Two analyses by Paul Craig Roberts

July 18, 2018Two analyses by Paul Craig Roberts

Note by the Saker: As I have mentioned here, I am currently on a road trip and I have very spotty access to the Internet.  The recent Putin-Trump summit has elicited a lot of reactions and I will write an analysis of my own by the time I get back home (somewhere around the 20th-22nd of July).  In the meantime, I am posting two more articles by the special permission of Paul Craig Roberts. They were initially posted here

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/07/17/putin-confronts-the-american-dystopia/
https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/07/18/america-overrules-trump-no-peace-with-russia/

I don’t necessarily agree with every point made by Paul Craig Roberts, but I do fully share his assessment of the gravity of the situation.  In fact, I have a very strong feeling that in spite of the fact that Trump is in reality a very weak man (just look how long it took him to deny having said what he, in fact, did say) the USA seems to be headed for a major constitutional crisis.  On this topic, please all see this article by Finian Cunningham originally posted on Sputnik.  Until my return, I leave you with Paul Craig Roberts’ latest analyses.

The Saker
——-

Putin Confronts The American Dystopia

We have to hand it to Putin. He is the best that there is. Note the ease with which he mopped up the floor with that idiot Chris Wallace. https://www.rt.com/usa/433447-putin-interview-fox-wallace/

What is wrong with the US media that it cannot produce a second competent journalist as company for Tucker Carlson? Why are America’s remaining good journalists, such as Chris Hedges, now in the alternate media?

All I can say, and Putin probably already knows it, is that there is more going on than presstitutes holding the relationship between Russia and the US hostage to an internal political struggle between the Democratic Party and President Trump. It is not just that the corrupt US media is serving as propagandists for the Democratic Party against President Trump. The presstitutes are serving the interest of the military/security complex, which has ownership interests in the highly concentrated US media, to keep Russia positioned as the enemy that justifies the huge $1,000 billion budget of the military/security complex. Without the “Russian enemy,” what is the justification for such a waste of money when so many real needs go underfunded and unfunded?

In other words, the American media are not only stupid, they are corrupt beyond all measure.

Today at 12:40 Eastern time NPR had a collection of Trump-bashers doing their utmost to prevent the Trump/Putin meeting from leading to a normalizing of relations between the two governments. For example, as every informed person knows, the US intelligence community has most certainly not concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election. That conclusion was reached by a few hand-picked members of 3 of the 16 intelligence agencies and was expressed not as a proven fact but as “highly likely.” It other words, it was nothing but an orchestrated opinion given by cooperative agents who no doubt expect promotions in return.

Despite this known fact, the NPR propaganda team said that Trump had believed Putin instead of an unanimous US factual intelligence report that proved Russia interfered. The NPR Trump-bashers said that Trump had believed the “thug Putin” and not his own American experts. The NPR Trump-bashers went on to compare Trump’s “siding with Putin” with Trump’s opinion that the Charlottesville violence had contributors from both sides. The NPR Trump-bashers equated Trump’s factual statement about violence from both sides with “siding with the neo-nazis” in Charlottesville.

NPR’s point is that Trump sides with Nazis and Russian thugs and is against Americans.

What Trump said in fact about alleged election interference was that whether there was or was not any election interference, it had no effect as Comey and Rosenstein have admitted, and is certainly not as important as two nuclear powers getting along with one another and avoiding tensions that could result in nuclear war. One would think that even an NPR idiot could understand that.

The Trump-bashing on NPR has gone on all day intermixed with an occasional bashing of Russia for killing Syrian civilians in air attacks on the Washington-supported jihadists that are, as instructed by Washington, trying to hold on to a bit of Syria so that Washington and Israel can restart the war. One wonders at the stupidity of those who give money to NPR so that NPR can lie to them all day long. Like George Orwell foresaw, people are more comfortable with Big Brother’s lies than with the truth.

NPR was once an alternative voice, but it was broken by the George W. Bush regime and has become completely corrupt. NPR still pretends to be “listener-supported,” but in fact is now a commercial station just like every commercial station. NPR tries to disguise this fact by using “with support from” to introduce the paid advertisements from the corporations.

“With support from” is how NPR traditionally acknowledged its philanthropic donors. The real question is: how does NPR hold on to its 501c3 tax-exempt status when it sells commercial advertising? No need for NPR to worry. As long as the presstitute entity serves the ruling elite at the expense of truth, it will retain its illegal tax-exempt status.

It is obvious that the indictments of the 12 Russian intelligence officers immediately prior to the Trump/Putin meeting was intended to harm the meeting and to give the presstitutes more opportunities for more dishonest shots at President Trump. In my day, journalists would have been smart enough and would have had enough integrity to understand that. But Western presstitutes have neither intelligence nor integrity.

How much proof do you want? Here is presstitute Michelle Goldberg writing in the New York Times that “Trump shows the world he’s Putin’s lackey.” The presstitute says she is “staggered by the American president’s slavish and toadying performance.” Apparently Goldberg thinks Trump should have beaten up Putin.

The Washington Post, formerly a newspaper, now a sick joke, alleged that “Trump just colluded with Russia. Openly.”

It is not only the presstitutes. It is the so-called experts, such as Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, a self-important group, financed by the military/security complex, that presides over American foreign policy. Haass, sticking to the official military/security line, declared erroneously: “International order for 4 centuries has been based on non-interference in the internal affairs of others and respect for sovereignty. Russia has violated this norm by seizing Crimea and by interfering in the 2016 US election. We must deal with Putin’s Russia as the rogue state it is.”

What is Haass talking about? What respect for sovereignty does Washington have? Surely Haass is familiar with the ruling neoconservative doctrine of US world hegemony. Surely Haass knows that the orchestrated troubles with Iraq, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Russia, and China are due to Washington’s resentment of their sovereignty. What is Washington’s unilateralism about if Washington respects the sovereignty of countries? Why does Washington want a unipolar world if Washington respects the sovereignty of other countries? It is precisely Russia’s insistence on a multi-polar world that has Russia in the propaganda crosshairs. If Washington respects sovereignty, why does Washington overthrow countries that have it? When Washington accuses Russia of being a threat to world order, Washington means that Russia is a threat to Washington’s world order. Is Haass demonstrating his idiocy or his corruption?

As the American media has conclusively proven that it has no independence but is a mouthpiece for Democrats and corporate interests, it should be nationalized. The American media is so compromised that nationalization would be an improvement.

The armaments industry should also be nationalized. Not only is it a power greater than the elected government, it also is vastly inefficient. The Russian armaments industry with a tiny fraction of the US military budget produces far superior weapons. As President Eisenhower, a Five-Star General, said, the military-industrial complex is a threat to American democracy. Why are the presstitute scum so worried about non-existent Russian interference when the military/security complex is so powerful that it can actually substitute itself for the elected government?

There was a time when the Republican Party represented the interests of business, and the Democratic Party represented the interests of the working class. That kept America in balance. Today there is no balance. Since the Clinton regime, the rich one percent has been getting vastly richer, and the 99 percent has been getting poorer. The middle class is in serious decline.

The Democrats have abandoned the working class, which Democrats now dismiss as “Trump deplorables,” and support instead the divisiveness and hatreds of Identity Politics. At a time when the American people need unity to stand up to warmongering and greed, there is no unity. Races and genders are taught to hate one another. It is everywhere you look.

Compared to the America I was born into, the America of today is fragile and weak. The only effort at unity is to create unity that Russia is the enemy. It is just like George Orwell’s 1984. In other aspects the current American dystopia is worse than the one Orwell described.

Try to find an American public or private institution that is worthy of respect, that is honorable, that respects truth, that is compassionate and strives for justice. What you find in place of compassion and demand for justice are laws that punish if you criticize the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians or leak information showing the felonies committed by the US government. With all of their institutions corrupted, the American people become corrupted as well. Corruption is what the young are born into. They know no different. What future is that for America?

How can Russia, China, Iran, North Korea reach a compromise with a government that does not know the meaning of the word, a government that requires submission and when submission is not given destruction follows as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen learned.

Who would be so foolish as to trust an agreement with Washington?

Instead of pursuing an agreement with Trump, who is being set up for removal, Putin should be preparing Russia for war.

War is definitely coming.

America Overrules Trump: No Peace With Russia

The governments of Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, if their countries are to survive, must give up their deluded hopes of reaching agreements with the United States. No such possibility exists on terms that the countries can accept.

American foreign policy rests on threat and force. It is guided by the neoconservative doctrine of US hegemony, a doctrine that is inconsistent with accepting the sovereignty of other countries. The only way that Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea can reach an agreement with Washington is to become vassals like the UK, all of Europe, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

The Russians—especially the naive Atlanticist Integrationists—should take note of the extreme hostility, indeed, to the point of insanity, directed at the Helsinki meeting across the entirety of the American political, media, and intellectual scene. Putin is incorrect that US-Russian relations are being held hostage to an internal US political struggle between the two parties. The Republicans are just as insane and just as hostile to President Trump’s effort to improve American-Russian relations as the Democrats, as Donald Jeffries reminds us. https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/07/donald-jeffries/the-trump-putin-conference/

The American rightwing is just as opposed as the leftwing. Only a few experts, such as Stephen Cohen and Amb. Jack Matlock, President Reagan’s ambassader to the Soviet Union, have spoken out in support of Trump’s attempt to reduce the dangerous tensions between the nuclear powers. Only a few pundits have explained the actual facts and the stakes.

There is no support for Trump’s agenda of peace with Russia in the US foreign policy arena. The president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, spoke for them all when he declared that “We must deal with Putin’s Russia as the rogue state it is.”

Russia is a “ rogue state” simply because Russia does not accept Washington’s overlordship. Not for any other reason.

There is no support even in Trump’s own government for normalizing relations with Russia unless the neoconservative definition of normal relations is used. By normal relations neoconservatives mean a vassal state relationship with Washington. That, and only that, is “normal.” Russia can have normal relations with America only on the basis of this definition of normal. Sooner or later Putin and Lavrov will have to acknowledge this fact.

