No Sanctions Can Stop Cooperation between Russia, ASEAN Countries, 13 States Mull Buying Russia’s S-400 Despite US Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Putin: No Sanctions Can Stop Cooperation between Russia, ASEAN Countries

November 15, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Thursday that no sanctions can stop cooperation between Russia and the ASEAN countries.

At a press conference in Singapore after his participation in the 13th East Asia Summit (EAS) and the Russia-ASEAN summit, Putin said that any politically-motivated restrictions in the economy are a hindrance and hurt everyone, including those who introduce them.

No sanctions can stop cooperation between Russia and the ASEAN countries and the development of their economies, the Russian strongman said.

Putin meanwhile, stressed that Russia is ready to work with Japan to resolve controversial issues.

He also asserted that Russia’s participation in WEF in Davos “will not affect Russia’s authority in world’s economy. A country’s authority in the world’s economy depends on its economic power, the economy’s structure, results in terms of technological effectiveness, the GDP growth, macroeconomic indicators, small external debt, the absence of budget deficit or its minimum rate or, what is better, budget surplus, which Russia enjoys now.”

Those imposing restrictions on Russian businessmen’s participation in WEF impose them against themselves, Putin added.

On the other hand, the Russian President has spoken briefly with US Vice President Mike Pence and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton before the beginning of the plenary session of the East Asia Summit in Singapore.

Meeting with Pence, Bolton

Putin and Pence had discussed strategic stability as well as the implementation of a new start treaty, Sputnik said.

He said that he believes that strategic stability is the key issue on the agenda of Russia-US talks.

Commenting on Syrian influx of migrants, Putin said that Europe should get rid of its “phobias” and help the Syrian people if it does not want to face a new inflow of migrants.

Russia is ready for full-fledged work in Syria’s economy, which would be advantageous for Moscow, and hopes that joint humanitarian aid deliveries in Syria, conducted by Russia as well as France and Germany, will continue, Putin added.

Source: Sputnik

https://www.globalresearch.ca/

13 States Mull Buying Russia’s S-400 Despite US Sanctions: Report

November 15, 2018

S-400 air defense systems

At least 13 countries have expressed their interest in purchasing the Russian S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile systems instead of US equipment despite the likelihood of provoking Washington’s sanctions, media reported citing people with first-hand knowledge of a US intelligence assessment.

Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam were among the countries that had already engaged in talks on buying the Russian missile systems, the CNBC broadcaster reported on Wednesday.

Washington expected that several countries would yield to the US pressure and abandon their plans to purchase the Russian equipment, the outlet added.

“Many of these countries do not want to wait for US regulatory hurdles … The S-400 has less export restrictions and the Kremlin is willing to expedite sales by skipping over any regulatory hurdles. It’s like buying it off the shelf,” one of the sources told the broadcaster.

Another source noted that S-400 had been more powerful, in terms of capability, than the US most capable Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

“No other US system can match the S-400’s ability to protect large swathes of airspace at such long ranges,” the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said.

Sanctions over the purchase of the Russian military equipment could be triggered under the US Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which came into force in 2017 and is set to punish Moscow for it alleged meddling in the US 2016 presidential election.

Source: Sputnik

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Decoding the hypersonic Putin on a day of remembrance

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November 14, 2018Decoding the hypersonic Putin on a day of remembrance

Sitting alongside French President Macron during the 100th anniversary to commemorate the end of World War I, Putin and Trump stole the show in Paris

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with The Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

The Elysee Palace protocol was implacable. Nobody in Paris would be allowed to steal the spotlight away from the host, President Emmanuel Macron, during the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day marking the end of World War I.

After all, Macron was investing all his political capital as he visited multiple World War I battlefields while warning against the rise of nationalism and a surge in right-wing populism across the West. He was careful to always place the emphasis on praising “patriotism.”

A battle of ideas now rages across Europe, epitomized by the clash between the globalist Macron and populism icon Matteo Salvini, the Italian interior minister. Salvini abhors the Brussels system. Macron is stepping up his defense of a “sovereign Europe.”

And much to the horror of the US establishment, Macron proposes a real “European army” capable of autonomous self-defense side by side with a “real security dialogue with Russia.”

Yet all these “strategic autonomy” ideals collapse when you must share the stage, live, with the undisputed stars of the global show: President Donald  Trump and President Vladimir Putin.

So the optics in Paris were not exactly of a Yalta 2.0 conference. There were no holds barred to keep Trump and Putin apart. Seating arrangements featured, from left to right, Trump, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron, his wife Brigitte and Putin. Neither Trump nor Putin, for different reasons, took part in a “walking in the rain” stunt evoking peace.

And yet they connected. Sir Peter Cosgrove, the governor general of Australia, confirmed that Trump and Putin, at a working lunch, had a “lively and friendly” conversation for at least half an hour.

No one better than Putin himself to reveal, even indirectly, what they really talked about. Three themes are absolutely key.

On the Macron-proposed, non-NATO European army: “Europe is … a powerful economic union and it is only natural that they want to be independent and … sovereign in the field of defense and security.”

On the consequences of such an army: It would be “a positive process” that would “strengthen the multipolar world.” On top of it, Russia’s position “is aligned with that of France.”

On relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Washington: “It is not us who are going to withdraw from the INF Treaty. It is the Americans who plan to do that.” Putin added that Moscow has not scheduled military drills near NATO borders as an attempt to appease an already tense situation. Yet Russia has “no issue with” NATO drills and expects at least a measure of dialogue in the near future.

Enter the Avangard

Vast sectors of the US Deep State are in denial, but Putin may have been able to impress on Trump the necessity of serious dialogue due to an absolutely key vector: the Avangard.

The Avangard is a Russian hypersonic glide vehicle capable of flying over Mach 20 –  24,700km/h, or 4 miles per second – and one of the game-changing Russian weapons Putin announced at his ground-breaking March 1 speech.

The Avangard has been in the production assembly line since the summer of 2018, and is due to become operational in the southern Urals by the end of next year or early 2019.

