Repeating Churchill’s Bungles: Will US Drive Turkey into Joining the Shanghai Pact?

Repeating Churchill’s Bungles: Will US Drive Turkey into Joining the Shanghai Pact?

Repeating Churchill’s Bungles: Will US Drive Turkey into Joining the Shanghai Pact?

In 1917, the professional head of the British Army, Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson in 1917 explained why the Allies were losing World War I because they kept pouring out lives, weapons and resources on capturing tiny unimportant locations on the Western Front while Imperial Germany conquered Eastern and Southern Europe, invading and occupying one major country after another:

“We take Bullecourt, they take Rumania; We take Messines, they take Russia; We don’t take Passchendaele, they take Italy,” Wilson told Winston Churchill.

Today, Washington is moving heaven and earth to integrate such major world powers as Macedonia, Montenegro and Georgia into NATO to join those vital pillars of world security Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. And at the same time, it is obsessed with imposing ruinous sanctions on Turkey.

Yet Turkey has been a major member of NATO for 63 years. It continues to play a crucial role in US strategic deployments across the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. Its cooperation is absolutely essential to ensure the supply and – if war were ever to break out Russia – the very survival of all US warships operating in the Black Sea.

Feckless, passive and ignorant President Barack Obama allowed US relations with Turkey to deteriorate to their worst ever state.

It is no secret that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is convinced that the US military were involved in the serious coup attempt that nearly cost him his life two years ago. Those suspicions are certainly widely believed among top Turkish policymakers.

Faced with such unprecedented suspicions and strains in the US –Turkish alliance, President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US Congress should be working overtime to build relations, cooperation and long-term trust with Turkey.

They are doing no such thing. With stunning insouciance and crass ignorance, both parties in Congress seek out every opportunity to insult Turkey, give aid and comfort to forces traditionally hostile to the country and now are happily supporting devastating new tariffs.

As internationally respected commentator M. K. Bhadrakumar warned on this platform, “The sense of indignation among Turks should not be underestimated, which makes this an exceptional rupture.”

It is not as if Washington could sanely assess that Turkey was internationally isolated. On the contrary, Ankara enjoys excellent relations with Russia, China, India and Iran. US and NATO policies once again are backfiring and isolating their perpetrators, not the countries they target.

It is eerily fitting that neoconservatives and neoliberals worship the deified Winston Churchill so much. For it was Churchill’s personal bungling that that brought the Turkish Ottoman Empire needlessly into World War I on the side of Imperial Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In August 1914, Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, the political head of the British Navy, ordered the seizure of the Sultan Osman I and the Reshadieh, two state-of-the-art new Dreadnought battleships being built for Turkey in British shipyards (The Turks had already paid four billion pounds sterling for them). Britain did not even need the two battleships. It had a wide margin of maritime superiority over the German High Seas Fleet. But the move was the political and psychological equivalent of telling Turkey today that the United States is not going to sell Ankara the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters it had promised.

Turkey had been a loyal and major British ally at least since the Ochakoff Incident of 1791.But after Churchill’s bungle popular outrage in Turkey was overwhelming. It decisively swung the delicate balance in Constantinople that led the ruling, secular Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) into Berlin’s orbit.

Turkey went to war, cutting off the vital Anglo-French maritime supply route through the Dardanelles Strait into the Black Sea and cutting off Imperial Russia. Toi open that waterway, Churchill pushed the catastrophic and utterly bungled Gallipoli campaign in 1915. It cost the British, Irish, Australians and New Zealanders who fought there more than 140,000 casualties including 44,000 dead. The Turks lost 86,000 dead.

Churchill was sacked from the British government for his bungling. He then devoted the heart of his enormous six-volume postwar memoir “The World Crisis” to trying to pass the blame for his failures off on everybody else.

Today, Washington’s reckless and abusive policies towards Turkey are repeating the catastrophic bungles that Churchill inflicted more than a century ago.

An increasing number of Turks no longer trust NATO: Instead, they fear it. The only other obvious international security body for Turkey to seek protection with is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which in June pulled off the extraordinary coup of expanding to include India and Pakistan at the same time.

As Arkady Savitsky has noted in this journal, Turkey is already a dialogue partner with the SCO. It is also considering a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). President Erdogan has also made clear he would like Turkey to join the BRICS bloc which, like the SCO includes Russia, China and India.

If President Erdogan decides to leave NATO to join the SCO, and drops Brussels to replace it with Shanghai, even Washington and London will have to sit up and take notice. Yet the logic of the policies and rhetoric being spewed out of the Western capitals can only drive Turkey to that outcome, seeking its own security and survival.

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So what will The Sanctioned supergroup do?

 

August 20, 2018So what will The Sanctioned supergroup do?

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

Trump’s solo act can’t compete with the hard rock presidents from the electric east

Those were the days, during the Cold War 1960s and 1970s, when the earth was actually ruled by rock supergroups – from Cream and Led Zeppelin to Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends – and the post-truth geopolitical remix of the supergroup. Meet The Sanctioned;  a multinational band starring multi-instrumentalists Vladimir Putin (Russia), Xi Jinping (China), Hassan Rouhani (Iran) and Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey).

As the whole rock universe knows, The Sanctioned run the relentless risk of being outshined – in the form of multi-layered sanctions – by undisputed glitter solo act Donald Trump (US).

