WHICH TARGET AFTER SYRIA?

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19 years of “war without end”

President George W. Bush decided to radically transform the Pentagon’s missions, as Colonel Ralph Peters explained in the Army magazine Parameters on September 13, 2001. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appointed Admiral Arthur Cebrowski to train future officers. Cebrowski spent three years touring military universities so that today all general officers have taken his courses. His thoughts were popularized for the general public by his deputy, Thomas Barnett.

The areas affected by the US war will be given over to “chaos”. This concept is to be understood in the sense of the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, i.e. as the absence of political structures capable of protecting citizens from their own violence (“Man is a wolf to man”). And not in the biblical sense of making a clean slate before the creation of a new order.

This war is an adaptation of the US Armed Forces to the era of globalization, to the transition from productive capitalism to financial capitalism. “War is a Racket,” as Smedley Butler, America’s most decorated general, used to say before World War II [1]. From now on, friends and enemies will no longer count; war will allow for the simple management of natural resources.

This form of war involves many crimes against humanity (including ethnic cleansing) that the US Armed Forces cannot commit. Secretary Donald Rumsfeld therefore hired private armies (including Blackwater) and developed terrorist organizations while pretending to fight them.

The Bush and Obama administrations followed this strategy: to destroy the state structures of entire regions of the world. The US war is no longer about winning, but about lasting (the “war without end”). President Donald Trump and his first National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, have questioned this development without being able to change it. Today, the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski thinkers pursue their goals not so much through the Defence Secretariat as through NATO.

After President Bush launched the “never-ending war” in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), there was strong contestation among Washington’s political elites about the arguments that had justified the invasion of Iraq and the disorder there. This was the Baker-Hamilton Commission (2006). The war never stopped in Afghanistan or Iraq, but it took five years for President Obama to open new theatres of operation: Libya (2011), Syria (2012) and Yemen (2015).

Two external actors interfered with this plan.
 In 2010-11, the United Kingdom launched the “Arab Spring”, an operation modeled on the “Arab Revolt” of 1915, which allowed Lawrence of Arabia to put the Wahhabi in power on the Arabian Peninsula. This time it was a question of placing the Muslim Brotherhood in power with the help not of the Pentagon, but of the US State Department and NATO.
 In 2014, Russia intervened in Syria, whose state had not collapsed and which it helped to resist. Since then, the British – who had tried to change the regime there during the “Arab Spring” (2011-early 2012) – and then the Americans – who were seeking to overthrow not the regime, but the state (mid-2012 to the present) – have had to withdraw. Russia, pursuing the dream of Tsarina Catherine, is today fighting against chaos, for stability – that is to say, for the defence of state structures and respect for borders.

Colonel Ralph Peters, who in 2001 revealed the Pentagon’s new strategy, published Admiral Cebrowski’s map of objectives in 2006. It showed that only Israel and Jordan would not be affected. All other countries in the “Broader Middle East” (i.e., from Morocco to Pakistan) would gradually be stateless and all major countries (including Saudi Arabia and Turkey) would disappear.

Noting that its best ally, the United States, was planning to cut its territory in two in order to create a “free Kurdistan”, Turkey unsuccessfully tried to get closer to China, and then adopted the theory of Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu: “Zero problems with its neighbours”. It distanced itself from Israel and began to negotiate peace with Cyprus, Greece, Armenia, Iraq etc. It also distanced itself from Israel. Despite the territorial dispute over Hatay, it created a common market with Syria. However, in 2011, when Libya was already isolated, France convinced Turkey that it could escape partition if it joined NATO’s ambitions. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a political Islamist of the Millî Görüş, joined the Muslim Brotherhood, of which he was not a member, hoping to recoup the fruits of the ’Arab Spring’ for his own benefit. Turkey turned against one of its main clients, Libya, and then against one of its main partners, Syria.

In 2013, the Pentagon adapted the “endless war” to the realities on the ground. Robin Wright published two corrective maps in the New York Times. The first dealt with the division of Libya, the second with the creation of a “Kurdistan” affecting only Syria and Iraq and sparing the eastern half of Turkey and Iran. It also announced the creation of a “Sunnistan” straddling Iraq and Syria, dividing Saudi Arabia into five and Yemen into two. This last operation began in 2015.

The Turkish General Staff was very happy with this correction and prepared for the events. It concluded agreements with Qatar (2017), Kuwait (2018) and Sudan (2017) to set up military bases and surround the Saudi kingdom. In 2019 it financed an international press campaign against the “Sultan” and a coup d’état in Sudan. At the same time, Turkey supported the new project of “Kurdistan” sparing its territory and participated in the creation of “Sunnistan” by Daesh under the name of “Caliphate”. However, the Russian intervention in Syria and the Iranian intervention in Iraq brought this project to a halt.

In 2017, regional president Massoud Barzani organised a referendum for independence in Iraqi Kurdistan. Immediately, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran understood that the Pentagon, returning to its original plan, was preparing to create a “free Kurdistan” by cutting up their respective territories. They coalesced to defeat it. In 2019, the PKK/PYG announced that it was preparing for the independence of the Syrian ’Rojava’. Without waiting, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran once again joined forces. Turkey invaded the “Rojava”, chasing the PKK/YPG, without much reaction from the Syrian and Russian armies.

In 2019, the Turkish General Staff became convinced that the Pentagon, having temporarily renounced destroying Syria because of the Russian presence, was now preparing to destroy the Turkish state. In order to postpone the deadline, it tried to reactivate the “endless war” in Libya, then to threaten the members of NATO with the worst calamities: the European Union with migratory subversion and the United States with a war with Russia. To do this, it opened its border with Greece to migrants and attacked the Russian and Syrian armies in Idleb where they bombed the Al Qaeda and Daesh jihadists who had taken refuge there. This is the episode we are living through today.

Robin Wright’s "Reshaping the Broader Middle East" map, published by Robin Wright.
Robin Wright’s “Reshaping the Broader Middle East” map, published by Robin Wright.

The Moscow Additional Protocol

The Turkish army caused Russian and Syrian casualties in February 2020, while President Erdoğan made numerous phone calls to his Russian counterpart, Putin, to lower the tension he was causing with one hand.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged to curb the Pentagon’s appetites if Turkey helped the Pentagon restart the “endless war” in Libya. This country is divided into a thousand tribes that clash around two main leaders, both CIA agents, the president of the Presidential Council, Fayez el-Sarraj, and the commander of the National Army, Khalifa Haftar.

Last week, the UN Secretary General’s special envoy to Libya, Professor Ghassan Salame, was asked to resign for “health reasons”. He complied, not without expressing his bad mood at a press conference. An axis has been set up to support al-Sarraj by the Muslim Brotherhood around Qatar and Turkey. A second coalition was born around Haftar with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, but also Saudi Arabia and Syria.

It is the great return of the latter on the international scene. Syria is the culmination of nine years of victorious resistance to the Brotherhood and the United States. Two Libyan and Syrian embassies were opened with great pomp and circumstance on 4 March, in Damascus and Benghazi.

Moreover, the European Union, after having solemnly condemned the “Turkish blackmail of refugees”, sent the President of the Commission to observe the flow of refugees at the Greek-Turkish border and the President of the Council to survey President Erdoğan in Ankara. The latter confirmed that an arrangement was possible if the Union undertook to defend the ’territorial integrity’ of Turkey.

With keen pleasure, the Kremlin has staged the surrender of Turkey: the Turkish delegation is standing, contrary to the habit where chairs are provided for guests; behind it, a statue of Empress Catherine the Great recalls that Russia was already present in Syria in the 18th century. Finally, Presidents Erdoğan and Putin are seated in front of a pendulum commemorating the Russian victory over the Ottoman Empire.
With keen pleasure, the Kremlin has staged the surrender of Turkey: the Turkish delegation is standing, contrary to the habit where chairs are provided for guests; behind it, a statue of Empress Catherine the Great recalls that Russia was already present in Syria in the 18th century. Finally, Presidents Erdoğan and Putin are seated in front of a pendulum commemorating the Russian victory over the Ottoman Empire.

It was thus on this basis that President Vladimir Putin received President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Kremlin on March 5. A first, restricted, three-hour meeting was devoted to relations with the United States. Russia would have committed itself to protect Turkey from a possible partition on the condition that it signs and applies an Additional Protocol to the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-Escalation Area [2]. A second meeting, also of three hours duration but open to ministers and advisers, was devoted to the drafting of this text. It provides for the creation of a 12-kilometre-wide security corridor around the M4 motorway, jointly monitored by the two parties. To put it plainly: Turkey is backing away north of the reopened motorway and losing the town of Jisr-el-Chogour, a stronghold of the jihadists. Above all, it must at last apply the Sochi memorandum, which provides for support only for the Syrian armed opposition, which is supposed to be democratic and not Islamist, and for combating the jihadists. However, this “democratic armed opposition” is nothing more than a chimera imagined by British propaganda. In fact, Turkey will either have to kill the jihadists itself, or continue and complete their transfer from Idleb (Syria) to Djerba (Tunisia) and then Tripoli (Libya) as it began to do in January.

In addition, on March 7, President Putin contacted former President Nazerbayev to explore with him the possibility of deploying Kazakh “blue chapkas” in Syria under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). This option had already been considered in 2012. Kazakh soldiers have the advantage of being Muslims and not orthodox.

The option of attacking Saudi Arabia rather than Turkey from now on has been activated by the Pentagon, it is believed to be known in Riyadh, although President Trump is imposing delirious arms orders on it in exchange for its protection. The dissection of Saudi Arabia had been envisaged by the Pentagon as early as 2002 [3].

Missiles were fired this week against the royal palace in Riyadh. Prince Mohamed ben Salmane (known as “MBS”, 34 years old) had his uncle, Prince Ahmed (70 years old), and his former competitor and ex-heir prince, Prince Mohamed ben Nayef (60 years old), as well as various other princes and generals arrested. The Shia province of Qatif, where several cities have already been razed to the ground, has been isolated. Official explanations of succession disputes and coronavirus are not enough [4].

Notes:

[1] “I had 33 years and 4 months of active service, and during that time I spent most of my time as a big shot for business, for Wall Street, and for bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster in the service of capitalism. I helped secure Mexico, especially the city of Tampico, for the American oil companies in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a suitable place for the men of the National City Bank to make a profit. I helped rape half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the American bank Brown Brothers from 1902 to 1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the benefit of American sugar companies in 1916. I delivered Honduras to American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927, I helped the Standard Oil company do business in peace.” Smedley Butler in War Is a Racket, Feral House (1935)

[2] “Additional Protocol to the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-Escalation Area”, Voltaire Network, 5 March 2020.

[3] “Taking Saudi out of Arabia“, Powerpoint by Laurent Murawiec for a meeting of the Defence Policy Board (July 10, 2002).

[4] “Two Saudi Royal Princes Held, Accused of Plotting a Coup”, Bradley Hope, Wall Street Journal; “Detaining Relatives, Saudi Prince Clamps Down”, David Kirkpatrick & Ben Hubbard, The New Yok Times, March 7, 2020.


By Thierry Meyssan
Source: Voltaire Network

الأميركيون في كل مكان.. فأين روسيا والصين؟

 

نوفمبر 18, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

يرفض الأميركيون الاعتراف بانهيار سيطرتهم الأحادية على العالم، فلا يكتفون بفصيح الكلام على الطريقة العربية، بل يشنّون هجوماً مضاداً بأسلحة اقتصادية واستخبارية وعسكرية، تكاد تعمّ زوايا الأرض. لكنهم يركزون على منطقتين أساسيتين بإمكانهما ضخّ ما يحتاجه الجيوبولتيك الأميركي للاستمرار، وهما أميركا الجنوبية اللاتينية والشرق الاوسط في محوره الإيراني مواصلين أيضاً مناوشة العالم بأسره إنما بعيارات خفيفة، وللمناوشة فقط.

هذه الهجمات إقرار أميركي باقتراب الخطر على أحاديتهم القطبية لمصلحة قوى دولية أخرى أصبحت قادرة على مشاركتهم في إنتاج القرار الدولي والتوسع الاقتصادي.

اما مؤشرات هذه المقدرة فتجمع بين الإمكانات الاقتصادية والعسكرية التي يؤدي التطوّر العسكري العمودي النوع الى انتشار أفقي في سياسات العالم واسواقه.

بالتدقيق، تنكشف الحركة الأميركية، بمحاولاتها إسقاط الأنظمة المتمرّدة عليها في أميركا اللاتينية ـ الجنوبية، وبلمح البصر، يرحل رئيس بوليفيا فارّاً من بلاده بانقلاب عسكري يرعاه الأميركيون علناً.

هذا إلى جانب ضغوط هائلة يمارسها الأميركيون في فنزويلا لإسقاط رئيسها بالحصار حيناً ومشاريع الانقلابات وبالتشجيع على التمرّد والحصار الاقتصادي المفتح حيناً آخر وبشكل متواصل.

هناك أيضاً كوبا التي تتعرّض لحصار أميركي مفتوح ومتواصل يترافق مع محاولات دائمة لتفجيرها منذ ستينيات القرن الماضي، من دون نسيان المكسيك وغيرها، أما أوروبا المقموعة بالنفوذ الأميركي فيزجرها الأميركيون كلما حاولت التسلل من العباءة الأميركية، محوّلين بلدانها الشرقية الى مكامن لترسانات صاروخية ونووية موجهة لأهداف روسية وصينية.

على مستوى الصين، فهي أكبر اقتصادياً واجتماعياً وعسكرياً، من أيّ محاولات أميركية لتهشيمها، الأمر الذي يحصر التعرّض الأميركي لها في مسألة التجارة الخارجية بمعنى أنّ الصين تحتاج الى مواد أولية وطاقة وأسواق تصريف للاستمرار في صعودها الكوني، بما يفسّر العقوبات الأميركية التي تستهدف السلع الصينية في حركة انتشارها العالمي.

كذلك روسيا، فإنّ التعرّض لها عسكرياً، شبه مستحيل فلا بأس إذاً من معاقبتها أميركياً بقرارات اقتصادية للحدّ من حركة عودتها الى الفضاءات السوفياتية السابقة.

هذه الوتيرة متبعة أيضاً في كوريا الشمالية، باعتبارها امتداداً صينياً لا تسمح بكين بإصابته بأذى كبير.

انّ هذا الجيوبولتيك الأميركي استشعر بأنّ نظام العولمة المرتبطة بالحدود المفتوحة أمام السلع أدّى الى عكس ما يريده الاقتصاد الأميركي، لأنه أفاد الصين وألمانيا واليابان، متيحاً لسلعها اختراق أسواق كبرى بما فيها الأميركية.

هذا ما جعل الأميركيون ينقلبون على «عولمتهم» الاقتصادية، محتمين من جديد «بالحمائية» ايّ إقفال حدودهم الاقتصادية وأسواقهم أمام بضائع الدول المنافسة. وهي حرب فعلية تعيد التطوّر العالمي الى الزمن القديم، علماً أنّ العولمة التي شملت الاقتصاد والاجتماع والفنون والإعلام والسياسة كان المطلوب منها تعزيز الهيمنة الأميركية العالمية، فتحوّلت وبالاً عليها بالاقتصاد.

يتبيّن أنّ الأميركيين يحدّدون إعادة الإمساك بمنطقتين في العالم، وسيلة ناجحة لمنع تدهور أحاديتهم القطبية وهما أميركا الجنوبية والشرق الأوسط، والناتج الأول لهذه السياسة سقوط النظام البوليفي المعادي لها والحصار الشديد على فنزويلا والتشجيع على الاضطرابات فيها. يكفي انّ أميركا الجنوبية تمتلك أهميات كبيرة، أهمّها موقعها القريب الاستراتيجي المحاذي لأميركا وأسواقها الكبيرة التي تستطيع استيعاب السلع الأميركية ومنع أيّ تمركز دولي منافس فيها، أما النقطة الاضافية فهي أنّ فنزويلا بمفردها تمتلك أكبر احتياط نفطي في العالم.

هناك نقطة أكثر مركزية يعمل الأميركيون على الإمساك بها بما يؤدّي فوراً إلى تماسك قطبيتهم الأحادية، وهي إيران وضرورة إلحاقها بواشنطن. وهذا يتضمن إسقاط البلدان المتحالفة معها في اليمن والعراق وسورية وحزب الله في لبنان وبعض التحالفات في أفغانستان وباكستان. هذا إلى جانب إلغاء تقاربها مع روسيا والصين.

لا يعني هذا الكلام ربط الأسباب الأساسية لاندلاع انتفاضات العراق ولبنان بمؤامرة أميركية، لكنه لا ينفي نجاح الأميركيين في التأسيس لها من طريق أحزاب ونخب وإعلام/ لا يتوانى عن العمل في لعبة التحريض لتفجير أوضاع هذه الدول بما فيها إيران، والدليل انّ الإعلام الخليجي يبث ترهات وأضاليل عن الاضطرابات في إيران بتكبير حجمها والإصرار على نجاحها وامتدادها الى كامل الجغرافيا الإيرانية 24 ساعة يومياً.

هنا يجوز إصرار وتأكيد أنّ الأسباب الاقتصادية والاجتماعية للانتفاضات حقيقية وصادقة، لكنها لا تذهب الى حدود اعتبار السعودية او أميركا بديلاً، فالسعودية دولة متخلفة في القرون الوسطى لا تنتج شيئاً، والأميركيون ينهبون الشرق الاوسط اقتصادياً منذ 1945 ويدعمون «إسرائيل» والأنظمة المتخلفة المتحالفة معهم.

لذلك فإنّ لعبة التحريض الأميركية ـ الخليجية ـ الاسرائيلية تعتبر أنّ إيران هي مركز محور مناهض للهيمنة الأميركية واتباعها، بما يعني أنّ القضاء عليها يستتبع حماية أنظمة الخليج وتحصين الكيان الإسرائيلي، ويزوّد الجيوبولتيك الأميركي بطاقة إضافية تزيد من عمره الافتراضي.

إيران إذاً مستهدفة بقوة للزوم استمرار الأحادية الأميركية، لكن السؤال هنا، يذهب ناحية الصين وروسيا ليسألهما عن مدى إحساسهما بالخطر من الهجوم على إيران في الخارج والداخل.

فهما الهدف الأميركي الذي يلي إيران، بما يعني وجوب تحركهما بأشكال مختلفة للدفاع عنها ودعم حلفائها في اليمن والعراق وسورية ولبنان أما إذا واصلتا لعبة «الترقب» ومعاينة النتائج فإنّ ترميم الهيمنة الأميركية، يصبح أمراً ممكناً لأنه يصبح بإمكان الأميركيين الاستمرار في السيطرة على احتياطاته الاساسية في قطر والربع الخالي السعودي وإيران نفسها، بما يضع روسيا الأولى في إنتاج الغاز في حلبة منافسة لا تمتلك فيها أوراقاً رابحة.

فهل تنتقل بكين وموسكو من دائرة الرصد إلى مرحلة دعم إيران؟ المعتقد أنهما متجهتان الى هذا الهدف بشكل لا تنخرطان فيه بحرب متنوّعة مع الأميركيين إيماناً منهما بقدرة إيران على المزيد من الصمود وإلحاق هزيمة جديدة بالغطرسة الأميركية.

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DONALD TRUMP: ‘FUTURE BELONGS TO PATRIOTS NOT GLOBALISTS’

Donald Trump: 'Future Belongs To Patriots Not Globalists'

South Front

On September 24, US President Donald Trump made his third address to the United Nations. Many said that the adress was ‘ordinary’ for Trump. Some parts of the adress are inspiring, while others raise concerns.

Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly (full transcript):

Madam President, Mr. Secretary General, world leaders, ambassadors, and distinguished delegates:

One year ago, I stood before you for the first time in this grand hall. I addressed the threats facing our world, and I presented a vision to achieve a brighter future for all of humanity. Today, I stand before the United Nations General Assembly to share the extraordinary progress we have made.

In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. America is so thrilled. [Laughter] I did not expect that reaction, but that’s okay. [Applause] America’s economy is booming like never before. Since my election, we have added $10 trillion in wealth. The stock market is at an all-time high in history, and jobless claims are at a 50-year low.

Comment: Mr. Trump is right and his ill-wishers cannot deny this. It is important to note that the successes of the US economy took place amid the decline of the global economy. The economic strategy of the Trump administration was designed to support the US national industry and demonstrated own effectiveness. The US nation is lucky that in the current condition the US leader is patriot Trump rather than some creature of the global capital.

African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American unemployment have all achieved their lowest levels ever recorded. We have added more than 4 million new jobs, including half a million manufacturing jobs. We have passed the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. We have started the construction of a major border wall, and we have greatly strengthened border security. We have secured record funding for our military, $700 billion this year and $716 billion next year. Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before. In other words, the United States is stronger, safer, and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago. We are standing up for America and the American people.

We are also standing up for the world. This is great news for our citizens and for peace-loving people everywhere. We believe that when nations respect the rights of their neighbors and defend the interests of their people, they can better work together to secure the blessings of safety, prosperity, and peace. Each of us here today is the emissary of a distinct culture, a rich history, and a people bound together by ties of memory, tradition, and the values that make our homelands like nowhere else on Earth. That is why America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control, and domination. I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions. The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship. We only ask that you honor our sovereignty in return.

Comment: Since the very start of the presidency, Mr. Trump has demonstrated that for him such words are not just a colorful rhetoric needed to cover destructive US actions towards other states. However, the life is not rainbows and unicorns. Washington has been demonstrating double standards in its foreign policy for a very long time.

From Warsaw to Brussels to Tokyo to Singapore, it has been my highest honor to represent the United States abroad. I have forged close relationships and friendships and strong partnerships with the leaders of many nations in this room.

Our approach has always yielded incredible change. With support from many countries here today, we have engaged with North Korea to replace the specter of conflict with a bold and new push for peace. In June, I traveled to Singapore to meet face-to-face with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un. We had highly productive conversations and meetings. We agreed that it was in both countries’ interest to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Since that meeting, we have seen a number of encouraging measures that few could have imagined a short time ago. The missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction. Nuclear testing has stopped. Some military facilities are already being dismantled. Our hostages have been released. And as promised, the remains of our fallen heroes are being returned home, to lay at rest in American soil. I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken, though much work remains to be done. The sanctions will stay in place until denuclearization occurs. I also want to thank the many member states who helped us reach this moment, a moment that is actually far greater than people would understand—far great. But for, also, their support and the critical support that we will all need going forward, a special thanks for President Moon of South Korea, the Prime Minister Abe of Japan, and President Xi of China.

In the Middle East, our new approach is yielding great strides and very historic change. Following my trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Gulf countries opened a new center to target terrorist financing. They are enforcing new sanctions, working with us to identify and track terrorist networks, and taking more responsibility for fighting terrorism and extremism in their own region. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have pledged billions of dollars to aid the people of Syria and Yemen, and they are pursuing multiple avenues to ending Yemen’s horrible, horrific civil war.

Ultimately, it is up to the nations of the region to decide what kind of future they want for themselves and their children. For that reason, the United States is working with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jordan, and Egypt to establish a regional strategic alliance so that Middle Eastern nations can advance prosperity, stability, and security across their home region.

Comment: These remarks once again demonstrate that the US president is supporter of the traditional system of the international relations. At the same time, the colorful phrase about the right of “the nations of the region to decide what kind of future they want for themselves and their children” is used to hide anti-Iranian intentions and efforts to create and strengthen an anti-Iranian coalition that would include Jordan and Egypt. The goal of this coalition would be to counter Iranian influence and in some cases even to meddle the Iranian internal political situation.

Thanks to the United States military, and our partnership with many of your nations, I am pleased to report that the bloodthirsty killers known as isis have been driven out from the territory they once held in Iraq and Syria. We will continue to work with friends and allies to deny radical Islamic terrorists funding, territory, or support or any means of infiltrating our borders.

