Escalation in Syria – how far can the Russians be pushed?

February 16, 2018

[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]

Events in Syria have recently clearly taken a turn for the worse and there is an increasing amount of evidence that the Russian task force in Syria is being targeted by a systematic campaign of “harassing attacks”.

First, there was the (relatively successful) drone and mortar attack on the Russian Aerospace base in Khmeimin. Then there was the shooting down of a Russian SU-25 over the city of Maasran in the Idlib province. Now we hear of Russian casualties in the US raid on a Syrian column (along with widely exaggerated claims of “hundreds” of killed Russians). In the first case, Russian officials did openly voice their strong suspicion that the attack was if not planned and executed by the USA, then at least coordinated with the US forces in the vicinity. In the case of the downing of the SU-25, no overt accusations have been made, but many experts have stated that the altitude at which the SU-25 was hit strongly suggests a rather modern MANPAD of a type not typically seen in Syria (the not so subtle hint being here that these were US Stingers sent to the Kurds by the USA). As for the latest attack on the Syrian column, what is under discussion is not who did it but rather what kind of Russian personnel was involved, Russian military or private contractors (the latter is a much more likely explanation since the Syrian column had no air-cover whatsoever). Taken separately, none of these incidents mean very much but taken together they might be indicative of a new US strategy in Syria: to punish the Russians as much as possible short of an overt US attack on Russian forces. To me this hypothesis seems plausible for the following reasons:

First, the USA and Israel are still reeling in humiliation and impotent rage over their defeat in Syria: Assad is still in power, Daesh is more or less defeated, the Russians were successful not only their military operations against Daesh but also in their campaign to bring as many “good terrorists” to the negotiating table as possible. With the completion of a successful conference on Syria in Russia and the general agreement of all parties to begin working on a new constitution, there was a real danger of peace breaking out, something the AngloZionist are absolutely determined to oppose (check out this apparently hacked document which, if genuine, clearly states the US policy not to allow the Russian to get anything done).

Second, both Trump and Netanyahu have promised to bring in lots of “victories” to prove how manly and strong they are (as compared to the sissies which preceded them). Starting an overt war against Russian would definitely be a “proof of manhood”, but a much too dangerous one. Killing Russians “on the margins”, so to speak, either with plausible deniability or, alternatively, killing Russians private contractors is much safer and thus far more tempting option.

Third, there are presidential elections coming up in Russia and the US Americans are still desperately holding on to their sophomoric notion that if they create trouble for Putin (sanctions or body bags from Syria) they can somehow negatively impact his popularity in Russia (in reality they achieve the opposite effect, but they are too dull and ignorant to realize that).

Last but not least, since the AngloZionist have long lost the ability to actually getting anything done, their logical fall-back position is not let anybody else succeed either. This is the main purpose of the entire US deployment in northern Syria: to create trouble for Turkey, Iran, Syria and, of course, Russia.

The bottom line is this: since the US Americans have declared that they will (illegally) stay in Syria until the situation “stabilizes” they now must do everything their power to destabilize Syria. Yes, there is a kind of a perverse logic to all that…

For Russia, all this bad news could be summed up in the following manner: while Russia did defeat Daesh in Syria she is still far from having defeated the AngloZionists in the Middle-East. The good news is, however, that Russia does have options to deal with this situation.

Step one: encouraging the Turks

There is a counter-intuitive but in many ways an ideal solution for Russia to counter the US invasion of Syria: involve the Turks. How? Not by attacking the US forces directly, but by attacking the Kurdish militias the US Americans are currently “hiding” behind (at least politically). Think of it, while the US (or Israel) will have no second thoughts whatsoever before striking Syrian or Iranian forces, actually striking Turkish forces would carry an immense political risk: following the US-backed coup attempt against Erdogan and, just to add insult to injury, the US backing for the creation of a “mini-Kurdistsan” both in Iraq and in Syria, US-Turkish relations are at an all-time low and it would not take much to push the Turks over the edge with potentially cataclysmic consequences for the US, EU, NATO, CENTCOM, Israel and all the AngloZionist interests in the region. Truly, there is no overstating the strategic importance of Turkey for Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle-East, and the US Americans know that. From this flows a very real if little understood consequence: the Turkish armed forces in Syria basically enjoy what I would call a “political immunity” from any US attacks, that is to say that (almost) no matter what the Turks do, the US would (almost) never consider actually openly using force against them simply because the consequence of, say, a USAF strike on a Turkish army column would be too serious to contemplate.

In fact, I believe that the US-Turkish relationship is so bad and so one-sided that I see a Turkish attack on a Kurdish (or “good terrorist”) column/position with embedded US Special Forces far more likely than a US attack on a Turkish army column. This might sound counter-intuitive, but let’s say the Turks did attack a Kurdish (or “good terrorist”) column/position with US personnel and that US servicemen would die as the result. What would/could the US do? Retaliate in kind? No way! Not only is the notion of the US attacking a fellow NATO country member is quite unthinkable, it would most likely be followed by a Turkish demand that the US/NATO completely withdraw from Turkey’s territory and airspace. In theory, the US could ask the Israelis to do their dirty job for them, but the Israelis are not stupid (even if they are crazy) and they won’t have much interest in starting a shooting war with Turkey over what is a US-created problem in a “mini-Kurdistan”, lest any hallowed “Jewish blood” be shed for some basically worthless goyim.

No, if the Turks actually killed US servicemen there would be protests and a flurry of “consultations” and other symbolic actions, but beyond that, the US would take the losses and do nothing about it. As for Erdogan, his popularity at home would only soar even higher. What all this means in practical terms is that if there is one actor which can seriously disrupt the US operations in northern Syria, or even force the US to withdraw, it is Turkey. That kind of capability also gives Turkey a lot of bargaining power with Russia and Iran which I am sure Erdogan will carefully use to his own benefit. So far Erdogan has only threatened to deliver an “Ottoman slap” to the USA and Secretary of State Tillerson is traveling to Ankara to try to avert a disaster, but the Turkish instance that the USA chose either the Turkish or the Kurdish side in the conflict very severely limits the chances of any real breakthrough (the Israel lobby being 100% behind the Kurds). One should never say never, but I submit that it would take something of a miracle at this point to really salvage the US-Turkish relationship. Russia can try to capitalize on this dynamic.

The main weakness of this entire concept is, of course, that the USA is still powerful enough, including inside Turkey, and it would be very dangerous for Erdogan to try to openly confront and defy Uncle Sam. So far, Erdogan has been acting boldly and in overt defiance of the USA, but he also understands the risks of going too far and for him to even consider taking such risks there have to be prospects of major benefits from him. Here the Russians have two basic options: either to promise the Turks something very inciting or to somehow further deteriorate the current relationship between the US and Turkey. The good news here is that Russian efforts to drive a wedge between the US and Turkey are be greatly assisted by the US support for Israel, Kurds, and Gulenists.

The other obvious risk is that any anti-Kurdish operation can turn into yet another partition of Syria, this time by the Turks. However, the reality is that the Turks can’t really stay for too long in Syria, especially not if Russia and Iran oppose this. There is also the issue of international law which is much easier for the USA to ignore than for the Turks.

For all these reasons using the Turks to put pressure on the USA has its limitations. Still, if the Turks continue to insist that the USA stop supporting the Kurds, or if they continue putting military pressure on the Kurdish militias, then the entire US concept of a US-backed “mini-Kurdistan” collapses and, with it, the entire US partition plan for Syria.

So far, the Iraqis have quickly dealt with the US-sponsored “mini-Kurdistan” in Iraq and the Turks are now taking the necessary steps to deal with the US-sponsored “mini-Kurdistan” in Syria at which point *their* problem will be solved. The Turks are not interested in helping Assad or, for that matter, Putin and they don’t care what happens to Syria as long as *their* Kurdish problem is under control. This means that the Syrians, Russians, and Iranians should not place too much hope on the Turks turning against the USA unless, of course, the correct circumstances are created. Only the future will tell whether the Russians and the Iranians will be able to help to create such circumstances.

Step two: saturating Syria with mobile modern short/middle range air defenses

Right now nobody knows what kind of air-defense systems the Russians have been delivering to the Syrians over the past couple of years, but that is clearly the way to go for the Russians: delivering as many modern and mobile air defense systems to the Syrians. While this would be expensive, the best solution here would be to deliver as many Pantsir-S1 mobile Gun/SAM systems and 9K333 Verba MANPADs as possible to the Syrians and the Iranians. The combination of these two systems would immensely complicate any kind of air operations for the US Americans and Israelis, especially since there would be no practical way of reliably predicting the location from which they could operate. And since both the USA and Israel are operating in the Syrian skies in total violation of international law while the Syrian armed forces would be protecting their own sovereign airspace, such a delivery of air-defense systems by Russia to Syria would be impeccably legal. Best of all, it would be absolutely impossible for the AngloZionist to know who actually shot at them since these weapon systems are mobile and easy to conceal. Just like in Korea, Vietnam or Lebanon, Russian crews could even be sent to operate the Syrian air defense systems and there would be no way for anybody to prove that “the Russians did it” when US and Israeli aircraft would start falling out of the skies. The Russians would enjoy what the CIA calls “plausible deniability”. The US Americans and Israelis would, of course, turn against the weaker party, the Syrians, but that other than feeling good that would not really make a difference on the ground as the Syrians skies would not become safer for US or Israelis air forces.

The other option for the Russians would be to offer upgrades (software and missile) to the existing Syrian air defense systems, especially their road-mobile 2K12 Kub and 9K37 Buk systems. Such upgrades, especially if combined with enough deployed Pantsirs and Verbas would be a nightmare for both the US Americans and the Israelis. The Turks would not care much since they are already basically flying with the full approval of the Russians anyway, and neither would the Iranians who, as far as I know, have no air operations in Syria.

One objection to this plan would be that two can play this game and that there is nothing preventing the USA from sending even more advanced MANPADs to their “good terrorist” allies, but that argument entirely misses the point: if both sides do the same thing, the side which is most dependent on air operations (the USA) stands to lose much more than the side which has the advantage on the ground (the Russians). Furthermore, by sending MANPADs to Syria, the USA is alienating a putative ally, Turkey, whereas if Russia sends MANPADs and other SAMs to Syria the only one who will be complaining will be the Israelis. When that happens, the Russians will have a simple and truthful reply: we did not start this game, your US allies did, you can go and thank them for this mess.

The main problem in Syria is the fact that the US and the Israelis are currently operating in the Syrian skies with total impunity. If this changes, this will be a slow and gradual process. First, there would be a few isolated losses (like the Israeli F-16 recently), then we would see that the location of US and/or Israeli airstrikes would gradually shit from urban centers and central command posts to smaller, more isolated targets (such as vehicle columns). This would indicate an awareness that the most lucrative targets are already too well defended. Eventually, the number of air sorties would be gradually replaced by cruise and ballistic missiles strikes. Underlying it all would be a shift from offensive air operations to force protection which, in turn, would give the Syrians, Iranians, and Hezbollah a much easier environment to operate in. But the necessary first step for any of that to happen would be to dramatically increase the capability of Syrian air defenses.

Hezbollah has, for decades, very successfully operated under a total Israelis air supremacy and their experience of this kind of operations would be invaluable to the Syrians until they sufficiently built up their air defense capabilities.

Conclusion: is counter-escalation really the only option?

Frankly, I am starting to believe that the Empire has decided to attempt upon a partial “reconquista” of Syria, even Macron is making some noises about striking the Syrians to “punish” them for their use of (non-existing) chemical weapons. At the very least, the USA wants to make the Russians pay as high a price as possible for their role in Syria. Further US goals in Syria include:

  • The imposition of a de-facto partition of Syria by taking under control the Syrian territory east of the Euphrates river (we could call that “plan C version 3.0”)
  • The theft of the gas fields located in northeastern Syria
  • The creation of a US-controlled staging area from which Kurdish, good terrorist and bad terrorist operations can be planned and executed
  • The sabotaging of any Russian-backed peace negotiations
  • The support for Israeli operations against Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and Syria
  • Engaging in regular attacks against Syrian forces attempting to liberate their country from foreign invaders
  • Presenting the invasion and occupation of Syria as one of the “victories” promised by Trump to the MIC and the Israel lobby

So far the Russian response to this developing strategy has been a rather a passive one and the current escalation strongly suggests that a new approach might be needed. The shooting down of the Israeli F-16 is a good first step, but much more needs to be done to dramatically increase the costs the Empire will have to pay for is policies towards Syria. The increase in the number of Russian commentators and analysts demanding a stronger reaction to the current provocations might be a sign that something is in the making.

The Saker

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SouthFront & The Saker video

February 02, 2018

Original video: https://southfront.org/end-wars-cheap-us/
Original article: http://thesaker.is/the-end-of-the-wars-on-the-cheap-for-the-united-states/
Many thanks to “RS” for redacting the original article for this video!

Now that the Neocons have hamstrung Trump, and with Trump’s planned impeachment and removal from office still in the future, the world must deal with the dangerous decline of the USA-led power bloc, because the Neocons are back in power and will do anything to reverse this trend. It is obvious that the only “solution” that the Neocons see is to trigger another war. So the question is: “Whom will they  strike?”

If the Neocons are out of touch with reality, then everything is possible, even nuking Russia and China. While not dismissing the Neocons’ capacity for violence, it is equally pointless to analyze clearly irrational scenarios, given that modern deterrence theories assume “rational actors” and not madmen running amok.

Assuming a modicum of rational thinking remains in Washington, DC, if the Neocons launch some extreme operation, somebody in the corridors of power will find the courage to prevent it, as Admiral Fallon did with his “Not on my watch!” comment which possibly prevented an attack on Iran in 2007. But the question remains: where could the USA-led power bloc strike next?

The Usual Scenario

The habitual modus operandi is: subvert a weak country, accuse it of human rights violations, impose economic sanctions, trigger riots and militarily intervene to defend “democracy”, “freedom” and “self-determination.” That’s the political recipe. Then there is “the American way of war,” i.e., the way US commanders fight.

During the Cold War, the Pentagon focused on fighting a large conventional war against the Soviet Union that could escalate into nuclear war. Nuclear aspects aside, such a war’s conventional dimension is “heavy”: large formations, lots of armor and artillery. Immense logistical efforts on both sides are required, which would consequently engender deep-strikes on second echelon forces, supply dumps and strategic infrastructure, and a defense in depth in key sectors. The battlefield would be hundreds of kilometers deep on both sides of the front line. Military defenses would be prepared in two, possibly three, echelons. In the Cold War, the Soviet 2nd strategic echelon in Europe was in the Ukraine! — which  inherited huge ammo dumps from Soviet times, so there has been no shortage of weapons on either side to wage the Ukrainian civil war. With the Soviet Union’s collapse, this threat rapidly disappeared. Ultimately, the Gulf War provided the US military and NATO one last, big, conventional war, but it soon became clear to US strategists that the “heavy war” era was over and that armored brigades weren’t the Pentagon’s most useful tool.

So US strategists, mostly from Special Operation Forces, developed “war on the cheap.” First, the CIA funds, arms and trains local insurgents; next, US Special Forces embed with the insurgents as front line soldiers who direct close support aircraft to strike enemy forces; finally, enough aircraft are deployed in and around the combat zone to support 24 hour combat operations. The objective is to provide overwhelming firepower advantage to friendly insurgents.

US and “coalition” forces then advance until they come under fire and, unless they rapidly prevail, they call in airstrikes which result in a huge BOOM!!! – followed by the enemy’s annihilation. The process repeats as necessary for easy, cheap victories over outgunned enemies. The strategy is enhanced by providing the insurgents with better gear (anti-tank weapons, night vision, communications, etc.) and bringing in Pentagon or allied forces, or mercenaries, to defeat really tough targets.

While many in the US military were deeply skeptical, Special Forces dominance and the temporary success of “war on the cheap” in Afghanistan made it immensely popular with US politicians and policy advocates. Moreover, this “cheap” warfare resulted in very few American casualties, with a high degree of “plausible deniability” should something go wrong. The alphabet soup agencies loved it.

But the early euphoria about US invincibility overlooked three very risky assumptions about “war on the cheap”:

First, it required a deeply demoralized enemy who felt that resistance to the USA was futile, because even if the US forces were initially limited in size and capabilities, the Americans could always bring in more forces.