The two real virtuosos in the band relish playing in perfect synch. Putin may indulge only the occasional Jimmy Page solo (as in Caspian-launched missiles against Daesh in Syria); he’s more like Keith Emerson invoking the Russian classical composer Mussorgsky. Xi is fond of orchestral Pink Floyd-esque concept albums, in the New Silk Roads mould. Rouhani could be Jack Bruce in Cream – supplying those subtle moments of faultless musicianship. It’s Erdogan who’s irresistibly attracted to summon the back door man’s antics of Robert Plant.

As for Trump, he’s no Dylan – and certainly not Roger Waters; more like Ted Nugent with some Black Sabbath overtones.

So what will The Sanctioned come up next? A doozy like Deep Purple without Gillan and Blackmore or an epic like ELP’s Fanfare for the Common Man?

The Fanfare for the Common Man geoeconomic scenario reads like this.

Putin-Xi – as in the Russia-China strategic partnership – offer Erdogan membership of both the BRICS (as in BRICS Plus) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organizations (SCO). Erdogan, on the record, has already manifested interest in both.

Turkey pulls out of NATO. The Turkish military will squeal, but Erdogan, after the failed 2016 coup – of which he was alerted by Russian intelligence – now controls the military.

Beijing and Moscow offer an array of trade deals; Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has already offered trade in their own currencies. Erdogan for his part said Turkey is ready to begin using local currencies in trade with Russia, China, Iran and the EU.

After Turkey restructures its US dollar debts, China buys up the Turkish lira off foreign exchange markets – an easy play for the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). Ankara is already planning to issue yuan-denominated bonds. China’s ICBC already announced a $3.6 billion loan for energy/transport.

In sharp contrast to the Washington Consensus, Erdogan very well knows that Turkey cannot “rewrite the crisis management playbook for emerging markets” by surrendering to IMF austerity. An answer would be to increasingly rely on the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Then most of the scenario – SCO, BRICS Plus, AIIB, trade bypassing the US dollar – is replayed with Iran, as in those days when Pink Floyd used to engage in full encores of Dark Side of the Moon.

A new sell-out album

The Sanctioned’s new album (in 180g vinyl plus all formats/platforms), titled Eurasian Integration, is destined for multi-platinum status and to fill multi-purpose arenas from Izmir and Hamadan to Chongqing and Vladivostok.

It features Iran as an even more crucial hub of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – in conjunction to the new connectivity drive between Russia and Iran signed at the landmark Caspian Sea Convention.

In a parallel track, the China-Kazakhstan-Iran connectivity corridor already features freight trains plying the route all the way to the Iranian Caspian port of Bandar-e Anzali.

Another key track in the new album revolves around the BRICS’s Contingent Reserve Agreement (CRA), decided at their latest summit; a mechanism to de-dollarize economies which will be expanded as the BRICS turn into BRICS Plus.

After signing an interim agreement three months ago, Iran is already on the way to engage, by the start of 2020, into a full free trade deal with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). Turkey will follow.

As EU companies leave sanctioned Iran, Chinese and Russian companies go into overdrive. As the US Congress slaps a nyet on Turkey buying F-35 fighter jets because Ankara is buying the Russian S-400 air-defense system, Boeing and Airbus in Iran are bound to lose market share to Russian jets such as the MS-21 or the IL-96-400M.

And as Iran-Turkey trade gets a boost, Turkish Stream – the Russia-Turkey strategic energy partnership – is far from being derailed.

Erdogan knows very well how Turkey is the quintessential East-meets-West strategic connector across Eurasia. And he knows what’s he’s really “guilty” of: buying the S-400s, ditching the “Assad must go” obsession, advancing Turkish Stream and insisting Turkey will continue to buy Iranian oil.

So as he perfects his Robert Plant impersonation – “You need coolin’/ Baby I’m not foolin’/ I’m gonna send ya/ back to schoolin’” – Erdogan is doing the math on how a New Silk Roads partnership among equals, in tandem with a close relationship with the AIIB and the EAEU may be way more profitable than a toxic cocktail of oversized NATO, no EU and IMF neoliberal austerity.

That partly explains Ankara’s whirling dervish dance away from US T-bills, bonds and notes by over 50% since the end of 2017. While, in parallel, Moscow and Beijing (followed at a distance by New Delhi and even Ankara itself) keep piling up gold anticipating the extra bonanza of Eurasian Integration, the hit album.

A very handy thermometer of Erdogan’s popularity may be found in Fatih, a pious, working-class neighborhood on the European shore of Istanbul.

Fatih mirrors Erdogan’s immense popularity all across Anatolia. Whatever his notorious, incandescent illiberal traits, Erdogan’s development program is not only about more mosques and more malls. The AKP over the years did manage to set up a quite decent universal healthcare insurance system – including the upgrading of public hospitals – as well as a pension system.

Now it’s time to deliver again – nationally and globally.

Calling all Eurasian young dudes

Meanwhile, Russia will keep developing a very sophisticated strategy across the Black Sea.

In no time, Putin has already reshaped the Black Sea – geopolitically and geoeconomically. The graphic symbol is the sumptuous Kerch Strait bridge to Crimea – an engineering tour de force inaugurated only three months ago.

Putin’s multi-instrumental riffs are ubiquitous. Erdogan gets S-400s, nuclear power plants and Turkish Stream (which also benefits vast tracts of southern Europe). Rouhani and the Central Asians get a Caspian convention and the prospect of a succession of energy deals. Damascus and Tehran – with Ankara a little far behind – get to see the possible end of the tragic Syria war cycle.