The ongoing tragedy in Syria is heartbreaking. Our shared goals must be the de-escalation of military conflict along with a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. In this vein, we urge the United Nations–led peace process to be reinvigorated. But rest assured, the United States will respond if chemical weapons are deployed by the Assad regime.

Comment: Mr. Trump demonstrates a dramatic shift of the US position towards the conflict in Syria. He does not repeat the ‘Assad must go’ mantra and says that the conflict should be settled through “political solutions”. The President also avoids to mention the supposed US support to the Syrian opposition. Even, the cornerstone of the US public agenda in the Syrian conflict, “chemical weapons”, is used just as a warning in for the case if such weapons “are deployed”. This stance is in contrary to the stance of the Obama administration and the Trump administration during its first two years.

I commend the people of Jordan and other neighboring countries for hosting refugees from this very brutal civil war. As we see in Jordan, the most compassionate policy is to place refugees as close to their homes as possible, to ease their eventual return to be part of the rebuilding process. This approach also stretches finite resources to help far more people, increasing the impact of every dollar spent.

Every solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must also include a strategy to address the brutal regime that is fueled and financed in the corrupt dictatorship in Iran. Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death, and disruption. They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond. The Iranian people are rightly outraged that their leaders have embezzled billions of dollars from Iran’s treasury, seized valuable portions of the economy, and looted the religious endowments, all to line their own pockets and send their proxies to wage war. Not good. Iran’s neighbors have paid a heavy toll for the regime’s agenda of aggression and expansion. That is why so many countries in the Middle East strongly supported my decision to withdraw the United States from the horrible 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose nuclear sanctions.

The Iran deal was a windfall for Iran’s leaders. In the year since the deal has been reached, the military budget grew nearly 40 percent. The dictatorship used the funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, increase internal repression, finance terrorism, and fund havoc and slaughter in Syria and Yemen. The United States has launched a campaign of economic pressure to deny the regime the funds it needs to advance its bloody agenda. Last month, we began reimposing hard-hitting nuclear sanctions that have been lifted under the Iran deal. Additional sanctions will resume November 5, and more will follow. We are working with countries that import Iranian crude oil to cut their purchases substantially. We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons. We cannot allow a regime that chants “Death to America” and that threatens Israel with annihilation to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. We just cannot do it. We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues, and we ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.

This year, we took another significant step forward in the Middle East in recognition of every sovereign state to determine its own capital. I moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The United States is committed to a future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That aim is advanced, not harmed, by acknowledging the obvious facts. America’s policy of principled realism means that we will not be held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies, and so-called experts who have been proven wrong, over the years, time and time again.

Comment: These remarks were expected. They were based on Trump’s vision of Israel as the key US ally in the Middle east. However, attempts to link the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem with the commitment to the “future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians” are surprising. It is unclear how the peace and stability could be achieved through these actions. Nonetheless, Trump once again demonstrated himself as the supporter of hard realpolitik principles and direct actions.

This is true, not only in matters of peace, but in matters of prosperity. We believe that trade must be fair and reciprocal. The United States will not be taken advantage of any longer. For decades, the United States opened its economy, the largest by far on Earth, with few conditions. We allowed foreign goods from all over the world to flow freely across our borders. Yet other countries did not grant us free and reciprocal access to their markets in return. Even worse, some countries abused their openness to dump their products, subsidize their goods, target our industries, and manipulate their currencies to gain unfair advantage over our country. As a result, our trade deficit ballooned to nearly $800 billion a year. For this reason, we are systematically renegotiating broken and bad trade deals. Last month, we announced a groundbreaking U.S.-Mexico trade agreement.

Comment: The strengthening of protectionism policies is generally consistent with Trump’s economic doctrine. Trump focuses on the revision of unfair, “broken and bad” trade deals. If Trump is re-elected, further protectionist measures in the field of the US foreign trade should be expected.

Just yesterday, I stood with President Moon to announce the successful completion of the brand-new U.S.-Korea trade deal. This is just the beginning. Many nations in this hall will agree that the world trading system is in dire need of change. For example, countries were admitted to the World Trade Organization that violate every single principle on which the organization is based.

Comment: The fact that the World Trade Organization does not work is an open secret. The organization de-facto does not pursues goals declared during its creation. Trump is right that the WTO violates “every single principle on which the organization is based.” It is important to note that the WTO gained its current form thanks to actions and policy of the previous US administrations, which were shaped by supporters of the globalists. These very powers were interested in the current state of the WTO. However, the US president that demonstrates different approaches, focusing on protectionism, the national economic development and the rationale nationalism, is not interested in such a state of the WTO.

While the United States and many other nations played by the rules, these countries use government-run industrial planning and state-owned enterprises to rig the system in their favor. They engaged in relentless product dumping, forced technology transfer, and the theft of intellectual property. The United States lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs, nearly a quarter of all steel jobs, and 60,000 factories after China joined the WTO. We have racked up $13 trillion in trade deficits over the last two decades.

But those days are over. We will no longer tolerate such abuse. We will no longer allow our workers to be victimized, our companies to be cheated, and our wealth to be plundered and transferred. America will never apologize for protecting its citizens. The United States has just announced tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese-made goods, for a total so far of $250 billion. I have great respect and affection for my friend President Xi, but I have made clear that our trade imbalance is just not acceptable. China’s market distortions and the way they deal cannot be tolerated.

As my administration has demonstrated, America will always act in our national interests. I spoke before this body last year and warned that the UN Human Rights Council had become a grave embarrassment to this institution, shielding egregious human-rights abusers while bashing America and its many friends. Our ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, laid out a clear agenda for reform, but despite reported and repeated warnings, no action at all was taken. So the United States took the only responsible course: We withdrew from the Human Rights Council and we will not return until real reform is enacted.

For similar reasons, the United States will provide no support and recognition to the International Criminal Court. As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority. The ICC claims near-universal jurisdiction over the citizens of every country, violating all principles of justice, fairness, and due process.

Comment: Trump once again declares his vision of the United States as an independent sovereign state, which should be governed exclusively by the people of the United States through democratic procedures. He rejects the globalism and demonstrates that he is well aware of the nature and specifics of the processes that take place in a number of international bodies – for example, in the Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court. He names the forces that dominate these organizations – the global bureaucracy and the associated global capital – the globalists aiming to establish the so-called New World Order. Trump makes it clear that he is a fierce opponent of this concept.

WE WILL NEVER SURRENDER AMERICA’S SOVEREIGNTY TO AN UNELECTED, UNACCOUNTABLE GLOBAL BUREAUCRACY. AMERICA IS GOVERNED BY AMERICANS. WE REJECT THE IDEOLOGY OF GLOBALISM, AND WE EMBRACE THE DOCTRINE OF PATRIOTISM. AROUND THE WORLD, RESPONSIBLE NATIONS MUST DEFEND AGAINST THREATS TO SOVEREIGNTY NOT JUST FROM GLOBAL GOVERNANCE, BUT ALSO FROM NEW FORMS OF COERCION AND DOMINATION.

Comment: These words are the culmination and the very essence of the address. Globalists will not forgive this. The next US presidential race is expected to be even tenser than the previous one. Trump could be described as a controversial person. But in this very case, he seems to be an island of sanity and a clear vision surrounded by oligarchic clans advocating globalism and the New World Order.

In America, we believe in energy security for ourselves and for our allies. We have become the largest energy producer anywhere on the face of the Earth. The United States stands ready to export our abundant, affordable supply of oil, clean coal, and natural gas. OPEC and OPEC nations are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the world, and I don’t like it. Nobody should like it. We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good. We want them to stop raising prices; we want them to start lowering prices. They must contribute substantially to military protection from now on. We are not going to put up with it, these horrible prices, much longer. Reliance on a single foreign supplier can leave a nation vulnerable to extortion and intimidation. That is why we congratulate European states such as Poland for leading the construction of a Baltic pipeline so that nations are not dependent on Russia to meet their energy needs. Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course.

Here in the Western Hemisphere, we are committed to maintaining our independence from the encroachment of expansionist foreign powers. It has been the formal policy of our country since President Monroe that we reject the interference of foreign nations in this hemisphere and in our own affairs. The United States has recently strengthened our laws to better screen foreign investments in our country for national-security threats. We welcome cooperation with countries in this region and around the world that wish to do the same. You need to do it for your own protection.

The United States is also working with partners in Latin America to confront threats to sovereignty from uncontrolled migration. Tolerance for human struggling and human smuggling and trafficking is not humane. It is a horrible thing that is going on, at levels that nobody has ever seen before. It is very, very cruel. Illegal immigration funds criminal networks, ruthless gangs, and the flow of deadly drugs. Illegal immigration exploits vulnerable populations and hurts hardworking citizens and has produced a vicious cycle of crime, violence, and poverty. Only by upholding national borders, destroying criminal gangs can we break the cycle and establish a real foundation for prosperity.

We recognize the right of every nation in this room to set its own immigration policy in accordance with its national interests, just as we ask other countries to respect our own right to do the same, which we are doing. That is one reason the United States will not participate in the new Global Compact on Migration. Migration should not be governed by an international body, unaccountable to our own citizens. Ultimately, the only long-term solution to the migration crisis is to help people build more hopeful futures in their home countries. Make their countries great again.

Comment: Trump’s United States would continue demonstrate the rationale protectionism and isolationism and defend the right of the nation to decide what kind of future it wants for itself.

Currently, we are witnessing a human tragedy as an example in Venezuela. More than 2 million people have fled the anguish inflicted by the socialist Maduro regime and its Cuban sponsors. Not long ago, Venezuela was one of the richest countries on earth. Today, socialism has bankrupted the oil-rich nation and driven its people into abject poverty. Virtually everywhere, socialism or communism has been tried. It has produced suffering, corruption, and decay. Socialism’s thirst for power leads to expansion, incursion, and oppression. All nations of the world should resist socialism and the misery that it brings to everyone. In that spirit, we ask the nations gathered here to join us in calling for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela. Today, we are announcing additional sanctions against the repressive regime, targeting Maduro’s inner circle and close advisers.

We are grateful for all of the work the United Nations does around the world to help people build better lives for themselves and their families. The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world by far of foreign aid. But few give anything to us. That is why we are taking a hard look at U.S. foreign assistance. That will be headed up by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. We will examine what is working, what is not working, and whether the countries who receive our dollars and our protection also have our interests at heart. Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends. We expect other countries to pay their fair share for the cost of their defense.

The United States is committed to making the United Nations more effective and accountable. I have said many times that the United Nations has unlimited potential. As part of our reform effort, I have told our negotiators that the United States will not pay more than 25 percent of the UN peacekeeping budget.

Comment: The US president just mocked international bodies in his unique style. He declared support to their actions, but said that he would not give them money.

This will encourage other countries to step up, get involved, and also share in this very large burden. We are working to shift more of our funding from assessed contributions to voluntary so that we can target American resources to the programs with the best record of success. Only when we each of us does our part and contributes our share can we realize the United Nations’ highest aspirations. We must pursue peace without fear, hope without despair, and security without apology.

Looking around this hall, where so much history has transpired, we think of the many before us who have come here to address the challenges of their nations and of their times. Our thoughts turn to the same question that ran through all of their speeches and resolutions, through every word and every hope. It is the question of, what kind of world will we leave for our children and what kind of nations they will inherit. The dreams that fill this hall today are as diverse as the people who have stood at this podium, and as varied as the countries represented right here, in this body, are. It really is something. It really is great, great history.

There is India, a free society over a billion people, successfully lifting countless millions out of poverty and into the middle class. There is Saudi Arabia, where King Salman and the crown prince are pursuing bold new reforms. There is Israel, proudly celebrating its 70th anniversary as a thriving democracy in the Holy Land. In Poland, the great people are standing up for their independence, their security, and their sovereignty.

Comment: The list of ‘successful and democratic’ nations named by Mr. Trump is especially interesting and funny. He said that India is “a free society over a billion people, successfully lifting countless millions out of poverty and into the middle class”. But he somehow forgot to mention that India is the state with one of the highest levels of social inequality. In fact, India is in the list because it’s the main regional competitor of China, the US is draining brains from the Indian nation, and India is a prospective market for the US industry, mainly the military industrial complex.

Saudi Arabia and Israel are the united Middle Eastern family of the traditional US allies. Their economies are incorporated into the US economy.

As to Poland, this state is currently one of the main political and economic competitors of Germany within the EU and thus the US ally. At the same time, Washington sees Poland as a deterrent force against Russia. Besides this, Poland has been acting as an agent working in interests of the Anglo-Saxon world in Europe.

Many countries are pursuing their own unique visions, building their own hopeful futures, and chasing their own wonderful dreams of destiny, of legacy, and of a home. The whole world is richer. Humanity is better because of this beautiful constellation of nations, each very special, each very unique, each shining brightly in its part of the world. In each one, we see also promise of a people bound together by a shared past and working toward a common future.

As for Americans, we know what kind of future we want for ourselves. We know what kind of a nation America must always be. In America, we believe in the majesty of freedom and the dignity of the individual. We believe in self-government and the rule of law. We prize the culture that sustains our liberty, a culture built on strong families, deep faith, and fierce independence. We celebrate our heroes, we treasure our traditions, and, above all, we love our country. Inside everyone in this great chamber today, and everyone listening all around the globe, there is the heart of a patriot that feels the same powerful love for your nation, the same intense loyalty to your homeland, the passion that burns in the hearts of patriots and the souls of nations has inspired reform and revolution, sacrifice and selflessness, scientific breakthroughs and magnificent works of art.

Our task is not to erase it, but to embrace it—to build with it, to draw on its ancient wisdom, and to find within it the will to make our nations greater, our regions safer, and the world better. To unleash this incredible potential in our people, we must defend the foundations that make it all possible. Sovereign and independent nations are the only vehicle where freedom has ever survived, democracy has ever endured, or peace has ever prospered. And so we must protect our sovereignty and our cherished independence above all. When we do, we will find new avenues for cooperation unfolding before us. We will find new passion for peacemaking rising within us. We will find new purpose, new resolve, and new spirit flourishing all around us, and making this a more beautiful world in which to live.

Together, let us choose a future of patriotism, prosperity, and pride. Let us choose peace and freedom over domination and defeat. Let us come here to this place to stand for our people and their nations.

Comment: These are great words. Nonetheless, we kindly ask Mr. Trump to reveal the list of nations that would have a right able to achieve this “future of patriotism, prosperity, and pride”, according to his vision.

Forever strong, forever sovereign, forever just. Forever thankful for the grace and the goodness and the glory of God. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the nations of the world. Thank you very much.

***

In the end, it is also interesting to note that Mr. Trump has almost fully ignored the so-called ‘Russian threat’ in his address. He mentioned Russia once when talked about the US interests in the European energy market and the German-Russian relations. However, there was no criticism aimed against Russia in general. Furthermore, the US President fully ignored the Ukraine question demonstrating his real stance towards the conflict.

Over the past days, the Trump administration has sent signals that it is not going to fund Ukraine just because it’s allegedly engaged in the “war with Russia”. Furthermore, Washington demonstrates that it is not interested in the further escalation of the situation in the region.

Amazonia in Flames – Brazil’s Bolsonaro is a World Criminal – Encouraging Jungle Burning for Private Exploitation of Freed Land

August 25, 2019

Amazonia in Flames – Brazil’s Bolsonaro is a World Criminal – Encouraging Jungle Burning for Private Exploitation of Freed Land

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

On 28 October 2018, Jair Bolsonaro was elected President of Brazil with 55.1% of the vote – and with a gigantic help from Cambridge Analytica.

At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in January 2019 in Davos Switzerland, Bolsonaro made a sumptuous presentation, “We Are Building a New Brazil”. He outlined a program that put literally Brazil up for sale, and especially the Brazilian part of Amazonia. He was talking particularly about Brazil’s water resources, the world’s largest, and the rain forest – offering a huge potential for agricultural development and mining.

None of the world leaders present at the WEF, precisely those that regularly meet pretending to save the planet, reacted to Bolsonaro’s statement on the Amazon region. They all new who Bolsonaro was and is – they knew that the man had no scruples and would destroy – literally – the world’s lungs. They did nothing. They stayed silent in words and deeds, applauding the neonazi for his openness to international business and globalization.

Today, on the occasion of another similar world event, the meeting of the G7 in Biarritz, France, French President Macron accused Bolsonaro of lying when he talked and pledged environmental consciousness after taking office, about protecting the Amazon area. Macron was joined by Germany in threatening Brazil with canceling the trade agreement with Mercosur, if he would not immediately undertake to stop the “wildfires”. They have most likely nothing to do with ‘wild’ – as they according to all circumstantial evidence were planted in a concerted effort to rid the rich Amazon territory of the life-sustaining jungle, so as to make the newly gained flame-deforested land accessible for private agri-business and mining.

Mind you, the G7 is another self-appointed totally illegal group of industrialized, rich countries (similar to the G20); illegal, because they have been approved by nobody, not by the UN or any international body. They became rich mostly on the back of poor developing nations that were and are still colonized for hundreds of years. The G7 count today about 10% of the world population and are controlling 40% of the globe’s GDP.

Despite the fact that nobody, other than themselves ratified their existence and their machinations, they believe they can call the shots of how the world should turn and function. They have no official backing by anybody, especially not the people across the globe, who, with a vast majority are fighting globalization. It’s a useless structure – RT refers to them as “The Unbearable Pointlessness of G7” – but their power lays in the rest of the world’s silence – their silent acceptance of the G7’s arrogant wielding of the scepter of power.

So, would Bolsonaro take them seriously, knowing that he is one of them and they are fully sharing his ideology of profit first, shoving environmental and social values down the muddy waters of the Amazon River? Hardly. He knows they are hypocrites. He knows that they make a bit of noise, because they have to. It makes for good public relation and propaganda – so people don’t go on the barricades. He knows that starting this coming Monday, 26 August, when the G7 summit will be history, that anything the Macrons of this world so impressively said, will fade away. The media will concentrate on other ‘news’ – and the forest fires will burn the life stream of Amazonia away – to make room for corporate profit making by the elite few.

Never mind the Constitutional protection of indigenous people and their land, Bolsonaro backed by evangelists and his military junta will rapidly dismantle any remaining protection for the ecosystem and native communities. His argument goes that the native people’s land is sitting on huge reserves of natural resources that belong to Brazil and may be concessioned to private corporations for mining, exploitation of agriculture and lumber.

The indigenous folks are people who have for thousands of years made a peaceful living in the Amazon. They are the gatekeepers of Amazonia; they are the people who may carry our genes from the present killer civilization to the next, hopefully less of a killer one, when mankind has finally managed to destroy itself. It will not destroy the planet. Never. The planet will just get rid of the nefarious elements of annihilation – mankind – and renew itself. As has happened many times in the past – a new civilization will eventually be born – and, yes, the world’s indigenous people, the likely only survivors, may carry on our DNA, possibly to the next attempt at humanity.

—-

The fires have so far in about 20 days since they were discovered, consumed at least 74,000 ha of tropical rain forest. The smoke is already trespassing the border to Argentina and affecting the provinces of Formosa, Jujuy, Corrientes, Catamarca, La Rioja, Santa Fe and may have already reached Buenos Aires. NASA reports that about 3.2 million square kilometers of South America are covered by smoke.

The flames are massive and are devastating the jungle at a rapid pace. Amazonia comprises one of the world’s largest rainforests, also known as Mother Earth’s lungs – without which humanity – and fauna and flora might not survive.

According to the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the fires increased by 83% – almost double – from what they were last year, and, not coincidentally, at least 68% of protected areas have been affected. The Brazilian Space Research spotted 72,000 fires, of which 9,000 last week alone. The Amazon is home to 34 million people, including over 350 indigenous groups.

At the onset of the G7 conference, Mr. Macron twittered: “Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days!”

The destruction of the Amazon is indeed a crime of first degree. Accordingly, there are protests around the world against Bolsonaro’s “free for all” mining, lumbering, land and water grabbing policies. The eco-warriors Extinction Rebellion (XR) organize widespread protests, and in front of London’s Brazilian Embassy protesters chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, Bolsonaro’s got to go!”.

While the Brazil fires catch world attention, there are jungle fires even larger than those in Amazonia burning down other parts of the world’s oxygen-generating lungs. Bloomberg cites NASA data, according to which last Thursday and Friday, 22 an 23 August – in two days alone – more than 6,900 fires were recorded in Angola and about 3,400 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), about 5 times as many as in the same two days in the Brazilian Amazon region. The destruction of the jungle in Africa progresses virtually unnoticed and is hardly reported in western media. Bloomberg is an exception. Whys is that?

Could it be that the same globalized corporations interested in Brazil’s natural resources underlaying the Amazon forests, are also interested in those enormous reserves of minerals and hydrocarbon resources of Central Africa? Have they – DRC, Angola and possibly others been encouraged tacitly or directly by Bolsonaro and his clan to let the jungle burn? There are plenty of Brazilian corporations which have a vivid interest in Angola, another former Portuguese colony.

Despite the G7 apparent concern to protect the world’s lungs in Amazonia, they seem to be oblivious about the Central African rain forest devastation. The massive African fires too advance rapidly and extinguish another part of the world’s lungs. But these fires are not on the G7 radar, or agenda for discussion, and nobody is threatened with sanctioning if the respective governments remain hapless onlookers.

In 2008, a so-called Amazon Fund, the first UN REDD+ initiative for the protection, preservation and monitoring of the Amazon region was created (UN REDD+ = reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks).

Germany and Norway – and others – have accused Brazil for not having properly invested their contribution into the Fund. Norway has recently blocked a payment of US$ 30 million destined for the Fund. Germany had blocked already in early August the equivalent of US$ 39 million for different Amazon protection programs to be financed by the Fund. But Bolsonaro, in a nonchalant manner dismissed the blocked payments, suggesting that Germany should use the funds for reforestation of Germany.

In the case of Brazil, the threats by the Macron-Merkel duo – and others – seem to have had at least at the outset the effect that Bolsonaro is mobilizing the military to help extinguish the fires. Will he succeed? – Does he want to succeed? – In any case will the media continue reporting on progress once the G7 have gone home? – Will the world’s outcry be loud enough to force a concerted effort, possibly UN led – to fight and extinguish these fires that are menacing not only to destroy a key oxygen generator for life on mother earth, but also a UNESCO protected world heritage?

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.  Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Turkey’s Multipolar Turn: Ankara and Beijing Come to Terms on Uyghurs Issue

Global Research, July 23, 2019

China’s relationship to its ethnic minority Uyghur population has been the central issue driving a wedge between China and the Muslim world in recent years. However, the situation is already beginning to change before our eyes – Pakistan, Turkey and many nations throughout the Middle East have suddenly stopped calling the Uyghur education centers in Xinjiang “concentration camps,” while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said that the Uyghurs live “happily” in Xinjiang. These are all indications of large-scale changes on the geopolitical map and the formation of new poles of cooperation.

Context

The Uyghurs (the second largest Muslim population in China after the Hui (回族) who number around 11 million) live in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China. The area became a part of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, after Mao Zedong led the country’s communist movement to victory over the Guomindang; Xinjiang has been a zone of political instability ever since.

The Uyghurs are indigenous Turkic people of Eastern Turkestan and Sunni Muslims. Western human rights organizations have recently been paying a great deal of attention to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang (e.g., Amnesty International’s 2013 report, Human Rights Watch’s 2018 report, reports from the Munich-based human rights organization World Uyghur Congress), while leading Western publications (CNN, BBC, Foreign Policy) have systematically criticized China’s policies in relation to the ethnic minority group.

The emergence of a number of articles criticizing China’s Xinjiang policies during the escalation of U.S.-China trade relations in 2018 can hardly be seen as a coincidence. For China, Xinjiang is a source of constant risk, since it has become a hub for radical Wahhabist strains of Islam [supported by foreign governments] which have begun to spread among the Muslim population. Most of the recent terrorist acts in China were committed by radicalized Uyghurs.

