‘US military budget requires an enemy’: Sanctions imposed on 8 Russian defense & aviation firms

Will Chrystia Freeland Finally Ruin Canadian-Russian Relations?

Will Chrystia Freeland Finally Ruin Canadian-Russian Relations?

Will Chrystia Freeland Finally Ruin Canadian-Russian Relations?

On 10 January 2017 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fired his minister of external affairs, Stéphane Dion, and replaced him with Chrystia Freeland, who was then minister of international trade. This cabinet shuffle might not have gotten much public notice except that Dion is a distinguished parliamentarian, former leader of the party and leader of the opposition, and a former key minister in the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien. Freeland, on the other hand, is a well-known Ukrainian ultra-nationalist and self-declared Russophobe and hater of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On 10 January 2017 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fired his minister of external affairs, Stéphane Dion, and replaced him with Chrystia Freeland, who was then minister of international trade

The sacking of Dion was also noteworthy because Trudeau had run on an electoral platform in 2015 promising, inter alia, to improve Canadian relations with Russia, spoilt by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper. When Dion became minister of external affairs, he confirmed the Liberal commitment to re-establish more constructive Canadian-Russian relations.

He kept to this line even though Prime Minister Trudeau said that Canada would continue its close relations with the government in Kiev including the maintenance of Canadian military advisors in the Ukraine. Essentially, Trudeau said he intended to continue Tory policy on relations with Russia. No one paid much attention to the contradiction between Trudeau’s affirmation of Harper’s policy, and Dion’s periodic statements to the contrary.

Dion could make little or no progress in improving Canadian-Russian relations, most certainly because the prime minister and Minister Freeland were against it. Nothing much was said publically because Trudeau had promised a different policy during the election campaign. Was he just another fork-tongued politician? Perhaps he is, and wanted to divert attention from un-kept electoral promises. Nor would it have been desirable to publicise a policy split inside the government.

While Dion is a distinguished parliamentarian, former leader of the party and leader of the opposition, Freeland is a well-known Ukrainian ultra-nationalist and self-declared Russophobe

When the news broke that Trudeau had replaced Dion with Freeland, Liberal sources whispered that Dion was not really suited to be a diplomat. He was irritable, they said, and had not mastered the diplomacy of using speech to conceal his thoughts. Radio Sputnik contacted me at the time for an interview. I commented that Freeland’s appointment was «a catastrophe» for Canadian-Russian relations, as indeed it is. Some elements of the Mainstream Media (MSM) in Canada picked up on my comments saying that Russian sources had claimed the sacking of Dion was a catastrophe. I rejoined that it was me, a Canadian citizen, who had so characterised the Freeland appointment, and not Russian sources.

Is Trudeau just another fork-tongued politician?

Why should Canadians care one way or another whether their government supports the Ukraine and sends arms and advisors there to strengthen Ukrainian military forces? Well, the most important reason is that the present government in Kiev is illegitimate in spite of democratic appearances. It is the spawn of a violent coup d’état in February 2014, brokered and supported by the United States and the European Union, which overthrew the democratically elected president Viktor Yanukovich. The vanguard of the Kiev coup d’état are neo-Nazi, fascist or ultra nationalist political and paramilitary organisations, notably the political party Svoboda, the paramilitary Pravyi sektor and various other paramilitary forces such as the so-called Azov and Aidar battalions. These paramilitary units were and are used to crush opposition in those parts of the Ukraine controlled by Kiev. Politicians, journalists, anyone speaking against the putsch government in Kiev could be, or were killed, beaten, jailed or forced to flee. The Ukrainian communist party was declared illegal. The governing Party of Regions has disappeared, some of its members being charged with criminal offences for having contacts with Russian counterparts. Others abandoned the party because it was neither safe nor practical to remain as members.

Everywhere in the Kiev-controlled Ukraine, Nazi or SS symbols are readily observable

The United States claims that the neo-Nazis are freaks and «a few bad apples». But the signs of fascism can be observed everywhere in the Kiev-controlled Ukraine. Nazi or SS symbols are readily observable. The Nazi swastika can be seen as a frequent tattoo amongst fascist militiamen. Torch light parades redolent of Nazi Germany are often staged in Kiev and other cities to frighten people opposed to the coup d’état. As with Nazism and Italian fascism, violence, force and atavistic masculinity are exalted to intimidate any opposition. Nazi collaborators during World War II are now transformed into national heroes, Stepan Bandera, for example, or the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) which perpetrated mass murders amongst Soviet and Polish civilian populations.

In Ukraine, Nazi collaborators during World War II are now transformed into national heroes

Neo-Nazi violence and intimidation worked in many places, but not in others. In the Crimea, the population united almost to the last man and woman, to toss out the putschist authorities and to vote for reunification with Russia. In the east, in the Donbass, the anti-fascist resistance repulsed Kiev punitive forces with heavy losses. These remarkable feats of arms, redolent of so many others in Russian history, were wasted by Moscow, which disregarded a first principle of war that one never lets an enemy withdraw to fight another day. «He who spares the aggressor», Stalin once remarked, «wants another war.» It may shock some people to hear Stalin quoted, but Plutarch, Sun Tzu, or Clausewitz might have said the same thing. Moscow supported the so-called Minsk peace accords which were never respected by the Kiev authorities. Ultra-nationalists even boasted that they had agreed to Minsk solely in order to rest and refit their beaten forces. It was only a ruse de guerre.

In the Crimea, the population united almost to the last man and woman, to toss out the putschist authorities and to vote for reunification with Russia

These are the forces which the Canadian government now supports with the enthusiastic backing of Minister Freeland. For her, it must be a lifelong dream-come-true. There has been much press comment during the last week or so about Freeland’s Ukrainian grandfather, Mykhailo Chomiak, a Nazi collaborator during World War II. Freeland claimed that he was only a refugee from Stalinist violence. He might have been, but he also collaborated with Nazi Germany. In many places in Europe, France and Italy, for example, collaborators were summarily shot or imprisoned after the war. In France, more than 5,000 were executed including Pierre Laval, a prominent French politician, who sided with Nazi Germany and vaunted collaboration to oppose the USSR. Another 38,000 French collaborators were jailed. Chomiak was lucky he was not hanged and that he ended up in northern Alberta, to die a well-to-do farmer.

The story about Freeland’s grandfather was first put out by John Helmer, a long-time independent journalist living in Moscow. Freeland claimed a week or so ago that Russia was attempting «to destabilize the Western democracies»; and Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale asserted that poor Ms. Freeland was a victim of «Russian disinformation tactics».

Should Freeland be held responsible for the sins of her grandfather? Obviously not. What is disturbing about Freeland is her intense hatred of Russia and the Russian government, and her confusion about her own national identity. I am, she has written, «one of Ukraine’s democrats.» If this is so, what is she doing as a minister in the Canadian government? Is she first and foremost a Canadian, or is she a Ukrainian ultra-nationalist whose primary objective is to use her ministerial post to defend the putsch government in Kiev and to exacerbate Canadian relations with Russia?

If Freeland should be not be condemned for the sins of her grandfather—although she might not see them as sins—she can be condemned for her own words, publications and deeds. Even by her own proud admission, she has left a long trail of venomous hatred of Russia which can easily be uncovered by internet searching. She defends the putschists in Kiev and overlooks their violence. With more than a hint of Orwellian «newspeak», Freeland asserts that the violent coup d’état in Kiev against the democratically elected president was a defence of «democracy». Is she pursuing the same objectives, twice removed, of dedushka, or Grandpa Chomiak, by supporting the Kiev junta?

That’s the problem with Freeland, who now constitutes a smoking grenade ready to go off at any moment under Canadian-Russian relations. Until now, the virulent, irrational, Russophobia afflicting the United States has not metastasised into Canada. It’s true that the Harper Conservatives were Russophobes, but when they lost power, it was possible to believe that sanity and pragmatism would return to Canadian relations with the Russian Federation. One had only to listen to Dion’s occasional statements on the subject to think that Canada was recovering its common sense. Canadians could breathe a sigh of relief and return the widely held idea that Canada is somehow a more civilised, sensible place to live than the United States.