As Erdogan progressively moves Turkey’s reserves to yuan – and gold – benefits can accrue from more interaction with the BRI/EAEU/SCO galaxy in everything from electronics and nuclear technology to advanced weapons. And further connectivity may entail, for instance, Chinese goods transiting through Russian ports in Krasnodar and Crimea to Turkish ports in the Black Sea.

The Black Sea, for all practical purposes, is being configured as a Russo-Turk Mediterranean Sea – much as the Caspian is now configured as a Central Asian, non-NATO, Mediterranean Sea.

In parallel, The Sanctioned is also enjoying a guest performing appearance by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim al-Thani, instrumental in the offer of a $15 billion loan to Ankara. And this after Qatar restored good relations with Iran, including energy collaboration on the shared South Pars/North Dome – the largest gas field on the planet.

It’s crucial to consider that in the event the Qatar-Turkey Combined Joint Force Command may “disappear”, for some reason, the path would be open for a nasty, joint Saudi/UAE invasion of Doha, with   major consequences; the double confiscation of the Qatari sovereign wealth fund and North Dome – to the benefit of salvaging the sinking “Vision 2030” House of Saud.

What’s certain for now is that The Sanctioned face a real threat of having Eurasian Integration – the hit album – dispatched to the bottom of the charts, with the corollary of having new BRI and EAEU connectivity routes to Europe via crossroads Turkey partially blocked or at least seriously disturbed.

As the (real) David Bowie wrote it, for supergroup Mott the Hopple: All the (Eurasian) young dudes, carry the news.

“Who Lost Turkey?” – The U.S.-Kurdish Project In Syria Endangers NATO

By Moon Of Alabama

January 25, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Back in the 1950s the U.S. political sphere was poisoned by a groundless smear campaign against country-experts in the State Department  who were identified as those who lost China. If the Trump administration proceeds on its current course we may soon see similar accusations. The accused, those “who lost Turkey”, will again be the ones who warned of the possibility and not the real culprits.

The Turkish attack on the Kurd held Syrian canton of Afrin (Efrin) is not progressing as fast the Turks had hoped. The infantry component of the operation are Turkish proxy forces in Syria. These Chechen, Uighur, Turkestanis and other Takfiris are cannon fodder in the operations, not a well integrated component of an army.


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The Kurds know their local mountainous territory, are well armed and willing to fight. They can holdout for a while. Politically they will still be the ones who will lose the most in the conflict. The above linked piece noted that the Kurdish YPG/PKK leaders had rejected the Syrian and Russiangovernment offer that would have prevented the Turkish attack. The offer still exists but the conditions will become less favorable as longer the Kurds hold out.

Elijah Magnier just published more details on that offer and analyses the strategic situation:

[T]he US is observing the performance of the Turkish army with interest and wishes to see Erdogan humiliated, broken on the rocks of the Kurds in Afrin. Indeed, the US has delivered anti-tank weapons, already effectively used by the Kurds against the Turkish army (many tanks damaged during the attack on Afrin).

The US can’t understand that Ankara is not ready to see a rich and well-armed Kurdish “state” on its borders, disregarding the US’s tempting and generous offer [of a “safe zone” (see below)]. Actually, the US is offering a territory that not only does not belong to the Americans but is actually occupied by the US forces in north east Syria.

The US is one of the losers in this battle, regardless of the results, because Turkey will continue its operations until the defeat of the Kurds, either by military means or if Afrin returns to [Syrian] central government’s control.

I am not convinced that the above prediction will hold. There is still a possibility that Turkey might again change sides and (again) join the U.S. “regime change” efforts in Syria.

This depends on the winner of a conflict within the U.S. military where opposing forces are pulling for the Turkish and respectively the Kurdish side. Should the pro-Turkish side win, Erdogan can be offered a new deal and might be induced to again change sides from his current pro-Russian (pro-Damascus?) position back towards a pro-NATO/U.S. stand. (There is also a tiny chance that Turkey already has a secret back deal with the U.S. administration but I see no indication for it.)

From the very beginning of the conflict in Syria Turkey worked with the U.S., NATO, the Saudis and Qataris, against the Syrian government. It supported the Saudi and U.S. position of “regime change”, let ten-thousands of terrorists pass through its borders and delivered ten-thousands of tons of weapons and supplies to the forces fighting the Syrian government. Finally Russia entered the picture, defeated the Takfiris, put harsh pressure on Turkey and offered new economic deals. At the same time the U.S. attempted “regime change” in Ankara and allied with the Kurdish YPG/PKK in Syria and Iraq.

Erdogan, though unwillingly, changed sides and now works with Russia (and Syria) to bring the war to a conclusion. “Regime change” in Damascus has become an unlikely scenario he no longer supports. At the same time he is still willing to invest money and forces to gain something for his failed investment in the war. Taking Afrin to later incorporate it into an enlarged Turkey is one of those plays. He is clearly still aiming for additional territory. The U.S. now offered him some in form of a safe zone in Syria:


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Ilhan tanir @WashingtonPoint – 7:50 PM – 24 Jan 2018
This map being discussed all day on Turkish TVs as Turkey’s planned security zone/safe zone on Syria border.
Reportedly OK’ed by Sec.Tillerson though nobody on the American side confirms it

If the U.S. indeed made the “safe zone” offer – Tillerson did not deny today to have made such – it found a rather cold response:

Washington’s proposal for the creation of a “security zone” along Turkey’s 911-kilometer border with Syria has received a cool reply from Ankara, with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu urging the U.S. to first take steps to “re-build trust” between the two allies before discussing such military matters.

