughout his campaign, Joe Biden railed against Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy, claiming it weakened the United States and left the world in disarray.

He pledged to reverse this decline and recover the damage Trump did to America’s reputation. While Donald Trump called to make America Great Again, Biden seeks to Make the American Empire Great Again.

Among the president-elect’s pledges is to end the so-called forever wars – the decades-long imperial projects in Afghanistan and Iraq that began under the Bush administration.

Yet Biden – a fervent supporter of those wars – will task ending them to the most neoconservative elements of the Democratic party and ideologues of permanent war.

Michele Flournoy and Tony Blinken sit atop Biden’s thousands-strong foreign policy brain trust and have played central roles in every U.S. war going back to the Clinton administration.

In the Trump era, they’ve cashed in, founding Westexec Advisors – a corporate consulting firm that has become home for Obama administration officials awaiting a return to government.

Flournoy is Biden’s leading pick for secretary of defense and Blinken is expected to be national security advisor.

Biden’s foxes guard the henhouse

Since the 1990s, Flournoy and Blinken have steadily risen through the ranks of the military-industrial complex, shuffling back and forth between the Pentagon and hawkish think-tanks funded by the U.S. government, weapons companies, and oil giants.

Under Bill Clinton, Flournoy was the principal author of the 1996 Quadrinellial Defense Review, the document that outlined the U.S. military’s doctrine of permanent war – what it called “full spectrum dominance.”

Flournoy called for “unilateral use of military power” to ensure “uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources.”

As Bush administration officials lied to the world about Saddam Hussein’s supposed WMD’s, Flournoy remarked that “In some cases, preemptive strikes against an adversary’s [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities may be the best or only option we have to avert a catastrophic attack against the United States.”

Tony Blinken was a top advisor to then-Senate foreign relations committee chair Joe Biden, who played a key role in shoring up support among the Democrat-controlled Senate for Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq.

As Iraq was plunged into chaos and bloodshed, Flournoy was among the authors of a paper titled “Progressive Internationalism” that called for a “smarter and better” style of permanent war. The paper chastised the anti-war left and stated that  “Democrats will maintain the world’s most capable and technologically advanced military, and we will not flinch from using it to defend our interests anywhere in the world.”

With Bush winning a second term, Flournoy advocated for more troop deployments from the sidelines.

In 2005, Flournoy signed onto a letter from the neoconservative think tank Project for a New American Century, asking Congress to “increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps (by) at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years.”

In 2007, she leveraged her Pentagon experience and contacts to found what would become one of the premier Washington think tanks advocating endless war across the globe: the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

CNAS is funded by the U.S. government, arms manufacturers, oil giants, Silicon Valley tech giants, billionaire-funded foundations, and big banks.

Flournoy joined the Obama administration and was appointed as under secretary of defense for policy, the position considered the “brains” of the Pentagon.

She was keenly aware that the public was wary of more quagmires. In the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, she crafted a new concept of warfare that would expand the permanent war state while giving the appearance of a drawdown.

Flournoy wrote that “unmanned systems hold great promise” – a reference to the CIA’s drone assassination program.

This was the Obama-era military doctrine of hybrid war. It called for the U.S. to be able to simultaneously wage war on numerous fronts through secret warfare, clandestine weapons transfers to proxies, drone strikes, and cyber-attacks – all buttressed with propaganda campaigns targeting the American public through the internet and corporate news media.

Architects of America’s Hybrid wars

Flournoy continued to champion the endless wars that began in the Bush-era and was a key architect of Obama’s disastrous troop surge in Afghanistan. As U.S. soldiers returned in body bags and insurgent attacks and suicide bombings increased some 65% from 2009 and 2010, she deceived the Senate Armed Services Committee, claiming that the U.S. was beginning to turn the tide against the Taliban.

Even with her lie that the U.S. and Afghan government were starting to beat the Taliban back, Flournoy assured the senate that the U.S. would have to remain in Afghanistan long into the future.

Ten years later – as the Afghan death toll passed 150,000 – Flournoy continued to argue against a U.S. withdrawal.

That’s the person Joe Biden has tasked with ending the forever war in Afghanistan. But in Biden’s own words, he’ll “bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan” implying some number of American troops will remain, and the forever war will be just that. Michele Flournoy explained that even if a political settlement were reached, the U.S. would maintain a presence.