In the near future, the Avangard may be launched by the formidable  Sarmat RS-28 intercontinental ballistic missile and reach Washington in a mere 15 minutes, flying in a cloud of plasma “like a meteorite” – even if the launch is from Russian territory. Serial production of Sarmat ICBMs starts in 2021.

The Avangard simply cannot be intercepted by any existing system on the planet – and the US knows it. Here is General John Hyten, head of US Strategic Command:  “We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us.”

Iran as the new Serbia?

I wish I had been in Paris – my home in Europe – to follow these concentric World War I–related plots live. But it was no less fascinating to follow them from Islamabad, where I am now, back from the northern part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The British Empire used 1.5 million to 2 million Indian colonial subjects to fight, and die, for empire in that war. Quite a few were Punjabis, from what is now Pakistan.

As for the future, Trump is certainly aware of Russia’s hypersonic breakthroughs. Trump and Putin also talked about Syria, and might have touched on Iran, although no one at the working lunch leaked anything about it.

Assuming the dialogue continues at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires at the end of November, Putin might be able to impress on Trump that just as Serbia catalyzed a chain of events that led great powers to sleepwalk into World War I, the same could happen with Iran leading to the terrifying prospect of World War III.

Team Trump’s obsession on strangling Iran into economic submission is a no-go, even for the Macron-Merkel-led European Union. On top of it, the Russia-China strategic partnership simply won’t allow any funny – reckless – games to be played against a crucial node of Eurasia integration.

Putin won’t even need to go hypersonic to make his case to Trump.

Pelosi Prepares ‘Second Pivot’ of Regime Change in the United States

Pelosi Prepares ‘Second Pivot’ of Regime Change in the United States

JAMES GEORGE JATRAS | 10.11.2018 |

Pelosi Prepares ‘Second Pivot’ of Regime Change in the United States

The votes were barely counted before US President Donald Trump fired his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and began to prepare a showdown with the Deep State’s effort to dethrone him. As Patrick Buchanan describes the stakes:

‘For two years, Trump has been under a cloud of unproven allegations and suspicion that he and top campaign officials colluded with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to thieve and publish the emails of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

‘It is past time for Mueller to prove these charges or concede he has a busted flush, wrap up his investigation and go home.

‘And now, in T.S. Eliot’s words, Trump appears to have found “the strength to force the moment to its crisis.”

‘His attitude toward Mueller’s probe is taking on the aspect of Andrew Jackson’s attitude toward Nicholas Biddle’s Second Bank of the United States: It’s “trying to kill me, but I will kill it.”’

But oh wait – the votes aren’t counted yet. In Arizona and, more dangerously, in Florida votes from Democratic precincts seemingly have appeared out of thin air to deny the Republicans additional seats in the Senate. (The governors’ races in Florida and Georgia drag on as well, with Trump mockingly suggesting it’s the Russians’ fault.) In any US election now the side favoring the historic American nation must win big enough to overcome the growing, built-in advantage of an unknown number of illegal votes cast by non-citizens. But even that’s not enough of a handicap, so the Evil Party of Certified Victims also gets to trot out for days and even weeks after election day however many provisional ballots, mail-in ballots, absentee ballots, and any other verkackte concoctions they can. It’s the business end of multiplying measures supposedly designed to “increase voter participation,” like automatic registration, same-day registration, online registration, and at-home voting, the cumulative impact (and no doubt intent) of which is not-quite knowing who’s voting or how often – an old tradition of the Democratic Party. Above all, no ballot security measures can be implemented to require proof of citizenship to vote, as that clearly would be “voter suppression” and, it hardly needs to be added, racist (though demanding documentation of citizenship seems to work just fine in Mexico).

Trimming Trump’s Senate advantage might be the least of his worries, though. Since he took office it’s been clear that large parts of the Executive Branch – nominally under his total control – are instead part of the so-called “Resistance” dedicated to removing him. Most dangerously, this includes much of the Department of Justice and the intelligence agencies. (One can almost hear an audible sigh of relief from the rogues’ gallery of criminal conspirators behind the phony Russiagate collusion story cooked up in the bowels of the US-UK Deep State with the aim of overturning the 2016 election. Now, after two years of the GOP’s dithering in the area of investigations and hearings relevant to how the Trump campaign was put under politically motivated surveillance, those peccadilloes will be forever buried.) The Resistance also includes most of the judiciary, which can be counted on immediately to block any use of Trump’s Executive authority individual judges don’t like, even uses within his plenary Constitutional power, like command of the armed forces (for defending the US? No!) or immigration and border enforcement. Finally, a Senate Democratic block has existed in what is erroneously referred to as the filibuster, with which the GOP majority could dispense with but won’t.

Now, however, with House of Representatives flipped, we are about to see the consolidation in all three branches of what amounts to a rival government under incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Gathering all resistance forces to herself Sauron-like as the focus of rival authority to Trump, she will hope first to render him powerless, then eliminate him. Accordingly, we can be sure that, both with the media’s active complicity and via direct leaks, the House will receive a steady stream of confidential, politically valuable information from within the administration; collusion with the courts to further nullify Trump’s actions will be standard operating procedure.

It’s important to understand that the division of power confronting America in January 2019 will not be the usual circumstance of government divided on a partisan basis, “checks and balances,” “gridlock,” and all that sort of thing familiar from our history but the next phase of a second American civil war (or third, if we count Patriots vs. Loyalists during the War for Independence). Pelosi will lead the next revolutionary phase in which one part of the apparatus of government becomes what Alexander Shtromas called “the Second Pivot,” an alternative, opposing source of official power.

(Contrary to the Marxist myth, revolutions happen not when “The People” rise up spontaneously in righteous anger but when some part of the ruling establishment defects to the revolt (or “Resistance”) and becomes the new conferrer of legitimacy. There are obvious historical examples: Parliament in the English Civil War, the Third Estate’s declaring itself the National Assembly of France, the Petrograd Soviet’s coup against the Provisional Government, Boris Yeltsin’s Russian government when Mikhail Gorbachev’s Soviet government was under threat of the State Committee on the State of Emergency (itself an aspiring second pivot that failed), and the communist cabals in the various Warsaw Pact countries that ousted little Brezhnevs and installed little Gorbachevs.)

