Reply to Paul Craig Roberts’ crucial question

The Saker

September 07, 2018

[This article was written for the Unz Review]

In a recent article, Paul Craig Roberts directly asked me a very important question. Here is the relevant part of this article (but please make sure to read the full article to understand where Paul Craig Roberts is coming from and why he is raising this absolutely crucial issue):

Andrei Martyanov, whose book I recently reviewed on my website, recently defended Putin, as The Saker and I have done in the past, from claims that Putin is too passive in the face of assaults. https://russia-insider.com/en/russia-playing-long-game-no-room-instant-gratification-strategies-super-patriots/ri24561 As I have made the same points, I can only applaud Martyanov and The Saker. Where we might differ is in recognizing that endlessly accepting insults and provocations encourages their increase until the only alternative is surrender or war.

So, the questions for Andrei Martyanov, The Saker, and for Putin and the Russian government is: How long does turning your other cheek work? Do you turn your other cheek so long as to allow your opponent to neutralize your advantage in a confrontation? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you lose the support of the patriotic population for your failure to defend the country’s honor? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you are eventually forced into war or submission? Do you turn your other cheek so long that the result is nuclear war?

I think that Martyanov and The Saker agree that my question is a valid one

First let me immediately state that I do find this question valid, crucial even, and that is a question which I have been struggling with for several years now and that still keeps me up at night. I think that this question ought to be raised more often, especially by those who care for peace and oppose imperialism in all its forms and I am grateful to Paul Craig Roberts for raising it.

Second, considering the overall nastiness of so much of the pro-Russian blogosphere and so-called “alternative media”, I want to go on record by saying that I have the utmost respect for Paul Craig Roberts, especially for his remarkable courage and intellectual honesty. At times I might not agree with everything Paul Craig Roberts writes, but I never forget that he is most definitely a real American patriot and a true friend of Russia. I consider him a precious ally in my own struggles.

Having clarified this, let me turn to Paul Craig Roberts’ question.

First, I will begin by questioning the very premise of this question and ask whether it is true that Russia has a policy of “turning the other cheek”?

In my opinion, that is a mistaken assumption. For one thing, Russia does not have “a” foreign policy, but several very different policies towards different countries and situations. I won’t list them all here, but I will mention two which are most often mentioned in this context: Syria and the Ukraine.

These are dramatically different conflicts with profoundly different characteristics:

Syria The Ukraine
Risk of direct superpower confrontation between Russia and the USA Yes No (only indirect)
Risk of a local incident escalating into a full scale and nuclear war High Very low
Proximity to the Russian border No Yes
Overwhelming force advantage US/CENTCOM/NATO Russian military
Presence of a large Russian population No Yes
(Russian) Popular mandate for the use of force if needed Supportive but cautious (not a blank check) Strong (in case of Russian counter-attack to save Novorussia)
Risk of political blowback if Russia is forced to escalate or intervene Limited (the EU has more or less accepted that Russia is in Syria, and even the US and Israel have) Very high (in the EU)
Russian intervention justifiable under international law Yes, self-evidently Yes, but not self-evidently
Major economic and social consequences (for Russia) from the conflict’s outcome No Yes
Is Russia pressed for time to resolve this conflict? No No

As you see, out of 10 characteristics the conflicts in the Ukraine and Syria have only one in common: that Russia is under no time pressure to resolve them. In fact, I would argue that time is very strongly playing to the advantage of Russia in both conflicts (note that I did not say that the local populations in the Ukraine and Syria are in the same position as Russia – for them every passing day is a nightmare).

The two most important comparative characteristics are the risk of the conflict escalating into a full scale and direct superpower confrontation which, by itself, could easily escalate into a nuclear war. This is most unlikely in the Ukraine and very possible in Syria.

Why?

Just look at the current stand-offs taking place in the two countries: in the Ukraine the Novorussians are warning of a concentration of Ukronazi armor near Mariupol; in Syria the Russian Navy and Aerospace Forces are poised to sink USN ships if given the order. See the difference in magnitude and quality?!

For these reasons I believe that we need to look at the Russian stance in these two conflicts separately.

Syria

I have written a lot about the Russian stance in Syria and I will therefore only provide a short bullet-point type summary

  • The conflict in Syria places in very close proximity Russian and US forces. Furthermore, the Russian military task force in and near Syria is very small and cannot resist against a determined US/CENTCOM/NATO attack. If attacked, the Russians will rapidly have to use their long-range cruise missiles which are based (or in port) in Russia. What will the US do if that happens?
  • There is no reason whatsoever to believe that the US side will react rationally (or even proportionally) if US bases or ships are destroyed in a Russian counter-attack: the political pressure to “teach the Russians a lesson”, to show that the US “has the greatest military in history” and all the rest of the typical US flag-waving nonsense will force Trump to show that he is the MAGA-President. The current US elites are not only “non-agreement capable”, but they are also ignorant, stupid, arrogant, and they also have an immense sense of self-righteousness, a messianic ideology and a religious belief in total impunity. To assume that the US is a “rational actor” would be highly illogical and, in the case of a possible nuclear war, completely irresponsible.
  • Vladimir Putin was elected by the Russian people to protect and preserve their interests, not the interests of the people of the Ukraine or Syria. First and foremost, his main obligation is to protect the people of Russia and that, in turn, means that he must do everything possible to avoid a superpower confrontation from which the people of Russia would immensely suffer.

I personally fully support the Russian decision to intervene in Syria, but I have been very worried about the dangers inherent to such an operation from day 1. So far, I believe that the Russians have done a superb job: they have saved the Syrian people from the Takfiri nightmare, they have made it possible for the Syrian government to survive and liberate most of the Syrian people, and they have comprehensively defeated the plans A, B, C, D, etc. of already two (rather nasty, if incompetent) US Administrations. So far, the Russian intervention in Syria is a stunning success. This is also why the US Americans are so desperate for anything which would look like a “victory” for the “greatest nation on earth”, “land of the free, home of the brave” bla, bla, bla… And yet, for this Russian operation to become a real success Russia must do all she can to simultaneously increase the potential costs of intervention for the AngloZionists while denying them any political rewards of a US/Israeli attack. I would not call this “turning the other cheek” but rather I would refer to it as “absorbing blow after blow (especially when the “blows” are ineffective to the point of being almost totally symbolic ones!) until your opponents run out of steam while changing the reality on the ground“. Compare the situation in Syria 2 years ago and today, and tell me: who is winning this one?