Unfortunately, Canadian complacency appears premature. On 8 March Macleans, the Canadian equivalent of Time magazine, published a big article as Russophobic and preposterous as any piece of American yellow journalism. The headline reads: «Russia’s Coming Attack on Canada». The subtitle is: «The smear job on Chrystia Freeland is only the start. Why Canada is a logical next target in Moscow’s desperate clandestine war.» The «smear job» is of course the outing of Grandpa Chomiak as a Nazi collaborator. The author spouts one line of rubbish after the next about Russia and then accuses the Russian government of outing Chomiak. In fact, it appears to have been John Helmer, an Australian, who published the first article on Freeland’s forebears.

Further revelations followed from Alex Boykowich, a Ukrainian Canadian, who consulted Chomiak’s personal papers held in the Alberta provincial archives in Edmonton.

«God, why did Grandpa keep those damned papers», Freeland must be thinking: «I should have burned them long ago.» Too late now, Ms. Freeland, the cat’s out of the bag.

«Ravings» (délires), one Montréal journalist called Freeland’s accusations against Russia and Putin. Of course, no one would care about Freeland’s obsessive Russophobia except that she is  minister of  external affairs. She can encourage the metastasis of Russophobia into Canada, as she indeed has started to do.

Trudeau’s neoliberalism is more American than Canadian

The psychosis is spreading, as I discovered the other day in casual conversation with a respected colleague. Putin is another Stalin, he said, he’s crushed democracy in Russia, press freedom is dead, and no one dares to speak against him. Anyone who has spent time in Moscow knows that lots of people complain about Putin. He knows too, and tolerates it.

«Sure he does» my interlocutor replied with a smile.

I understood and changed the subject.

People who voted Liberal in the last election thinking Trudeau fils would be like Trudeau père are now waking up to the reality that the son is nothing like the father. He is just another neoliberal pretty face, exploiting identity politics to pursue policy lines little different than those of his predecessor, the hated Stephen Harper. Trudeau’s neoliberalism is more American than Canadian. Is he part of the movement to sabotage any improvement of US-Russian relations?  If so, he’s pursuing a dangerous policy.  His external affairs minister is a fanatical Russophobe, hoist upon the petard of her words going back a long way. Is Freeland pursuing grandpa’s old dreams, collaborating with the ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazis in Kiev, all the while pretending they don’t exist?

What should Canada’s surviving veterans think about the Liberal government sending Canadian advisors to train Kiev’s armed hooligans?

More than 42,000 Canadian soldiers died during World War II to destroy fascism and Nazism. Is Freeland kicking sand on their graves by supporting the Kiev authorities and their celebration of Nazi collaboration? What should Canada’s surviving veterans think about the Liberal government sending Canadian advisors to train Kiev’s armed hooligans? «Against Russian aggression», Freeland would no doubt retort. But even MSM journalists in Canada, not as venal as their American counterparts, have derided such talk as «delusional». The question is will the majority of Canadians fall for Freeland’s dangerous Russophobia?

Harvard University honors The Saker blog (<<== shameless clickbaiting and fake news!)

Look at the big picture and see how the USA are self-destructing, how the EU is collapsing, how Turkey has completely switched sides and now works with Iran and Russia, how the Syrian people are winning against the transnational terrorist gangs which attacked thSaker drawing from communityem, look at Libya and how terrified NATO is by the obvious desire of the new authorities to turn to Russia, look at how confident China is in the
face of a barrage of US threats, look at how Hezbollah played a crucial role in Syria and yet managed to deter the IDF in Lebanon.  Look at how Russia has survived both the (rather ineffective) sanctions and the (immensely damaging) drop in oil prices.  Look at how Iran is standing firm and single-handedly confronts the huge US+Zionist+Wahabi regional coalition and shows no sign of weakness.

The Saker

March 14, 2017

Okay, so I am not being honest with this title.  But hey, since Harvard does list my blog as a ‘fake news’ source, I might as well indulge, at least once, into some absolutely shameless click baiting and “fake newsing” 🙂

Seriously, my friend Steve Lendman wrote an interesting post on his blog about Harvard University’s “guide to fake news”.  Check it out, he does a great job explaining it all.  Also, it’s not like Harvard University focused on my blog.  In fact, their full list is much longer (see here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10eA5-mCZLSS4MQY5QGb5ewC3VAL6pLkT53V_81ZyitM/).

But yeah, they do list the Saker blog 🙂

Make sure to also read their “guide to fake news” right here: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/fake – it is amazing.

What a fall from grace, really.  Harvard University, arguably THE symbol of US academia, has now joined such “prestigious” (not) actors like CNN or the BBC in the ideological scramble to discredit free information sources.  For somebody like me who studied in US colleges and who got two degrees in the USA, it is really sad.

There used to be a time when US colleges were *really* a beacon of intellectual freedom.  For example, while at the School of International Service (SIS) at American University in Washington, DC, in the late eighties, I remember that we had the former ambassador of Grenada as an academic and while the Reagan administration was not happy about this, there is absolutely nothing they could do to remove her.  In fact, a lot of our faculty was very much opposed to the Reagan administration, and yet no attempts were made to pressure anybody in any way.  Had there been any such attempts they would have resulted in an energetic protest on our part, probably supported by all other colleges in DC (George Washington U, Maryland U, Georgetown U, Howard U).  Call me naive, but I do believe that it would have never crossed the mind of anybody in the White House or Congress to mess with academic freedom or, even less so, to try to use colleges as a tool in a color revolution against the President.

My other degree is from The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University, with a campus based in Washington, D.C.  SAIS became notorious for being a breeding ground for some of the worst Neocons out there.  And that reputation is quite deserved.  Our ‘bad guys’ list ranges from Ambassador April Glaspie to the infamous Eliot Cohen and even includes Zbigniew Brzezinski!  But even at SAIS we had real ideological pluralism and real political diversity, if only because the student body would never have put up with any notion of walking in lockstep with the ideological mantra of the day (in my department, Strategic Studies, we must have been well over 50% foreigners and all “our” Americans were well-traveled and educated – which greatly helped).  We also had some absolutely wonderful teachers who were true expert in their fields and who never lied to us (I considered naming a few here, but that would do them more harm then good.  So I will mention my favorite one, and under a code name only he will understand: yf23 – thank you, Sir!).

The USA can be blamed and criticized for a lot of things, but I don’t think that it can be denied that the academic quality and diversity of US colleges was one of the best ones on the planet.  Americans were rightly proud of their universities and students from all over the world would put a great deal of effort to come and study in the United States, even those who did not at all agree with US politics.

To be honest, I always considered Harvard to be a gang of pompous asses (sorry HU alumni – nothing personal).  But pompous asses or not, Harvard was undeniably a symbol and now that they are endorsing this idiotic ‘fake news’ narrative this symbol is making a massive faceplant.  Sooner or later, I guess sooner, this new anti-Russian hysteria will peter out, just like McCarthyism and the “Red Scare” did, and all that will be left of this is an immense sense of shame and self-loathing for those who took part in it.

It would have been the natural calling for US colleges to be at the forefront of the struggle *against* the current anti-Russian witch-hunt, but instead they are now taking the lead in making sure that this hysteria now also infects academic circles.  The impact of such a policy will be devastating not only for the student body, but also for the teachers.

Did you notice this part of HU’s “fake news guide” (see pic): when in doubt, ask a librarian.  Think about it – this means a number things: first, that librarians have now been co-opted in the struggle for ideological purity; second, that librarians better make darn sure that they full abide by the current ideological dogmas lest they be fired for not being able to fulfill their (new) duties.  Third, that students will now be encouraged to turn to a member of the faculty or staff to ask whether source “x” has received the official imprimatur of the university, college or school.

Nope, this is not the DPRK.  This is the  “the land of the free and the home of the brave” – no kidding!

Against this background, let me do something of a “community service” here and explain how you can evaluate news and news sources without having to ask for an “ideological purity minder” (aka “librarian”) for help.

The system is rather simple, really.