In seeking to overthrow the constitutionally elected president who was himself an insurgent against the cozy duopoly in Washington, it might seem the Democrats and their GOP “Never Trump” fellow travelers are actually the counterrevolutionaries against the populist “revolution” two years ago. However true that observation might be in a mechanical sense, it fails to encompass the anti-American, revolutionary – indeed, Leninist – substance of the party that has just captured the House.

Like the bush-league Bolshies they are, the Democrats have already dropped the sotto voce tone they adopted during the closing weeks of the campaign concerning impeaching Trump and now are “all-in” to get rid of him. In doing so, not only can they guarantee the perpetual dominance of their replacement voting bloc, the GOP establishment can purge the Republican party of Trump populism and – dare we say the word! – nationalism once and for all while happily settling in as a permanent, pampered minority with a share of the spoils.

An early test will be if Trump can resist calls for acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from the Mueller probe as Sessions had, leaving in charge Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein – the fox watching the henhouse. Mueller is widely expected to wrap up before the end of the year and he’ll look for some additional scalps to hang to the wall to justify his existence. But the Democrats, now that they’ve taken the House, are more anxious to get on to other things that they can use to justify impeachment. This will of course not be found in any phony Russian collusion (the Democrats will play out the hand, just to keep their base on the edge of hysteria) but the real meat and potatoes will be elsewhere: Trump’s tax returns and his business life back in New York. Contrary to most assurances that a Republican Senate guarantees Trump’s survival, take note that it was Richard Nixon’s own party that threw him to the wolves.

In two months the Second Pivot under Pelosi will rapidly become a state-within-a-state, a Petrograd Soviet at one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, with a Provisional Government – alas, that’s all it is – headed by Trump at the other end. Hopefully the rivalry between them will not turn out as bloody as the one in Russia a century ago. But in terms of the gulf in values and identity that separates the two sides, it is no less of another phase of a civil war, a cold one – for the time being.

In any case, the country those of us of middle age grew up in is gone. The question now is what comes next: consolidation of a restored American order or some sort of collapse?

 

HAT-IN-HAND: U.S SADLY ASKS RUSSIA TO PLEASE ALLOW ISRAEL TO ATTACK SYRIA

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Washington has been reduced now to mere hopes, hopes with great sincerity, that Russia will allow Israel attack Syria after the delivery of S-300 anti-aircraft systems, under the pretext of the prevalence of Iranian forces in Syria, the US ambassador to Syria, James Jeffrey, recently said.

“Russia has been permissive, in consultation with the Israelis, about Israeli strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria. We certainly hope that that permissive approach will continue,” James Jeffrey, Washington’s special representative to Syria said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

FRN notes that Jeffrey’s message contains a complex propaganda message – to date, Russia has not ‘allowed’ Israel to attack Iranian targets inside of Syria. Rather, Russia has withheld the use of its own anti-air hardware and limited its use to defending it’s own immediate installations, bases, and operatives in Syria. The content of this message, however, is to mislead the audience into believing that Russia to-date has maintained a policy which indeed it has not.

This mirrors Israeli propaganda put out several years ago during the height of the Syrian war, that Israel preferred Assad over the Islamic State, on the basis that Assad is secular and Islamism is an existential threat to Israel.

To relatively uninformed or casual audiences, this makes sense on the face of it. However, it was subsequently revealed that Israel was working hand-in-hand with both the Al-Qaeda wing of the FSA, as well as ISIS to overthrow the government of Syria.

The point of the propaganda, however, was aimed at Takfiris themselves – this helped takfiris of Daesh rationalize a Wahhabist-Qutbist-Mercenary invasion of Syria on the pretext that it was an ally of Israel.

In reality, Syria and Israel have been at a near state of war for many decades, with Israel occupying part of Syria during that time – the area of the Golan Heights. The Golan Heights is internationally recognized as Syrian territory occupied by Israel.

Likewise, propaganda that Russia has been permissive, or has the sort of political sway over Israel to allow it, in attacking Syria is meant to divide Syrian and Iranian public opinion about Russia’s mission in the region.

In reality, back in October, Russia delivered its anti-aircraft defense systems to Syria following the incident with an Il-20 plane that was likely shot down by a French Frigate, but Russia and Syria agreed to blame it on a Syrian S-200 due to Israeli fighter maneuvers, according to their official story. The desired result was the same – giving a pretext to directly arm Syria with the more advanced S-300 system which not only Syria but also the U.S greatly fears. And this result was arrived at without creating an international row with France, which would have produced nothing other than the desired results of the Atlanticist-Daesh-Zionist coalition aimed at undermining Russia, Iran, and Syria’s campaign to secure the sovereignty and self-determination of the Syrian people.

The incident in September further strained ties between Russia and Israel. According to some highly credible reports received by FRN, Moscow has repeatedly turned down requests by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Our immediate effort is to try to calm that situation down and then move on to a long-term solution,” the US envoy said with regards to the fallout between Moscow and Tel Aviv.

The diplomat said Washington was working to ensure that all Iranian military advisers leave Syria.

“The Russians, having been there before, would not in fact withdraw, but you’ve got four other outside military forces – the Israelis, the Turkish, the Iranian and the American – all operating inside Syria right now. It’s a dangerous situation,” Jeffrey said.

Iran is another important ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but Israel regards Tehran as its main enemy and pledged to combat Iranian military growth on Syrian territory.

“Israel has an existential interest in blocking Iran from deploying long-range power projection systems … inside Syria to be used against Israel. We understand the existential interest and we support Israel,” Jeffrey said.

According to Jeffrey, the US aims to promote a political solution to the conflict and ensure that all foreign forces leave Syrian territory, with the exception of Russia.

