1983 Book by Jewish Historians Celebrates Jewish Role in Mass Murder of Russians Under Bolshevism

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Brenton Sanderson

“Trotsky was feted by Jews worldwide as “an avenger of Jewish humiliations under Tsarism, bringing fire and slaughter to their worst enemies.”[A16]

Alain Brossat and Sylvie Klingberg’s Revolutionary Yiddishland: A History of Jewish Radicalism was first published in France in 1983. A revised edition appeared in 2009 and an English translation in 2016. Intended for a mainly Jewish readership, the book is essentially an apologia for Jewish communist militants in Eastern Europe in the early to mid-twentieth century.

Brossat, a Jewish lecturer in philosophy at the University of Paris, and Klingberg, an Israeli sociologist, interviewed dozens of former revolutionaries living in Israel in the early 1980s. In their testimony they recalled “the great scenes” of their lives such as “the Russian Civil War, the building of the USSR, resistance in the camps, the war in Spain, the armed struggle against Nazism, and the formation of socialist states in Eastern Europe.”[A1]

Leon Trotsky, the most famous butcher of then all

While each followed different paths, “the constancy of these militants’ commitment was remarkable, as was the firmness of the ideas and aspirations that underlay it.” Between the two world wars, communist militancy was “the center of gravity of their lives.”[A2]

While communism in Europe in the early- to mid-twentieth century was characterized by economic dysfunction, systematic oppression, summary executions, and the elimination of entire ethnic groups, Brossat and Klingberg wistfully recall it as a time when European Jewry “failed to achieve its hopes, its utopias, its political programs and strategies.”

Instead, the messianic dreams of radical Jews were “broken on the rocks of twentieth-century European history.” A product of their ethnocentric infatuation with the “romance” of Jewish involvement in radical political movements, Revolutionary Yiddishland is Brossat and Klingberg’s hagiographic attempt to resurrect a history that is today “more than lost, being actually denied, even unpronounceable.”

The unstated reason for this omission lies in the determination of Jews to absolve their co-ethnics of any responsibility for the crimes of communism, and to ensure the advent of German National Socialism is always framed in a way that conduces to a simplified narrative of saintly Jewish victimhood and German (and by extension White European) malevolence.

A famous civil war poster which showed what the Tsarist forces believed about Trotsky

Maintaining this narrative is supremely important for the legions of Jewish “diversity” activists and propagandists throughout the West, given the status of “the Holocaust” as the moral and rhetorical foundation of today’s White displacement agenda. Invocation of this narrative is reflexively used to stifle opposition to the Jewish diaspora strategies of mass non-White immigration and multiculturalism.

By contrast, free discussion of the Jewish role in communist crimes undermines Jewish pretentions to moral authority grounded in their self-designated status as history’s preeminent victims. This polarity accounts for the fact that, since 1945, over 150 feature films have been made about “the Holocaust” while the number of films that have been made about the genocide of millions of Eastern Europeans can be counted on one hand — and none have been produced by Hollywood.

The critical importance of suppressing discussion of this unsavory aspect of Jewish history was underscored by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen in his 2013 screed The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise of Global Antisemitism (reviewed here). For Goldhagen, any claim Jews were responsible for the Bolshevik Revolution and its predations is a “calumny,” and morally reprehensible because “If you associate Jews with communism, or worse, hold communism to be a Jewish invention and weapon, every time the theme, let alone the threat, of communism, Marxism, revolution, or the Soviet Union comes up, it also conjures, reinforces, even deepens thinking prejudicially about Jews and the animus against Jews in one’s country.”[A3]

It is therefore imperative the topic remain taboo and discussion of it suppressed — regardless of how many historians (Jewish and non-Jewish) confirm the decisive role Jews played in providing the ideological basis for, and the establishment, governance and administration of, the former communist dictatorships of Central and Eastern Europe.

In a recent article for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, journalist Cnaan Liphshiz, while noting that the Goldhagen approach of absolute denial constitutes “a logical strategy” for Jews, admits the facts do “reaffirm in essence” the assessment of those like “promoter of Holocaust denial” Mark Weber who observed that: “Although officially Jews have never made up more than five percent of the country’s total population, they played a highly disproportionate and probably decisive role in the infant Bolshevik regime.”

Liphshiz notes how Russia’s main Jewish museum has, since 2012, “tackled head on the subject of revolutionary Jews” in an exhibition that “underlines unapologetically how and why Jews became central to the revolution.” Knowing that outright denial of the pivotal Jewish role in the Bolshevik revolution and the murderous regimes it spawned is intellectually untenable, a growing number of Jewish historians concede the point, but insist this leading role was morally justified because it was essentially “defensive” in nature.

Thus, while freely admitting Jews had “an outsized role in the revolution,” Boruch Gorin, chairman of Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, insists that “there were very good reasons for this,” with “anti-Semitism” being foremost among them. For Gorin, the revolution, while offering “Russia’s Jews many opportunities, equal rights and education and a chance to fill the vacuum left by the elite that was forced into exile,” most importantly offered a haven from a “wave of pogroms” in the Ukraine and elsewhere that “some historians call a dress rehearsal for the Holocaust.” According to this conception, a Jew in 1917 “had two choices: revolution or exile.”

Andrew Joyce has explored how Jewish historians and activists have distorted and weaponized the history of “pogroms” in the former Russian Empire. The mythos forged around these events, crystallized in the Russo-Jewish Committee’s propaganda pamphlet The Persecution of the Jews in Russia (1881) and reporting in Jewish-controlled newspapers throughout the West, was pivotal in accelerating the development of modern, international Jewish politics.

This narrative revolves around certain claims: that Jews were oppressed for centuries in Russia; that the Pale of Settlement was a virtual prison; that tsarist authorities actively organized and directed pogroms; that pogroms were genocidal and extremely violent in nature; and that Russians were uncivilized and barbaric savages. Contemporary Jewish historians like Simon Sebag Montefiore continue to credit lurid tales of pogroms where Jews were “massacred in such gleefully ingenious atrocities — disemboweled, dismembered, decapitated; children were cutleted, roasted and eaten in front of raped mothers.”[A4] Joyce notes how the dissemination of such pornographic accounts were key to ensuring “that mass Jewish chain migration to the West went on untroubled and unhindered by nativists. After all, wasn’t the bigoted nativist just a step removed from the rampaging Cossack?”

Uncritically drawing on this bogus narrative, establishment historians typically ascribe the pogroms to irrational manifestations of hate against Jews, tsarist malevolence, the pathological jealousy and primitive barbarity of the Russian mob, and the “blood libel.” The real underlying causes of peasant uprisings against Jews, such as the Jewish monopolization of entire industries (including the sale of liquor to peasants on credit), predatory moneylending, and radical political agitation, are completely ignored, despite tsarist authorities having repeatedly expressed alarm over how “Jews were exploiting the unsophisticated and ignorant rural inhabitants, reducing them to a Jewish serfdom.”[A5] 

Initiatives to move Jews into less socially damaging economic niches, through extending educational opportunities and drafting Jews into the army, were ineffective in altering this basic pattern. With this in mind, even the revolutionary anarchist Mikhail Bakunin concluded that Jews were “an exploiting sect, a blood-sucking people, a unique, devouring parasite tightly and intimately organized … cutting across all the differences in political opinion.”[A6]

In Revolutionary Yiddishland, Brossat and Klingberg posit the “Jewish Bolshevism as morally justified ethnic self-defense” thesis, insisting that “anti-Semitism” was “an insidious poison hovering in the air of the time” that comprised “the sinister background music to the action of the Yiddishland revolutionaries.”[A7] The real causes of anti-Jewish sentiment among the native peasantry are, once again, comprehensively ignored.

Rather than seeing Jewish communist militants as willing agents of ethnically-motivated oppression and mass murder, the authors depict them as noble victims who tragically “linked their fate to the grand narrative of working-class emancipation, fraternity between peoples, socialist egalitarianism” rather than to “a Jewish state solidly established on its ethnic foundations, territorial conquests and realpolitik alliances.”[A8] In other words, they mistakenly held communism rather than Zionism to be best for the Jews.

Determined to absolve their co-ethnics of any culpability for communist crimes, Brossat and Klingberg assure us that the militancy of their informants “was always messianic, optimistic, oriented to the Good — a fundamental and irreducible difference from that of the fascists with which some people have been tempted to compare it, on the pretext that one ‘militant ideal’ is equivalent to any other.”[A9] In other words, tens of millions may have died because of the actions of Jewish communist militants, but their hearts were pure.

Regarding such arguments, Kevin MacDonald observed how Jewish involvement with Bolshevism “is perhaps the most egregious example of Jewish moral particularism in all of history. The horrific consequences of Bolshevism for millions of non-Jewish Soviet citizens do not seem to have been an issue for Jewish leftists — a pattern that continues into the present.”[A10]

Jewish participation in Bolshevism as ethnic revenge

That their motivations were far from pure, and that ethnic animosity and desire for revenge were key factors driving the large-scale Jewish support of, and participation in, communist movements was obvious to the Jewish historian Norman Cantor who made the following observation:

The Bolshevik Revolution and some of its aftermath represented, from one perspective, Jewish revenge. During the heyday of the Cold War, American Jewish publicists spent a lot of time denying that — as 1930s anti-Semites claimed — Jews played a disproportionately important role in Soviet and world Communism. The truth is until the early 1950s Jews did play such a role, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. In time Jews will learn to take pride in the record of the Jewish Communists in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. It was a species of striking back.[A11]

This corresponds with Kevin MacDonald’s assessment in Culture of Critique that the disproportionate participation of Jews in Bolshevik crimes was, in large part, “motivated by revenge against peoples that had historically been anti-Jewish.” One of the (non-Jewish) pioneers of the Dada movement, Hugo Ball, immediately recognized the obvious agenda behind the lopsided Jewish role in the Bolshevik Revolution and resulting Soviet administration.

Observing the make-up of the first Bolshevik Executive Committee (four out of six of whom were Jewish), he noted that “it would be strange if these men, who make decisions about expropriation and terror, did not feel old racial resentments against the Orthodox and pogrommatic Russia.”[A12]

Leading Jewish communists, like founder of the Mensheviks Yuli Martov, who became a close associate of Lenin and Trotsky, made a point of recalling his childhood experiences of Russian and Ukrainian anti-Semitism. The 1881 Odessa pogrom was his “first taste of primitive Russian anti-Semitism,” and Martov was “shaken to the depths of his being by the pogromist barbarity of Tsarist Russia.”