A lie repeated over and over becomes a fact. That is what has happened to Russiagate. Despite the total absence of any evidence, it is now a fact in America that Putin himself put Trump in the Oval Office. That Trump met with Putin at Helsinki is considered proof that Trump is Putin’s lacky, as the New York Times and many others now assert as self-evident. That Trump stood next to “the murderous thug Putin” and accepted Putin’s word that Russia did not interfere in the election of the US president is regarded as double proof that Trump is in Putin’s pocket and that the Russiagate story is true.

We can see now why neoconservative John Bolton arranged the Helsinki meeting. It set Trump up for political execution by the media and Congress, both controlled by the military/security complex. In the United States there is zero independence, with the exception of Tucker Carlson, in the print and TV media, and zero independence in Congress. These are controlled institutions, and Tucker will not be tolerated much longer.

The lie of Russian interference is now so firmly established that even the Open Letter published in The Nation and signed by luminaries such as Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and Gloria Steinem states: “We must reach common ground to safeguard common interests—taking steps to protect the nation’s elections and to prevent war between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.” Even the most lucid Americans have to accept Russiagate as a fact and regard protecting our elections as important as preventing nuclear war.

There is no meaningful support in the Republican or Democratic party for Trump’s agenda of normalizing US/Russian relations. The combination of a lie made into truth and the power of political campaign combinations from the military/security complex suffice to stifle any support for normalizing relations with Russia. Any US Senator or Representative who supports Trump’s effort to remove Russia from the enemy category will find themselves confronted in their re-election with well-financed opponents declaring them to be traitors who supported Trump’s sell-out of America, while their own campaign contributions dry up.

The American people who are not on the military/security payroll or otherwise dependent on this powerful lobby support peace and elected Trump for that reason, only to discover that a president who stands for peace with Russia is branded a traitor.

It has happened many times before. For example, in his history, The First World War, A. J. P. Taylor explained that all efforts to stop the disastrous war that destroyed Europe were blocked by smearing “as a defeatist, a pacifist, probably a traitor, every advocate of peace, or even of moderation.” As Taylor writes, the “top hats” wanted the money, and the “cloth hats” paid for it with their lives.

What we are experiencing is that democracy is weak and dysfunctional when confronted with powerful lobbies capable of controlling explanations. In America the control over explanations is so complete that the vast majority live in The Matrix.

The Russian media has ignored the American outpouring of hatred and insult against Trump for “selling out America” and has portrayed the Helsinki meeting positively as having established a road to better relations. This Russian view ignores that Trump has no support in the US government or in the media to help him to build this road. The Russian media desperately needs to become familiar with the American response to Trump’s Helsinki meeting with Putin. I have collected together a number of these responses in my recent columns, and the link in this column to Donald Jeffries provides a good sample of the Republicans’ rejection of Trump’s effort to repair the US-Russian relationship.

Just as the World War I British, French, German, and Russian governments could not end the slaughter because they had promised victory and would be discredited, once the Russian government encourages the Russian people that better relations with America are in the making, the Russian government will be locked into delivering the better relations, and this will require the Russian government to give up more than it gains. Russian sovereignty will be part of the price for the agreement.

If the Russians, desperate for Western acceptance, hold on to their delusion that Washington’s hegemony is negotiable, it will not only be at their own peril but also at the peril of all of humanity.

Postscript: The rant in the URL below in Salon, which I suspect is a CIA asset, by a non-entity of no merit or achievement is devoid of fact. But it does stand as an accurate representation of the organized, orchestrated assault in the United States on truth and on those individuals committed to truth, such as Jill Stein and Julian Assange. As the goal is to denigrate Trump, it is not possible to believe the portrayal of the unidentified Republican state senator in the Salon account who lost his faith in Trump simply because Trump did not behave provocatively when he met with Putin. Nevertheless, the portrayal, even if fictional, is accurate in the sense that it represents the controlled explanation that is being fed to the American people and the subject peoples of Washington’s empire. https://www.salon.com/2018/07/18/trump-regret-syndrome-is-spreading-among-republicans-after-helsinki-how-far-will-it-go/

The Russian media desperately needs to accurately translate and publish the Salon article in order for the Russian people to comprehend the impossibility of any agreement with the United States that leaves Russia a sovereign nation. The hatred of Russia that is being generated in America is extraordinary. It can only lead to war.

Throughout the Western World truth and facts have lost their authority. The West lives in lies, and this is the West that confronts the world. It is pathetic to watch Lavrov and Putin continue, time and again, to appeal to facts and to truth when these mean nothing in the West.

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فك اشتباك دولي وإقليمي أم تشبيك؟

يوليو 16, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لا تزال محاولة الإنكار لسقوط المشروع الإمبراطوري الأميركي تتحكم بالقرار الذي يصنع السياسة الخارجية، رغم امتلاء الحملة الانتخابية للرئيس دونالد ترامب بمعادلات من نوع نريد أن نعود الدولة العظيمة وسئمنا من دور الدولة العظمى، أو شعار أميركا أولاً، أو لسنا شرطي العالم، أو الحاجة لتفاهم عميق مع روسيا حول إدارة الأزمات الدولية. فالواضح أن السياسات الفعلية لإدارة الرئيس الأميركي، والتعيينات التي باتت عنوان إدارته، تقولان إن واشنطن محكومة برؤيا مخالفة هي الرؤيا التي يصر عليها القادة العسكريون ومعهم مجموعات الضغط التي تمثل الصناعات العسكرية، وهي رؤيا لا تزال تأمل بترميم موازين القوى المختلة ضد مصلحة واشنطن في ميادين المواجهة، رهاناً على الدور السحري لسياسة العقوبات.

– لا زال صناع القرار في واشنطن يعتبرون أن روسيا ليست دولة عظمى. والمعيار عندهم هو حجم الاقتصاد الروسي وحجم الطاقة الإنتاجية المنافسة في هذا الاقتصاد الذي لا يزال يشكل تصدير النفط والغاز والمواد الخام عماده الرئيسي. وهذا التوصيف الصحيح للاقتصاد الروسي تسطيح لفهم الموازين الدولية الجديدة، لأن واشنطن ذاتها ترفض الإقرار بمكانة الدولة العظمى للصين التي باتت منافساً لأميركا على مكانة الحجم الاقتصادي الأول في العالم وتتفوق عليها بثلاثة عناصر عظيمة الأثر، وهي عدد سكان يعادل خمسة أضعاف سكان أميركا، في ظل اكتفاء ذاتي استهلاكي لا تحلم أميركا بمثله، ونسبة نمو ثابتة لم تعرف مثلها أميركا منذ عقود، وطاقة مالية جعلتها المموّل الرئيسي لسندات الدين الأميركية. والحجة الأميركية لفرض الاعتراف بمكانة الدولة العظمى للصين هي أن الأثر الصيني في الملفات المتفجرة في العالم لا يزال محدوداً، وهذا صحيح، لكن تطبيق هذا المبدأ يجعل روسيا دولة عظمى بلا منازع. والجمع بين مكانتي الحليفين الروسي والصيني ومعهما حليف تتوهم واشنطن قدرتها على تحجيمه هو إيران، ليس مطلوباً أن يوصل الإدارة الأميركية لتوصيف أحد هؤلاء المنافسين والخصوم كدول عظمى، بل للإقرار بأن زمن الأحادية الأميركية قد ولى إلى غير رجعة، وأن ثمة محوراً دولياً يتكامل بقدراته الاقتصادية والعسكرية وتأثيراته في الملفات الحساسة في العالم يقول لا كبيرة للسياسات الأميركية، ويرتضي منح مقعده التفاوضي للرئيس الروسي بوجه الرئيس الأميركي الذي يقود حلفاً مقابلاً، لا يزال يفقد المنضوين تحت رايته. فهو خسر الدعم الأوروبي في الملف الإيراني، والدعم التركي في ملفات كثيرة، وبات يقود ثنائياً سعودياً إسرائيلياً، يتلقى الهزائم، وكان خير اختبار للوزن الأميركي الجديد، في التصويتين اللذين شهدهما مجلس الأمن الدولي والجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة حول القرار الأميركي باعتماد القدس عاصمة لـ»إسرائيل».

– رغم الإنكار الأميركي لمكانة روسيا كمفاوض مكافئ بالمكانة والقدرة، يعترف الرئيس الأميركي بثلاثي الخصومة لبلاده، ويضع روسيا والصين والاتحاد الأوروبي في مكانة الأعداء. ويخرج الرئيس الروسي للقائه آتياً من قمة شانغهاي التي ضمته مع الرئيس الصيني وسجلت لأول مرة شراكة إيران وباكستان والهند. ويذهب الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين إلى قمة هلسنكي وفي جعبته، الانتصارات السورية، كتعبير عن حرب سنوات طوال بين حلفي موسكو وواشنطن، وهو يدير تموضعاً هادئاً لكل من تركيا والاتحاد الأوروبي إلى خط الوسط وربما أكثر.

– المسعى الأميركي في هلسنكي يشبه تماماً المسعى الإسرائيلي بعنوان فك الاشتباك. وهو فك للقوات على حدود الجولان تريده «إسرائيل» للحؤول دون فتح ملف احتلالها للجولان وتسييل فائض قوة الانتصارات والتحالفات التي واكبتها، وفي قلبها التحالف السوري مع روسيا وإيران وقوى المقاومة. لكنه فك اشتباك أوسع تريده واشنطن، بين الملفات التي هزمت فيها كحال سورية، وتلك التي تريد مواصلة المواجهة فيها أملا بتحقيق إنجاز كحال إيران، ومقابلهما ملفات تريد عوناً روسياً للفوز بها كحال كوريا، وملفات تلوح باستعمالها كحال أوكرانيا. بينما يذهب الرئيس الروسي حاملاً لمشروع التشبيك، ببناء قاعدة واحدة للملفات الدولية المعقدة، وهي العودة لإحياء دور المؤسسات الأممية وصيغ الشراكة والحوار والتسويات بدلاً من معادلات وهم القوة الذي لم تكن الهزيمة الأميركية في سورية إلا نموذجاً لسقوط رهان أوسع مدى من سورية بكثير.