“The U.S. needs to stop delivering weapons to the YPG. It needs to push the YPG to withdrawing from Manbij if it wants to re-build confidence with Turkey … We have to see all these commitments fulfilled,” Çavuşoğlu said.

It is the U.S. supported founding of a Kurdish state-let in north-east Syria which is Ankara’s most serious security concern. No “safe zone” will help if the U.S. military continues to build and supplies a Kurdish “border force” that can penetrate Turkey’s south-eastern underbelly – now, tomorrow or in ten years. Unless the U.S. stops that project and retreats from the area Turkey will continue to push against it – if necessary by force.

The Turkish people support the fight against U.S. supported Kurds and are willing to pay the price for it. The Kurdish YPK leaders are delusional in their demands and overestimate their own political position. The U.S. can not have both, Turkey as an ally and a Kurdish proxy state-let. It has to decide.

Yesterday President Trump and Erdogan had a phonecall to discuss the situation. It did not help. The White House readout for the call includes some noticeably harsh language:

President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. President Trump relayed concerns that escalating violence in Afrin, Syria, risks undercutting our shared goals in Syria. He urged Turkey to deescalate, limit its military actions, and avoid civilian casualties and increases to displaced persons and refugees.

President Trump also expressed concern about destructive and false rhetoric coming from Turkey, and about United States citizens and local employees detained under theprolonged State of Emergency in Turkey.

The Turkish side denied that such language and these issues were part of the talk:

The White House’s written statement differs from the truth discussed between the Turkish and U.S. Presidents’ phone conversation on Wednesday, according to Anadolu Agency sources.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, the sources said President Donald Trump did not discuss any concerns ‘of escalating violence in Afrin’ during the phone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The sources also stressed that President Trump did not use the words “destructive and false rhetoric coming from Turkey.”

They also said that there was no discussion of the ongoing state of emergency in Turkey.

It is very unusual to dispute the content of such readouts. Is Turkey obfuscating here or did someone in the White House put harsher language into the readout than was actually used in the call?

Trump had in general good relations with Erdogan and the readout language does not sound like him. The Turkish side also added this:

“In an answer to President Erdogan’s highlighting request from Washington to stop providing arms to the PYD/YPG terrorists in Syria within the scope of fighting against terrorism, President Trump said the United States are no longer providing PYD/YPG with weapons,” the sources added.

Already in November the Turks had said that Trump promised to stop the delivery of weapons to the YPG forces in east-Syria. But the White House was evasive on the issue and the U.S. military Central Command has acted contrary to that promise. If the Magnier report is correct CentCom also delivered anti-tank missiles to the Kurds in Afrin.

I have for some time presumed that are different opinions in the White House and especially in the Pentagon with regards to Turkey and the Kurds. The realist-hawks and NATO proponents are on Turkey’s side while the neoconservative “liberal” forces are on the Kurdish side. Yesterday the NYT noted the split:

The White House sent out a message aimed at mollifying Turkey’s president on Tuesday, suggesting that the United States was easing off its support for the Syrian Kurds.

That message was quickly contradicted by the Pentagon, which said it would continue to stand by the Kurds, even as Turkey invaded their stronghold in northwestern Syria.

The former director of the Council of Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, takes the pro-Kurdish position. Linking to the NYT piece above he says:

Richard N. Haass‏ @RichardHaass – 12:00 PM – 24 Jan 2018
Pentagon right; US should be working w Kurds in Syria for moral and strategic reasons alike. A break with Erdogan’s Turkey is inevitable, if not over this than over other differences. Time for DoD to come up with plan to substitute for Incirlik access.

It is not only the Incirlik air-base which is irreplaceable for NATO’s southern command. Turkey also controls the access to the Black Sea and has thereby a say over potential NATO operations against southern Russia and Crimea.

In a Bloomberg oped former U.S. Supreme Commander of NATO Stavridis takes a pro-Turkish position:

At the moment, Washington is trying to sail a narrow passage between supporting its erstwhile Kurdish combat partners and not blowing up the relationship with Turkey. But the room for maneuver is closing and a choice is looming. What should the U.S. do?

[W]e simply cannot afford to “lose” Turkey.

The Turks have a strong and diversified economy, a young and growing population, and have stood alongside the U.S. for much of the post-World War II era. Their importance both regionally and globally will continue to grow in the 21st century. Yes, U.S. officials can and should criticize Turkish actions where they violate international law or human rights — but in private, at least at this stage of the situation.

[T]he overall U.S. strategic interest lies in keeping Turkey aligned with NATO and the trans-Atlantic community. It would be a geopolitical mistake of near-epic proportions to see Turkey drift out of that orbit and end up aligned with Russia and Iran in the Levant.

It is unclear where in the Trump administration the split between pro-Kurdish and pro-Turkish positions actually is. (Or is it all around chaos?) On which side, for example, is Secretary of Defense Mattis and on which side is the National Security Advisor McMaster? This clip from the NYT piece above lets one assume that they pull in opposite directions:

For its part, the White House disavowed a plan by the American military to create a Kurdish-led force in northeastern Syria, which Turkey has vehemently opposed.