Assimilating the Uyghurs into Chinese society has been a very difficult process: their writing is based on the Arabic alphabet and their religion is rooted in Sunni Islam. While Sufism had traditionally been the central strain of Islam throughout Central Asia, in recent decades it has increasingly come under the influence of Salafist and Wahhabi tendencies under the influence of Saudi Arabia and in accordance with the USA’s plans to destabilize the region. The efforts of these countries have created a breeding ground for extremism and terrorism.

During the Arab Spring, Chinese authorities were seriously concerned about the possibility of regional destabilzation in Xinjiang as a result of the spread of radical Islam – at that time, Uyghur social networks were brought under direct control (This was accomplished via tools such as the JingWang Weishi app, which monitors photos, audio messagers and video materials online, and also has access to users private messages on WeChat). The Xinjiang region also has 20 million video cameras that can identify any person in the area in a remarkably short time (no more than 7 minutes). While all of this might seem draconian, such security policies are undoubtedly justified – over the past decade, a large number of Uyghurs have come under the influence of radical Islam, such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement  (ETIM).

To fight the spread of this dangerous ideology and to better integrate the Uyghurs into Chinese society, the Chinese authorities opened special education centres that teach the basics of Chinese political culture, Chinese language and conduct a course on the history of the People’s Republic of China. The process is called “transformation through training” or “counterterrorism training.”

The Western media, using an investigation by Human Rights Watch as a basis, has called the centers “concentration camps” (seemingly confusing them with prisons for offenders in the province). Moreover, the Western media and various human rights reports have accused the Chinese authorities of resorting to torture in these institutions, although there is no clear distinction between prisons for criminal offenders and the education centres in the reports. There is the information in these reports that Uyghurs in the education centres are allegedly being forced to renounce Islam. In September 2018, the U.S. government was considering the possibility of imposing sanctions against high-ranking Chinese officials and companies over the alleged violations of the Uygher’s rights and the supposed detention and restriction of freedoms in the “camps.”

More than 20 countries, including Japan and the United Kingdom, have recently issued a joint statement condemning China’s mass detention of Uyghurs and other minorities in the Xinjiang region. In a letter to Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, these 22 countries called for an end to “mass arbitrary detentions and related violations” and demanded Beijing grant UN experts access to the region.

The Conversation

@ConversationUK

Chinese officials have repeatedly termed the criticism of their treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang region as Western media politicising the issue.

37 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, UAE, seem to agree with China’s position. http://bit.ly/2JSLdnR 

China is building a global coalition of human rights violators to defend its record in Xinjiang –…

A group of 37 countries, including North Korea, Russia and Saudia Arabia, signed a letter in support of China’s human rights record.

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The mass media has devoted numerous articles to the issue, describing how the Chinese authorities do not allow Uughurs to perform religious pilgrimage (hajj), and preventing them from fulfilling their obligations during Ramadan.

Concentration camp, prisons or education centers?

The training has only one purpose: to learn laws and regulations…to eradicate from the mind thoughts about religious extremism and violent terrorism, and to cure ideological diseases. If the education is not going well, we will continue to provide free education, until the students achieve satisfactory results and graduate smoothly.
—Speech by Chinese Communist Youth League Xinjiang Branch, March 2017

Human Rights Watch’s report of 9 September 2018 published a report entitled “Eradicating Ideological Viruses’, which describes the Chinese authorities’ policy on Uyghurs as a policy of destoying the and violating ‘fundamental rights to freedom of expression, religion, and privacy’, practicing  ‘torture and unfair trials’. HRW note that China’s policy is a violation of international law prohibiting discrimination.

The Human Rights Organization report recommends western governments impose sanctions against the secretary of the party, Chen Quango, and other high-ranking officials. “Party Secretary Chen Quanguo and other senior officials responsible for the Strike Hard Campaign should face targeted sanctions – through tools such as the US Global Magnitsky Act and visa protocols.”    The organization also concludes that in order to address the situation in Xinjiang, countries should tighten export control regimes to prevent the development of Chinese technology.

It is important to note that the materials devoted to the issue of the Uyghur population in China began to be actively published in Western media during the escalation of the ongoing trade war between China and the United States. Interestingly, Trump’s protectionist policy against the PRC was joined by globalist corporations and influence groups, which, unlike Trump, see China as a threat not only to the U.S. economy, but also to the liberal globalist doctrine. This has become particularly evident over the past two years as the relationship between Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin grows closer, while Beijing’s “Belt and Road” initiative has increasingly shown China’s commitment to multipolarism.

It should be noted that, for China, the main goal in building education centers for the Uyghurs is to prevent the emergence of a domestic strain of radical Islam. China is in many ways an excellent breeding ground for the development of radical Islamic ideology,  which is useful for China’s enemies who want to weaken China by fermenting internal destabilization. According to Chinese authorities, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement in China is responsible for more than 200 terrorist attacks which have killed more than 160 people and injured more than 400.

In the absence of countermeasures such as education centres, radical Wahhabi ideas could easily spread among the Uyghur population, gradually creating a situation in China similar to the one which tore apart Syria.

With the trade war between the U.S. and China raging for more than a year, such a development would undoubtedly play into the hands of globalists opposed to China’s rising power and influence. New geopolitical strategies have emerged that pose a serious threat to globalism’s enemies without the need to resort to outright military conflict, such as using proxies to destabilize regions. It is no coincidence that Syria, a country that had no external debt before the war, became a target for terrorism.

What is really China’s policy?

Assimilation of the Uyghurs into Chinese society is gradually taking place on a large scale – for the majority of Uyghurs – Chinese has become a second or even first/native language. The Uyghurs have been granted privileges when it comes to entering universities and Chinese schools, as well as in starting up private businesses.

Uyghur children: “The population that is not there.”

One of the peculiarities of Xinjiang’s demographic picture is the conflict between China’s birth control measures (until the end of 2015/beginning of 2016, the “one family, one child” demographic law was in force, today it is the “one family, two children” demographic law) and Islamic tradition, especially in regard to polygamy which is practiced among Uyghurs and the simplicity of divorce measures, which also do not restrict women from remarriage and having more children.

This has resulted in a significant proportion of Xinjiang’s population not having official registration, i.e. citizenship, which naturally severely restricts their rights, access to education, medicine, legal earnings and travel both within and outside China. This environment of an illegal and unrecorded population deprived of legal status has become the basis for recruiting terrorists, Salafist jamaats and the spread of extremist ideology.

Possible solutions

To address the problem, the PRC needs to establish Confucian schools to integrate Uyghurs into PRC culture. In addition, an important step would be to establish Islamic education schools for the Uyghurs, where mullahs would teach the basics of Islam, which could be an important step in China’s fight against international terrorism.

The creation of Uighur integration centres into Chinese society in the Uyghur language could also be extremely effective. Such centres could be a cultural bridge to establishing a dialogue between two cultures with centuries-old histories.

It is crucial to counter Salafi and Wahhabi teachings with traditional Islam, and Sufism in particular. Chinese leadership has so far failed to significantly utilize this approach, despite that these traditional Islamic structures have already helped to stabilize some regions outside China, such as Turkey, Iraq, Syria and the Northern Caucasus in the Russian Federation.

Between Turkey and China

Turkey had heavily criticized China’s Uyghur policy until February 2019. In 2009, during the Uyghur riots in Urumqi in July, the Turkish government stated its disagreement with the Chinese authorities’ assessment of the situation: a member of the Justice and Development Party resigned from his post in the China-Turkey Interparliamentary Friendship Group, and the Minister of Industry and Trade called for a boycott on Chinese goods as a result.  After a series of protests in Ankara and Istanbul, Erdoğan himself condemned China’s policy towards the Uyghurs, calling it “genocide”. The situation was resolved some time later, but tensions between Turkey and China on the Uyghur issue remained until this year.

Interestingly, Turkey’s Kemalist faction, who are close to the Turkish military, have condemned the anti-Chinese position of the Turkish leadership for years. During a speech in Ürümqi (Xinjiang), Doğu Perinçek, the leader of the Vatan Partisi, argued that “the propaganda and lies aimed at China over the Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region target Turkey as well, because China’s friendship with Turkey is necessary to both our security and economy. Clearly conscious of this fact, we immediately took a decisive stance against the torrent of lies concerning the Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region.”

In July 2019, during his official visit to China, Erdogan admitted that the Uyghurs live happily in China.This was a radical change of position for the Muslim leader who had long criticized China’s policies. Erdogan, who is known for his support of some rather radical Islamic movements, in particular the Muslim Brotherhood, described Erdogan’s unexpected change of heart as a “betrayal.” However, only representatives of the Western media seemed to agree, as Erdoğan’s approval was quickly mirrored by other representatives of the Muslim world.

The globalist mass media has claimed that the reason Erdogan changed his position on the issue was predominantly economic.

In the period from 2013 to 2018, China invested 186.3 billion dollars in the framework of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). According to Morgan Stanley, Chinese investments in the BRI project will reach $1.3 billion by 2027. It is important to note that Turkey’s participation in the BRI is not only economic, but also ideological, as the country also increasingly orients itself toward a multipolar outlook.

Chinese political scientist Eric Li, in an article in Foreign Affairs, noted that the death of “globalism does not mean the end of globalization.” Today, China is developing and offering its partners a new vision of globalization – dialogue and partnership. This vision of globalization is devoid of the liberal dimension of a hegemon mediating between different cultures and states.

Turkey is moving away from its historic cooperation with the U.S., in part due to their support of Muhammed Fethullah Gülen’s anti government putsch three years ago. Turkey is joining the fight against globalism, a movement which is predominantly led by China. This reorientation is vividly demonstrated in Turkey’s deal with the Russian Federation to buy S-400 missile defense systems against Washington’s will. Die Welt called Ankara’s acquisition of the S-400s a de facto “refusal to support their allies in the West.” The publication notes that Turkey is currently reaching a “point of no return”, which may result in sanctions from the EU and the U.S., as well as the impossibility of purchasing F-35 fighter jets from the U.S. as planned.

Today, Turkey has the prospect to become a key player in the Chinese Belt and Road project, which has become the primary movement fighting globalist hegemony. Their participation could represent a significant step forward in the creation of a new, multipolar world.

*

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Very good interview of Paul Craig Roberts by the Herland Report

July 05, 2019

Published on Jul 3, 2019

Herland Report TV: “We are now back to robbery-capitalism. There are no countervailing powers and no media to constrain them,” says one of America’s leading political economists, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, chairman of The Institute for Political Economy, former editor of the Wall Street Journal, and a well known author of many books. He is also a regular contributor to the Herland Report news site as well as The Herland Report TV Show, awarded the Treasury Department’s Meritorious Service Award for “his outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy.” Many of the leading Western philosophers over the years have spoken about the need for fearless speech and critical thinking and investigative journalism and independence from power structures.
About this, Dr. Roberts says:
“The reason Noam Chomsky and I can speak freely is because we don’t want anything from the establishment. We are not depended on them. If we were, we would be shut down. So, you have a situation in the West where there is hardly anybody who can afford to speak freely.”
“In society, there has to be countervailing powers. One power has to balance the other. If not, some group runs away with it all. In the US, all of these countervailing powers have been destroyed. For example, one of the main results of offshoring the middle class jobs, the manufacturing jobs, was to destroy the unions. So, there is no longer any constraint by the union as a workforce, or employers. We are now back to robbery-capitalism because the unions are gone. A few exist and they are in the public sector and they are now beginning to starve them out as well. No raises, cuts, they use all sorts of tactics. And there is no longer a media to constrain them. Where is that limit now? It is gone.”
“The deterioration happened in a fairly short time. It was not a long drawn out procedure. If you think back to post World War II, we had a country that was a real country back then. We were unified, a people that believed in progress, there was goodwill. Where are these values now?”
“The pendulum has swung to robber-capitalism. The only mark of success is money. How you get it doesn’t matter anymore. I can remember when a billionaire was unknown, now everyone on the Forbes 400-list is a billionaire. We talk about individuals who have 100 billion dollars. That was the stats of the entirety of the Federal government when John F. Kennedy was president. So, now one person has a hundred billion dollars. You have a system that produces those results and yet the middle family income in the US are not grown in 20-30 years.”
“This is America. The majority population cannot raise 400 dollars cash without selling personal property, personal assets, their TV, their car, their ring. Yet, we have people worth 100 billion dollars.”
“I criticized globalism years ago and offshoring new jobs. I was accused to be against free trade, but it has nothing to do with free trade. So, what this does is it sends you to where labor is cheapest, where there is no regulation because then your profits are maximized. And those profits only go the management and the owners. But the cost of getting those profits is that you have destroyed the middle class.”
“In that sense, president Trump is right. The country has deserted its own and it is largely the reason for the rise of China. So, by doing this, we have created another power that is a constraint on American Unitarianism, which is China. They now know how to do thing that we do not know anymore.”
The Herland Report is a Scandinavian news site and TV channel on YouTube, reaching millions yearly, presenting leading intellectuals’ view on foreign policy, current affairs, the Middle East, Western decadence, featuring a variety of opinion and analysis from a number of commentators from across the political spectrum.
The Herland Report is founded and hosted by Hanne Nabintu Herland, a historian of comparative religions, bestselling author, commentator and TV producer, known from the media for sharp analysis and fearless speech. TWITTER: https://twitter.com/HanneNabintuHer ALSO FOLLOW THE HERLAND REPORT NEWS SITE and pick up articles from leading intellectuals, authors, journalists and activists: http://www.theherlandreport.com

The Financial Times’s Interview with President Putin

July 03, 2019

Ahead of the G20 Osaka Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with The Financial Times Editor Lionel Barber and Moscow Bureau Chief Henry Foy, The Kremlin, Moscow, June 27, 2019.

WATCH PART 1

WATCH PART 2

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/60836

Lionel Barber: Mr President, you head for Osaka shortly as the senior statesman at the G20. Nobody has been to so many international meetings of this grouping and the G7 over the last 20 years while you have been in charge of Russia. Before we talk about the G20 agenda and what you hope to achieve, we know that there are rising tensions between America and China in trade, the risk of conflict in the Gulf. I would be very grateful if you could talk a bit about how you have seen the world change over the last 20 years while you have been in power.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: First, I have not been in power for all these 20 years. As you may know, I was Prime Minister for four years, and that is not the highest authority in the Russian Federation. But nevertheless, I have been around for a long time in government and in the upper echelons, so I can judge what is changing and how. In fact, you just said it yourself, asking what has changed and how. You mentioned the trade wars and the Persian Gulf developments. I would cautiously say the situation has not changed for the better, but I remain optimistic to a certain extent. But, to put it bluntly, the situation has definitely become more dramatic and explosive.

Lionel Barber: Do you believe that the world now has become more fragmented?

Vladimir Putin: Of course, because during the Cold War, the bad thing was the Cold War. It is true. But there were at least some rules that all participants in international communication more or less adhered to or tried to follow. Now, it seems that there are no rules at all. In this sense, the world has become more fragmented and less predictable, which is the most important and regrettable thing.

Lionel Barber: We will return to this theme of the world without rules, fragmentation, more transactional. But first, Mr President, tell us what you want to achieve in Osaka, in terms of your relationships with these other parties? What are your main goals for the summit?

Vladimir Putin: I would very much like all the participants in this event, and the G20, in my opinion, is a key international economic development forum today, so I would like all the G20 members to reaffirm their intention – at least an intention – to work out some general rules that everyone would follow, and show their commitment and dedication to strengthening international financial and trade institutions.

Everything else is details that complement the main topics one way or another. We certainly support Japan’s Presidency. As for the development of modern technology, the information world, the information economy, as well as our Japanese colleagues’ attention to matters such as longevity and the environment – all this is extremely important, and we will certainly support it and will take part in all these discussions. Even though it is hard to expect any breakthroughs or landmark decisions in the current conditions; we can hardly count on it today. But in any case, there is hope at least that during these general discussions and bilateral meetings we will be able to smooth out the existing disagreements and lay a foundation, a basis for positive movement forward.

Lionel Barber: You will have a meeting with Mohammad bin Salman in Osaka. Can we expect an extension of the current agreement on oil production? Limitations?

Vladimir Putin: As you know, Russia is not an OPEC member, even though it is among the world’s largest producers. Our daily production is estimated at 11.3 million barrels, I believe. The United States has surged ahead of us, though. However, we believe that our production stabilisation agreements with Saudi Arabia and OPEC in general have had a positive effect on market stabilisation and forecasting.

I believe both energy producers, in this case, oil producing countries, and consumers are interested in this, because stability is definitely in short supply at present. And our agreements with Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members undoubtedly strengthen stability.

As for whether we will extend the agreement, you will find out in the next few days. I had a meeting on this issue with the top executives of our largest oil companies and Government members right before this interview.

Lionel Barber: They are a little bit frustrated. They would like to produce more. Is that correct?

Vladimir Putin: They have a smart policy. It is not about increasing production, although that is a major component in the work of large oil companies. It is about the market situation. They take a comprehensive view of the situation, as well as of their revenues and expenses. Of course, they are also thinking about boosting the industry, timely investments, ways to attract and use modern technology, as well as about making this vital industry more attractive for investors.

However, dramatic price hikes or slumps will not contribute to market stability and will not encourage investment. This is why we discussed all these issues in their totality today.

Lionel Barber: Mr President, you have observed four American presidents at close quarters and will maybe five, you have had direct experience. So, how is Mr Trump different?

Vladimir Putin: We are all different. No two people are the same, just like there are no identical sets of fingerprints. Anyone has his or her own advantages, and let the voters judge their shortcomings. On the whole, I maintained sufficiently good-natured and stable relations with all the leaders of the United States. I had an opportunity to communicate more actively with some of them.

The first US President I came into contact with was Bill Clinton. Generally, I viewed this as a positive experience. We established sufficiently stable and business-like ties for a short period of time because his tenure was already coming to an end. I was only a very young president then who had just started working. I continue to recall how he established partner-like relations with me. I remain very grateful to him for this.

There have been different times, and we had to address various problems with all other colleagues. Unfortunately, this often involved debates, and our opinions did not coincide on some matters that, in my opinion, can be called key aspects for Russia, the United States and the entire world. For example, this includes the unilateral US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that, as we have always believed, and as I am still convinced, was the cornerstone of the entire international security system.

We debated this matter for a long time, argued and suggested various solutions. In any event, I made very energetic attempts to convince our US partners not to withdraw from the Treaty. And, if the US side still wanted to withdraw from the Treaty, it should have done so in such a way as to guarantee international security for a long historical period. I suggested this, I have already discussed this in public, and I repeat that I did this because I consider this matter to be very important. I suggested working jointly on missile-defence projects that should have involved the United States, Russia and Europe. They stipulated specific parameters of this cooperation, determined dangerous missile approaches and envisioned technology exchanges, the elaboration of decision-making mechanisms, etc. Those were absolutely specific proposals.

I am convinced that the world would be a different place today, had our US partners accepted this proposal. Unfortunately, this did not happen. We can see that the situation is developing in another direction; new weapons and cutting-edge military technology are coming to the fore. Well, this is not our choice. But, today, we should at least do everything so as to not aggravate the situation.

Lionel Barber: Mr President, you are a student of history. You have had many hours of conversation with Henry Kissinger. You almost certainly read his book, World Order. With Mr Trump, we have seen something new, something much more transactional. He is very critical of alliances and allies in Europe. Is this something that is to Russia’s advantage?

Vladimir Putin: It would be better to ask what would be to America’s advantage in this case. Mr Trump is not a career politician. He has a distinct world outlook and vision of US national interests. I do not accept many of his methods when it comes to addressing problems. But do you know what I think? I think that he is a talented person. He knows very well what his voters expect from him.

Russia has been accused, and, strange as it may seem, it is still being accused, despite the Mueller report, of mythical interference in the US election. What happened in reality? Mr Trump looked into his opponents’ attitude to him and saw changes in American society, and he took advantage of this.

You and I are talking ahead of the G20 meeting. It is an economic forum, and it will undoubtedly have discussions on globalisation, global trade and international finance.

Has anyone ever given a thought to who actually benefited and what benefits were gained from globalisation, the development of which we have been observing and participating in over the past 25 years, since the 1990s?

China has made use of globalisation, in particular, to pull millions of Chinese out of poverty.

What happened in the United States, and how did it happen? In the United States, the leading US companies –the companies, their managers, shareholders and partners – made use of these benefits. The middle class hardly benefitted from globalisation. The take-home pay in the US (we are likely to talk later about real incomes in Russia, which need special attention from the Government). The middle class in the United States has not benefited from globalisation; it was left out when this pie was divided up.

The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly, and they used this in the election campaign. It is where you should look for reasons behind Trump’s victory, rather than in any alleged foreign interference. This is what we should be talking about here, including when it comes to the global economy.

I believe this may explain his seemingly extravagant economic decisions and even his relations with his partners and allies. He believes that the distribution of resources and benefits of globalisation in the past decade was unfair to the United States.

I am not going to discuss whether it was fair or not, and I will not say if what he is doing is right or wrong. I would like to understand his motives, which is what you asked me about. Maybe this could explain his unusual behaviour.

Lionel Barber: I definitely want to come back to the Russian economy. But what you said is absolutely fascinating. Here you are, the President of Russia, defending globalisation along with President Xi whereas Mr Trump is attacking globalisation and talking about America First. How do you explain this paradox?

Vladimir Putin: I don’t think that his desire to make America first is a paradox. I want Russia to be first, and that is not perceived as a paradox; there is nothing unusual there. As for the fact that he is attacking some manifestations of globalisation, I made that point earlier. He seems to believe that the results of globalisation could have been much better for the United States than they are. These globalisation results are not producing the desired effect for the United States, and he is beginning this campaign against certain elements of globalisation. This concerns everyone, primarily major participants in the system of international economic collaboration, including allies.

Lionel Barber: Mr President, you have had many meetings with President Xi, and Russia and China have definitely come closer. Are you putting too many eggs in the China basket? Because Russian foreign policy, including under your leadership, has always made a virtue of talking to everybody.

Vladimir Putin: First of all, we have enough eggs, but there are not that many baskets where these eggs can be placed. This is the first point.

Secondly, we always assess risks.

Thirdly, our relations with China are not motivated by timeserving political any other considerations. Let me point out that the Friendship Treaty with China was signed in 2001, if memory serves, long before the current situation and long before the current economic disagreements, to put it mildly, between the United States and China.

We do not have to join anything, and we do not have to direct our policy against anyone. In fact, Russia and China are not directing their policy against anyone. We are just consistently implementing our plans for expanding cooperation. We have been doing this since 2001, and we are just consistently implementing these plans.

Take a look at what is written there. We have not done anything that transcends the framework of these accords. So there is nothing unusual here, and you should not search for any implications of the Chinese-Russian rapprochement. Of course, we assess the current global developments; our positions coincide on a number of matters on the current global agenda, including our attitude towards compliance with generally accepted rules in trade, the international financial system, payments and settlements.

The G20 has played a very tangible role. Since its inception in 2008, when the financial crisis flared up, the G20 has accomplished many useful things for stabilising the global financial system, for developing global trade and ensuring its stabilisation. I am talking about the tax aspect of the global agenda, the fight against corruption, and so on. Both China and Russia adhere to this concept.

The G20 has accomplished a lot by advocating quota changes at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Both Russia and China share this approach. Considering the major increase in the global economic share of emerging markets, this is fair and right, and we have been voicing this position from the very beginning. And we are glad that this continues to develop and to proceed in line with changes in global trade.

Over the past 25 years or so (25, I believe), the share of G7 countries in the global GDP has declined from 58 percent to 40 percent. This should also be reflected in international institutions in some way. That is the common position of Russia and China. This is fair, and there is nothing special about this.

Yes, Russia and China have many coinciding interests, this is true. This is what motivates our frequent contacts with President Xi Jinping. Of course, we have also established very warm personal relations, and this is natural.

Therefore, we are moving in line with our mainstream bilateral agenda that was formulated as far back as 2001, but we quickly respond to global developments. We never direct our bilateral relations against anyone. We are not against anyone, we are for ourselves.