The only possible conclusion is that, at least so far, the Russian policy towards Syria has been an immense success.

Now let’s look at the conflict in the Ukraine

The Ukraine

Here, I must confess, I am much more dubious. First, while I understand that this was a tough call, I have to admit that I still wonder whether it was the right thing to do to recognize the Ukronazi junta that came to power in Kiev. Why did the Kremlin agree to deal with them when they so clearly came to power as a result of a violent neo-Nazi coup, executed by a small number of hardcore extremists, and in direct violation of an international agreement signed just the day before? If in the EU it is legal to ban swastikas or even “revisionist books” (and jail people for writing them!), how is it that a bona fide Nazi regime which came to power by violence is instantly recognized? Well, we know that the AngloZionist Empire is the pinnacle of hypocrisy, but the recognition of this gang of corrupt and hate-filled thugs by Russia raises a lot of very disturbing questions. Finally, how hard was it for the Russians to see that the only possible outcome from a Nazi coup in Kiev was a civil war? After all, if I, using only open sources could predict the civil war in the Ukraine as early as on November 30th 2013, then surely the immense and highly competent Russian intelligence community had come to the same conclusions many months and even years before I did! So why did the Kremlin recognize a regime which would immediately start a bloody civil war? Again, disturbing questions.

Still, I won’t second-guess the Kremlin since the President and his aides had much more information upon which to take their decision than I do, even now in hindsight. I am much more bothered by the lack of Russian economic sanctions against the Ukraine, especially in the face of an almost never-ending stream of atrocities, provocations and hostile acts. It does appear that following the Ukronazi acts of piracy in the Sea of Azov, the Russians have finally decided that enough is enough and that the Ukros need to pay a high price (in economic terms) for their acts of piracy. But that is very little very late. What will it take to really get Russia serious? A bloody Ukronazi terrorist attack in Russia maybe?

Now, following the murder of Alexandr Zakharchenko, an increasing number of Russian politicians and public figures are calling for the recognition of the DNR and LNR by Russia. Frankly, I can only agree with this. Enough is enough, especially since there is nobody to negotiate with in Kiev, and there won’t be for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, the junta in power needs to pay for its constant provocations and I believe that Russia should slap some severe economic sanctions on the Ukronazi leaders and on the Ukraine itself. Just look at these two facts and tell me if you also see a problem here:

  1. The Russian FSB (whose investigators are in Donetsk) has declared that the Ukrainian SBU is behind the murder of Alexandr Zakharchenko
  2. Russia is the biggest economic investor in the Ukraine

Does that make sense to you?!

As for the Minsk Agreements, which were stillborn anyway, the Ukronazis have proven in words and in deeds that they have no intention whatsoever to implement them. I understand that the decision-makers in the Kremlin also realize that and that their goal is not to wait and hope for the Ukros to begin implementing these Agreements, but to use these Agreements as a “hook” to keep slowly weakening the regime in Kiev. Likewise, I do see the advantage of not recognizing the LNR/DNR: just like the USA created an anti-Russia in the Ukraine, so did the Russians create an anti-Ukraine in the Donbass. However, I think that this strategy has now outlived its usefulness and that the protection of the people of the Donbass should be considered more important than the weakening of the Nazi regime in Kiev. And yet, the spokesman for Vladimir Putin has just declared (yet again) that:

After the perpetration of this terrorist attack it is very difficult to discuss anything with the Ukrainian side, but this does not mean that Russia is withdrawing from the Minsk process,”

Does that make sense to you?!

If/when the Russian military openly intervenes in the Donbass (like it did in Crimea) there is absolutely nothing the Ukros, NATO, the EU or the US will be able to do about it. This is not Syria and here the Russians have a huge, overwhelming, military advantage.

[Sidebar: this is why in military terms, all this “surrounding” of Russia by US/NATO military bases is nonsensical. As are the Baltic/Polish requests to host US/NATO bases on their territory. Modern superpower conflicts won’t really have frontlines and rears but are mostly fought throughout the depth of the theater of war. By placing US/NATO bases so close to Russia the Empire only makes the list of Russian weapons systems which can strike them longer and longer, resulting on more firepower and more redundancy for the Russian attack. This entire “encirclement” business is typical Neocon ideological nonsense. My favorite one? When the USN sails ships into the Black Sea where the survival time of any ship is measured in minutes once the Russians decide to sink it. Ditto for the Persian Gulf which is a terrible place to send USN ships, by the way. Should the Empire order a strike on Iran, it would probably begin by flushing all the USN ships out of the Persian Gulf (unless the Pentagon wants a tripwire force or a repeat of the “Liberty” false flag operation as pretext for attack)]

Not only will the Ukroarmy cease to function as a fighting force in 24-36 hours (most men will survive, by the way, but as combat subunits and units the Ukroarmy will cease to exist), but NATO will be in no position whatsoever to intervene. There is no risk of escalation in the Donbass, especially not a nuclear one. However, unlike Syria, any overt Russian intervention in the Donbass will have immense political consequences in Europe: all the tiny timid baby-steps that were taken by EU leaders to have some kind of independent foreign policy (I think of North Stream 2 for example) will be immediately crushed by a huge chorus of Russophobic hysteria coming out of AngloZionist puppet regimes in eastern Europe.

Truth be told, so far the Russian policy of sending equipment (the Voentorg) and specialists (the North Wind) has been very successful. The Russians managed to defeat the Ukronazis without direct intervention (with some minor exceptions like a few special ops, a few artillery strikes and some help to create a de facto air exclusion zone over the Donbass). The problem is that with Poroshenko being so unpopular and the Ukraine becoming a failed state (which it has been for a while already), the junta could well decide to attack again with (at least on paper) a re-organized, re-trained, re-equipped and much beefed up military force. And if they lose to the Novorussians – which they mostly likely will – then they can blame all their own self-inflicted disasters on Russian military intervention.