That plan, a senior administration official said Tuesday, originated with midlevel military planners in the field, and was never seriously debated, or even formally introduced, at senior levels in the White House or the National Security Council.

But the Pentagon issued its own statement on Tuesday standing by its decision to create the Kurdish-led force.

Discussing NATO relations with Turkey, several western “experts” agree that the current situation damages NATO but not one of them expects that Turkey will leave the alliance:

NATO needs Turkey and cannot afford to push it further into Russia’s arms. Erdoğan also needs NATO. He has overplayed his hand in Syria and in his struggle with the Kurds, and is isolated in the EU. His relationship with Moscow is problematic and he does not want to face Putin without NATO membership. This is an alliance that remains based on real strategic interests and that will continue long after Erdoğan is gone.

Maybe. I am not so sure.

The last thing the EU now wants or needs is Turkish membership. The U.S. instigated a coup against Erdogan and its Kurdish project is threatening Turkey’s strategic interest. Trump’s continued push to take Jerusalem “off the table” in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is an insult to all Muslims. An increasingly Islamic Turkey will not accept that. Turkey’s natural gas supplies depend on Russia and Iran. Russia builds nuclear power stations in Turkey and will deliver air defense systems that can defend against U.S. attacks. Russia, Iran, Central Asia and beyond that China are markets for Turkish products.

Putting myself into Erdogan’s shoes I would be very tempted to leave NATO and join an alliance with Russia, China and Iran. Unless the U.S. changes course and stops fooling around with the Kurds Turkey will continue to disentangle itself from the old alliance. The Turkish army has so far prevented a break with NATO but even staunch anti-Erdogan officers are now on his side.

If the U.S. makes a real offer to Turkey and adopts a new position it might be able to turn Turkey around and to put it back into its NATO fold. Is the Trump White House capable of defying the pro-Israel/pro-Kurdish voices and move back to that realist view?

If it can not do that the real answer to the question “Who lost Turkey?” will be obvious.

This article was originally published by Moon Of Alabama 

– See Also –

NATO at war and other statistical marvels

NATO at war and other statistical marvels

by Scott Humor

NATO Parliamentary Assembly Spring Session, Tbilisi, 26-29 May 2017

“The capital of Georgia, Tbilisi is a historic and a strategic place in the Caucasus region, which gave the country an opportunity to be a connecting hub between the West and the East

Unfortunately, our progress is not a pleasant development in the region for some, like the Russian Federation. Moscow has militarily violated Georgia’s territorial sovereignty and has illegally occupied the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russian military aggression and its provocations in various forms towards its neighbours have become routine by the Kremlin. Economic sanctions by the European Union and its partners are imperative to slow down this aggression, but more needs to be done. Therefore, it is crucial that we have a visible progress on both the practical and political side of Georgia’s EU and NATO membership process.

Furthermore, we highly value the Allies’ commitment to ensure effective implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, as well as new initiatives of practical cooperation. We welcome the decision made at the Warsaw Summit to increase NATO’s presence in the Black Sea region and at the same time to further strengthen cooperation with Georgia.

Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance contains all the practical tools to prepare our country for eventual membership. As the Bucharest Summit Declaration states: Georgia will become a member of NATO.”

It’s truly haunting how NATO uses a blunt lie going on record, even so we can just take one look at the online records of the UN Security Council and read that it Georgia initiated the war on 08.08.08.

Security Council hears conflicting Russian, Georgian views of worsening crisis as members seek end to violence in day’s second meeting on South Ossetia

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said Georgia continued its treacherous attack on South Ossetia, despite the Russian leadership’s appeal for an immediate ceasefire, an end to the fratricidal conflict and the resumption of talks.  The Russian Federation abhorred the connivance of a number of Security Council members, who last night had blocked passage of the Russian assessment of the situation.  The aggression being perpetrated was in violation of the United Nations Charter on the non-use of force, the 1996 agreement signed by Georgia, the South Ossetia parties and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the 1992 basic agreement between the Russian Federation and Georgia on the principles for settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict.  That agreement obliged the belligerents to undertake measures to halt military confrontation, to cease fire and to withdraw armed units.  A demilitarized zone had been created under the accord and the 1996 memorandum of understanding, compelling parties to the conflict to renounce the use or threat of use of force, had been signed by the High Representative of Georgia and the OSCE representative.  More here

United Nations Security Council Resolution 896 of 1994

 

On April 1st this year, William Lahue, NATO liaison officer in South Caucasus stated that NATO will not fight with Russia over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, if Georgia joins the alliance.

This statement is bizarre and deceiving considering that right now NATO is in active state of war with Russia according to its website:

NATO – Topic: Collective defence – Article 5

www.nato.int/cps/cn/natohq/topics_110496.htm

Mar 22, 2017

  • NATO has taken collective defence measures on several occasions, for instance in response to the situation in Syria and in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
  • NATO has standing forces on active duty

So, NATO has already invoked the Article 5 Collective defense treaty and is in a state of active war on Russia.

This current land grab is similar to what the fascist Europe was doing right before they started a war on the Soviet Russia in 1941.

Needless to say that Georgia joining NATO is against NATO’s own rules pertinent to  countries with territorial disputes. Since NATO is ready to deploy its army to Georgian territory, it means that the NATO has suspended its rules, which is another indicator that the NATO members are currently in active state of war against Russia.