In 2011, the Obama-era doctrine of smart and sophisticated warfare was unveiled in the NATO regime-change war on Libya.

Moammar Gaddafi – the former adversary who sought warm relations with the U.S. and had given up his nuclear weapons program  – was deposed and sodomized with a bayonet.

Flournoy, Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and corporate media were in lockstep as they waged an extensive propaganda campaign to deceive the U.S. public that Gadaffi’s soldiers were on a Viagra-fueled rape and murder spree that demanded a U.S. intervention.

All of this was based on a report from Al Jazeera – the media outlet owned by the Qatari monarchy that was arming extremist militias to overthrow the government.

Yet an investigation by the United Nations called the rape claims “hysteria.” Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch found no credible evidence of even a single rape.

Even after Libya was descended into strife and the deception of Gadaffi’s forces committing rape was debunked, Michele Flournoy stood by her support for the war.

Tony Blinken, then Obama’s deputy national security advisor, also pushed for regime change in Libya. He became Obama’s point man on Syria, pushed to arm the so-called “moderate rebels” that fought alongside al-Qaeda and ISIS, and designed the red line strategy to trigger a full-on U.S. intervention. Syria, he told the public, wasn’t anything like the other wars the U.S. had waging for more than a decade.

Despite Blinken’s promises that it would be a short affair, the war on Syria is now in its ninth year. An estimated half a million people have been killed as a result and the country is facing famine,

Largely thanks to the policy of using “wheat to apply pressure” – a recommendation of Flournoy and Blinken’s CNAS think tank.

When the Trump administration launched airstrikes on Syria based on mere accusations of a chemical attack, Tony Blinken praised the bombing, claiming Assad had used the weapon of mass destruction sarin. Yet there was no evidence for this claim, something even then-secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted.

While jihadist mercenaries armed with U..S-supplied weapons took over large swaths of Syria, Tony Blinken played a central role in a coup d’etat in Ukraine that saw a pro-Russia government overthrown in a U.S.-orchestrated color revolution with neo-fascist elements agitating on the ground.

At the time, he was ambivalent about sending lethal weapons to Ukraine, instead opting for economic pressure.

Since then, fascist militias have been incorporated into Ukraine’s armed forces. And Tony Blinken urged Trump to send them deadly weapons – something Obama had declined to do.

Trump obliged.

The Third Offset

While the U.S. fuelled wars in Syria and Ukraine, the Pentagon announced a major shift called the Third Offset strategy – a reference to the cold war era strategies the U.S. used to maintain its military supremacy over the Soviet Union.

The Third Offset strategy shifted the focus from counterinsurgency and the war on terror to great power competition against China and Russia, seeking to ensure that the U.S. could win a war against China in Asia. It called for a technological revolution in warfighting capabilities, development of futuristic and autonomous weapons, swarms of undersea and airborne drones, hypersonic weapons, cyber warfare, machine-enhanced soldiers, and artificial intelligence making unimaginably complex battlefield decisions at speeds incomprehensible to the human mind. All of this would be predicated on the Pentagon deepening its relationship with Silicon Valley giants that it birthed decades before: Google and Facebook.

The author of the Third Offset, former undersecretary of defense Robert Work, is a partner of Flournoy and Blinken’s at WestExec Advisors. And Flournoy has been a leading proponent of this dangerous new escalation.

In June, Flournoy published a lengthy commentary laying out her strategy called “Sharpening the U.S. Military’s Edge: Critical Steps for the Next Administration”.

She warned that the United States is losing its military technological advantage and reversing that must be the Pentagon’s priority. Without it, Flournoy warned that the U.S. might not be able to defeat China in Asia.

While Flournoy has called for ramping up U.S. military presence and exercises with allied forces in the region, she went so far as to call for the U.S. to increase its destructive capabilities so much that it could launch a blitzkrieg style-attack that would wipe out the entire Chinese navy and all civilian merchant ships in the South China Sea. Not only a blatant war crime but a direct attack on a nuclear power that would spell the third world war.

At the same time, Biden has announced he’ll take an even more aggressive and confrontational stance against Russia, a position Flournoy shares.

As for ending the forever wars, Tony Blinken says not so fast.

The end of forever wars?

So Biden will end the forever wars, but not really end them. Secret wars that the public doesn’t even know the U.S. is involved in – those are here to stay.