Second, it assumed total battlefield air superiority by the US, since Americans prefer not to provide close air support when they can be shot down by enemy forces.

Third, it required local insurgents who physically occupy and control territory.

But none of these assumptions are necessarily true, and even better said, the USA-led power bloc has  run out of countries in which these assumptions still apply.

Let’s take a closer look.

Hezbollah, Lebanon 2006

This war involved Israel, not the USA, but it nicely illustrates the principle. While superior Hezbollah tactics and battlefield preparation played important roles, and Russian anti-tank weapons permitted Hezbollah to destroy the most advanced Israeli tanks, the most important result was that a small, weak Arab force showed no fear whatsoever against the supposedly invincible Israeli military.

British reporter, Robert Fisk, was the first person to detect the implications of this change. Fisk observed that in the past Arabs were intimidated by Israeli military power, that if the IDF crossed the Lebanese border, for instance, that Palestinians fled to Beirut. However, beginning with the 2006 Israeli assault on southern Lebanon all of that changed. A small, “outgunned” Arab force was not afraid to stand its ground and fight back against the IDF.

It was a huge change. What Hezbollah achieved in 2006 is now repeated in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere. The fear of the “sole superpower” is gone, replaced by a burning desire to settle the score with the USA-led power bloc and its occupation forces.

Hezbollah also proved another very important thing: the winning strategy against a superior enemy is not to protect yourself against his attacks, but to deny him a lucrative target. Put simply: “a cammo tent is better than a bunker.” The more academic way to put it is: “don’t contest your enemy’s superiority – make it irrelevant.”

In retrospect, the most formidable weapon of the USA-led power bloc was not the nuclear bomb or the aircraft carrier, but a huge public relations machine which for decades convinced the world of US invincibility, superior weapons, better trained soldiers, more advanced tactics, etc. But this is total nonsense – the US military is nothing like the glorified image projected to the world! When did the US last win a war against a capable adversary? The Japanese in WWII?

Russian Operation, Syria 2015

The Russian operation in Syria was neither a case of “the Russians are coming” nor “the war is over.” The Russians sent a very small force, This force did not so much defeat Daesh as change the war’s political context. The Russians made American intervention much harder politically, and also kept them from waging “war on the cheap” in Syria.

The Russians deployed to Syria without the capabilities which could deny American use of Syrian air space. Even after the Turks shot down the Russian SU-24, the Russians only deployed enough air-defenses and air superiority fighters to protect themselves from a similar Turkish attack. Even today, if the Pentagon decided to take control of Syrian airspace, the Russians don’t have enough air defenses or combat aircraft to deny Syrian airspace to the Americans. Such an attack would come with very real American political and military costs, true enough, but the realities of modern warfare are such that the tiny Russian air contingent of 33 combat aircraft (of which only 19 can actually contest the Syrian airspace: 4 SU-30s, 6 SU-34s, 9 Su-27s) and an unknown number of S-300/S-400/S-1 Pantsir batteries cannot defeat the combined air power of CENTCOM and NATO.

The problem for the Americans is a matrix of risks, including Russian military capabilities, but also  the political risks of establishing a no-fly zone over Syria. Not only would that further escalate the totally illegal US intervention, it would require a sustained effort to suppress Syrian, and potentially Russian, air defenses; that is something the White House will not do right now, especially when the results of such a risky operation remain unclear. Consequently, the Americans only struck sporadically, with minimal results.

Even worse, the Russians are turning the tables on the Americans and providing the Syrians with close air support, artillery controllers and heavy artillery systems, including multiple-rocket launchers and heavy flamethrowers, all of which are giving the firepower advantage to the Syrians. Paradoxically, the Russians are now fighting a “war on the cheap” while denying this option to the Americans and their allies.

Good Terrorists, aka “FSA”, Syria 2017

The Free Syrian Army’s main weakness is that it doesn’t physically exist! Sure, there are plenty of FSA Syrian exiles in Turkey and elsewhere; there are also many Daesh/al-Qaeda types who try hard to look like FSA; and there are scattered armed groups in Syria who would like to be “the FSA.” But the FSA was always a purely political abstraction. This virtual FSA provided many useful things to the Americans: a propaganda narrative, a pious pretext to send in the CIA, a fig leaf to conceal that Uncle Sam was militarily allied with al-Qaeda and Daesh, and a political ideal to try to unify the world against Assad’s government. But the FSA never provided “boots on the ground” like everybody else: Daesh and al-Qaeda, the Syrians, the Iranians, Hezbollah, the Turks and the Kurds. But since the Takfiris were “officially” the USA’s enemy, the US was limited in the support given to these Wahabi forces. The Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah were demonized, so it was impossible to work with them. That left the Turks, who had terrible relations with the USA after the US-backed coup against Erdogan, and the Kurds, who were not eager to fight and die deep inside Syria and who were regarded with great hostility by Ankara. As the war progressed the terrible reality hit the Americans: they had no “boots on the ground” with which to embed their Special Ops or to support.

A case in point is the American failure in the al-Tanf region near the Jordanian border. The Americans and Jordanians invaded this desert region hoping to sever the lines of communications between the Syrians and Iraqis. Instead, the Syrians cut the Americans off and reached the border first, rendering the American presence useless. It appears that the Americans have given up on al-Tanf, and will withdraw and redeploy elsewhere in Syria.

So Who Is Next – Venezuela?

History shows that the Americans have always had problem with their local “allies”. Some were pretty good (South Koreans), others less so (Contras), but US use of local forces always has a risk: the locals often have their own agenda and soon realize that if they depend on the Americans, the Americans also depend on them. Additionally, Americans are not well known for having good “multi-cultural sensitivity and expertise.” They are typically not very knowledgeable about their operating environment, meaning that US intelligence usually becomes aware of problems way too late to fix them (fancy technology can’t substitute for solid, expert human intelligence). The US failure in Syria is an excellent example of this.

Having identified some of the weaknesses of the US “war on the cheap” approach, let’s examine a vulnerability matrix for potential target countries:

Notes: “demoralized enemy” and “air superiority” are guesstimates; “boots on the ground” means an indigenous, combat force in-country (not foreign troops) capable of seizing and holding ground, and not just small insurgent groups or political opposition.

By these criteria, the only candidate for US intervention is Venezuela, where successful US intervention would require a realistic exit strategy. But the US is already overextended and cannot afford to bog down in an unwinnable war. While the Venezuelan opposition could provide “boots on the ground,” the Venezuelan pro-American forces lack the capabilities of the regular armed forces or the Leftist guerrilla groups who tolerated the Chavez-Maduro rule, but who retained their weapons “just in case.” As for terrain, while Caracas might appear relatively “easy” to seize, the rest of the country is more difficult and dangerous. As regards staying power, while Americans like quick victories, Latin American guerrillas have repeatedly proven that they can fight for decades. Therefore, while the USA is probably capable of invading and ravaging Venezuela, it is likely incapable of imposing a new regime and controlling the country.

Conclusion – Afghanistan 2001-2017

Afghanistan is often called the “graveyard of empires,” and Afghanistan may well become the graveyard of the “war on the cheap” doctrine, which is paradoxical since this doctrine was initially applied in Afghanistan with apparent success. Remember the US Special Forces on horseback, directing B-52 airstrikes against retreating Afghan forces? Sixteen years later, the Afghan war has dramatically changed and 90% of US casualties come from IEDs, all the efforts at a political settlement have failed, and victory and withdrawal appear completely impossible. The fact that the USA has now accused Russia of “arming the Taliban” is a powerful indicator of the USA-led power bloc’s desperation. Eventually, the Americans will leave, totally defeated, but for the time being all they will admit to is: “not winning.”

Here’s the dilemma: with the end of the Cold War and Post Cold War, complete US military reform is long overdue, but also politically impossible. The present US armed forces are the bizarre result of the Cold War, the “war on the cheap” years and failed military interventions. In theory, the US should adopt a new national security strategy and a military strategy that supports the national security strategy, and then develop a military doctrine which would produce a force modernization plan incorporating all aspects of military reform, from training to force planning to deployment. It took the Russians over a decade to do this. It will take the Americans at least as long. Right now, such far reaching reform seems years away. Garden variety jingoism (“We’re number one!!”) and deep denial rule the day. As in Russia, it will probably take a truly catastrophic embarrassment (like the first Russian war in Chechnya) to force the Pentagon to face reality. Until then, the ability of US forces to impose their domination on countries which refuse to surrender to threats and sanctions will continue to degrade.

So is Venezuela next? Hopefully not. But if so, it will be one very big mess with much destroyed and little achieved. The USA-led power bloc has long been punching above its weight. Prevailing against Iran or North Korea is clearly beyond current US military capabilities. Attacking Russia or China would be suicidal. Which leaves the Ukraine. The US might possibly send some weapons to the junta in Kiev and organize training camps in the western Ukraine. But that’s about it. None of that will make any real difference anyway, except further aggravate the Russians.

The Russians have succeeded in turning the course of the civil war in Syria with what was an extremely small, if highly skilled, task force.  Now, for the 2nd time, President Putin has announced a major withdrawal of Russian forces.  In contrast, the thoroughly defeated US has not only claimed the credit for defeating ISIS for itself, but has ostentatiously failed to make any announcement about a withdrawal of its own, completely illegal and mostly useless, forces from Syria.  Will they ever learn from their own mistakes?

The era of “wars on the cheap” is over. The world is a different place than it was. The USA has to adapt to this reality, if it wants to retain some level of credibility; but right now it does not appear anybody in Washington, DC is willing to admit this. As a result, the era of major US military interventions might well be coming to an end, even if there will always be some small country to “triumphantly” beat up.

Christianity and Judaism

January 23, 2018

Dear friends,

Today I am posting the full translation of an amazingly interesting text – Christianity and Judaism – on the issue of the historical role of the Jewish people written by a, now reposed, Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, Archbishop Nathanel (Lvov) [“Lvov” is his last name, no reference to the city in the Ukraine].  This has been made possible by the superb translation of this very nuanced text by Edvin Buday to whom I extend my most sincere gratitude (and admiration – this translation is a long and complex piece of work!).  The topic is “Christianity and Judaism”.  In Russian that would be “Христианство и Иудейство” where the second word, Iudeistvo, could also be translated as “Jewishness” or “that which is of/in the Jewish realm”.  What I am trying to convey here is that this is not about modern Judaism (which really is a misnomer and which should be called something like “rabbinical Phariseism” since all modern Judaic denomination are descendants of the sect of the Pharisees) and which is dramatically different from the religion of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (I always call modern “Judaism” the religion of Maimonides, Karo and Luria).

If Yuri Slezkine is right and the 20th century (or even the modern age) was, indeed “The Jewish Century“, and I would personally very much agree with this thesis, then it would be normal to have the topic of Jews and Jewishness as the focus of many interesting discussions.  Yet what we observe today is almost the polar opposite.  Oh sure, there is a lot of talk about Jews and Jewishness, but most of it is of an appallingly sophomoric level.  Not only that, but the many completely different dimensions of this issue are all mushed into one big fat conceptual blob about which a great deal of definitive statements are made without any regards to history, spirituality, culture, psychology, etc.  I am personally disgusted and discouraged to see how low these discussions typically can go.  Roughly speaking, most of the modern discourse is split between two warring factions:

Group “A”: they would have us believe that Jews are almost non-humans, that by some process unknown to science there is a specifically”Jewish” mentality, mindset, culture and even political identity which is transmitted over the generations from parents to their children and that this unique “thing” trumps both nature (or forms part of it) and nurture.  The simple truth is that proponents of this view separate mankind into “Jews” and “non-Jews” which is, of course, a typically racist attitude.

Group “B”: they will have us believe that Jews either have no role at all in society and/or politics or, if they do, then this is an exclusively benevolent one.  This is also the group which will tell you with a straight face that “Antisemitism” is a mysterious disease potentially infecting every single human being on the planet, a disease which has no cause whatsoever and from the effects of which Jews must be protected at all costs.  Expressing any critical view of anything Jewish, or even asking the wrong questions, is considered by Group B and a clear manifestation of this mysterious disease. The simple truth is that proponents of this view also separate mankind into “Jews” and “non-Jews” which is, of course, also a typically racist attitude.

In other words, all we are given the (pseudo-) “choice” between are two varieties of racist views.  The problem is that there is very strong, I would argue. even indisputable, historical evidence, that Jews are not a race or ethnicity (these terms themselves being rather vague to begin with).  Furthermore, the kind of worldview and ideology which fosters this kind of notions is always the product of what Russian philosophers have called a “человеконенавистническая идеология” which means a “Man/mankind-hating ideology”.

[Sidebar: for those who have not seen it before, here is my own working definition of racism: racism is, in my opinion, not so much the belief that various human groups are different from each other, say like dog breeds can be different, but the belief that the differences between human groups are larger than within the group. Second, racism is also a belief that the biological characteristics of your group somehow pre-determine your actions/choices/values in life. Third, racism often, but not always, assumes a hierarchy amongst human groups (Germanic Aryans over Slavs or Jews, Jews over Gentiles, etc.). I believe that God created all humans with the same purpose and that we are all “brothers in Adam”, that we all equally share the image (eternal and inherent potential for perfection) of God (as opposed to our likeness to Him, which is our temporary and changing individual condition). Tribal affiliations and ideological positions are, in contrast to one’s genetic make-up, the result of choices and, like all  choices, they are legitimate targets for scrutiny and criticism.]

The ultimate irony is, of course, that the racists in Group A and the racists in Group B are very much alike and their views very much mirror each other, they are just applied in different directions and towards different targets (the other target being the “other one”).

The result of this intellectually sterile and spiritually vitiated environment is that a fascinating and important topic has been reduced to a schoolyard shouting match in which both sides point fingers in anger at each other and verbal fists do most of the “talking”.  At the end of the day, both sides end up bloodied and exhausted (and none the wiser).

Jews, Jewishness and Judaism (in one form or another) have existed since antiquity, they have evolved and adapted to their environment and times and, like any other human group, they have dealt with numerous internal contradictions (how sad that nobody nowadays even knows what dialectics are!).  At the very least, this means that these topics should be studied on a historical, religious, philosophical, political, cultural, social, economic and many other levels.  Studied not to just come up with some slogan to hurl at the “other guy” but studied in order to understand the many, complex and often subtle nuances and dimensions of the topic at hand.

What I am posting today is one such investigation written from a purely religious point of view.  Agnostics and atheists are more than welcome to read it, but please understand that the person writing this comes from a background which you could not possibly understand (sorry, no offense intended here, I am just being truthful here).  It is also important to stress here that this article was written in 1949, right after WWII were the Nazi atrocities were already well-known to the general public but way before “Group B” managed to shove a psychological gag into the mouth of anybody daring to raising this topic in public.

It is particularly appalling to me to see that representatives of both “Group A” and “Group B” often present themselves, and their views, as “Christian” whereas nothing in reality could be further from the truth!  When is the last time you hear any of them refer to the writings of Saint Justin Martyr, Saint John Chrysostome, Saint Cyprian of Carthage or Saint Ephrem the Syrian?  The sad truth is that most of these “Christians” (they sometimes refer to themselves as “Cultural Christians”) never heard these names and know absolutely nothing about the religion they mistakenly believe they speak for.

Take the pseudo-Christians of “Group A”: Just a cursory familiarity with the writings of Saint Paul could have suggested to them that Christians “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12)” and that “circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commandments is what matters” (1 Cor 7:19).  In his epistle to Titus Saint Paul also reminded us to “avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain” (Titus 3:9) and yet these modern pseudo-Christians spend a great deal of time investigating who does, or does not, have Jewish blood (as if there was such thing!) and if yes, how much exactly.  Talk about foolish, vain and unprofitable “genealogies”!

Do any of those putatively “Christian” “Jew hunters” make any effort at all at understanding their own religion (and I don’t mean Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny!) or the writings of the Apostles?  Do they make any effort at all to try to acquire the “spirit/mindset” (phronema) of the Fathers?  Nope.  All they do is play “find the Jew” and then triumphantly place silly little echo signs ((())) around their names.

What kind of pagan kindergarten is that?!