The event left a “permanent mark on his impressionable mind,” and he later underlined the connection between this experience and his subsequent revolutionary career, posing the question: “Would I have become what I became if the Russian reality had not imprinted her coarse fingers on my plastic, youthful soul in that memorable night and carefully planted under the cover of that burning pity which she aroused in my childlike heart, the seeds of a redeeming hatred?”[A13]

While Trotsky, the architect of the Bolshevik insurrection and creator of the Red Army, claimed his Jewish origins and Jewish interests did not guide his attraction to Bolshevism, his biographer Joshua Rubenstein disagrees, noting that he “was a Jew in spite of himself,” who “gravitated to Jews wherever he lived,” and “never abided physical attacks on Jews, and often intervened to denounce such violence and organize a defense.”[A14] As leader of the Red Army during the Civil War, Trotsky “had to deal with the anti-Semitic attitudes among the population,” and “successfully recruited Jews for the Red Army because they were eager to avenge pogrom attacks.”[A15]

At the same time, he “voiced his concern over the high number of Jews in the Cheka, knowing that their presence could only provoke hatred towards Jews as a group.” Trotsky was feted by Jews worldwide as “an avenger of Jewish humiliations under Tsarism, bringing fire and slaughter to their worst enemies.”[A16]

Ethnic revenge was also a motivation for Lazar Kaganovich, the Jewish member of the Politburo who presided over the forced famine that took the lives of millions of Ukrainian peasants and the mass deportation of “anti-Semitic” Cossacks to Siberia in the 1930s. Kaganovich had “battled the chauvinistic and anti-Semitic Black Hundreds, especially strong in Kyiv, both before and after the 1911 Beilis affair, the Russian version of the Dreyfus affair.”[A17]

The assassination of the Russian Prime Minister Stolypin in the same year resulted in the Black Hundreds attempting “to whip up a pogrom.” In response, the “Bolsheviks took measures to protect themselves and to rebuff this threat,” and “Kaganovich only joined the party after these momentous events.” He studied Lenin’s works at this time, and the Bolshevik leader’s article “Stolypin and Revolution” which depicted Stolypin as “an organizer of Black Hundred gangs and anti-Semitic pogroms” made a “big impression” on him.[A18]

Kaganovich later became known as the “butcher of the Ukrainians.” As Soviet leader in the Ukraine he received reports documenting “widespread dissatisfaction among workers fuelled by high unemployment, with widespread anti-Semitism, with workers and peasants denouncing the ‘dominance of red nobility of Yids.’” Kaganovich played a “highly visible” role in suppressing this “nationalist deviation” in 1925–28, and later oversaw the forced collectivization of 1932–33, conceived as part of an “assault on the Ukrainian nationalist intelligentsia.”

The country was sealed off and all food supplies and livestock were confiscated with Kaganovich leading “expeditions into the countryside with brigades of OGPU troopers” who used “the gun, the lynch mob and the Gulag system to break the villages.”[A19] The secret police, led by Genrikh Yagoda (also Jewish) exterminated all “anti-party elements.” Furious that insufficient Ukrainians were being shot, Kaganovich set a quota of 10,000 executions a week. Eighty percent of Ukrainian intellectuals were shot. During the winter of 1932–33, 25,000 Ukrainians per day were being shot or left to die of starvation.[A20]

The Bolsheviks mounted murderous campaigns against entire ethnic groups. The Soviet government killed at least 30 million people, most in the first 25 years of the regime’s existence during the height of Jewish power. The Jewish intellectual, G.A. Landau, writing in 1923, was stunned by the “cruelty, sadism, and violence” of Jewish functionaries in the Red Army and secret police “who yesterday did not know how to use a gun” but who “are now found among the executioners and cutthroats.”[A21]

I.M. Bikerman was similarly shocked at the “disproportionate and immeasurably fervent Jewish participation in the torment of half-dead Russia by the Bolsheviks.”[A22] In response to attempts by Jews to disassociate their ethnicity from such figures, the Jewish intellectual I.A. Bromberg noted the cognitive dissonance in the Jewish “passion for seeking out and extolling the Jews famous in various fields of cultural life,” and especially “the shameless circus around the name of Einstein,” while simultaneously distancing themselves from Jewish communist criminals. D.S. Pasmanik agreed, noting how “Ethnic Jews not only do not denounce an Einstein or an Ehrlich; they do not even reject the baptized Heine and Boerne. And this means they have no right to disavow Trotsky and Zinoviev.”[A23]


Source: The Unz Review

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Neo-Empire: Russia in the Modern World

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March 09, 2019

Neo-Empire: Russia in the Modern World

Neo-Empire: Russia in the Modern World, by Rostislav Ishchenko 

Translation by Scott Humor

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Various historical epochs have not only seen the different internal structures of Russian state (Pre-Mongol Russia is not identical to the Moscow Kingdom Russia of the XVI-XVII centuries, and in turn, had little in common with Russia of the XVIII-early XX century, or the Russian Empire, which was fundamentally different from the Soviet Union,) but also different forms of state protection of its external interests. At the same time, such internally different organisms as the Moscow Kingdom, the Russian Empire, and the USSR in the first half of the twentieth century employed identical forms of actions in the international arena, seeking to solve the same problems by the same means and methods.

With time, the forms of interaction between states in the international arena begin to change critically.

Moving at the direction of the “last sea” Genghis Khan’s warriors practiced genocide of the conquered population and the establishment of direct Mongolian rule over the occupied territories.

Europeans of the colonial era preferred remote military and political control over local authorities, avoiding the introduction of direct mechanisms of control over the colonies when possible. Since the second half of the twentieth century, the formal sovereignty of dependent states has been scrupulously observed in the post-colonial era. The center of gravity of control has moved to the financial, trade, and economic spheres.

In our time, the most important role is played by the control of resources. At the same time, when we talk about the resource base, we mean not only and not primarily natural resources (although their availability is also important). We are talking about a complex of resources of raw materials, industrial, agricultural, financial, political, diplomatic, military, demographic, etc. And not only those resources that are owned by the state are taken into account. The most important factor is the control of resources beyond the own borders. It can be direct, through investments, purchase of the corresponding companies, etc., or it can be indirect, at the expense of use in the interests–it is desirable on a mutually beneficial basis–of allied and friendly states. The highest acrobatics is the use of resources and efforts of the geopolitical enemy and its allies and satellites for the realization of you own goals.

For a modern empire, the size of its territory and population is important, but with a certain value (providing military and political security) is not fundamental. The stronger and more dynamically developing modern empire would have greater inflow of resources produced by each invested unit. Just like in business, if your profit is equal to one hundred rubles per one invested ruble, then you have more potential than someone who produces only one ruble of profit per each ruble of investments. Hence, the desire of the mired in debts United States, and of quite prosperous in the financial sense Russia to maximize efficiency of foreign policy operations. They should not be placed on a list of expenditures and losses. After the first investment, foreign policy shares should begin to make a profit as soon as possible.

I would like to emphasize that this profit is not measured exclusively in billions of dollars coming to the Treasury. The end game of modern foreign policy operations is to establish control over the main resource flows, their intersection points, their direction, and closure to their territory. Under these conditions, old relationships often become irrelevant, supported by inertia, and the tendency to transfer them into self-sufficiency prevails.

The era during which the junior allies were sustained by dominant powers is over. Very clumsily, this transfer towards more pragmatic relations with allies was made by the USSR, which resulted in failure due to the low quality of the performers who made this attempt. Nevertheless, 25 years after the partition of the Soviet Union, both Russia and the United States are almost simultaneously declared a transition to pragmatic relations with their allies. Both empires offer no pay for being in a union with them. In the union framework, Russia offers to work together to make profit, and the United States offers to rob together.

This approach causes hysteria among both groups of states. They threaten Washington with “the loss of Europe,” while Russia is being blamed for “the loss of Ukraine, the loss of Belarus” (Kazakhstan, Armenia are further down the list). To avoid “losses,” both Washington and Moscow are asked to continue paying for loyalty to them by their respective allies, regardless of the cost.

These ideas are expressed not just by the “fifth column” or “enemies of the Fatherland.” Certainly, they are also present in the choir and among the speakers, but mostly the idea of a “payment Union” is being promoted by those who sincerely care about the greatness of the homeland. They are divided into two large groups. The first is made up of elites and the citizens of allied nations (or potential allies), as well as the business associates of these countries, earning on the benefits of being allies. They just don’t understand why to demolish something that works well for them, because they don’t separate the good for themselves from the good for Russia. They sincerely threaten “to be offended,” believing that their personal reaction is equal to the reaction of entire nations, which it is not, with some exceptions.

The second group of those calling for payments are patriots living in yesterday and preparing for yesterday’s wars. They, no less sincerely, consider it necessary to resolve any dispute on the battlefield, sending the army to war “to protect national interests” anywhere in the world where the United States received a temporary advantage. They have been waiting for twenty years for “the US missiles near Kharkov” and ” NATO tanks near Chernigov.” Any past defeats (including Afghanistan) they associate exclusively with “betrayal of the top” (though many occurred for objective reasons). Any potential war they see only as a Russian blitzkrieg, “a little blood on foreign soil.” Such problems as an overstrain of the economy, falling living standards, stagnation of trade, problems in the financial system (the inevitable consequences of even a victorious war) do not interest them at all. They see allies only as means to protect Russia from direct enemy attack. They must die, while giving Russia time to mobilize forces and means. In this paradigm, funds invested in allies don’t seem to be a pointless waste, but the cost of sacrifice. Just like with pigs fattened not for humanitarian reasons, but so that when the time comes to harvest them for food or trade.

These people simply do not understand that each era corresponds to its format of Empire and her military actions. If you continue to fight in the past format, then you get smashed, as in the Crimean or Russian-Japanese wars or in the summer of 1941. And no investment in the army or in the allies will help. The state and the army of the past are always inferior to the state and the army of the future.