Lionel Barber: I am relieved that this egg supply is strong. But the serious point, Mr President, is, you are familiar with Graham Allison‘s book, The Thucydides’s Trap. The danger of tensions or a military conflict risk between a dominant power and a rising power, America and China. Do you think that there is a risk of a military conflict in your time between you, America and China?

Vladimir Putin: You know, the entire history of mankind has always been full of military conflicts, but since the appearance of nuclear weapons the risk of global conflicts has decreased due to the potential global tragic consequences for the entire population of the planet in case such a conflict happens between two nuclear states. I hope it will not come to this.

However, of course, we have to admit that it is not only about China’s industrial subsidies on the one hand or the tariff policy of the United States on the other. First of all, we are talking about different development platforms, so to speak, in China and in the United States. They are different and you, being a historian, probably will agree with me. They have different philosophies in both foreign and domestic policies, probably.

But I would like to share some personal observations with you. They are not about allied relations with one country or a confrontation with the other; I am just observing what is going on at the moment. China is showing loyalty and flexibility to both its partners and opponents. Maybe this is related to the historical features of Chinese philosophy, their approach to building relations.

Therefore I do not think that there would be some such threats from China. I cannot imagine that, really. But it is hard to say whether the United States would have enough patience not to make any rash decisions, but to respect its partners even if there are disagreements. But I hope, I would like to repeat this again, I hope that there would not be any military confrontation.

Lionel Barber: Arms control. We know that the INF agreement is in grave jeopardy. Is there any place, from Russia’s point of view, for future arms control agreements or are we in a new phase when we are likely to see a new nuclear arms race?

Vladimir Putin: I believe there is such a risk.

As I said already, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty, and has recently quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty as well. But this time, it did not just quit but found a reason to quit, and this reason was Russia. I do not think Russia means anything to them in this case, because this war theatre, the war theatre in Europe is unlikely to be interesting to the US, despite the expansion of NATO and NATO’s contingent near our borders. The fact remains, the US has withdrawn from the treaty. Now the agenda is focused on theStrategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). I hope that I will be able to talk about it with Donald if we happen to meet in Osaka.

We said that we are ready to hold talks and to extend this treaty between the United States and Russia, but we have not seen any relevant initiative from our American partners. They keep silent, while the treaty expires in 2021. If we do not begin talks now, it would be over because there would be no time even for formalities.

Our previous conversation with Donald showed that the Americans seem to be interested in this, but still they are not making any practical steps. So if this treaty ceases to exist, then there would be no instrument in the world to curtail the arms race. And this is bad.

Lionel Barber: Exactly, the gloves are off. Is there any chance of a triangular agreement between China, Russia and America on intermediate nuclear forces or is that a dream, pie in the sky? Would you support such an end?

Vladimir Putin: As I said at the very beginning, we will support any agreement that can advance our cause, that is, help us contain the arms race.

It should be said that so far, the level and the development scale of China’s nuclear forces are much lower than in the United States and Russia. China is a huge power that has the capability to build up its nuclear potential. This will likely happen in the future, but so far our capabilities are hardly comparable. Russia and the United States are the leading nuclear powers, which is why the agreement was signed between them. As for whether China will join these efforts, you can ask our Chinese friends.

Lionel Barber: Russia is a Pacific power as well as a European and Asian power. It is a Pacific power. You have seen what the Chinese are doing in terms of their buildup of their Navy and their maritime strength. How do you deal with those potential security problems, territorial disputes in the Pacific? Does Russia have a role to play in a new security arrangement?

Vladimir Putin: You mentioned the build-up of naval forces in China. China’s total defence spending is $117 billion, if memory serves. The US defence spending is over $700 billion. And you are trying to scare the world with the build-up of China’s military might? It does not work with this scale of military spending. No, it does not.

As for Russia, we will continue to develop our Pacific Fleet as planned. Of course, we also respond to global developments and to what happens in relations between other countries. We can see all of this, but it does not affect our defence development plans, including those in the Russian Far East.

We are self-sufficient, and we are confident. Russia is the largest continental power. But we have a nuclear submarine base in the Far East, where we are developing our defence potential in accordance with our plans, including so that we can ensure safety on the Northern Sea Route, which we are planning to develop.

We intend to attract many partners to this effort, including our Chinese partners. We may even reach an agreement with American shippers and with India, which has also indicated its interest in the Northern Sea Route.

I would say that we are also primed for cooperation in the Asia Pacific region, and I have grounds to believe that Russia can make a considerable, tangible and positive contribution to stabilising the situation.

Lionel Barber: Can we just turn to North Korea? How do you assess the current situation and do you believe that in the end, any deal or agreement will have to accept the fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons and that total dismantling is just not possible? If I could just add, Mr President, I ask you this because Russia has a fairly small but still a land border with North Korea.

Vladimir Putin: You know, whether we recognise North Korea as a nuclear power or not, the number of nuclear charges it has will not decrease. We must proceed from modern realities, which are that nuclear weapons pose a threat to international peace and security.

Another pertinent question is where this problem stems from. The tragedies of Libya and Iraq have inspired many countries to ensure their security at all costs.

What we should be talking about is not how to make North Korea disarm, but how to ensure the unconditional security of North Korea and how to make any country, including North Korea feel safe and protected by international law that is strictly honoured by all members of the international community. This is what we should be thinking about.

We should think about guarantees, which we should use as the basis for talks with North Korea. We must be patient, respect it and, at the same time, take into account the dangers arising from this, the dangers of the nuclear status and the presence of nuclear weapons.

Of course, the current situation is fraught with unpredictable scenarios, which we must avoid.

Lionel Barber: You have obviously thought of this as an experienced foreign policy and security analyst and a strategist. How do you see the North Asia security situation over the next five to ten years, given you have Russia, you have China, you have Korea and Japan?

Vladimir Putin: You have said correctly that we have a common border, even if a short one, with North Korea, therefore, this problem has a direct bearing on us. The United States is located across the ocean, and the UK is located far away, while we are right here, in this region, and the North Korean nuclear range is not far away from our border. This why this concerns us directly, and we never stop thinking about it.

I would like to return to my answer to your previous question. We must respect North Korea’s legitimate security concerns. We must show it respect, and we must find a way of ensuring its security that will satisfy North Korea. If we do this, the situation may take a turn nobody can imagine today.

Do you remember what turn the situation took after the Soviet Union adopted the policy of détente? Do I need to say anything else?

Lionel Barber: Mr President, you have been in power or very close to power. I think in Davos I said to you when we met – you were not in power but still calling all the shots. After 20 years at the top or near the top, has your appetite for risk increased?

Vladimir Putin: It did not increase or decrease.Risk must always be well-justified. But this is not the case when one can use the popular Russian phrase: “He who doesn’t take risks, never drinks champagne.” This is not the case. Quite possibly, risks are inevitable when one has to make certain decisions. Depending on the scale of any decision, risks can be small or serious.

Any decision-making process is accompanied by risk. Before taking one’s chances, one has to meticulously assess everything. Therefore, risk based on an assessment of the situation and the possible consequences of the decisions is possible and even inevitable. Foolish risks overlooking the real situation and failing to clearly comprehend the consequences are unacceptable because they can jeopardise the interests of a great number of people.

Lionel Barber: How big was this Syria risk in terms of your decision to intervene?

Vladimir Putin: It was sufficiently high. However, of course, I thought carefully about this well in advance, and I considered all the circumstances and all the pros and cons. I considered how the situation around Russia would develop and the possible consequences. I discussed this matter with my aides and ministers, including those in charge of law enforcement agencies and other senior officials. In the long run, I decided that the positive effect from our active involvement in Syrian affairs for Russia and the interests of the Russian Federation would far outweigh non-interference and passive observation of how an international terrorist organisation grows ever stronger near our borders.

Lionel Barber: What has the return been like on the risk taken in Syria?

Vladimir Putin: I believe that it has been a good and positive return. We have accomplished even more than I had expected. First of all, many militants planning to return to Russia were eliminated. This implies several thousand people. They were planning to return to Russia or neighbouring countries with which we do not maintain any visa regime. Both aspects are equally dangerous for us. This is the first thing.

Secondly, we have managed to stabilise the situation in a nearby region, one way or another. This is also highly important. Therefore, we have directly strengthened Russia’s domestic security. This is the third thing.

Fourthly, we have established sufficiently good business-like relations with all regional countries, and our positions in the Middle East region have become more stable. Indeed, we have established very good, business-like, partner-like and largely allied relations with many regional countries, including Iran, Turkey and other countries.

Primarily, this concerns Syria, we have managed to preserve Syrian statehood, no matter what, and we have prevented Libya-style chaos there. And a worst-case scenario would spell out negative consequences for Russia.

Besides, I would like to openly speak of the mobilisation of the Russian Armed Forces. Our Armed Forces have received such practical experience that they could not have obtained during any peace-time exercises.

Lionel Barber: Are you committed to Mr al-Assad remaining in power or can we see, at some point, the transition in Syria that Russia would support, which would not be Libya?

Vladimir Putin: I believe that the Syrian people should be free to choose their own future. At the same time, I would like the actions of external players to be substantiated and, just as in the case of the risks you have mentioned, predictable and understandable, so that we can consider at least our next moves.

When we discussed this matter only recently with the previous US administration, we said, suppose Assad steps down today, what will happen tomorrow?

Your colleague did well to laugh, because the answer we got was very amusing. You cannot even imagine how funny it was. They said, “We don’t know.” But when you do not know what happens tomorrow, why shoot from the hip today? This may sound primitive, but this is how it is.

Therefore, we prefer to look at problems thoroughly from all possible angles and not to be in any hurry. Of course, we are perfectly aware of what is happening in Syria. There are internal reasons for the conflict, and they should be dealt with. But both sides should do their bit. I am referring to the conflicting parties.

Lionel Barber: Mr President, does that same argument apply to Venezuela? In other words, you are not prepared to see a transition in Venezuela and you are absolutely committed to President Maduro.

Vladimir Putin: Oh, and it seemed we had started so well. Please do not take offence to what I am going to say next. You won’t, will you? We were off to such a terrific start, talking seriously, and now you have moved back to the stereotype views on Russia.

We have no nothing to do with what is happening in Venezuela, if you know what I mean.

Lionel Barber: What are those advisors doing then in Caracas?

Vladimir Putin: I will say this now, if you just let me finish. There is no problem with that.

Back under [President] Chavez we sold weapons to Venezuela, without any limits and problems. We did this absolutely legally just as it is done all around the world and as every country does, including the United States, the UK, China and France. We did this too – we sold weapons to Venezuela.

We signed contracts, which say what we have to do when it comes to servicing this military equipment, that we must train local specialists, ensure that this equipment is maintained in combat readiness, and so on. We provide maintenance services for this equipment. I have already said this many times, including to our American partners: there are no Russian troops there. Do you understand? Yes, there are Russian specialists and instructors there. Yes, they are working there. Only recently, I believe it was a week ago, a group of our advisers and specialists left the country. But they can return.

We have an agreement that our aircraft fly there from time to time to take part in exercises. And this is it. Are we regulating the rebels’ actions as some of our partners are doing, or the actions of President Maduro? He is the president, why should we control his actions? He is in control. Whether he is doing well or not, this is another matter altogether. We do not make any judgments.

I believe that many things could have been done differently there when it comes to the economy. But we do not meddle in things; it is none of our business. We have invested billions of dollars there, mostly in the oil sector. So what? Other countries are doing the same as well.

It looks like everything is preserved only by Russian weapons. This is not true. It has nothing in common with reality. Where are the self-proclaimed presidents and opposition leaders? Some of them have taken refuge in foreign embassies and others are in hiding. What do we have to do with this? This problem should be sorted out by the Venezuelan people themselves. This is all.

Lionel Barber: I was just applying your theory and your experience of seeing what happened in Libya and Iraq to Venezuela. And therefore, logically, you would say, “We are committed to Mr Maduro because we do not want to see regime change from outside.” Is that the Russian position? Or might you be willing to say, “We will support Guaido because we have important oil interests in Venezuela”?

Vladimir Putin: We are prepared for any developments in any country, including Venezuela, if they are taking place in accordance with internal rules and the country’s legislation, its Constitution, and in line with the people’s will.

I do not think that Libyan or Iraqi statehood would have been wrecked if there had been no intervention there. It would not have happened in Libya, the situation was absolutely different there. Indeed, Gaddafi wrote his books there, set forth his theories, and so on, which did not meet specific standards, and his practical work did not meet European or American perceptions of democracy.

Incidentally, the President of France said recently that the American democratic model differs greatly from the European model. So there are no common democratic standards. And do you, well, not you, but our Western partners want a region such as Libya to have the same democratic standards as Europe and the United States? The region has only monarchies or countries with a system similar to the one that existed in Libya.

But I am sure that, as a historian, you will agree with me at heart. I do not know whether you will publicly agree with this or not, but it is impossible to impose current and viable French or Swiss democratic standards on North African residents who have never lived in conditions of French or Swiss democratic institutions. Impossible, isn’t it? And they tried to impose something like that on them. Or they tried to impose something that they had never known or even heard of. All this led to conflict and inter-tribal discord. In fact, a war continues in Libya.

So why should we do the same in Venezuela? Do we want to revert to gunboat diplomacy? What do we need it for? Is it necessary to humiliate Latin American nations so much in the modern world and impose forms of government or leaders from the outside?

By the way, we worked with President Chavez because he was president. We did not work with President Chavez as an individual, but we worked with Venezuela. That is why we channelled investments in the oil sector.

And where did we plan to deliver Venezuelan oil while investing in the oil sector? As you know, Venezuela has unique oil that is mostly delivered to US refineries. What is so bad about that? We wanted the Venezuelan oil and gas sector to operate steadily, predictably and confidently and to make deliveries to those US refineries. I do not understand what is so wrong with this.

First, they faced economic problems, followed by domestic political problems. Let them sort things out by themselves, and these leaders will come to power by democratic means. But when a person enters a square, raises his eyes to the sky and proclaims himself president? Let us do the same in Japan, the United States or Germany. What will happen? Do you understand that this will cause chaos all over the world? It is impossible to disagree with this. There will be pure chaos. How could they act like this? But no, they started supporting that person from the very outset.

He may be a very good person. He may be just wonderful, and his plans are good. But is it enough that he entered a square and proclaimed himself president? Is the entire world supposed to support him as president? We should tell him to take part in elections and win them, and then we would work with him as the state leader.

Lionel Barber: Let us talk about another democracy in Europe, my own country. You are going to have a meeting with Mrs May, which is going to be one of her last meetings before she steps down as Prime Minister. Do you think that there is a possibility of some improvement in Anglo-Russian relations and that we can move on from some of these issues that are obviously of great sensitivity, like the Skripal affair? Or do you think that we are going to stay in a deep freeze for the next three or five years?

Vladimir Putin: Listen,all this fuss about spies and counter-spies, it is not worth serious interstate relations. This spy story, as we say, it is not worth five kopecks. Or even five pounds, for that matter. And the issues concerning interstate relations, they are measured in billions and the fate of millions of people. How can we compare one with the other?

The list of accusations and allegations against one another could go on and on. They say, “You poisoned the Skripals.” Firstly, this must be proved.

Secondly, the average person listens and says, “Who are these Skripals?” And it turns out that Skripal was engaged in espionage against us [Russia]. So this person asks the next question, “Why did you spy on us using Skripal? Maybe you should not have done that?” You know, these questions are infinite. We need to just leave it alone and let security agencies deal with it.

But we know that businesses in the United Kingdom (by the way, I had a meeting with our British colleagues in this same room), they want to work with us, they are working with us and intend to continue doing so. And we support this intent.

I think that Mrs May, despite her resignation, could not help but be concerned that these spy scandals made our relations reach a deadlock so we could not develop our ties normally and support business people, who are doing what? They do not only earn money, this is what is on the outside. They create jobs and added value, plus they provide revenue at all levels of the tax system of their countries. This is a serious and multifaceted job, with the same risks you mentioned, including risks related to business operations. And if we add an unpredictable political situation, they will not be able to work at all.

I think that both Russia and the United Kingdom are interested in fully restoring our relations. At least I hope that a few preliminary steps will be made. I think it would be easier for Mrs May, maybe, because she is leaving and is free to do what she thinks is right, important and necessary and not to bother about some domestic political consequences.

Lionel Barber: Some people might say that a human life is worth more than five pennies. But do you believe, Mr President that whatever happened…

Vladimir Putin: Did anybody die?

Lionel Barber: Oh yes. The gentleman who had a drug problem and he died after touching the Novichok in the car park. I mean somebody did that because of the perfume. It was more than one person that died, not the Skripals. I am just…

Vladimir Putin: And you think this is absolutely Russia’s fault?

Lionel Barber: I did not say that. I said somebody died.

Vladimir Putin: You did not say that, but if it has nothing to do with Russia… Yes, a man died, and that is a tragedy, I agree. But what do we have to do with it?

Lionel Barber: Let me just ask this and I really want to talk about the Russian economy. Do you believe that what happened in Salisbury sent an unambiguous message to anyone who is thinking of betraying the Russian state that it is fair game?

Vladimir Putin: As a matter of fact, treason is the gravest crime possible and traitors must be punished. I am not saying that the Salisbury incident is the way to do it. Not at all. But traitors must be punished.

This gentleman, Skripal, had already been punished. He was arrested, sentenced and then served time in prison. He received his punishment. For that matter, he was off the radar. Why would anybody be interested in him? He got punished. He was detained, arrested, sentenced and then spent five years in prison. Then he was released and that was it.

As concerns treason, of course, it must be punishable. It is the most despicable crime that one can imagine.

Lionel Barber: The Russian economy. You spoke the other day about decline in the real wages in the Russian workforce and Russian growth has been less than expected. But at the same time, Mr President, you have been accumulating foreign exchange reserves and international reserves at some 460 billion. What are you saving for? What is the purpose? Can’t you use some of this money to ease up on the fiscal side?

Vladimir Putin: Let me correct a few very small details. Real wages are not in decline in Russia. On the contrary, they are starting to pick up. It is the real household disposable income that is falling.

Wages and income are two slightly different things. Income is determined by many parameters, including loan servicing costs. People in Russia take out a lot of consumer loans and interest payments are counted towards expenses, which drags down real income indicators. Also, the shadow economy is undergoing legalisation. A substantial part of self-employed people – I believe, 100,000 or 200,000, have already legalised their business. This, too, affects real incomes of the population, disposable incomes.

This tendency has persisted for the past four years. Last year we recorded a small increase of 0.1 percent. It is not enough. It is still within the margin of error. But it is one of the serious problems that we need to deal with and we are dealing with it.

Real wages started to grow recently. Last year there was an 8.5-percent increase. This year, the growth rate of real wages has significantly decreased due to a whole range of circumstances. I mean that last year we saw a recovery growth and there are some other factors involved. However, it continues. And we really expect that it will have an effect on real household disposable incomes.

Even more so because lately we have adopted a number of measures to speed up the growth of retirement pensions. Last year the inflation rate was 4.3 percent and, based on these results, in the beginning of this year pensions were adjusted for inflation by 7.05 percent. And we set ourselves a goal, a task – which, I am certain, will be achieved – to adjust pensions by a percentage that is above the inflation rate.

Now, real incomes were also affected because we had to increase VAT from 18 to 20 percent, which affected people’s purchasing power because the inflation rate exceeded 5 percent.

In other words, we expected that the negative impact of the VAT increase would be short-term, which is exactly what happened. Fortunately, it worked out and our calculations proved right. Now the inflation rate is going down, the macroeconomic situation is improving; investment is rising slightly. We can see that the economy has overcome those difficulties that were caused by internal and external shocks. The external shocks were related to restrictions and slumping prices on our traditional export products. The economy has stabilised.

The macroeconomic situation in the country is stable. It is not accidental and all rating agencies registered it. The three major agencies raised our investment rating. Economic growth last year was 2.3 percent. We do not think it was enough but we will, of course, work on speeding up the pace. The growth rate in industrial production was 2.9 percent and even higher, up to 13 percent in some industries (light industry, processing and garment industries and several others). Therefore, overall, our economy is stable.

But the most important task we need to achieve is to change the structure of the economy and secure a substantial growth of labour productivity through modern technologies, Artificial Intelligence, robotics and so on. This is exactly why we increased VAT, to raise budget funds for performing a certain part of this job that is the state’s responsibility, in order to create conditions for private investment. Let us take transport and other infrastructure development. Hardly anybody besides the state is involved in it. There are other factors related to education and healthcare. A person who has health problems or has no training cannot be efficient in the modern economy. The list goes on.

We really hope that by starting this work on key development areas, we will be able to increase labour productivity and use this basis for ensuring an increase in the incomes and prosperity of our people.

As concerns the reserves, you are not exactly correct here, either. We have over 500 billion in gold and foreign currency reserves, rather than 460 billion. But the understanding is that we need to create a safety net that would let us feel confident and use the interest on our existing resources. If we have 7 percent more, we can spend those 7 percent.

This is what we plan for the next year and there is a high probability that we will succeed. Do not think that this money is just sitting on the shelf. No, it creates certain guarantees for Russia’s economic stability in the midterm.

Lionel Barber: The Central Bank has done a very good job in helping to secure macroeconomic stability even if some of the oligarchs complain about banks being closed.

Vladimir Putin: You know, first of all, we do not have oligarchs anymore. Oligarchs are those who use their proximity to the authorities to receive super profits. We have large companies, private ones, or with government participation. But I do not know of any large companies that get preferential treatment from being close to the authorities, these are practically non-existent.

As for the Central Bank, yes, it is engaged in a gradual improvement of our financial system: inefficient and small-capacity companies, as well as semi-criminal financial organisations are leaving the market, and this is large-scale and complicated work.

It is not about oligarchs or large companies; the thing is that it affects, unfortunately, the interests of the depositor, the average person. We have relevant regulatory acts that minimise people’s financial losses and create a certain safety net for them. But each case should be considered individually, of course.

In general, the work of the Central Bank, in my opinion, deserves support. It is related to both the improvement of the financial system and the calibrated policy regarding the key interest rate.

Lionel Barber: Mr President, I would like to go back to President Xi and China. As you know, he has pursued a rigorous anticorruption campaign in order to clean up the party, maintain the legitimacy and strengthen the party. He has also read the history of the Soviet Union, where Mr Gorbachev essentially abandoned the party and helped to destroy the country – the Soviet Union. Do you think that Mr Xi is right in his approach that the party is absolutely crucial? And what lessons do you draw for Russia? If I can just add, you said something interesting a few years ago about the breakup of the Soviet Union being the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century.

Vladimir Putin: These two issues are not connected. As for the tragedy related to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, this is something obvious. I meant, first of all, the humanitarian aspect of it. It appears that 25 million ethnic Russians were living abroad when they learned from the television and radio that the Soviet Union had ceased to exist. Nobody asked their opinion. The decision was simply made.

You know, these are issues of democracy. Was there an opinion poll, a referendum? Most (over 70 percent) of the citizens of the USSR spoke in favour of retaining it. Then the decision was made to dissolve the USSR, but nobody asked the people, and 25 million ethnic Russians found themselves living outside the Russian Federation. Listen, is this not a tragedy? A huge one! And family relations? Jobs? Travel? It was nothing but a disaster.

I was surprised to see the later comments on what I said, in particular, in the Western media. They should try to live through seeing their father, brother or any other close relative finding themselves living in a different country, where a whole new life has started. I assure you.

As for the party and the party state building in China, this is for the Chinese people to decide; we do not interfere. Today’s Russia has its own principles and rules of life, and China with its 1.35 billion people has its own. You try to rule a country with such a population. This is not Luxembourg, with all due respect to this wonderful country. Therefore, it is necessary to give the Chinese people the opportunity to decide how to organise their lives.

Lionel Barber: Again a big picture question. I talked at the beginning of our conversation about fragmentation. Another phenomenon today is that there is a popular backlash against elites and against the establishment and you have seen that – Brexit in Britain. Perhaps you were speaking about Trump’s America. You have seen it with the AFD in Germany; you have seen it in Turkey; and you have seen it in the Arab world. How long do you think that Russia can remain immune to this global movement of backlash against the establishment?