Finally, as I have written in the past, the big problem is that the AngloZionists risk very little in telling their Ukronazi proxies to attack Novorussia. Oh sure, a lot of Ukrainians will die, but the AngloZionists don’t care, and if the Ukroarmy is capable enough to force a Russian military intervention, then the Empire wins politically. The only bad scenario for the Empire would be for the LNR/DNR forces to be able to defeat the Urkos for a third time, again without any overt Russian intervention, which is a distinct possibility.

From a Russian point of view, I understand that an open intervention in the Donbass would be very costly in political and economic terms. However, I do believe that it is not an ‘all or nothing’ situation. Russia does not have to choose between doing nothing and sending her tanks into Kiev. Russia does have the option of tightening the screws on Kiev without going overboard. At the very least, Russia could implement painful economic sanctions. The Kremlin could also tell the regime in Kiev that there are red lines (including terrorist attacks in Novorussia, Crimea, or elsewhere in Russia), which should not be crossed and that Russia will not stand by for any Ukronazi provocation.

In conclusion of this section, I will say that the Russian policy towards the Ukraine has been a mixed bag with some real successes mixed in with some probably less than ideal responses. I believe that the Kremlin ought to consider political and economic means to retaliate against the Ukronazi policies while staying clear of any overt military operation for as long as possible (i.e., that is unless the Urkonazis threaten to over-run Novorussia).

Having compared and contrasted these two conflicts, let’s now look at the bigger picture. After all, Paul Craig Roberts is speaking about the future of our entire planet with his question: “Can War Be Avoided and the Planet Saved?”. And he is absolutely correct: what is at stake here is not just the outcome of a local or regional conflict, but the future of our entire planet.

The bigger picture: the existential war between Russia and the Empire

The USA and Russia have been at war for several years now. Yes, this war is roughly 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic. But this can change very rapidly. The main reasons for this war are not just the usual mix of grand power rivalries, economic and financial struggles, the desire to control raw materials or strategic geographical locations. These are all present this time too, but the deeper reason for this war is that Russia and the USA represent two mutually exclusive civilizational models. Very succinctly, Russia wants a multi-polar world in which each country is free to develop as its people see fit and in which international law regulates relations between nations. The Empire stands, well, for itself, of course. Meaning that it wants a single world hegemony ruled by the AngloZionists. Furthermore, Russia stands for traditional moral and spiritual values whereas the Empire stands for greed, globalism and the destruction of all traditions and moral values. It is pretty self-evident that these two systems cannot coexist. They present existential threats to each other. Russia will either become sovereign or enslaved. The Empire will either control the planet or crumble. Tertium non datur.

The Russians fully understand that, as do the leaders of the transnational AngloZionist Empire. You think that I am exaggerating?  Well, see for yourself what Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had to say on this topic: (emphasis added)

We are witnessing historic changes across the entire threat landscape … The balance of power that has characterized the international system for decades has been corroding. America’s unipolar moment is at risk. Power vacuums are springing up across the globe and are quickly filled by hostile nation-states, terrorists and transnational criminals. They all share a common goal: They want to disrupt our way of life — and many are inciting chaos, instability and violence

Except for the totally hypocritical comment at the end about “chaos, instability and violence” (which are, by far, the biggest US exports), she is spot on.  Hence the current tensions.

There is the very real possibility that this war will suddenly become 100% kinetic. The Russians also understand that, and this is why they have been preparing for WWIII for several years now. As I have already stated many times, the US armed forces are in no condition to fight a conventional war against Russia, and the recent Russian advances in military technology have pretty much rendered the US Navy and Air Force more or less useless. The US nuclear triad, however, is still fully functional and is more than sufficient to destroy Russia.

Russia has therefore also dramatically increased her strategic deterrence capabilities and in effect rendered all the US ABM efforts useless. Following the old motto si vis pacem, para bellum, Russia has now developed an entire family of new weapons systems designed to deter the US from any attack (see Andrei Martyanov’s analysis hereand my own here). Putin’s plan is quite evident: he hopes that Russia will be able to convince the leaders of the United States that an attack on Russia would be suicidal. Now all Russia can do is try to do everything in her power to avoid such a conflict.

Paul Craig Roberts presents us with a very bleak picture when he says that:

The people in the West with whom he is dealing are idiots who do not appreciate his statesmanship. Consequently, each time Putin turns the other cheek, so to speak, the insults and the provocations ratchet upward (…) The reason I think Putin needs to do a better job of standing up to Washington is that I think, based on history, that appeasement encourages more provocations, and it comes to a point when you have to surrender or fight.

Sadly, I can only totally agree with Paul Craig Roberts, and I explained that in my article Each “Click” Brings Us Closer To The Bang!” which I concluded with the following words:

I can’t ignore the fact that each “click” brings us one step closer to the “bang.” And that suggests to me that the only real solution to this perilous situation is to find a way to remove the finger pressing on the trigger or, better, take away the gun from the nutcase threatening us all with it.

This is, I think, the core of the Russian policy towards the United States: trying to find a way to get the AngloZionst finger off the US nuclear trigger. This is a difficult and complicated task which can only be tackled very carefully, one step at a time. And yes, this strategy does imply that, at times, they seem to meekly “turn the other cheek” when in reality they are trying not to give the nutcase a reason to open up.

Think of it this way: what is the biggest mistake the USA is currently making? The US leaders do not realize (or, worse, do not care) that US actions are pushing Russia into a corner from which she cannot retreat. They are thus forcing Russia to stand her ground including, if needed, by military force. What would be the point of the Russians doing precisely the same thing, pushing the Neocons into a corner from which they would perceive that they cannot retreat? Please keep in mind that understanding what is unacceptable to your enemy (to reach the “breaking point” in negotiations theory) does not at all imply that you agree with your enemy’s values or point of view. We don’t have to find the AngloZionist messianic ideology and worldview as anything but repugnant and delusional to understand the fact that if openly and directly challenged the AngloZionists will strike out, most likely in a completely irresponsible and even suicidal manner. Thus the only possible strategy is to slowly weaken the Empire without ever giving its leaders the unambiguous signal that what Russia is really seeking is their complete demise. And, again, if that means giving them the illusion that Russia is “turning the other cheek”, then that is the price to pay to buy more time and further weaken the Empire.