Tehran, meanwhile, has said it will stay in the Arab country as long as President Assad wants to. Like Russia, Iran is in Syria at the official request of Damascus.

The Anglo-phonic liberal-left in the 1st world is generally confused about the Syrian war, and the role of Russia and Iran. Evaluating the progressiveness or lack-thereof of these governments on the basis of postmodern conceptions of gender and sexual identity, combined with somewhat hypocritical, if not impossible standards of power-relations adopted from anarchist schools of political theory, ones which they do not apply to their own imperial centers, produces a strange and tremendous level of equivocation.

In this view, which ultimately supports the aims of U.S imperialism, Russia and Iran’s activities in Syria are no better than those of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, or the U.S. They are all ‘stronger countries’ involved in the affairs of a ‘weaker country’. This ignores the fact that Russia and Iran were invited by the Syrian government, are there legally; the Syrian government is not in power as a result of a color-revolution or coup backed by any foreign power of any kind. Therefore this is a question of sovereignty and the preservation of stability and peace as defined by the Geneva convention and the UN Charter, versus the imperialism of the ISIS and FSA-backing alliance, and not one of ‘all bad countries involved in Syria’.

قضية الخاشقجي تؤثر على ترامب وتطرح تساؤلاً حول موقف روسيا

 

نوفمبر 5, 2018

د. هدى رزق

عاملان اثنان يمكنهما التأثير في الانتخابات النصفية الأميركية… العامل الاقتصادي وهو على تحسُّن مستمرّ والتوترات الاجتماعية والسياسية التي تفرّق الأميركيين، وعليه سيقرّرون انْ كانوا يريدون إعطاء الرئيس دونالد ترامب مزيداً من الحرية في اتخاذ القرارات او تقييده.

لكن من غير المرجح أن تحدد سياسته في الشرق الأوسط نتائج هذه الانتخابات. لكن يمكن تقييم سياسته وتقييم المسارات التي عليه اتخاذها، إذ يرى بعض المحللين الغربيين انه حقق نجاحاً جزئياً في سورية بالنسبة الى قتال داعش وانسحب من الاتفاق النووي وفرض عقوبات صارمة من جانب واحد، من أجل توليد المزيد من الضغوط على النظام والاقتصاد الإيراني مع استعادة العقوبات النفطية كاملة.

لا شك في أنّ ترامب يتمتع بشعبية واسعة في «إسرائيل»، وهي نتاج دعمه وعلاقته الحميمة مع رئيس الوزراء بنيامين نتنياهو، وبسبب الانسحاب من الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، ونقله للسفارة الأميركية إلى القدس. كما انّ علاقاته المميّزة مع المملكة العربية السعودية والإمارات العربية المتحدة ومصر والأردن، دفعت الى حملة التطبيع بين «إسرائيل» وبعض الدول العربية. لكن يمكن القول إنّ قدرة ترامب على تحقيق أهدافه ستختبر في عام 2019. فهل من تغييرات ستطال منطقة الشرق الاوسط في الفترة المقبلة؟

جاء مقتل الصحافي السعودي جمال الخاشقجي، في أعقاب العثرات السعودية مع قطر ولبنان وكندا، والحرب المدمّرة في اليمن، ما يثير تساؤلات حول الثقة بفعالية ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان، الذي من المفترض أن يشكل الحاضنة الاستراتيجية للائتلاف الإقليمي المناهض لإيران الذي تقوده الولايات المتحدة. فسياسة ترامب تجاه المملكة ستكون واحدة من المناقشات الأساسية في الكابيتول في السادس من تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر.

أعطى كلّ من ترامب ووزير خارجيته مايك بومبيو إشارات قوية بأنهما سيعملان مع الكونغرس لتطبيق عقوبات جلوبال ماجنيتسكي على المسؤولين السعوديين المتورّطين في قتل الخاشقجي. عند هذه النقطة، سيكون السؤال الرئيسي هو ما إذا كانت الولايات المتحدة ترى محمد بن سلمان متورّطاً رسمياً.

من المحتمل جداً أن تدعو لجان المخابرات في مجلس الشيوخ رئيسة الاستخبارات في الـ «سي أي آي» هاسبيل إلى جلسات مغلقة للإدلاء بشهادتها حول الأدلة التي شاركتها في تركيا حول مقتل الخاشقجي. إذا حدث ذلك، فيمكننا أن نكون على يقين من أنه سيتمّ تسريب تفاصيل ثمينة عن شهادتها.

قد يكون ظهور هاسبيل أمام اللجان في الكونغرس الأميركي استراتيجية خروج، يتمّ تشكيلها بصمت بين أنقرة والرياض وواشنطن.

طلب بعض السيناتورات من ترامب يوم الأربعاء وقف المحادثات لتزويد السعودية بالتكنولوجيا النووية الأميركية بعد مقتل الخاشقجي. الرفض الشامل للموافقة على أيّ اتفاقية نووية مدنية مع الرياض – مهما كانت قوية – هو تصعيد ملحوظ في خطاب الكونغرس إذا اتفقت واشنطن والرياض، فإنّ لدى الكونغرس الفرصة لنقضه. أمر الكونغرس إدارة ترامب بإطلاق تحقيق فيدرالي حول وفاة الخاشقجي، الأمر الذي قد يؤدّي إلى فرض عقوبات على كبار المسؤولين السعوديين. دعوة وزير الخارجية مايك بومبيو إلى إنهاء الأعمال العدائية في اليمن أتت بسبب تهديد الكونغرس بإصدار تشريع يقضي بإنهاء الدعم الأميركي للحرب التي تقودها السعودية ضدّ الحوثيين.