Alas, the pseudo-Christians of Group “B” are no better.  The Latins (by that I mean the “Roman Catholics”, an expression which I do not use since the Latins are neither Roman nor Catholic) have now declared Urbi et Orbi that they are expecting the very same Messiah as the Judaics (see here and here).  The Pope who, according to Latin dogma, is infallible (when he speaks in his official capacity on spiritual matters) has gone as far as to declare that Judaics are the “elder brothers” of the Latins.  Apparently the (putatively) “holy” Father forgot that the Apostles themselves decreed that “If a Clergyman or a Layman should enter a Jewish synagogue, or pray with heretics, let him be excommunicated and defrocked” (Apostolic Canon 64) or, which is more likely, he does not believe that Apostolic Canons have authority over him.  The real problem is that Christian tradition very clearly states through the writings of numerous Church Fathers (such as Saint Hippolytus of Rome in his Treatise on Christ and the Antichrist) that the false Messiah the Judaics are waiting for will be the Antichrist!

[Sidebar: this is what Saint Hippolytus wrote about the Antichrist and which Christians used to read at least once a year in church: The Antichrist will be born from a harlot, who will appear to be a virgin, but will be of the Hebrew race, of the tribe of Dan, the son of Jacob; and he will supposedly live as Christ did, and will perform as many miracles as Christ, and will raise the dead. But all of these things—his birth, his flesh, and everything else—will be an illusion, as the Apostle says; and he will then be revealed as the son of perdition, with all power, with signs and deceitful wonders. However, as Saint John of Damascus says, the Devil himself will not be transformed into flesh, but a man who is the offspring of fornication will receive all the energy of Satan, and will suddenly rise up. He will appear good and gentle to all, and then there will be a mighty famine. He will supposedly satisfy the people, will study the Holy Scriptures, will practice fasting, and, compelled by men, will be proclaimed king; he will show especial love to the Hebrew race, restoring them to Jerusalem and rebuilding their temple. Before seven years have passed, as Daniel says, Enoch and Elias will come, preaching to the people that they should not accept him. He will arrest and torment them, and will then behead them. Those who choose to remain pious will flee far away into the mountains; when he finds them, through the agency of demons, he will make trial of them. Those seven years will be cut short for the sake of the elect, and there will be a mighty famine, and all the elements will be transformed, so that everyone will all but disappear.]

Interestingly, Islam also teaches that the next false Messiah will be the Antichrist and that Christ will come back to defeat him.  It is ironic that  Orthodox Christians and Muslims share a common view while Latins and Judaics share the opposite one.  As for Protestant denominations, I will just say that Protestant hardcore Zionists probably outnumber Jewish Zionist by a comfortable margin.  Yet these “Christians” all completely overlook such (Antisemitic?) passages of the Scripture as famous “the synagogue of Satan” (Rev 3:9) and “your Father the devil” (John 8:44).  Most importantly, they also completely ignore what orthodox Judaics really teach about non-Jews.

What kind of ‘Christian’ either ignores the teachings of his own religion or is ashamed of it?!

The sad reality is that we now live in a post-Christan and pseudo-pagan society (I say pseudo because the original pagans were extremely receptive to the Christian message, modern pseudo-pagans are just about the most incapable of even understanding it).   Frankly, most of our contemporaries are simply not equipped to understand a topic as subtle and complex as the amazing history of the Jewish people (understood here, of course, not as a race, but as a *tribe*, i.e. a group one can chose to join (Elizabeth Taylor) or leave (Gilad Atzmon) (official definition:

a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader).

This tribe, however, is hardly uniform phenomenon but an amazingly diverse and complex collection of extremely different sub-groups and individuals: lumping all “Jews” into one category is just as futile and stupid as lumping all Muslims into one or, for that matter, all Christians).  And yes, some of these subgroups and individuals have, and still are, wielding enormous intellectual, economic and political power and to pretend like they did/do not or to pretend that this power has always been benevolent is simply ridiculous.  Folks who make that kind of silly statements are far more concerned about not alienating (or even pleasing) their sponsors than to remain faithful to faith “which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian” (St. Athanasius).

Icon of the Compassionate Samaritan

In sharp contrast all of the above, the text of Archbishop Nathanel (which has never, as far as I know, been translated into English) is a faithful expression of the Christian point of view on this question.  I don’t mean to say that everything His Eminence wrote is dogma and has to be accepted as some sort of absolute and indisputable truth, not at all, but it is an attempt to explain something immensely complex while remaining faithful to the mindset/spirit of true Christianity: with compassion and understanding towards all people but with an unbreakable determination and zeal to uphold and pass on the truth as revealed by the Prophets, Christ and the Church.

It seems to me that the Parable of the Compassionate Samaritan ( Luke 10:25–37) not only best illustrates what the correct answer to the question “who is my brother?” is but it also shows us how Christ instructs us all to act towards those who hold beliefs which are opposed to ours or even offensive to us (Jews and Samaritans mostly hated each other).  I don’t think that Christ would have welcomed the making of lists of Samaritans, if you see what I mean…

I am personally under no illusions whatsoever and I know that the members of the two groups described above with scoff at it all and, frankly, I am not posting this to convince them otherwise.  I am writing for those who seek a truly Christian discussion on a topic of tremendous importance for our times.  Contrary to the impression one might get listening to the AM dial, the Christian faith is not one which can be taught, or even intelligently discussed, while driving, with “commercial breaks” or even in a short, 300-400 words text.   It is one which is first and foremost lived, experienced, and one which centers on asceticism and prayer, not scholastic deductions.  Even a comparatively long(er) text like the one below is but the tiny tip of an immense iceberg hidden from the view of most and preserved by a few.

I strongly recommend that those of you who are interested seek out and read all the key Patristic texts on this topic as they are all available online (I recommend starting with Saint Justin Martyr’s “Dialog with Trypho” and then proceeding to Saint John Chrysostome’s “Kata Ioudaion“).  I also recommend that we all stay away from the regular verbal slugfests various outlets engage in which inevitably degenerate in more name calling and finger pointing then thinking.  Finally, even if you disagree or dislike what you will read there, at least you will be able to tell apart the true Christian view of this topic and the pseudo-Christian ersatz we are offered at every street corner.

Bonne lecture!

The Saker

*******

Christianity and Judaism

by Archbishop Nathanail (Lvov)

Part I:

What an old and painful issue are the relations between Christianity and Judaism!

In the historical process of humanity, how many joint instances of guilt, hatred, and blood there are! The massacres of Jews on the one hand and cowardly murders on the other; ghettos here and hatred for the goyim there. Finally, in the last few years we have seen a raging racist theory with its millions of hecatombs by the hand of one of the ‘Christian’ peoples on the one hand and the nearly total capture of all pillars of human history by the Jews, the fully realistic possibility of the Judaisation of all humanity before our very eyes, and its subordination to Judaism on the other.

We would like to speak about the internal roots of this gigantic problem, without an understanding of which we could not hope to understand the processes taking place before our very eyes.

What is Judaism? Is it a shy, innocent little sheep that is unfairly persecuted by all, as it is sometimes presented? Or is it a terrifying hellspawn that does not resemble the rest of humanity at all, as Rozanov [1], Ford [2], and the German propagandists would have it?

To answer this question and to understand how untrue both of these representations are, we must recall Jewish history from a Christian point of view, a history that we not for nothing know better than the history of any other people.

Because of His wish to accomplish the salvation of the race of man and graft its feral vine to Himself, immediately after the fall of man the Lord starts the make a selection among humanity by destroying all that by virtue of its deep-rooted perversion cannot serve the cause of preparation for salvation, and, contrariwise, by separating and preparing all that is good.

Any man can save himself, i.e. he can become worthy of the Kingdom of God, and only the common, obdurate sin and stubbornness within him can disturb or halt the process of the maturation of the human soul for the Kingdom of God. And in this case (that of stubbornness in sin), man destroys himself among the living, as in the Lord’s universe there is not and cannot be anything senseless, and the existence of a man who does not mature for the Kingdom of God and who cannot mature is senseless.

The same can also be said of entire peoples. The knower of human hearts saw, by foreseeing the inner being of every separate man and every people and tribe, what kind of man and what kind of people are ready of the process that gives meaning to each life; these he saved and the others he destroyed.

However, there are few who are capable completion of salvation. The process of salvation itself must be completed. This process has been wrought by the Lord, but His human tools were surely necessary. The human share in his salvation is a miniscule one, but it is definitely necessary. Man is not a passive stone, man is the image of God: he is a limited, diminutive likeness of the Endless Absolute and by virtue of the natural attribute of this image he should actively participate in his salvation. A separate person is the best active part of his soul, and all of humanity is the best active part of humanity.

It is with the greatest caution that the Lord selects this best, most active part of humanity and makes a selection of the selection.

The worst part of humanity is destroyed in the waters of the flood: this was all of the spawn of Cain and all descendants of the other children of Adam and Eve who were seduced into mixing with the Cainites. Only the best descendants of the best of the children of Adam are spared: those of Sif.

During the construction of the Tower of Babylon, the nature of humanity receives a new characteristic: a division of tongues. The up until that point united humanity is separated into national cellules in order to prevent evil from spreading across the entire body of humanity.

By using this new, God-granted characteristic of humanity, the Lord sends a most sacred and loyal Chaldean man, who by one word from the Lord leaves his homeland and the house of his father and goes to a new land according to the divine plan, where, by using the Lord’s separation of humanity into nationalities, he will not mix with the surrounding peoples.

What an image, glowing with the highest moral strength presents this chosen one of God, Abraham, to us! Having obediently left for a foreign land and having received Divine covenant for his act, which says that from his descendants the Chosen People will come and that all earthly tribes will be blessed in him; Abraham is ready to sacrifice the one through whom this Divine covenant is supposed to go: his only son Isaac, thus becoming similar to God in his willingness to sacrifice and thereby enlarging his God-likeness.

It is clear that it is on this man’s shoulders that God puts a gigantic responsibility: to be both personally and through his line a tool of the Lord and an active participant in the salvation of the whole race of man.

This is the greatest version of the origin of the Jewish people by virtue of the glory of its design.

In order to fulfil the plan of the Lord, this people needs to have several traits: above all it must be loyal to God. To strengthen this trait, it is led through a series of trials: slavery in Egypt, the wanderings through the desert, the miraculous nourishment from manna, and, finally, the conquest of the Holy Land with the glorious aid of God. It was necessary that this people learned through experience that all its strength is in its God and that it is indebted with an unrepayable debt to this God.

This people should not mix with the other peoples, who had fallen to idolatry. This is why in the first few generations after Abraham this people is tempered not by mixing with other peoples, but by the marriage of every carrier of the fulness of the Divine covenant (i.e. Isaac and Jacob) with women that did not come from the surrounding peoples. And, because he did not fulfil this providential condition, Esau was eliminated and removed from the selection.

This trait of non-mixture with the other peoples and of separation from them has entered the spiritual and corporeal tissue of the Jewish people strongest of all and is its most characteristic feature to this very day.

But despite this non-mixing with other peoples, the Jewish people should not just be the pick of humanity, but also its representative, and should above all keep its unity with all of humanity and guard human versatility within itself, so that all branches of humanity could in this people recognise the fundamental traits that are essential to salvation.

And this we also see in the Jewish people. The Russian, the Black, the Frenchman, and the Japanese all understand the spiritual processes among the Chosen People that the Bible has noted for us. And it is not random chance that the holiest church fathers see in the history of the Jewish people a typological history of every human soul: in the Egyptian captivity and the pharaonic labours they see the condition of the soul when it is enslaved to sin, in the exodus from Egypt liberation from sin, in the forty-year wandering across the desert the process of being cleansed from sin, in the grumbling of the Jews during this process the frequent grumbling of the human soul during those challenges that accompany the cleansing process etc. (“You have preferred, O my soul, the meat of swine and the tempting food of Egypt to the food of Heaven, as did the ungrateful people of old in the wilderness) [3].

On the other hand, it is thanks to precisely this trait of their nature that the Jews have always been the best spreaders of any movement under any people, both during the early Christian time of preaching and in current anti-Christian propaganda.

In addition, by richly granting all kinds of natural gifts that are necessary for His plan to His Chosen People, the Lord kept them from excessive, unnecessary endowments. For example, this people was not given political power. It was not called upon to build gigantic empires like the Persians, Macedonians, or Romans.

Outside noises and the comparatively insignificant clattering of historical processes would be unnecessary and could draw away the spiritual and corporeal forces of the holy people to lower, external business, while God had something better prepared for them: active participation in the building of the Kingdom of God, the Eternal Kingdom without end, in front of which the vainglory of Alexander, Caesar, and the Romans looks like the fate of an insignificant, tawdry banality and despicable philistinism.

Several currents are especially important in the history of Israel: first, the external preparation for the arrival of the Son of God, although this was a relatively passive and outward affair, which, strictly speaking, any other people gifted with riches could have done. We are speaking here of the creation of a tabernacle, and then a temple, worship, and the entire exterior ritual of life.

But organically linked to this current is the second important tendency in the life of the Chosen People: moral preparation for the arrival of the Son of God in its midst. The ground must be prepared for the meeting. For the reception of the totality of Divine glory it was necessary to prepare by accepting and spreading a pedagogical, preparatory Divine Law, a trimmed heart, and washed ears.

This is especially clear in the example of the highest commandment of love towards one’s enemies.

It is not love that has become natural to the sinful, self-affirmed human heart, but vengeance, vengeance that does knows neither limits nor fulfilment through a long, sinful process from the fall of Adam to the murder of Cain and through many other killings. If one of my teeth has been knocked out, I’ll grind down the face of the perpetrator into mush. If someone has damaged one of my eyes, then I will roast him on a slow fire, cut him up into little pieces, and drink deeply from his sorrows. To use the recent example of the last war, we saw people who had denied Christ kill tens of hundreds, and sometimes even thousands of those they suspected of having killed one friend of theirs; we could see how insatiable the vengeance of man is.

To say without preparation to a man who has become accustomed to unbridled vengeance “love your enemies and do good to those that hate you” would be a hopeless nothing, or, in other words, empty talk. And the Lord does not speak for nothing. He who has created reality and is always creating only reality, He Who Is as He Is, i.e. the genuinely, truly existing Lord is realistic in everything to us. This is why before saying “love your enemies”, it would be necessary to prepare the human heart for this with a limitation to the unbridled fury of hatred. And Moses noted down the words from the Lord: eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.

In such a form, even an unprepared man can accept a limitation to his insatiable, unbridled revenge, as this rule is based on a form of justice that was kept safe from the times before the Fall of Man that is a natural part of every human heart. And if a man accepts a limit to his desire for vengeance, he really accepts it: by his reason, by his will, and by such a fulfilment of his life that the law enters into his very nature, that for one of my teeth that has been beaten out I cannot mutilate a whole man and can only inflict the same thing that he has inflicted on me, that for an eye I cannot subject him to endless torture, when I, having learned to limit my anger, am ready to accept the law of Divine love and can learn to love my enemies.

It is the same in the entire moral law of the Old Testament: it prepared the human heart to be ready to accept the law of Christ.

And this preparation was accomplished among the Chosen People, which played both the role of the crop of humanity and its representative in this matter. If it succeeds among the Jews, it will succeed among all of humanity, for all human traits have been concentrated in this people that the word of God names people par excellence, more human than all other men; it is not by chance that One from this people is called the Son of Man.

The holiest current in this people, in all of humanity, and in all of the world created by God is the one that was fully hidden by the Lord from any foreign, intrusive glances, the one in which by the grace of God from generation to generation the cleansing of the very nature of humanity took place in order to make it capable of receiving the Son of God.

Abraham was a high holiness, but alongside spiritual flight we also see within him the depths of the fall in Egypt and with Avimalekh. The Son of God could not come directly to him and unite with him in most glorious union. But his holiness did not remain barren: with both spirit and flesh he takes part in the fulfilment of the Divine plan, for from his seed God and Man were born. We repeat the same about Isaac, about Jacob, about Jude, about David, and about all forefathers of Christ, who were spiritually and corporeally the ancestors of the Son of Man. We can say this about almost all of the just men of the Old Testament, because they indirectly participated in God’s creation of that spiritual atmosphere that the best flower of humanity could come into by taking the Son of God within Itself.