First, judge a tree by its fruits: a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit (Matt, 7:18).  Give yourself enough time to establish a ranking of news sources.  I would suggest you separate them into “reliable”, “sometimes reliable”, “mostly unreliable” and “unreliable”.  But don’t stop here.

The next step is to measure any information you get against all the other information you have and see if they corroborate each other or not.

Finally, take each information and give it a rating indicating how reliable the source is and whether this info corroborates what you otherwise know.  This source+info ranking system is used by most intelligence agencies in some form or another.  Typically, a combo of letters and numbers would be used.  For example, an info rated as “A1” would indicate “reliable source” and “info corroborates”.  A3 would indicate “reliable source” “does not corroborate”.  Whatever your system, make sure to include the “unknown” category which you can apply to both sources and the info itself.  Over time, you will built yourself a pretty good info ranking system, you will see.

Let me reveal a state secret here, but a very little one.  There is an advanced country out there which has a very prestigious newspaper which everybody reads and which has a lot of credibility.  And yet, this country’s intelligence community rates this newspaper as a “C” source – a very mediocre rating.  Now you can imaging where CNN, NBC, NTY, WaPo and all the rest of them would rank 😉

[Sidebar: if you wonder, B-2 is typically the kind of info which would be used for regular day to day analysis]

This Harvard University faceplant is also very good news.  Think of it – would the US elites ever bother sinking so low if they thought that they are winning the information war?  Look at the AngloZionist elites in general – they are all at each other’s throats, not only in the USA but everywhere (just look at the fight between Turkey and the EU taking place and please pass the popcorn!).  I assure you that this latest anti-Russian hysteria is not caused by a sense of confident power, to put it mildly.  And while CNN is freaking out about Putin being the “most powerful man in the world“, we – all those who want to bring down the Empire by using the weapon of truth – are winning our battles every day.  And for all his undeniable merits and achievements, there is much more happening here than just Putin.

“Putin” has become a collective placeholder for every and all the forms of resistance to the AngloZionist elites and their empire.  This is why “Putin” is personally responsible for ‘weaponizing’ Russian soccer fans and personally giving the order to hack the DNC.  I would not be surprised one bit if in the coming days we see an ‘investigation’ by CNN about how ‘Putin personally ordered the Russian military to use their climate weapons to attack the USA’s eastern shores with a snowstorm’.  World-class “Putin specialists” like Masha Gessen would immediately confirm, while John McCaine would demand that the US take “firm retaliatory action to show the Russian dictator that he cannot pour snow on the USA with impunity”.  Needless to say, such report would not raise any eyebrows from Harvard University.

Yes, they are desperate and they are terrified.  Hence all the silly histrionics.

Friends, we are winning!  Yes, we are.  Even if the Neocons end up overthrowing Trump or make him their lackey.  We are winning.  And that is nothing short of amazing (especially considering our means – hint hint about the next thing I will post here…).

Look at the big picture and see how the USA are self-destructing, how the EU is collapsing, how Turkey has completely switched sides and now works with Iran and Russia, how the Syrian people are winning against the transnational terrorist gangs which attacked them, look at Libya and how terrified NATO is by the obvious desire of the new authorities to turn to Russia, look at how confident China is in the face of a barrage of US threats, look at how Hezbollah played a crucial role in Syria and yet managed to deter the IDF in Lebanon.  Look at how Russia has survived both the (rather ineffective) sanctions and the (immensely damaging) drop in oil prices.  Look at how Iran is standing firm and single-handedly confronts the huge US+Zionist+Wahabi regional coalition and shows no sign of weakness.

Sure, this is far from over, we are only winning battles, and we are still far from having won the war.  And we will lose battles in the future (the latest news out of France is not good at all).  But the overall momentum is clearly and undeniably on our side and this is why our enemies are freaking out and resorting to desperate measures like this ‘fake news’ canard.

I think that some high-fiving and back-slapping are in order 🙂

Having indulged in this short moment of celebration, let’s now return to the struggle and fight for the final victory!

 

Russia in NATO’s Crosshairs

Darko Lazar

Imagine waking up to the news of a Russian military deployment to Mexico’s Monterrey, which sits just a few hundred kilometers from the US state of Texas. Or imagine hearing the news that the Russians were building an airbase in Hermosillo – 150 miles from California.

NATO-Russia flag

How would the military and political establishment in Washington react? Would the Pentagon offer to assist the Russians by providing them with the necessary construction materials, or would Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto wake up with a horse’s head in his bed the very next day?

How long would it take Washington to recognize Nuevo Leon and Sonora as independent states if they chose to oppose the Mexican government’s integration into the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO]?

And how long would it take the Americans to intervene militarily in neighboring Mexico to safeguard their national security interests?

After all, the Russians would not travel thousands of miles from home to enjoy the sunsets over the Mexican desert, but to keep Washington in their crosshairs.

Of course, the construction of Russian bases in Mexico is just a figment of the imagination. But American military deployments along Russia’s border are very real indeed.

Estonia’s Amari Air Base, located just over 300km from Russia’s second city of Saint Petersburg, hosts a sizable NATO contingent and is home to the aerial assets of the US-led Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Amari is just one of many military installations across the Baltic states, as well as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, being declared NATO interoperable.

The frontlines are being drawn up and the only missing piece is Ukraine.

The full integration of Ukraine into the west’s battle against Russia is designed to replicate the end of 1941, when Hitler’s armies besieged Moscow – a siege that would eventually be broken at the cost of 700,000 lives. Back then, the Baltic region and Ukraine served as the main routes for the German advance toward Saint Petersburg and Moscow. 

Preventing moves to re-Sovietize the region?Russia has grown considerably more powerful over the last decade, making it clear that it was only a matter of time before its former satellites were returned to the Russian orbit. Initially, this consisted of economic and cultural exchanges, before being followed by political and military cooperation.

By 2012, Moscow recorded a great deal of success in advancing the level of cooperation between most of the former Soviet republics, prompting then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to issue a stern warning to the Kremlin.

“There is a move to re-Sovietize the region,” Clinton told a news conference in Dublin in December 2012.

“It’s not going to be called that. It’s going to be called a customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that. But let’s make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it,” she added, before heading into a meeting with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

At the time, Aleksey Pushkov, who serves as the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Russia’s State Duma, described Clinton’s comments as an “ultimatum” to Moscow, warning that Washington’s desire for a confrontation in the region would have serious consequences.

Pushkov was undoubtedly among those who believed that Clinton’s threats to obstruct the creation of a Eurasian Union should be taken very seriously, and that the most likely outcome would be war.

One year later, the unrest started, quickly followed by a conflict in Ukraine – right along Russia’s western border. The ensuing whirlwind of instability dragged Moscow into a confrontation with the west, resulting in sanctions.

The only thing that the Clintons and their friends have been unable to do so far is force Russia to send ground troops across the border. But realistically speaking, how much longer can the Kremlin look on, as indiscriminate shelling kills civilians and destroys key infrastructure in neighboring Donbas? A couple of months; a year, perhaps?

For NATO, the masterplan is simple: self-preservation. The main objective is prolonging NATO’s lifespan for the coming decades, insuring economic and political profits for the alliance’s most influential powerbrokers.

Moreover, the Euro-Atlantic structure, as well as the concept of a global empire, cannot survive without NATO. Its demise would also raise serious questions over the ability of the US to avoid the same fate as the former USSR – a scenario that Washington’s top brass are working to prevent at all costs.

This would explain the great deal of investment that went into producing crises on a global scale, underwriting the ‘need’ for a western-led military alliance. And if things go to plan, few will be able to make the argument that NATO has become obsolete.

Much of the plan rests on a direct military confrontation between Kiev and Moscow, which would open up a world of possibilities for NATO. Naturally, losing Kiev to the Russians would not be ideal for Washington, but it would allow the Americans to cement themselves across Eastern Europe for many years to come.

The Kremlin has so far chosen a different approach, hoping that the catastrophic economic situation would eventually topple the government in Kiev. But whatever path Moscow chooses, the thinking in Brussels and Washington is, ‘if Kiev must fall one way or another, Ukraine’s anti-Russian potential must be exhausted first’.

When all else fails, other players will join the fray, including the Baltic States – protected by Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all.