That strategy, however, cannot be sustained forever, if only because appeasement does invite further abuse. Each time Russia successfully avoids WWIII the imbeciles in Washington DC interpret this as a further sign that “Russia is weak, and we are strong, we are the best, we are invincible!” and plan a further escalation of tensions and hostilities.

This is why I think that each conflict needs to be looked at on a case by case basis. In Syria, appearing to be “turning the other cheek” to avoid WWIII makes sense. In the Ukraine where such a risk does not exist, this strategy needs to be fundamentally reassessed. In Syria, Russian and US forces are in direct proximity, facing each other; in the Ukraine, however, the Ukronazi forces are a proxy for NATO, and thus they act like a buffer which reduces the risks of rapid uncontrolled escalation. Russia can use that to her advantage.

I also want to add this: should Russia decide to push-back in a more energetic manner, she will not do that across the board, but only in specific instances and specific conflicts. A stronger push-back in Syria will not automatically signal a stronger push-back in the Ukraine, and vice-versa. Russian military strategy places great importance on the concentration of forces on the main axis of attack, not across the entire battle area and so do Russian politicians. This entire notion of “being tough on” (crime, drugs, terror, etc.) is very US American. Russians don’t think this way at all. They will study the full disposition of the enemy and pick the one spot where a (counter-)attack makes most sense. So don’t expect Putin to suddenly stop “turning the other cheek” and “get tough with the Americans”. It simply won’t happen this way. In some spots the Russians will appear to give in, while in others they will increase the pressure. That is how all wars are won.

The internal factor: the 5th columnists

As I have mentioned many times in the past, Vladimir Putin also has to contend with a pro-Western and pro-Zionist 5th column inside the Kremlin and, more generally, inside the state apparatus. I call this 5th column the Atlantic Integrationists (as opposed to the Eurasian Sovereignists), but we could also call them the Washington Consensus/IMF/WTO/WB/etc/ or follow the example of Gary Littlejohn and call them “supporters of international financial institutions” (except that rather calling them “supporters” I would refer to them as “agents”). But whatever term we choose to use, it is crucial to always keep in mind that this 5th column remains the biggest threat Putin and Russia are facing and Putin has to keep that in mind in every decision that he makes. So far, these 5thcolumnists have focused mostly on what is dear to their hearts – money issues and internal politics – and left the military and security services to deal with what is dear to their hearts: the protection of Russian sovereignty and foreign policy. But you can be sure that if Putin ever makes a mistake (or even if he doesn’t, but only appears to make one) they will pounce on him and do everything they can to either outright oust him or, at least, force him and his supporters to agree to their treacherous agenda: to return to the nightmare of the 1990s: a total sellout of Russia to the AngloZionists.

Conclusion: simple perceptions vs a complex reality

So is Russia acting like a bully (like the US/EU say), or adequately responding when needed (as most Putin supporters believe) or does she meekly turn the other cheek (as Paul Craig Roberts concludes)? I would say that none of these characterizations are correct and that the reality is just far more complex.

For one thing, the examples of South Ossetia and Crimea show that Putin is willing, when needed, to take forceful military action. But in other cases, he prefers to delay any confrontation. In the case of Syria, this makes sense. In the case of the Ukraine, less so. Furthermore, Russia is still only a partially sovereign country and the power of the 5th columnists still strongly influences Russian decision making, especially in non-time-critical cases (South Ossetia and Crimea being perfect examples of a time-critical situation). This is why Russian actions often appear as contradictory zig-zags (even when they are not). Russians also still have a rather weak public relations capability (for examples, see herehere and here)

This perception problem is made worse by the regrettable fact that much of the English language Russia-focused blogosphere has been roughly split:

  • On the one hand, mindless cheerleading combined with emphatic denials that there are any problems at all.
  • On the other hand, defeatist “all is lost” or “Putin sold out” kind of commentary only serving to confuse the matter further.

They are all equally wrong. Worse, they both damage Russia in general and Putin in particular (sadly, most of them have sold out to their financial sponsors and are more interested in pleasing this or that oligarch than about being truthful).

Russian policies should be viewed dialectically: as evolving processes which often contain the seeds of their own contradiction, but which still end up being tremendously successful at the end, at least so far. Rather than hoping for perfection or infallibility from Putin, we should offer him our conditional and critical support. In fact, I would even say that Putin and the Eurasian Sovereignists can greatly benefit from critical support as this gives them a justification to take corrective action (for example, Putin has already amended, albeit minimally, the proposed pension reform project as a direct result of a massive public outcry). You could also put it this way: each time the Russian public opinion is outraged by Ukronazi actions or the perception that Russia is meekly turning the other cheek brings closer the day when Russia will finally recognize the two Novorussian republics. Right now what I hear a lot in the Russian media (including state media) are expressions of immense frustration, disgust and anger and calls for the Kremlin take a much harder line on the Ukros in Kiev. Popular anger is a powerful weapon which Putin can use against his enemies, both internal and external.

So let us follow Paul Craig Roberts’ example and continue to ask the hard questions and remain critical of Russian policies.