The modern war has already started yesterday. It is a permanent war, that’s why is it called a hybrid. The parties are trying to do it without military clashes at all, since the use of the military is an extremely costly way to clarify relations. The disputes are being resolved in the information, political, and diplomatic spheres. The army is needed as a safety net in case our enemy, seeing that he is failing in the chess game he plays, will try to smash a two-by-four over your head and go to fight without the rules.

Simultaneously, you have to not only finance the fighting on the invisible fronts of the hybrid war, but also to ensure that the standard of living of your population, at least did not fall, but better would grew, as any economic and social problems will be immediately used by the enemy. And the modern army, as mentioned above, also needs to be funded, otherwise no one will compete with you in the intellectual field, and they will do to you what they did with Serbia and Iraq. In general, there are so many items on the expenditure list that it’s prohibitively expensive to buy loyalty and to finance the “allies” for fear that they will run over to the enemy and in exchange for them periodically making statements indicating their loyalty.

This is an unreasonable waste of resources, which means a direct path to defeat. In recent years, the superpowers, not being able to enter into a direct military clash with each other, but not willing to abandon the practice of global confrontation, are trying to force their enemy to waste resources unproductively. The more of these political black holes that consume resources, the more certain defeat.

Russia is pursuing a normal neo-imperial policy, for only this way she can protect national interests and sovereignty from the encroachments of the United States, conducting the same neo-imperial policy. If the actions of the United States, designed in the form of a strategy for the XXI century are responded with the strategy of the second third of the twentieth century, a rapid and catastrophic defeat would be inevitable, even despite the fact that Moscow is now much closer to victory in the global confrontation than Washington.

If you understand this simple point, you will understand the reason for Russia’s sluggish reaction to the protracted Ukrainian crisis. Moreover, the prospects for the development of relations between Russia and the territories that are now part of the Ukrainian state, as well as other post-Soviet States, will become clear.

Russia is not seeking a mechanical reunification of territories, even if they are home to “the same people” or “fraternal people.” In order to achieve inclusion into Russia (to achieve it, not just to agree to it favorably), the territory must have strategic importance (like Crimea) or its population must create conditions under which Moscow’s refusal to join the territory of its residence would entail greater moral and political costs than the possible material costs of integration. Donbass went this way, and almost solved its problem. The question now is not whether Donbass will be part of Russia, but when it will be, in what borders, and how will it happen. Just after five years of war, life under fire in a state of humanitarian disaster for the majority of the population of the region, Russia cannot, without prejudice to its international authority and the authority of the authorities in the country, abandon the reintegration of Donbass.

In all other cases, Moscow in neighboring countries is satisfied with any government that provides full-scale economic cooperation. This approach provides a serious geopolitical advantage is based on the strategy of “the thrifty Empire”. On one hand, a larger, more technologically advanced and more efficient economy always suppresses the smaller ones if it is put in conditions of equal competition with them. On the other hand, the local authorities are responsible to the population of allies for their standard of living and any other problems. The more independence this power demonstrates, the more convenient it is for Russia

Over decades of post-Soviet integration, “pro-Russian” Lukashenka squeezed out of the Kremlin many times more benefits and concessions than “multi-vector” Nazarbayev. At the same time, translating his language to the Latin alphabet from Cyrillic, the Kazakh leader Nazarbayev was an initiator of integration processes in the post-Soviet space in contrast to preserving the commitment of the Belarusian Cyrillic Lukashenka, who is blackmailing Moscow with his “turn to the West”.

Despite the growth of Kazakh nationalism and the lack of projects for the “Union state” of Moscow and Astana, the real integration of Kazakhstan into joint projects is much deeper, because it is based not on an emotional ideology, but on a mercantile economic basis. Kazakhstan is sovereign in its relations with Russia as much as its economic contribution to the common Treasury. Belarus is trying in exchange emotionally fraternal statements for more and more economic preferences, which significantly exceed its real weight in the implementation of joint projects.

Of course, nothing lasts forever, and Kazakhstan, under a new government, can change its foreign policy orientation. In any society there are always groups that are diametrically opposed in their views on the prospects for the development of their country and its foreign policy priorities. They can replace each other and the authorities, respectively changing policies. But it is far more difficult to turn a country connected with millions of economic threads, than the state emotionally declaring brotherhood in exchange for financial preferences.  It took 30 years to turn Ukraine away from Russia, and it was finally accomplished only by completely destroying its economy.  In any case, the brotherhood usually ends with preferences (as it did with the socialist Commonwealth of the states, and the Soviet Union).

This is not to say that Russia does not need an additional population. Territories beyond the Ural Mountains already require 30-40 million additional inhabitants. But we must understand that if Russia would absorb her historical territories somewhere in Europe or Asia, the local population won’t be sent in joyful columns to develop Siberia, but rather would stay where they are and begin to demand raising their standard of living to the all-Russian right in their place of residence (because they automatically acquire Russian citizenship by right of birth on those  lands). In this regard, the state benefits from migrant workers who do not have to choose where to live, they move to live where there are jobs for them.

Moreover, judging by the fact that in recent years the adoption of Russian citizenship is limited to about two hundred thousand people a year–this is a number of people that Russia is able to integrate into society without overstrain, not just giving them all the rights and benefits available to natural citizens, but providing a material basis for their implementation. As in reality, the country employs up to ten million legal and illegal migrants who do not have citizenship (about half of them do not apply for it, and plan to earn extra money to return home), this means that Russia’s needs for additional labor significantly exceed its material capabilities for the integration of this labor force into Russian society on the rights of full citizenship.

The modern pragmatic empire looks cynical, but the romantics who tried to build a state policy on emotional and fraternal grounds, ended up destroying their own states, and with them the habitat of tens or even hundreds of millions of citizens of these dead states. By the way, Stalin, whom supporters of emotional and fraternal politics like to refer to, was the most pragmatic of the Soviet leaders. When he helped his allies, he always knew what he would get for it, or he realized that by not helping he would lose more than he would save.

We must understand that the global confrontation will not stop as long as there are at least two states in the world. If there are different countries, then will be a difference of interests, and if there is a difference of interests, then the transition of at least one of them from the regime of fair competition to the regime of power suppression of a more successful competitor is a matter of time, not principle. To successfully fight for their interests, in circumstances when the war (hybrid, which can be more destructive than hot) has become commonplace, the state needs a high stability. This stability is achieved through a balance of desires and opportunities, ideals and interests, objectives and resources.

Any state strives for the ideal, that is, to extend its power to the entire inhabited world (even if it does not realize this). However, the achievement of this ideal is a matter of the infinite future. It’s not even the fact that it is at all possible, because this contradicts the law of the unity and the conflict of opposites. if a political system is not balanced by anything outside, it is degenerating. Therefore, the state of war (in different forms) is the normal state of society for the foreseeable future. Therefore, we witness an appearance of current policy of saving resources that characterizes today’s successful neo-imperial formation. Own citizen has become a very expensive resource. An attempt to reduce its costs leads to a fall in living standards and threatens the stability of the state, which in turn is a necessary prerequisite for the successful conduct of a hybrid war. At the same time, the world around is full of cheap human resources that can perform the same functionality as their own citizens, but without any social guarantees and at times lower pay.

Neocolonial empires of the second half of the twentieth century moved production to states with cheap human resource. This, however, was contrary to the principle of resource concentration, as it weakened control over economic resources. Roughly speaking, a significant part of the industry and the economy controlled by the neocolonial empires began to work for the interests of the host states. Today, the neo-Empire has found another way out–the movement of cheap human resources to the regions that needs additional labor. And those States that do it on an ad hoc basis, benefit more than those who take the labor force on a permanent basis. “New Europeans” work much less and require much more resources than illegal migrants in the United States.

However, formation of the neo-imperialist attitude to a person as to an additional burden for the state is a weak link for any neo-empire. States are created to serve people. When a state starts to reject this function, then people lose their obligation to remain loyal to the state. Today, the ideology of dehumanization of a state, not just the priority of its interests over the interest of the individual, but the priority over the society of its citizens and even over all mankind, has not yet been formed completely. And it is in Russia that attempts are made to get away from the bad dependency of a thrifty empire on the theory of dehumanization of state. It is difficult to say whether they will be successful. In the end, not only the economic, but also the ideological model of a state is formed based on the needs of the real world. Better adapted to reality state survives, less adapted dies, the rest are trying to adapt, reforming their political system, in accordance with the requirements of the time and the changed world.

If dehumanization is a necessary condition for the survival of the state in the new conditions, sooner or later it will be recognized. But in this possible temporary victory will be laid its final defeat as a government without people cannot exist, disappears the meaning of its existence, as it makes no sense as existence of a car or plane in a deserted world. But, if in order for material values to become meaningless, the world must become really deserted, in order for the need for a state to disappear, it must only accept the principle of dehumanization as the basis of its activities.

If “extra people” are not needed, sooner or later this principle will be extended to its own population:  first to one social group, then to another, and then to all. The Bolsheviks, having started to execute in the 1917 their class and ideological enemies, ended up to 1939 executing a large number of themselves, a fact that  (with a small temporary backlash) was reflected in the renaming in 1952 of their party from the CPSU(b) to the communist party (since the Bolsheviks came to their end, so and the party of the Bolsheviks came to its end).

Russia’s task in the “beautiful new world” of neo-empires is non-trivial. It is necessary to walk between the Scylla of efficiency while fighting against the constant external threat and the Charybdis of dehumanization for the sake of efficiency, which undermines, however, the very foundation of the state. Our advantage over competitors (US, China, EU) is that we at the very least acknowledge this task and try to solve it, while other neo-empires are about to bring the meaning of their existence (representation of people) to Molek of abstract efficiency.

What Can Modi’s Fanaticism Unleash and Why?

By Zara Ali

Two South Asian nuclear powers with 71 year history of high-strung relations seemingly stand at the brink of war.  The recent stand off now seems to point towards a strong possibility of an intensified conflict beyond the extent of routine skirmishes along the Line of Control (LOC) or the Working Boundary – unless and until back door diplomacy bears fruit and other deterrents such as a degree of political and public pressure within India come to check Modi’s fanatic drive for war.

Following the provocative one-sided military action taken by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on February 26 during which India claimed to have targeted a JeM training camp killing 300 terrorists near the city of Balakot in Pakistan, more action was witnessed on February 27.