This dark portent may seem far-fetched, but just months before the start of World War II, few were predicting a global conflict, even though all signs inevitably pointed to exactly that. An important lesson to take away from 20th century history is that once the battle lines are drawn, it is very difficult to backtrack. And if any of us believe that the west has money to waste on beefing up their militaries for no apparent reason, then history has taught us nothing.

Trump’s chances 

The change of tenants at the White House, and the fact that Donald Trump is the new US president instead of Hillary Clinton has so far failed to yield much in the way of results, signaling just how far the NATO war machine has come.

With the help of the mainstream media and the vast western intelligence networks, the Clintons have succeeded in cornering Trump.

Coming to terms with the fact that the establishment’s snipers have him in their sights, Trump is quickly learning that unless he wants to end up like his national security advisor Michael Flynn – or even worse – he had better, at the very least, start calling for the ‘return of Crimea to Ukraine.’

The fact that Flynn, who was the Trump administration’s designated liaison with the Kremlin, tripped up on the first landmine less than a month into the job, suggests that Trump’s options are increasingly limited.He can always try mobilizing the masses and bring the millions who voted for him onto the streets, but it is highly doubtful that a lightweight like Trump could politically survive such turmoil.

As Hillary Clinton pointed out just over four years ago, the western establishment is always working on “effective ways” to subvert the Russians using NATO and all the resources at their disposal. Even though there is still some hope for the Trump administration it is clear that his side doesn’t posses the same resources.

Then again, if he chooses to, Trump always has Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin in his corner – and that’s not just a small asset either.

Source: Al-Ahed News

08-03-2017 | 12:28

Paul Craig Roberts: Washington’s Benevolent Mask is Disintegrating

[ Ed. note – This commentary by Paul Craig Roberts was posted on Tuesday, March 7 though apparently before revelations surfaced of the Wikileaks so-called “Vault 7” disclosure, or at least before the story had gained wide traction. In this piece Roberts discusses the campaign to start a war with Russia, and he also makes some excellent comments on the candidacy of Marine Le Pen in France and the ongoing efforts to sabotage it. His main argument is that “Washington’s mask of benevolence is falling away, revealing the face of greed and evil that is its true face.” It is an argument that is given exponentially greater force by the disclosures–which go unmentioned in the piece–of the CIA’s vast arsenal of cyber weaponry and its active involvement in spying on people via smart phones, TVs, and other devices. ]

By Paul Craig Roberts

The few weeks of Trump’s presidency suffice to make clear that there will be no change this time either. Normal relations with Russia are on the back burner, if not off the stove. The material needs of the military/security complex for an enemy in order to justify its budget and police state powers, and the ideological needs of the neoconservatives for US world hegemony, are deemed to be more important than trust between thermo-nuclear powers. As for the liberal/progressive/left, they regard working to preserve life on earth as merely a pretext for being soft on Russians and those who commit treason by favoring friendly relations with Russia.

The American working class has discovered that it has among Trump’s government no larger a constituency than have the Russians. Having been told by corporations, which are spending billions of dollars buying back their own stock, that they are too poor to pay US wages, Trump has found that the path to economic security for the work force lies in corporate tax reduction. Identity politics marches for open borders for Muslims and Hispanics and for transgendered toilet facilities, not for bread and peace, and wants Trump impeached because he is not yet at war with Russia.

Trump’s Russophobic appointments, such as McMaster, Mattis, and Fiona Hill are actually worse than Obama’s Victoria Nuland, Samantha Power and Susan Rice. Just as Hillary and Nuland brought regime change to Ukraine, Tillerson at the State Department has signaled regime change of the democratically elected government in Venezuela. Ecuador and Bolivia won’t be far behind.

Washington has never supported governments that put the interests of their peoples ahead of the interests of those who rule the US. From Africa to South America to Indonesia to Cuba to Vietnam to Iran to Egypt, Washington has always misrepresented the forces for change as communist. Washington overthrew the first democratically elected government in Iran http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/cia-assisted-coup-overthrows-government-of-iran , the first in the Congo https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/jan/17/patrice-lumumba-50th-anniversary-assassination , the first in Egypt http://www.timesofisrael.com/announced-as-president-of-egypt/ , and a large numbers of others. Read Stephen Kinzer’s The Brothers. Read General Smedley Butler who said that he and the US Marines made South America safe for the United Fruit Company and investments of the New York Banks. Read John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

Washington opposes democratic change with an iron fist. Now Marine Le Pen, the favored candidate for the presidency of France in the upcoming election, is in the process of being destroyed by Washington.

Marine is not on Washington’s approved list. The reasons are: (1) she speaks to French interests, not to Washington’s or the EU’s, (2) she opposes the Trans-Atlantic Partnership, which gives US global corporations immunity to French laws against GMOs, and French labor, safety, and environmental standards, (3) she supports French opinion that the French are French and not “European” and wants out of the European Union, and (4) she wants France out of NATO, which uses France as a tool for American aggression.

Washington first attacked Marine via its surrogates in the French press and government, who managed to nullify her parliamentary immunity. With this achieved, she is now accused of “misuse of EU funds.”

The charge, of course, is a hoax, a frame-up. The charge, if it proves effective, will rely on the French presstitute media’s portrayal of Marine as a “fascist” for representing French nationalism. Today, if a European person is loyal to his or her own country and not to the EU, the person is considered to be a “nationalist,” a term that has been merged with “fascist.” The consequence is that anyone in France who wants to represent the French is a “fascist.”

Marine Le Pen lost her parliamentary immunity because she posted photos of ISIS victims on Twitter. The photos she posted were accurate and correct, simply the truth. But the charge is that to tell the truth about ISIS means that you are anti-Muslim, which today is like being anti-Jew, anti-black, anti-homosexual and anti-transgendered. The protection of Identity Politics now extends not only to the Muslim refugees from America’s wars who are overrunning the Western world but also to ISIS. The accurate and truthful photos violated Identity Politics.

The consensus of those few in Europe who reside outside the Matrix created for them by Washington and the American presstitutes is that the CIA will not permit Le Pen to become President of France. She is a threat to Washington’s empire. If she cannot be destroyed with scandal and false charges, like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, she will be assassinated.

Democracy cannot function without an honest media. Nowhere in the Western world does an honest media exist. There are a relatively few sites on the Internet media, such as this one, your site, that are independent of ruling elites and speak the truth to the extent that they can find it. But the very shadowy PropOrNot website, likely a product of the CIA or George Soros, has declared those who understand that good relations between thermo-nuclear powers are essential to be “Russian agents.”

One dozen Russian Satan 2 ICBMs are sufficient to destroy the United States. One is sufficient to destroy France, the UK, or Texas. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/25/russia-unveils-satan-2-missile-powerful-enough-to-wipe-out-uk-fr/ Why is Washington and Washington’s European, Canadian, and Australian puppets inviting such an outcome with continuous false accusations against Russia (and China). No person with any intelligence can possibly regard the thrice elected president of Russia as “the new Hitler,” “a Mafia Don,” “ a thug.”

By orchestrating Russophobia in the West, Washington has put all of humanity at risk. The Russians have watched Washington’s false accusations against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Yeman, Pakistan, Iran and against Russia herself—“invasion of Ukraine.” False accusations have in the 21st century always been Washington’s set-up of the target country for invasion or bombing.

These provacations issued daily by the idiot Western press, the idiot Western governments, and the idiot commentators have prepared the groundwork for a misunderstanding that can result in thermo-nuclear war and the end of life on earth.

Continued here

The Politics Behind ‘Russia-gate’

By Robert Parry

The hysteria over “Russia-gate” continues to grow – as President Trump’s enemies circle – but at its core there may be no there there while it risks pushing the world toward nuclear annihilation, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

March 05, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  “Consortium News” – J There may be a turn-about-is-fair-play element to Democrats parsing the words of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other Trump administration officials to hang them on possible “perjury” charges. After all, the Republicans made “lock her up” a popular chant citing Hillary Clinton’s arguably illegal use of a private email server as Secretary of State and her allegedly false claim under oath that her lawyers had hand-checked each of her 30,000 or so emails that were deleted as personal.