Vladimir Putin: You should look at the realities in each particular case. Of course, there are some trends, but they are only general. In each particular case, when looking at the situation and how it unfolds, you should take into account the history of the given country, its traditions and realities.

How long will Russia remain a stable country? The longer the better. Because very many other things and its position in the world depend on stability, on internal political stability. Ultimately, the wellbeing of the people depends, possibly primarily, on stability.

One of the reasons, the internal reason for the Soviet Union’s collapse was that life was difficult for the people, whose take-home wages were very small. The shops were empty, and the people lost the intrinsic desire to preserve the state.

They thought that it could not get worse no matter what happened. It turned out that life became worse for very many people, especially at the beginning of the 1990s when the social protection and healthcare systems collapsed and industry was crumbling. It could be ineffective, but at least people had jobs. After the collapse, they lost them. Therefore, you should look at each particular case separately.

What is happening in the West? What is the reason for the Trump phenomenon, as you said, in the United States? What is happening in Europe as well? The ruling elites have broken away from the people. The obvious problem is the gap between the interests of the elites and the overwhelming majority of the people.

Of course, we must always bear this in mind. One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future.

There is also the so-called liberal idea, which has outlived its purpose. Our Western partners have admitted that some elements of the liberal idea, such as multiculturalism, are no longer tenable.

When the migration problem came to a head, many people admitted that the policy of multiculturalism is not effective and that the interests of the core population should be considered. Although those who have run into difficulties because of political problems in their home countries need our assistance as well. That is great, but what about the interests of their own population when the number of migrants heading to Western Europe is not just a handful of people but thousands or hundreds of thousands?

Lionel Barber: Did Angela Merkel make a mistake?

Vladimir Putin: Cardinal mistake. One can criticise Trump for his intention to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. It could be going too far. Yes, maybe so. I am not arguing about this point. But he had to do something about the huge inflow of migrants and narcotics.

Nobody is doing anything. They say this is bad and that is bad as well. Tell me, what is good then? What should be done? Nobody has proposed anything. I do not mean that a wall must be built or tariffs raised by 5 percent annually in the economic relations with Mexico. This is not what I am saying, yet something must be done. He is at least looking for a solution.

What am I driving at? Those who are concerned about this, ordinary Americans, they look at this and say, Good for him, at least he is doing something, suggesting ideas and looking for a solution.

As for the liberal idea, its proponents are not doing anything. They say that all is well, that everything is as it should be. But is it? They are sitting in their cosy offices, while those who are facing the problem every day in Texas or Florida are not happy, they will soon have problems of their own. Does anyone think about them?

The same is happening in Europe. I discussed this with many of my colleagues, but nobody has the answer. The say they cannot pursue a hard-line policy for various reasons. Why exactly? Just because. We have the law, they say. Well, then change the law!

We have quite a few problems of our own in this sphere as well. We have open borders with the former Soviet republics, but their people at least speak Russian. Do you see what I mean? And besides, we in Russia have taken steps to streamline the situation in this sphere. We are now working in the countries from which the migrants come, teaching Russian at their schools, and we are also working with them here. We have toughened the legislation to show that migrants must respect the laws, customs and culture of the country.

In other words, the situation is not simple in Russia either, but we have started working to improve it. Whereas the liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. The migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants must be protected. What rights are these? Every crime must have its punishment.

So, the liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population. Or take the traditional values. I am not trying to insult anyone, because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia as it is. But we have no problems with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish. But some things do appear excessive to us.

They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles. I cannot even say exactly what genders these are, I have no notion. Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that. But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.

Lionel Barber: Does that include – this is very important, like you say – the end of this liberal idea, because – what else did you say – uncontrolled immigration, open borders, definitely, as you say, diversity as an organizing principle in society? What else do you think is just finished over in terms of the liberal idea? And would you say – if I could just add – that religion therefore must play an important role in terms of national culture and cohesiveness?

Vladimir Putin: It should play its current role.It [religion] cannot be pushed out of this cultural space. We should not abuse anything.

Russia is an Orthodox Christian nation, and there have always been problems between Orthodox Christianity and the Catholic world. This is exactly why I will now say a few words about Catholics. Are there any problems there? Yes, there are, but they cannot be over-exaggerated and used for destroying the Roman Catholic Church itself. This is what cannot be done.

Sometimes, I get the feeling that these liberal circles are beginning to use certain elements and problems of the Catholic Church as a tool for destroying the Church itself. This is what I consider to be incorrect and dangerous.

All right, have we forgotten that all of us live in a world based on Biblical values? Even atheists and everyone else live in this world. We do not have to think about this every day, attend church and pray, thereby showing that we are devout Christians or Muslims or Jews. However, deep inside, there must be some fundamental human rules and moral values. In this sense, traditional values are more stable and more important for millions of people than this liberal idea, which, in my opinion, is really ceasing to exist.

Lionel Barber: So religion, religion is not the opium of the masses?

Vladimir Putin: No, it is not. But I get the impression that you are detached from religion because it is already 12.45 am Moscow Time, and you continue to torture me. As we say here, there is no fear of God in you, is there? (Laughter)

Lionel Barber: This is history. I have waited a long time for this. I have got one last question. And thank you for your – go on please.

Vladimir Putin: Please, go ahead.

Henry Foy: Mr President, would you say – I was reflecting on what you just said: some of the themes you were referring to would echo in people such as Steve Bannon, and Mr Trump himself, and the groups in Europe who have come to power. Do you think if the end of the liberal idea is over, is now the time of the ‘illiberals’? And do you see more and more allies growing around the world to your way of seeing the human existence at the moment?

Vladimir Putin: You know, it seems to me that purely liberal or purely traditional ideas have never existed. Probably, they did once exist in the history of humankind, but everything very quickly ends in a deadlock if there is no diversity. Everything starts to become extreme one way or another.

Various ideas and various opinions should have a chance to exist and manifest themselves, but at the same time interests of the general public, those millions of people and their lives, should never be forgotten. This is something that should not be overlooked.

Then, it seems to me, we would be able to avoid major political upheavals and troubles. This applies to the liberal idea as well. It does not mean (I think, this is ceasing to be a dominating factor) that it must be immediately destroyed. This point of view, this position should also be treated with respect.

They cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades. Diktat can be seen everywhere: both in the media and in real life. It is deemed unbecoming even to mention some topics. But why?

For this reason, I am not a fan of quickly shutting, tying, closing, disbanding everything, arresting everybody or dispersing everybody. Of course, not. The liberal idea cannot be destroyed either; it has the right to exist and it should even be supported in some things. But you should not think that it has the right to be the absolute dominating factor. That is the point.

Please.

Lionel Barber: You really are on the same page as Donald Trump. Mr President, you have been in power for almost 20 years.

Vladimir Putin: For eighteen years.

Lionel Barber: You have seen many world leaders. Who do you most admire?

Vladimir Putin: Peter the Great.

Lionel Barber: But he is dead.

Vladimir Putin: He will live as long as his cause is alive just as the cause of each of us. (Laughter). We will live until our cause is alive.

If you mean any present-day leaders from different countries and states, of the persons that I could communicate with, I was most seriously impressed by former President of France Mr Chirac. He is a true intellectual, a real professor, a very level-headed man as well as very interesting. When he was President, he had his own opinion on every issue, he knew how to defend it and he always respected his partners’ opinions.

In modern-day history, taking a broader view, there are many good and very interesting people.

Lionel Barber: Peter the Great, the creator of the Greater Russia. Need I say any more? My last question, Mr President. Great leaders always prepare succession. Lee Kuan Yew prepared succession. So please share with us what would the process be by which your successor will be chosen.

Vladimir Putin: I can tell you without exaggeration that I have always been thinking about this, since 2000. The situation changes and certain demands on people change, too. In the end, and I will say this without theatrics or exaggeration, in the end the decision must be made by the people of Russia. No matter what and how the current leader does, no matter who or how he represents, it is the voter that has the final word, the citizen of the Russian Federation.

Lionel Barber: So the choice will be approved by the Russian people in a vote? Or through the Duma?

Vladimir Putin: Why through the Duma? By means of direct secret ballot, universal direct secret ballot. Of course, it is different from what you have in Great Britain. We are a democratic country. (Laughter)

In your country, one leader has left, and the second leader, who is for all intents and purposes the top figure in the state, is not elected by a direct vote of the people, but by the ruling party.

It is different in Russia, as we are a democratic country. If our top officials leave for some reason, because they want to retire from politics like Boris Yeltsin, or because their term ends, we hold an election through universal direct secret ballot.

The same will happen in this case. Of course, the current leader always supports someone, and this support can be substantive if the person supported has the respect and trust of the people, but in the end, the choice is always made by the Russian people.

Lionel Barber: I cannot resist pointing out that you did take over as president before the election.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, this is true. So what? I was acting president, and in order to be elected and become the head of state, I had to take part in an election, which I did.

I am grateful to the Russian people for their trust back then, and after that, in the following elections. It is a great honour to be the leader of Russia.

Lionel Barber: Mr President, thank you for spending time with the Financial Times in Moscow, in the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you for your interest in the events in Russia and your interest in what Russia thinks about the current international affairs. And thank you for our interesting conversation today. I believe it was really interesting.

Thank you very much.

Ukraine will be coerced into making peace in Donbass

June 17, 2019

By Petr Akopov
Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard
Source
https://vz.ru/world/2019/6/15/982529.html

Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Downloads:D8-QWNWXYAAOUez.jpg

Ukraine is important for the US only in the context of their relationship with Russia, and blocks the path to their improvement. The latest statement of the national security adviser to the US President John Bolton became yet more proof of this. On the eve of Putin and Trump’s meeting in Osaka, Kiev ought to prepare for the US playing the Ukrainian card without paying attention to the interests of the Kiev authorities.

Washington tries to defreeze American-Russian relations – but in such a way that it does not look a concession made by the US. Donald Trump is not constrained by the case of “Russian ties” any more, however the Ukrainian crisis remains the main problem for his dialogue with Putin.

It arose during Barack Obama’s reign and is in many respects connected with the objective process of returning to Russia the status of a major world power. The events of 2014 became the most convenient reason for the US to transition to an active phase of “deterring Russia”. The policy of sanctions and attempts to isolate Russia on the world scene not only failed – their results were opposite to American expectations.

Having sustained pressure and not having changed course, Russia strengthened its reputation in the world. Everyone perceives it as the main geopolitical opponent to America’s attempts to hold onto world hegemony.

Trump’s election gave a chance to revise America’s tactics and even strategy. The new president was inclined to reorienting the US from the useless and losing policy of global domination to a policy of strengthening the US via strengthening the economic power of the superpower. The resistance that was shown to Trump by American globalists showed how the fate of the US as a national state is not important for them. But they managed to block the possibility of forming relations between Trump and Putin.

The “Russian case” regularly served this for more than two years. But now Trump received the opportunity to act much more freely. Now, in order to establish cooperation with Putin (and this is necessary for the American president in order to create a new configuration of US foreign policy), Trump “only” needs to deal with the Ukrainian crisis. I.e., remove the Ukrainian stone from the road of American-Russian relations. How can he do this?

Of course, the US is not going to “give” Ukraine back to Russia: the tearing of Ukraine off the Russian world remains the important aim of any American strategist. But the question of the speed and price of this process has principal importance. If the “hawks” consider that Ukraine must be Europeanised and Atlanticised as fast as possible – i.e., included not only in the sphere of influence, but also in the structure of the “western zone of responsibility”, then the “realists” point out that Russia will never agree with the “kidnapping of Ukraine”, and that the haste of the West will only provoke Moscow into solving the problem by force – a campaign to Kiev.

That’s why they consider the neutralisation of Ukraine as the optimum scheme, transferring it into a condition of a no man’s zone, a buffer state that is not used to put pressure on Russia. And after all, it is precisely this that is considered to be favourable by those “hawks” who, without trusting in the possibility of the Atlanticisation of Ukraine, support its use as a constant irritant against Moscow.

Such a neutral Ukraine would be more in the zone of influence of the West than in Russia’s. And although everyone understands that it is a temporary and suspended option, for the US it would be an undoubted success (even to suspend the situation for 20-30 years – it is all the same to deprive Russia of its historical cradle, to stop the reintegration of the Russian world, the Russian revanche). And the most important thing – this option would remove the Ukrainian topic from the agenda of relations between the US and Russia, allowing the US to count on searching for mutual understanding with Moscow in other international problems.

How to achieve this? To portray peace and progress in the Ukrainian settlement. Because in reality it is currently impossible to solve the Ukrainian crisis.

Implementing the Minsk Agreements, i.e., to return Donbass to the structure of Ukraine, is impossible as long as the Ukrainian elite continues to not realise that the road to Europe is closed and does not start to restore relations with Russia. This is a process for the next decade. And even in the event of its acceleration, returning Donbass to Ukraine is possible only after a full turn of Kiev towards Moscow and the inclusion of Ukraine in the structure of the Eurasian Union.

That’s why all that’s left to do is to give the illusion that there is a settlement process. Kiev will opt to really stop firefights on the border and to withdraw troops under the pressure of the West; to really adopt laws on amnesty in Ukraine as one more point of the implementation of the Agreements. And the most important thing – to really do it so that the topic of repulsing “Russian aggression”, as well as the topic of “returning Donbass”, in fact, leaves Ukrainian domestic politics, remaining a prerogative of the opposition.

Zelensky’s election is a step in precisely this direction. The cynical and cunning Ukrainian elite best of all understands that there won’t be any return. And all the game of Poroshenko on the topic “Ukraine is an outpost of the West in deterring Russian Aggression” was built on the conviction that the West waits for precisely this from Ukraine.

But the matter is that the West hasn’t wanted anything as such from Kiev for a long time. Europe very much groans from the need to play the “Ukrainian game”, which prevents it from doing business with Russia. And the US under Trump also does not want to raise the stakes in the “Ukrainian game”, or to in general pay much attention to it. The West needs Ukraine to know its place, i.e., to become imperceptible and silent, giving the illusion of a “road to peace”; to not get in the way of the big boys; to not go back to Russia, but also to not sit at the table with the real players.

It is precisely for this reason that Kiev will be shown its place. This will happen during the next month when Zelensky will go to see Trump in Washington. It will be done tenderly, but insistently: through coercion to negotiations with Russia and with Donbass, to reduce aggressive rhetoric (it has already subsided). But the most important thing – through an explanation of the expectations: “progress in the peace process”, allowing the US to remove the Ukrainian topic to a place more fitting for it – a place that does not prevent the establishment of American-Russian dialogue.

As a matter of fact, the national security adviser to the US President John Bolton wrote about precisely this on Thursday:

“[US] Ambassador [Kurt] Volker and I met today to discuss Ukraine negotiations and agreed that President Zelensky’s election creates new opportunity to push for peace in Donbass – a key step to improving US-Russia relations – but it’s critical that Russia do its part and engage seriously”.

Peace in Donbass is a key step for the improvement of relations between the US and Russia. Simply put, they want to hear from Ukraine that its relations with Donbass are if not very good, then they at least gradually improve. And there is no doubt that they will hear this – Kiev has nowhere to disappear to, simply.

 

Farage vs. Corbyn – Richie Allen and Gilad Atzmon delve into the post-political condition

May 24, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

Richie is joined by the musician, author and political commentator Gilad Atzmon. In a provocative and insightful article on gilad.co.uk this week, Gilad writes; “How it is that once again a right wing populist has won the minds and hearts of working people? How is it possible that Jeremy Corbyn, who was perceived by many of us as the greatest hope in Western politics, has managed, in less than three years, to make himself an irrelevant passing phase? How is it possible that the Right consistently wins when the conditions exist for a textbook socialist revolution? Nigel Farage, Britain’s Donald Trump character, is by far the most significant man in British politics. Farage stood up against the entire political establishment, including the media and the commercial elites and has promised to change British politics once and for all. So far, it seems he is winning on all fronts.” This is a must-listen interview.

Support The Richie Allen Show by donating at www.richieallen.co.uk Richie has been producing and presenting television and radio programs for the best part of twenty years. The Richie Allen Show airs Monday – Thursday at 5 PM GMT and at 11 AM UK Time each Sunday.


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Yellow Vests get 1st game-changing win: A vote to stop denationalisation of airports

April 11, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker BlogYellow Vests get 1st game-changing win: A vote to stop denationalisation of airports

You never read the word “denationalisation” in Western media anymore, only “privatisation”.

That makes sense… “denationalisation” is so obviously negative; it’s lack of patriotism and concern for the public welfare isn’t being covered up.

The New York Times seemed to stop using the word around the mid-1980s – which makes sense, because that’s when the propaganda of neoliberalism fully took hold. In 2019, a generation later, journalists don’t even question that “privatisation” is a bad thing: for them “nationalisation” is probably a pejorative term, smacking of “nationalism”, which has become essentially synonymous with “racism” in the Western vocabulary.

But “denationalisation” is totally accurate: the selling off businesses which were undoubtedly paid for by the People of the nation, and then operated for the good of the nation.

We cannot say that all neoliberals hate their nation – being “anti-nation” is the ideology of globalists, a subset of neoliberalism. We can say that neoliberals hate “the state”, and the distinction is important.

Listen to the talk radio in the United States and you invariably find Protestant religious radio, and they love to equate “the Beast” of the Bible with the federal government; this satisfies both neoliberal and libertarian listeners. This explains why neoliberals push “privatisation”. When they discover that the 1% to whom the denationalisation was made was to foreign 1%ers… they might get upset at that – they won’t if they are globalisation neoliberals.

Accurate political-economic terminology aside, the Yellow Vests can now tell everyone, “Ta gueule!” (shut your face)

They undoubtedly won their first real victory against Emmanuel Macron this week, as opposition parliamentarians surprisingly banded together to vote in favor of holding a referendum on the sell-off of all three airports in the Paris area. Swiss-style RICs – citizens’ initiative referendums – is the primary democratic-structural demand of the Vesters; the fact that one might now take place is undoubtedly due to their agitation.

A begrudging French media, which hates the Yellow Vests for daring to question the agenda leadership of the 4thestate, of course did not celebrate what is an obvious victory for everyone living on French soil or just flying through Paris. However, their skepticism is justified: France’s last referendum was in 2005 for the Maastricht Treaty, and that was immediately ignored… much like the Brexit vote appears to be .Today was supposed to the day the UK left the EU and regained their sovereignty, and now we’ll have a 24-7 media onslaught for a 2nd vote. Personally, I think the first vote should not be respected – everybody knows votes don’t really count until the 4th or 5th one….

I was quite surprised at France’s revival of economic patriotism/good sense. The day prior to the decision I did this report for PressTV – there were only perhaps 150 Yellow Vest protesters in front of the Senate, which appeared certain to vote their approval for Macron’s sell off. It’s still not sure a referendum will actually take place – it would be a first – but it could be in the headlines for months, emboldening more to join the Yellow Vests all the while.

Did Macron’s incredibly dirty tactics turn the tide?

The idea of selling off state assets to rich people is already shameful to anyone who isn’t rabidly against Socialist Democracy, but Macron’s tactics went beyond the pale.

Firstly, he pushed the totally-compliant, neophyte, business executives-turned-politicians (or, to places like The Economist – “civil society”) in the National Assembly to rewrite laws allowing the denationalisation of the airport. It’s always fun to read France’s Orwellian names for their “deforms” – this one was the Action Plan for the Growth and Transformation of Companies (Loi PACTE).

Then, to avoid media coverage and a possible defeat, at 6:15am on Saturday March 16, he called a vote on the sell-off. French PMs work really late hours – I have no idea why, this isn’t Spain – but I’ve never seen that. Only 45 deputies voted out of the lower house’s total 577. The mainstream media had to go into overdrive to explain why the vote was actually legal. Nobody covered that – we all missed it, including me. Hey, I’m a daily hack journalist – I can’t do a story 2 days after the fact. Ya can’t cover them all, and there’s always another one around the corner.

Then, in something no media appears to be connecting, Macron pushed back the end date of his phony PR-campaign known as the “National Debate” in order to draw attention away from this week’s planned Senate vote. Yellow Vesters did not care, they – as planned – engaged in massive civil disobedience on the Champs-Elysées the day after the National Debate was supposed to end, March 16, even burning down a bank, though I was truly the only one to properly explain why (and at the bank!). So this week Macron unveiled his “conclusions” of the 2.5-month talk-fest, which were, essentially: “It’s good to know that I’ve been right all along!” He was clearly hoping the media would focus on his technocratic rightness, instead of giving column inches and air time to the airport sell-off.

But he didn’t count on non-Macron party deputies joining together for the good of the nation. Or, for many, the good of their re-election campaign: after all, denationalisation is so unpopular its name cannot even be uttered anymore – opposing the 10 billon euro windfall from the sale is a sure winner with the voters.

Briefly: it is totally absurd to believe Macron’s claim that the state can only find 10 billion euros for an “industrial innovation fund” via selling off Paris airports (as well as the National Lottery and France’s stake in energy giant Engie). France has given scores upon scores of billions in tax cuts to corporations and businesses during the Age of Austerity, repeatedly telling us that the 1% will invest in industrial innovations funds of their own making and all without state strings attached to the cuts. Then you have tax evasion which is in the hundreds of billions in lost money for state coffers… which will be hard to find, considering that Macron wants to cut thousands of jobs in the Finance ministry, the ministry whose job it is to collect taxes (must kill the Beast… it’s what Jesus would do!).

In short, it’s a very bad week for Macron: just 6% of France said his National Watch Macron Outdo Fidel Castro In Speechifying was a success, and then it didn’t even provide cover for the privatisation his neoliberal globalist ilk loves more than absolutely anything. Why is it better to them than even oh-so-profitable wars – you axe tens of thousands of Beast/government jobs, and you get an already-made cash cow which has a customer base which is obviously guaranteed / an outright monopoly.

Iran knows what everyone in France hasn’t learned (except the Yellow Vests)

So in the mid-80s the neoliberal mindset had spent about 5 years ripening like bad French cheese; in 1991 the USSR’s leaders ignored the referendum which saw 78% of Soviets vote to remain Soviets; and by 2002 those “lefty” Frenchies had initiated denationalising the highways – the historical arc is clear, if slow-moving to some.

I was really surprised when I moved to “socialist” France that they had sold off the nation’s roads. Today, when a driver pays 60 euros in tolls to drive from Paris to Marseille – and that’s just the one-way – you feel like setting the toll booths on fire. Which is what the Yellow Vests did – it was a public service….

Denationalising the airport would have the same costly effect for the average Frenchman. It will have the same effect the UK experienced after denationalising their railways: a season ticket is now 5 times higher than on the Continent, with time-keeping, safety and comfort all worse, too. In the US you have headlines like this one last year from St. Louis: Lambert (airport) privatisation looks like Chicago’s parking meter disaster.

(Anyone recall the fringes of a scene in Godfather II of Cuban-style socialism’s victory night – they were smashing the parking meters? I can report that in 2019 the People’s land is still free for the Cuban People to park on. Many probably thought they were just looting….)

Macron should take heart that I will not be allowed to park my car – which I bought entirely with change – for free in Paris anytime soon: the West European / Liberal Democratic system is geared in his favor. Want more proof? Yellow Vests demonstrations have been totally banned in Lyon, the third-largest city, after a complaint from what is honestly (no kidding!) the real power in Western societies: the local chamber of commerce.

So we have “privatisation” and “denationalisation”… and then we have Iranian “privatisation”, which we hear about all the time. Rouhani has gone “neoliberal”, right? Ahmadinejad did, too, uh huh?

LOL, I swear, I truly am always laughing when I write about this subject! Iran is not selling off 51% of state assets to the Rothschilds, or the Swiss, or… the Turks?! LOL, the Turks running Iran? Do we want our nice things to be ruined?!