في خضمّ هذه الأحداث المهمة تبدو روسيا حذرة ففي 25 تشرين الأول دعا الملك السعودي سلمان بن عبد العزيز آل سعود الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين واتفق الطرفان على «تحديد شروط مثل هذه الزيارة من خلال القنوات الدبلوماسية». كما ناقش بوتين وسلمان القضايا المتعلقة بالمزيد من التطوير. التعاون الثنائي متعدّد الأوجه، بما في ذلك في قطاع الطاقة، «بالإضافة إلى سورية والوضع في الشرق الأوسط بشكل عام». وقال المتحدث باسم بوتين إنّ سلمان أبلغ بوتين الإجراءات التي اتخذتها المملكة للتحقيق في مقتل الخاشقجي وتقديم المسؤولين عن ذلك إلى العدالة.

كان بوتين قد انتقد الولايات المتحدة في 18 تشرين الأول/ أكتوبر، في المؤتمر السنوي لنادي فالداي للمناقشة في سوتشي، وأشار الى أنّ الولايات المتحدة مسؤولة جزئياً عما حدث. بما أنّ الخاشقجي كان مقيماً هناك و»اختار ذلك البلد كمأوى له».

لا تريد روسيا إفساد علاقاتها مع المملكة العربية السعودية دون معرفة تفاصيل الحادثة. أدّى مقتل الخاشقجي إلى قيام العديد من الدول والشركات الغربية إما بسحب أو الحدّ من مشاركتها في مبادرة الاستثمار المستقبلي التي استضافتها السعودية والتي عقدت في الرياض في الفترة من 23 إلى 25 تشرين الأول/ أكتوبر. لكن روسيا، على العكس، وسعت مشاركتها. فقد حضره ثلاثون من رجال الأعمال، معظمهم من كبار المديرين في الشركات الروسية الرائدة. قدّر السعوديون الرسالة السياسية التي أشارت إليها موسكو، وأعادوا التأكيد على نية سابقة لمناقشة إمكانية استثمار 5 مليارات دولار في مشروع القطب الشمالي للغاز الطبيعي المُسال.

ترى موسكو انّ ثلاثة عناصر تحكم موقف أردوغان. أحدها عداء سعودي – تركي عميق متأصّل بدوافع تاريخية وايديولوجية وجيوسياسية بالإضافة إلى صراعه من أجل التأثير في العالم السني. والثاني هو قلق أردوغان من الدور الذي يمكن أن يلعبه الأمير محمد في تحديد مصير الشرق الأوسط المستقبلي. والثالث هو غيرة أنقرة حيال علاقة الرياض بواشنطن وكيف يمكن أن يؤدّي ذلك في نهاية المطاف إلى تقوية الموقف السعودي في المنطقة، وإضعاف تركيا.

لذلك قام بتسريب القصة على مراحل من أجل تقويض مكانة ولي العهد في عيون الرئيس دونالد ترامب، وتصويره أنه شريك لا يمكن الاعتماد عليه وحتى خطير، وإضعاف المطالبة السعودية بالقيادة الإقليمية. الفكرة هي أنّ تركيا يمكن أن تظهر كشريك أكثر صلابة وتأثيراً من المملكة العربية السعودية:

رأت موسكو أنّ قضية الخاشقجي هي مزيج من الفرص المحتملة. فإنّ النتيجة النهائية هي أنّ الحادث كان قضية مسيّسة إلى حدّ كبير يتمّ استخدامها من أجل شتى الضغوط السياسية بين البلدان المعنية. وبما انها مهتمة بالمنطقة اهتماماً قوياً وطويل الأجل، فسيكون من الحكمة ان تكسب المزيد مع جميع الأطراف من خلال عدم التدخل.

A senior Russian diplomat confirms: “Russia is preparing for war” – is anybody listening?

The Saker

November 02, 2018

[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]A senior Russian diplomat confirms: “Russia is preparing for war” – is anybody listening?

Andrei Belousov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of Nonproliferation and Arms Control, has recently made an important statement which I shall quote in full and then provide a translation.

Original Russian text: “Тут недавно на заседании Соединенные Штаты заявили, что Россия готовится к войне. Да, Россия готовится к войне, я это подтверждаю. Да, мы готовимся защищать нашу родину, нашу территориальную целостность, наши принципы, наших людей. Мы готовимся к такой войне. Но у нас есть серьезные отличия от Соединенных Штатов Америки. И в лингвистическом плане это отличие заключается всего в одном слове, что в русском языке, что в английском языке: Российская Федерация готовится к войне, а Соединенные Штаты Америки готовят войну”

Translation: “Recently at a meeting the United States stated that Russia is preparing for war. Yes, Russia is preparing for war, I can confirm it.  Yes, we are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people. We are preparing for such a war.  But there is a major difference between us and the United States.  Linguistically, this difference is just in one word, in both Russian and English: Russia is preparing for war while the United States is preparing a war” (emphasis added).

We are so used to western diplomats and politicians saying more or less anything and everything (as the joke goes: when do you know that a politician is lying? When his lips move) that many of us stopped paying attention to what is being said. If tomorrow Trump or some “Congressperson” goes on national TV and declares “read my lips – up is down, dry is wet and yes means no” – most of us will just ignore it. The truth is that being exposed to that constant stream of empty, bombastic and always dishonest statements makes most of us immune to verbal warnings, even when they come from non-western political figures.

It is, therefore, crucial to fully realize that Russian official and diplomats carefully measure every word they say and that when they repeat over and over again that Russia is ready for war, they actually and truly mean it!