But there is a grave danger in playing partisan “gotcha” over U.S. relations with the world’s other major nuclear superpower. If, for instance, President Trump finds himself having to demonstrate how tough he can be on Russia — to save his political skin — he could easily make a miscalculation that could push the two countries into a war that could truly be the war to end all wars – along with ending human civilization. But Democrats, liberals and the mainstream news media seem to hate Trump so much they will take that risk.

Official Washington’s Russia hysteria has reached such proportions that New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman has even compared the alleged Russian hacking of Democratic emails to Pearl Harbor and 9/11, two incidents that led the United States into violent warfare. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show, Friedman demanded that the hacking allegations be taken with the utmost seriousness: “That was a 9/11 scale event. They attacked the core of our democracy. That was a Pearl Harbor scale event. … This goes to the very core of our democracy.”

But what really goes to “the very core of our democracy” is the failure to deal with this issue – or pretty much any recent issue – with the sobriety and the seriousness that should accompany a question of war or peace. Just as Friedman and other “star” journalists failed to ask the necessary questions about Iraq’s WMD or to show professional skepticism in the face of U.S. propaganda campaigns around the conflicts in Libya, Syria or Ukraine, they have not demanded any actual evidence from the Obama administration for its lurid claims about Russian “hacking.”

Before this madness goes any further, doesn’t anyone think that the U.S. intelligence community should lay its cards on the table regarding exactly what the evidence is that Russian intelligence purloined Democratic emails and then slipped them to WikiLeaks for publication? President Obama’s intelligence officials apparently went to great lengths to spread these allegations around – even passing the secrets around overseas – but they never told the American people what the evidence is. The two official reports dealing with the issue were laughably short on anything approaching evidence. They amounted to “trust us.”

Further, WikiLeaks representatives have indicated that the two batches of emails – one from the Democratic National Committee and the other from Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta – did not come from the Russians but rather from two different American insiders. That could be wrong – it is possible that Russian intelligence laundered the material through some American cutouts or used some other method to conceal Moscow’s hand – but Obama’s intelligence officials apparently don’t know how WikiLeaks obtained the emails. So, the entire “scandal” may rest upon a foundation of sand.

No ‘Fake News’

It’s also important to note that nothing that WikiLeaks published was false. There was no “fake news.” Indeed, a key reason why the emails were newsworthy at all was that they exposed misconduct and deception on the part of the Democrats and the Clinton campaign. The main point that the DNC emails revealed was that the leadership had violated its duty to approach the primary campaign even-handedly when instead they tilted the playing field against Sen. Bernie Sanders. Later, the Podesta emails revealed the contents of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street bankers, which she was trying to hide from the voters, and the emails exposed some of the pay-to-play tactics of the Clinton Foundation.

In other words, even if the Russians did reveal this information to the American people, how does knowing relevant facts regarding a presidential campaign translate into an attack on “the core of our democracy”? Usually, journalists believe that getting the truth out, even if it embarrasses some politician or some political party, is healthy for a democracy. As an American journalist, I prefer getting information from people who have America’s best interests at heart, but I’m not naïve enough to think that people who “leak” don’t often do so for self-interested reasons. What’s most important is that the information is genuine and newsworthy.

Frankly, I found the WikiLeaks material far more appropriate for an American political debate than the scurrilous rumors that the Clinton campaign was circulating about Trump supposedly getting urinated on by Russian prostitutes in a five-star Moscow hotel, claims for which no evidence has been presented.

Also, remember that no one thought that the DNC/Podesta emails were significant in deciding the 2016 election. Clinton herself blamed FBI Director James Comey for briefly reopening the FBI investigation into her private email server near the end of the campaign as the reason her poll numbers cratered. It’s relevant, too, that Clinton ran a horrific campaign, which included breathtaking gaffes like referring to many Trump supporters as “deplorables,” relying way too heavily on negative ads, failing to articulate a compelling vision for the future, and ignoring signs that her leads in Rust Belt states were disappearing. In other words, the current effort to portray the disclosure of Democratic emails as somehow decisive in the campaign is revisionist history.

Yet, here we are with The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN and almost the entire mainstream media (along with leading liberals and Democrats) panting every time they discover that someone from Trump’s circle met with a Russian. We are supposed to forget that the Russian government for many years was collaborating closely with the U.S. government – and particularly with U.S. national security agencies – on vital issues. Russia assisted in supplying the U.S. military in Afghanistan; President Putin played a crucial role in getting Iran to curtail its nuclear program; and he also arranged for the Syrian government to surrender its stockpiles of chemical weapons. The last two accomplishments were among President Obama’s most important foreign policy successes.

But those last two areas of cooperation – Iran and Syria – contributed to making Putin a target for Washington’s powerful neoconservatives who were lusting for direct U.S. military strikes against those two countries. The neocons, along with the Israeli and Saudi governments, wanted “regime change” in Tehran and Damascus, not diplomatic agreements that left the governments in place.

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Neocons inside the U.S. government – including Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Sen. John McCain and National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman – then took aim at “regime change” in Ukraine, realizing its sensitivity to Russia. Gershman, whose NED is funded by the U.S. government, called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and a key step toward ousting Putin inside Russia; McCain cheered on Ukraine’s ultranationalists who were firebombing police in Kiev’s Maidan square; and Nuland was conspiring with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt on how to “glue” or “midwife” a change in government.

This neocon strategy worked by overthrowing Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych and causing Putin to intervene on behalf of threatened ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. That, in turn, was transformed by the Western media into a “Russian invasion.”

Partisan Interests

Instead of standing up to this neocon troublemaking, Obama fell in line. Later, the Democrats saw political advantage in becoming the super-hawks standing up to Russia, essentially maneuvering to the right of the Republicans, especially when Donald Trump unexpectedly won the nomination, in part, by calling for better relations with Russia.

As the 2016 presidential campaign sank into infamy as one of the ugliest in U.S. history, Clinton hammered Trump over Russia, calling him a Putin “puppet.” But the Russia-bashing didn’t seem to help Clinton very much. Although it was calculated to pull in some “moderate” Republicans, it also alienated many peace-oriented Democrats.

Still, despite the shaky foundation and the haphazard construction, Official Washington is now adding more and more floors to this Russia “scandal.” Obama holdovers slapped together a shoddy pretext for going after Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn – citing the never-prosecuted Logan Act of 1799 and then trapping Flynn because he didn’t have total recall of a phone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Dec. 29 while Flynn was vacationing in the Dominican Republic.

Similarly, the mainstream media and Democrats are framing in a “perjury” case against Attorney General Sessions because of a sloppily worded response during his confirmation hearing about contacts with Russians. He had met twice with Kislyak (as many others in Washington have done). The heavy-breathing suspicion is that perhaps Sessions and Kislyak were plotting how the Kremlin could help the Trump campaign, but there is zero evidence to support that conspiracy theory.

What’s actually happening here should be obvious. The Obama administration, the Democrats and the mainstream media were horrified at Trump’s election. They understandably were offended by Trump’s personal behavior and his obvious unfitness for the presidency. Many Clinton supporters, especially women, were bitterly disappointed at the failure of the first female major-party presidential nominee who lost to a lout who boasted about how he could exploit his fame and power by grabbing the genitals of vulnerable women whom he assumed couldn’t do anything to stop him.

There was also alarm about Trump’s policies on the environment, immigration, education and the courts. Among the neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks, there was concern, too, that Trump would not continue their “regime change” strategies in the Middle East and their hostility toward Russia.

So, these anti-Trump forces grabbed at the most potent weapon available, the suspicions that Trump had somehow colluded with Russia. It didn’t matter that the evidence was weak to non-existent. It would be enough to spread the allegations around under the cloak of U.S. intelligence “assessments.”

Nobody important would demand to review the evidence and, surely, with the availability of National Security Agency intercepts, people’s memories could be tested against the transcripts of conversations and be found wanting. Verbal missteps could become perjury traps. There could be a witch hunt against anyone who talked to a Russian. Any pushing back from the Trump people could be construed as a “cover-up.”