Iran’s “privatisation” aren’t “privatisations” because they “sold” the state-owned assets to state-controlled groups like the Revolutionary Guards, bonyads (religious charity co-operatives) and the Basij. So it wasn’t even “denationalisation”. It certainly wasn’t “neoliberal privatisation” – because the state nearly always retains more than just a controlling interest (20%) but a 51% share – and if you say Iran has gone “neoliberal globalization” I am truly going to be in hysterics!

So it’s not that Iranian media is obscuring what is going on by excising previously popular terms, it’s that Iran has revolutionary (unique) concepts of governance for which there simply are no words for it in foreign languages… yet.

But we can agree on this: such unique changes are the opposite of what Macron wanted for France; and such unique changes are so reviled by the capitalist-imperialist West that – as of this week – everyone in the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij is now considered a terrorist by the US.

There are 10-25 million Basiji, almost none of whom are armed, and the majority of whom are women and children, but… ok, they’re all terrorists. Whatever it takes to not pay 60 euros in tolls one-way.

That sounds like a very effective revolutionary cry for the Yellow Vests!

France should thank them – they have stopped (for now) the French People’s loss of one of the world’s busiest airports. Certainly, it’s a tangible victory which shuts up their detractors, which forcibly changes the mainstream media’s Liberal Democratic agenda, and which prods their fellow citizens to become more politically enlightened.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China? (3/8)

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China? (3/8)

Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China? (3/8)

In every modern revolution the winners owed their victory to the poor, and China in 1949 was no exception. Iranians call 1979 the “Revolution of the Barefooted” for this same universal reason.

(The reason is universal because any major political change not led by the poor cannot possibly be a “revolution”, but is merely a “coup”, “takeover” or “regime change”.)

I call these revolutions “Trash Revolutions”, even though the adjective is derogatory, because in the English language “trash” gets right to heart of it: the taking of political power by and for the lowest class of society.

Trash Revolutions are the best… but not all Trash make great revolutionaries.

This was the case in China, where by the mid-1960s many in the Chinese Communist Party lost their willingness to identify with the poor and to share in their hardships – thus, they had lost the most important two traits which had propelled them to victory.

The adults in the room, unlike the hardcore capitalists eager to criticize socialist societies at the first pause for breath, understand that the mere proclamation of socialist victory does not translate into an immediate paradise of equality and opportunity. This article seeks to explain why a retrenchment of revolutionary asceticism, a second so-called “cultural” revolution, was needed in already-Red China.

(Iranians agreed that a no-holds barred Cultural Revolution was so necessary in the “postmodern” era that the world’s second (and only other) state-sponsored Cultural Revolution was launched just one year after booting out the Shah: political modernity requires a massive mental shift on the individual level, and thus a massive cultural shift on the societal level. But this article does not seek to preach to the Iranian choir….)

This series examines The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village by Dongping Han, who was raised and educated in rural Jimo County, China and is now a university professor in the US. Han interviewed hundreds of rebel leaders, farmers, officials and locals, and accessed official local data to provide an exhaustive analysis of unparalled objectivity and focus regarding the Cultural Revolution (CR) in China. Han was kind enough to write the forward to my brand-new bookI’ll Ruin Everything you Are: Ending Western Propaganda in Red China. I hope you can buy a copy for yourself and your 400 closest friends.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ – The Who… and the pre-CR CCP

Of course, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was not remotely the same as the fascist Kuomintang nor the emperor – only a dimwitted political nihilist would make such a claim… but neither had they perfectly exemplified the Chinese concept of the “Heavenly Mandate”.

After 1949 the CCP apparently thought that rural residents would be easily bought off with land, farm implements, houses and furniture while they prioritized urban areas. But despite increases in quality of life, the rural-urban divide remained glaringly in evidence and stood as galling proof of inequality, creating major domestic discord. For example, urban residents got free medical care, paid holidays, paid sick days and pensions, whereas peasants had none of these things. Maybe it is true that China, only beginning to dig itself out of the muck they were wedged in thanks to their century of colonial humiliation, could not afford to give these things to the mass majority of their citizens (China was 82% rural as late as 1964), but pro-urban sectarianism is going to be resented and certainly needs a remedy soon.

Thus the CR (and the Yellow Vests).

But at the same time that Nikita Khrushchev (Soviet leader 1953-64) had thrown open the gates to Communist Party membership – drastically weakening the ideological purity of the “vanguard party”, a key component of socialism, and in order to drown out the non-revisionist Stalinists – China had closed their ranks. Those CCP members who were there in 1949 could certainly be trusted, but many were proving to be greatly without socialist merit.

“Without new blood, the old party members were able to monopolize village power. The Communist political structure in the rural areas gave the village party secretary supreme authority….Their control of the village seemed complete.”

Westerners and anti-socialists portray Mao (and Stalin) as something like the apex of all corruption on earth, which is flatly contradicted by actual Chinese historical fact. A 1951 anti-corruption campaign found (a Western Liberal Democracy-like) 64% of 625 cadres in eastern Jimo County guilty of corruption. Now we can rationalise that just two years of peace following decades of horrific war is not enough time to to terminate wartime insanities and to inculcate proper socialist habits and, but Mao is so revered in China precisely because he absolutely did not tolerate such poor governance of the People.

“After the Communists took power, Mao Zedong was a curse to corrupt officials in his government…. Before the Cultural Revolution there was an anti-corruption campaign almost every other year. Still, without a radical change of the political culture which would empower ordinary people, all of Mao’s efforts to curb official abuse fell short.”

It must be said that it was not “all of Mao’s efforts” – Mao was simply the figurehead of this broad anti-corruption party of the CCP, or in Western terms an anti-corruption “faction”.

But, again, sayin’ it (proclaiming socialist revolution) and doin’ it (implementing, practicing and protecting socialist revolution) is just a different thing, with just as much difference as “night” and “day”:

“In a sense, the Communists built a new house on the ruins of the old with the new Revolution, but the air of the old society still permeated this new house. With the old culture largely intact, the new communist leaders who replaced the old oppressors of the village, ‘slide into certain habits well-known to traditional upholders of ‘law and order’”.

The CCP had done a lot of redistribution of wealth, but the two pillars of Marxist thought simply cannot exist independently: redistribution of wealth is nothing without a concomitant redistribution of power and control over politics/workplaces. But the CCP did not really derive their power from politics and workplaces – they derived their power from the battlefield and human hearts.

“The CCP cadres who ruled rural areas after 1949 did not derive their power from villagers. They were not elected by the villagers…. Consequently, commune and village leaders were more inclined to please their patrons than respond to villagers’ needs and aspirations.”

The clear problem here was that villagers lacked control over their local village leader to make him or her implement their democratic will. This is exactly why a primary demand of Yellow Vests to Macron is to implement regular “RICs”, Citizens’ Initiative Referendums.

There is no doubt: everybody wants and needs local decision-making; but socialism is not anarchism – socialism contains the non-paradox of a central organizer and planner overseeing local independence.

It was precisely this lack of local control which led to some of the problems of the Great Leap Forward: the desire by village leaders to please the central organizer despite the advice and knowledge of the local population, as I described in my book in the most simple human terms possible. This failure to implement Marxism’s second pillar is truly the hardest part of socialism – anyone can write a check – and when socialism has collapsed it has been because of this failure.

Collectivization is good and more productive than capitalism, but only alongside Socialist Democracy, which did not fully exit pre-CR

In order to quickly prove that socialist collectivization is just as effective in promoting overall economic development as individualist capitalism, I quote myself from Part 1 – this summarizes the differences between rural China in 1966 and after the Cultural Revolution in 1976:

You just read about 2 times more food and 2 times more money for the average Chinese person, 14 times more horsepower (which equates to 140 times manpower), 50 times more industrial jobs, 30 times more schools and 10 times more teachers during the CR decade in rural areas.

Collective farming and control in rural areas – enormously impressive economic, industrial, agricultural and educational results during the CR: end of that discussion.

Han puts these numbers into context by honestly relating the successes and failures of collectivization from the previous era, 1949-1964:

“In essence, the collective farming was a form of mutual insurance designed to make up for the absence of other forms of social insurance.” Let’s remember that urban Chinese had many social insurance guarantees peasants did not.

In practical terms: the rural collective (which comprised all that which had been nationalized: plows, oxen, farm tools, land, etc.) was the social arbitration of limited resources, with the goal of egalitarianism amid increased efficiency.

Capitalists will say: “The exceptional Chinese farmer was shortchanged and denied his right to excel and live in a superior fashion!”

Yes. But there is no debate about how the collectives of the pre-CR era ended the very real poverty the average rural person was threatened with via every storm cloud:

Substantial social security guarantees were embedded in the collective distribution system in Jimo. No matter whether a villager could work or not, the collective undertook to provide him and his family with ‘five guarantees’, (wu bao) – food, clothes, fuel, education for his children and a funeral upon death…. The collective, thus, provided a de facto institutional retirement plan for villagers. The government had put some thought into this unique social security system in the villages.”

So even though urban peasants had it better, let’s not pretend that the 1949-1964 era did not greatly stabilise and better the life for the average Chinese farmer. Certainly Trash around the West – especially Blacks and Native Americans in Western countries – were not guaranteed any of these things in the era of 1949-1964.

Good, Mr. Mao, but not great. Major failures were still easy to spot, and Han’s book relates them.

Like in education: In Jimo County in 1950 48% of area children were enrolled in primary schools, and by 1956 that figure was just 56%. Per Han, 65% of these schools did not even have chairs or tables. From 1949 to 1966 Jimo County produced 1,616 high school graduates out of 1,011 villages; half of them left the county in a huge “brain drain”. The rural-to-urban brain drain remains a major, major plague on rural Western areas today, and that may be the biggest problem – the massive flight of human capital from rural areas to urban ones.

Medical care was not provided either. Han relates how villagers often relied on dangerous and often deadly witch doctors, and he relates how these witch doctors would soon be among those shamefully paraded during the Cultural Revolution and even beaten by the families of their still-grieving victims. The idea of witch doctors may be very hard for developed countries to imagine, but this was a very real phenomenon which only the modern CR exposed as a sham and then replaced with true doctors. (I would imagine that a worried parent could often rather have a witch doctor than no doctor….)

Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-red China? Because the record of the pre-CR era was mixed, or rather, it was unfinished. The CR needs to be seen as “re-collectivization” of an already “collective society”.

Such a retrenchment requires not only 20th century socialist ideas, but also intense patriotism and not mere “nationalism”. Iran was able to have a CR of their own largely because they wanted a re-collectivisation of what Iran “was” – and it included Kurds, Arabs, Jews, etc – thus, “Neither East nor West but the Iranian Republic”. China’s CR was not asking Soviet technicians to come and fix things (nor ones from the IMF, nor Brussels, nor Esperanto-speaking Trotskyist theoreticians) – it was asking Chinese peasants; Iran was asking the average poor, hijab-wearing Iranian woman, humble-living mullahs and the many barefooted what good governance should be.

France in 2019 lacks both modern socialist ideas (its emphasis on RICs as some sort of Godsend is one proof) and all-embracing patriotism. However, so did China and Iran at one point.

The Great Leap Forward didn’t end the desire for collectivization and empowerment, thus the CR

As we all know, capitalism is not patient – they demand mercilessly quick results from socialism or else will start shoveling massive denigration. Socialism, however, cares not: Han relates that the collectives were all about taking the long-term view, the very opposite of capitalism’s “get rich quick” ethos. Yes, young people worked harder than older people in the collective, but when they were sick or got old they moved to the easier jobs; couples with six children took more rice than childless couples, yes, but when the kids grew up their work supported the old childless couple. This is the “collective” mentality, and it enrages the Arizona rancher.

The CR cannot be understood without just a bit of fair, objective knowledge of the Great Leap Forward (GLF). It is pathetic that celebrated faux-historians like Frank Dikotter top Wikipedia pages with claims like “coercion, terror, and systematic violence were the foundation of the Great Leap Forward“, when the GLF was undoubtedly motivated by altruistic desires to cooperate on ambitious projects which aimed to improve the nation. Briefly, from Han:

“When discussing the Great Leap Forward in China, many people see only the food shortages and other negative consequences. They do not understand that the goal of the Great Leap Forward partly was to improve infrastructure in the countryside. The reservoirs built during the Great Leap Forward benefited the rural areas for decades to come. These infrastructure improvements are why farmers who suffered most during the Great Leap Forward have always viewed it with ambiguity other than completely condemning it.”

That is based on his years of his interviews with farmers – it is not based on the judgment of some hack journalist writing an article 10,000 kilometres away who has no idea about anything Chinese other than egg foo young, and who knows even less about socialism.

Because capitalism can never present socialism as an ideology which can adapt and evolve (much as the 1%ers in capitalist societies were able to successfully evolve capitalism into its modern form: neoliberal globalism), but which is an ideology as frozen as as Soviet gulag, they can never even bring up this fact as a mere possibility: By the mid-1960s China had learned from the failures of the Great Leap Forward, and thus regained their appetite and ambition for big collective projects.

But not so big….

What the GLF taught China was that the 2nd pillar of socialism (local control) really is vital for success. Bigger is not always better: combining 50 villages was just too unwieldy to create individual worker empowerment. Collectives were thus reduced to roughly one-third of the village (30-40 households). This obviously made a world of difference, given the fantastic economic, industrial, agricultural and educational success of the CR for rural China (i.e., China).

The Great Leap Forward, while having other successes, helped prove that socialism is essentially locally-based, and thus is not intended to be the totalitarian steamroller non-socialists caricaturize it as.

So it’s that second, less-publicised pillar of socialism which was the Achilles’ heel of China’s first-generation collectives:

“The main weakness of rural collective organisation was political: ordinary members were not politically empowered and were dependent on village and commune officials. The Communists had not fundamentally changed the rural political culture of submission to authority and had not significantly remedied the lack of education in the countryside. Collectivisation had made ordinary villagers more dependent on officials by placing economic decisions in the hands of the collective while failing to really empower villagers to take part in the decision-makingprocess. This was not only a political problem: without solving this problem, possibilities for real rural economic development would remain untapped.” (emphasis mine)

But it’s all development which remains untapped without socialist democracy and socialist education. Yes, socialism needs specifically-socialist education to succeed, just as capitalism needs a steady diet of gangster rap, mafia movies and sexual advertising to sway their minds – the collective mentality must be taught.

Capitalists may have local empowerment, but it is purely individual – it totally lacks the power of solidarity. This is the fundamental difference between the two: in capitalism, one seeks to dominate over all. Socialists, on an individual level, have had revolutions of the mind whereas fearful capitalists are simply working out of habit, tradition, instinct, resentment and fear.

Western liberal democracy mistakenly assumes that their often-federalist systems sufficiently grant local control, but they do not at all grant local control to the average, powerless person; they only grant control to the local factory owner, the local agricultural corporation, the local media baron, etc. This hypocrisy is never admitted; it is papered over by constant exhortations that YOU should make yourself the owner, baron, etc.

“Fukua feng (exaggeration of production) became a serious problem during the Great Leap Forward because the commune members were not politically empowered to check the wrongdoings of the commune and village leaders. In this sense, the Great Leap Forward failed not just because its overall design and rationale were flawed, but also because China’s political culture at the time was out of sync with the new production relationships introduced by the agricultural collectivization.” (emphasis mine)

You don’t have to make your analysis of the Great Leap Forward more sophisticated, but if you want to – voila.

The CR sought to re-sync these relationships in Chinese Collectivization 2.0.

What good is implementing the first pillar of Marxism without creating the second pillar? How can China introduce socialist rule of law and expect success, when workers have not been educated and trained in empowerment?

Once China got these relationships remedied, that is when China began to take off economically, and that is essentially the thesis of Han’s entire book. The proof of the correctness of his thesis is the CR’s era staggering human and economic development that he demonstrated.

By illustrating that the empowerment of the CR decade produced the rural industry, agricultural boom, and the educated workers who laid the foundation for the continued economic success of China into the 1980s and beyond, Han shows how the CR proves that socialism is not merely high taxes on the rich but an entirely new culture.

Already-Red China realized this, and thus their center and left united to support the CR.

Black-hearted Western capitalists realize this too – why do you think they will never permit any good (or even objective) talk about the CR? That would only empower the types of cultural changes Western leftists and Yellow Vests actually want and need.

When when we compare China’s meteoric success (starting from the start of the CR era!) with the Great Recession, the subsequent (but never admitted) Lost Decade in the Eurozone, and the wiping out of the 1980-2009 socio-economic gains of the Western middle class, there is no doubt: the Socialist Democratic has more efficiency, production, capability and morality than the Liberal Democratic model.

For many Western capitalist-imperialists it will take a furious Cultural Revolution right in their faces to accept this reality. But, clearly, Mao and the left wing of CCP understood this long ago.

**********************************

This is the 3rd article in an 8-part series which examines Dongping Han’s book The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village in order to drastically redefine a decade which has proven to be not just the basis of China’s current success, but also a beacon of hope for developing countries worldwide. Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Part 1 – A much-needed revolution in discussing China’s Cultural Revolution: an 8-part series

Part 2 – The story of a martyr FOR, and not BY, China’s Cultural Revolution

Part 3 – Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China?

Part 4 – How the Little Red Book created a cult ‘of socialism’ and not ‘of Mao’

Part 5 – Red Guards ain’t all red: Who fought whom in China’s Cultural Revolution?

Part 6 – How the socioeconomic gains of China’s Cultural Revolution fuelled their 1980s boom

Part 7 – Ending a Cultural Revolution can only be counter-revolutionary

Part 8 – What the West can learn: Yellow Vests are demanding a Cultural Revolution

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

The Essential Saker II

The Brink-a film review by Eve Mykytyn

April 04, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

Introduction by GA: Steve Bannon is probably the most unpopular character as far as progressives and liberals are concerned. People who like to see themselves at the Left side of the political spectrum  regard Bannon as a vile hateful character as well as a rabid antisemite. Yet, symptomatically or even tragically, those who detest Bannon shy away from tackling his populist mantra. This is rather concerning considering the fact that Bannon has proven to be a shrewd political tactician and even a kingmaker. It is probably Bannon who carries the prime responsibility for Trump’s successful presidential campaign. Those who are fearful of Bannon revert to name-calling: they slalom in between his ideas with the hope that no one notices. They do their best to avoid anything that may evoke thinking or resemble reasoning.  It is not a secret that those who currently claim to advocate social justice are apparently too fearful to engage with substance but they fail to do so in the name of social justice.  

 In the following film review Eve Myktyn tells us about Alison Klayman’s The Brink.  Mykytyn went to the film hoping to learn more about Bannon but it seems she left the cinema knowing more about Klayman’s phobia of the man. If those who call themselves progressives want to sustain relevance, sooner or later they will have to engage in a proper intellectual exchange as name calling, misquoting and crude editing tactics do not do justice to social justice. 

A film review by Eve Mykytyn

Steve Bannon may well be, as he is often called,  the ‘architect of evil.’  But Alison Klayman’s mystifying documentary, The Brink, which sets out to “[use] Bannon’s own words and behaviors to reveal his hypocrisy and expose the danger he poses to liberal democracy”  fails to show Bannon as hypocritical or dangerous.

The film’s opens begins with Bannon talking about a journey he made to World War II’s concentration camps. He notes that the Birkenau concentration camp was built using the finest of German engineering and wonders how ordinary Germans could get together and plan such a site. Perhaps Klayman felt that she couldn’t cut this otherwise disconnected scene because it showed Bannon to be an anti Semite, although he was simply musing about how a concentration camp came to be built. Is any question about any aspect of the Holocaust verboten? Apparently so, The Forward  interprets Bannon’s remarks as: “rhapsodiz[ing] about the precise engineering of one of the most evil thing humans have ever created, the Birkenau extermination camp.”

Instead, of engaging with Bannon’s avowedly nationalist politics, much of the film is devoted to a fly-on-the-wall view of Bannon’s daily routine. Bannon eats and drinks (a combination of  Red Bull and a disgusting mess of green ‘diet’ juice), speaks at rallies, poses for photos, meets with nationalist leaders in Europe, touts his propaganda movie, and texts and talks endlessly on the phone: so much film time is devoted to the quotidian aspects of Bannon’s life that the shrewd and divisive political operative is reduced to boring.

Klayman attempts to score a point by asking Bannon where he is, so that she can report that he is on an airfield for private planes. Is Bannon’s not particularly luxurious private plane, filled with his allies and journalists really relevant to the larger debate?

The film follows Bannon to Toronto where he appears for a formal debate with David From on the proposition that the “future of western politics is populist, not liberal.”  This is finally the real debate. Is it ‘country first’ or do we have a responsibility to all without regard to borders? The debate can be found here (the first 10 minutes of chatter can be skipped): the exchange between two articulate men whose views are antithetical to each other is well worth the time. Tellingly, The Brink does not show the debate, instead we see the effects that Bannon’s presence evokes. The protests outside the debate are portrayed as huge and scary, inside Bannon gently confronts hecklers, whose poor behavior he comically attributes to an ‘ex-wife.’  That’s it. The Brink apparently feels no need to counter Bannon’s views or even better, simply show From’s effective dissent.

 

When the film does allow Bannon to articulate his thesis, it is in a brief scene in which Bannon is speaking to a rally. In it, Bannon states that the benefits of citizenship should be distributed only to citizens, without regard to race, religion or sexual preference.  This is the core of the populist nationalist movement that helped elect Donald Trump and has scored victories in Britain, France, Belgium and Sweden.  Bannon’s current project is to knit together like-minded counter globalists from Europe and the United States.

The Brink’s opposition to nationalist populism is left to Guardian reporter Paul Lewis who accuses Bannon of using “anti-Semitic tropes,” then interrupts Bannon’s denial. Bannon insists that there’s nothing nefarious about using the term “globalist” or criticizing George Soros for the NGOs he funds. Vogue claims Bannon uses the term globalist “with a wink and a nod…as a stand-in for Jews.”  Bannon’s movement is opposed to globalism. Is there a non anti Semitic way to oppose globalism?

Just  in case anyone failed to understand the intended message, the film ends with a stirring homage to the current crop of new representatives with the background picture of Washington, DC lit in rainbow hues. Apparently, a diverse group of new congressmen and women is a refutation of Bannon and what he stands for, too bad that The Brink fails to explain why that may be so.

My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

source: https://www.evemykytyn.com/reviews/2019/4/3/review-of-the-brink

Denote

المراوغة التركية وعصا السيادة السورية

فبراير 20, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– لم تتوقف تركيا في ظل حزب العدالة والتنمية من الترويج لمفهوم حق التعقب والتوغّل واستباحة مفهوم السيادة لدول الجوار تحت شعار أولوية الأمن القومي للدول على التزامها باحترام سيادة جيرانها. وسعت تركيا عبر ممارستها هذا التعقب والتوغل في كل من سورية والعراق إلى تكريس سقوط مبدأ السيادة كواحدة من ركائز العلاقات الدولية والقانون الدولي، وهو سعي ينسجم مع معايير الحرب الاستباقية القائمة على إطاحة مبدأ السيادة وهو ما شكل عنوان الحروب التي خاضتها واشنطن، فكان تموضع قواتها والتحالف الذي تقوده تحت عنوان الحرب على داعش في سورية دون السعي للتنسيق مع الدولة السورية والحصول على موافقتها، ليس فقط بداعي الاعتبارات السياسية المتصلة بطبيعة العلاقة المتأزمة مع الدولة السورية بل انسجاماً مع السعي لتكريس حق استباحة مفهوم السيادة ضمن منهجها لنظرية الحرب الاستباقية.