– سيفشل ترامب في الحصول على فك اشتباك، وستسعى روسيا لتقديم تصور للحل في سورية يتيح تحولها نموذجاً لسائر الملفات، أسوة بما مثله النصر العسكري فيها من نموذج لفشل رهانات وأوهام القوة الأميركية. وبين التشبيك وفك الإشتباك مسار متعرّج وغامض يتيح حفظ ماء الوجه، وربما التأويل.

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Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu’s interview with Italy’s Il Giornale full version

The Saker

July 11, 2018

Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu’s interview with Italy’s Il Giornale full version

Translation by Scott Humor from Russian version found here

https://tvzvezda.ru/news/forces/content/201807111100-cg1g.htm

Original interview

http://www.ilgiornale.it/news/mondo/gelo-washington-colpa-delle-lites-americane-1551319.html

 

Q.: Mr. Minister, tensions between Russia and the United States are growing and raising concerns: are we on the threshold of a new Cold War?

Shoigu: We often hear from the US that the crisis in bilateral relations has been provoked by Russia’s alleged aggressive actions on the international arena. However, we are firmly convinced that tensions in our relations have been artificially fueled all this time by those American elites, who believe that the world is divided into the “American” part and the “wrong” part.

it was the United States that in recent years had unilaterally broke key agreements, which formed the backbone of the global security. Despite the promises that were given to the Soviet leadership during Germany’s reunification, Washington initiated eastward NATO expansion towards our borders.

For over 25 years they tried to fool us claiming that there have been no promises, until recently the National Security Agency declassified archives with the documents of that period, in which it has been set out literally and in personalities.

Because of NATO expansion to the East and accession to NATO countries of Eastern Europe: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania, an agreement signed in 1990 between the Warsaw Treaty Organization and NATO called the Treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe, providing for the limitation of armaments in areas of contact between two blocks, de facto lost its meaning for Russia.

In 2002, under a pretext of a fictitious “danger” of a missile attack by Iran or North Korea, Washington unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty and began deployment its radars and anti-missiles in the vicinity of our borders.

I, as president of the Russian Geographical Society, have for a long time wanted to present the US colleagues with a globe so that they would look at it and explain to us, why the ‘US adversaries’ designated by them are located in the Middle East and East Asia, while all their military bases and troops are scooched along Russia’s borders? Do they expect us to defend them?

The US party is currently preparing its withdrawal from the INF treaty. The reason for such step is alleged violations of the treaty by Russia.

 

Q: What kind of violations?

Shoigu: All we hear are some mumbles and baseless accusations directed at us. But there are no facts, only statements.

We have repeatedly and publicly made it clear in all major international fora that it is the United States that is directly violating the INF Treaty, having installed, during the deployment of a missile shield in Europe, its MK-41 vertical launching systems, which might be used to launch of Tomahawk cruise missiles. The destructive radius of these missiles covers almost all the European part of Russia’s territory.

In 2007 at the Munich Security Conference Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the leadership of the United States and other Western countries to respect Russia’s national interests and to build open and equal relationships. Unfortunately, very few in the West wanted to hear this call.

 

Q: In your opinion why is this happening?

Shoigu: Today recovering Russia is being viewed not as an ally but as a threat to the US dominance. We are being accused of some aggressive plans towards the West, which, in turn, continues to deploy new forces on our borders.

Among multiple examples of such unfriendly steps there is a decision made in June by NATO to establish two new commands, responsible for the protection of maritime communication and the operative deployment of the US troops to Europe. It’s also an increase of the alliance’s contingent troops in the Baltic states, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland from 2,000 to 15,000 troops with the possibility of rapid build-up of the group to 60,000 soldiers with armored vehicles. Starting with 2020, NATO intends to maintain 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 warships to be in constant readiness for use at the borders of Russia in 30 days.

All of these takes place directly at Russia’s Western borders. At the same time, the Americans are constantly violating international law, using military force in various regions of the world under the pretext of protecting their own interests.

This happened in April of this year in Syria, when on the territory of the sovereign and independent state, (the US) with the support of Britain and France carried out a massive missile attack. What took place was a gross violation of international law by three permanent members of the UN Security Council under fictitious pretext. And this is not an only example, but a trend.

 

Q: A trend?

Shoigu: Yes, we are talking about the neocolonial strategy, which has already been tested by the United States in Iraq and Libya and which consists in supporting any, even the most barbaric ideologies, in order to weaken legitimate governments. After that the United States stages attacks with the use of weapons of mass destruction or organizing humanitarian disasters and, at the final stages, uses military force to create “manageable chaos,” which enables the transnational corporations freely extract the existing assets and to funnel them into the US economy.

Russia, which advocates the equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with all the countries within the concept of the multipolar world, will always be an obstacle for such “strategies to be implemented.

 

Q.: Are there any red lines that cannot be crossed?

Shoigu: In this sense, our military doctrine is very clear, and its essence in prevention of any conflicts. Our official approaches to the use of military force are quite clear and fully disclosed.

Despite of my post, I am convinced that any issues can and should be settled without the use of military force.

I have repeatedly extended invitations to the Pentagon’s head to discuss the existing problems of the global and regional security, including the fight against terrorism. But the Americans are not ready for such dialogue, although, I am certain, that it’s in the best interest not only people in Russia and in the USA, but also in the rest of the world.

Right now, there is only one communication channel between our general staffs now, which is used in negotiations, including at the level of the chiefs of general staff, aimed, first of all, at preventing the military activities of Russia and the United States from turning into a military conflict between our nuclear powers.

 

Q.: But your country is being accused in carrying out the “hybrid wars” against the West.

Shoigu: In Russia we say that it’s a thief himself who screams the loudest “Hold the thief!” The term “hybrid actions” refers to various forms of pressure used by one state against another, but without an open use of military force. Such “wars” are known since ancient times, and they allowed the UK to prevail over the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the last century. Who doesn’t know about the adventures of Lawrence of Arabia?

Today “hybrid wars” include control of media, economic sanctions, hacking activities in cyberspace, backing of internal unrests, finally, deployment of special units and specialists to carry out terror attacks, sabotage and diversion.

This list, perhaps, can be continued further, but there is one important detail. For its successful implementation this century, it is necessary to have global and all-pervasive media, possession of superiority in information and telecommunication technologies, a hold on global financial systems, as well as experience in the deployment and use of special forces in other countries.

 

Q.: What countries, other than the United States and the United Kingdom, have this kind of potential?

Shoigu: These methods were successfully tested by London and Washington during the invasion of Iraq in 1991 immediately after the end of the “cold war.”

This is an important detail, because these technologies existed when the Soviet Union and a bipolar world existed, but there were no opportune conditions. And, by the way, the US president at the time [of the Gulf War] was none other than George H. W. Bush, former director of the CIA.

Since the 1990s, these methods have been actively used by the United States in former Yugoslavia, Libya, [Russia’s] Chechen Republic and, most recently, in Syria. All the signs of the “hybrid war” were apparent in Ukraine ahead of the armed rebellion in February 2014, with the European countries’ passive participation in these “hybrid actions.”

Today, everyone pretends to forget how on the eve of the coup (in Kiev) three foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland personally guaranteed to the legitimate President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych a peaceful settlement of the political crisis, if he does not impose a state of emergency and withdraws all units of the security forces from Kiev. But immediately after the implementation of these obligations, nationalist militants, armed and trained with American and European money, staged a coup, and Europe immediately recognized them as legitimate power.

Accusations of Russia (in hybrid actions) began to appear in the American and British media after an unsuccessful attempt to stage this scenario in Crimea.

 

Q.: Really?

Shoigu: We simply did not give to our overseas colleagues an opportunity to put these measures into practice in Crimea, where, on the contrary, a referendum was held, during which residents freely and, by the way, in the presence of hundreds of representatives of the same American media, voted to withdraw from Ukraine and reunite with Russia. In comparison, after the dismemberment of the former Yugoslavia because of the NATO intervention, Kosovo did not hold any general referendums, but achieved immediate recognition of independence by Washington and Europe after the routine parliamentary vote. It was done absolutely ignoring opinion of the Serbs living in Kosovo and the Yugoslavia’s Constitution.

 

Q.: The issue of Syria will be central during the meeting of presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. What’s your idea of the US strategy in the Syrian conflict?

Shoigu: Since US lawmakers and experts have been calling on the US government to clarify its strategy for Syria, our country is not the only one who does not get it.

In recent years during the continuation of this war, illegal from the point of international law, and even according to the US constitution, the official explanations for the presence of the US military contingent in Syria have been constantly changing.

I would like to recall that initially it was about defeating the ISIL, then about preventing re-emergence of the ISIL and now statements are being made about need to preserve military presence in Syria in order to deter alleged influence of Iran.

Therefore, it is hard to shake off the impression that the United States’ chief objective in Syria is to prevent the situation from stabilizing, to prolong the conflict and undermine the country’s territorial integrity by creating enclaves not controlled by the government on Syria’s borders.

In the areas controlled by the United States for years they have been training militants, who are actively fighting with the Syrian government army and receiving supplies of weapons and ammunition.

In addition, it’s not superfluous to recall that during the struggle of the US-led international coalition against ISIS, the territory controlled by terrorists only increased. Civilization and secular governance persisted only in a few pockets: in Damascus, the province of Latakia and partly in Deir ez-Zor.

At the same time, while declaring its ‘noble’ objectives and ‘good’ will in recent years, the United States has not allocated one cent of aid to provide real assistance to Syrian civilians devastated by long years of war. This applies even to the liberated by the United States and the coalition former capital of ISIS Raqqa, where munition and mortars left after massive bombardments by the “international coalition” still kill local residents. Every week, dozens of people are being killed, including children.

On the other hand, not a single incident involving civilians has been recorded after the Syrian troops’ operations to liberate various regions and localities. Demining activities took place there, people received food and construction materials they needed to resume a peaceful life as soon as possible.