In fact, leaving teams of special forces in place throughout the Middle East is part and parcel of the Pentagon’s shift away from counterinsurgency and towards great power competition.

The 2018 National Defense Strategy explains that “Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities” and the U.S. will “consolidate gains in Iraq and Afghanistan while moving to a more resource-sustainable approach.”

As for the catastrophic war on Yemen, Biden has said he’ll end U.S. support, but in 2019, Michele Flournoy argued against ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Biden pledged he will rejoin the Iran deal as a starting point for new negotiations. However, Trump’s withdrawal from the deal discredited the Iranian reformists who seek engagement with the west and empowered the principlists who see the JCPOA as a deal with the devil.

In Latin America, Biden will revive the so-called anti-corruption campaigns that were used as a cover to oust the popular social democrat Brazilian president Lula da Silva.

His Venezuela policy will be almost identical to Trump’s – sanctions and regime change.

In Central America, Biden has proposed a 4 billion dollar package to support corrupt right-wing governments and neoliberal privatization projects that create even more destabilization and send vulnerable masses fleeing north to the United States.

Behind their rhetoric, Biden, Flournoy, and Blinken will seek nothing less than global supremacy, escalating a new and even more dangerous arms race that risks the destruction of humanity. That’s what Joe Biden calls “decency” and “normalcy.”

Why Trump Has Been Unable to End Endless Wars. US Troop Withdrawals from Afghanistan?

By Keith Lamb

Global Research, November 19, 2020

The Times of London reported, on November 16, that Trump’s recent installation of loyalists in top Pentagon jobs is likely to be for the purpose of fulfilling his long-term pledge to bring an end to the U.S.’ “endless wars”. It is expected that Trump will order the withdrawal of 4,500 troops from Afghanistan and so end 19 years of occupation.

There are two prominent objections to Trump’s likely proposal. Firstly, a swift withdrawal of U.S. forces, that would have to take place before January, will bring logistical chaos. However, the daily state of chaos which occupation brings to the lives of millions is barely considered.

Secondly, an “early” withdrawal will disrupt efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. Christopher Miller the current U.S. Acting Defense Secretary sent out a memorandum saying, “we are on the verge of defeating Al Qaida and its associates, but we must avoid our past strategic error of failing to see the fight through to the finish.” A fair point, but if not now then when? Furthermore, who gets to define when a mission is accomplished?

If 19 years of occupation, by the mightiest military force of our modern age, has not led to a suitable conclusion then unlikely will another year make any difference. The fact is the U.S. occupation, of Afghanistan, has been an unmitigated disaster that next to Libya, Syria, and Iraq represents a litany of the greatest human rights violations of the 21st century.

There are now 2.7 million Afghani refugees worldwide while Afghanistan’s GDP per capita stands at a paltry $531. Afghanistan now cultivates over two-thirds of global opium and has 2.4 million opium addicts. Tragically, the U.S. spent $52 billion occupying Afghanistan, in 2019, which is more than twice Afghanistan’s GDP at $20.68 billion.

With the devastating suffering which occupation has brought to the Afghani people, notwithstanding the criticisms of an abrupt exit, Trump’s efforts to bring an end to the occupation of Afghanistan and end U.S. wars are commendable.

In contrast, unlikely will the mild-mannered, but often hawkish, Biden take the same line. While he has not always supported military action he nevertheless believes in the U.S. hegemonic right to use hard force. For example, Biden supported the catastrophic 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq and he pushed for NATO’s expansion eastwards.

However, Trump’s actions, in regards to Afghanistan, may be too little too late. Instead of concentrating on ending U.S. global occupation, he has been busily engaged with a self-destructing economic war with China who could have been a useful ally in ending the Afghanistan quagmire. Why then has President Trump been distracted by China at the expense of fulfilling his pledge to “bring home the troops”?

Trump’s problems stem from being able to recognize the unease of working-class America that arise from both national and transnational capital, i.e. the one-percent, while concurrently being beholden to the propaganda of the one-percent used to control the ninety-nine percent.

For example, Trump, in contrast to previous presidents, captures the zeitgeist of a large section of traditional working-class Americans who serve in the military. It is they who make needless sacrifices, through their blood and taxes, for the service of an elite who care little for their subaltern. However, due to Trump’s billionaire status, and his own willingness to swallow the propaganda fed to the working-man, he has been ideologically crippled.