The Saker


Links to responding documents in this discussion thread:

Russia As a Cat – Andrei Martyanov replies to Dr Paul Craig Roberts

What Should Putin Do? – Dr Roberts replies to Andrei Martyanov

I Agree with The Saker as Far as he Goes – Dr Roberts replies to The Saker

 

 

 

The Essential Saker II
The Essential Saker II: Civilizational Choices and Geopolitics / The Russian challenge to the hegemony of the AngloZionist Empire
The Essential Saker
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If the EU Sticks to Its Guns, the Only Victim of Washington’s Sanctions Will be Americans

BY Paul Craig Roberts

Americans Live in a World of Economic Lies

Americans Live in a World of Economic Lies

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above  

The US government and the presstitutes that serve it continue to lie to us about everything. Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics told us that the unemployment rate was 3.9%.  How can this be when the BLS also reports that the labor force participation rate has declined for a decade throughout the length of the alleged economic recovery and there is no upward pressure on wages from full employment.  When jobs are plentiful, people enter the labor force to take advantage of the work opportunities. This raises the labor force participation rate. When employment is full—which is what a 3.9% unempoyment rate means—wages are bid up as employers compete for scarce labor.  Full employment with no wage pressure and no rise in the labor force participation rate is impossible.  

The 3.9% unemployment rate is not due to employment. It results from not counting discouraged workers who have ceased to search for jobs because there are no jobs to be had.  If an unemployed person is not actively searching for a job, he is not counted as being in the labor force. The way the unemployment rate is measured makes it a hoax.

The government tells us that there is essentially no inflation despite the fact that prices have been rising strongly—the price of food, the price of home repairs, the price of drugs, the price of almost everything.  Two years ago the American Association of Retired People’s Public Policy Institute reported that the average retail drug price has been increasing at a worrying pace of 10 percent a year, and about 20 drugs have astoundingly had their prices quadruple since just December. Sixty drugs doubled over the same period. Turing Pharmaceuticals, headed by Martin Shkreli, is one of the most pronounced examples of this kind of behavior. The company bought a lifesaving cancer medication only to increase its price from $13.50 to $750 per pill. (See this

Incomes, of course, have not doubled.  In real terms incomes have declined.  Moreover, expenditures on medicines are a huge percentage of the budgets of the elderly and those on Medicare. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual cost of prescription medicines for the elderly accounts for three-fourths of the average Social Security pension and for about half of the median income of peope who receive Medicare benefits. (See this

Real jobs have also declined. The jobs that the financial presstitutes  report to be unfilled are not jobs that provide a living. The BLS reported that the number of Americans working multiple jobs rose in July by 453,000, bringing the number of Americans who hold multiple part-time jobs to 8,072,000. 

Looking at July’s payroll jobs report again we see the Third World complexion of the US work force.  The alleged new jobs are concentrated in lowly paid domestic services:  temporary help services, health care and social assistance, waitresses and bartenders.  

There is scant sign of a vibrant economy, but high debt is everywhere.  Debt is growing faster than the income needed to support it. The US government is on course for another $1 trillion annual budget deficit. The federal, state, and local tax base has been decimated by the global corporatons’ export of high productivity high value-added manufacturing and professional skill jobs.  In the name of “free trade” the tax base for Social Security, Medicare, and public pensions has been given away to China and other Asian countries where labor costs are low.  The US global corporations make higher profits by shrinking the US tax base.  Neoliberal economists defend this absurdity as “free trade” that benefits Americans.

The millions of Americans whose jobs were given away to foreigners know full well that they have not benefited. They know the story told by neoliberal economists and financial presstitutes is a lie.  

The lies, of course, go far beyond the economic ones.  Russiagate, which has dominated the print and TV media and NPR since the last presidential campaign is a massive lie that continues day after day.  On August 3 the NPR presstitutes, for example, were smacking their lips over the prospect that Paul Manafort was on trial and might give special Russiagate prosecutor Robert Mueller a conviction that could lead to Trump’s removal from the White House. The presstitutes speculated that a convicted Manafort would tell on Trump in exchange for a lighter sentence. 

The NPR presstitutes did not reveal that Manafort was not on trial for anything related in any way to Russiagate.  Manafort is being tried on income tax evasion charges dating from a decade ago when he was a consultant to Ukrainian politicians.  There is no doubt but that these are false charges whose purpose is to coerce Manafort into protecting himself by making false charges against Trump.  If Manafort is convicted it will not be on the basis of any evidence.  Manafort will be convicted by the presstitute media which will convince jurors that Manafort is “one of those rich who don’t pay taxes.”

That President Trump permits this witch-hunt to continue, a witch-hunt that far oversteps Mueller’s Russiagate mandate for which not a shred of evidence has been found, shows how the presstitutes working hand-in-hand with the military/security complex and DNC have disempowered the President of the United States.  While Americans sit there sucking their thumbs, the coup against the President proceeds before their eyes.

*

This article was originally published on Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research

Paul Craig Roberts: “The United States Is The Only Remaining Colonial Power”

30.07.2018

Written by Paul Craig Roberts; Originally appeared on paulcraigroberts.org

The United States government has never allowed independent governments in Latin America. Every time people elect a government that represents them instead of US economic interests, Washington overthrows the elected government. Marine General Smedley Butler told us this as have many others. There is no doubt about it.

Currently Washington is trying to overthrow the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua and has bought off the Ecuadorian government with oil purchases and the usual personal bribes. Evo Morales government in Bolivia is also targeted by Washington. The Obama regime succeeded in removing the reform governments in Honduras, Argentina, and Brazil.

Paul Craig Roberts: "The United States Is The Only Remaining Colonial Power"

An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 41 prepares for take off from the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis in the Pacific Ocean. (David A. Brandenburg/Navy)

Reform governments in Latin America, except for Castro’s Cuba, always leave themselves set-up to be overthrown. They foolishly or impotently permit Washington’s agents, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the US Agency for International Development, and various so-called NGOs, whose purpose is to maintain Washington’s control and overthrow every government that escapes control, to organize and fund opposition groups and media that work hand-in-hand with Washington to reinstall a Washington-compliant government.

As Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot understood, you cannot overthrow an oppressor class if you leave them unmolested. Whether from weakness or stupidity, Latin American reform governments always leave the electorally defeated oppressor class and its economic and media power unmolested. When Washington reinstalls the oppressor class, the same tolerance is never shown to the overthrown reformers who usually pay with their lives.