Of course, there have been those in the West who fully saw this danger and have been warning about it for years, I especially think of Prof. Stephen Cohen and Paul Craig Roberts here.  And I have been warning about this for four years now, beginning with the article “Obama just made things much, much worse in the Ukraine – now Russia is ready for war” posted on March 1st, 2014, followed by many more articles with the same warning since (see “The Russian response to a double declaration of war” on September 27th, 2014; “Did Russia just “gently” threaten the USA?” on November 12th, 2015; “Debunking popular clichés about modern warfare” on May 19th, 2016; “How Russia is preparing for WWIII” on May 26, 2016; “A Russian warning” on June 1st 2016; “Assessing the Russian Military as an Instrument of Power” on August 25th, 2016; “Progress report on the US-Russian war” on December 1st, 2017; “What price will mankind have to pay for the collapse of the Empire?” on April 13th, 2018; “Each “click” brings us one step closer to the “bang!” on April 20th, 2018).  But for all our efforts, we have been “voices crying in the wilderness” which is hardly surprising since even Putin’s blunt warning during his March 1st speech to the Russian Federal Assembly was quickly dismissed as “posturing” and quickly forgotten.  This is why two weeks following that historical speech I compared Russia to a peaceful rattlesnake (yes, they are peaceful creatures!) desperately trying to warn a drunk idiot to back-off but to no avail: the drunk idiot just boastfully declares “hold my beer and watch this” and tries to grab the snake.  I concluded by saying that:

May, Trump, Macron and Merkel, of course, but also their sycophantic presstitutes and the herds of zombified followers all believe in their invulnerability and superiority. The terrifying truth is that these folks have NO IDEA whom they are dealing with nor do they understand the consequences of pushing Russia too hard. Oh, in theory they do (yeah, yeah, Napoleon, Hitler, we know!). But in their guts, they feel safe, superior and just can’t conceive that they can die, and their entire society can just disappear.

Sadly, since then things have only gotten worse.  This is why a clearly disgusted and frustrated Putin recently declared that

Any aggressor should know that retribution will be inevitable and he will be destroyed. And since we will be the victims of his aggression, we will be going to heaven as martyrs. They will simply croak and won’t even have time to repent,”

Needless to say, the western ziomedia interpreted this warning as a sign of “Russian aggression,” not as a desperate attempt to wake up a delusional and infinitely arrogant Empire.

By the way – something very similar has been happening between the USA and China with an increasing number of Chinese officials publicly declaring that the Chinese armed forces need to prepare for war (here is just the latest such warning).

Sadly, the Chinese warnings are as ignored and as dismissed as the Russian ones.  And that is truly frightening.

At least during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the entire world press was reporting about the confrontation minute by minute, and everybody knew that the danger of war was very real. In contrast today, hardly anybody gives the possibility of war much thought. In fact, the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire seem to be dead set on multiplying their provocations against Russia ranging from holding major military exercises right at the Russian border to giving the most prestigious EU human right prize to a convicted terrorist (the Poles, always so helpful, even suggested that Sentsov ought to be given the Nobel!). The EU also failed to notice the Ukronazi acts of piracy in the Sea of Azov but instead, condemned Russia for strictly enforcing her legal right to retaliate for the Ukronazi actions.

Such a level of hypocrisy is disgusting, of course.  But it is also very, very dangerous.

Frankly, considering the fantastic and genuinely heroic efforts of Putin and Xi to avoid a major (nuclear) war with the Empire, I would suggest that they, not convicted terrorists, be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (but I am not holding my breath here…)!

In sharp contrast to the western corporate media, the Russian media has been discussing the possibility of war with the US/NATO on a daily basis, and the discussion always revolves around the question “are they really crazy enough to actually attack us even though that would mean their certain destruction?!“. In fairness to the Russians, seeing folks like Nikki Haley or John Bolton, the question of “are they crazy?” is a logical one. But I think that it is also possibly misleading. Here is why:

While clearly some Neocons are truly batshit crazy, most are not. Stupid, ignorant, arrogant, hateful and evil – yes. But not necessarily insane. And for that reason, I don’t think that the AngloZionist leaders will stumble into a war against Russia as a result of their insanity. Besides, while US politicians are, indeed, amazingly stupid and ignorant, there are enough men in the US armed forces who remember the warning of Field Marshal and Viscount of Alamein Bernard Montgomery who famously declared to the House of Lords:

Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war, is: “Do not march on Moscow”. Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good. That is the first rule. I do not know whether your Lordships will know Rule 2 of war. It is: “Do not go fighting with your land armies in China.” It is a vast country, with no clearly defined objectives“.

Most senior US military commanders must realize that war against Russia and/or China is a suicidal proposition.

But while the insanity of western leaders is unlikely to cause a war, I am afraid that their despair might.

Think of it: right now the USA is engaged in two parallel processes: on the one hand the USA is involved in sanctions and economic wars against most of the planet while on the other hand, the USA is withdrawing from one major international treaty after another (including arms control treaties). Ask yourself a simple question: is this the behavior of a country which is weak or strong? What does this “full-spectrum” policy of confrontation and self-isolation (because that is what withdrawing from so many agreements and treaties does: isolate the USA) mean? Does it signal the actions of a confident and strong power or one which is desperate and lashes out on all levels?

As this short post by Larchmonter445 reminds us, the current batch of US leaders are first and foremost *losers* and while they are still doing a pretty good job of window-dressing and flag-waving, it is becoming increasingly impossible to hide the magnitude of the multi-level slow-motion collapse of the AngloZionist Empire. I suppose that the band playing on the deck of the Titanic also played louder and louder, but the outcome of the show was never in doubt. The same is happening here and therein lies an enormous danger: the harder it becomes to conceal the magnitude of the unfolding disaster, the more the Empire lashes out, making the situation even worse which then makes it even harder to conceal the magnitude of the disaster. The Empire in general, and the USA specifically, is literally cracking on all levels and there is absolutely no reasonable and halfway viable way to reverse this trend because the one and only solution for the USA to survive is to give up the Empire and become a “normal” country – something US leaders are not even willing to contemplate. The Neocons, especially, seem to have a quasi-religious belief (or maybe it is just an uncontrolled knee-jerk reaction) that when one of their putative “clever” plans fail, the correct solution is to double-down. They seem to have fully internalized the German aphorism “wenn es mit Gewalt nicht geht, dann geht es mit mehr Gewalt!” (if violence can’t fix it, then even more violence will), forgetting that this belief did Germany no good against Russia. As for the general western public, it has been successfully turned into what I call “ideological drones“: brainwashed automatons who will wave their (Chinese made) flags to cope with any residual cognitive dissonance.  When their certitudes finally come crashing down, they will also lash out at everything and everybody in abject despair and impotent rage.