Firstly, being a billionaire, he has been unable to see that unfettered U.S. capital, both in their national and transnational forms, represents the nucleus of where the U.S.’ primary contradiction emanates from. On one hand, Trump has supported capital with avaricious tax breaks. On the other hand, the military-industrial-complex, that has resisted Trump, is a business itself that feeds on the suffering of never-ending wars.

Secondly, Trump’s rightly sees that the American worker has been disempowered due to U.S. transnational capital shifting production to Asia. However, Trump unfortunately falls into the trap of jingoism by predominantly vilifying China for events beyond China’s own control. China then is as much an innocent party as the American working-class who are taught to hate China.

In addition, Trump, when it suits him, is quick to criticize the disseminating of “fake news” by the U.S. mass-media itself controlled by transnational capital. However, Trump like much of the U.S. working-class has nevertheless been indoctrinated to accept simplistic narratives this mass-media propagates. It is these narratives which justify and distract Americans from their home-grown problems which stem from U.S. class contradictions.

For example, the mass-media’s constant China-bashing, which has been a feature long before Trump’s arrival, along with their support of U.S. foreign interventions work hand in hand. Threats are used to justify war at an ideological level, to the masses, while the war itself is used to achieve the strategic and economic goals of the one-percent.

In addition, foreign threats and wars work to distract Americans from their own deep-state’s machinations. This in turn drums up a national fanaticism that provides an “emasculated” working-class with a masculinized American identity linked to the U.S.’ global supremacy and “righteous wars”. Trump, of course more than any other president, has tapped into this masculinized American “tough man” image.

While the existence of a corporate media, along with deep-state interests, negate U.S. democracy and make the country ungovernable for the ordinary citizen, it is, these same external influences which form the “embodying features” of Trump who being from the swamp has been unable to extradite himself from the swamp.

Thus, the very quagmire that is U.S. democracy and that is Trump is also the quagmire of Afghanistan today. Regrettably, transnational capital, who Trump calls the globalists, has played Trump well throughout his presidency. As such, unless serendipity allows the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan, in the next two months, Biden, who cannot be accused of being ideologically naïve will be ready to take over the reins from where Bush and Obama left off which is the never-ending journey to war.

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Featured image is from InfoBricsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Keith Lamb, Global Research, 2020

Trump Must Choose Between a Global Ceasefire and America’s Long Lost Wars

Neocons Poised to Join New Government

Victoria Nuland was the driving force behind efforts to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

November 12, 2020

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

Philip Giraldi

Donald Trump was much troubled during his 2016 and 2020 campaigns by so-called conservatives who rallied behind the #NeverTrump banner, presumably in opposition to his stated intention to end or at least diminish America’s role in wars in the Middle East and Asia. Those individuals are generally described as neoconservatives but the label is itself somewhat misleading and they might more properly be described as liberal warmongers as they are closer to the Democrats than the Republicans on most social issues and are now warming up even more as the new Joe Biden Administration prepares to take office.

To be sure, some neocons stuck with the Republicans, to include the highly controversial Elliott Abrams, who initially opposed Trump but is now the point man for dealing with both Venezuela and Iran. Abrams’ conversion reportedly took place when he realized that the new president genuinely embraced unrelenting hostility towards Iran as exemplified by the ending of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. John Bolton was also a neocon in the White House fold, though he is now a frenemy having been fired by the president and written a book.

Even though the NeverTrumper neocons did not succeed in blocking Donald Trump in 2016, they have been maintaining relevancy by slowly drifting back towards the Democratic Party, which is where they originated back in the 1970s in the office of the Senator from Boeing Henry “Scoop” Jackson. A number of them started their political careers there, to include leading neocon Richard Perle.

It would not be overstating the case to suggest that the neoconservative movement has now been born again, though the enemy is now the unreliable Trumpean-dominated Republican Party rather than Saddam Hussein or Ayatollah Khomeini. The transition has also been aided by a more aggressive shift among the Democrats themselves, with Russiagate and other “foreign interference” being blamed for the party’s failure in 2016. Given that mutual intense hostility to Trump, the doors to previously shunned liberal media outlets have now opened wide to the stream of foreign policy “experts” who want to “restore a sense of the heroic” to U.S. national security policy. Eliot A. Cohen and David Frum are favored contributors to the Atlantic while Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss were together at the New York Times prior to Weiss’s recent resignation. Jennifer Rubin, who wrote in 2016 that “It is time for some moral straight talk: Trump is evil incarnate,” is a frequent columnist for The Washington Post while both she and William Kristol appear regularly on MSNBC.