Having worked in Washington for nearly four decades, I have seen political investigations before, both in steering away from real crimes of state (such as Nicaraguan Contra cocaine trafficking and Republican collaboration with foreign governments to undercut Democrats in 1968 and 1980) and in fabricating scandals that weren’t there (such as the fictional offenses of Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, Chinagate, etc. under Bill Clinton who was finally cornered for the heinous crime of lying about sex). So far at least, “Russia-gate” fits much more with the latter group than the former.

What I also have learned over these years is that in Official Washington, power – much more than truth – determines which scandals are taken seriously and which ones are not. “Russia-gate” is revealing that the established power centers of Washington arrayed against Trump – the major news media, the neoconservatives and the Democratic Party – have more power than the disorganized Trump administration.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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“Most of the World is Just Collapsing in Laughter” on Claims that Russia Intervened in the US Election

By Noam Chomsky

This interview took place at the University of Arizona, before a public audience, on February 2, 2017. I thank Marvin Waterstone for arranging the event, and Professor Chomsky, who approved this transcript for publication. The interview is presented in full, with only very slight editing for style. This interview originally appeared in the journal Class, Race, and Corporate Power. – D. Gibbs

March 05, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  “DC” –  David Gibbs: The main issue on everyone’s minds is the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has emphasized the extreme danger that Trump poses, due to the augmented risk of nuclear war and uncontrolled climate change. After inauguration, the Bulletin’s metaphoric clock has been repositioned at two and a half minutes to midnight, with “midnight” signifying catastrophe. Do you agree with the Bulletin regarding the alleged dangers posed by the Trump presidency?

Noam Chomsky: One of the dangers is unquestionable. Of the two existential threats – the threats to the termination of the species basically and most other species – one of them, climate change, on that I think there’s no basis for discussion. Trump has been very inconsistent on many things; on Twitter he’s been all over the place, but some of it is very consistent. That is: Do nothing about climate change except make it worse. And he’s not just speaking for himself, but for the whole Republican Party, the whole leadership. It’s already had impact, it will have worse impact. We’ll talk about this next week, but if there are ways out of this, it’s going to be not easy.

With regard to nuclear weapons, it’s kind of hard to say. He’s said lots of things. As you mentioned, the national security experts are terrified. But they’re more terrified by his personality than by his statements. So if you read people like say Bruce Blair1 one of the leading, most sober, knowledgeable specialists, he says, look, his statements are all over the map, but his personality is frightening, he’s a complete megalomaniac. You never know how he’s going to react. When he learned for example that he’d lost the election by about three million votes, his instant reaction was insanity; you know, three to five million illegal immigrants somehow were organized in some incredible fashion to vote. On any little issue – Miss Universe, or whatever it may be – he’s completely unpredictable, he’ll go off into outer space. His guru Steve Bannon is worse, he’s much scarier. He probably knows what he’s doing.

Over the years, there’s been case after case when there were very narrow decisions that had to be made about whether to launch nuclear weapons in serious cases. What is this guy going to do if his vaunted negotiating skills fail, if somebody doesn’t do what he says? Is he going to say, “Okay we’ll nuke them? We’re done?” Remember that in any major nuclear war, the first strike destroys the country that attacks; it’s been known for years. The first strike of a major power is very likely to cause what’s called nuclear winter, leads to global famine for years and everything’s basically gone. Some survivors straggling around. Could he do it? Who knows.

Some of his comments can be interpreted as potentially reducing the threat of nuclear war. The major threat right now is right on the Russian border. Notice, not the Mexican border, the Russian border. And it’s serious. He has made various statements moving towards reducing the tensions, accommodating Russian concerns and so on. On the other hand, you have to balance that against expanding our nuclear forces, add to our so-called depleted military, which is already more powerful than the rest of the world combined; attack in Syria, send forces to Syria, start bombing. Who knows what could be next? Michael Flynn, national security advisor,2 [his reaction] to the Iranian missile test the other day was very frightening. Now the missile test is ill-advised, they shouldn’t have done it. But it’s not in violation of international law or international agreements. They shouldn’t have done it. His reaction suggested maybe we’re going to go to war in retaliation. Would they do it? If they did, you don’t know what’s going to happen next. Everything could blow up.

This crazy ban on the seven states, where we can’t accept immigrants, almost every analyst points out the obvious: It just increases the threat of terror. It lays the basis for terror. It’s just like the atrocities in Abu Ghraib and Bagram and Guantanamo. They’re the most fabulous recruiting techniques for Al Qaeda and ISIS. Everyone knows it. Now, you ban not the whole Muslim world. You ban seven states, seven states that have not been responsible for a single terrorist act. Those are the seven he banned. But, you leave the ones that really are responsible, like Saudi Arabia, which is the center for propaganda and funding and so on for radical Islamic Jihadism, well you can’t touch them because of business interests, also they have oil and so on and so forth. There’s actually an article in the Washington Post, I don’t know whether it’s tongue in cheek or not, which said the criterion for being on the list of banned states is that Trump doesn’t have business interests there. Maybe. But it’s this kind of wild unpredictability, megalomania, thin-skinned craziness that really has me worried, more than his statements. Now, on the climate change there’s just nothing to say, he’s perfectly straightforward.

Gibbs: Let us turn to the role of the media in reporting alleged Russian interference in the US electoral process. Mainstream journalists have called Trump a puppet of Russia, a modern version of the Manchurian Candidate. Others have criticized the media for accepting unsubstantiated claims about Russian influence, and reporting such claims as facts. Normon Soloman and Serge Halimi, for example, stated that press reporting on this issue amounts to a mass hysteria reminiscent of the McCarthy era, while Seymour Hersh called the media reporting on Russia “outrageous.”3 What is your view of this situation? 

Chomsky: My guess is that most of the world is just collapsing in laughter. Suppose all the charges are true, I mean every single one, it is so amateurish by US standards that you can hardly even laugh. What the US does is the kind of thing I described in Italy in 1948. Case after case like that, not hacking or spreading rumors in the media; but saying look, we’re going to starve you to death or kill you or destroy you unless you vote the way we want. I mean that’s what we do.

Take the famous 9/11, let’s think about it for a minute. It was a pretty awful terrorist act. It could have been a lot worse. Now let’s suppose that instead of the plane being downed in Pennsylvania by passengers, suppose it had hit its target, which was probably the White House. Now suppose it had killed the president. Suppose that plans had been set for a military coup to take over the government. And right away, immediately 50,000 people were killed, 700,000 tortured. A bunch of economists were brought in from Afghanistan, let’s call them the “Kandahar Boys,” who very quickly destroyed the economy, and established a dictatorship which devastated the country. That would have been a lot worse than 9/11. It happened: the first 9/11, it happened on September 11, 1973, in Chile. We did it. Was that interfering or hacking a party? This record is all over the world, constantly overthrowing governments, invading, forcing people to follow what we call democracy, as in the cases I mentioned. As I say, if every charge is accurate, it’s a joke, and I’m sure half the world is collapsing in laughter about this, because people outside the United States know it. You don’t have to tell people in Chile about the first 9/11.

Gibbs: One of the surprises of the post-Cold War era is the persistence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other US-led alliances. These alliances were created during the Cold War mainly or exclusively for containing the claimed Soviet threat. In 1991, the USSR disappeared from the map, but the anti-Soviet alliance systems persisted and in fact expanded. How do we account for the persistence and expansion of NATO? What in your view is the purpose of NATO after the Cold War?

Chomsky: We have official answers to that. It’s a very interesting question, which I was planning to talk about but didn’t have time. So thanks. It’s a very interesting question. For fifty years, we heard NATO is necessary to save Western Europe from the Russian hordes, you know the slave state, stuff I was taking about. In 1990-91, no Russian hordes. Okay, what happens? Well there are actually visions of the future system that were presented. One was Gorbachev. He called for a Eurasian security system, with no military blocs. He called it a Common European Home. No military blocs, no Warsaw Pact, no NATO, with centers of power in Brussels, Moscow, Ankara, maybe Vladivostok, other places. Just an integrated security system with no conflicts.