If there is some basis for our American counterparts’ actions in Syria, it is too contradictory to be called a “strategy.”

Q.: Another obstacle to the stabilization of Syria is the rivalry between Iran and Israel…

Shoigu: Iran, like Turkey, historically has been one of the main actors in the region and plays a key role in stabilization of the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic.

As you know, Iran, together with Russia and Turkey, is one of the guarantors of the Astana process aimed at finding an agreement for the final settlement of Syrian conflict.

Regarding the tensions between Iran and Israel or other countries, our position is that we are committed to resolving possible differences and contradictions through dialogue, not through military force and violation of international law.

Use of military force by any of these parties in Syria would inevitably lead to an escalation of tension throughout the Middle East. In that regard, we are committed to the peaceful and diplomatic settlement of any differences and we hope that both sides will be able to show restraint.

 

Q.: Don’t you think that a possibility of supplying S-300 systems to Damascus represents an additional risk factor?

Shoigu: I would like to note that the S-300 system is a complex of purely defensive weapons. Therefore, it cannot pose a direct threat to anyone’s national security.

This anti-aircraft missile system can only be a threat to air attack vehicles. Besides, the decision to supply this model of arms to the army of any foreign state is made based on the appropriate request, which has not been made, yet.

Thus, it is premature to talk about this specifically. At the request of some of our Western partners, as well as Israel, a few years ago, we refrained from delivering these complexes to Syria. Today, after the aggression of the United States, Britain and France against Syria, which has demonstrated the need for the Syrians to have modern air defense, we are ready to revisit this issue.

Q.: From the war in Syria to the trade war. If the level of relations with Washington has reached a historical minimum, the relations with China are increasingly strengthening…

Shoigu: Of course, the tension in international relations has contributed to the strengthening of Russian-Chinese relations, which are based on mutual respect and trust. Russia and China have long-term friendly and strategic relations, and cooperation is developing in many areas, including through military agencies, which is in the interests of both states.

Examples of our cooperation include conducted on a bilateral basis joint operational training of the armed forces of our states, including the annual naval drill Sea Cooperation, and a large-scale joint Russian-Chinese naval and an annual series of joint anti-ballistic missile air defense exercises called Aerospace Security.

We conduct multinational military exercises of armies and fleets of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) the military exercise the Peace Mission. In addition, the Chinese representatives participate in annual competition of the Russia’s Defense Ministry called the International Army Games. Today, about 12% of Russian weapons are exported to China.

At the same time, our joint activities in this area, in contrast to the exercises conducted by NATO and the EU in Europe, are exclusively defensive in nature. Our military partnerships are not directed against any other countries or blocs and serve exclusively to strengthen global and regional security.

Q.: What do you think about the development of the situation in North Korea?

Shoigu: Russia and North Korea have signed a number of agreements in the field of military-technical cooperation, the implementation of which is currently suspended in the framework of the Russian Federation’s implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874.

We are now witnessing a significant reduction in tensions between the North and the South of the Korean Peninsula. We believe that this positive trend is stable and irreversible.

Q.: If we return to Ukraine: do you think it will be possible to find a solution to the current conflict in the South-East of the country?

Shoigu: Only unconditional implementation by Kiev of the Minsk Agreements will allow to exclude emergence of the situation capable to lead to genocide of the Russian population. Unfortunately, Kiev is stubbornly refuses to comply with the agreement, finding various flimsy excuses and making unfounded accusatory statements against Russia.

At the same time, Kiev has been rejecting the very possibility of dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk, without which the settlement of this crisis is simply impossible. Of course, our country responds to these developments, constantly calling on Kiev to implement the package of measures that was agreed in Minsk

We hope that the European countries, first and foremost, members of the “Normandy” format, [which includes Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine] will be able to use all their influence on the Ukrainian authorities to reach a peaceful settlement of this internal conflict in southeastern Ukraine.

I believe that a direct confrontation between Ukraine and Russia is impossible. We have common roots, for centuries we have been enduring hardships together and we fought side by side for our freedom and independence during the Second World War. My mother’s family members used to live in Ukraine, I was baptized in a small church in Stakhanov, a town located in Ukraine’s Lugansk region. I am confident that there will never be a place for confrontation or hostility between us, given our common history.

 

————–

Scott Humor,

the Director of Research and Development

My research of the war on Donbass is available at the saker.community book store

The War on Donbass, which is called by the Western politicians and media the “Russian aggression in Ukraine” was a staged psyop.

My illustrated investigation titled Pokémon in Ukraine reveals how this psyop was staged, by whom and why.

A TALE OF TWO NUCLEAR DEALS: TRUMP’S ROAD TO SINGAPORE WITH NORTH KOREA

South FrontA Tale of Two Nuclear Deals: Trump’s Road to Singapore with North Korea

Written by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

PART 1

US President Donald Trump bilaterally embraced the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) or North Korea, as the DPRK is simply and informally called, through a joint statement of principles signed by Trump and his counterpart from the DPRK, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, on June 12, 2018. The two government leaders did this in the Southeast Asian island city-state of Singapore. The DPRK-US statement of principles was signed by Kim Jong-Un, as the chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, and Donald Trump, as the head of state and federal government of the United States of America, in the Capella Hotel on the Singaporean southern resort area of Sentosa Island, where Universal Studios Singapore is located. It was widely anticipated for months by the whole world.

Speaking very highly about his North Korean opposite, during the DPRK-US summit President Trump even told the press that he has cultivated a “special relationship” with Chairman Kim and that they had established trust in one another. Both leaders signed a final statement saying:

1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.

2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

As a result of the DPRK-US meeting, Trump said joint US-South Korean military exercises would be cancelled and even admitted frankly to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that past negotiations failed because of Washington letting Kim Jong-Il down. Indirectly conceding that the North Koreans were right, Trump called US-South Korean military exercises “very provocative” and “tremendously expensive.” On the other hand, the North Koreans declared that they would get rid of their nuclear weapons and that the US would remove its nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.

From the Stratosphere and Twittersphere to the Winter Olympics

Prior to the DPRK-US summit in Singapore, there were direct and indirect exchanges and informal meetings between DPRK representatives and US representatives. An important period for DPRK-US backchannel exchanges began when North Korea successfully demonstrated that it could militarily retaliate against the US with its missiles. This started with the testing of the Hwasong-14, North Korea’s first intercontinental ballistic missile, on July 4 and July 28, 2017.

The DPRK demonstrated that it could hit the US with its missiles through the Hwasong-14 test, which raised alarm bells in the Pentagon and the Washington Beltway about the DPRK’s capabilities to retaliate against the US should a conflict take place between the two adversaries. Trump reacted by giving a press conference from the Trump National Gulf Club, his personal golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” he told reporters from his New Jersey golf club on August 8, 2017. The Trump Administration also touted a policy of “maximum pressure” against the DPRK, but the North Korean government dismissed President Trump’s threats as “nonsense.”

The DPRK responded to US threats with the announcement that plans were being drawn by its military commanders to launch missiles towards the US territory of Guam, which Washington annexed from the Japanese after the Second World War as a Pentagon forward base and means of launching US attacks on targets in Asia. North Korea challenged the Trump Administration further by testing three short-range ballistic missiles on August 26, 2017. This was followed by another test launch on August 29, 2017. Next, the DPRK announced it had successfully tested a thermonuclear or hydrogen bomb on September 3, 2017.

Trump reacted by condemning North Korea and writing on Twitter, his favourite medium of communication, that “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.” Less than two weeks later, the North Koreans did another ballistic missile test on September 15, 2017. On September 17, 2017, as a result Trump dubbed Chairman Kim “Rocket man” on Twitter, to which Kim responded by calling Trump a “dotard.” This was followed by a test of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile on November 28, 2017. At this point it became abundantly clear the North Korean military could fire into anywhere inside the United States, from New York City and Dallas and Los Angeles and Seattle, if the US military were to launch an attack on the DPRK.

The South Korean government of President Moon Jae-In, who was elected on a peace and Korean reunification platform, offered to hold talks with North Korea on the Twenty-Third Winter Olympics and a series of other issues on January 9, 2018. This led to the two Koreas having their teams march together under the banner of the blue and white Korean Unification Flag during the opening ceremony and fielding a unified Korean female hockey team at the Winter Olympics in the South Korea city of Pyeongchang. President Kim Yong-Nam, the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK (and North Korea’s official head of state), and Kim Yo-Jong, the younger sister of Chairman Kim Jong-Un, would also lead a high-profile DPRK delegation to Pyeongchang. Behind the inter-Korean Olympic diplomacy steps were being made for future talks and signals being transmitted between the US and DPRK.

As a result of the inter-Korean Olympic diplomacy, a high-ranking ten-person South Korean delegation led by Director Chung Eui-Yong, the head of the South Korean National Security Office, arrived in North Korea for talks with DPRK officials on March 5, 2018. Aside from a planned meeting between President Moon Jae-In and Chairman Kim Jong-Un in Panmunjom (Truce Village) or the Joint Security Area of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), this led to the DPRK openly calling for a direct meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim on March 8, 2018. The DPRK also offer to suspend all nuclear and missile testing as a good will gesture to hold the bilateral meetings with Moon and Trump.

The announcement about a Kim-Trump meeting was publicly made by Director Chung Eui-Yong in Washington. This was done after Director Chung and a South Korean delegation consisting of Director Suh Hoon, the head of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (formerly known as the Agency for National Security Planning and founded as the Korean Central Intelligence Agency), and Ambassador Cho Yoon-Je, the South Korean ambassador to the US, held a meeting with President Trump in the White House where the invitation of Kim Jong-Un was verbally delivered by the South Korean officials after they briefed Trump about the inter-Korean talks in North Korea that were held on March 5, 2018.