Right now the USA and the “global West” (aka the AngloZionist Empire) are on a direct collision course with Russia (and probably China too).  Right now, I see very few signs that anybody in the western elites is able (or willing) to admit that at the end of that road there is war and the destruction of the USA (and possibly much of Europe).  Right now, the leaders of the Empire appear to be firmly locked into what the French call the “fuite en avant” (which can roughly be translated as “flight forward”, or “headlong rush”, “panic-induced compulsion to further exacerbate a crisis or calamity” or even “unconscious mechanism that causes a person to throw himself/herself into a dreaded danger”). I suppose that there is a sad and tragic irony in the fact that the result of the US elites constantly conjuring up some completely imaginary Russian “interventions” (in the USA and elsewhere) might eventually result in a very real Russia intervention, in the form of devastating missile strikes, but this is hardly a consolation.

How likely is that to change in the foreseeable future?

Not very likely, I am afraid.

Will Putin and Xi be able to avert the looming war with the West?

Maybe.  But with each passing day bringing only further escalations and provocations from the “global West” their task is becoming harder and harder.

So far all the Russian and Chinese warnings have fallen on deaf ears and, frankly, I don’t believe that more warnings will do any good.

This might be the time for Russia and China to begin pushing back seriously. Everything else has failed, at least so far.

The Saker

‘Cost-Push’ Narrative Formation in the Trump Era

October 31, 2018

‘Cost-Push’ Narrative Formation in the Trump Era

In his 1928 landmark book Propaganda, public relations pioneer and Goebbelsian trailblazer Eddie Bernays offered what amounts to a disingenuous assertion at best:

“It is important that any effort to influence or effect the American public that is not in the public interest be killed by the light of pitiless publicity and analysis.”

Immediately, the statement begs two questions:

  • What if the American public decides at the ballot box that what passes for the prevailing public interest (really a manufactured imposition) runs counter to its own version of said interest?
  • Who orchestrates the “pitiless publicity” aimed at killing competing visions of the “public interest” and by what authority do they undertake this mission?

Bernays references the ‘who’ elsewhere, albeit vaguely as, “…invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions… and shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.”

Conceivably a tug of war could ensue between two competing visions of the public interest; one vision expressed at the ballot box in the manner of direct democracy and the other emanating top-down from managed democracy’s “invisible rulers”.

For Bernays such a conflict would not represent an intractable impasse so much as a cue for redoubling the, “conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses”. After all, only intensified propagandizing efforts can correct the People’s ill-informed sense of the public interest. Undemocratic manipulation is, “an important element in democratic society” under Bernays’ weirdly circular formulation.

Of course self-determination is neither a path to infallibility nor a vaccine against public policy blunders. Direct Democracy merely makes the People the masters of their own fate, which is equally to say the captains of their own errors.

Bernays would have been better to say manipulation is a vital facet of a smoothly running Republic or Oligarchy, not so much a Democracy. His paternalistic subtext clearly reflects the former. Indeed another name for Managed Democracy is Republicanism (not to be confused with the political party of the same name).

A rough but effective analogy can be drawn from what serve normally as macroeconomic terms used to describe two varieties of inflation: Cost-Push and Demand-Pull. For an explanation of the traditional economic context of the terms, see here.

Applied to political narrative formation, Push is the bottom-up, propulsive force of the Will of the People. While Pull is the manipulative, diversionary desires of the Elite. Push is hard knocks and demonstrable scrapes. Pull is consciously engineered wishfulness harnessed to oligarchic solipsism, Empire objectives and atrophying noblesse oblige.

Popular consent should be organically derived and not subject to extrinsic manufacturing at all. Nor should its germination process be invaded by an externally fashioned agenda. The People should be the authors of their own consciousness. That’s the ideal anyway.

The Culture Industry’s mandate is steeped, from the outset, in inauthenticity and misdirection; or, as Theodor Adorno insisted, structurally inescapable insincerity. Through the endless propagation of false consciousness, Media is charged with convincing the People that the Pull is actually the Push. Sustaining this inversion has become a difficult task.

The Pull techniques are many and varied. Here are but a few:

The last chart addresses Russophobia. Anyone who’s walked past an American TV over the last two years can attest to a media obsession bordering on the manic; an intensity not shared by (nor successfully seeded within) the American public as evidenced by a July 2018 Gallup poll showing concern about Russia to be immeasurably unimportant (the issue garnered an * meaning less than 1%).

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein fed the sui generis racialist fires when he referred with casual malice to The Russians (wink-wink-nudge-nudge) in his February 16th indictment press conference for Concord Management officials who happened to be Russian nationals with no discernible state actor affiliation.

The farcical social media trolling charges relate to “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general”, as if the American populace wasn’t already immersed in boatloads of domestically-inspired skepticism. Chances are slim the politically-motivated indictments (announced on a Friday in part to the get the Parkland, Florida shootings off the front page) will ever come to trial despite Concord’s heroic efforts to have their day in court (see 3:48 here).

 

Surely it surprises no one that Putin is simply too busy to plot subterfuge at every table of every Russian boardroom engaged in Stateside business. Attempting to dampen Western media’s impression of his fearsome omniscience, the Russian President had this to say at the Jul 16, 2018 Summit Joint Press Conference:

Today’s Russophobic dog whistles recall John Maynard Keynes’ 1932 assertion that Bolshevism sprang from, “some beastliness in the Russian nature”. Far from dispelling these beastly stereotypes, CNN reinforces them nightly for the ‘higher dual purpose’ of de-legitimizing the Trump Presidency and positioning Russia as the Military Industrial Complex’ Enemy of Requisite Budgetary Scale.

Attorney Alan Dershowitz has routinely decried the ACLU’s MIA status throughout the Trump Russia witch-hunt. The same can be said of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) whose charter states: “We fight anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.” We’re familiar with battles waged on behalf of the former, less so the latter. Here’s an opportune chance to engage on behalf of another besieged group.