– منذ ظهور العولمة على الساحة الدولية كمنظومة سياسية اقتصادية جديدة، باعتبار التأثير المتبادل لدول العالم على بعضها ورفض الانعزال بينها ليس حدثاً دولياً جديداً. وهناك محاولات لا تتوقف عن التبشير بنهاية زمن السيادة الوطنية للدول، وتسخر من كل حديث عن مفهوم الاستقلال الوطني، والتسويق لنظرية مفادها أنه بموجب الإقرار بسقوط السيادة والاستقلال، فالدول الذكية هي التي تبادر بالتنازل عن سيادتها طوعاً للتموضع في حلف سياسي اقتصادي يلبي مصالحها، طالما أن معيار السيادة والاستقلال قد أصبح شيئاً من الماضي، وجاءت الحرب على سورية في جانب رئيسي منها محاولة لتسويق هذا المفهوم. فالشؤون الداخلية للدول لم تعد داخلية، والتدخل في شؤون الدول لم يعد انتهاكاً للقانون الدولي، والتموضع العسكري فوق أراضيها لا يحتاج موافقة صاحب الأرض، وصولاً إلى اعتبار استجلاب مئات آلاف المسلحين من أنحاء الدنيا والزجّ بهم في جغرافيا دولة ذات سيادة أمراً مشروعاً، وفي جانب رئيسي من مواجهتها خاضت سورية دفاعاً عن حقها وحقوق دول العالم المعرّضة والمهدّدة بانتهاك سيادتها، معركة رد الاعتبار لمفهوم السيادة والدولة الوطنية، والاستقلال الوطني والقرار الوطني المستقل.

– نجحت سورية في فرض قواعد الاشتباك التي رسمتها لحروبها بوجه كل أشكال الانتهاك والتطاول على السيادة السورية، وفرضت ردّ الاعتبار لمفهوم السيادة كركن من أركان قواعد حفظ الأمن والسلم الإقليمي والدولي، وقد جاء كلام الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد عن التمييز بين تعرّض البعد المادي للسيادة الوطنية للانتقاص خلال الحرب جغرافيا أو عملياً عبر التدخلات الأجنبية والهجمات الإرهابية، إلا أن الأهم هو عدم استعداد الدولة السورية لشرعنة هذا الانتهاك أو للصمت عنه، وإصرارها على التمسك بسيادتها، وبقرارها المستقل، وعندما بدأت الانتصارات التي تحققها سورية مدعومة من حلفائها تتحول مساراً ثابتاً في مسار معارك المواجهة في سياق الحرب، وصارت رقعة الجبهات الجغرافية تقترب من الحدود، كان على الذين اجتاحوا الحدود وضربوا عرض الحائط بمفهوم السيادة الاختيار بين مواجهة مفتوحة لا سقف لها ولا ضوابط ولا قواعد اشتباك، أو الانكفاء وراء قواعد رسمها القانون الدولي ترسم قواعد اشتباك وتشكل إطاراً للأمن الإقليمي والدولي، ومثلما كان هذا حال كيان الاحتلال الذي أعلن سلفاً سقوط اتفاق فك الاشتباك الموقع عام 1974 على جبهة الجولان وسلم مواقع المراقبين الدوليين لجماعات جبهة النصرة، معلناً أنه يأتمنها على حدوده الشمالية، وأنه يسعى لحزام أمني داخل الأراضي السورية، وجد قادة الكيان أنفسهم مجبرين على الاعتراف بأن العودة إلى اتفاق فك الاشتباك أقل الخيارات مرارة، بما فيه من اعتراف العودة للتعامل مع معادلة السيادة السورية، وبعدهم جرّب الأميركيون واستعصى عليهم البقاء دون الحصول على موافقة الدولة السورية فشكل انسحابهم إقراراً ضمنياً بتفوق مفهوم السيادة على مفاهيم العولمة وحق التعقب وحق التوغل، والحرب الاستباقية.

– جاء دور تركيا بعد طول مراوغة، حيث لا تزال محاولات التمرد على معادلة السيادة السورية وفرض منطق التوغل والاستباحة ضمن معادلة أولوية الأمن القومي على سيادة دول الجوار، فجاء كلام الرئيس الأسد العالي النبرة، رسالة ردع تبعتها شروحات مفيدة من الحلفاء عن مخاطر مواجهة سورية تركية بعد الانسحاب الأميركي من شرق سورية ما لم يتم الالتزام بمقتضيات السيادة السورية واعتبار اتفاق أضنة القائم أصلاً منذ العام 1998 إطاراً لقواعد اشتباك تصلح لتنظيم الوضع الحدودي بين سورية وتركيا، تضمن من جهة الأمن القومي التركي ومن جهة مقابلة السيادة الوطنية السورية، فكان النزول التركي عن الشجرة بصمت، عبّر عنه وزير الخارجية الروسية بإعلانه موافقة تركيا على اعتماد اتفاق أضنة كصيغة صالحة لتنظيم الوضع الحدودي مع سورية.

– المعركة الثقافية والفكرية التي خاضها الرئيس السوري دفاعاً عن مفهوم السيادة والقرار المستقل لا تقلّ شأناً عن قيمة المعركة التي خاضها دفاعاً عن سورية كجغرافيا وناس وعمران ومستقبل، وسيشهد العالم بفعل نتائج الحرب السورية صعود مفهوم الدولة الوطنية مجدداً على حساب محاولات الاستباحة التي تمّ تسويقها تحت شعار العولمة وسقوط الحدود بين الدول و«العالم قرية صغيرة».

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‘New World Order’ Wine Pompoured into a Pro-‘Sovereignty’ Rhetorical Bottle

‘New World Order’ Wine Pompoured into a Pro-‘Sovereignty’ Rhetorical Bottle

JAMES GEORGE JATRAS | 15.12.2018

‘New World Order’ Wine Pompoured into a Pro-‘Sovereignty’ Rhetorical Bottle

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began his December 4 speech in Brussels at the German Marshall Fund with “a well-deserved tribute to America’s 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush,” whom he praised as “an unyielding champion of freedom around the world.” It was fitting that he did so. The heart and soul of Pompeo’s remarks extolling the return of “the United States to its traditional, central leadership role in the world” were little more than a rehash of Bush the Elder’s aggressive internationalism.

Pompeo (or his speechwriter) should be given credit for a masterpiece of misdirection. While the substance of his speech was a blast of stale air from the 1990s, the rhetoric was all Trumpism and national sovereignty – but only for countries obedient to Washington: “Our mission is to reassert our sovereignty, reform the liberal international order, and we want our friends to help us and to exert their sovereignty as well.”

What about the sovereignty of countries the US doesn’t count as “friends”? Well, that’s a different story: “Every nation – every nation – must honestly acknowledge its responsibilities to its citizens and ask if the current international order serves the good of its people as well as it could. And if not, we must ask how we can right it.” [emphasis added]

So according to Pompeo, the United States and our vassals (“we”) have an obligation (“must”) to fix international actors that in our infinite wisdom are not serving “the good of their people.” For example, “Russia hasn’t embraced Western values of freedom and international cooperation.” (Why should Russia care what “we” think of its values – and why should its values be “western,” anyway? Never mind! We “must” do something about it!)

This assertion constitutes not only a right but a duty of the US to dictate not only the external policies of every country on the planet but even their internal order as well if judged by all-knowing Washington to be insufficiently serving the good of their people. This means that some countries (the US and our “friends”) are sovereign, but countries we deem to be failing their people are not. Even Leon Trotsky would shrink from making such a declaration.

This alone gives the lie to the claims of the Swamp-critters Trump has put in charge of his administration that the US is “only” trying to impact behavior. (As in Pompeo’s “We welcomed China into the liberal order, but never policed its behavior.” So now we’re the police too.)

Would the Russians meet Pompeo’s standard if, say, they returned Crimea to Ukraine (presumably over the strong objections of the large majority of its residents who voted to join Russia)? Of course not. Russia would still be our No. 1 enemy.

What if the Russians “admitted” to Pompeo’s self-certifying accusations of violations of the INF Treaty and Chemical Weapons Convention, and then took the actions the US demands? Not good enough.

Maybe a gay parade through Red Square to show love of “Western values”? Getting warmer, but still no …

Admittedly, this arrogant attitude of being both the big player on the geopolitical field as well as the globocop referee (and enforcer) didn’t originate with Pompeo. Let’s recall how George H. W. Bush described America’s mission in his 1991 State of the Union:

‘What is at stake is more than one small country [.i.e., Kuwait], it is a big idea – a new world order, where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom, and the rule of law. Such is a world worthy of our struggle, and worthy of our children’s future. … The world can therefore seize this opportunity to fulfill the long-held promise of a new world order – where brutality will go unrewarded, and aggression will meet collective resistance. Yes, the United States bears a major share of leadership in this effort. Among the nations of the world, only the United States of America has had both the moral standing, and the means to back it up. We are the only nation on this earth that could assemble the forces of peace.’

Notably missing is any concern about the United States itself, the security of our own borders and territory, and the welfare and prosperity of the American people. Instead American “leadership” is needed to usher in a globalist utopia defined by Goodthink “universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom, and the rule of law.”

One would think that at this point in the 21st century people would be wary of regurgitated Leninist claptrap, especially since it has dominated US policy for almost three decades. It’s all here:

  • Democratic centralism (which is NATO’s operating principle: there’s democratic debate until the US decides, after which there’s centralism; US “allies” in NATO have less independence than members of the Warsaw Pact did).
  • The bipartisan establishment would never admit that killing millions of people is a valid way to bring about utopia, but they have been willing to do just that in wars of choice in the Greater Middle East (including the Balkans and Afghanistan) and willing to risk far, far more deaths by pushing Russia (and China) to the brink. This is facilitated by sophisticated information control with features such as “atrocity porn” that acts as a transmission belt.

Not only is all of this Bolshevik to the core, much of it is specifically Trotskyite. That’s literally true at least for the influence of the neoconservative movement as it developed originally out of the exodus of Max Schachtman and his followers, who were expelled from the official US communist party in 1928, and then went through several party name changes, finally ending up as Social Democrats USA. As Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com summarizes it:

‘ …[T]here is plenty to see, first and foremost the Trotskyist DNA embedded in the neocon foreign policy prescription… The Trotskyists argued that the Communist Revolution of 1917 could not and should not be contained within the borders of the Soviet Union. Today’s neocons make the same argument about the need to spread the American system until the U.S. becomes a “global hegemon,” as Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol puts it. Trotsky argued that socialism in one country was impossible, and doomed to failure: encircled by capitalism, surrounded by enemies constantly plotting its downfall, the “workers state” would not survive if it didn’t expand. The neocons are making a similar argument when it comes to liberal democracy. Confronted by an Islamic world wholly opposed to modernity, Western liberal democracy must implant itself in the Middle East by force – or else face defeat in the “war on terrorism.” Expand or die is the operative principle, and the neocons brought this Trotskyist mindset with them from the left.’

Very few Americans who don’t themselves come from far-left and émigré fever swamps have much of an idea of any this to this very day. Starting in earnest in the 1980s under Reagan, large numbers of neocons, who had previously styled themselves Henry “Scoop” Jackson Democrats, began to enter the governing apparatus on the strength of their intellectual and academic credentials and their strong anti-Sovietism. Regarding the neocons’s hostility to the USSR, originally an expression of their anti-Stalinism, “regular” Americans conservatives, whose own moral views were closer to ordinary Americans’, mistook it for simple anti-communism. Little did most of them suspect that the neocons were even more devoted to world revolution than was Brezhnev’s Politburo, and that to them the US was little more than a base of operations, just as the Bolsheviks had earlier viewed Russia.

The neocons’ influence leveled out but did not disappear under the presidency of George H.W. Bush (1989-1993), to whose credit also has some balance from relative “realists” like Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, and James Baker. However, neocons were able to make major gains under Bill Clinton (1993-2001) in alliance with so-called “liberal internationalists” like Madeleine Albright, Strobe Talbott, Richard Holbrooke – and of course Hillary Clinton. While reflecting somewhat different priorities (notably on the mix between America as the engine of world revolution vs. the role of the United Nations), the neocons and liberal internationalists found common ground in so-called “humanitarian interventionism,” notably in the Balkans. The neocons’ only criticism of Clinton’s in Bosnia and Kosovo (and later of Obama’s in Libya and Syria) was not being militant enough; accordingly the neocons (mostly outside of the Executive Branch in those years but well-represented on Capitol Hill and in think tanks) helped the liberal internationalists beat back partisan Republican and residual realist skepticism for Clinton’s wars.

When the GOP again controlled the White House under George W. Bush (2001-2009), the liberal internationalists returned the favor by whipping up Democratic support for the invasion of Iraq. By that time the neocons were in virtually total control of the Republican’s foreign policy in powerful alliance with representatives of the Deep State complex centered on the Pentagon and military industries. This latter group, known as the “Vulcans,” included people like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, and Condoleezza Rice. Then, when the Democrats took over again under Barack Hussein Obama (2009-2017), the liberal internationalists’ militancy was championed by a “triumfeminate” of Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power (known as the “genocide chick”), under whom “responsibility to protect” (R2P) became a dominant principle of US policy, again with vocal neocon support.

With Donald Trump’s election, it was hoped by many of his supporters that his “America First” views and stated desire to get along with Russia and to get the US out of places like Afghanistan and Syria, as well as his criticism of NATO, signaled a sharp departure from the influence of the neocons and their liberal interventionist and Vulcan allies. Alas, that was not to be. As Pompeo’s Max-Schachtman-masquerading-as-Pat-Buchanan speech shows, the neocon/Deep State lock remains on a policy that hurtles heedlessly forward towards disaster.

The Pentagon Realised What It Has Done – the Chinese Put the US Army on Its Knees

The Pentagon Realised What It Has Done – the Chinese Put the US Army on Its Knees

November 04, 2018

By Ivan Danilov
Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard

cross posted with http://www.stalkerzone.org/ivan-danilov-the-pentagon-realised-what-it-has-done-the-chinese-put-the-us-army-on-its-knees/
source: https://ria.ru/analytics/20181104/1532106144.html

In the system of national defense of the US a gaping vulnerability was found that is very difficult to close. The reaction of the Pentagon is reminiscent of badly hidden panic, and journalists who examined the results of the research of American experts, who thoroughly studied the condition of the American army and defensive industry, admit that there is iron logic in the recent “strange” actions of president Trump — he wants to save America from transforming into a cardboard tiger with paper claws.

The essence of the problem, according to the retelling of the columnist of the Reuters agency Andy Home, who obtained a copy of the September report of the US Department of Defence on the situation concerning key deliveries necessary for the American army, is reduced to one important figure. More than 300 (!) key elements necessary for the normal functioning of the US Armed Forces and defensive industry are under threat: American producers are either on the verge of bankruptcy or were already replaced by suppliers from China or other countries because of the deindustrialisation of national economy and the relocation of production to the countries of Southeast Asia.

Mr. Home gives as a striking and clear example the amusing (of course, if you are not a US military man) fact from the report: it turns out that the last American producer of the synthetic threads necessary for the production of army tents “died” quite recently. This means that in the event that the US will fall under such a “textile embargo”, for some American soldiers they will seriously face the prospect of sleeping in the open-air. It is difficult not to notice that such a prospect looks slightly humiliating for an army that claims to be the most hi-tech on the planet.

The situation could be considered as funny if it didn’t affect such a wide range of requirements of the American army and military-industrial complex. In the declassified part of the research of the American Department of Defence it is mentioned that in the US there are difficulties with future deliveries of the power switches that nearly all American missiles are equipped with. As officials of the Pentagon report, the producer of these switches was closed down, but the highest military ranks learned about it only after it became clear that the power switches ended. And there is nowhere to take new ones from, because the producer disappeared into thin air a whole 2 years ago. One more striking example: the country’s only producer of solid rocket motors for “air-to-air” missiles, as the American officials write, “encountered technical production issues”, the reasons for which couldn’t be found even after government and military experts were involved. Attempts to restart production failed, and the Pentagon was obliged to employ a Norwegian company to ensure uninterrupted deliveries. Obviously, this indicates a certain technical degradation of the entire American system, because only the loss of some key competencies can explain a situation in which production cannot be restored and the problem cannot even be determined.

Whilst becoming acquainted with the complaints of the leadership of the American army it is difficult to rid oneself of the impression that it isn’t a document of the US Department of Defence dated September, 2018 that is in front of your eyes, but a description of the problems of the Russian army from the era of the dashing 90’s. Literally there is no direction in which there would be no serious or very serious problems, and often they even can’t be solved at the expense of the bottomless military budget.

In the section on nuclear weapon problems the Pentagon complains that in the US there isn’t the necessary number of engineers and technicians who would have the corresponding education, training, and US citizenship that are necessary for working with army nuclear objects. The mention of nationality is of importance, because American higher education institutions produce enough engineers, physicists, and representatives of other technical specialties and exact sciences, however a disproportionately large number of these graduates are foreigners, most often from the People’s Republic of China.

Americans can’t find not only the necessary engineers, but also the necessary microelectronics for nuclear weapons. And they complain that they no longer have the right to trust suppliers of electronic components – after all,

“the supply chain is globalised”. In translation from American bureaucratese into colloquial Russian it means: “the microelectronics for our nuclear missiles are made in China, and we don’t know what the Chinese have stuffed in it”.

There are serious difficulties even concerning issues that should be solved very easily in the conditions of hi-tech American economy. For example, the Pentagon complains about a lack of tools for the development of software, as well as the management of data and production, that could be trusted. The situation is exacerbated by “poor cybersecurity practices by many key software vendors”. This, when translated from American bureaucratese into colloquial Russian, means: “concerning cybersecurity, our vendors are so bad that we don’t know what the Chinese and Russian hackers cram into the software that our military use”.

Main conclusion of the report:

“China represents a significant and growing risk to the supply of materials deemed strategic and critical to U.S. national security. <…> Areas of concern to America’s manufacturing and defense industrial base include a growing number of both widely used and specialized metals, alloys and other materials, including rare earths and permanent magnets”.

In general everything is bad, starting with aluminium and ending with cybersecurity, from power switches for missiles to engineers and drill operators, and from computer numerical control machines to synthetic fabric for military tents. The greed of American business, the ideology of globalisation, and the iron belief that history, as Fukuyama predicted, is about to end collectively caused such damage to the defense capability of the US that the geopolitical opponents couldn’t even dream of. It is precisely by understanding this fact that explains Donald Trump’s attempts to carry out the reindustrialisation of America almost by force.

However, there is every reason to believe that, taking into account the present economic difficulties, it’s unlikely that Trump’s administration will be able to fix what its predecessors broke 20 years. And we [Russians – ed] and our Chinese partners need, on the one hand, not to repeat the mistakes of Americans, and on the other hand — to make the most of these mistakes. Judging by what is happening now on the world stage, this is exactly what Moscow and Beijing are doing.

Ryan Dawson and Gilad Atzmon on Palestine and the rest of Us

October 15, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

In this extended discussion Ryan Dawson and yours truly delve into the Jerusalemisation of our universe. We identify that which sustains tyranny of correctness, the Zionification of our politics and even the elements that control the opposition and suppress a prospect of a better future.

UNO : birth of the post-Western world

Thierry Meyssan

Thierry MeyssanPolitical consultant, President-founder of the Réseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network). Latest work in French – Sous nos Yeux. Du 11-Septembre à Donald Trump (Right Before our Eyes. From 9/11 to Donald Trump).

DAMASCUS (SYRIA)
The administration of the UNO had been hoping for a clash between the pro- and anti-Trump factions during the General Assembly. What actually happened was very different. While several States, including France, denounced the methods of the resident of the White House, Russia undertook an analysis of the Western alliance. According to Moscow, most of our current problems are due to the desire of the old colonial powers to conserve their domination of the rest of the world – at whatever the cost. In order to overtake them, a formidable coalition has been born.

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The hearing of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Despite appearances, the procession of the heads of State and government, or Ministers for Foreign Affairs, at the General Assembly of the United Nation was not without purpose. It’s true that most of them, having little to say, addressed their interior public opinions by blaming UNO incompetence and calling for a respect for the law. But many of their interventions went straight to the heart of the matter – how to resolve the disputes between States and guarantee peace?

The first three days were marked by the speech by Donald Trump (United States) and the responses by Emmanuel Macron (France) and Hassan Rohani (Iran). But all these complications were shattered on the fourth day with the intervention by Sergueï Lavrov (Russia), when he presented the map of the post-Western world.

World collapse according to Donald Trump

President Trump, whose speeches are usually extremely disorganised, had on this occasion prepared a finely structured text [1]. Distinguishing himself from his predecessors, he affirmed that he gave privilege to « independence and cooperation », rather than « governance, control and international domination » (in other words, his national interests rather than those of the « American Empire »). He followed by enumerating the readjustments of the system he had set in motion.

- The USA has not declared commercial war on China, but is in the process of re-establishing its balance of payments. Simultaneously, the US is trying to restore an international market founded on free market competition, as demonstrated by their position in the energy sector. The US has become a major exporters of hydrocarbons, and would therefore benefit from high prices, but it opposes the existence of an intergovernmental cartel, the OPEC, and is calling for lower prices.
- It is opposed to the structures and treaties of globalisation (that is to say, from the point of view of the White House, transnational financial imperialism), notably the UN Human Rights Council, the International Criminal Court, and UNRWA. Of course, this is not a claim for torture (which was legitimised by George Bush Jr. in his day) nor crime, nor starving the Palestinians, but the destruction of the organisations which instrumentalise their object in order to achieve other goals.
- Concerning the migrations from Latin America to the United States, and also within the interior of the South American continent itself, the US intends to end them by treating the problem at its roots. For the White House, the problem results from the rules imposed by globalist Treaties, notably NAFTA. President Trump has therefore negotiated a new agreement with Mexico which links exports to respect for the social rights of Mexican workers. He intends to return to the original Monroe doctrine – meaning that the multinationals will no longer be able to interfere in the governing of the continent.

The reference to the Monroe doctrine merits an explanation, since the expression suggests US colonialism at the beginning of the 20th century. Donald Trump is an admirer of the foreign policies of two very controversial personalities, Presidents Andew Jackson (1829-1837) and Richard Nixon (1969-74). The Monroe doctrine (1823) was elaborated during the intervention of a man who at that time was no more than General Jackson in the Spanish colony of Florida. At that time, James Monroe wanted to protect the American continent from European imperialism. It was the « era of good feelings ». He therefore pledged that the United States would not intervene in Europe if Europe stopped intervening in the Americas. It was only three quarters of a century later, notably with Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), that the Monroe doctrine would be used as a screen to hide US imperialism in Latin America.

The defence of the old world by Emmanuel Macron and Hassan Rohani

In a strange inversion of roles, French President Emmanuel Macron presented himself as the European Barack Obama facing up to the US Charles De Gaulle, as played by Donald Trump. Macron symbolically declared war, stating: « Let us sign no more commercial agreements with powers which do not respect the Paris Agreement » (which means no more agreements with the United States) – an odd way to defend multilateralism!

The French President began with Donald Trump’s implicit assessment – the crisis of the current « liberal Westphalian order » [2]. This means the crisis of nation-States who are badly shaken by economic globalisation. But this strategy was only intended to more efficiently oppose the solution proposed by the White House, which he qualified as the « law of the strongest ». He therefore described the French solution, « based around three principles – the first is the respect for sovereignty, the very foundation of our charter; the second is the reinforcement of our regional cooperation; and the third is the implementation of more robust international guarantees ».

But then his speech zoomed off into the stratosphere to end in a lyrical exaltation, during which Emmanuel Macron allowed himself a moment of juvenile hypocrisy reaching to the limits of schizophrenia.

- As an example of « the respect for sovereignty », he called for a refusal to « substitute oneself for the Syrian people » when we decide who will become their leader… while at the same time forbidding President el-Assad to present himself for election by his compatriots.

- Concerning the « reinforcement of regional cooperation », he mentioned the support offered by the African Union to the French anti-terrorist operation in the Sahel. But this operation was in reality only the land-based wing of a larger plan directed by AfriCom, for which the US army supplied the airborne wing. The African Union itself has no real army as such, and acts only to legalise a colonial operation. Similarly, the sums invested for the development of the Sahel – which the French President quoted not in Euros, but in dollars – mixes true African projects with foreign aid for development. The impotence of this endeavour has long been clear to all.