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For those our readers who collect psi-ops and false flag attacks, here is the strategy that is been used repeatedly to draw Russia into the armed conflict on its borders.

A government of one  of the republics starts terribly abusing a part of population living under its rule. This population rebels and demands autonomy, propelling the government’s brutally attacks by punitive forces. The population under the attack fighting back and holds a referendum for independence. The government uses the regular army to attack the population, which asks Russia for help.

Thus in November 2006, a popular referendum was held in South Ossetia to reaffirm its independence from Georgia.  Ninety-nine percent of voters supported the referendum. After two years of punitive actions, Saakashvili, the US appointed puppet, initiated the war by attacking civilian population and the Russian peacekeepers. Putin as a prime minister was away visiting China, so President Medevedev and its liberal parliament respond with the use of the military force.

In 2914, when NATO members played the same situation in Ukraine like a piano, an “international community” fully expected Russia to do as she did in 2008. But with Putin as a president it didn’t work out for them.

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A country with 77% of its population with missing teeth is looking for financial support.

Latvian MP and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jānis Jurkāns gave an interview to the newspaper Neatkarīgā on May 15 of this year. He said that a war on Russia is expected to start any minute, and that’s why Latvian government doesn’t invest anything into the country’s development. It’s all going to be destroyed any way.  “What’s not stolen, will be crashed by the Russian tanks.”

Reportedly he also said that soon Russia will be completely destroyed, and only then a real economic revival in Latvia will take place.

In conclusion he said, that when, in the future, Russia will be crushed into pieces, they as victims will receive huge amount of money to build the brand new Latvia. That is why they are removing what’s left of the country’s wealth and creating in Ireland a base for a government in exile.

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What actually are the Trump’s deals with the Saudi Arabia?

Looking at the list of deals that the US managed to achieve with the SA, most of them being just pledges and promises.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Lockheed Martin, Raytheon express a desire to establish Raytheon Arabia sometime in the future. General Dynamics will do some design, and support some of its vehicles locally. Let me guess, the locals will be allowed to design and manufacture some stickers in Arabic. General Electrics signed MoU, Honeywell International signed a MoU, McDermott International also signed an MoU. Boeing and SaudiGulf Airlines promised to start negotiations of jet purchases. Saudi Aramco updates MoU. Jacobs Engineering Group, Rowan, Saudi Aramco, Nabors, Weatherford International all signed MOUs.

Similar to a contract, a memorandum of understanding is an agreement between two or more parties. Unlike a contract, however, an MoU need not contain legally enforceable promises. While the parties to a contract must intend to create a legally binding agreement, the parties to an MOU may intend otherwise

Not one actually legally binding contract was signed.

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In April, industrial production in Ukraine decreased by 6.1 percent compared to the same period last year.

From January to April of 2017 industrial production fell by 2%.

Industrial production is falling for the third month in a row. The main factor of the collapse of metallurgical industry that in April 2017 has reduced steel production by 28.6% compared to April of 2016, to 1,572 million tons.

The export of steel is the main source of foreign income for the country.

With the disappearance of metallurgy, Ukraine will finally become an agricultural powerhouse producing only wheat and corn; since the value added in agriculture is not high and considering the dependency on foreign (Russian) fertilizers, the country won’t be able to sustain its population for much longer.

Despite this, GDP is growing. The gross domestic product of Ukraine for the first quarter increased by 3 percent according to the national Bank of Ukraine.

Industrial production fell, exports fell. The GDP is growing

The explanation is simple.

The price of steel has risen over the past year with $220 per ton of steel to $320, and even it has already dropped to $275; still the Ukraine is in the black, especially compared with the middle of 2016, when steel cost $115 per ton.

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Green Spring of 2017

Russia’s economy grew in April 2017 compared to the same period of 2016.

Most the basic economic and social indicators went up with GDP rising to 100.5% of last year’s value.

Total agricultural output grew 100.6%. Industrial Production Index grew 102.3%. The volume of transported cargo grew by 109.4%. Retail trade numbers have not changed at 100% of April 2016. Combined foreign trade grew by 129.8%, with the export growing by 135.2% and import growing by 121.8%. Capital investments grew by 102.3%. Absolute income and real-wage growth grew by 106.7%, however real income fell to 92.4%. Since the inflation went down, this could be a result of the drop in real estate and rental prices. Unemployment rate fell to 5.3%. Officially registered as unemployed are 0.9 million people. In total 4 million people are unemployed.

With unemployment going down, wages grew +3.2% by March of 2017 year to year.

Real wages in Russia

Real Income In Russia

With all major indexes in green, the only unexplained drop is in real income which is down for March by significant -7.6%. Considering that at the beginning of the year the same indicator grew almost 7%, this number will probably be revised. However, it still might remain negative.

On May 14, during the meeting with President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman, the following was said:

Vladimir Putin: In the economic sector, despite the previous years’ recession, trade turnover growth of over 44 percent was observed in the beginning of this year. This is a good sign and a good trend we have to preserve.

Milos Zeman: The number of tourists is growing – this is very positive.

Vladimir Putin: This is connected to the gradual restoration of personal incomes, which shrank during the crisis in our country. Today, actual earnings of our citizens have started to gradually increase, and tourist activity is increasing as well.