All Latin American reform efforts have made the foolsh mistake of leaving the oppressor class with their newspapers and their traitorous connections to Washington in place, including the government of President Ortega in Nicaragua. One would think that Ortega would know better. Washington has been trying to get rid of Ortega and the Sandinistas since the Reagan administration. His government has survived the latest Washington-led coup attempt, but Washington is pouring more money into the effort. Read Kevin Zeese’s report here: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49933.htm

Hugo Chavez made the same mistake in Venezuela, and his successor has repeated the mistake. The post-Castro Cuban government is now also falling into the trap of becoming an American vassal as it was under Fulgencio Batista.

The Monroe Doctrine has always been glorified in US textbooks as warning European colonialists away from Latin America. The Americans intended it for themselves and succeeded in keeping Latin America as a colony. The Organization of American States has always been in Washington’s pocket and remains there today. Latin America accepts its colonized existence and does not come to the aid of those democratic governments that Washington targets for overthrow. Latin America is impotent, because its leaders are paid off, blackmailed, or threatened by Washington.

Washington has pretended forever to be the great friend and protector of democracy, but every time an independent government comes into existence in Latin America, Washington overthrows it.

In 2015 President Barack Obama, America’s first Black President and “great friend of the oppressed,” citing “the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by Venezuela,” signed an executive order and imposed sanctions. Obama’s excuse was the Washington-incited violence that led to the arrest of some of those committing acts of violence. Washington quickly termed the criminals Washington had incited “political prisoners” and called for “dialogue” instead of “silencing critics with arrests.” Washington declared the arrests of those commiting acts of violence to be “human rights violations by the Venezuelan government.” http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/obama-declares-venezuela-national-security-threat-imposes-sanctions

In other words, the Venezuelan government was violating Washington’s human rights to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

The presstitutes reported this with a straight face.

A government that has no shame whatsoever in telling the most transparent lies while actively trying to overthrow a democratically elected government is a government that deserves universal condemnation. Yet the world is too well paid off or scared to open its mouth.

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.

The Two Superpowers: Who Really Controls the Two Countries?

The Saker

June 30, 2018

by Paul Craig Roberts (cross-posted with PCR’s website with his special agreement)

Among the ruling interests in the US, one interest even more powerful than the Israel Lobby—the Deep State of the military/security complex— there is enormous fear that an uncontrollable President Trump at the upcoming Putin/Trump summit will make an agreement that will bring to an end the demonizing of Russia that serves to protect the enormous budget and power of the military-security complex.

You can see the Deep State’s fear in the editorials that the Deep State handed to the Washington Post (June 29) and New York Times (June 29), two of the Deep State’s megaphones, but no longer believed by the vast majority of the American people.  The two editorials share the same points and phrases.  They repeat the disproven lies about Russia as if blatant, obvious lies are hard facts.

Both accuse President Trump of “kowtowing to the Kremlin.”  Kowtowing, of course, is not a Donald Trump characteristic.  But once again fact doesn’t get in the way of the propaganda spewed by the WaPo and NYT, two megaphones of Deep State lies.

The Deep State editorial handed to the WaPo reads: “THE REASONS for the tension between the United States and Russia are well-established. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine, instigated a war in eastern Ukraine, intervened to save the dictatorship of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, interfered in the U.S. presidential election campaign to harm Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, poisoned a former intelligence officer on British soil and continues to meddle in the elections of other democracies.”

The WaPo’s opening paragraph is a collection of all the blatant lies assembled by the Deep State for its Propaganda Ministry.  There have been many books written about the CIA’s infiltration of the US media.  There is no doubt about it.  I remember my orientation as Staff Associate, House Defense Appropriation Subcommittee, when I was informed that the Washington Post is a CIA asset.  This was in 1975. Today the Post is owned by a person with government contracts that many believe sustain his front business.

And don’t forget Udo Ulfkotte, an editor of the  Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, who wrote in his best seller, Bought Journalism, that there was not a significant journalist in Europe who was not on the CIA’s payroll. The English language edition of Ulfkotte’s book has been suppressed and prevented from publication.

The New York Times, which last told the truth in the 1970s when it published the leaked Pentagon Papers and had the fortitude to stand up for its First Amendment rights, repeats the lies about Putin’s “seizure of Crimea and attack on Ukraine” along with all the totally unstantiated BS about Russia interferring in the US president election and electing Trump, who now kowtows to Putin in order to serve Russia instead of the US. The editorial handed to the NYT insinuates that Trump is a threat to the national security of America and its allies (vassals). The problem, the NYT declares, is that Trump is not listening to his advisors.

Shades of President John F. Kennedy, who did not listen to the CIA and Joint Chiefs of Staff about invading Cuba, nuking the Soviet Union, and using the false flag attack on America of the Joint Chiefs’ Northwoods Project (look it up online).  Is the New York Times setting up Trump for assassination on the grounds that he is lovely-dovey with Russia and sacrificing US national interests?

I would bet on it.

While the Washington Post and New York Times are telling us that if Trump meets with Putin, Trump will sell out US national security, The Saker says that Putin finds himself in a similar box, only it doesn’t come from the national security interest, but from the Russian Fifth Column, the Atlanticist Integrationists whose front man is the Russian Prime Minister Medvedev, who represents the rich Russian elite whose wealth is based on stolen assets during the Yeltsin years enabled by Washington.  These elites, The Saker concludes, impose constraints on Putin that put Russian sovereignty at risk. Economically, it is more important to these elites for financial reasons to be part of Washington’s empire than to be a sovereign country.  http://thesaker.is/no-5th-column-in-the-kremlin-think-again/ 

I find The Saker’s explanation the best I have read of the constraints on Putin that limit his ability to represent Russian national interests.

I have often wondered why Putin didn’t have the security force round up these Russian traitors and execute them.  The answer is that Putin believes in the rule of law, and he knows that Russia’s US financed and supported Fifth Column cannot be eliminated without bloodshed that is inconsistent with the rule of law.  For Putin, the rule of law is as important as Russia.  So, Russia hangs in the balance.  It is my view that the Russian Fifth Column could care less about the rule of law.  They only care about money.