That was one. Now the other vision was presented by George Bush, this is the “statesman,” Bush I and James Baker his secretary of state. There’s very good scholarship on this incidentally. We really know a lot about what happened, now that all the documents are out. Gorbachev said that he would agree to the unification of Germany, and even adherence of Germany to NATO, which was quite a concession, if NATO didn’t move to East Germany. And Bush and Baker promised verbally, that’s critical, verbally that NATO would not expand “one inch to the east,” which meant East Germany. Nobody was talking about anything farther at the time. They would not expand one inch to the east. Now that was a verbal promise. It was never written. NATO immediately expanded to East Germany. Gorbachev complained. He was told look, there’s nothing on paper. People didn’t actually say it but the implication was look, if you are dumb enough to take faith in a gentleman’s agreement with us, that’s your problem. NATO expanded to East Germany.

There’s very interesting work, if you want to look into it by a young scholar in Texas named Joshua Shifrinson, it appeared in International Security, which is one of the prestige journals, published by MIT.4 He goes through the documentary record very carefully and he makes a pretty convincing case that Bush and Baker were purposely deceiving Gorbachev. The scholarship has been divided on that, maybe they just weren’t clear or something. But if you read it, I think it’s quite a convincing case, that they were purposely setting it up to deceive Gorbachev.

Okay, NATO expanded to East Berlin and East Germany. Under Clinton NATO expanded further, to the former Russian satellites. In 2008 NATO formally made an offer to Ukraine to join NATO. That’s unbelievable. I mean, Ukraine is the geopolitical heartland of Russian concern, quite aside from historical connections, population and so on. Right at the beginning of all of this, serious senior statesmen, people like Kennan for example and others warned that the expansion of NATO to the east is going to cause a disaster.5 I mean, it’s like having the Warsaw Pact on the Mexican border. It’s inconceivable. And others, senior people warned about this, but policymakers didn’t care. Just go ahead.

Right now, where do we stand? Well right at the Russian border, both sides have been taking provocative actions, both sides are building up military forces. NATO forces are carrying out maneuvers hundreds of yards from the Russian border, the Russian jets are buzzing American jets. Anything could blow up in a minute. In a minute, you know. Any incident could instantly blow up. Both sides are modernizing and increasing their military systems, including nuclear systems.

So what’s the purpose of NATO? Well actually we have an official answer. It isn’t publicized much, but a couple of years ago, the secretary-general of NATO made a formal statement explaining the purpose of NATO in the post-Cold War world is to control global energy systems, pipelines, and sea lanes. That means it’s a global system and of course he didn’t say it, it’s an intervention force under US command, as we’ve seen in case after case. So that’s NATO. So what happened to the years of defending Europe from the Russian hordes? Well, you can go back to NSC-68,6 and see how serious that was. So that’s what we’re living with.

Right now the threat to our existence is Muslim terrorists from seven states, who have never had a single terrorist act. About half the population believes that. I mean you look back at American history and American culture, it’s pretty striking. I mean this has been the safest country in the world forever, and the most frightened country in the world. That’s a large part of the source of the gun culture. You have to have a gun when you go into Starbucks, because who knows what’s going to happen. It just doesn’t happen in other countries.

There’s something deeply rooted in American culture. You can pretty much identify what it was. You take a look at the history. Remember, the US is not a global power until pretty recently. It was internal conquest. You had to defend yourself against what the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, an enlightened figure, called the attacks of the “merciless Indian savages,” whose known way of warfare was torture and destruction. Jefferson wasn’t a fool. He knew that it was the merciless English savages who were carrying out these acts. That is in the Declaration of Independence, recited piously every July Ffourth, the merciless Indian savages with no reason at all were suddenly attacking us. I mean, you can imagine the reasons. That’s one. Also you had a slave population, you had to protect yourself against them. You needed guns. One consequence of that was in southern culture, possession of a gun became kind of a sign of manhood, not just because of slaves but other white men. If you had a gun, you’re not going to push me around. You know, I’m not one of those guys you can kick in the face.

There was another element, which was kind of interesting. In the mid to late nineteenth century, the gun manufacturers recognized that they had a limited market. Remember that this is a capitalist society, you’ve got to expand your market. They were selling guns to the military. That’s a pretty limited market. What about all the rest of the people? So what started was all kinds of fantastic stories about Wyatt Earp and the gunmen and the Wild West, how exciting it was to have these guys with guns defending themselves against all sorts of things.

I grew up in that, when I was a kid. My friends and I used to play cowboys and Indians. We were cowboys killing the Indians, following the Wild West stories. All of this combined into a very strange culture, which is frightened. You look at the polls today, I think half the population supports this ban on these dangerous immigrants who are going to come in and do something, who knows what. And meanwhile the countries that really have been involved in terrorism, they’re out. It’s kind of like I think it was Oklahoma banning Sharia law. Now there’s probably fifty Muslims in Oklahoma, and they have to ban Sharia law, you know. This terror which is all over the country is constantly incited. The Russians were part of NSC-68, is a dramatic case. And that case, like most propaganda wasn’t totally fabricated. The Russians were doing a lot of rotten things, you can point to them. But the idea that if you consider what Hans Morgenthau called “I called abuse ofe reality,” the picture of the world was almost the opposite of what they presented. But somehow this sells and is continually repeated, at least in this kind of situation.

Gibbs: During the Cold War, the political left generally opposed military intervention. After 1991, however, the anti-interventionist movement collapsed and in its place has emerged the idea of humanitarian interventionism, which celebrates intervention as a defense of human rights. Military actions in the Balkans, Iraq, Libya have all been presented as acts of humanitarianism, which aimed to liberate oppressed peoples, and these interventions were at least initially popular among political liberals. Proposals for augmented US intervention in Syria often invoke the humanitarian principle. What is your view of humanitarian intervention?

Chomsky: Well, I don’t quite see it like that. Now, if you look back to the anti-intervention movements, what were they? Let’s take the Vietnam War – the biggest crime since the Second World War. Those of you who are old enough will remember what happened. You couldn’t be opposed to the war for years. The mainstream liberal intellectuals were enthusiastically in support of the war. In Boston, a liberal city where I was, we literally couldn’t have a public demonstration without it being violently broken up, with the liberal press applauding, until late 1966. By that time there were hundreds of thousands of American troops rampaging in South Vietnam. South Vietnam had been practically destroyed. The leading, the most respected Vietnam historian, military historian Bernard Fall7 – he was a hawk incidentally, but he cared for the Vietnamese – he said it wasn’t clear to him whether Vietnam could survive as a historical and cultural entity under the most massive attack that any region that size had ever suffered. He was talking about South Vietnam, incidentally. By that time, we did begin to get some protests. But not from liberal intellectuals; they never opposed the war.

In fact, it’s pretty dramatic when you get to 1975, very revealing, the war ends. Everybody had to write something about the war, what it meant. And you also had polls of public opinion, and they’re dramatically different. So if you look at the writings of intellectuals, there are two kinds. One said, l“Look, if we fought harder we could have won.” You know, the stab in the back. But the others, who were way at the left, people like Anthony Lewis of the New York Times, way out in left stream, his view in 1975 was the Vietnam war began with blundering efforts to do good. But by 1969, it was clear that it was a disaster, that was too costly to us. We could not bring democracy to South Vietnam at a cost that we were willing to accept. So it was a disaster. That’ is the left extreme.

Take a look at public opinion. About 70 percent of the population, in the polls, said the war was fundamentally wrong and immoral, not a mistake. And that attitude lasted as long as polls were taken in the early ‘80s. The pollsters don’t ask reasons, they just give numbers. So why did the people think it was fundamentally wrong and immoral? The guys who ran the polls, John E. Rielly, a professor at the University of Chicago, a liberal professor, he said what that means is that people thought too many Americans had beenwere being killed. Maybe. Another possibility is they didn’t like the fact that we were carrying out the worst crime since the Second World War. But that’s so inconceivable that wasn’t even offered as a possible reason.

Now what happened in the following years? Well, I think that among the educated classes it stayed the same. You talk about humanitarian intervention, it’s like Vietnam was a humanitarian intervention. Among the public, it’s quite different. Take the Iraq War, , it’s the second worst crime after the Second World War. It’s the first time in history, in the history of imperialism, there were huge demonstrations, before the war was officially launched. Actually it was already under way. But before it was officially launched, there were huge demonstrations everywhere. I think it had an effect. The public still was split.