It’s also interesting how the government handled the crisis of 2008-2009 and crisis of 2014-2016. During the first crisis, the minimum wage went up, but unemployment and bankruptcies also grew. It took two years to recover to the pre-crisis level. In December 18, 2014, president Putin said that the crisis in Russia will last for two years in the worst case. Understanding that this might be the long-term situation, the government did everything to preserve the workplaces by letting wages to drop. Putin has managed to save work places, industries and manufacturers from repeating a terrible collapse of 2009 that Medvedev’s government allowed. Considering that everything stayed and worked, the recovery is ongoing, and it won’t need two years.

In February of this year, an aftershock contributor posted his overview of the economy using other indicators than unreliable GPD and came to the conclusion that Russia’s economy is number 4 in the world.

He started with asking a simple question: how can Russia afford the space exploration and nuclear energy, that are out of reach for the majority of developed and rich countries? In addition to the enormous infrastructure costs, these industries require a high level of development of education, basic science, applied science and multiple industries. When we witness another successful launch of missiles “YARS” and the start of commercial operation of the BN nuclear reactors, a sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor, most people don’t understand that these facts are only the visible tip of the iceberg of a great country.

—–

In November 2016 one of UK’s  fake news sources called The Telegraph reporting on the alcohol consumption in the world and lied about Russia being number four of the alcohol dependent countries, and the Britain being 25th overall. “On average we each consume 11.6 litres of pure alcohol a year.”

Now let’s look at real numbers presented by the Russia’s Health Ministry.

Alcohol consumption in Russia in liters of pure spirit in 2016 was 10.3 liters per person. However, this is actual numbers of official sales and doesn’t include homemade wines traditionally enjoyed in the South of the country. I couldn’t find a reliable statistic of alcohol consumption based on gender, race, and age, but as an anecdotal evidence of generational differences, my parents have some wine or cognac for dinner almost every day, although they don’t drink vodka or beer. On average, I consume one glass of wine per year. I just don’t understand an appeal of alcohol.

 

============

Links to report of the Russia’s Health ministry statistic will take you to a downloadable PDF file with multiple fascinating charts:

In 2016 the death rate in Russia has been at its lowest since 1995 12.9 per 1000 of population.

Life expectancy has been also the highest since 1995 and reaches 77.1 for women, 66.5 for men, with an average 71.9 for both genders.

In 2016 Maternal Mortality Rate was 8.3 per 100,000 live births. It actually dropped 48.8% compared to 2011, and 17.8% compared to 2015.

In 2012 Russia adopted the international standards for Infant Mortality Rate statistic starting with 500g or 22 weeks. In 2012 there were 6 infant death per 1000 live birth.

Cardio related death rate dropped down to 42.2 per 100,000 population, which is 7.3% less than in 2011.

Stroke and high-blood pressure related death dropped down to 85.6 per 100,000 population, which is 34.2% lower than in 2011.

Stroke death could be avoided simply by cutting down the consumption of large amounts of salt and sugar typically found in a traditional Russian diet. For years I have been trying to make my parents to eat healthier and to stop cooking with these additives, which proved to me that some battles I just can’t win.

Motor vehicle related deaths also went down to 10.8 per 100,000 population, which is a drop of 11.5% compared with 2015.

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Demographic losses of Germany in World War II

Thought provoking material related to estimation of the losses of German population in WWII.

Before the war against the Soviet Union, Germany was actively absorbing new territories with their population. Therefore, many demographic curves that are being used to estimate the German losses are not correct.

 

The population of Germany itself in 1939 was about 69,4 million.

To this we have to add +

Saarland (0.8 million people),

Austria ( 6,76 million)

The Sudetenland ( 3,64 million)

Total 80,6 million

Also in June 1941 Germany added

Danzig and Memel (0,54 million)

Poznan and Upper Silesia (9,63 million)

Luxembourg, Lorraine and Alsace ( 2.2 million people)

Also severed from Yugoslavia southern Carinthia. (0.2 million people)

PLus the natural population growth over these 2 years per 80 million peoples

Total in June 1941 Germany began the war with  94 million people.

The author estimates that in May of 1945, Germany had less than 60 million people left.

On October 29, 1946, the Command of the Western Military group estimated the population of Germany, all three of its parts with the Western Berlin, was 65,931,000. It means that in 16 months 6 million in population increase was due to the migrants coming from the Sudetenland, Poland, and Kalingrad, and also POWs returned from captivity on the Western front. From the Easter front and the Soviet Union the last POWs had returned to Germany in 1949, which also contributed to the population growth. Let’s say that in the middle of 1046, Germany had 66 million people. At the beginning of 1941 Germany had 94 million people. This means that the demographic losses in Germany amounted to 28 million+ 2-3 million that would constitute the natural population growth during this time if the war didn’t take place.

A total loss of population was 30-31 million, or 30% of the population.

Demographic losses of the Soviet population was 40 million, or 20% of the entire population.

 

The biggest comparative losses of WWII were sustained by Poland

From 1939 to 1945, the population of Poland shrank from 35 million to 23.9 million plus 3 million of natural growth. If the WWII didn’t happen Poland would have in 1945 larger population than it has now.

However, most of those people who died weren’t ethnically Polish. In 1939, on the territory that Poland claimed as its own in 1945 lived 24.6 million people including Jews, Germans, Lithuanians, Byelorussians and Ukrainians. Under the guise of war, those territories were ethnically cleansed by the Poles to achieve 98% of ethnic purity. The Poles themselves lost three million people due to the war.