The heart flutters when it thinks about this, when one considers how in the silence of the province of Palestine, which was guarded by God from the noise of the wide historical roads, the fruit of the most perfect streams of humanity matured, without which the Lord could not come to his people, and how the Holiest Virgin, Whose name is Mary, matured as well.

The first half of the divine plan was dignifiedly and rightly completed by Israel. It safeguarded the true faith among the pagan darkness throughout many ages, it created the Divine temple, which is the image of all temples of all ages, its prophets prepared the ground for the coming of Christ, they prepared the way of the Lord and made his path clear. From its bosom grew the Holiest Virgin and Saint John, about which the mouth of God says: among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.

Nothing can take away this greatest glory from Israel, from this supernatural greatness of its fate. Even everything that follows cannot destroy the debt of gratitude that humanity owes to Israel. And what can also not destroy this debt of gratitude is, that having taken great glory upon itself, but also the terrible weight of Divine election, Israel carried this yoke for the other peoples. We Russians to a degree know how difficult this yoke is. Our prophet tells us:

Remember: to be the tool of God
Is heavy for earthly creations:
His servants he judges harshly,
And on you, oh, how many
Horrible sins have fallen.

(Khomyakov) [4]

And any other people could not have carried the yoke the same way Israel carried it; any other tribe would have buckled under it, and the royal lines would have far earlier. What the church teachings tell us of Adam and Eve, that, while not justifying their betrayal of God, we also should not dare to judge them, for we would have acted the same way, can also be repeated in an even greater measure about Israel: if, having completed the first half of the plan God had created for them, it betrayed the second half of God’s plan, then every other people in its stead would have acted even worse, even more undeserving of Divine election.

The fall of Israel is not just the tragedy of the nation, but of all of humanity as well, for it was the crop and representative of the whole race of Man. And Israel’s execution of the first half of the Divine plan and its preparation of the coming of Christ is not just its inalienable and never fading glory, but also the glory of all of humanity.

Part II

Both during the judgment of Pilate and to the Pharisees who accompanied him Christ said that His Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom: “My Kingdom is not of this world”, “the Kingdom of God is within you” [5]. But those who accepted His Kingdom as a supplement, as a tool to serve that Kingdom are granted external glory and the exterior, earthly rule as well by the Lord, according to the Law that was spoken by Him: “But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all this will be given to you as well” [6].

So that the preaching of the Gospels could take place unhindered, the Lord gave the Roman people the opportunity to create a worldly government. So that in the future this preaching could spread across the entire universe, the Lord gave precisely the Christian peoples unseen political and scientific strength.

Of course, if the Chosen Jewish People fulfilled the plan of God, if this whole people, or at least its fundamental, leading, representative part followed Christ, desired communion with the inner Kingdom of God, it would without any doubt have received the most glorious and strong worldly kingdom as an annex. As we know how flamingly, how selflessly the wild Celtic, Germanic, and Slavic tribes accepted the faith of Christ, we can well imagine with what veneration, honour, and service they would have surrounded the firstborn of the peoples in Christ, the people of the kin of the Lord in flesh. The veneration that the Christian peoples showed for Rome and Byzantium can give a small indication of this.

Of course, this was the Divine plan for humanity: His prepared part for the acceptance of the Son of God was supposed to have been cast into the world like a leavening into the dough. With this abundant leavening the whole race of Man would have seen the Kingdom of God and the Lord’s chosen would have gone before all the other peoples, guiding them on the road towards union with God as the vanguard of the Church of Christ.

Its temple was the temple of Jerusalem, the throne of all lands, which would have become the first Christian temple where, instead of the Old Testament shadow and the bloody sacrifice Christ Himself would have made the New Testament sacrifice of His Body and Blood. It is here that New Testament worship would have been developed by integrating the totality of all elements of Old Testament preparatory veneration. The entire people of Judea, which knew the multiplicity of human spirits like no other, would have gone on a mission [7] of preaching the other, unprepared part of the Gospel of humanity: all the other peoples, too, would have used their God-given talent for this work and all would have entered into communion with the Kingdom of God.

This Divine plan was disrupted by Israel’s betrayal. Although part of it (the holiest part of Israel and humanity that followed Christ), i.e. the apostles, were all Jews and could not have come from any other people, because all the other peoples were not prepared, the main mass of the people, mainly its guiding, representative part, i.e. the priests (who were the official rulers) and the Pharisean rabbis (their real rulers) did not follow Christ but crucified him through the hands of Roman soldiers while calling: “His Blood on us and on our children!” [8]

Only the First fall of Man, of Adam and Eve, is comparable in significance and inner meaning to this terrible catastrophe that twisted the Divine plan, the Lord’s design for subsequent history of humanity, which had been redeemed and saved by Christ.

Israel has been cast out. To be more precise, itself (the chosen one of the Lord) cast away its chosen nature, refused to serve the One who had chosen him and fulfil His plans.

There were thousands of reasons for this: all temptations, all enticements from the lowest lures of gluttony to the great, proud plans about the creation of a worldwide, earthly kingdom of Jerusalem, which the prophets speak of: all of this was united and mobilised by the unclean one in order to draw Israel from its path, which was to be the chosen tool to save all of mankind.

We will stop for a minute at the most important part, the deepest and most important temptation, the temptation of an earthly kingdom of Israel which was, after all, dreamt of by the best thinkers of the people of Judea, in accordance with the image drawn by the prophets of a kingdom in which swords turn to ploughshares and all tribes of the world will know peace.

The story of the temptation of the first men repeated itself in a significant way. The Lord created men for veneration. Having created them in His image and likeness, He gave them the task to become more and more like Him, become more and more gods themselves, for as the Lord says: “I said: you are gods, and all of you are sons of the most high” [9], and as Basil of Caesarea said: “I am a beast, but I have received the task of becoming God”.

The devil, however, when he tricks people, says: “Eat of the fruit and you will be as gods”, contrary to the Creator.

The devil does the same with Israel. By marking it as the means by which the Divine Spiritual Kingdom will be established, the Lord (as we have shown) would, of course, have given Israel an earthly kingdom as a small covenant. But the lords of Israel hungered for the earthly kingdom, and, by rejecting the Kingdom of God, fell away from their highest fate of Divine election.

We say that by doing this they disrupted the Divine plan. But this is but partly so.

An individual man and a whole people can disturb and twist the Divine plan for himself or itself. The inner fate of a man or a people is given over to his or its own free will by the Lord. But no one can disrupt the plan of God wholesale. The wisdom and strength of the Lord constantly correct disruptions in His Divine plan, disruptions that are affected by demonic power or confused human will. And all angelic forces and all just men of God are constantly surprised by the Lord’s force and wisdom, which knows how to unceasingly correct everything in the world that was created by Him and thus create the Lord’s ceaseless glory, as John the Apostle says.

The salvation of men must be completed. And Israel should guide this process. But Israel has rejected its mission. How can this be?

Christ warned the rulers of Israel that by their insubordination they will not stop the fate the Lord has given them. God can create the sons of Adam from these very rocks.

And from these rocks, and from tongues, and from peoples, how unprepared they may be for the acceptance of Christ, as from the rocks the Lord raises up a new Israel: the Christian peoples, who spiritually become the children of Adam, for they take his whole inheritance (the cause of Israel) of Divine election and guidance for the salvation of Man upon themselves.

God generously and graciously gave these peoples enormous spiritual and mental strength that are necessary for a most great mission; this is the very same strength that the Lord would have given Israel, had it remained in its station. And these Christian peoples, having taken the place of Israel, carried the world further towards Christ and salvation.

However, if Israel had been prepared for this by all of its earlier history to become the leader of peoples in their salvation, and if pagan crudeness would have been uprooted from it (or it should have at least been uprooted), then these new peoples, this wild olive tree had to come to the Church without being prepared by history, were grafted onto it from a wild, ill-prepared root, and their preparation would have been a long and complex process. And we see how it is really with great difficulty and many great acts of bravery the Christianisation of these people is being completed and how many very strong traces of pagan crudeness, stupidity, and narrow-mindedness remain within them.

Israel enters into a fight with these peoples. By repeating the story of the earliest fallen soul, which hated the race of Man because these despicable, weak, insignificant people, formed into a shape of rotting meat and flesh, were called by the love of God to take his place (instead of a proud and strong spirit), Old Israel also infinitely hates the crude pagan peoples that were called by Divine summons to take its place at the head of the earthly tribes.

Israel begins a fight. This is a very unequal struggle. The world belongs to the Christian and pagan peoples. Israel, having betrayed God, has lost everything that was given by God for the fulfilment of His task except for the inalienable internal gift of God: natural spiritual strength.

This is why the strength of Israel and its weapons of war can only be occult, internal means. Its very deep knowledge of human nature, that was given to it for the preaching of the Gospel but is used by Israel in the opposite way, serves it very well in this struggle.

Israel, having betrayed Christ because of the temptations of pride, greed, and gluttony, is also trying to seduce the peoples that have replaced it by these same lures. Through its hatred of the Christian peoples, it becomes like the fallen one, as its tragedy is similar to the tragedy of the demon: the tragedy of the latter consists of him being a fallen angel, the tragedy of the form in being God’s chosen people that has betrayed God.

The opinion of the Christian Church towards the fallen Israel is very ambivalent. On the one hand, the Church very clearly says that Judaism has not any rights towards the name of Israel in the New Testament and that the Church will become the New Israel: the Chosen Bride of Christ, and that it is to Her and no Judaism that the full scale of covenants and Divine gifts that were promised to the sons of Abraham belongs, for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all righteous ones of the Old Testament belong to the Church and entered into her as a component part. What is more, the Church separately removes Judaism from Its life and from all communion with Itself, so long as the Jews do not repent and come into the Church.

But on the other hand, the best representatives of the Church feel a great sorrow and understand very well the tragic fate of Old Testament Israel. We remember the sayings of apostle Paul, that are pregnant with infinite love towards his dear people that has wandered astray. We find similar sentiments with Basil of Caesarea, a Hellene by descent but an ardent lover of the Old Testament Israel, and also a man who could never remember Abraham without tears and also healed many Jewish souls that came to Christ with his love. Lastly, we can read similar sayings in the works of John Chrysostom and the other holy fathers.

However, as we have said before, in the bosom of the Christian peoples, or, to be more precise, those of the peoples that are being Christened, we still find many things vile and pagan that are incapable of this growing Christian love.

And this is why old Israel drank deeply of the most bitter wine of humiliation among the Christian peoples.

The threatening word of the Lord became full reality for Israel: “If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God. And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you” [10].

For millenia the Jews had to hide grovel, kissing the lordly hand, flattering and currying favour with stupid and crude medieval Europeans, in which so much primitive paganism remained. This medieval Jew [11], with a sophisticated soul and Chosen by god for the greatest fate reviled, of course, the crude baron or lord that mocked him.

In our current banishment, we, Russians, can have some understanding of the century-long Jewish tragedy. Some Riurikovich or Gedeminovich [12] who serves as a chauffeur or a servant for an Argentinian or Venezuelan despises his master the same way that the medieval Jew despises the lord he served; that is, if our modern Russian aristocrat does not defend himself from such an unhealthy and destructive spiritual condition by way of Christian humility, which, woe is us, there is so catastrophically little of among us.

And despite their humiliation, these medieval Jews remembered their election well and carefully guarded proof of their descent from David or Aaron.

Part III

In our time, we see how Judaism is conquering new positions one after the other and is capturing nearly all reins, all driving belts of modern humanity.

The creation of a Jewish state, the meaning it immediately acquired in the world that became especially apparent in its instant recognition by the two strongest powers of the world (the US and USSR), and the zeal of both of these colossal states in their drive to gain Israel’s sympathy: all this clearly shows the exclusivity of Israel’s condition and its global importance.

From this point of view, an interview by a correspondent of the Parisian English-language newspaper “The Daily Mail” Jenny Nicholson with Israel’s chief rabbi, mister Herzog, and her further report on the subject.

Nicholson writes: “Mr. Herzog, the chief rabbi, lives in a smart modern house in Jerusalem. Through the open doors one can see his secretaries with their black beards and black hats, working behind their writing desks.

I was guided upstairs into his library, which was filled with gigantic Jewish books. The rustle of light footsteps could be heard: mr. Herzog entered the library: renowned learned rabbi in black clothes and with a long, gray beard that was separated in two halves.

His religion did not allow him to shake my hand:

– “The only woman whose hand I have shaken is the queen of the Netherlands”,- he said.

A Jewish girl in a red sweater brought Turkish coffee and crackers, the rabbi lit a cigarette and offered me another, and began to speak of ancient prophecy:

– “The new state of Israel, the return of the Jews to Palestine, all this is a preparatory step for the return of the Messiah”, – he said. – “The coming of the Messiah will not be a solely Jewish event, but it will have meaning for the whole world”.

– “But the prophecy tells us that the Messiah will come from the House of David, and how many can now pretend a descent from the house of David?” – asked Jenny Nicholson.

Herzog smiled and dusted the cigarette ash from his clothes.

– “I was recently invited to the christening (i.e. the circumcision) of a child, the father of which is a pretender to the throne of David.”

According to an article printed in the English-language Israeli Newspaper “The Palestine Post”, thousands of Israeli citizens can prove their descent from the House of David. The most well-known pretender is Samuel Solnik, a young dentist from Poland.

Solnik royally lifted up his uncrowned head when I came to visit him. He spread out his moustache and said:

– “Tradition is in the blood of the Jewish people. We make links to that moment in the past where we left off. Why shouldn’t we reinstate the monarchy?”

However, he added that the time wasn’t yet nigh:

– “Most importantly, we don’t yet have Israel. And the King of Israel should rule in his capital.”

Dr. Solnik serves as a dentist in a camp of Egyptian prisoners of war, but he spends sabbaths at home in Nafanay, which lies to the north of Tel-Aviv. There is no difference between this family and other middle-class ones, except for the fact that the eldest son of mr. Solnik is called ‘Melek’, or ‘king’ in school. What is more, no other dentist in the world has such special literature as mr. Solnik his, and he gladly shows his correspondence with persons of authority that show his official right to claim descent from the House of David.

All Jewish scholars are in agreement that anyone who can prove his descent from Abravanel is a descendant of the House of David. Our Solnik is methodically proving the emergence of his line from Samuil Abravanel, who in 1391 “arrived in Seville and worked as a tax collector”.

– “But in this case, you should hold the title of ‘Melek’.”

– “No”, – Solnik answers with a royal pose, – “I abjure all my rights for my son. I declare all my claims in his name”.

His son is called Emmanuil, in accordance with the prophecy of Isaiah: “and they will call Him Emmanuil”.

Emmanuil, a pretty, pale boy around five and a half years old, is playing with his younger brother, who is trying to pull of the golden crown of David that his brother is carrying on a necklace.

Solnik says:

– “The chances of the coming of the Kingdom of Israel are very great, and it might come soon. We might have a large monarchist party.” The Continental Daily Mail, No. 16971-1949.

Of course, all of this isn’t serious yet. In mr. Solnik’s candidature to become King of Israel, Emmanuil, there is a comic element. This is just a test. But the question has already been put forward and has been embedded in the order of the day and is standing in line in our modern life.

And what awesome, holy words there are for us here: “King of Israel, Son of David, He who is from the House of David, Who will sit on the throne of His Father David, and He Who has the obedience of all peoples for all time, Emmanuil”. From our youngest years, when the first considered impressions started filtering through to our consciousness, these names have become close, known, and infinitely dear to us, and we know well of Who they speak, on Whose cross “King of the Jews” was written, Who the people desirous of spiritual and physical healing turned to with the sacramental cry: “Son of David, have mercy on us”. We know Who Emmanuil is.

Have we made a mistake? Are all these titles not related to Him, but to someone else who is yet to come, who will come soon, as the honourable mr. Herzog and mr. Solnik say, as well as all the leading circles of Israel?

There is nothing unexpected to us here. We all knew this long ago. We knew that the entire glory, all actions, everything that has been completed by Him will be contested by him, the other that the holy Gospels tell us about: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” [13].

The signs of this other that will come “instead of Christ” (in Greek, ‘instead of’ is expressed as anti-) are described in many places in the Scripture, mostly by the apostle Paul in his 11 messages to the Thessalonians and in the Apocalypse of Saint John the Evangelist. A less well-known description of the calls of the Antichrist is found in the Synaxarium in the week before the Great Fast, which should be read in all churches on the Sunday before Shrovetide, but is actually only read in but a few monasteries.