The unifying principle that ties many of the mostly Jewish neocons together is, of course, unconditional defense of Israel and everything it does, which leads them to support a policy of American global military dominance which they presume will inter alia serve as a security umbrella for the Jewish state. In the post-9/11 world, the neocon media’s leading publication The Weekly Standard virtually invented the concept of “Islamofascism” to justify endless war in the Middle East, a development that has killed millions of Muslims, destroyed at least three nations, and cost the U.S. taxpayer more than $5 trillion. The Israel connection has also resulted in neocon support for an aggressive policy against Russia due to its involvement in Syria and has led to repeated calls for the U.S. to attack Iran and destroy Hezbollah in Lebanon. In Eastern Europe, neocon ideologues have aggressively sought “democracy promotion,” which, not coincidentally, has also been a major Democratic Party foreign policy objective.

The neocons are involved in a number of foundations, the most prominent of which is the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), that are funded by Jewish billionaires. FDD is headed by Canadian Mark Dubowitz and it is reported that the group takes direction coming from officials in the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Other major neocon incubators are the American Enterprise Institute, which currently is the home of Paul Wolfowitz, and the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at John Hopkins University. The neocon opposition has been sniping against Trump over the past four years but has been biding its time and building new alliances, waiting for what it has perceived to be an inevitable regime change in Washington.

That change has now occurred and the surge of neocons to take up senior positions in the defense, intelligence and foreign policy agencies will soon take place. In my notes on the neocon revival, I have dubbed the brave new world that the neocons hope to create in Washington as the “Kaganate of Nulandia” after two of the more prominent neocon aspirants, Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland.

Robert was one of the first neocons to get on the NeverTrump band wagon back in 2016 when he endorsed Hillary Clinton for president and spoke at a Washington fundraiser for her, complaining about the “isolationist” tendency in the Republican Party exemplified by Trump. His wife Victoria Nuland is perhaps better known. She was the driving force behind efforts to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych, an admittedly corrupt autocrat, nevertheless became Prime Minister after a free election. Nuland, who was the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department, provided open support to the Maidan Square demonstrators opposed to Yanukovych’s government, to include media friendly appearances passing out cookies on the square to encourage the protesters.

A Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton protégé, Nuland openly sought regime change for Ukraine by brazenly supporting government opponents in spite of the fact that Washington and Kiev had ostensibly friendly relations. Her efforts were backed by a $5 billion budget, but she is perhaps most famous for her foul language when referring to the potential European role in managing the unrest that she and the National Endowment for Democracy had helped create. The replacement of the government in Kiev was only the prelude to a sharp break and escalating conflict with Moscow over Russia’s attempts to protect its own interests in Ukraine, most particularly in Crimea.

And, to be sure, beyond regime change in places like Ukraine, President Barack Obama was no slouch when it came to starting actual shooting wars in places like Libya and Syria while also killing people, including American citizens, using drones. Biden appears poised to inherit many former Obama White House senior officials, who would consider the eager-to-please neoconservatives a comfortable fit as fellow foot soldiers in the new administration. Foreign policy hawks expected to have senior positions in the Biden Administration include Antony Blinken, Nicholas Burns, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, Samantha Power and, most important of all the hawkish Michele Flournoy, who has been cited as a possible secretary of defense. And don’t count Hillary Clinton out. Biden is reportedly getting his briefings on the Middle East from Dan Shapiro, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, who now lives in the Jewish state and is reportedly working for an Israeli government supported think tank, the Institute for National Security Studies.

Nowhere in Biden’s possible foreign policy circle does one find anyone who is resistant to the idea of worldwide interventionism in support of claimed humanitarian objectives, even if it would lead to a new cold war with major competitor powers like Russia and China. In fact, Biden himself appears to embrace an extremely bellicose view on a proper relationship with both Moscow and Beijing “claiming that he is defending democracy against its enemies.” His language is unrelenting, so much so that it is Donald Trump who could plausibly be described as the peace candidate in the recently completed election, having said at the Republican National Convention in August “Joe Biden spent his entire career outsourcing their dreams and the dreams of American workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars, wars that never ended.”

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