As I indicated in an earlier op-ed on the current tension in the region, Pakistan’s official verbal response to India’s unlawful act seemed to indicate Pak may not sit quiet.  And that is exactly what transpired during the course of February 27 morning.  Pak decided to send a strong message to Delhi thereby categorically reminding Modi he no more enjoyed the clandestine support of a CIA puppet regime enthroned in Islamabad as was the case during the last ten years of dark democratic rule and he should therefore understand Pakistan will not sit put rather act unanimously and effectively if he did not hold his horses back.

Unlike what Ms. Ayres, a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations prefers to believe, the truth is perhaps there never has been a greater sense of coherence between the military command and the civilian government in the history of Pakistan than under Khan’s premiership – Khan shall not ‘feel the need to push back on the military’ whether or not he has ‘a political base of his own’ for one simple reason – and that is the civilian and military leadership is single-mindedly serving one agenda only – the security and national interest of Pakistan.  Looks like the ‘senior’ fellows at CFR will take much longer to realise they are no longer dealing with the treacherous soul-selling breed of politicians of the likes of Nawaz and Zardari and that the entire dynamics of a country, Washington thought it could successfully enslave, has more than significantly altered – a process that is on-going and shall not come to a halt.

Coming back to February 27, 2019 – the Pakistani nation witnessed its armed forces and its civilian leadership acting in unison – from the looks of it the decision had been made in principle on the same day as the IAF attempted attack on Balakot city i.e. February 26.  Hence with prior warning and in broad daylight Pakistan reportedly engaged six targets across the LOC to strike – the intention was singularly clear:  ‘We have the ability to strike, and the capability for self defence.  We do not wish to escalate the matter but if we are drawn into that paradigm, we will act accordingly’.  India as usual contested the claim and insisted “Pak attempt was foiled successfully, PAF presence was detected, and IAF responded instantly”.

Amidst a plethora of statements and counter statements, admissions and denials, that have continued to pour out since the one thing that is categorically clear is that Pak did shoot down one IAF MiG 21 and captured one pilot.  The Pak claim of having shot down another IAF aircraft that fell in Indian Occupied Kashmir has been denied by Indian officials – they insist one IAF Mi-17 helicopter did come down about 7 km from Srinagar airport but due to an ‘unrelated reason – a technical fault’.  The Indian claim of having shot down a PAF F-16 (that fell on the Pak side of LOC according to India) has been denied by Pak indicating the dog fight occurred between a Combat Air Partol (CAP) JF-17 Thunder Block 2 that hit down the MiG-21 – F-16s were not involved.

Quite evidently military information is never released as it is, one can only attempt to piece official and leaked information together to paint a picture that makes sense however at this point in time, judging from the reaction shaping within India, it does appear Modi has fallen into the trap he had set out for Pak – to a considerable extent.  From a strictly military point of view Pak has come out on top.  Yet war will only open all doors to hell in the region, hence not a sane option for either Pakistan or India.  Pak has categorically and repeatedly sent out message of peace inviting India to talk – albeit the likes of Ms. Ayres tend to doubt the sincerity of this intention in an evidently vile attempt to malign Pakistan after all!

On February 28, during the full tri-service press conference, India’s chiefs of armed forces failed to provide evidence of the ‘successful surgical strike on a JeM terrorist camp in Balakot city’ and evaded the question indicating ‘evidence’ will be made public upon the discretion of Modi’s administration.  May be that is the evidence contained in the dossier handed over to Pak on February 27, however sharing such a dossier after having invaded Pakistan’s sovereign air space for an attempted surgical strike, only tends to cast more doubts on Delhi’s intent.  During the press conference the Indian army chiefs also put on exhibit a piece of metal they claimed came off the AIM-120 AMRAM missile fired by the PAF F-16 which according to India’s claim was later downed by IAF.  It appears they were not aware the said missile can in fact be used by the JF-17 Thunder as well – it would have made them sound more credible if they had also pieced together any other available bits of information/evidence to substantiate their claim in this regard even if the F-16 had rather fallen on the Pak side of the LOC – a task that is not too difficult to achieve in this time and age.

The truth of the matter is with highly advanced strategic partners of the likes of the United States, if there had been any JeM training facility that was destroyed and 300 terrorists that were killed, both Delhi and Washington would have jubilantly pounced upon the proof and marketed it around the globe faster than the speed of light, not to forget threaten Pakistan of dire consequences with great conviction.  And as for the events of February 27, from the looks of it India continues to cook up patches to shape her own story around the obvious facts in order to mitigate the reaction upon IAF aircraft going down and a pilot in Pak custody (now handed back) – after all Indian mass public has been known to not forgive even its own cricket stars following a defeat at the hands of Pakistan.

As it later turned out instead of allowing the escalation to cool down Modi in fact resolved to continue with an exhibition of his insanity into the night of February 27 – he intended to target 6-7 Pak sites, however these missile attacks would have been carried out from Indian soil without endangering IAF.  On this side of the border a similar plan of action was in place based on the information that leaked out of Delhi, however with an understanding that nothing shall be fired unless and until India took the lead.  Fortunately, from the looks of it diplomatic intervention on part of China and America managed to convince Modi to suspend his plans for the night.  The hope is, combined with the recently voiced Russian offer of mediation, diplomatic efforts of various nations may in fact be able to defuse the current tension in the region – at least for some time to come.

Irrespective of Delhi’s proclaimed narrative, fact is this chain of events was anything but a spontaneous occurring – starting from February 13 attack on IRGC personnel in Sistan-Iran and ending on February 27 with Pak striking back as an act of self-assertion – it now seems hard to believe planning was not carried out mutually between Delhi and Washington – and the target was Pakistan.

Tehran’s imprudent outburst was essentially directed at reiterating to the world Pakistan permits mercenary terrorist groups to use its territory in order to conduct cross border terrorism.  The very next day it was Delhi’s turn.  And a similar narrative was religiously adopted – the world was apprised as to how Pakistan facilitates terrorism.  Perhaps if Tehran had not acted as unwisely as it did, the impact of Indian accusations would not have been as grave – however two neighbours crying wolf in chorus did tend to furnish the world community with more reason to trust what they heard.  Despite no evidence India received a pat on the back from Macron and Pompeo.  And as expected Pompeo asked Pakistan to exercise restraint while he and Macron both applauded the Indian resolve to fight cross-border terrorism.  It is also believed on February 26, Washington actually asked Pak to allow India ‘room for face-saving’ following the failed surgical strike carried out that involved a breach of Pak’s sovereignty – albeit this ‘request’ was quite categorically turned down by Islamabad unlike past times otherwise nothing would have transpired during the course of the morning on February 27.

Perhaps the ‘real exhaustion and fatigue with Pakistan’ that Ms. Ayres of CFR claims is ‘felt by India and other nations of the world’ vis-à-vis Pak’s alleged support of ‘Islamist terrorism’ required fresh ‘evidence’ – after all has not Pak been made a scapegoat for sins committed by Islamist terrorists anywhere since 9/11 whether or not there was any evidence to prove an affiliation?

Unquestionably the success of this anti-Pak campaign has much to do with the fact Pak has not been able to fight her case at the diplomatic level since 9/11 – especially so during the ten years of puppet regimes in Islamabad albeit by 2007-8 it had become clear Pak had in fact dug her own grave by siding with the United States in its fake ‘War on Terror’.  Had Pakistan been able to effectively explain to the world how her role in the Afghan war against the ex-USSR during the 1980s left it socio-politically vulnerable for decades to come; how Washington simply chose to walk away from war torn Afghanistan once Soviet Union was pushed out; why it was necessary for Pak to recognise the Taliban rule in Kabul; how the Af-Pak region remained exposed to the perils of geopolitical and economic instability thereafter until Americans’ opium supply almost dried out and CIA’s future plans necessitated a return only to make things worse; how the religious passion of the ‘freedom fighters’ of yesteryears, the key to the defeat of ex-USSR, was progressively recycled into the extremist Islamist mindset of today; and how her army has resiliently fought a very long and successful battle to root out the menace of religious extremism from its territory – if at all a narrative had been formed around facts and disseminated avidly perhaps the global community would not have been confined to a one-sided storyline whether it came from Delhi or Washington or any other power centre playing its dirty power game and Ms. Ayres would not have been able to refer to ‘other nations of the world’ as emphatically.

The bottom line is clear – very clear – Modi’s ardent desire for Hindutva to dominate South Asia will be employed by the American Empire to isolate and destabilise Pak in a desperate effort to Balkanize the country and denuclearize the only nuclear Muslim nation – the ‘mapped dream’ of Pentagon envisioned to have manifested in 2015.  There is no question the fault does not lie entirely with external powers that have held stakes in Pakistan’s geopolitics for decades and have tended to exploit Pak’s security concerns vis-à-vis the ever present Indian threat in a bid to achieve their own ulterior motives – Pak’s military and civilian institutions have also erred in gauging the long-term repercussions of difficult choices made since the fall of Dhaka in 1971 especially so during the long years of Soviet invasion of Afghanistan – and from one viewpoint Pak’s continued battle against extremism within her borders can be termed as an act of chastisement, however facts on the ground indicate America will not permit Pak to stabilise politically or economically and it shall not allow her armed forces any respite from active engagement – Khan’s rise to power has been a nightmare for Washington – Pak has quite obviously resolved to distance herself from Washington in a bid to align foreign policy goals with the emerging multipolar world order – hence the CIA mission that was hitherto accomplished through sellouts has to be completed one way or the other – what better than engaging Pakistan in a war like scenario at her Eastern and Western borders simultaneously, divert her focus from internal security, wreak havoc upon her through terrorism, and put an end to her dream of standing on her own feet?

That was why even after all the recent acts of madness, while speaking at a conference in India, Modi referred to the current military escalation as a ‘pilot project’ intended as ‘practice’ – may be this was just a political gimmick and may be he in fact intends to unleash darkness of war upon the people of South Asia more hastily than Washington may desire – but if that comes to pass, it would be a mistake to think it shall be contained between these two nations alone.  That scenario will have the potential to alter global geopolitics more significantly than many may presume.