As challenged as Putin might be, Chris Hedges, one of the surviving great American journalists, who is not always right but when he is he is incisive, explains the situation faced by the American people.  It is beyond correction.  American civil liberties and prosperity appear to be lost.   https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/america-shows-many-signs-impending-catastrophic-collapse-pulitzer-prize-winner-explains 

In my opinion, Hedges leftwing leanings caused him to focus on Reagan’s rhetoric rather that on Reagan’s achievements—the two greatest of our time—the end of stagflation, which benefited the American people, and the end of the Cold War, which removed the theat of nuclear war.  I think Hedges also does not appreciate Trump’s sincerety about normalizing relations with Russia, relations destroyed by the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes, and Trump’s sincerety about bringing offshored jobs home to American workers. Trump’s agenda puts him up against the two most powerful interest groups in the United States.  A president willing to take on these powerful groups should be appreciated and supported, as Hedges acknowledges the dispossessed majority do.  If I might point out to Chris, whom I admire, it is not like Chris Hedges to align against the choice of the people.  How can democracy work if people don’t rule?

Hedges writes, correctly, “The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we [the American people] don’t count.”
Hedges is absolutely correct.

It is impossible not to admire a journalist like Hedges who can describe our plight with such succinctness:

“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowlege, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and banks destroy the economy.”

Read The Saker’s explanation of Russian politics.  Possibly Putin will collapse under pressure from the powerful Fifth Column in his government.  Read Chris Hedges analysis of American collapse. There is much truth in it.  What happens if the Russian people rise up against the Russian Fifth Column and if the oppressed American people rise up against the extractions of the military/security complex? What happens if neither population rises up?

Who sets off the first nuclear weapon?

Our time on earth is not just limited by our threescore and ten years, but also humanity’s time on earth, and that of every other species, is limited by the use of nuclear weapons.

It is long past the time when governments, and if not them, humanity, should ask why nuclear weapons exist when they cannot be used without destroying life on earth.

Why isn’t this the question of our time, instead of, for example, transgender toilet facilities, and the large variety of fake issues on which the presstitute media focuses?

The articles by The Saker and Chris Hedges, two astute people, report that neither superpower is capable of making good decisions, decisions that are determined by democracy instead of by oligarchs, against whom neither elected government can stand.

If this is the case, humanity is finished.

Here are the Washington Post and New York Times editorials:

Washington Post
June 29, 2018
Editorial
Trump is kowtowing to the Kremlin again. Why?
Ahead of a summit with Putin, Trump is siding with the Russian leader, with dangerous results.

THE REASONS for the tension between the United States and Russia are well-established. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine, instigated a war in eastern Ukraine, intervened to save the dictatorship of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, interfered in the U.S. presidential election campaign to harm Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, poisoned a former intelligence officer on British soil and continues to meddle in the elections of other democracies. Yet on Wednesday in the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin brushed it all aside and delivered the Russian “maskirovka,” or camouflage, answer that it is all America’s fault.

Meeting with John Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, Mr. Putin declared that the tensions are “in large part the result of an intense domestic political battle inside the U.S.” Then Mr. Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov insisted that Russia “most certainly did not interfere in the 2016 election” in the United States. On Thursday morning, Mr. Trump echoed them both on Twitter: “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!”

Why is Mr. Trump kowtowing again? The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia did attempt to tilt the election using multiple campaigns, including cyberintrusions and insidious social media fakery. Would it be so difficult to challenge Mr. Putin about this offensive behavior? A full accounting has yet to be made of the impact on the election, but Mr. Bolton did not mince words last year when he described Russian interference as “a true act of war” and said, “We negotiate with Russia at our peril.” And now?

Summits can be productive, even – maybe especially – when nations are at odds. In theory, a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, now scheduled for next month in Helsinki, could be useful. But a meeting aimed at pleasing Mr. Putin is naive and foolhardy. A meeting aimed at pleasing Mr. Putin at the expense of traditional, democratic U.S. allies would be dangerous and damaging.

Just as Mr. Bolton was flattering Mr. Putin, Russia was engaging in subterfuge on the ground in Syria. The United States, Russia and Jordan last year negotiated cease-fire agreements in southwestern Syria, along the border with Jordan and the Golan Heights. In recent days, the United States has warned Russia and its Syrian allies not to launch an offensive in the area, where the rebel forces hold parts of the city of Daraa and areas along the border. The State Department vowed there would be “serious repercussions” and demanded that Russia restrain its client Syrian forces. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, saying an offensive would be unacceptable. All to no avail; Syria is bombing the area.

This is what happens when Mr. Trump signals, repeatedly, that he is unwilling or unable to stand up to Russian misbehavior. We are on dangerous ground. Either Mr. Trump has lost touch with essential U.S. interests or there is some other explanation for his kowtowing that is yet unknown.

New York Times
June 29, 2018
Editorial
Trump and Putin’s Too-Friendly Summit
It’s good to meet with adversaries. But when Mr. Trump sits down with Mr. Putin, it will be a meeting of kindred spirits. That’s a problem.

It’s good for American presidents to meet with adversaries, to clarify differences and resolve disputes. But when President Trump sits down with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Finland next month, it will be a meeting of kindred spirits, and that’s a problem.

One would think that at a tête-à-tête with the Russian autocrat, the president of the United States would take on some of the major concerns of America and its closest allies. Say, for instance, Mr. Putin’s seizure of Crimea and attack on Ukraine, which led to punishing international sanctions. But at the Group of 7 meeting in Quebec this month, Mr. Trump reportedly told his fellow heads of state that Crimea is Russian because everyone there speaks that language. And, of course, Trump aides talked to Russian officials about lifting some sanctions even before he took office.

One would hope that the president of the United States would let Mr. Putin know that he faces a united front of Mr. Trump and his fellow NATO leaders, with whom he would have met days before the summit in Helsinki. But Axios reported that during the meeting in Quebec, Mr. Trump said, “NATO is as bad as Nafta,” the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is one of Mr. Trump’s favorite boogeymen.

Certainly the president would mention that even the people he appointed to run America’s intelligence services believe unequivocally that Mr. Putin interfered in the 2016 election to put him in office and is continuing to undermine American democracy. Right? But on Thursday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted, “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!”