Russian-Americans comprise 3.13 million people, a sizable population by any metric. Surely Russophobia (a dark retread of Nazism’s Anti-Slavism) warrants urgent attention. Blessed be the stoic forbearance of our Russian neighbors. One hopes it is a circumspection that will continue to go unpunished, though the Japanese and German internment camps that dotted WW2 America hardly inspire confidence.

Since at least Hillary Clinton’s Putin = Hitler equivalence-setting, the public consciousness has been in the grips of determined preparatory spadework for war with Russia. Frankly, the People are to be applauded for enduring the last two years of cognitive carpet-bombing with their disinterest and skepticism intact. Alas this failed impartation will not derail WW3. Rather it will cause the war to break out preemptively without the embedded pretext of settled consent. What cannot be consented to will occur nonetheless, leaving ‘new realities’ to compel the appropriate consent post-factum, that is, in a manner analogous to journalist Ron Suskind’s recounting of a 2004 quote attributed to Karl Rove:

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

As we see in Syria and elsewhere this authorial prerogative is increasingly being shared by Russia in either a nascent reemergence of bipolarity or an interim way-station towards a multi-polar actor ensemble.

Another Pull variant is, as Nancy Pelosi so helpfully anatomized for us, the wrap-up smear. This is the technique of creating a false set of facts (the smear), “merchandising” the false fact pattern to the Media, then wrapping the smeared individual in the ensuing tar-and-feathery media glare until the former stops beating his or her spouse lately.

Of course the ensnared victim is obliged to continually reference the false facts if only to mount a self-defense. Perversely, righteous denial further reinforces the falsehoods through repetition. There is, as they say, no such thing as bad publicity if the purpose is to keep one’s name front-and-center, which in the case of a wrap-up smear, it most surely isn’t.

Again, the purpose is to pull the media consumer towards a desired narrative based on falsity and distortion. The news-maker advantages his or her podium to initiate news that only becomes news by virtue of a bully pulpit (one of the top-down trappings of power), and not by the inherent truth-value of ‘facts-on-the-ground’. Putin and Trump, the world’s most potent nationalists, are no strangers to being wrapped in deceptive, pejorative garb.

A crucial point to note is that both leaders enjoy the shared contempt of the globalists.  Putin’s favorability among Americans has been engineered down to 16%, 9% among collusion-besotted Democrats. Thus, while Russia is not a front-burner issue in US households, the Mackinder-MIC catastrophe of a US-Russia rapprochement is rendered all but verboten by these figures as detente would confirm extortioned compromise.

Viewed in this perma-war context, the establishment palpitations caused by Trump ‘being left alone’ with fellow loose cannon Putin make perfect, twisted sense. Suppose a powerful personal chemistry had erupted into a sudden outbreak of peaceful intentions between the two unchaperoned leaders? The prospects for WW3 might have lain in shards. Summit? What Summit? It’s practically been erased from the annals of geopolitics as was the proposed follow-on Summit in Washington. All that can be hoped for are dashed-off corridor meetings at future co-attended events.

Alas, this shell-game is breaking down in the Trump Era. Fake News is a more tactile, street-level term for false consciousness propagation. There’s little doubt Trump has a gift for branding.

The President is routinely accused of thinking in 220-character Twitter bytes, giving way to charges of truncated intelligence. There may be other reasons to doubt his intelligence. With Twitter, he is fulfilling the greater need of bypassing the Media filter for a communication path more consistent with the needs of direct democracy. The truncation is a non-rescindable feature of the Twitter platform itself.

The current Push-Pull narrative divergence –which has the opinion-shapers in conniptions– is on stark display in the recent Gallup vs. Media Research Center numbers (graphic at the bottom of this post). Surely 92% negative coverage evidences Bernay’s “pitiless publicity”.

Even after the desperate steps taken to shut down alt-media (and yes, desperate is the term), the divergence grows. The Media responds with ever more dislocating and lurid material. Bombs –or at least clocks resembling bombs– appear on Democrats’ doorsteps with eerie synchronicity.

A recursive self-consciousness has now infiltrated the system contributing further noise, not unlike how the pings of a too-high-octane fuel destroy the kayfabe experience (instilled by the car salesman) of a frictionless magic carpet-ride. The clunky mechanics of the process overwhelm the message itself.

The collective wisdom of the People has fully determined their passenger status in a vehicle driven by a malevolent chauffeur. Managed Democracy will be hard-pressed to recover their prior innocence.

The divergence also implodes the notion that the media is in any way reflective of the population it claims to derive its news from. Clearly the reportage has become prescriptive which is to say, not reportage at all. We’re not happy with the facts where we find them. Thus we will be moving them over here instead, beneath the canopy of our desired narrative.

The breakdown of the Pull hasn’t stopped the usual talking heads from pushing endlessly on strings deemed mission-critical by their managers. Like deer trapped in the klieg lights of an indiscernible new reality, they fumble along, in thrall to a dark comedy that takes its cues from absurd representations of untenable narratives.

Though opinions on Trump differ sharply, few can dispute his disruptive role in fomenting managed democracy’s narrative crisis, and for putting back onto its heels a myth-making prowess whose influence up until now had been considered unassailable.

Why might Trump be an authentic change agent, albeit one with a high probability of derailment or self-betrayal? Because the bifurcating narratives cannot be denied. If the divergence is real, the systemic stress must be equally real. Why, one has to ask, does the corporate press protesteth so much? Therein lies a telling litmus.

There’s a tendency to forget Trump’s formal political career is less than two years old and that he contends against a hostile, entrenched security-media complex seventy years in the making. Whether he is already capitulating to insuperable neoconservative power centers or is engaging in tactical ducks-and-feints cannot be confirmed either way. His post-midterm demeanor, and inevitable staffing changes, will reveal much. A verdict today is premature.

For the moment, we applaud small mercies and encouraging signs…

A breakaway bloc now exists in America along the lines of the red pill, blue pill demarcation. Many have been ‘dispelled’. Let us hope more can Push away from the master’s table forever.

 

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