After speaking to Donald Trump in the White House, Chung Eui-Yong announced that Trump said that he would meet Chairman Kim sometime in the month of May. Subsequently, US Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that Trump had accepted Kim Jong-Un’s invitation for a direct meeting “at a place and time to be determined.” Trump then confirmed this himself by writing the following on Twitter for the public: “Kim Jong Un [sic.] talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”

From Beijing and Panmunjom to Scandinavia

Behind the scenes, North Korea’s strategic ally the People’s Republic of China played an important role in facilitating a DPRK-US summit in Singapore. Chairman Kim made a trip to China on March 25, 2018 using the railway network connecting North Korea to China by special train. The reason he had gone to Beijing was to hold important consultations with Chinese leaders about his planned meetings with the leaders of South Korea and the US.

Kim Jon-Un’s visit to China, which Beijing described as an unofficial visit, was his first known trip abroad since he became the leader of the DPRK in 2011. After two days of speculation based on reports of a heavily protected train from North Korea arriving in Beijing, the unofficial visit by Kim Jong-Un was announced by the Chinese government, which also briefed the Trump Administration and sent a personal message from Chinese Paramount Leader Xi Jinping to Trump, on March 27, 2018. Chairman Kim stayed in China until March 28, 2018.

North Korea affirmed that denuclearization was its consistent and longstanding objective, but that the North Koreans needed security guarantees from the US government that the DPRK would never be threatened or attacked again by the US military. After the high-level consultations between China and the DPRK, Xi Jinping would publicly announce that the North Koreans were ready to resume talks about disarming on April 5, 2018. The visit by Chairman Kim to President Xi paralleled Kim Jong-Il’s visit to Chinese Paramount Leader Jiang Zemin in May 2000 before an inter-Korean summit between Kim Jong-Il and South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung in June 2000 and a later meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 19, 2000.

In line with the Chinese mediation between the US and North Korea, the head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Michael Pompeo, visited the DPRK in early-April 2018. Only after Pompeo visited North Korea, did Donald Trump inform the world through Twitter on April 18, 2018. Trump wrote: “Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un [sic.] in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!” Mike Pompeo’s trip to begin making arrangements for the DPRK-US summit in Singapore took place after Pompeo was nominated on March 13, 2018 by Trump to replace Secretary Rex Tillerson as the US secretary of state and the top diplomat of the Trump Administration. It is worth noting that Tillerson was removed from his position in the US Department of State due to key differences between himself and President Trump on the nuclear deal the US had signed with Iran, whereas Pompeo was chosen because of his obedience to Trump and shared opposition to fulfilling Washington’s obligations under the terms of the nuclear deal with Iran.

Before the inter-Korean summit, Pyongyang’s next step was to declare a moratorium suspending its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile testing and to close the Punggye-Ri Nuclear Test Site. The Korean Central News Agency, the official news agency of the DPRK, announced that this would take place as of April 21, 2018. Albeit at this point the North Koreans had already established the capabilities they needed and no longer had to perform nuclear or missile tests, the move by Pyongyang was presented as a good will gesture and concession to both US and South Korean officials.

With a greenlight from both the US and China, the summit between President Moon Jae-In and Chairman Kim then took place in Panmunjom or the Joint Security Area on April 27, 2018. Kim Jong-Un would cross into the South Korean side of the DMZ, while briefly encouraging President Moon to step over into the North Korean side of the DMZ, before the two Korean leaders walked to hold their bilateral meeting in the Peace House on the South Korean side of Panmunjom. The inter-Korean talks also included military and security officials from both sides. Both the DPRK and South Korea agreed to sign a peace treaty to officially end the Korean war before the year 2018 finished and to take the necessary steps to make the Korean Peninsula a nuclear weapon free zone. The North-South talks also resulted in integrating past agreements for Korean reunification. Kim Jong-Un would then go back to China and meet Xi Jinping in Dalian, Liaoning to coordinate with the Chinese further on May 7, 2018.

After the inter-Korean talks and two days after the Trump Administration would violate the multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran and UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (on May 8, 2018) by unilaterally withdrawing the US, President Trump would use Twitter to announce the place and date of the DPRK-US summit on May 10, 2018. Trump wrote: “The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un [sic.] and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!” This was followed by indirect and direct North Korean and US exchanges. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho would travel to the Swedish capital of Stockholm for talks with Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström, whose country diplomatically represents the US as the protecting power in the DPRK, from March 15 to 17, 2018. Deputy Director-General Choe Kang Il, the deputy official responsible for North American affairs in the DPRK, would leave to Finland for informal talks with US and South Korean officials on May 18, 2018.

PART 2

Before the DPRK-US summit in Singapore, US President Donald Trump publicly had cancelled his bilaterally meeting with DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un. Whether this was bravado for the public or a negotiating tactic is unclear. What is clear is that the Trump Administration does not think or act in unison. Whether he is talking about Russia or Syria, US Vice-President Michael Pence has a record of contradicting or distorting the words of Donald Trump. North Korea is just one case.

Cancellation and Restoration of the DPRK-US Summit

Even when the US held war games in South Korea, everything seemed to be roughly on track until US Vice-President Michael Pence began making remarks. It started with comments made by US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who Trump choose on March 22, 2018 to replace H.R. McMaster as his national security advisor. Bolton, like Mike Pompeo, joined the Trump Administration due to his opposition to the US maintaining its legal commitments in the nuclear agreement with Iran, whereas H.R. McMaster was removed, like Rex Tillerson, because of his disagreements with Trump about the US keeping violating its commitment to the Iran nuclear deal. Moving on, Bolton told CBS News about the possibility of Washington using the “Libya model” for the verifiable disarming of North Korea on April 29, 2018.

Clearly misunderstanding that Bolton was talking about the 2003 deal research between the Libyans and the US and not the US-led 2011 war against Libya, Trump rejected Bolton’s “Libya model” on May 17, 2018 saying “we decimated that country” and then adding that the horrible fate suffered by Libya shows “what will take place if we don’t make a deal.” Showing even more witlessness, Mike Pence played on the comments of Bolton and Trump to threaten the North Koreans during a Fox News interview on May 21, 2018. Referring to Trump’s earlier comments, Vice-President Pence told Fox News that, as “a fact” of what was going to happen, “as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-Un doesn’t make a deal” with Washington. The irony should not escape one that Libya did negotiate with the US to end its nuclear program and still suffered regime change and was attacked by the US and its NATO allies. None of this was lost on an unamused Pyongyang, which has always used what happened to Libya to explain why it has not surrendered its rights to having a national nuclear weapons program.

Responding to Vice-President Pence’s threat against her country, North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son-Hui called Mike Pence a “political dummy” who had no idea what he was talking about or any understanding of international diplomacy in an interview with the Korean Central News Agency on May 24, 2018. Choe correctly pointed out that North Korea and Libya were situationally incomparable. This was because Libya was starting a weapons program with the aim of developing nuclear weapons when it began negotiating with the US, while North Korea already has nuclear weapons. “I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of” Vice-President Pence, she declared. In what was perhaps the most sensationalized part of her interview, Choe Son-Hui also told the Korean Central News Agency that if “the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behaviour of the United States.”

This chain of events resulted in Donald Trump cancelling his meeting with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore. Ironically this took place on the same day (May 24, 2018) that Pyongyang began demolishing the Punggye-Ri Nuclear Test Site as part of its decommissioning. Trump wrote a letter to Kim saying that “based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but the detriment of the world, will not take place.” Trump also added a veiled threat by saying the following: “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” The letter concludes with Trump telling Kim if “you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.”  Chairman Kim Jong-Un would respond by saying he was always read for dialogue, while the Trump Administration started trying to blame the DPRK for not doing anything to organize the summit in Singapore. The next day, on May 25, 2018, Trump would use Twitter to announce that the meeting was reinstated: “We are having productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the dame date, June 12th. [sic.], and, if necessary will be extended beyond that date.”

Kim Yong-Chol, the Vice-Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and a former intelligence chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau of the DPRK, was then despatched to the US by Pyongyang. Vice-Chairman Kim Yong-Chol would stop in China first and then arrive in New York City on May 30, 2018. In New York City Vice-Chairman Kim Yong-Chol met Mike Pompeo for talks. The next day, on June 1, 2018 he would personally deliver a letter from Kim Jong-Un to President Trump at the White House in Washington, DC.

The Consistent North Korean Quest for Harmony

It is generally unknown that prior to the DPRK-US summit in Singapore, the North Korean side for years had been patiently making overtures to the US government behind closed doors in bilateral and multilateral settings to establish peace and reconciliation. There were even suggestions about establishing some form of economic collaboration between the US and North Korea that would involve the disciplined labour of the DPRK and the capital, investment, and technology of South Korea and the US. Some of the North Korean proposals even surprised the representatives of the other countries involved in various multilateral meetings and the Six-Party Talks composed of officials from China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia, and the US. A deal was even made between the Clinton Administration and North Korea in 1994, called the Agreed Framework, that fell apart. The North Koreans even went as far as disabling their Yongbyon Nuclear Plant in 2007 as a sign of good will to Washington. Pyongyang, however, legally restarted its nuclear program in 2008 after the US failed to keep its commitments to the DPRK and after US President Barack Obama reserved the right to launch nuclear attacks on Iran and the DPRK in contravention of Washington’s legal commitments to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Pyongyang has been seeking a peaceful resolution that would include security guarantees that it would not be attacked by the US and allow it to integrate with South Korea. In this regard, the DPRK and South Korea agreed to a roadmap for Korean unification within the framework of a federal system on June 15, 2000 through a join North Korean-South Korean declaration signed by North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il and South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung in Pyongyang. The North-South Declaration of June 15, 2000 states the following principles:

  1. The South and the North have agreed to resolve the question of reunification independently and through the joint efforts of the Korean people, who are the masters of the country.
  2. For the achievement of reunification, we have agreed that there is a common element in the South’s concept of a confederation and the North’s formula for a loose form of federation. The South and the North agreed to promote reunification in that direction.
  3. The South and the North have agreed to promptly resolve humanitarian issues such as exchange visits by separated family members and relatives on the occasion of the August 15 National Liberation Day and the question of unswerving Communists serving prison sentences in the South.
  4. The South and the North have agreed to consolidate mutual trust by promoting balanced development of the national economy through economic cooperation and by stimulating cooperation and exchanges in civic, cultural, sports, health, environmental and all other fields.
  5. The South and the North have agreed to hold a dialogue between relevant authorities in the near future to implement the above agreements expeditiously.