Russian Shipyards: An overview

Source

February 27, 2019

Russian Shipyards: An overview

by Nat South for The Saker Blog

Part 1 https://thesaker.is/being-bullish-about-arctic-shipping-the-northern-sea-route-nsr/
Part 2 http://thesaker.is/the-new-silk-route-on-rails/

This is the third part of a series of analyses relating to Russia transport, shipping and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The existing and future strategic role of shipbuilding in Russia is not to be under-estimated despite the prevailing dominance of Asian shipyards. Currently, Russia faces a series of obstacles in relation to the overall development of Russian-flagged shipping, port infrastructure, multimodal logistics and the continued development of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) on the global maritime scene.

The main core of Russian shipbuilding is mainly clustered around St Petersburg, Murmansk and the Far East. There are other smaller shipyards in Rybinsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Zelenodolsk and in Crimea. United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) along with Zvezda are the leading major shipbuilders.

In the Doldrums

Russian shipyards have a well-known reputation for having a bad ‘score sheet’ regarding sustained ability and effective building capability especially within the naval shipbuilding sector. Much has been discussed about these aspects within the industry and by experts in recent years. However, the focus of attention in this article is mostly on the civil shipbuilding sector, which is in a poor shape compared to other global shipyards.

The Soviet monolithic naval industries were highly dependent on the “military-industrial complex” demands, all of which vanished practically overnight in the 1990. The hard-hitting demise of the Soviet Union fossilised some shipyards and closed down others. Equipment, skills and know-how were not replaced, apart from a couple of niche sectors which struggled on, (nuclear icebreakers and submarines). Consequently, the entire industry greatly suffered not only during the Yelstin period but also this also continued during the Putin and Medvedev presidencies right up to 2012. New advances in technological and work processes simply did not get carried over into the Russian ship industry in a timely or sufficient manner. A glimpse of this was the need for a partnership between STX France and USC over the building of the Mistral-class ships. Shipbuilding certainly was not seen as a needy strategic priority, unlike other countries especially in Asia.

High-level government policies left out the resurgence of an effective national shipbuilding infrastructure for well over a decade. This meant that Russian shipyards were not capable of trying to keep the inertia going in any way without significant and steady state support, with the USC cluster taking a hefty proportion of state support. Back in 2014, president Putin asserted that Russian shipbuilding should be on a par with foreign producers.

Shipbuilding is a complex affair, mostly based on customer needs, but also including other parameters, such as national political drivers and forecasted economic trends. The West imposed a series of sanctions that had far-reaching repercussions on naval shipbuilding from marine engines, paint coatings and navigational equipment. These also clearly showed up the barriers and threats to Russia. The sanctions sent a signal to the heart of government, paving the way for a fundamental re-evaluation of policies across the board. They acted as a catalyst in gradually reshaping Russian economic policies, including those related to the BRI. Further Western sanctions on the Russian shipbuilding sector are planned.

Russian ship-building is currently at a stage of not only requiring substantial modernisation programmes but also acceleration of these activities, to stay afloat so to speak. The bottom line is self-sufficiency. With this in mind, the Russian“military-industrial complex” (known in Russian as the oboronnyi-promyshlennyi kompleks, or OPK), still gets a lion’s share of the budget. Therefore, it is of interest to see how this ultimately translates into the civilian sector. The share of civilian production in the shipbuilding sector accounts for 13.5%, with the OPK stating an increase to 30% by 2025. This predominance is not surprising given the increasing asymmetric hostile geopolitical environment that Russia is faced with.

Optimistic measures in form of a “Shipbuilding Industry Development, 2013-2030” programme was introduced in 2012 to boost Russia’s shipbuilding industry. “We must focus on high-tech domestic orders and renounce futile competition with China, Japan and South Korea, which are engaged in large-scale production of multi-service vessels, […] Therefore, we have determined our priority market niches in the programme – naval shipbuilding, the fishing fleet, production of hardware for the Northern Sea Route and development of the shelf, and river shipbuilding,”

” Minister of Industry and Trade Mr. Denis Manturov.

The article “Foresight in civil shipbuilding 2030” outlines the complexities and issues faced by the Russian shipbuilding industry and describes various scenarios in detail. One aspect noted is that “innovative scenarios assume a shift from mass production order to small-scale or even single-unit niche production”. It can be argued that this has happened to many shipyards both in the civil and military oriented sectors. One niche area exploited by the National 2013-2030 programme is the development of offshore support vessels, (OSV) namely small specialised high-tech ships that work in the Arctic or harsh marine environments. Recently Gazprom ordered 4 offshore vessels from Zvezda. Another up-and-coming sector is the building of domestic fishing ships.

The article also provides some figures related to “the ratio of the combined tonnage of the ships produced in one year (in CGT) to the number of employees working at the shipyard is taken into account.” This is part of an assessment of the workforce productivity. Whereas Japan is approximately 180 CGT per person, South Korea not far behind with 145 CGT, but it is only 20 CGT per person in Russia, (Minpromtorg, 2013).

The National Programme is also a driver for associated technological spin-offs, to support the development of civil projects. One such example is marine propulsion. However, the industry is still beset with problems of modern facilities, financial and managerial woes.

The ministry of industry has also a list of requirements for state support for prospective ship operators wanting to build in Russia. This also applies to incorporating domestically produced components such as engines and control systems. Import substitution is also a headache for segments of the civil shipbuilding sector as well as other sectors such as domestic civil aviation programmes. At present, there is reliance on Chinese-made components as a stop-gap measure, however this has resulted in problems with the quality and durability.

There are pitfalls to this kind of carrot and stick approach, as it also gives preferential status to one of two shipyards, as exceptions to the application of the rules will likely go the major players and not to the smaller yards or customers. However, there is a long-term silver lining to these dark clouds, which may have a positive knock-on effect on naval shipbuilding in areas of dual-use technology programmes, but at a greater cost and time delays for the foreseeable future.

Nonetheless, a systematic revitalisation of Russian shipbuilding is painstakingly taking shape, with a number of positive stories to report. The Sredne-Nevsky shipbuilding yard is one such success story, responsible for the serial production of minehunters for the navy, it has become a digital shipyard, arising from a modernisation process starting in 2013. Another example is the 30 billion roubles ($459 million) 17-year planned investment in the development of the Krasnaya Kuznitsa shipyard in Arkhangelsk region. This shipyard is part of the Zvezdochka ship repair facility, itself part of USC.

A gradual emphasis is being placed on changes to reflect the need for optimization of technological processes around construction production systems, using advanced machinery such as plasma gas cutting machines. Other crucial aspects logistics, inventory-keeping, document control and more coordinated relationships with suppliers.  Another technology being rolled out is VR prototyping (3-D rooms) systems to help designers improve the quality of documentation. Amur-based ASZ shipyard has been modernising its equipment and machinery. Just one example of several shipyards currently getting a long-awaited overhaul of systems and processes.

The overall goal is to develop a maximum production process per square metre of a given plant.  Russia doesn’t need to look far to see how this is achieved in Chinese shipyards. For example, any aerial photo of Dalian shipyard (DISC) will reflect the intensity and complexity of various commercial and naval ship constructions.

Looking to the Far-East

At the same time as the development of BRI moving progressively westwards, the Russian pivot towards the east is gaining more leverage, on all levels. From schemes to provide land for citizens, to offshore entities based on Rossiky Island are being implemented. One aspect of interest to me is shipping and the industries connected to this sector. The Russian shipbuilding flagship project is the construction and operation of Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex in Russia’s Far Eastern Primorsky Region.

Part of the “Shipbuilding Industry Development, 2013-2030” included geographical clusters, with the northern cluster having an historic advantage. A priority in the far-eastern cluster is the notable development of the construction of a mega shipyard in the Far East, as part of a dedicated shipping cluster, “Zvezda complex”. A project in the making since 2012, the first part of the shipyard’s production facilities was commissioned in 2017 and work started in 2018 on cutting steel for the first ever 114,000t dwt Aframax tanker order. The yard also picked up an order for LNG-fuelled tankers for Sovcomflot in December 2018.

Over $3 billion is already earmarked for the construction of the mega shipyard at Bolshoy Kamen, it will be highly influential project for the region as a whole with an expected 7000 employees working there, once it is finally completed in 2024. The Zvezda mega-yard will comprise of a vast production facilities and workshops and will be used to build marine equipment such as Azipods propulsion units and also ships, including LNG carriers, tankers and potentially nuclear icebreakers. It will certainly will be a boost as a means of cushioning the increasing impacts of Western sanctions on Russia, by having such a big domestic shipyard.

Better late than never, given the extensive existing Chinese and South Korean shipyards in operations for decades. 115 ocean vessels have are planned to be constructed at the Zvezda shipyard. This figure is a tad optimistic I believe, as it is not known how many will actually be built and launched. This depends on the amount of government subsidies obtained by customers.

The Arctic Context

This shipyard is likely to involved in the building of the project 10510 ‘Leader’ class of nuclear icebreakers. This will be done in cooperation with other shipyards for subassemblies and subsystems.

Zvezda had already signed deals with major Russian companies to build large vessels, including LNG gas carriers and shuttle tankers for the Arctic LNG-2 project as a joint venture with South Korean shipbuilders, Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd relating to the transfer of technical know-how competencies in this specialist area, significantly financially supported by the Russian government.

South Korea is certainly an important player in development of the NSR and in working collaboratively on the construction of specialised tonnage. South Korean yards have built and continue to build a number of specialised ice-classed icebreaking tankers as part of the Yamal LNG project.

The Arctic sector could be potentially a key driver for the Russian shipbuilding sector, although this will depend on the steady input of quality R&D and investment into the high-technological aspects that underpin this sector. This has not yet materialised in a sustained way, apart from limited production of ice-class support vessels for the oil and gas sector. More on this in a later analysis dedicated to Arctic shipping.

Shipyard fires and accidents

A nagging headache for Russian shipyards is the risk of shipboard fires. There has been a spate of fires in Russian shipyards including a high-profile incident during the under-construction of the icebreaker ‘Viktor Chernomyrdin’ last November. Likewise, this is another example of a major shipbuilding project that has been hamstrung by delays in schedules and an over-running budget.

As a result of these incidents work is underway to improve and implement nationwide fire standards, in particular bringing in automated fire control and monitoring systems control and mobile fire-fighting systems. However, extensive efforts to improve the overall safety environment is still significantly neglected, as the loss of the huge dry-dock PD-50 in October 2018 with tragic consequences shows.