It is written: “The Antichrist cometh and is born”, as says the holy Hippolytus of Rome [14], “from a deplorable woman and self-styled virgin from the Jews of the tribe of Dan, and like he walks and passes his life in the way of Christ (i.e. he imitates Christ in his exterior appearance), and he will complete miracles, and very much like Christ will he act, and he will resurrect the dead. But he will do everything dreamingly (i.e. only in spirit, not in reality). And then there will open calamities in all strength and significance and false miracles. For it is not the devil himself who becomes flesh, but a man born from sin, who will accept all the works of Satan and suddenly stand. He appears good and shy to everyone. And there will be a great hunger. And he will satisfy the people. And he will learn the writing. And he will demand from the people and declare himself king. And he will greatly love the Jewish people, and he will go to Jerusalem and raise their temple there… This is how suddenly like lighting from heaven the coming of the Lord will be”.

For nearly two thousand years nearly all Christian generations read these lines, and although they immutably believed them, they still seemed far off, as if covering themselves in the farthest darkness of time. And all of this has now directly come to us, crashed down on us, become the order of the day.

Rejected and having rejected the path of God, Israel came to want to reach without God, alongside God, against God, by its own hand that what is fathers dreamed of, that wat was promised to Israel by God, what God would have given him if it followed the path marked by God, but what it wanted to reach on the contrary path: a worldly Kingdom of Israel, rule over all the peoples of earth, as the prophecy says: ” And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee… The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel” [15]. All of this was promised to the children of Israel if only they kept to the path of the Lord, and they have gotten nearly all of this themselves while having rejected the Divine path. Before our very eyes, the strong (the strongest of this world) forgetting and leaving behind their hostility and competition rush to bow down to the new-born Israel.

How did Israel do this? In what way? Why?

Just by the strength and influence of world capital, which is inclined to them? Or the action of secret forces? Or by cultural and natural superiority over the other peoples? Or by some other, deeper ways?

Of course, Jewish capital, secret forces, and natural gifts play a role in this most import phenomenon of our time.

But this is not the main reason; instead, it is because the Christian peoples themselves have set out on the road of the old Israel and have come to internally resemble it.

What is the meaning of the Jewish tragedy?

In the fact that they could have become God’s tool for the salvation of the world and had all gifts for this, but did not want to.

What is the meaning of the modern apostasy of the current peoples?

It is the same meaning. They have gone the same way. Those called to the place of the old Israel, having to that end become the New Israel and the coryphaeus of all humanity, guiding it to Christianisation and salvation have rejected their calling and their election, and, in this way, have become internally Judeaised.

This is a complex and multiform process. Strictly speaking, it began immediately after the establishment of the Church by manifesting in every apostate of Christianity; for example, it appeared especially strongly in Julian Apostata, in whom we can very easily recognise the most characteristic traits of the modern man of state who fiercely hates and despises Christianity and who rallies in a toga of tolerance and apathy.

But this process took on special strength in the West in the era of the Renaissance (and for us from the time of Peter the Great), when, in its greed for bodily delights and unnaturality in everything, European humanity on the eve of its new great mission that was developed by earlier generations, on the eve of the discovery of lands on the other side of the ocean did not do its duty, but moved towards abandoned paganism and rejected Christ.

This process grew even stronger with the French Revolution and, finally, developed into an open rebellion against God and Christ in our revolution.

But there can be no return to paganism. Paganism is a stage that has been passed. The pagan did not now Christ, did not meet Him. But, having met Him, one must immediately either accept Him or reject Him.

And the peoples that reject Christ are internally becoming kin to the Jews, who also made this choice and rejected Christ two millennia ago.

And the Lord, Who “did not have mercy on natural branches”, does not, of course, create hypocrisy for the new peoples that have been called to replace Israel.

We see how before our eyes the primacy of the European peoples and their status as leaders of the race of Man is being taken away from them, when this position as a result of the betrayal of Christianity by the Europeans has lost its inner meaning.

The European peoples were called to replace Israel for Christianisation and spreading communion with Christ, because Israel did not want to lead people on the Divine path.

But, by changing betraying this duty and internally becoming similar to Israel, which had rejected Christ, the European peoples are really losing all their rights of whatever provision of guidance to the race of Man. By betraying Christ, they are entirely naturally coming under the leadership of that people, which has been given infinitely more gifts for the guidance of peoples*.

And this people, which has been called by the plan of God to become the leader of the saved peoples on their way to salvation instead becomes the leader of dying peoples on the path to ruin, which they started on by their own free will by having rejected Christ.

This is natural and inescapable. The attempts of the Germans to take the place of the Jews as leaders of the world were both comical and pitiful.

It is possible that those who understand the tragic fate of Israel better than anyone are we, Russians, for we have betrayed Israel in the fulfilment of the plan on our own plot of land and in securing the unspoiled purity of the Divine truth, i.e. Orthodoxy.

The other peoples were granted other gifts in this general Divine plan, some of them which Israel never had. The Roman people was a people of the building of state and judicial thought, the Greek people of philosophy. The Celtic and Germanic peoples have exclusive technical gifts. These are all talents that can be used in service to the Kingdom of God, but only peripherally, not essentially. These other peoples are all more skilled than us in this.

But, like old Israel, perhaps in a lesser degree than it but to a greater degree than all the other peoples, we, Russians, are gifted with the most important, most spiritual gift of the entire vision of God: the gift of heightened religiousness. We, like Israel, are an extraordinarily religious people. All our reactions are religious. Our patriotism is religious, we fall in love religiously, we think and feel religiously.

This is why our betrayal of God, like Israel’s betrayal, is accompanied by such a terrible tragedy, by endless suffering, by despair.

When other peoples betray their religious mission, they keep something neutral, while we, like Israel, remain with nothing except another form of religious service, a terrible one, a satanic one.

This is why we, like Israel, are a formidable people. We can be fully penetrated by God, and for this reason, like Israel, we can be fully penetrated by the adversary: by satanic powers.

This is why in the current times it is in Russia, which once was Holy Rus’, the grin of Satan is best visible.

This is why we share Israel’s fate: focusedly hated and reviled by the other peoples. We, like Israel, could save ourselves and the other peoples, and have betrayed this duty. They instinctively recognise this and our paying us with hatred and disgust. Truly, the hand of the Lord is on use and Israel.

It is interesting, that this hatred and contempt of the Jews (i.e. antisemitism, although, of course, this isn’t about the Semitic nature of the Jews; no one hates the other Semites, i.e. the Arabs and Assyrians) does not lessen, but even grows among the people who are losing Christianity and are practically under the control of Israel.

With full Christianisation antisemitism disappears. In our monasteries, for example, there was no antisemitism and it has never been strong among the clergy. Firstly, Christianisation removes the main, subconscious reason for hatred of the Jews: for a dying world sees in them, like in those who guide it on the road to ruin, those who are guilty of suffering and destruction and throws its share of the general guilt onto them, as the first people did during the Fall of Man, while the world that is saving itself has no reason to hate anyone. First, the Church, which soberly and reasonably looks at this big problem and understands it, never and not under any circumstances condoned antisemitism, and even though it is hunted to death by the Jews will not do so.

Antisemitism is not only just as sinful as any other form of hatred, but as hatred par excellence, to the highest degree. In this essay we are trying to show why the whole spectrum of human properties is embedded in the Jews, and why those who laugh of the ‘kikes’ and hate them can be told in a Gogolian way: “Who are you laughing at? You’re laughing at yourselves! Who do you hate? You hate yourselves!” [16].

But while it fully unconditionally condemns antisemitism, at the same time the Church fought and will continue to fight to the very end Judaism [17] and the Judiciasation of life, which, as we are trying to show, is ontologically related to a betrayal of Christ and with the rejection of the Divine plan for the salvation of mankind.

Others who are either confused or slander it sometimes try to present this battle as a kind of antisemitism. But the Church emphasises that this isn’t a battle of flesh and blood, but against the ancient enemy of God and man, against him who tries to use every man and every people against God.

The fundamental principle of the Christian struggle against Jewism was marked at the dawn of Christian history by saint Ignatius of Antioch (who was apparently a Jew himself, which is why, according to the teachings of the Church, he is the same child that Christ placed among the apostles and of whom he said: ” Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes Me” [18].

He writes: “Do not accept Judaism. If someone preaches the Jewish law to you, do not listen to him”. Further on, while explaining that this is not a question of personality and that there is no antisemitism here, he says: ” For it is better to hearken to Christian doctrine from a man who has been circumcised, than to Judaism from one uncircumcised. But if either of such persons do not speak concerning Jesus Christ, they are in my judgment but as monuments and sepulchres of the dead, upon which are written only the names of men. Flee therefore the wicked devices and snares of the prince of this world, lest at any time being conquered by his artifices, grow weak in your love” [19].

This is the main point of that struggle: to not cool one’s love. As long as the Christian heart hasn’t cooled, nothing foreign can nestle in it: when it has cooled, exterior things will inevitably come to stick to it, mainly the dirtying breath of a people that leads others to ruin.

Only the rebirth of the spiritual strength of the Christian peoples can be healing and salvation.

There is no other way.

And, by moving on this path, we save ourselves and we save them, the Jews.

For having become similar to Judaism by rejecting Christ, we, by finding a cure for this horrifying spiritual condition, will not just find it for ourselves, but for all branches of humanity that are infected with one common disease: apostasy.

But we need to clearly accept that the return to the road of salvation from ruin is a complex and difficult affair, more difficult and complex than the first conversion to Christ by the pagans. We can find confirmations of this in daily life.

From history we know how brightly, how irresistibly, how flamingly the pagan tribes accepted Christianity. Even today, such examples are encountered during missionary practice, although, strictly speaking, there are now no more peoples that are entirely uninvolved with Christianity. All over the world, at least the leading, main part of the peoples is already familiar with Christianity, has met Christ, and if they did not follow Him, they have entered into communion with the rejection of Him. This is why even among officially pagan peoples, cases of fiery communion with Christ have become even rarer than in antiquity.

There has never been such a tempestuous, fiery impulse towards Christ among the Jews, with the exception of the first years of Christianity, when, through the preaching of the apostles, that part of the Jews that did not refuse Christ turned to Christianity, the part, that like no other share of humanity of all earlier history was ready for the immediate acceptance of Christ. After this short, early period, conversion to Christianity from Judaism has remained and remains to this day a difficult, complex, and painstaking act, which is related to a great act of strength, suffering, labour, and pain. This was Saul’s conversion to apostle Paul. These are also the conversions of saint Epiphanius of Salamis, of Cyriacus of Jerusalem, of Constantine of Sinada, and of many others. All these conversions were a complex and difficult affair, but, having been crowned with success, they gave the Church great saints and guides.

The same can also fully be said of modern missionary work among peoples that count or counted themselves as Christians. Missionary work among them is linked to labour, great feats of faith, and diligence that are no less than amongst the Jews, internally because of the same reason.

A serious objection to this scheme of ours can consist of the only massive, tempestuous, and fiery move towards Christ of our time, which we find among the Russian people both at home and, during the war, in German captivity. Meanwhile, the Russian people, being, as we have pointed out, in the greatest sense of the word a religious people, should have been the least capable of returning to Christ after rejecting Him.

The thing is, that those among the Russian people who are guilty of betraying Christ in a significant manner were only the upper layers of society that weren’t our real ruling groups: between the upper layers and the people there existed a gap, and this is why our people is not fully responsible for the sin of its upper levels.

Modern power just tore our people away from Christ by way of brute force, and consequently, the most terrifying moment of apostasy was not present by a long way: a reluctance and refusal to follow the way of Christ. This element was only present when the upper layers of Russian intellectual society moved away from the Church. And we know very well and are convinced with every step, that missionary work for the re-Christianisation of the Russian intelligentsia is just as difficult, painstaking, and ineffective as missionary work in the West-European sphere. Because of this reason, the Russian intellectual surrenders to Christianity with the same difficulty as the Jew and European.

The Russian intelligentsia, the West-European climate, and the Jewish sphere are, internally speaking, the same phenomenon. And the entire hope for saving the world from the abyss developing before us and from the intolerable pain they suffer from lies in the Christianisation of that sphere, in ungrateful, torturously slow, and painstaking work to preach Christ among the people who have already rejected Him once: that is, among the Jews, Europeans, and Russian intelligentsia.

Does this work have any chance of succeeding? Can we hope for its success? Is a return to Christ after having betrayed Him possible at all?

Nothing is impossible for God. Daily experience teaches us that returning to Christ after betraying Him is possible. For if this was impossible, almost no one could be saved. For every sin is a betrayal of Christ and is only different from modern apostasy in quantity: it is shorter and less stubborn. And every one of us can confess to God with endless gratefulness and feel, how easy, how simply, how, without leaving a trace, our Kind Lord washes our sins from us. ” Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” [20].

Here it is important to note, that the ancient prophet is speaking to Israel, and through it to all humanity.

Clear evidence of how deep our hope for the coming of old Israel to Christ (and subsequently for the resurrection of mankind) can be found in the words of the apostle Paul, which, after everything that has been said here, come in a very timely fashion, as much of what has been said in this article is inspired by that text of the holy apostle.

“I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob”” [21].

Of course, the extended meaning of these words is not fully clear to us. It is now that we have too little information to believe in the coming of Christ and the salvation of Israel. Overcome by pride because of what it has achieved with its own forces against God (that is, global rule), it seems like Israel is least of all considering repentance and reconciliation with Christ. On the contrary, it inspires and guides the storming of Christian fortresses.

But who knows the inner man except for He who has created him? Having reached the desired Kingdom of Israel, will Israel, which holds a soul that is meant for communion with God, be able to content itself with the philistinism of the building of a worldly government? Will it not dart away from this mirage that opens itself before it and devours its past towards the Holy Israel that it has abandoned? For it is impossible to seriously chose between Christ and Solnik, between the images of the Kingdom that were drawn by the prophets and the Israeli government of mr. Weizmann, Herzog, and others, even if the leaders of all other countries would obey them. For the devil is always vulgar, however he might try to prove otherwise or craft something great and beautiful from himself.

In any case, we know one thing very well: however the rebirth of the world and the spiritual strength of humanity might start, from the bosom of Israel or from the depths of the Christian countries, this rebirth will be shared by both of them. The world has already inwardly merged. It already lives by the same thoughts, the same fears, and the same problems. We, the banished Russians that are scattered all over the world, feel especially strongly that the world has merged into one and feel a fear that is common to all humanity, one that is linked to our country and its tragedy. This fear links humanity both horizontally (from pole to pole) and vertically (all layers of the population), for the lives of all depend on one or the other outcome of coming events.

This merging into one of all humanity should reach full strength in order for that final division of the centuries should become clearer, which is even now clearly noted: for Christ and against Christ, of those who save themselves and those who fall. This last division will not be related to any national or social loyalty: ” Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left” [22].

And among the saved there will be: “Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. And a great multitude of man that no one could count of all tribes and peoples stood before the throne and before the Lamb in white robes and with palm leaves in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb” [23].

* According to the plan of God, Israel was supposed to lead peoples to Christ, and all other peoples were to follow Israel on this path in roughly the same way, that our Russian people followed the Greeks to the Church of Christ, how the European peoples followed Rome, how the pagans followed Irish missionaries, and how the Europeans were followed by the peoples of Asia, Africa, America, and Australia.

But this position of guidance of people does not, of course, means rule over them. Apostle Peter warns: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” [24]. Christian missionaries served the peoples that they were enlightening by the faith. Colonial rule over enlightened peoples is a monstrous phenomenon that developed in the times when the Europeans started to betray their high calling more and more.

But guiding peoples on the road to destruction, their Antichristianisation, will, of course, be related to their enslavement. The Lord rules people in no other way than freely, for He wants them to come to Him from their own free will. This is why the process of coming to him should be free. The devil, however, want to enslave, and this is why the process of going to the devil is related to coercion and enslavement.