And [after Vietnam] the type of interventions that are carried out are designed so as not to elicit public reactions. In fact, it was stated early in the first Bush [presidency], Bush I, in one of their documents they pointed out in the future, US wars are going to be against much weaker enemies. And they have to be won quickly and decisively before a popular reaction develops. And Iif you take a look, that’s what’s done. Look at Panama, for instance, over a couple of days; and Kosovo, no American troops. You wrote a great book about it.8 But I’m not convinced that it’s different from what it was.

Gibbs: With the end of the Cold War, there has been a decline of activism in the US and elsewhere around the issue of nuclear disarmament. Once again, this state of affairs differs from the period of the Cold War, when there was a mass movement that opposed nuclear weapons – recall the Freeze movement from the 1980s — but this movement largely disappeared after 1991. The danger of nuclear war remains as high as ever, but there is little public engagement on this issue, it would seem. How would you explain the disappearance of the anti-nuclear movement?

Chomsky: Well that’s absolutely right. The peak of anti-nuclear popular activism was in the early ‘80s, when there was a huge movement. And the Reagan administration attempted decided to defuse it and partially succeeded, by presenting the illusion of Star Wars, SDI, that somehow we’re going to eliminate nuclear weapons. The Reagan administration picked up the rhetoric of the anti-nuclear movement; they said “Yyeah, you’re right.” We have to eliminate nuclear weapons. And the way we’re going to do it is by having SDI, TStar Wars, the Strategic Defense Initiative, which prevent nuclear weapons from impacting. Well, that did defuse the movement.

And whthen the Russians collapsed, and it looked like as if maybe we can reduce the nuclear tensions. And for a while they actually were reduced. There was a reduction of nuclear weaponsreally were reduced on both sides. Various steps were taken. Nowhere near enough, but some of them were taken.

On the other hand, it’s very important to understand the official position of the United States. You should read it. So in 1995, this is Clinton, a very important document came out, still classified, but large parts of it were declassified. It’s called “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence.”9 What does post-Cold War deterrence mean? Deterrence means use of nuclear weapons. This was released by the Strategic Command, which was in charge of nuclear weapons planning and running nuclear weapons. I wrote about it when it came out and have been writing about it since. . Since then, I’ve never seen a reference to it. But it is an amazing document. Here’s what it says basically: It says we have to maintain the right of first strike, the right of the first use of nuclear weapons, even against nonnuclear powers. Nuclear weapons, they point out, are really constantly used, because they cast a shadow over other military actions. In other words, when people know we are ready to use nuclear weapons, they’re going to back off if we do something aggressive. So basically, nuclear weapons are always being used.

Now that’s a point that Dan Ellsberg has made for years. He said it’s kind of like if you and I go into a grocery store to rob it, and I have a gun. The guy may give you the money in the cash register. I’m using the gun even if I don’t shoot. Well that’s nuclear weapons — essential to post-war deterrence — they cast a shadow over everything. Then, it goes on to say that we must present a national persona of being irrational and vindictive, because that’s going to terrify people. And then, they’ll back off. And this is not Trump, this is Clinton. It’s not Nixon, you know. We have to be irrational and vindictive, because that’s going to frighten people. And we have to maintain this for years. And then we’ll be able to carry out the actions that we want to carry out.

That’s our nuclear weapons strategy, as of the early post-Cold War years. And I think this is a real failure of the intellectual community, including scholarship and the media. It’s not like you had headlines all over the place. And it’s not secret, the documents are there. And I think that’s probably the right picture. You know, people talk about Nixon’s “madman theory.” We don’t really know much about that. It was in memoirs, by somebody else.10 But this is real. This is the real mad man theory. We have to be irrational and vindictive, so people don’t know what we’re up to. This is not Trump and Bannon, it’s from the Clinton era.

Gibbs: I think we have time for one more question. In popular discussion, the phrase “national security” has come to mean security against military threats almost exclusively. This narrative downgrades the significance of nonmilitary threats, such as climate change, antibiotic resistant bacteria, or viral epidemics. It would seem that there is an imbalance between perceived military threats, which receive overwhelming governmental funding and press attention on the one hand, and nonmilitary threats, which receive relatively little on the other hand. How do we account for the apparent overemphasis on military threats?

Chomsky: Well [with] military threats, you can see them actually, you can imagine it. People don’t think about it enough. But Iif you think about it for a minute, you can see that a nuclear attack could be the end of everything. These other threats are kind of slow, maybe we won’t see them next year. Maybe the science is uncertain, maybe we don’t have to worry about it. Climate change is the worst, but there’s others.

Take pandemics. There could easily be a severe pandemic. A lot of that comes from something we don’t pay much attention to: Eating meat. The meat production industry, the industrial production of meat, uses an immense amount of antibiotics. I don’t remember the exact figure, it’s probably like half the antibiotics. Well antibiotics have an effect: They lead to mutations that make them ineffective. We’re now running out of antibiotics that deal with the threat of rapidly mutating bacteria. A lot of that just comes from the meat production industry. Well, do we worry about it? Well, we ought to be. You go into a hospital now, it’s dangerous. We can get diseases that can’t be dealt with, that are moving around the hospital. A lot of that traces back to industrial meat production. These are really serious threats, all over the place.

Take something you really don’t think about: Plastics in the ocean. I mean plastics in the ocean have an enormous ecological effect. When geologists announced the beginning of a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, humans destroying the environment, one of the main things they pointed to is the use of plastics in the earth. We don’t think about it, but it has a tremendous effect. But these are things you don’t see right in front of your eyes. You need to think about them a little, to see what the consequences are. It’s easy to put them aside, and the media don’t talk about them. Other things are more important. How am I going to put food on the table tomorrow? That’s what I’ve got to worry about, and so on. It’s very serious, but it’s hard to bring out the enormity of these issues, when they do not have the dramatic character of something you can show in the movies, with a nuclear weapons falling and everything disappears.

Notes

1 For the recent opinions of Princeton University nuclear weapons specialist Bruce G. Blair, see Blair, “Trump and the Nuclear Keys,” New York Times, October 12, 2016.

2 Note that Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security advisor on February 13, 2017, several days after this interview took place

3 See Solomon, “Urgent to Progressives: Stop Fueling Anti-Russia Frenzy,” Antiwar.com, December 21, 2016, http://original.antiwar.com/solomon/2016/12/20/urgent-progressives-stop-fueling-anti-russia-frenzy/; Halimi, January, 2017, ; Jeremy , “Seymour Hersh Blasts Media for Uncritically Reporting Russian Hacking Story,”

4?: The End of the Cold War and the US Offer to Limit NATO Expansion,” International Security 40, no. 4, 2016.

5 On George F. Kennan’s warning about the dangers of NATO expansion, see Thomas L. Friedman, “Foreign Affairs: Now a Word from X,” New York Times, May 2, 1998.

6 Here, Chomsky references the National Security Council memorandum NSC-68, one of the key documents of the Cold War. This document was the topic of Chomsky’s lecture, which preceded the interview. The document text is now fully declassified and available online. See “A Report to the National Security Council – NSC 68,” April 14, 1950, made available through the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, https://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/coldwar/documents/pdf/10-1.pdf .

7 Regarding Bernard Fall’s writings on Vietnam, see Fall, Last Reflections on a War. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1967.

8 The book Chomsky references with regard to the Kosovo intervention is David N. Gibbs, First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2009.

9 This e full text of this declassified document is now available online. See US Department of Defense, Strategic Command, “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence,” 1995 [no exact date indicated], made available through provided by the Federation of American Scientists, Nuclear Information Project,http://www.nukestrat.com/us/stratcom/SAGessentials.PDF.

10 The idea that President Richard Nixon subscribed to a “madman” theory of international relations first appeared in the memoir by former Nixon aide H. R. Haldeman, in Haldeman and Joseph DiMona, The Ends of Power. New York: Times Books, 1978, p. 98.

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