The workforce

Russia like many other OECD countries is faced with an increasing aging and shrinking population. This presents a dilemma in recruiting and maintaining a skilled workforce. Another tough nut to crack is the issue of a chronic shortage in specialised manpower within the shipbuilding sector, something is also common to other parts of the world. Therefore, it is of interest then to see the creation of military scientific units so as to enable conscripts with the talent and skills to serve for one year on bespoke naval technology and ship building projects. The first technical scientific company was set up in Sevmash in the summer of last year.

Summary

Currently, Russian shipbuilding is still experiencing a period of a slow transition from inherited Soviet-era processes and management. It is considerably lagging behind both West and East shipyards regarding major ship construction projects. Sporadic efforts have been made to modernise and upgrade a number of yards and production processes, although there is still much more to do in a coherent and transparent manner. The main focus is on process upgrades and machinery renewal as part of a package of digital transformation in production, automated work and design practices.

A number of government initiatives have been implemented to re-energise the civil shipbuilding sector, largely left moribund for several decades. The consequences of increased production costs and time delays within the civil shipbuilding are nevertheless hindering renewal and potential growth for the industry. This has led to a steady decline in the number of ships built in Russia in the last decade.

The sector faces a number of obstacles, namely increasing impact of sanctions on foreign-produced components. As such, it is a long arduous process of establishing positive image, neutralising the financial burden of technological advances, carrying out digitalisation, and maintaining a highly-specialised workforce.

Lies America’s News-Media Tell

Lies America’s News-Media Tell

ERIC ZUESSE | 27.02.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Lies America’s News-Media Tell

Here are America’s recent targets for regime-change (against which have been used economic sanctions, invasion, and enormous destruction) — and all of them are nations that never invaded nor threatened to invade America:

Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2011-2018, Yemen 2015-now, Ukraine 2014, and Venezuela 2017-now.

Because all of these were and are aggressive wars by the US against nations that never invaded nor threatened to invade the US, they all ought to be subject to mega-criminal prosecutions as was done by the US, Britain, and USSR, against Germany at the Nuremberg Tribunals after World War II. That was merely victors’ ‘justice’, applied by the US, Britain and USSR, but this would instead be actual international justice, the first instance of such in all of world history. It’s desperately needed — especially now.

America’s Government and news-media were and are remarkably unanimous in saying that these invasions and coups are and were done in order to advance democracy and human rights in the given target-nation. However, what it actually brings and has brought, in each and every case, is, instead, massive bloodshed, death, poverty, destruction, and outpourings of refugees — and an increasingly dangerous world, the current world.

Is this lying, by the US and its allies, and their ‘news’-media, mere hypocrisy, or is it something even worse — far worse? In any case, only a fair and international juridical tribunal that’s controlled by no nation and by no alliance of nations can possibly deliver a credible verdict on this. And, so, such international criminal trials must be organized and carried out, or else even worse can be expected to occur. Impunity is desirable only by and for gangsters, and no land where it exists can reasonably be called “democratic.”

America’s news-media — especially the mainstream ones — not only cover-up important truths, but they routinely lie. Both the Democratic Party’s media and the Republican Party’s media report the same lies, which are the Government’s lies, on these international matters. These are lies on which there is bipartisan unity by the nation’s press (and by both political Parties), in order to deceive the public, into support for invading and occupying, or overthrowing via a coup or otherwise, some foreign government. Their target is always a government which America’s billionaires who control international corporations want to replace, and so the US regime unanimously lies against that targeted government, as being dangerous and evil, even though the given takeover-target has never invaded, nor threatened to invade, the United States — is no real national-security threat to the American people. Only on the basis of lies can that succeed. This is the main function of the press, in such countries: deceit, on those international matters.

In other words: the US Government is fascist, like the Axis powers were in World War II. This is worse than, for example, merely wasting billions of dollars on building a border-wall against Mexico in order to protect Americans, but it receives far less press-attention (perhaps because the press is so unanimous in endorsing and supporting these atrocities — and that’s yet further evidence of the American regime’s fascism). The press is owned by, and funded by ads, and donations from, America’s billionaires, the very same people who fund our politicians and who also own controlling interests in the weapons-firms such as Lockheed Martin, which can’t survive without these weapons-sales, and which therefore demand constant conquests, in order to create new markets for their wares, new “allied nations.”

So, naturally, America’s military is mainly the enforcement-arm of the billionaires who control US-based international corporations (especially the weapons-firms and the extractive firms such as mining and fuels, which corporations crave to control foreign natural resources), and those people also control America’s Government and press, and this produces the unanimity for these regime-change operations — which likewise fits the fascist model.

The US is clearly the world’s leading fascist nation, and there is no close second (and none of the nations that the US regime is trying to conquer is fascist at all). What Germany was under Hitler, the US is and has been at least since the time of US President Ronald Reagan. The US has been a dictatorship since at least 1981.

Coup or invasion (either form of aggression) is an international war-crime, but the deceit against America’s public usually succeeds, because the public trust especially the billionaire-controlled mainstream press, which is always leading these lies-for-conquest.

Furthermore, almost all of the ‘alternative news’ media are likewise owned by (and funded by ads or donations from) wealthy interests that participate in and benefit from this mass-deceit — from the stenographic ‘news’ reporting, the Government’s accusations against the particular target-nation that’s about to be (or has been) regime-changed.

For example, all of America’s ’news’-media were stenographically reporting the US Government’s many lies about ‘Saddam Hussein’s WMD’, in order to ‘justify’ America’s kicking out the UN’s weapons-inspectors and simply bombing Iraq and invading and militarily occupying, and basically destroying, that country (which had never invaded ours) in 2003. All of America’s ‘news’ media did the same, but especially all of the mainstream ones did, of both the right and the left, all the way from Fox News to the New York Times. They all were hiding the truth and lying to support an illegal invasion — an international war-crime under international law, and violation of the UN’s Charter. Did Americans stop buying those ‘news’papers and watching those ’news’ channels, and buying those ’news’ magazines, after the truth became reluctantly exposed (during 2002-2005) that those ‘WMD’ didn’t exist and no longer had existed after 1998? No, those same ‘news’-media still are successful. (They all ought to be long-since out-of-business, but such accountability doesn’t exist in the news-business. Not only does a major ‘news’-medium hide its own corruption and lying but it hides that of all other major ‘news’-media, because otherwise the entire ‘democratic’ system of control by the nation’s billionaires would simply collapse.)

America’s ‘news’-media report just as much false ‘news’ (not merely what they call “fake news,” but actually false ‘news’) today, as they did back then, because America’s ‘news’-media cover-up not only for themselves, but also for each other, since they all lie so routinely in order to ‘justify’ their Government’s aggressions, coups, military invasions, foreign mass-murders, etc., and those invasions and coups are part of the unspoken business-plan of them all, for growth or expansion of their global control.

These atrocities are all done for ‘national security’ reasons, and in order to ‘spread democracy’, and in order to ‘protect human rights around the world’ — and Americans continue to believe it, and to believe the regime, and to subscribe to those same mainstream (and hangers-on) ’news’-media. Accountability against lying doesn’t exist in a hyper-aggressive ‘democracy’, a would-be all-encompassing global empire, which America has certainly become.

Today, these ’news’-media hide that they’ve been lying when they report that Russia ‘hacked’ Hillary Clinton’s email and John Podesta’s computer. Just click onto that, right there, and you will immediately see the latest documentation that it’s all mere lies against Russia, which is the only nation that does actually possess the military wherewithal to stand up against the US regime (since it inherited the arsenal of the former Soviet Union when the Cold War ended in 1991 on their side — though that war secretly continued and still is continuing on the American side).

These fabrications could have many reasons, but perhaps the likeliest is in order to increase weapons-sales by Lockheed Martin and other US weapons-makers, all of which are 100% dependent upon their sales to the US Government and to its allied governments. (There are consequently interlocking directorates between the ‘news’-businesses and the armaments-firms, and the Wall Street banks, and the think tanks, etc.; and all of this is intensified by the revolving door between Government officials and the private sector, such as generals becoming directors of ‘defense’ firms.) But this fraud that ‘Russia hacked the election’ has been exposed before, though not with the same thoroughness as it is in that latest news-report, which comes from the “Sic Semper Tyrannus” blog. You might happen to think that it must be ‘fake news’, because it’s from a non-mainstream site? It comes from Bill Binney, who is the NSA whistleblower who was the NSA’s top signals-intelligence analyst before he quit in disgust at the Government’s lying. Of course, he had tried all the mainstream ‘news’-media as prospective outlets for this news-report, but they’re not interested in exposing the truth — because that would expose themselves to be liars. Once a major lie is told, and told repeatedly, by a major ‘news’-medium, exposing that lie would be exposing itself — and none do that.

They also hide that they’ve been lying to report that America was justified to bomb Syria on 11 April 2018, justified to do it in order to punish Syria’s Government for having perpetrated a chemical weapons attack on 7 April 2018 in the town of Douma — a chemical weapons attack that was actually fabricated by the US and its allies, and which US Government lie is still being protected (hidden from the public) by the US regime’s ’news’ media, which media, for example, fail to report that the OPCW did not find any such attack to have occurred:

“OPCW Issues Fact-Finding Mission Reports on Chemical Weapons Use Allegations in Douma, Syria in 2018 and in Al-Hamadaniya and Karm Al-Tarrab in 2016”

Friday, 06 July 2018

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 6 July 2018 — The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), issued an interim report on the FFM’s investigation to date regarding the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, Syria on 7 April 2018.

The FFM’s activities in Douma included on-site visits to collect environmental samples, interviews with witnesses, data collection. In a neighbouring country, the FFM team gathered or received biological and environmental samples, and conducted witness interviews.

OPCW designated labs conducted analysis of prioritised samples. The results show that no organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products were detected in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples taken from alleged casualties. Along with explosive residues, various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from two sites, for which there is full chain of custody. Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is on-going. The FFM team will continue its work to draw final conclusions.

If those “final conclusions” are ever made public by OPCW, will you trust your ’news’-media to report them honestly? And, if the conclusions never are published, will you think that the US regime and its ’news’-media are war-criminals there, just as they were in Iraq, and Syria, and Yemen, and Ukraine, and so many other countries?