What can be understood from the consistent position of the DPRK is that it has always wanted peace with security guarantees that it would not be attacked. Aside from accepting the continued deployment of US troops in South Korea, it is not the DPRK’s position that has radically changed. It is the position of the US that has changed.

The Geopolitical and Strategic Shifts Behind the Singapore Summit

To the best of their abilities, both the US and the DPRK are trying to benefit from their meeting in Singapore at the domestic and international levels. How they will each do this is based on contingency, but what is certain is that the summit in Singapore would not have been possible if it were not for several factors. These include the DPRK’s capabilities, the economic rise of China, Eurasian integration, US decline, and the Trump Administration’s tensions with Iran.

In the first instance, from a strategic standpoint, the DPRK-US summit would have been possible if it were not for the development of the DPRK’s nuclear and intercontinental missile programs. Once North Korea crossed the threshold of being able to credibly strike the entirety of US territory, serious negotiations emerged. Moreover, the DPRK developed its nuclear weapons as both a security and bargaining strategy. By developing them and offering to denuclearize, it has maneuvered Washington into agreeing to remove its own nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula. Should both sides respect denuclearization, a denuclearized Korean Peninsula benefits both the DPRK and its ally China.

The DPRK does not intent denuclearization to be unilateral. The Republic of Korea or South Korea must play its role in reducing military tensions. This is outlined in the Panmunjom Declaration of April 27, 2018 and committed to by the US in the joint statement of President Trump with Chairman Kim. In this regard, US nuclear weapons have to be removed from South Korean territory in exchange for North Korean denuclearization.

In the second instance, the rise of China and Eurasian integration have played important roles. Economic integration has been a major driver for inter-Korean talks. It was reported that Moon Jae-In handed Kim Jong-Un a blueprint for the economic integration of the Korean Peninsula within the framework of the broader process of Eurasian integration. According to the South China Morning Post, in an article published on May 7, 2018, “President Moon Jae-in [sic.] gave the North’s leader Kim Jong-un a USB drive containing a ‘New Economic Map of the Korean Peninsula’” during their meeting in Panmunjom. “The initiative included three economic belts – one connecting the west coast of the peninsula to China, making the region a centre of logistics; one connecting the east coast to Russia for energy cooperation and one on the current border to promote tourism,” it further reported. This report, falls into line with President Moon’s campaign promises and policy speeches where he has told South Koreans that he will work for the unification of Korea and the creation of a single economy. With Korean reunification, South Korea can join China’s New Silk Road, have direct transportation and energy links to China and Russia, and be able to reach different European and West Asian markets through the transportation hubs China is setting up.

The threats of the Trump Administration to start trade wars and impose tariffs is an indicator of the decline of the US position. The mere fact that the G-7 meeting Trump arrived to Singapore from was one that included public clashes between the US and its allies is a sign that the world is changing. In this regard, the Trump Administration is also trying to replace multilateralism with bilateralism.

Walking to Singapore While Walking Away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

In the third instance, the withdrawal of the US from the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) necessitated some type of public display of peacemaking and bargaining by the Trump Administration to help deflect public criticism. While the Trump Administration violated the nuclear agreement with Iran with one hand, it created the glimmer of making or starting the process of making another with nuclear deal with North Korea, albeit the cases of Iran and the DPRK are also very different.

As mentioned by this author in an article published by the Strategic Culture Foundation on October 26, 2017, the goals of the Trump Administration are to get Iran to negotiate a new deal with Washington that includes Tehran’s foreign policy and defensive capabilities, such as Iranian ballistic missile production. It is worth repeating what was written in that 2017 article: “The US now wants to put almost everything, if not everything, on the table [with Iran]. Grand bargain or not, instead of dealing with various dossiers idiosyncratically the US wants to deal with them almost all at once ‘comprehensively’ or in ‘totality.’” This is why Trump refused to respect US commitments to the JCPOA and breached UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Iran has warned North Korea that the Trump Administration may not keep any deal it makes with the DPRK. Pyongyang is not unmindful of this either. North Korean leaders probably realize that Trump desires to make a nuclear deal on one front after he renounces a nuclear deal on another front and have also played this to their advantage.

At the end of the day, the biggest geopolitical winner of all these events—including Trump’s breach of the JCPOA, which guarantees Iran will look east to Beijing even further—is the People’s Republic of China. When the day comes, China will reap the benefits of peace and integration in the Korean Peninsula. An integrated Korea is in Beijing’s favour economically, just like how a totally denuclearized Korean Peninsula void of US nuclear weapons pointed at both North Korea and China also is.

Russian-Chinese Summit and the files of Iran and Korea القمّة الروسية الصينية وملفات إيران وكوريا

Russian-Chinese Summit and the files of Iran and Korea

يونيو 23, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The Russian-Chinese summit is held in Beijing while there is a talk about a Chinese-Korean dispute that is considered more probable to lead to a North Korean- American understanding without the knowledge of China, and a talk about a Russian-Iranian dispute that is considered more probable to lead to an American-Russian understanding without the knowledge of Iran and even at its expense. There are many titles on the agenda of the summit which includes the two main countries which exhaust the image of America as a superpower militarily, economically, politically, and morally. They succeeded in showing it during the last decade as a country that has a lot of debts and cannot wage a war, a country that sells its allies in public and in secret and breaks its promises. The beginning was a cooperation between Beijing and Moscow in 2007 through the double veto against the project of a US resolution in the UN Security Council on Myanmar which became a title of an open confrontation through the repetition of the double veto in the Syrian file in November 2011 to prevent the US unipolar of using the UN Security Council as a cover of the American policies since the fall of Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The debate which the Americans succeeded in its promoting to their rivals and opponents ensures that the domination of the media arena is still for the Americans and their allies, otherwise how to believe the assumptions of US-North Korea understanding without Russia or China? How does Korea quit its future and the sources of its power after half of a century of steadfastness just in exchange for American promises that the position of Washington towards the Iranian nuclear file reveals how they would be? But only if we believe the narration of the surrender of North Korea, However, we saw how the North Korean leader suggested the cancelation of the summit with the US President and we saw how the latter stuck to its holding. On the other hand how can we believe that there is a Russian-Iranian dispute about who will have an understanding with America first while the battle has not changed yet neither in Syria nor in the international arena? Furthermore the US sanctions are still pursuing Russia as they pursue Iran. In addition to the taxes and duties on iron and aluminum which target the Chinese economy, as the national security of China which is targeted by the maneuvers which are performed by Washington in the neighborhood, and what is related to the deployment of strategic weapons as the Thad missile system in South Korea and the sea parts in the China Sea?

During the separating decade from the first veto in which Russia and China participated to announce the end of the era of the US unipolar, Russia and China succeeded in launching Brix system and developing it, as they succeeded in forming frameworks for alliances in the same direction, and as they succeeded in making the war on Syria a turning point in the path of the US military interventions in the world. For the first time after the war of Yugoslavia and the war on Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya Washington hesitates and thinks fully then it disregards the wide military intervention since it knows that it will lose in the war on which it bet to change the rules of the international policy and to create a new Middle East. The Russian and the Chinese bilateral succeeded in building two regional scopes one in the south of Russia towards the borders of Saudi Arabia with Iraq, it  includes Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria and the other in the east and west of China, it includes North Korea, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. These two scopes have become the center of the major American strategies and interests in the world, due to their strategic position, geopolitical challenge, sources of energy, crossings, and waterways, and the power pipelines.

It is wrong to think that the Russian-Iranian relationship or the Korean or Iranian relationships with Russia and China are approaching their ends. This time is for linking the two regional scopes which are linked across Iran with Russia and China to become one scope. This time is the time of combatting the challenge of the international banking relationships which America sticks to. This time is the time of interest in attracting Europe to a central region between the Chinese-Russian axis and the American one. This time is the time of drawing new rules of the new political and economic relations in the world in the light of the confrontations witnessed by the world since the fall of Berlin Wall and the US unipolar on the international arena, after the success in overthrowing the US policy of war and half way of overthrowing the protection represented by the policies of the US sanctions through the examples of Iran and North Korea,  and their ability to withstand and to impose new equations as the Russian-Chinese interest and the Iranian-Korean interest. It is the time of more cohesion and more coordination, even if the maneuvers need initiatives as the Russian-Chinese position which refuses the nuclear weapon of Korea, or bartering the US presence in Syria with aspects of the Iranian presence. These pressing cards are made to be used in negotiation not in a war, exactly as the Syrian chemical weapons which end the US campaign on Syria by using in its real place as a tool to prevent the war by presenting it as a way for face-saving of America which failed to win the war.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

القمّة الروسية الصينية وملفات إيران وكوريا

يونيو 9, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– تنعقد القمة الروسية الصينية في بكين في ظروف يطغى عليها الحديث عن خلاف صيني كوري من جهة يرجّح تفاهماً بين كوريا الشمالية وأميركا من وراء ظهر الصين، وبالعكس خلاف روسي إيراني يرجّح تفاهماً أميركياً روسياً من وراء ظهر إيران بل على حسابها. والكثير من العناوين تنتظر على جدول أعمال القمة التي تضمّ البلدين الرئيسيين اللذين تسبّبا باستنزاف صورة أميركا كدولة عظمى عسكرياً واقتصادياً وسياسياً وأخلاقياً، ونجحا بإظهارها خلال العقد الأخير كدولة ترتهن للديون، وتعجز عن خوض الحرب، وتبيع الحلفاء في العلن والخفاء، وتتنكّر للعهود وتحنث بالوعود، وكانت البداية المتواضعة لتعاون بكين وموسكو في عام 2007 بالفيتو المزدوج الذي مارساه في إسقاط مشروع قرار أميركي في مجلس الأمن الدولي حول ماينمار، الذي صار عنواناً لمواجهة مفتوحة بتكرار الفيتو المزدوج في الملف السوري في تشرين الثاني 2011 وفي شباط عام 2012 قطعاً لسياق التفرّد الأميركي باستخدام مجلس الأمن الدولي غطاء أحادياً للسياسات الأميركية منذ سقوط جدار برلين وانهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي.