Translator’s notes:

[1]: Vasily Vasilievich Rozanov (1856 – 1919) was a Russian philosopher, known for his unorthodox union of Christianity with a philosophy of sexual activity and eroticism. Although he is sometimes considered to be an anti-Semite, Rozanov himself rejected such allegations.
[2]: The reference is to Henry Ford (1863 – 1947), American captain of industry and automobile magnate. He wrote a violently anti-Semitic book called The International Jew and promoted the Protocols of the Elder of Zion in the media.
[3]: Ode 6 of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete.
[4]: Aleksey Stepanovich Khomyakov (1804 – 1860) was one of the founders of the Slavophilic movement and was also an able Orthodox theologian. The (somewhat shoddy) translation of the poem is mine.
[5]: Luke 17:21. All Bible translations have either been sourced from the New International Version or the King James Bible. As the most reverend archbishop has seen fit to sometimes abridge the text somewhat, I have in certain places been forced to amend the translations.
[6]: Matthew 6:33.
[7]: The Russian word used here, подвиг, has no direct translation to English and can mean ‘feat’, ‘great act of faith’, or ‘supreme achievement’. I have sometimes translated it to its direct meaning and sometimes as ‘mission’.
[8]: Matthew 27:25.
[9]: Psalm 82:6.
[10]: Deuteronomy 26:68.
[11]: The Russian word used here, жид, is an older name for a person of the Jewish faith. Now, however, it is highly offensive and is the Russian equivalent of the English ‘kike’. The most reverend archbishop uses it here in order to invoke a feeling of sorrow for the lamentable position of the Jews in medieval Europe in contrast to their improved position nowadays, for which he would have used the word еврей.
[12]: These are two royal lines: the Riurikovichi are descendants of Riurik, the founder of Kiev Rus’, while the Gedeminovichi are descendants of Gedeminas, a Lithuanian king who transformed his land into a great power which later merged with Poland.
[13]: John 5:43.
[14]: Hippolytus of Rome (170 – 235) was an early Church martyr who came into conflict with the Bishop of Rome. However, he was reconciled with the Church when he was martyred after being sentenced to harsh labour by Emperor Maximinus Thrax.
[15]: Isaiah 60:10.
[16]: Lines from Nikolai Gogol’s play The Government Inspector, which can be found here.
[17]: The most reverend archbishop here uses the term Иудейство, which can be translated as ‘Judaism’. However, the main stress is on the past and present behaviour of the Jews, not the entire religion and the Jews as an ethnic group.
[18]: Mark 9:37.
[19]: Epistle to the Philadelphians 6.
[20]: Isaiah 1:16-18.
[21]: Romans 11:13-26.
[22]: Matthew 24:40.
[23]: Revelation 7:5-10.
[24]: 1 Peter 5:2.

Translated from the Russian by Edvin Buday.

Source: http://www.eshatologia.org/310-hrisianstvo-i-iudeistvo.html

——-

Архиепископ Нафанаил (Львов)

Archbishop Nathanael (Lvov)

Archbishop Nathanail (before his elevation: Vasily Vladmiriovich Lvov) was born on the 30th of August in Moscow. When he was thirteen years old he became the oldest man in his family [1], which fled the Red Army from Tomsk to Manchuria (China). There, he finished the Harbin High School (1922), worked as a labourer on the Eastern China railroad (1922-1929), studied theology in the Saint Vladimir Institute (1928-1931), and was the cell-attendant and secretary of the Kamchatkan missionary and archbishop Nestor (Anisimov).

In 1929 he became a monk and received the name of Nathanail, after which he was made a hieromonk. He worked as a catechetist in a children’s shelter at the Harbin Almshouse. From 1935 to 1936, the future archbishop undertook missionary work in the state of Kerala in Southern India. From 1937 to 1939 he was the leader of the Orthodox mission in Sri Lanka. On his return to Harbin, he was elevated to the station of archimandrite, and in 1939 he entered the Brotherhood of Saint Job of Pochaiv in Ladomirova in the Carpathian Mountains (Slovakia) where he also was the helper of the monastery’s abbot.

In 1945, he was in charge of the Resurrection Cathedral in Berlin. During the Second World War, father Nathanail actively participated in the spiritual work of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) on USSR territory that was occupied by the Germans. Near the end of the war, he took part in the saving of so-called ‘displaced persons’, i.e. Soviet citizens who had voluntarily left communism with the Germans. In accordance with the Treaty of Yalta that was signed by Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill in February 1945, all these persons were supposed to return to the USSR (in case of their refusal by force), where in a best-case scenario they would be sent to a special settlement, and in a worst-case scenario to their deaths or to the GULAG (which would also mean death). To Stalin, they, like prisoners of war and other Soviet citizens that had seen the West, they were “traitors to the motherland”. Many of them were ardent anti-communists and did not want to return. Archimandrite Nafanail did not have to fear extradition, because he had never been a citizen of the USSR. But he went to an English colonel who was overseeing the extraditions (this took place in the English zone in Berlin) and said, that all 600 displaced persons who were located in a camp close to Hamburg were actually Polish citizens.

In 1946, metropolitan Anastasi (Gribanovsky) elevated archimandrite Nathanail to the rank of bishop, and the ROCOR Hierarchical Synod gave him the position of bishop of Brussels and Western Europe.

After 1951, the reverend Nathanail headed the bishopric of North Africa from Tunis. According to some sources, around four thousand Russians were living in the region at the time. On the 11th of October 1953 he completed the foundation of a church.

From 1954 onward, the reverend father presided over the Orthodox parishes in Mannheim and Berlin. In 1966 he was made the abbot of the monastery of Saint Job in Munich.

From 1971 onward, he temporarily oversaw the bishopric of Austria, and in 1976 he became the bishop of Vienna and Austria. In 1981, he was elevated to the position of archbishop.

He served heartfeltly. His voice was clean and clear, and all who visited one of his services felt the height and beauty of his masses. During Easter, his happiness about the resurrected Christ was so great that it beamed out to all those present. Every parishioner felt that the most reverend father’s exclamation of “Christ is risen!” was directed at him or herself.

The most reverend father Nathanail was especially famous as an excellent preacher. Through his short conversations he opened hearts and led many to Christ the Saviour. He had wide knowledge of various areas of human thought, especially the theology, philosophy, and literature of Russia and the world. He was the author of many articles that were published in different journals of the Russian emigration, as well as many biographies in his “Lives of the Saints”, which were published by the Munich monastery.

He was the editor of the “Orthodox Voice” in Manchuria (1934-1937), “Orthodox Rus’” in the Carpathians (1939-1945), the journal “Youth in Christ” (1939-1944), “Orthodox Digests” in Paris (1947-1949), “Voice of the Church” in Germany, (1955-1964), and “Messenger of the Orthodox Cause”, also in Germany (1959-1963). He was the author of many articles in the journals “Heavenly Bread”, “Frontier”, and “Gun-bao” (Harbin), as well as in various European and American publications. He was also published under the pseudonym A Nelskiy.

On the day of the holy martyr Demetrios of Thessaloniki, Saturday 8 November 1986, the most reverend archbishop Nathanail peacefully passed away after a long sickness in the monastery of Saint Job in Munich.

Source: http://www.eshatologia.org/309-arhiepiskop-nafanail-lvov.html

Translated from the Russian by Edvin Buday.

[1]: the most reverend archbishop’s father, Vladimir Nikolaevich Lvov, was a scion of the ancient and noble Lvov family. From the third of March until the twenty-fourth of June 1917 he was oberprocurator of the Holy Synod, i.e. an ersatz minister of religion and the Orthodox Church. After the collapse of the White Armies, he busied himself with the affairs of the Orthodox Church in Tomsk until he was arrested in 1927. He died of a heart attack in the Tomsk prison hospital in 1930.

Archbishop Nathaniel 1906-1986

THE SAKER: WHY IS PUTIN “ALLOWING” ISRAEL TO BOMB SYRIA?

South Front

18.01.2018

Written by The Saker; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

Informationclearinghouse recently posted an article by Darius Shahtahmasebi entitled “Israel Keeps Bombing Syria and Nobody Is Doing Anything About It”. Following this publication I received an email from a reader asking me the following question: “Putin permitting Israel to bomb Syria – why? I am confused by Putins actions – does Putin support the Zionist entity, on the quiet like. I would appreciate your feedback on this matter. Also – I have heard, but not been able to confirm, that the Russian Jewish immigrants to Occupied Palestines are the most ardent tormenters of the Palestinians – it takes quite some doing to get ahead of the likes of Netanyahu. Please comment“.  While in his article Darius Shahtahmasebi wonders why the world is not doing anything to stop the Israelis (“Why haven’t Iran, Syria, and/or Hezbollah in Lebanon responded directly?“), my reader is more specific and wonders why Putin (or Russia) specifically is not only “permitting” Israel to bomb Syria but even possibly “supporting” the Zionist Entity.

I often see that question in emails and in comments, so I wanted to address this issue today.

First, we need to look at some critical assumption implied by this question.  These assumptions are:

  1. That Russia can do something to stop the Israelis
  2. That Russia should (or even is morally obliged) to do something.

Let me begin by saying that I categorically disagree with both of these assumptions, especially the 2nd one.  Let’s take them one by one.

Assumption #1: Russia can stop the Israeli attacks on Syria

How?  I think that the list of options is fairly obvious here.  Russian options range from diplomatic action (such as private or public protests and condemnations, attempts to get a UNSC Resolution passed) to direct military action (shooting down Israeli aircraft, “painting” them with an engagement radar to try to scare them away or, at least, try to intercept Israeli missiles).

Trying to reason with the Israelis or get the to listen to the UN has been tried by many countries for decades and if there is one thing which is beyond doubt is that the Israelis don’t give a damn about what anybody has to say.  So talking to them is just a waste of oxygen.  What about threatening them?  Actually, I think that this could work, but at what risk and price?

First of all, while I always said that the IDF’s ground forces are pretty bad, this is not the case of their air forces.  In fact, their record is pretty good.  Now if you look at where the Russian air defenses are, you will see that they are all concentrated around Khmeimim and Tartus.  Yes, an S-400 has a very long range, but that range is dependent on many things including the size of the target, its radar-cross section, its electronic warfare capabilities, the presence of specialized EW aircraft, altitude, etc.  The Israelis are skilled pilots who are very risk averse so they are very careful about what they do.  Finally, the Israelis are very much aware of where the Russians are themselves and where there missiles are.  I think that it would be pretty safe to say that the Israelis make sure to keep a minimal safe distance between themselves and the Russians, if only to avoid any misunderstanding.   But let’s say that the Russians did have a chance to shoot down an Israeli aircraft – what would be the likely Israeli reaction to such a shooting?  In this article Darius Shahtahmasebi writes: “Is it because Israel reportedly has well over 200 nukes all “pointed at Iran,” and there is little Iran and its allies can do to take on such a threat?”  I don’t see the Israelis use nukes on Russian forces, however, that does in no way mean that the Russians when dealing with Israel should not consider the fact that Israel is a nuclear armed power ruled by racist megalomaniacs.  In practical terms this means this: “should Russia (or any other country) risk a military clash with Israel over a few destroyed trucks or a weapons and ammunition dump”?  I think that the obvious answer is clearly ‘no’.

While this is the kind of calculations the USA simply ignores (at least officially – hence all the saber-rattling against the DPRK), Russia is ruled by a sane and responsible man who cannot make it a habit of simply waltzing into a conflict hence the Russian decision not to retaliate in kind against the shooting down of the Russian SU-24 by the Turks.  If the Russians did not retaliate against the Turks shooting down one of their own aircraft, they sure ain’t gonna attack the Israelis when they attack a non-Russian target!

There are also simply factual issues to consider: even of some Russian air-defense systems are very advanced and could shoot down an X number of Israeli aircraft, they are nowhere near numerous enough to prevent the entire Israeli air force from saturating them.  In fact, both Israel and CENTCOM simply have such a numbers advantage over the relatively small Russian contingent that they both could over-run the Russian defenses, even if they would take losses in the process.

So yes, the Russian probably could stop one or a few Israeli attacks, but if the Israelis decided to engage in a sustained air campaign against targets in Syria there is nothing the Russians could do short of going to war with Israel.   So here again a very basic strategic principle fully applies: you never want to start an escalatory process you neither control nor can win.  Put simply this means: if the Russians shoot back – they lose and the Israelis win.  It’s really that simple and both sides know it (armchair strategist apparently don’t).

And this begs a critical look at the second assumption:

Assumption #2: Russia has some moral duty to stop the Israeli attacks on Syria

This is the one which most baffles me.  Why in the world would anybody think that Russia owes anybody anywhereon the planet any type of protection?!  For starters, when is the last time somebody came to the help of Russia?  I don’t recall anybody in the Middle-East offering their support to Russia in Chechnia, Georgia or, for that matter, the Ukraine!  How many countries in the Middle-East have recognized South Ossetia or Abkhazia (and compare that with the Kosovo case!)?  Where was the Muslim or Arab “help” or “friendship” towards Russia when sanctions were imposed and the price of oil dropped?  Remind me – how exactly did Russia’s “friends” express their support for Russia over, say, the Donbass or Crimea?

Can somebody please explain to me why Russia has some moral obligation towards Syria or Iran or Hezbollah when not a single Muslim or Arab country has done anything to help the Syrian government fight against the Takfiris?  Where is the Arab League!?  Where is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation?!

Is it not a fact that Russia has done more in Syria than all the countries of the Arab League and the OIC combined?!

Where do the Arab and Muslims of the Middle-East get this sense of entitlement which tells them that a faraway country which struggles with plenty of political, economic and military problems of its own has to do more than the immediate neighbors of Syria do?!

Putin is the President of Russia and he is first and foremost accountable to the Russian people to whom he has to explain every Russian casualty and even every risk he takes.  It seems to me that he is absolutely right when he acts first and foremost in defense of the people who elected him and not anybody else.

By the way – Putin was very clear about why he was ordering a (very limited) Russian military intervention in Syria: to protect Russian national interests by, for example, killing crazy Takfiris in Syria so as not to have to fight then in the Caucasus and the rest of Russia.  At no time and in no way did any Russian official refer to any kind of obligation of Russia towards Syria or any other country in the region.  True, Russia did stand by President Assad, but that was not because of any obligation towards him or his country, but because the Russians always insisted that he was the legitimate President of Syria and that only the Syrian people had the right to replace (or keep) him.  And, of course, it is in the Russian national interest to show that, unlike the USA, Russia stands by her allies.  But none of that means that Russia is now responsible for the protection of the sovereignty of the Syrian airspace or territory.

As far as I am concerned, the only country which has done even more than Russia for Syria is Iran and, in lieu of gratitude the Arab countries “thank” the Iranians by conspiring against them with the USA and Israel.  Hassan Nasrallah is absolutely spot on when the calls all these countries traitors and collaborators of the AngloZionist Empire.

There is something deeply immoral and hypocritical in this constant whining that Russia should do more when in reality Russia and Iran are the only two countries doing something meaningful (and Hezbollah, of course!).

Now let me address a few typical questions:

Question #1: but aren’t Syria, Iran and Hezbollah Russian allies?

Yes and no.  Objectively – yes.  Formally – no.  What this means is that while these three entities do have some common objectives, they are also independent and they all have some objectives not shared by others.  Furthermore, they have no mutual defense treaty and this is why neither Syria, nor Iran nor Hezbollah retaliated against Turkey when the Turks shot down the Russian SU-24.  While some might disagree, I would argue that this absence of a formal mutual defense treaty is a very good thing if only because it prevents Russian or Iranian forces in Syria from becoming “tripwire” forces which, if attacked, would require an immediate response.  In a highly dangerous and explosive situation like the Middle-East the kind of flexibility provided by the absence any formal alliances is a big advantage for all parties involved.

Question #2 : does that mean that Russia is doing nothing or even supporting Israel?

Of course not!  In fact, Netanyahu even traveled to Moscow to make all sorts of threats and he returned home with nothing (Russian sources even report that the Israelis ended up shouting at their Russian counterparts).  Let’s restate here something which ought to be obvious to everybody: the Russian intervention in Syria was an absolute, total and unmitigated disaster for Israel (I explain that in detail in this article).  If the Russians had any kind of concern for Israelis interests they would never have intervened in Syria in the first place!  However, that refusal to let Israel dictate Russian policies in the Middle-East (or elsewhere) does not at all mean that Russia can simply ignore the very real power of the Israelis, not only because of their nukes, but also because of their de-facto control of the US government.