According to Russian Television, or “RT” — which all major ’news’-media in the US and its allied regimes say is ‘untrustworthy’ — “Real ‘obscene masquerade’: How BBC depicted staged hospital scenes as proof of Douma chemical attack”. That op-ed by the great British investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley, who specializes in Syria, isn’t published by the BBC, or by ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, New York Times, Guardian, or Washington Post. It’s too honest, for that. Could this be part of the reason that they call RT ‘fake news’? If so, maybe RT should replace them, at least for international reporting.

And, before that, there was the claimed 21 August 2013 sarin gas attack in the town of Ghouta by Syria’s Government, which was actually done by the US Government’s allies who were trying to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government — it’s what’s called a “false flag attack” — one that’s designed to be blamed against the other side, in order to serve as an ‘excuse’ to invade. The American Government and its ‘news’-media keep making suckers out of the American public this way, and yet the American public continue to subscribe to them — to pay their good money, for such evil propaganda. Apparently, nobody is even embarassed. It simply keeps happening, again and again.

Another recent example is the ‘democratic revolution’ in Ukraine in February 2014, which was actually a US coup that destroyed that country.

And the latest example is the US-and-Canada-led effort to impose a fascist regime in Venezuela.

Furthermore, as one of the perceptive reader-commenters to that latest Binney article on ‘Russiagate’ noted: “Craig Murray, in a very revealing but neglected interview with Scott Horton, said‘I should be plain that the Podesta emails and the DNC emails of course are two separate things and you shouldn’t conclude that both have the same source. But in both cases, we’re talking of a leak not a hack, in that the person who was responsible for getting the information out had legal access to that information.’” Murray, a whistleblower and former UK Ambassador, had been personally involved in that, by transferring a thumb-drive from the DNC whistleblower to Julian Assange, and he also said there, “If you are looking to the source of all this, you have to look to Americans,” and not at all to any Russians or other foreigners.

The comprehensiveness of the deceit by the US regime is beyond what the vast majority of Americans can even imagine to be the case. It is simply beyond the comprehension of most people. And that false ‘news’-reporting then becomes basic to, and enshrined in, false but best-selling ‘history’-books, so as to deepen, yet further, the deception of the public.

On Sunday, February 24th, the “Zero Hedge” independent news-site headlined “WaPo Quietly Deletes Branson’s Venezuela Concert From Article After ‘Fake’ Attendance Figures Exposed” and reported (and documented) that the British billionaire Richard Branson’s free pop-concert on Friday February 22 at the Venezuela-Colombia border in support of Washington’s attempted coup to overthrow Venezuela’s democratically elected President had drawn less than 20,000 fans instead of what had been reported in the US regime’s Washington Post, which had reported that 200,000 attended, and that as soon as the US regime’s fraud was publicly exposed — which was done by means of a photo of the crowd which had been taken by Dan Cohen of Russia’s RT, plus careful independent calculations by the “Moon of Alabama” blogger — the US regime’s ‘news’paper retroactively removed their ‘news’-report’s crowd-size-estimate from the online version of their ‘news’-report. Of course, the ‘error’ had already been physically printed in that trashy ‘news’paper, which might (at its discretion) subsequently publish a printed correction, saying that they’d only been trying to fool their subscribers in order to assist propaganda supporting the US regime’s grab for control over Venezuela.

The problem isn’t ‘fake news’ from RT or from small online sites (such as all of the major media claim to be the case), but false ‘news’ from mainstream US (and allied) ‘news’ (propaganda) media. They’ve all got millions of victims’ blood on their hands, and they’re not even a bit ashamed of any of it — and of shifting the blame for it to the targeted nations.

PS: Max Blumenthal is an investigative journalist who formerly believed the lies from the (think tanks and other agencies of the) billionaires who finance the Democratic Party. He was the star journalist at one of the Democratic Party’s leading ‘alt-news’ propaganda-sites, AlterNet, until he lost his employment there after starting to expose the rot that he had previously been fooled into supporting. He increasingly moved away from liberalism to progressivism; and the Democratic National Committee doesn’t want any of that, except as window-dressing — and Blumenthal decided he could no longer do that. He became unemployed for a while and then established, along with another former AlterNet reporter “The GrayZone Project,” in order to continue being employed. Blumenthal recently issued a YouTube video in which he interviewed star Democratic Party Presidential aspirant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of Congress “Is the US Meddling in Venezuela? Max Blumenthal Asks US Congress Members.” As you can see there, all of them are either mildly or very supportive of Trump’s coup-attempt in Venezuela. Unfortunately, Blumenthal didn’t interview Tulsi Gabbard, who might possibly be an exception to the depressing rule that corruption reigns, and who recently announced her candidacy for the US Presidency. Nor did he interview Bernie Sanders, nor Sherrod Brown, nor Elizabeth Warren, all of whom likewise are competing for the progressives’ votes in the upcoming Democratic Party Presidential primaries. As for the other Democratic contenders, they’re competing to become instead the new Hillary Clinton — the American billionaires’ favorite. Instead, with Trump, we got in the 2016 Presidentials their second choice.

On February 18th, Blumenthal and a colleague, Alexander Rubinstein, headlined at one of the few sincere and honest US-based international-news sites, “Mint Press,” “Pierre Omidyar’s Funding of Pro-Regime-Change Networks and Partnerships with CIA Cutouts”, and they exposed Omidyar, the owner of a famous ‘news’ site that’s targeted at naive progressives, “The Intercept.” Whereas Mint Press is called ‘fake news’ by America’s billionaires’ ‘news’-media, The Intercept (which isn’t nearly as honest as Mint Press is) is not. The dictatorship’s aim is to crush the truth, and (like The Intercept does) they let in just enough of truth so as to keep hidden what’s most important to them to keep hidden from the public — things such as what Blumenthal and Rubinstein are now disclosing.

Everybody except America’s 585 billionaires should be reading sites such as the ones that publish Blumenthal and Rubinstein, and other honest investigative journalists (which are banned at all of the mainstream sites). Propaganda that poses as ‘news’ has to be crushed, in order for truth itself not to be crushed. But can their exposé of Omidyar win a top national journalism award without thereby bringing down the entire rotten and corrupt superstructure of lies? And that would also bring down the enormous international crimes this superstructure has supported and continues to support, such as Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2011-2018, Yemen 2015-now, Ukraine 2014, and Venezuela 2017-now.

If such news-reports cannot win top journalism prizes, then what hope is there, realistically, that things will ever be able to improve?

Only by removing the blinders from the public, can the public see the light and the actual truth, about the world in which they are living. That’s what is needed in order for democracy to be able to exist. What now exists is, instead, dictatorship. That’s the current reality. It includes the European Council, which is the unelected government of the EU, which clearly is a dictatorship (and this is true even if Brexit is wrong), and it also includes every other ally of the US regime. The EU was created by the US and its allies after WW II. It “always was a CIA project.” FDR was dead, and maybe whatever there had been of US democracy died along with him. The UN that exists is not the one that he had intended and so carefully planned. We’ve been living in a charade. It didn’t start in 1981. There is this, and there also is this. It’s FDR’s vision turned upside-down and inside-out. That’s the actual world of today. It’s based on lies.

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Russian President warns West that deploying missile launchers in Europe could ignite ‘tit for tat’ response

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February 23, 2019Russian President warns West that deploying missile launchers in Europe could ignite ‘tit for tat’ response

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

President Putin’s state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow this week was an extraordinary affair. While heavily focused on domestic social and economic development, Putin noted, predictably, the US decision to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and clearly outlined the red lines in regard to possible consequences of the move.

It would be naïve to believe that there would not be a serious counterpunch to the possibility of the US deploying launchers “suitable for using Tomahawk missiles” in Poland and Romania, only a 12-minute flight away from Russian territory.

Putin cut to the chase: “This is a very serious threat to us. In this case, we will be forced – I want to emphasize this – forced to take tit-for-tat steps.”

Later that night, many hours after his address, Putin detailed what was construed in the US, once again, as a threat.

“Is there some hard ideological confrontation now similar to what was [going on] during the Cold War? There is none. We surely have mutual complaints, conflicting approaches to some issues, but that is no reason to escalate things to a stand-off on the level of the Caribbean crisis of the early 1960s”.

This was a direct reference to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 when President Kennedy confronted USSR’s Nikita Khrushchev over missiles deployed off the US mainland.

The Russian Defense Ministry, meanwhile, has discreetly assured that conference calls with the Pentagon are proceeding as scheduled, every week, and that this bilateral dialogue is “working”.

In parallel, tests of state-of-the-art Russian weaponry such as the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile and the hypersonic Khinzal also proceed, alongside mass production of the hypersonic Avangard. The first regiment of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces will get the Avangard before the end of this year.

And then there’s the Tsircon, a hypersonic missile capable of reaching US command centers in a mere five minutes – leaving the whole range of NATO military assets exposed.

What Putin meant in his address about Russia targeting “centers for decision-making” was fundamentally related to NATO, not the American mainland.

And once again, it’s crucial to underline that none of these disturbing developments mean that Russia would engage in a pre-emptive strike against the deployment of US missiles in Eastern Europe. Putin was adamant that there’s no need for it. Moreover, Russian nuclear doctrine forbids any sort of pre-emptive strikes, not to mention a nuclear first strike.

House of the Rising (Nuclear) Sun

To allow this new paradigm to sink in, I went on a long walk across Zamoskvorechye – “behind the Moskva river” – stopping on the way back in front of the Biblioteka Lenina to pay my respects to the Grandmaster Dostoevsky. And then it hit me; this was entirely connected to what had happened the day before.

The day before Putin’s state of the union address I went to visit Alexander Dugin at his office in the deliciously Soviet, art nouveau building of the former Central Post Office. Dugin, a political analyst and strategist with a refined philosophical mind, is vilified in Washington as Putin’s ideologue. He has also been targeted by US sanctions.

I was greeted in the lobby by his multi-talented daughter Daria – active in everything from philosophy and music to geopolitics. Dugin was being interviewed by RAI correspondent Sergio Paini. After the wrap-up, the three of us immediately engaged in a discussion on populism, Salvini, the Italian politician, and the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests in France), in Italian. (Dugin is fluent in many languages).