– النقاش الذي نجح الأميركيون بتصديره إلى ساحة منافسيهم وخصومهم يؤكد أنّ السيطرة على الساحة الإعلامية لا تزال للأميركيين وحلفائهم، وإلا كيف يمكن التصديق والدخول في مناقشة فرضيات من نوع إمكانية تفاهم كوري شمالي أميركي بلا روسيا والصين، وأن ترمي كوريا مستقبلها ومصادر قوّتها بعد نصف قرن من الصمود في الهواء بمجرد وعود أميركية تكشف طبيعتها مواقف واشنطن في الملف النووي الإيراني، إلا إذا صدّقنا رواية استسلام كوريا الشمالية. وقد رأينا الزعيم الكوري الشمالي يلوّح بإلغاء القمة مع الرئيس الأميركي ورأينا الأخير يتشبّث بعقدها. وفي المقابل كيف نصدّق تنازعاً روسياً إيرانياً على من يسبق الآخر بالتفاهم مع أميركا، والمعركة في ذروتها ولم تنته بعد لا في سورية ولا على الساحة الدولية، والعقوبات الأميركية تلاحق روسيا كما تلاحق إيران، والضرائب والرسوم على الحديد والألمنيوم تستهدف الاقتصاد الصيني كما تستهدف الأمن القومي للصين. المناورات التي تجريها واشنطن في الجوار، وما يتصل بنشر أسلحة استراتيجية مثل منظومة ثاد الصاروخية في كوريا الجنوبية، والقطع البحرية في بحر الصين؟

– خلال العقد الفاصل من الفيتو الأول الذي تشاركت فيه روسيا والصين لإعلان نهاية زمن الأحادية الأميركية، نجح الثنائي بإطلاق منظومة «بريكس» وتطويرها، كما نجح كلّ منهما في تشكيل أطر لتحالفات موازية بالاتجاه ذاته، ونجحا في جعل الحرب في سورية نقطة تحوّل في مسار التدخلات الأميركية العسكرية في العالم، فهي المرة الأولى بعد حرب يوغوسلافيا، والحرب على العراق وأفغانستان وليبيا، تتردّد واشنطن وتقيم الحسابات ثم تصرف النظر عن التدخل العسكري الواسع، وهي تعلم أنّ ثمن ذلك خسارتها للحرب، التي راهنت عليها لتغيير قواعد السياسة الدولية واستيلاد شرق أوسط جديد، وقد نجح الثنائي الروسي الصيني ببناء فضاءين إقليميّين، واحد جنوب روسيا وصولاً لحدود السعودية مع العراق، يضمّ تركيا وإيران والعراق وسورية، وثانٍ شرق الصين وغربها يضمّ كوريا الشمالية وباكستان والهند وأفغانستان، لا تملك واشنطن في التعامل معهما الكلمة الفصل دون الأخذ بالحساب مكانة وموقف ومصالح روسيا والصين. وقد صار هذان الفضاءان محور الاستراتيجيات والمصالح الأميركية الكبرى في العالم، لما يختزنان من موقع استراتيجي وتحدٍّ جيوسياسي، ومصادر للطاقة للمعابر والممرات المائية، وشبكات أنابيب الطاقة.

– واهم ومشتبه من يظن أنّ زمن الافتراق الروسي الصيني يقترب، أو مَن يتوهّم بأنّ العلاقات الكورية أو الإيرانية بروسيا والصين تهتزّ. فالزمن هو ربط الفضاءين الإقليميّين اللذين يتصلان عبر إيران بروسيا والصين ليصيرا فضاء واحداً. والزمن هو زمن التصدّي لتحدّي العلاقات المصرفية الدولية التي تُمسك بها أميركا، وزمن الاهتمام باستقطاب أوروبا إلى منطقة وسط بين المحور الصيني الروسي والمحور الأميركي. والزمن هو زمن رسم قواعد جديدة للعلاقات السياسية والاقتصادية الجديدة في العالم، في ضوء المواجهات التي شهدها العالم منذ سقوط جدار برلين والتفرّد الأميركي على الساحة الدولية، بعد النجاح في إسقاط سياسة الحرب الأميركية، وبلوغ منتصف الطريق في إسقاط جدران الحماية التي تمثلها سياسة العقوبات الأميركية بقوة نموذجَي إيران وكوريا الشمالية، وقدرتهما على الصمود وفرض المعادلات الجديدة، كمصلحة روسية صينية، كما هي مصلحة إيرانية وكورية، فهو زمن المزيد من التماسك والمزيد من التنسيق، ولو اقتضت المناورات مبادرات من نوع الموقف الروسي الصيني الرافض لسلاح نووي في كوريا، أو عنوان مقايضة الوجود الأميركي في سورية ببعض وجوه الحضور الإيراني، فهذه أوراق قوّة تمّ تصنيعها لتستعمل في التفاوض وليس في الحرب، تماماً كما السلاح الكيميائي السوري الذي تمّ إجهاض الحملة الأميركية على سورية، باستعماله في مكانه الحقيقي، كأداة لمنع الحرب، عبر تقديمه سبيلاً لحفظ ماء الوجه للأميركي الذي خاب رهانه على الفوز بالحرب.

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Trump – Kim Summit قمة ترامب كيم

Trump – Kim Summit

يونيو 23, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The Summit which brought together the US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a historic international event that is almost similar to the normalization of the US-Chinese relationships four decades ago during the visit of the former US President Richard Nixon to Beijing. The document signed by the two presidents has a special value as it has interpretations and meanings due to the surrounding contexts. The title of the joint document is similar to the framework which surrounded the Iranian nuclear agreement and paved the way for its birth after months through Iran’s commitment not to possess a nuclear weapons in exchange for America’s commitment to lift the sanctions, while in Korea there are US security and economic guarantees in exchange for a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

The first title resulted from the meeting is as much as it is a confirmation of a mutual desire to reach to a peaceful solution to the crisis, it asserts that if North Korea did not have a nuclear arsenal that would threaten America it would not get the interest of the US President who belittles his allies and treats them arrogantly as France and Britain which are superpowers. This interest, this friendly language, and this message may be of Iran’s interest which committed not to possess nuclear weapons and implemented its commitments with the testimony of the International Atomic Energy Agency but it got only renunciation, as the US treatment of Iran which will be of Korea’s interest regarding the fate of pledges after the end of the threat of the Korean nuclear weapons.

The second title which will turn into a practical question is will Washington within the concept of nuclear disarmament  from the Korean Peninsula remove its arsenal from it, including the Thad strategic missiles which worry China? Will Korea dismantle and destroy its weapons or will it send it to out of Korea to China or Russia? Respectively, will Korea demand a Russian-Chinese guarantee to protect its weapons from any aggression in exchange for keeping its nuclear weapons? Or will it accept the risk of just having US guarantees that it knows already that they may turn into words that can be denied? How can China or Russia be partners in guarantees without being partners in the feeling of security with the US commitment to remove the worrying missiles from South Korea?

The third title is economy; Korea is not as Iran the oil, industrial, agricultural country which does not need but to lift the sanctions to be interested economically. What it needs to develop its economy is more than opening markets and lifting sanctions. It is a country that needs at least one billion dollars to launch a comprehensive development project after years of suffering and austerity to the extent of famine. It spent what it has on its nuclear project to bargain it someday with these billions, so how can it obtain them without South Korea, Japan, China and maybe Europe? Can this be achieved without their partnership in making the integrated solution? Knowing that the US President is treating everyone including his Japanese and Korean partners in a way that does not make them feel as partners.

Maybe the US President finds it easy to distinguish the Korean state from the Iranian one in terms of its non- interfering with the confused files which of America’s interest as Israel’s security, domination on oil and gas markets, the wars of Syria and Yemen, and the future of Iraq. However the Koreans and the Americans know that the internationalizing of the negotiations and the understandings is a mutual undeniable need as it is a way to link the other international files.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

قمة ترامب كيم

يونيو 13, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– تشكّل القمة التي جمعت الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب والزعيم الكوري الشمالي كيم جونغ أون حدثاً دولياً تاريخياً، يكاد يشبه تطبيع العلاقات الأميركية الصينية، قبل أربعة عقود، مع زيارة الرئيس الأميركي الأسبق ريتشارد نيكسون لبكين، ومثلما تمنح الوثيقة التي وقعها الرئيسان قيمة خاصة، تمنحها التعرّجات التي شهدتها والسياقات التي ولدت فيها تفسيرات ومعانيَ، فالعنوان الذي حملته الوثيقة المشتركة يشبه اتفاق الإطار الذي ولد حول التفاهم النووي الإيراني ومهّد لودلاته الناجزة بعد شهور، لجهة التزام إيران بعدم السعي لامتلاك سلاح نووي والالتزام الأميركي بفك العقوبات عنها. وفي كوريا ضمانات أميركية أمنية واقتصادية مقابل شبه جزيرة كورية خالية من السلاح النووي.

قمّة «سنغافورة»... كيف قوبلت في إسرائيل؟

– العنوان الأول الذي يطرحه اللقاء وما نتج عنه هو أنّه بقدر ما يمثل تأكيداً للرغبة المتبادلة بالوصول لحل سلمي للأزمة، فهو يؤكد أنه لو لم تكن لدى كوريا ترسانة نووية تهدّد أميركا لما استحقت من الرئيس الأميركي، الذي يستخفّ بحلفائه ويعاملهم بغطرسة وعنجهية، وأغلبهم من الدول العظمى، كفرنسا وبريطانيا، هذا الاهتمام وهذه اللغة الناعمة والودودة، وهذه الرسالة ربما تكون موضع قراءة في إيران التي التزمت بعدم امتلاك سلاح نووي وطبّقت التزامها بشهادة وكالة الطاقة الذرية الدولية ولم تلقَ إلا التنكّر للالتزامات، وبالمثل ستكون المعاملة الأميركية لإيران موضع عناية كورية لجهة مصير التعهّدات عندما يزول تهديد السلاح النووي الكوري لأميركا.