Question #3: so what is really going on between Russia and Israel?

As I have explained elsewhere, the relationship between Russia and Israel is a very complex and multi-layered one and nothing between those two countries is really black or white.  For one thing, there is a powerful pro-Israel lobby in Russia at which Putin has been chipping away over the years, but only in very small and incremental steps.  The key for Putin is to do what needs to be done to advance Russian interests but without triggering an internal or external political crisis.  This is why the Russians are doing certain things, but rather quietly.

First, they are re-vamping the aging Syrian air defenses not only with software updates, but also with newer hardware.  They are also, of course, training Syrian crews.  This does not mean that the Syrians could close their skies to Israeli aircraft, but that gradually the risks of striking Syria would go up and up with each passing month.  First, we would not notice this, but I am confident that a careful analysis of the types of targets the Israelis will strike will go down and further down in value meaning the Syrians will become more and more capable of defending their most important assets.

Second, it is pretty obvious that Russia, Iran and Hezbollah are working synergistically.  For example, the Russians and the Syrians have integrated their air defenses which means that now the Syrians can “see” much further than their own radars would allow them to.  Furthermore, consider the number of US cruise missiles which never made it to the Syrian air base Trump wanted to bomb: it is more or less admitted by now that this was the result of Russian EW countermeasures.

Finally, the Russians are clearly “covering” for Hezbollah and Iran politically by refusing to consider them as pariahs which is what Israel and the USA have been demanding all along.  This is why Iran is treated as a key-player by the Russian sponsored peace process while the USA and Israel are not even invited.

So the truth of the matter is simple: the Russians will not directly oppose the Israelis, but what they will do is quietly strengthen Iran and Hezbollah, which is not only much safer but also much more effective.

Conclusion

We live in a screw-up and dysfunctional society which following decades of US domination conflates war and aggression with strength, which implicitly accepts the notion that a “great country” is one which goes on some kind of violent rampage on a regular basis and which always resorts to military force to retaliate against any attack.  I submit that the Russian and Iranian leaders are much more sophisticated then that.  The same goes for the Hezbollah leadership, by the way.  Remember when the Israelis (with the obvious complicity of some members of the Syrian regime, by the way) murdered Imad Mughniyeh?  Hezbollah promised to retaliate, but so far, almost a decade later, they have not (or, at least, not officially).  Some will say that Hezbollah’s threats were empty words – I totally disagree.  When Hassan Nasrallah promises something you can take it to the bank.  But Hezbollah leaders are sophisticated enough to retaliate when the time is right and on their own terms.  And think about the Iranians who since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 have been in the crosshairs of both the USA and Israel and who never gave either one of them the pretext to strike.

When you are much more powerful than your opponent you can be stupid and reply on brute, dumb force.  At least for the short to middle term.  Eventually, as we see with the USA today, this kind of aggressive stupidity backfires and ends up being counterproductive.  But when you are smaller, weaker or even just still in the process of recovering your potential strength you have to act with much more caution and sophistication.  This is why all the opponents of the AngloZionist Empire (including Hezbollah, Syria, Iran, Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela) do their utmost to avoid using force against the AngloZionists even when it would be richly deserved.  The one exception to this rule is Kim Jong-un who has chosen a policy of hyperinflated threats which, while possibly effective (he seems to have outwitted Trump, at least so far) is also very dangerous and one which none of the Resistance countries want to have any part in.

The Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah are all “grown adults” (in political terms), and Assad is learning very fast, and they all understand that they are dealing with a “monkey with a hand grenade” (this fully applies to both Israeli and US leaders) which combines a nasty personality, a volatile temper,  a primitive brain and a hand grenade big enough to kill everybody in the room.  Their task is to incapacitate that monkey without having it pull the pin.  In the case of the Israeli strikes on Syria, the primary responsibility to respond in some manner would fall either on the target of the strikes (usually Hezbollah) or on the nation whose sovereignty was violated (Syria).  And both could, in theory, retaliate (by using tactical missiles for example).  Yet they chose not to, and that is the wise and correct approach.  As for the Russians, this is simply and plainly not their business.

Addendum 1:

One more thing.  Make no mistake – the Israeli (and US!) propensity to use force as a substitute for diplomacy is a sign of weakness, not of strength.  More, accurately, their use of force, or the threat of force, is the result of their diplomatic incompetence.  While to the unsophisticated mind the systematic use of force might appear as an expression of power, history shows that brute force can be defeated when challenged not directly, but by other means.  This is, by necessity, a slow process, much slower than a (mostly entirely theoretical) “quick victory”, but an ineluctable one nonetheless.  In purely theoretical terms, the use of force can roughly have any one of the following outcomes: defeat, stalemate, costly victory and a relatively painless victory.  That last one is exceedingly rare and the use of force mostly results in one of the other outcomes.  Sometimes the use of force is truly the only solution, but I submit that the wise political leader will only resort to it when all other options have failed and when vital interests are at stake.  In all  other situation a “bad peace is preferable to a good war”.

Addendum 2:

Contrary to the hallucinations of the Neocons, Russia is absolutely not a “resurgent USSR” and Putin has no desire whatsoever to rebuilt the Soviet Union.  Furthermore, there is no meaningful constituency in Russia for any such “imperial” plans (well, there are always some lunatics everywhere, but in Russia they are, thank God, a tiny powerless minority).  Furthermore, the new Russia is most definitely not an “anti-USA” in the sense of trying to counter every US imperial or hegemonic move.  This might be obvious to many, but I get so many questions about why Russia is not doing more to counter the USA in Africa, Latin America or Asia that I feel that it is, alas, still important to remind everybody of a basic principle of international law and common sense: problems in country X are for country X to deal with.  Russia has no more business than the USA in “solving” country X’s problems.  Furthermore, country X’s problems are usually best dealt with by country X’s immediate neighbors, not by megalomaniacal messianic superpowers who feel that they ought to “power project” because they are somehow “indispensable” or because “manifest destiny” has placed upon them the “responsibility” to “lead” the world.  All this terminology is just the expression of a pathological and delusional imperial mindset which has cost Russia and the Soviet Union an absolutely horrendous price in money, energy, resources and blood (for example, the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was justified in terms of the “internationalist duty” of the Soviet Union and people to help a “brotherly nation”).  While this kind of nonsense is still 100% mainstream in the poor old USA, it is absolutely rejected in modern Russia.  For all the personal credibility of Putin with the Russian people, even he could not get away with trying to militarily intervene, nevemind police the whole planet, unless truly vital Russian interests were threatened (Crimea was such a very rare case).  Some will deplore this, I personally very much welcome it, but the truth is that “the Russians are *not* coming”.

The good news about the Trump Presidency: stupid can be good!

January 11, 2018

The good news about the Trump Presidency: stupid can be good!

[Note: This column was written for the Unz Review]

Just a few days shy of the one year since the inauguration of Donalt Trump as President of the United States I think that it would be reasonable to say that pretty much everybody, besides the Neocons and a few unconditional supporters, is now feeling quite appalled at what the past year brought to the USA and the planet. Those who hated Trump don’t hate him any less, while those who had hopes for Trump, such as myself, now have to accept that these hopes never materialized. I think that if we imagine a Hillary Presidency then the word “evil” would be a good way to describe what such a Presidency would most likely have been like. Likewise, if I had to chose a single word to describe the Trump Presidency, at least so far, I think that this word should be “stupid”. I won’t even bother, as I had initially planned, to list all the stupid things Trump has said and done since his inauguration (those who think otherwise might as well stop reading here). I will say that it gives me no pleasure writing this because I also had hopes that Trump would fulfill at least some of his campaign promises (even though most of my support for him was based on the fact that he was not Hillary who, I still believe, would have brought the USA and Russia to war against each other). Furthermore, each time I recall Trump’s inauguration speech I have this painful sense of a most important and totally missed opportunity: to finally restore the sovereignty of the USA to the the people of the USA and to return to a civilized and rational international policy. Alas, this did not happen and that is a reality we have to accept and deal with.

I also want to clarify that when I say that the Trump Presidency can be best summed up with the word “stupid” I don’t just mean The Donald himself. I mean the entire Administration (I don’t mention Congress, as Congress as been about stupid for as long as I can recall it). If you wonder how I can call an entire administration “stupid” even though it is composed of often brilliant civil servants, lawyers, academic, technical specialists, etc I will simply reply that I don’t judge an administration by the resumes of those working for it, but simply by its output, what it actually does. If what this administration produces is a lot of stupid, then this is a stupid administration.

Stupid can mean a lot of different things. For example, it can mean stupid threats against North Korea. That is a very frightening kind of stupid. But there is also a very good kind of stupid. For example, I think that the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a wonderful kind of stupid which I warmly welcome.

Why?

Because it is the kind of stupid which tremendously weakens the AngloZionist Empire!

Think of the damage this truly stupid move did to not only the US international reputation (which indeed was already pretty close to zero even before this latest move) but also to the US capability to get anything done at all the the Middle-East. The military defeat of the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan and the political defeat of the USA in Syria just needed a little something to truly make the USA irrelevant in the Middle-East and now, thanks to Donald Trump, this has now happened! Furthermore, there was a dirty little secret which everybody new about which has now become a public fact:

USA= ISRAEL & ISRAEL=USA

Again this is all very good. Even better is the fact that the only ones disagreeing with this would be Honduras, Guatemala, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Togo, Nauru and southern Sudan and, of course, Israel.

The US foreign policy has become so outlandishly stupid that even the most subservient US puppet regimes (say, the UK, Norway, ROK or Japan) or are now forced to condemn it, at least publicly. A lot of credit here goes to Nikki Haley who, following this catastrophic vote, decided to make things even worse by blackmailign the UN and all its member states. Finally, President Trump himself sealed it all by giving Nikki Haley’s speech a very public endorsement.

So stupid as this may have been, and stupid it really was, in this instance the results of this stupid were nothing short of a blessing for the Middle-East: even Hamas is now finally talking again with Hezbollah and Iran!

Just as we can sincerely thank President Obama for pushing Russia and China into each other’s arms, we can now all thank Nikki Haley and Trump for uniting the resistance to the state of Israel and the entire AngloZionist Empire. I can just about imagine the jubilation in Tehran when the Iranians heard the good news!

But good stupid does not stop here. The fact that the US elites are all involved in a giant shootout against each other by means of investigations, scandals, accusations, talks of impeachment, etc. is also a blessing because while they are busy fighting each other they are much less capable of focusing on their real opponents and enemies. For months now President Trump has mostly ruled the USA by means of “tweets” which, of course, and by definition, amounts to exactly nothing and there is nothing which could be seriously called a “US foreign policy” (with the exception of the neverending stream of accusations, threats and grandstanding, which don’t qualify). There are real risks and opportunities resulting from this situation

  1. Risks: when nobody is really in charge, each agency does pretty much what it wants. We saw that during the 2ndhalf of the Obama Presidency when State did one thing, the Pentagon another and the CIA yet another. This resulted in outright goofy situation with US allies attacking each other in Syria and Iraq because they all reported to different agencies. The risk here is obvious: for example, when US diplomats made an agreement with Russia in Syria, the Pentagon torpedoed the very next day by attacking Syrian forces. The recent attacks on the Russian Aerospace Forces base in Khmeimim (and the latest drone attack on that same base) would exactly fit that pattern. The Russians have been complaining for months now that the USA are “non-agreement capable” and this can clearly be a problem and a risk.
  2. Opportunities: when nobody is in charge then the AngloZionist Empire cannot really bring its full force against one specific target. This of a car or bus in which all the passengers are fighting each other for the control of the steering wheel. This is bad for them, but good for everybody else as the only place this car or bus is headed for is the ditch. Furthermore, since currently the US is, at various degrees, threatening no less than 9 countries (Afghanistan, Syria, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Turkey, Pakistan, China) these threats sound rather hollow. Not only that, but should the USA get seriously involved in any type of conflict with any one of these countries, this would open great opportunities for the others to take action. Considering how the US elites are busy fighting each other there and threatening everybody else there is very little change that the USA could focus enough to seriously threaten any of its opponents. But this goes much further than the countries I mentioned here. There is a French expression which goes “when the cat’s away, the mice will play” and this is what we might see next: more countries following the example of the Philippines, which used to be a subservient US colony and which now is ruled my a man who has no problems publicly insulting the US President, at least when Obama was President (Duterte seems to like Trump more than Obama). There have already been signs that the South Koreans are taking their first timid steps towards telling “no” to Uncle Sam.

I am not trying to paint a rosy picture of the situation which is bad, no doubt about that. Having ignorant fools in charge of nuclear weapons is not good, by definition. But I do want to suggest two things: first, that no matter stupid Trump is, Hillary would have been infinitely worse and, second, that there are also some good aspects to the current vacuum of power in Washington, DC.

If we can agree that anything that weakens the AngloZionist Empire is a good thing (including for the American people!), as is anything which brings its eventual demise closer, then there is a lot to be grateful for the past year. The Empire really began to crumble under George W. Bush (thanks Neocons!), and that process most definitely continued under Obama. However, Donald Trump is the one who truly given this process a tremendous acceleration which has, I think, brought it to a qualitatively new level. The risks ahead are still tremendous, but so far the Empire is losing and the Resistance to it is still winning. And that is a very good thing.

The Saker

2018 – war or no war?

2018 – war or no war?

December 29, 2017

[Note: this post of mine is temporarily located in the ‘guest section’ because of the current fundraiser. Once the fundraiser is over, I will place it back in the correct section.  This analysis was written for the Unz ReviewThe Saker]

If the first months of 2017 were a time of great hopes following the historical defeat of Hillary Clinton, the year is ending in a sombre, almost menacing manner.  Not only has the swamp easily, quickly and totally drowned Trump, but the AngloZionist Empire is reeling from its humiliating defeat in Syria and the Neocons are now treating our entire planet to a never ending barrage of threats.  Furthermore, the Trump Administration now has released a National Security Strategy which clearly show that the Empire is in “full paranoid” mode.  It is plainly obvious that the Neocons are now back in total control of the White House, Congress and the US corporate media.  Okay, maybe things are still not quite as bad as if Hillary had been elected, but they are bad enough to ask whether a major war is now inevitable next year.

If we go by their rhetoric, the Neocons have all the following countries in their sights:

  1. Afghanistan (massive surge already promised)
  2. Syria (threats of a US-Israeli-KSA attack; attack on Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria)
  3. Russia (disconnecting from SWIFT; stealing Russian assets in the USA; attack on Russian forces in Syria)
  4. Iran (renege on nuclear deal, attack Iranian forces in Syria)
  5. The Donbass (support for a full scale Ukronazi attack against Novorussia)
  6. DPRK (direct and overt military aggression; aerial and naval blockade)
  7. Venezuela (military intervention “in defense of democracy, human right, freedom and civilization”)

There are, of course, many more countries currently threatened by the USA to various degrees, but the seven above are all good candidates for US aggression.

Let me immediately say here that listing pragmatic arguments against such aggressions is, at this point in time, probably futile.  If anything, the recent disaster triggered by the US recognition of Jerusalem clearly proves that the USA is run by people as least as stupid and ignorant as they are evil and arrogant, possibly even more so.  The sad reality we now live in is one where a nuclear superpower lack the minimal intelligence needed to act in defense of its own national security interests, and that is really frightening.

Last week I took a look at the mindset of what I called the “ideological drone“.  If we now look at the mindset of the US national security establishment we will immediately notice that is is almost the exact same as the one of the ideological drone.  The biggest difference between them might be that the ideological drone assumes that his/her leaders are sane and most honest people, whereas those in the elites not only know that they are total hypocrites and liars, but they actually see this as a sign superiority: the drones believes in his/her ideology, but his rules believe in absolutely nothing.

Take the example of Syria.  All the US decision makers are fully aware of the following facts:

  1. Daesh/ISIS/al-Nusra/etc is their creation and they tried everything to save these terrorists.
  2. The joint Russian-Iranian-Hezbollah effort defeated Daesh/ISIS/al-Nusra/etc in-spite of AngloZionist support and attacks in Syrian forces.
  3. The AngloZionist forces are in Syria completely illegally.