Then we picked up on what we had left behind, when I was in Moscow last December and talked extensively with Daria. Dugin was in Shanghai teaching an international relations course at Fudan University (see here and here), and gave lectures at Tsinghua and Peking University. He returned quite impressed by Chinese academia’s interest in populism, plus German philosopher Martin Heidegger and the Gilets Jaunes, as well as the evolving paths of Russia and China’s strategic partnership.

Eurasia debate

So inevitably we delved into Eurasianism – and strategies towards Eurasian integration. Dugin sees China applying a sort of remixed Spykman outlook to the “Road” component of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is maritime, along the rimland. He privileges the “Belt” component, which is overland, with one of the main corridors going through Russia via the upgraded Trans-Siberian railway. I tend to view it as a mix of Halford Mackinder, the famed English academic, and the influential American political scientist Nicholas Spykman; China advancing on the West, simultaneously in the heartland and the rimland.

Dugin’s office has the atmosphere of a revolving think tank. I was trying to inform him on how Brazil – under the ‘leadership’ of Steve Bannon, who walks and talks like he runs the Bolsonaro presidential clan – has been dragged to the frontline in the US in contrast to the Eurasian integration chessboard. Suddenly, none other than Alastair Crooke drops in. Serendipity or synchronicity?

Alastair, with his consummate diplomatic flair, is, of course, one of the world’s foremost experts in the Middle East and Europe – and much else. He’s in Moscow as a guest for one of the Valdai Club’s famed discussions, on the Middle East, along with key figures from Syria and Iran.

Soon the three of us are engaged in an absorbing conversation on the soul of Islam, the purity of Sufism, the Muslim Brotherhood (those fabled friends of the Clinton machine), what President Erdogan and the Qataris are really up to, and the sterility – intellectual and spiritual – of the Wahhabi House of Saud and the Emirates.

We tend to agree that discussions like this, going on in Moscow – and in Tehran, Istanbul, Shanghai – would greatly profit from the presence of a progressive Steve Bannon, capable of organizing and promoting a running, non-ideological debate on multipolarity.

A day before Putin’s stark reminder against any slip towards nuclear Armageddon, we were also discussing the post-INF world, but with emphasis on post-Mackinder (and post-Brzezinski) Eurasian integration. And that includes Russian and Chinese intellectual elites acutely aware that they can’t afford to be isolated by American hyperpower.

I walked Alastair to his hotel, past a gloriously illuminated Bolshoi. I kept going, and as Lubyanka disappeared from view, a sidewalk busker was playing ‘House of the Rising Sun’, the Animals version. In Russian.

Hopefully, it will not feature a rising nuclear sun.

Can Maduro Emulate Cuba and Syria to Keep NATO’s Imperialist Hands Off Venezuela?

Global Research, February 18, 2019
Nicolas Maduro Moros

Imperial logic I: External crises distract from internal ones

Empires with internal problems tend to create external crises to distract the public opinion and unite their political and economical ruling class in a fictitious nationalistic fervor. The current United States policy of overt regime change in Venezuela, backed entirely by its NATO vassals, follows an evergreen imperial playbook of creating new crises to obscure failures and divisions.

In addition to the administration’s overall incompetence, the legal investigations through the Mueller inquiry, and the failure to deliver to its MAGA sycophants their big wall, it has passed unnoticed, and it will never be admitted by US officials or media that the US imperial wars in Afghanistan and Syria are in fact lost. Assad will remain in power, and the US administration has publicly admitted that it was negotiating with the Taliban. The temptation for the empire’s ideologues is too strong not to follow the precept: when you have lost a war, you declare victory and you leave. And next time around, you try to pick a weaker target.

Imperial logic II: A state of war must be permanent

A prime example of this in recent history was the way the events of September 11, 2001 were used internally to justify the emergence of a police state, using far-reaching legislation like the Patriot Act and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Externally, 911 was successfully used by the US to trigger, almost immediately, an invasion of Afghanistan with the entire NATO membership under the hospice of the military alliance’s Article 5, which stipulates that an attack on one member is an attack on all. This was the very first time, since the creation of NATO in 1949, that Article 5 was put into force.

With the US public opinion still largely revengeful, misinformed by media manipulations, and eager to wage war, two years later, in 2003, it was fairly simple for the Bush administration and its neocons to sell the invasion of Iraq as a war of necessity, and not for what it truly was: a war of choice, for oil and greater control of the Middle East. Cynically, the aftermath of 9/11/2001 gave the empire and its powerful military-industrial complex two wars for the price of one.

Imperial logic III: People are collateral damage of “Realpolitik”

Great moral principles of altruistic universal humanitarian concerns are almost never at stake in these instances. They are mainly smoke screens to hide the board of a cold, Machiavellian, and complex chess game where innocent bystanders often perish by the millions. They are the acceptable collateral damage of realpolitik’s grand strategists. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the true guiding principle of US imperial realpolitik, and all US foreign policy decisions that derived from it, was to stop the so-called communist domino effect.

Communist domino effect: three simple words for a game that killed millions of innocent people worldwide, first in Korea in the early 1950s, then in Vietnam in the 60s and 70s, and later, under the tutelage of some of the very same criminal architects, in Central and South American countries like Chile. Now in their golden years, most of these murderous policymakers, like Henry Kissinger, enjoy an active retirement with honors, respect and, unlike their colleague Robert McNamara, not a hint of remorse.

One of these policymakers, a veteran of US imperialism in Central America and also one of the staunchest advocates of Iraq’s invasion in 2003, has made a come back. He is neocon extraordinaire Elliot Abrams. Abrams has been rewarded for his actions in the Iran-Contra affair, El Salvador, and Nicaragua with a nomination as Special Envoy of the Trump administration for Venezuela. In other words, Abrams is in charge of the US-sponsored coup task force against Venezuela’s legitimately elected President Nicolas Maduro.

Defeating imperial logic: The Cuban and Syrian lessons

There are many others examples in history where in a David versus Goliath fight, the little guy who, on paper, did not stand a chance eventually through sheer determination, organization and vast popular support, won on the battlefield. Vietnam is obviously a special case in this regard, as the Vietcong of Ho Chi Minh managed to defeat, almost back to back, the old colonial masters of the French empire in the 1950s, and of course soon thereafter, the US empire.

In the early 1960s, during the Cuban missile crisis, Castro’s days seemed to be numbered. More recently, in Syria, all the lips of the NATO coalition, Israel and Gulf State allies were chanting in unison that as a precondition for resolving the Syrian crisis, “Assad must go!” By 2017, however, some coalition members such as Qatar, France and Germany were not so adamant about the “Assad must go” mantra. Not only did Bashar al-Assad not go, but also, as matter of fact, he is regaining control of his entire country, on his own terms.

Castro outsmarted the empire’s CIA hitmen 600 times

Nicolas Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chavez, had in Fidel Castro a source of inspiration and the guidance of a father figure. Chavez, like other neo-Marxists, looked up to Fidel for leading a successful revolution, through military action, which had toppled the corrupt regime of Fulgencio Batista. This regime was not only a docile servant of the US government but was also directly associated with the Mafia’s criminal activities in Cuba in the era of Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. With Batista’s complicity, American gangsters had turned Cuba into a gambling and prostitution paradise where the US’ unscrupulous rich went to play. Castro shut down the bordello that had become Cuba and proudly rebuilt his island, and he consciously set out to transform Cuba slowly and steadily into a socialist country.

Needless to say, the shutdown of their depraved and lucrative tropical paradise was unacceptable for the US empire’s ruling elites. Against all odds, the Cuban communist leader managed to defy one US administration after another, and without compromise remained at the helm of the Cuban revolution. It was not for a lack of trying either to invade Cuba, as in the Bay of Pigs botched invasion episode, or to cook up countless assassination attempts on Castro’s person. Starting almost immediately after he took power in 1959, Castro was the target of CIA assassination attempts. From the Kennedy era all the way to the Clinton administrations, Fidel Castro survived more than 600 plots to kill him. Some of the attempts involved collaborations of the Mafia with the CIA. Castro once said, “if surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal!” It has to be added that, at least so far, Fidel Castro has also won a posthumous gold medal for ensuring the legacy of the Cuban revolution.

Assad: military might and striking the right alliances

Almost eight years ago, some people in quiet mansions, regal palaces or discrete offices in Washington, Riyadh, Doha, London, Paris, and Tel Aviv or undisclosed locations came up with what appeared to be an excellent plan. They would hijack some of the genuine energy of the Arab Spring then quickly sponsor it with a huge arsenal, while hiring some supposed good Djihadists soldiers-of-fortune as the main muscle to get rid of the uncooperative Bashar al-Assad. In what I called in May 2013, an “unholy alliance to wreck and exploit,” the Western and Gulf States coalition to topple Assad was born. In the US, the late Senator John McCain was one of the cheerleaders of the so-called Free Syrian Army.

Eight years later, with Syria in ruins, 350,000 people dead, around 4.5 million refugees still scattered principally in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, Assad has prevailed in a bittersweet victory, considering that his country has been wrecked as a battleground for proxy wars. Bashar al-Assad did not win on his own. He managed to retain complete loyalty from the Syrian army during the past eight gruesome years. Assad also could count on the military involvement of dependable allies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran and, of course, a critical impact of Russia once Putin’s administration decided to commit military assets and troops.

Maduro can keep Uncle Sam’s hands off Venezuela

One can only hope that Venezuela’s US-sponsored coup attempt using the subterfuge of a phony revolution does not follow the track of Syria in terms of the mayhem. However, the analogies are numerous between Maduro’s situation today and that of Assad in 2011. First, Maduro has at his disposal a reasonably well-equipped military as well as the Chavista militia. To defeat the unfolding coup attempt, the loyalty of the armed forces has to be ironclad. Second, just as Assad has done, Maduro must work to cultivate, in pragmatic ways, both regional and worldwide alliances.

Cuba will do a lot to help. But will Mexico, Bolivia, and Uruguay go beyond diplomatic posturing in their solidarity with Maduro against NATO’s imperialism? How involved and how far, either economically or, in a worse-case scenario, militarily are Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran willing to go? In geopolitics, unlike diplomacy, only actions talk. Venezuela has a massive bargaining chip in the form of the mostly untapped biggest oil reserve in the world. This is Maduro’s ultimate ace in this game, and it should be used shrewdly. In realpolitiks, friends might be temporary, and they always want something. This is not an altruistic environment.

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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: News Junkie Post.

Gilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire.

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