– العنوان الثاني الذي سيتحوّل سؤالاً عملياً، هل ستزيل واشنطن ضمن مفهوم نزع السلاح النووي من شبه الجزيرة الكورية ترسانتها منها، وضمناً صواريخ الثاد الاستراتيجية التي تقلق الصين. وبالمقابل هل ستسلك كوريا طريق تفكيك سلاحها وتدميره أم طريق إيداعه خارج كوريا، وبالتالي لدى الصين وروسيا؟ وبالتتابع هل سيكون من ضمن الضمانات التي تطلبها كوريا ضمان روسي صيني لحمايتها من أي عدوان، مقابل إيداع السلاح النووي لديهما، أم ستقبل المخاطرة بالاكتفاء بضمانات أميركية تدرك سلفاً أنها قابلة للتحوّل مجرد كلمات يمكن التنكّر لها عند أول منعطف؟ وكيف سيكون للصين وروسيا شراكة في الضمانات بدون شراكة في الشعور بالأمن بالتزام أميركي بنزع الصواريخ المقلقة من كوريا الجنوبية؟

– العنوان الثالث في الاقتصاد، فكوريا ليست إيران البلد النفطي والصناعي والزراعي الذي لا يحتاج إلا فك العقوبات كي ينطلق اقتصادياً، فما تحتاجه لتنمية اقتصادها أكبر من مجرد فتح الأسواق وإلغاء العقوبات. وهي بلد يحتاج لمئة مليار دولار على الأقل لإطلاق مشروع تنمية شاملة بعد سنوات من المعاناة والتقشف وصولاً حدّ المجاعة. وقد أنفقت كل ما بين يديها على مشروعها النووي لتقايضه يوماً ما بهذه المليارات، وكيف يمكن الحصول عليها من دون كوريا الجنوبية واليابان والصين، وربما أوروبا أيضاً، وهل يمكن أن يتحقق ذلك بدون شراكة كل هؤلاء في صناعة الحل المتكامل، فيما الرئيس الأميركي يعامل الجميع بمن فيهم شركاؤه اليابانيون والكوريون بلغة لا تشعرهم بأنهم شركاء؟

– قد يسهل على الرئيس الأميركي تمييز الحالة الكورية عن الحالة الإيرانية، لجهة عدم التداخل بينها وبين الملفات الشائكة التي تهم أميركا كأمن «إسرائيل»، والهيمنة على أسواق النفط والغاز، وحروب سورية واليمن، ومستقبل العراق، لكن في نهاية المطاف يعرف الكوريون والأميركيون أن تدويل المفاوضات والتفاهمات حاجة متبادلة لا يمكن تفاديها، والتدويل طريق للربط بالملفات الدولية الأخرى لا للانفكاك عنها.

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واشنطن تقاتل بلا أمل على خمس جبهات

يونيو 20, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لا يمكن توهّم المعارك التي تشهدها سياسياً وعسكرياً مناطق التوتر والتصعيد الكبرى في العالم كمناطق منعزلة بعضها عن البعض الآخر، بينما على كل من هذه الجبهات توجد واشنطن مباشرة بقواتها أو بدبلوماسييها، أو غير مباشرة عبر حلفاء يقاتلون لحسابها أو لحسابهم وحسابها معاً، بصورة لا تنكر واشنطن صلتها بما يجري، بل بإعلان أميركي واضح عن المسؤولية المباشرة في قيادة المواجهات، تستوي في ذلك معارك التفاوض حول الملفين النوويين لكوريا الشمالية وإيران، وحرب الجنوب والشمال في سورية، وحرب الحدود والوجود في العراق، وحرب اليمن، تشكيل الحكومة في لبنان.

– في الجبهات النووية ترابط لا مفرّ منه، فما تلتزم به واشنطن لبيونغ يانغ يطرح سؤالاً مباشراً، وماذا لو خرجت من التزاماتها كما حدث مع إيران؟ وما تريده واشنطن من عقوبات على إيران لجلبها مجدداً للتفاوض يستدعي التزام أوروبا بالعقوبات، والالتزام الأوروبي يعني ذهاب إيران نحو التخصيب المرتفع وامتلاك مخزون كافٍ لتصنيع قنبلة نووية لا تريد واشنطن مواجهة مخاطرها، ولا تملك في مواجهتها بدائل جاهزة. ومع كوريا ترغب واشنطن بالثنائية دون دور للصين وروسيا، لكنها لا تستطيع تفادي ترجمة إخلاء بالسلاح النووي من شبه الجزيرة بنقل السلاح النووي الكوري الشمالي إلى روسيا والصين، وثمن الاستضافة شراكة، وثمن الشراكة إخلاء صواريخ الثاد من كوريا الجنوبية وفقدان مهابة الأميركي المنتصر.

– في سورية تقاتل أميركا للاحتفاظ بقدرتها على التحكم بالحدود السورية العراقية. وهي لا تريد نصراً عسكرياً سورياً خالصاً في الجنوب ينتهي بوجود إيران وحزب الله على مقربة من حدود الجولان. وقد تعهدت لـ«إسرائيل» بتوظيف وجودها في قاعدة التنف لمقايضة هذا الوجود بامتناع إيران وحزب الله من الانتشار جنوباً، فتقصف الحشد الشعبي لضمان تقدّم ميليشات مدعومة منها لاحتلال مواقع في الحدود وتفشل، وتتنصل، وتحاول تحسين شروط التسوية الجنوبية لنقل قاعدة التنف إلى معبر الوحيد، فتلاقي الرفض. وتتقدم الوحدات العسكرية السورية إيذاناً ببدء المعركة وإعلان فشل التفاوض فتسارع واشنطن لتحريك مندوبيها للتواصل مع موسكو تسريعاً للمحادثات.

– في العراق واشنطن تريد الحدود وتريد ضمان بقاء الوجود، وتدرك أن الانتخابات التي راهنت على نتائجها تنزلق من بين أيديها، وأن ما ظنّته ربحاً يتحوّل خسارة. فالتكتلان النيابيان اللذان يجتمعان لتشكيل نواة تحالف حكومي جديد، يلتزمان بالانسحاب الأميركي من العراق، وبسلاح الحشد الشعبي، ويثبت أن الرهان السعودي على تموضع السيد مقتدى الصدر قد خاب، وأن الشرط الذي وضعه الأميركيون للتسهيل وهو ضمان عودة رئيس الحكومة حيدر العبادي لتشكيل الحكومة الجديدة قد يتسبّب بإنهاء مسيرة العبادي سياسياً وإبقائه خارج التحالف الحكومي. وربما ينتهي التكتل الذي يقوده إلى التفكك، وعندما تضغط واشنطن على الحشد الشعبي عسكرياً في الحدود مع سورية، تنفتح عليها مخاطر مواجهة قواتها في العراق لعمليات الانتقام، فتتنصل من الهجوم وتحيله على «إسرائيل». وتدور اللعبة في حلقة مقفلة لا مفرّ من الخيبة فيها.

– في اليمن حرب وضعت السعودية والإمارات ثقلهما المالي والسياسي والعسكري للفوز بحلقتها الحاسمة في السيطرة على مدينة الحُدَيْدة ومطارها ومينائها على البحر الأحمر. وبعد أسابيع رمى حلفاء واشنطن بكل ما بين أيديهم في المحرقة، وأعلنوا النصر الكبير، لكن الساعات التالية تكشّفت عن خسائر لا تُحصى وعن فخاخٍ وحصارٍ، وعودة أنصار الله واللجان الشعبية للإمساك بزمام المبادرة ومعارك كر وفر لم تنته، والحصيلة خسائر فادحة دون إنجاز ثابت، وعجز عن التمركز حتى ولو لالتقاط صورة تذكارية أمام لافتة المطار أو بث مباشر من إحدى قاعاته التي تمّ الإعلان عن سقوطها تحت سيطرة المهاجمين من الصباح الباكر. بينما يبثّ أنصار الله صور القتلى بالعشرات والآليات المحروقة للمهاجمين وفيديوات حية للمعارك التي خاضها مقاتلو اللجان والجيش، وبعدما ينجلي غبار المعارك ستكون الخيبة الكبرى للأميركيين يمنية.

– في لبنان حيث المعادلة واضحة بفوز نيابي لحماة سلاح المقاومة، محاولة تمييع وتلاعب بقواعد تشكيل الحكومة، ووضع سقوف تتيح السيطرة عليها بالاحتيال، لمنع تحقيق الحلقة الأولى من برنامج رئيس الجمهورية بالتعاون مع الحكومة السورية لبدء عودة النازحين، وإلا بقاء البلد بلا حكومة طالما النتيجة الأولى لها هي بدء عودة النازحين بمعزل عن الإرادة الغربية باستعمال هذه الورقة للضغط التفاوضي في سورية، لكن أوروبا تتخوّف من أن يتحوّل الفشل في تشكيل حكومة سريعاً إلى سبب لفوضى تبدأ معها عفوياً أو بصورة مبرمجة حركتان للنازحين، واحدة نحو سورية بتعاون أمني لبناني سوري لا ينتظر تشكيل الحكومة، وثانية نحو أوروبا بغضّ نظر أو تشجيع لبناني، فيعكس سيف التعطيل الحكومي الأهداف منه.

– العناد الأميركي سيضيّع فرص تسويات يمكن تجرّع خسائرها، وربما يضع واشنطن وحلفاءها أمام خسائر يصعب تحملها، وبديلها مواجهة أصعب. وليس في واشنطن ولا بين حلفائها عاقل ينصح بعدم تضييع الفرص، فزمن التحكم بالأقدار قد ولّى.

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