Yet none of that prevents them from claiming that they, not Russia, defeated Daesh/ISIS/al-Nusra/etc.  This is absolutely amazing, think of it – the entire planet knows full well what really took place in Syria, but Uncle Sam degrees that black is white, water is dry and what is true is false.  And the most amazing thing is that they know that everybody knows, yet they don’t care one bit.  Why?  Because they profoundly believe in four fundamental things:

  1. We can buy anybody
  2. Those we cannot buy, we bully
  3. Those we cannot bully we kill
  4. Nothing can happen to us, we live in total impunity not matter what we do

Besides people with intelligence there is another type of people which now has completely disappeared from the US national security establishment: people with honor/courage/integrity.  Let’s take a perfect example: Tillerson.

There is no way we can make the argument that Tillerson is an idiot. The man has proven many times over that he is intelligent and quite talented.  And yet, he is Nikki Haley’s doormat.  Nikki Haley – there is the real imbecile!  But not Tillerson.  Yet Tillerson lack the basic honor/courage/integrity to demand that this terminal imbecile be immediately fired or, if that does not happen, to leave and slam the door really loud.  Nope, the man just sits there and takes humiliation after humiliation.  Oh sure, he will probably resign soon, but when his resignation comes it will have no value, it will be a non-event, just the sad and pathetic conclusion to a completely failed stint as Secretary of State.

The same goes for the US military: not one single officer has found in himself/herself to resign to protest the fact that the USA is deeply in bed with those who are responsible, at least according to the official conspiracy theory, for 9/11.  Nope, in fact US special forces are working with al-Qaeda types day in and day out and not a single one of these “patriots” has the honor/courage/integrity to go public about it.

Imbeciles and cowards.  I also happen to think that they are traitors to their country and their people.  Patriots they are not.

Delusional imbeciles giving orders and dishonorable cowards mindlessly executing them.  That is the setup we are dealing with.  As Trump would tweet “not good”.

Alas, this is also a very hard combo to deter or to try to reason with.

And yet, somewhere, to some degree, these guys must know that he odds are not in their favor.  For one thing, an endless stream of military defeats and political embarrassments ought to strongly suggest to them that inaction is generally preferable to action, especially for clueless people.  Furthermore, one simple way to look at risks is to say that risks are a factor of probability times consequences: R = P x C.

I don’t think that US decision-makers actually formally think that way, but on a gut level this is rather straightforward, even for ideological drone types.  If we assume that this is the case, we can now revisit our 7 countries listed above as seen by Neocon decision makers (not me! I already outlined how I saw the risks of attacking these countries in this article written this summer):

Possible/likely consequences Probability Risk
Afghanistan (surge) more body bags high low
Syria (military intervention & attack on Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria) Iranian & Hezbollah counter-attacks high high
Russia 1 (economic attack: SWIFT & theft of assets)Russia 2 (shooting of Russian aircraft in Syria) non-military responsemilitary response highmedium unknown for memedium
Iran (renege on nuclear deal)
non-military response high low
Donbass (US backed attack on Novorussia) Russian intervention medium low
DPRK (attack; blockade) Nuclear war in Asia unknown unknown
Venezuela (direct military intervention) quagmire high high

A couple of points here:

Afghanistan: is rather straightforward and least controversial: there will be a surge in Afghanistan, it will result in mode body bags, it will achieve nothing cost a shitload and nobody cares.

Syria: very tempting, but the big risk is this: that US forces will find themselves face to face with Iranian and Hezbollah forces who have been dreaming about this day for decades and who will make maximal political use of the US forces they will capture or kill.  Frankly, to engage either the Iranians or Hezbollah is a very scary option.  Ask the Israelis 🙂

Russia option 1: rumors that the US would disconnect Russia from SWIFT or steal (that is politely called “freeze”) Russian assets and funds in the USA have been going in for a long time already. And the Russians have been making all sorts of menacing noises about this, but all of them very vague which tells me that Russia might not have any good retaliatory options and that this time around the hot air is blowing from Moscow.  Of course, Putin is a unpredictable master strategist and the folks around him are very, very smart.  They might hold something up their sleeve which I am not aware of but I strongly suspect that, unlike me,  the US intelligence community must be fully aware of what this might be.  I am not an economist and there is much I don’t know here, I therefore assessed the risk as “unknown” for me.

Russia option 2: the reaction of Russia to the shooting down by Turkey of a SU-24 in 2015 might well have given the US politicians and commanders that they could do the same and get away with it.  In truth, they might be right.  But they might also be wrong.  The big difference with the case of the SU-24 is that Russia has formidable air-defenses deployed in Syria which present a major threat for US forces.  Furthermore, if a Russian aircraft is under attack and the Russians reply by firing a volley of ground-to-air missiles, what would the US do – attack a Russian S-400 battery?  The USA is also in a tricky situation in an air-to-air confrontation.  While the F-22 is an excellent air superiority fighter it has one huge weakness: it is designed to engage its adversaries from a long range and to shoot first, before it is detected (I mention only the F-22 here because it is the only US aircraft capable of challenging the Su-30SM/Su-35).  But if the rules of engagement say that before firing at a Russian aircraft the F-22 has to issue a clear warning or if the engagement happens at medium to short range distances, then the F-22 is at a big disadvantage, especially against a Su-30SM or Su-35.  Another major weakness of the F-22 is that, unlike the Su-30/Su-35, it does not have a real electronic warfare suite (the F-22’s INEWS does not really qualify).  In plain English this means that the F-22 was designed to maximize it’s low radar cross section but at a cost of all other aspects of aerial warfare (radar power, hypermaneuverability, electronic warfare, passive engagement, etc.).  This all gets very technical and complicated very fast, but I think that we can agree that the Neocons are unlikely to be very impressed by the risks posed by Russian forces in Syria and that they will likely feel that they can punch the russkies in the nose and that these russkies will have to take it.  Local US commanders might feel otherwise, but that is also entirely irrelevant.  Still, I place the risk here at ‘medium’ even if, potentially, this could lead to a catastrophic thermonuclear war because I don’t think that the Neocons believe that the Russians will escalate too much (who starts WWIII over one shot down aircraft anyway, right?!).  Think of it: if you were the commander of the Russian task force in Syria, what would you do if the US shot down on of your aircraft (remember, you assume that you are a responsible and intelligent commander, not a flag-waving delusional maniac)?

What will not stop is the full-spectrum demonization of Russia, thus the relationship between the two countries will further deteriorate.  Putin’s Russia is a kind of Mordor which represents all evil and stands behind all evil.  Denouncing and openly hating Russia has now become a form of virtue-signaling.  Since the entire US political elites have endorsed this phobia, it is exceedingly unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

Iran: Trump has announced that he wants out of the deal and while technically and legally he cannot do that, it’s not like he will care one bit.  The USA has long given up any pretense at respecting any kind of law, including international law.  Also, since Trump is clearly Israel’s shabbos-goy I think that we can safely assume that this will happen.

Donbass: will the Ukronazis finally attack?  Well, they have been for many months already!  Not only did they never stop shelling the Donbass, but they have this new “frog-jump” (pseudo) strategy which consists of moving in military forces in the neutral zone, seize an undefended town and then declare a major victory against Russia.  They have also been re-arming, re-organizing, re-grouping and otherwise bolstering their forces in the East.  As a result, the Urkonazis have at least 3:1 advantage against the Novorussians.  However, we should not look at this from the Ukronazi or Novorussian point of view.  Instead we should look at it from the Neocon point of view:

Possible outcomes US reactions
Option one: Ukronazis win Russia is defeated, USA proves it power
Option two: Novorussians win Russia is accused of invading the Ukraine
Option three: Novorussians lose and Russia openly intervenes A Neocon dream come true: the NATO has a purpose again: decades of Cold War v2 in Europe.

The way I see it, in all three cases the AngloZionist prevail though clearly option #2 is the worst possible outcome and option #3 is the best one.  In truth, the AngloZionists have very little to lose in a Ukronazi attack on Novorussia.  Not so the Ukrainian people, of course.  Right now the USA and several European countries are shipping various types of weapons to the Ukronazis.  That is really a non-news since they have been doing that for years already.  Furthermore, western made weapons won’t make any difference, at least from a military point of view, if only because it will always be much easier for Russia to send more weapons in any category.  The real difference is a political one: shipping “lethal weapons” (as if some weapons were not lethal!) is simply a green light to go on the attack.  Let’s hope that the Urkonazis will be busy fighting each other and that their previous humiliating defeat will deter them from trying again, but I consider a full-scale Urkonazi attack on the Donbass as quite likely.

DPRK:  that is the big unknown here.  With some opponents, you know for an absolute fact that their people will fight down to the very last man if needed (Iranians, Russians, Hezbollah).  But authoritarian regimes tend to have a pretty low breaking point unless, of course, they convince their own people that they are not fighting for a specific political regime, but for their country.  I think that nobody knows for sure what the North Koreans will do if attacked, but I see no sign to simply assume that the North Koreans won’t fight.  From what I hear, the memories of the ruthless attacks against North Koreans by US forces during the previous war on the Korean Peninsula are still very very real.  Here is what an intelligence officer in the region wrote to me recently:

The Trump Administration’s bluster is pathetic. If this were a movie, and not real life, it would be funny (it’s still funny, but being in *******, I don’t fully appreciate it). The sad thing is that central casting couldn’t create a better foil for NK propaganda: in every way, including physically, he fits their caricature of the evil, imperial arch-capitalist Yankee businessman. It’d be like if Hitler came back to life and off-handedly threatened to destroy the US every other day (and had the capability to do so).

If this specialist is correct, and I have no reason to believe that he is not, then it is quite reasonable to assume that the possible dislike the North Korean people might have for their ruling elites is dwarfed by their hatred for the United States.

[Sidebar: he also had some interesting comments about my own assessment of the consequences of a war on the Korean Peninsula.  Here is what he wrote to me:

Japan is a major target, for a number of reasons. The biggest is that there are a lot of US bases there that would be used to bring-in additional US troops/direct the war, but there’s also the fact that North Korea (and most South Koreans, actually), straight-up hates Japan. I won’t go into a history lesson (which you probably already know), but there is no love lost.  Even if the war was confined to the Peninsula, which it won’t be, the global economy would take a major hit, because a ridiculous amount of global supply chain runs through South Korea (which on its own, bounces between the 15th and 10th largest economy in the world). Off the top of my head, I think Incheon (just west of Seoul) is the busiest airport in at least the region – it’s a major international hub, and Busan and Incheon are some of the busiest ports in the world – I want to say Busan is top 5, even busier than the Japanese ports. All the Chinese goods that go to America flow through the Sea of Japan – those will have to be re-routed. And a lot of the components that go in fancy electronics are actually made in SK, prior to final assembly in China – so that will be an issue. So even if we’re the only ones to go down, it’ll be bad news for the global economy.  Your assessment of the artillery and special forces threat mirrors mine. One of the things I always thought was funny was how people disparage “World War 2 artillery.” As a whole, “World War 2 artillery” has probably killed more people than any weapon system in modern history (unless you say something really general like “knife” or “gun”). It’s not like you’ll be any less dead if your house is hit with a 152 as opposed to a J-DAM.]

And here is the deal, if you attack a small and defenseless country you can basically ignore the consequences of making the wrong guess, but when dealing with a country like the DPRK this is a miscalculation which no sane politician or military commander would ever take the risk of making.  But delusional imbeciles giving and dishonorable cowards – would either one of them show the kind of caution needed when dealing with such a major threat?!  I frankly don’t think so.  In fact, I see no reason to believe that at all.  Remember the “cakewalk in Iraq”?  This term, coined by one of my former teachers at SAIS, Ken Adelman, is a wonderful illustration of the Neocon mindest: pure ideology and to hell with caution.  We all know that this “cakewalk” ended up costing the Iraqi and American people: well over one million deaths for the former, well over five trillion dollars for the latter.  Some cakewalk indeed…  The truth is that at this point nobody knows what the outcome of a US attack on the DPRK might be, not even the North Koreans.  Will that be enough to deter the delusional imbeciles giving and dishonorable cowards currently at the helm of the Empire?  You tell me!

Venezuela: as much hatred as their is for Venezuela in the US elites, this country is not a lucrative target or, let me rephrase that, it is a great target to subvert but probably not a good one to intervene in.  Violence in Venezuela is directly in the US interests but a direct military intervention is probably not.  My contacts tell me that the Venezuelan military is an unholy (and rather corrupt) mess, but they also tell me that the popular will to resist the “Yankees” is so strong that a any military intervention will immediately trigger an ugly guerrilla war (not to mention a political backlash in the rest of Latin America).  The truth is the US probably has the means to militarily intervene in Venezuela, but they also have much better options.

Now let’s sum this all up.

The chances are high that in 2018 the USA will

  • Escalate the war in Afghanistan
  • Renege on the nuclear deal with Iran
  • Back an Ukronazi attack on Novorussia

It is quite possible that the USA will also

  • Shoot down a Russian aircraft over Syria

I find it unlikely that the USA will

  • Invade Syria
  • Invade Venezuela

I am unable to evaluate whether the USA will:

  • Disconnect Russia from SWIFT or seize Russian assets
  • Attack the DPRK

Frankly, I am not very confident about this attempt as analyzing the possible developments in 2018.  All my education has always been based  on a crucial central assumption: the other guy is rational.  That is a huge assumption to make, but one which was fundamentally true during the Cold War.  Today I find myself inclined to think that psychologists are probably better suited to make predictions about the actions of the rulers of the AngloZionist Empire than military analysts.  Furthermore, history shows us that the combination of delusional imbeciles and dishonorable cowards is what typically brings down empires, we saw a very good example of that with the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

With the latest Trump fiasco I have personally given up any hope of ever seeing a US President capable of making a positive contribution to the welfare of the people of the USA or the rest of the planet.  The burden now is clearly on Russia and China to do everything they can to try to stop the USA from launching even more catastrophic and deeply immoral wars.  That is a very, very difficult task and I frankly don’t know if they can do it.  I hope so.  That is the best I can say.

The Saker

Saker Man of the Year 2018: all those who gave their lives for Syria

December 25, 2017

[Note: this post of mine is temporarily located in the ‘guest section’ because of the current fundraiser.  Once the fundraiser is over, I will place it back in the correct section.  The Saker]

I have been doing this “pretend I am Time mag” thing for a couple of years now, but this year I had no clear candidate(s), at least now an original one.  I could re-list names already listed, but somehow I wanted to find somebody truly inspiring.  And then today I saw this photo on Colonel Cassad’s website:

 

The photo shows what Col. Cassad called “a Syrian version of the Immortal Regiment” event in Russia.  As soon as I saw this, I knew I had my answer.  So the 2018 Saker Men of the year are:

All those who sacrificed their lives to save Syria

The man and women who gave their lives to save Syria did not just die fighting against arguably the most evil, maniacal and deranged terrorist insurgency in history (Daesh aka ISIS aka al-Qaeda aka al-Nusra and aka all the other rebrandings), but also against the AngloZionist Empire, against CENTCOM, against NATO, against the degenerate Gulf States and against the Zionist Entity.  That is truly a formidable list of enemies and a truly abominable one.

I have never had the chance to visit Syria, but I have had Syrian friends and I know how beautiful the Syrian people are.  Make no mistake, these people faced total annihilation, no less, irrespective of whether they were Christian, Muslim or secular.  For the shaitans of Daesh everybody who is not with them deserves to die.  That is the extend of their pseudo theology.

I am not so naive as to believe that in wars things are always black and white.  But in this case, I would argue that the evil which was unleashed against Syria was truly exceptionally vile and that those who died resisting it deserve a special place of honor in world history.

Runner up:

At a time of quasi universal hatred, deception, betrayal, cowardice and lies, lies everywhere and in everything, I think that I want to honor a man who has (and still is) taking a great degree of risk in living according to the words of Christ “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). I am referring to Sheikh Imran Hosein who has shown immense courage in trying to forge an alliance between Muslims and Orthodox Christians.  For having done so, he has been the object of numerous attacks and slander which brings to my mind another Beatitude “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven“.  I therefore nominate my friend

Sheikh Imran Hosein as peacemaker of the year

 

I feel that honoring those who died in a righteous struggle and those who struggle for peace are really one and the same – they all are standing up against the worst evil in our world and that they therefore belong together.

Now, as always, it is your turn: whom do you see as man/woman of the year?

The Saker

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