More likely, Mr. Trump will congratulate Mr. Putin, once again, for winning another term in a sham election, as he did in March, even though his aides explicitly warned him not to. And he has already proposed readmitting Russia to the Group of 7, from which it was ousted after the Ukraine invasion.

Summits once tended to be carefully scripted, and presidents were attended by senior advisers and American interpreters. At dinner during a Group of 20 meeting last July, Mr. Trump walked over to Mr. Putin and had a casual conversation with no other American representative present. He later said they discussed adoptions – the same issue that he falsely claimed was the subject of a meeting at Trump Tower in 2016 between his representatives and Russian operatives who said they had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

It’s clear that Mr. Trump isn’t a conventional president, but instead one intent on eroding institutions that undergird democracy and peace. Mr. Trump “doesn’t believe that the U.S. should be part of any alliance at all” and believes that “permanent destabilization creates American advantage,” according to unnamed administration officials quoted by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic.

Such thinking goes further than most Americans have been led to believe were Mr. Trump’s views on issues central to allied security. He has often given grudging lip service to supporting NATO, even while complaining frequently about allies’ military spending and unfair trade policies.

The tensions Mr. Trump has sharpened with our allies should please Mr. Putin, whose goal is to fracture the West and assert Russian influence in places where the Americans and Europeans have played big roles, like the Middle East, the Balkans and the Baltic States.

Yet despite growing anxieties among European allies, Mr. Trump is relying on his advisers less than ever because, “He now thinks he’s mastered this,” one senior member of Congress said in an interview. That’s a chilling thought given his inability, so far, to show serious progress on any major security issue. Despite Mr. Trump’s talk of quick denuclearization after his headline-grabbing meeting with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, experts say satellite imagery shows the North is actually improving its nuclear capability.

While the White House hasn’t disclosed an agenda for the Putin meeting, there’s a lot the two leaders should be discussing, starting with Russian cyberintrusions. Mr. Trump, though, has implied that Mr. Putin could help the United States guard against election hacking. And although Congress last year mandated sweeping sanctions against Russia to deter such behavior, Mr. Trump has failed to implement many of them.

In a similar vein, should Mr. Trump agree to unilaterally lift sanctions imposed after Moscow invaded Ukraine and started a war, it would further upset alliance members, which joined the United States in imposing sanctions at some cost to themselves. Moreover, what would deter Mr. Putin from pursuing future land grabs?

Mr. Trump could compound that by canceling military exercises, as he did with South Korea after the meeting with Mr. Kim, and by withdrawing American troops that are intended to keep Russia from aggressive action in the Baltics.

Another fraught topic is Syria. Mr. Trump has signaled his desire to withdraw American troops from Syria, a move that would leave the country more firmly in the hands of President Bashar al-Assad and his two allies, Russia and Iran. Russia, in particular, is calling the shots on the battlefield and in drafting a political settlement that could end the fighting, presumably after opposition forces are routed.

What progress could be made at this summit, then? Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin may find it easier to cooperate in preventing a new nuclear arms race by extending New Start, a treaty limiting strategic nuclear weapons that expires in 2021.

Another priority: bringing Russia back into compliance with the I.N.F. treaty, which eliminated all U.S. and Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, until Russia tested and deployed a prohibited cruise missile.

Mr. Trump’s top national security advisers are more cleareyed about the Russian threat than he is. So are the Republicans who control the Senate. They have more responsibility than ever to try to persuade Mr. Trump that the country’s security is at stake when he meets Mr. Putin, and that he should prepare carefully for the encounter.

@theresa_may Lies Can Lead To War

Lies Can Lead To War
By Paul Craig Roberts

Notice that the governments of the US, UK, France, and Germany did not require any evidence to decide that the Russian government used military-grade nerve gas to attack two people on an English park bench and a UK policeman. It makes no sense. There is no Russian motive.

The motive lies in the West. It is the latest orchestration in the ongoing demonization of Russia. The demonization is a huge boost to the power and profit of the military/security complex and prevents President Trump from normalizing relations. The military/security’s budget and power require a major enemy, and Russia is the designated enemy and will not be allowed to escape that assigned role.

The false accusations against Russia are damaging the Western countries that make and support the accusations. There has never any evidence provided for any of the accusations. Consider them: the Malaysian airliner, Crimea, the polonium poisoning of a Russian in the UK, Putin’s alleged intention to restore the Soviet Empire, Russiagate and the stealing of the US presidential election, other charges of election theft or interference. The current Skripal poisoning. Accusations abound, but never any evidence. Eventually even insouciant Western peoples begin to wonder about the transformation of evidence-free accusations into truth.

What do leaders and peoples of the few independent and sovereign countries think when they see a signed condemnation of Russia for poisoning a long-retired UK double-agent without a scrap of evidence by the political heads of the four major Western countries? What do the Chinese think? The Iranians? The Indians? We know that the Russians are beginning to think that they are being set up by demonization for invasion, as was Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad, Yemen, and the attempt on Iran. It is finally dawning on Russia that all these accusations are not some kind of mistake that diplomacy can straighten out, but, instead, the setting up of Russia for military attack.

This is a reckless, irresponsible, and dangerous impression for the West to give Russia. Some commentators, who understand the falsity of the Skripal accusation, explain, in my view incorrectly, that UK prime minister May orchestrated the charge in order to divert attention from her Brexit difficulties. Others say, incorrectly, that it is an effort to turn the Russian election against Putin. Some have concluded that Skripal was involved in the fake “Steele dossier,” and was silenced by Western intelligence, whether UK or US.

Even an astute observer, such as Moon of Alabama, has been confused by these explanations. Nevertheless I recommend his article – which obviously was written prior to the French President, German Chancellor, and President Trump’s endorsement of UK prime minister May’s unsupported charges. The article shows that both US and UK experts do not think that the alleged Russian nerve agent used in the alleged poisoning even exists. Perhaps this is why the British government will not agree to any tests and can supply no evidence.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

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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