At the same time, Britain did not suffer any significant demographic losses. By facilitating and financing the WWII, Britain bled Germany (30 m), Poland (15), and the Soviet Union (40m) and together with other European countries (15m), reduced the population of continental Europe by 100 million people. Same time Britain bled India (2.1m) in Bengal famine of 1943 and China (80m).

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Finland has reached its demographic cross.

In 2016, a total of 53,923 persons died, which is the largest number since 1944. The previous record year after the 1940s was 2015, from which the number of deaths now grew by another 1,431. Altogether, 501 more women and 930 more men died than in 2015.

According to Statistics Finland’s data on population changes, 52,814 children were born in 2016. The number of births has now decreased for the sixth year in succession. The number of births was 2,658 children, i.e. 4.8 per cent fewer than in 2015. This yearly decrease is the highest since the beginning of the 1970s, when measured in relative terms.

With 5.5 million population, even

Even 329,219 emigrants are not able to change this. Finland will never have a natural growth of its population.

 

======================

In 2016 Ukraine had the least number of vaccinated children at 23%.

 

Scott Humor

Russian fighter jet again ‘buzzes’ US plane in Black Sea — media

(TASS) Russia’s Su-27 fighter has flown close to another US Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane in the Black Sea in a second similar incident this week, Fox News reported on Saturday night citing a US defense official.

The incident occurred on Friday morning in the northern section of the Black Sea, about 160 kilometers from Russia’s Crimean Peninsula.

The Pentagon has stepped up its reconnaissance flights in the Black Sea since Crimea voted to rejoin Russia in 2014.

In a previous similar incident that took place on Tuesday, an armed Russian Su-30 jet flew within the distance of seven meters of the US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane.

The US aircraft “was conducting routine operations in international airspace,” according to Captain Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for US Naval Forces Europe.

The interaction was considered safe and professional by the US aircraft’s commander, she said.

At noon on May 9, Russia’s airspace control means detected an air target over the neutral waters of the Black Sea, which was approaching the state border of Russia.

“The Su-30 fighter jet of the air defense forces on duty in the Southern military district was scrambled to intercept the target,” the ministry said.

“The Russian fighter jet performed a maneuver of ‘greeting’ for the US pilots and after that the US surveillance plane changed the flight route towards moving from the border with Russia. The Su-30 fighter jet safely returned to its base airfield,” the ministry said.

More:
http://tass.com/defense/945753

‘We did what we had to do’: Putin opens up on Crimea reunification plan

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

The European Union’s military: yet another sign of impotence

March 10, 2015

You probably have heard of the European attempt to reacquire some relevance: the proposal to create a “European Union Army”.  In part, this is, as an attempt by the Europeans to show that they matter, that they can do something by themselves, that they are not completely US lackeys.  This might also be a reaction to the crazy statements of General Philip Breedlove, the Commander of the U.S. European Command and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) whose inflammatory comments even got him a full-length rebuttal in Der Spiegel (There are even rumors that the Europeans want Breedlove sacked).  Whatever may be the case, the idea of some kind of European Army is hardly a new one – we already had the Franco-German Brigade and the Eurocorps.  That is all very well, but only on paper.  The reality is that nobody in Europe has any money to pay for the future EU army.  But even worse is that even inside NATO the European contribution is almost negligible.

First, take a look at this graph showing the financial contribution made by each NATO member state in 2013:

NATO financesClearly, the US pays the lion share and, if we add it’s European poodle (the UK), the “Anglo share” becomes even bigger.  But that is not the full story.  Let’s take the next two (and pretty much only other) relevant countries, Germany and France.  Not only is their financial contribution very small, their national armies are a total mess.  Russia Insider has just posted an excellent survey of the condition of the German military, to which I would only add this article entitled “L’armée française n’a plus un rond et le moral à zéro” (The French military ain’t got a penny and its morale is down to zero) which comes to similar conclusions about the French military.

What about the rest of NATO you might ask?

They are even a more pathetic joke than France and Germany.  The only real military left over is Turkey’s which will never agree to participate to such a force and which will probably not be invited anyway (there is a reason why the Europeans never let “then Muslims” inside the EU to begin with!).  Then we are left with a few semi-decent air forces and navies, but with no real combined-arms capabilities.  Finally, all of Europe has always depended on the USA for intelligence, in particular battlefield intelligence.  So even these air forces and navies are, in reality, totally dependent on Uncle Sam.

Which leaves us with the Central European clowns like Poland or Lithuania.  To see what they could realistically “contribute” you can just think of the Georgian military in 2008, which was fully trained and fully equipped by the very same folks who are now training and equipping the Central Europeans.

The reality is that nobody in Europe can afford anything besides hot air and that all the European militaries are good for is wholly unconvincing sabre-rattling as recently shown by Norway or NATO naval forces in the Black Sea (any vessel in the Black Sea is an easy target for the Russian military) And even though that will not frighten or “deter” a Russia which has no hostile intentions to begin with, it will contribute to the worsening of relations as shown by the recent Russian decision to dump all CFE activities.

This latest initiative, far from showing any kind of European awakening, is yet another proof of the utter lack of statesmanship on the part of the Eurocretins in power in Brussels and the EU capitals.  A far more convincing display of power and dignity would be to dare to simply say “no” to something demanded by Uncle Sam.

But that, alas, ain’t gonna happen anytime soon.

The Saker

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