- Concerning « the implementation of more robust international guarantees », he announced the struggle against inequalities which should be addressed by the G7 summit in Biarritz. This was simply a way of affirming, once again, Western leadership over the rest of the world, Russia and China included. He claimed that « the time when a club of rich countries could alone define the balance of the world is long over », and promised to … present a report of the decisions taken by the major Western powers before the next General Assembly. Again, he proclaimed that the « G7 should be the motor » of the struggle against inequality undertaken by the UNO.

Speaking in his turn, Iranian President Cheikh Hassan Rohani described in detail the way in which the White House is destroying, one by one, the principles of international Law [3].

He reminded us that the 5+1 agreement (JCPoA) had been validated by the Security Council, which had called upon numerous institutions for their support (resolution 2231), and that Donald Trump’s USA had withdrawn from the agreement, negating the signature of his predecessor and the principle of the continuity of state. He emphasised that, as attested by twelve consecutive AIEA reports, Iran has conformed and is still conforming to its obligations. He expressed his indignation at President Trump’s call to disobey the UNO resolution and the threat he has addressed against those who respect it.

He finished by recalling a few facts – Iran fought Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and Daesh before the United States (which was at that time supporting them) – one way of emphasising the fact that for a long time, the about-faces by the USA do not correspond to the logic of Law, but to the logic of its own hidden interests.

Sergueï Lavrov presents the post-Western world

This debate, not for or against the United States, but for or against Donald Trump, was organised around two main arguments:
- The White House is destroying the system which has so well benefited the international financial elites (Macron).
- The White House is no longer even pretending to respect international Law (Rohani).

For the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sergueï Lavrov, this debate hides a problem which goes even deeper. « On one hand, we see the reinforcement of the polycentric principles of the world order , (…) the aspiration of the people to preserve their sovereignty and work with models of development which are compatible with their national, cultural and religious identities. On the other, we see the desire of several Western states to preserve their self-proclaimed status as “world leaders” and to hinder the objective and irreversible process of the establishment of multipolarity », he stated [4].

From that point, it is no longer pertinent for Moscow to argue with President Trump, nor even the United States, but with the Westerners in general. Sergueï Lavrov went as far as drawing a parallel with the Munich Agreements of 1938. At that time, France and the United Kingdom signed an alliance with Germany and Italy. It’s true that this event is remembered today in Western Europe as an act of cowardice on the part of France and Britain faced with the demands of the Nazis, but it remains engraved in Russian memory as the decisive step which triggered the Second World War. While Western historians seek to decide who took this decision and who followed the movement, Russian historians note only one thing – that none of the Western Europeans assumed their responsibilities.

Extending his study, Sergueï Lavrov no longer denounced the infringements to the Law, but to international structures. He observed that the Westerners attempt to force the people to enter into military alliances against their will, and threaten certain States who wish to chose their partners themselves. Alluding to the Jeffrey Feltman affair [5], he denounced the attempts to control the administration of the UNO, and force it to assume the role which should be played by the member-States, and finally, to use the General Secretariat to manipulate them.

He noted the desperate nature of these attempts, observing, for example, the inefficiency of fifty years of the US blockade of Cuba. He stigmatised the British desire to judge and condemn without trial by using their rhetoric of « highly probable ».

Sergueï Lavrov concluded by emphasising that all this Western disorder did not prevent the rest of the world from cooperating and developing. He recalled the « Greater Eurasian Partnership », mentioned at the Valdaï Forum in 2016 by President Putin to complete President Xi’s « Belt and Road Initiative ». This vast initiative, which was at first given a chilly reception by China, is now supported by the Collective Security Treaty, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States, BRICS, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Counter-propositions by Australia, Japan and the European Union were still-born.

While Western representatives have the habit of announcing their projects in advance, and discussing them, Russian diplomats only speak of them when they are already under way and are sure to succeed.

To sum up, the strategy of the containment of Russia and China, dreamed up by British deputy Halford J. Mackinder [6] and clarified by US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzeziński [7], has failed. The world’s centre of gravity is being displaced to the East, not against the Westerners, but by their fault [8].

Drawing the first practical conclusions from these analyses, Syrian Vice-Prime Minister, Walid al-Moallem, demanded on the following day at the tribune of the General Assembly the immediate withdrawal of the occupying troops of the United States, France and Turkey [9].

Translation
Pete Kimberley

[1] “Remarks by Donald Trump to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly”, by Donald Trump, Voltaire Network, 25 September 2018.

[2] « Discours d’Emmanuel Macron devant la 73e séance de l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies », par Emmanuel Macron, Réseau Voltaire, 25 septembre 2018.

[3] “Remarks by Hassan Rohani to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly”, by Hassan Rohani, Voltaire Network, 25 September 2018.

[4] “Remarks by Sergey Lavrov to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly”, by Sergey Lavrov, Voltaire Network, 28 September 2018.

[5] “Germany and the UNO against Syria”, “How the administration of the UNO is organising the war”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 28 January 2016 and 5 September 2018.

[6] “The geographical pivot of history”, Halford J. Mackinder, The Geographical Journal, 1904, 23, pp. 421–37.

[7The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzeziński, Basic Books. 1997.

[8] “The Geopolitics of American Global Decline”, by Alfred McCoy, Tom Dispatch (USA) , Voltaire Network, 22 June 2015.

[9] “Remarks by Walid Al-Moualem to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly”, by Walid Al-Moualem, Voltaire Network, 29 September 2018.

US has to come to terms with its place in the world, just as Britain did when its empire collapsed

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Trump’s threats of war, sanctions and promises to make America great again could be dismissed as the ranting of an eccentric politician. But this isn’t all about Trump. What he advocates is representative of much of the US elite.

The president and his generation of Americans grew up in a world where the USA was the greatest superpower in human history. It was not just their vast arsenal of nuclear weapons and their war machine but, in 1945, around 50 percent of the entire world’s economy was in the United States of America, with Britain and the USSR hobbling along with around 10 percent each. America dwarfed the power that the British empire had in the 19th century.

In the years that followed, America would intervene all over the world, not to spread democracy, but to overthrow governments that were not working in America’s commercial interests. Whether it was the coup that removed the government of Iran in 1953 and brought back the dictatorship of the Shah; or the military coup in Brazil in 1964 that overthrew a socialist, democratically elected government; or the dozens of other coups around the world, America crushed any opposition to its economic interests.

Some 45 years after the end of the Second World War came the collapse of the Soviet Union, by which time America’s share of the global economy was down to 25 percent. The collapse of the Soviet Union unleashed a wave of assumptions about the future. The most significant of these was Francis Fukuyama’s 1992 book ‘The End of History and The Last Man.’ This was met with acclaim around the world as he argued that the ideological evolution of humanity was over with the triumph of Western liberal democracy. Fukuyama had previously worked in the US State Department under Ronald Reagan and later worked for the first George Bush. Now he is a senior fellow at Stanford University and has just published a book called ‘Identity’ looking at the current political situation. But it was his 1992 book that dominated the political debate as he predicted that the collapse of communism meant there was only one system left for our planet: pragmatic liberal democracy, and the world would never change again.

In an interview in The Guardian, Fukuyama talks about the “ruthless cunning of Vladimir Putin” and points out that Trump and Brexit are a backlash against multiculturalism and international cooperation. He warns that “globalization has clearly left a lot of people behind. There is greater automation, greater inequality.” He says he believed the financial crash would see a surge of left-wing populism and was therefore surprised by the rise of Trump.

Across much of the capitalist West, tens of millions have seen their lives get worse and this has fueled the growth of far-right groups and racial hatred. But different things are happening elsewhere in the world, of which the most significant is the rise of China. Around 40 years ago, China was a basket economy with 90 percent of its people living in poverty, but the economic strategy of China has lifted over 500 million Chinese out of poverty and their economy has grown to a point where it is about to overtake the USA. Not surprisingly, this has caused a backlash in the American establishment.

Paul Wolfowitz, a key player in America’s invasion of Iraq, had warned back in 1992 in a secret memo to Defense Secretary Dick Cheney that “our strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor.” But with the growth of China’s economy and America’s economic decline, Wolfowitz’s strategy has now become the consensus in the American government, including Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. During Obama’s administration, they were pushing aggressive policies by expanding NATO to encircle Russia and devising a strategy for the economic containment of China. Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) tried to create an economic bloc around the Pacific that would exclude China. Fortunately, this was rejected by most Asian governments and never happened.

America’s paranoia about China ignores why Beijing’s economy has soared. Unlike the West, which allows the financial sector to dominate and set the economic agenda, China focused on scientific and technological development, investment in infrastructure (like high-speed rail) and kept its financial center under firm regulation, thus avoiding its banks collapsing as they did in the West in 2008.

Sergei Glazyev, a key adviser to President Putin, has warned against the continuing US and EU sanctions against Russia, and the capricious policy of the Trump administration that has seen the start of a trade war. He warns that “if the US keeps contradicting international law… the first measure we would have to take together with China and other countries who are suffering from US aggression would be to get rid of the dollar as the key international currency.” China, he said“has created the most progressive system in the world for directing economic development, combining planning with market self-regulation, and subordinating private initiative to the needs of raising the general welfare through an increased volume and efficiency of production.”

Another consequence of China’s growth is BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). These countries are increasingly cooperating and as their economies continue to rise, we will never again see a world in which one country’s economy can dominate the whole planet, as was the case with America after 1945.

This global economic shift has caused a backlash with former British prime minister Tony Blair claiming“America needs Europe united and standing with it, not isolated as individual nations, able to be picked off one by one by the emergent new powers.”

China’s President Xi, speaking at the G20 conference two years ago, warned that “we can no longer rely on fiscal and monetary policy alone,” and called for spreading visionary and inclusive economic growth driven by innovation in science and technology… “to spearhead the fourth industrial revolution.” He went on to promise direct support to help the countries of Africa see their economies grow.

Xi also said“the Silk Road Economic Belt is progressing rapidly and the Maritime Silk Road is well underway. But this is not China creating a sphere of influence but rather a means of supporting the development of all countries. We are not building China’s backyard garden but we’re building a garden to be shared by all countries.”

Also, in September 2016, Russia’s President Putin advocated“big, ambitious, complex and long-term tasks” to transform Russia’s Far East into a hub of Eurasian development. At the same time, President Obama was still pushing for the TPP and demanding that “America should write the rules, not China.” A significant response to Obama came from Germany’s Minister of Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel, who said“In my opinion, the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to America’s demands.”

These views were not shared by Britain’s Prime Minister May, as she launched what seemed to be the beginning of a new Cold War against Russia. Her views were echoed by the Sunday Telegraph’s editor, Allister Heath, who called for Britain to take the lead in creating a new global military and economic alliance to enforce democracy but also capitalism across the globe. Heath’s column was titled ‘Forget NATO. We need a new world alliance to take on totalitarian capitalists in Russia and China.’ Heath continued: “NATO is no longer enough: it is too European, too many of its members are outright pacifists and Turkey’s membership is problematic.” Heath claimed that the new alliance he was advocating “would be the biggest shift in geopolitics since the creation of the UN. It would dramatically shift the global balance of power, and allow the liberal democracies finally to fight back. It would endow the world with the sorts of robust institutions that are required to contain Russia and China…”

No one power is ever going to dominate the world again. The choice we face is to cooperate with the emerging new economies like China and those that will follow around the rest of the Third World or get caught up in an economic Cold War led by the American establishment and its UK ally. America has got to come to terms with the world as it is now, just as Britain had to the same when its empire collapsed. We should work with China and Russia and the other emerging economies and, in doing so, ordinary people around the world will benefit – including in the USA, if only America stops looking back to the past.

By Ken Livingstone
Source

Pakistan: At the Brink of Sovereignty By Zara Ali

May God protect Pakistan – Long Live Pakistan!

They did it again on July 25, 2018.  On the day of polls another mind-programmed mercenary of ISIS, the nefarious CIA creation – a militant proxy – slaughtered 31 and injured over 40 in a bomb blast in the vicinity of a polling station in Quetta – the capital of the province of Baluchistan.  The RAW link is almost always revealed behind terrorist activities conducted in Baluchistan irrespective of the affiliations of the myriad of proxy operatives on ground, hence it is not the least far-fetched that alongside Western Geo-political powers, namely Washington and London, Delhi must also be an accomplice in the unsuccessful effort to sabotage the General Election in Pakistan – this was the fourth major terrorist attack in less than a fortnight.  The polls went ahead as planned albeit the terrorists did succeed at making Pakistan pay a toll of up to 300 human lives.  Active terrorism was not the only method the Globalist Deep State opted for in a bid to sabotage the Election – the Western, Indian and Pakistan mainstream media engaged in a massive disinformation campaign with the intention to dispute the credibility of the polls as they essentially toyed about with the accusation made by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan – a so-called independent non-profit organization, like the Human Rights Watch, with links to the U.S. foreign policy elite and other interventionist/expansionist lobbies.  HRC of Pakistan claimed Military Intelligence interfered in the political process in order to sway the outcome in favour of Imran Khan.  Not to forget the argument the constitutional ousting and subsequent conviction of Nawaz Sherif also rendered the play-field less than levelled for the Sherif Family’s ruling political party i.e. the N-League.  Looking at the headlines that mainstream publications ran such as ‘the dirtiest election’, ‘Imran Khan near victory in Pakistan but some ask if he is playing fair’, ‘Khan is only a player in the circus run by the Pakistan’s military’, ‘from playboy to Prime Minister’, ‘Imran Khan is the worst pick for both Pakistan and India’, I wondered what caused such passionate criticism and why the undertone of an almost hysterical anxiety?  Yes, the Globalists most definitely did not want to miss the chance to malign the Pakistan Army as has been their long-running tradition – and the allegations associated with the occasion most certainly provided them with just about enough ammunition to open fire at one of the world’s most competent and professional armies, but what happened to the rather ‘dear image’ of the Oxford educated, charismatic star cricketer Khan – what sin did he commit to deserve such zealous criticism?

Had I not observed the Global mainstream media stripped off its mask and stand as awfully exposed as the Globalists’ dirty war in Syria has rendered it, perhaps it would not have been easy to see through the disinformation disseminated at such scale – fortunately, the diminished credibility of the global MSM overwhelmingly tended to betray the truth.  The truth of the matter being the result yielded by the 2018 General Election categorically depicts the much-anticipated, much-awaited, and also much-feared manifestation of a socio-political shift, making keen observers wonder if the nation has in fact hit the tipping point key to sustained change in the collective mind-set.  Those who harbour antagonism toward Pakistan are resentful while for the patriotic among the people of Pakistan the outcome of 2018 Election marks a historic victory – not that of Khan over his political opponents, but that of truth upon falsehood – albeit this is one of the first few steps Pakistan has ventured to take in this direction after almost 71 years of its inception.  As I implied in Pakistan: Hostage to Global Hawks and Native Vultureswe are unquestionably in the throes of a massive shift – a doctrinal shift toward a sovereign Pakistan – various internal and external factors have converged over a period of time and ripened for this to transpire – and no magnitude of opposition to the process, already set into motion, shall succeed in halting it.

Over the past decade the Pakistan Armed Forces’ core leadership appears to have succeeded in breaking the cycle of military coups thus permitting the rather lame democratic political process to continue regardless of its overwhelmingly detrimental effects on the foreign policy, economy and overall governance of the country.  Not that the incompetent civilian regimes did not furnish many a solid provocation over the past decade, which essentially jeopardised the State both economically and in Geo-political terms, the like of which could have aggravated a military coup in the past, however the resolve of the core military leadership to not involve the most powerful institution of the country in the internal power struggle has remained unshaken.  Despite many a speculation at many a point in time over the past two five-year terms of civilian regimes, which essentially served the Globalists’ agenda, the much anticipated ‘imminent’ military coup did not occur.  Instead the Pakistan Army, already stretched thin between the Eastern and Western borders, has been continually and successfully engaged in rooting out the menace of CIA-Mossad-RAW instigated terrorism from the country which has wreaked havoc since the Globalists’ invasion of Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11.  In more recent times the military core has indeed been observed as highly active in defining the priorities of the foreign policy in the context of a fast-changing Global Geo-political panorama and directing its focus toward seeking significant regional alliances with Moscow & Tehran in addition to Beijing while handling an embittered Washington deeply resentful of a soon-to-be vassal state slipping from its hands, however it cannot be denied the involvement of the military in matters of foreign policy by and large reflects the utter failure of the incompetent, disinterested, and treacherous civilian regimes.  Had the democratically elected past regimes not acted on behest of the Globalists and had the elected political leaders possessed the vision to shape and run the foreign policy of the country so as to serve Pakistan’s national interest, the military leadership may have abstained from filling in the vacuum thus created.  Nonetheless, essentially speaking the Army at this point in time is most definitely seeking to free itself from having to babysit the intellectually and morally destitute mainstream political leaders who have exhibited an immense capacity to cause serious harm to the national interest of Pakistan more than once over the past two decades in particular.

Parallel to the doctrinal shift observed in the outlook of the Pakistan Armed Forces, a socio-political shift has also come to grip the nation – Khan, after 22 years of struggle, has eventually emerged as the preferred leader of the people .  He has untiringly campaigned for a change in the prevalent socio-political mind-set, and has most definitely managed to break through the complacent attitude which had come to overtake the privileged and the under-privileged alike.  He has raised his voice against the well-established political status quo, exposed the fraudulent mainstream political leadership, made the common man aware of his rights, reminded people of the value of morals, ethics and service to the country, and borne the brunt of vehement animosity from his opponents in politics and the civil society but continued to pursue the dream of what he calls ‘A New Pakistan’.  And it is the very nature of Khan’s struggle that has come to convince a significant majority of the people, even sceptics like myself, of his strength of character and his ability to lead the nation out of the current quagmire – he is a breath of fresh air unlike any in the stinking swamp of mainstream politicians.  Unquestionably the role played by the Panama Leaks in Khan’s victory cannot be overlooked by any means, however to portray the constitutional ousting of the ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sherif from office in 2017 and his subsequent conviction for holding ‘assets beyond means’ in 2018 as part of an engineered design, is outright nonsense.  Khan’s drive against the menace of corruption most definitely exerted immense popular pressure upon the judiciary of Pakistan to undertake legal proceedings against the resourceful Sherif Family, a judiciary which had hitherto maintained a tradition of by and large following orders from the civilian and military regimes alike, however by no means can this be termed as ‘political revenge’ cooked up by the Army in cahoots with Khan and the Judiciary.  The truth of the matter is starkly singular: the Sherif Family simply found itself caught up in an unintended consequence of the Panama Leaks and came to reap what it had sown.  If at all the Judiciary has played a role in this respect, it is the momentous realization the institution must free itself from subordination of the military and civilian ruling elite with the sole aim of ensuring justice is delivered in deed – an extension of which we have witnessed in many other legal proceedings intended to address the phenomenon of rampant systematic injustice and institutional corruption.

The prospect of a sovereign Pakistan,ruled by a man of intellect and integrity, secured by a valiant army acting within constitutional bounds, and a judiciary committed to ensuring justice without prejudice, is what is exceedingly distasteful to the Globalist Deep State – after all that is not what a vassal state looks like.  Hence the extent of disinformation dutifully disseminated by the Global MSM as Pakistan headed to the polls.  Post-poll reporting has however reflected an interesting twist – essentially exposing the core motive of the Globalist Deep State still more.  The New York Times entices the authoritarian in Khan, prompting him to reshape the unfavourable image namely that of a country which harbours terrorists’ safe havens – since Washington and London insist on holding the Pakistan Armed Forces responsible for ‘manufacturing and exporting terrorism’ around the globe.  The Guardian warns Khan his real test lies in defying his own Military that would not permit him to fulfil the promises made to his people – Khan has won over Pakistan but real power is still with the Military & Pakistan’s military pose biggest challenge to Khan as voters hope for new era.  A quick glance at such post-poll op-eds quite categorically reveals now that Khan is set to be the next Prime Minister, the anti-Pakistan elements instead of taking to slander will rather seek to befriend him and cajole him into doing their bid i.e. cause a rift in the civilian-military relations, subjugate the Military, and eventually denuclearize Pakistan.  Well, perhaps they do not understand, Khan was not cast out of the same mould as the everlasting plenty of puppets who dance at the tune played by their masters.  He is a different breed – quite unknown to them thus far – and may just prove to be the answer to the prayers of the patriots who have grieved upon the misfortune of their country and nation for too long now.

May God protect Pakistan – Long Live Pakistan!

The Rise of «Revisionist» America

Uri Friedman

H. R. McMaster, Donald Trump’s former national-security adviser, used to warn of the dangers of “revisionist powers.” He had in mind countries like China and Russia that are newly ascendant and determined to amend to their advantage the global status quo: a decades-old, US-led international system of free trade, military and diplomatic alliances, and liberal rules and institutions that govern how countries conduct themselves.

But the US president’s recent Europe trip, which whisked him from a confrontational breakfast with the secretary general of NATO to a conciliatory lunch with the president of Russia, made one thing clearer than it’s ever been before: The call is also coming from inside the house. Trump is a revisionist, even if many of his advisers may still conceive of the United States as the world’s leading status-quo power.

Trump’s revisionist streak was on display in Belgium when the president reportedly threatened to reconsider America’s involvement in NATO if the military alliance’s members don’t spend far more on their own defense. When Fox News’s Tucker Carlson questioned this week why the United States should be obligated to defend another NATO member if it came under attack—the commitment at the very heart of the alliance—the president shook his head in disbelief and responded, “I understand what you’re saying. I’ve asked the same question … That’s the way it was set up. Don’t forget, I just got here a little more than a year and a half ago.” The implication was that he needed more time to shake things up.

The streak was on display in the United Kingdom, when Trump actively encouraged defection from the European Union by offering Britain a trade deal with the United States only on the condition that it make a clean break with the EU. “We are cracking down right now on the European Union,” he told The Sun, in reference to the raft of tariffs he has imposed or threatened to impose on the bloc. He argued, as he has since the 1980s, that in certain ways traditional US allies pose a greater threat to the country than longtime adversaries because they are essentially friendly pickpockets: exploiting America’s military protection and preferential treatment on trade to get rich at the expense of the United States. “The European Union is a foe” because it takes “advantage of us” on trade and “many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills,” Trump explained to CBS, before adding that “Russia is a foe in certain respects” and “China is a foe economically.”

And it was on display in Finland, when Trump tried to team up with Russian President Vladimir Putin to address the world’s top problems—from terrorism and nuclear proliferation to the nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea and the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine—without any apparent regard for history or concern about the challenges that Putin’s revisionism has posed to the international system. At a joint press conference, the American president refused to take Russia to task for interfering in democratic elections, or even to call out any specific instance of Russian bad behavior—be it committing and abetting atrocities in Syria or allegedly ordering the poisoning of a former Russian spy with a nerve agent in Britain. (In his interview this week with Carlson, Trump described NATO’s newest member, Montenegro, not as the victim of an alleged Russian-supported coup plot in 2016 but as an “aggressive” nation that could drag the United States and other NATO members into “World War III.”) Instead, Trump blamed rotten relations with Russia on “many years of US foolishness.” Remarkably, it fell on Putin, not Trump, to state at the press conference America’s policy that Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea was illegal. Trump “stands firmly by” that position, Putin said. If Trump does have a problem with the first seizure of territory by one European country from another in decades, he didn’t mention it in Finland.

While “American presidents since the 1940s have primarily sought to conserve the post-World War II order,” the international-relations scholar Walter Russell Mead recently observed in an article on the president’s revisionist tendencies, Trump “wants to alter the terms of the world system in America’s favor” and use “military and economic tools to persuade other powers to accept” his modifications. In Mead’s telling, these adjustments include leveraging China’s dependence on the US economy to rectify trade imbalances between the two countries; “disrupting the status quo” in Europe, and fashioning a “revised model” of the transatlantic relationship so that it stops being “more valuable to Germany than to the US, even as America contributes most to its upkeep”; and no longer placing the containment of Russia at the center of US strategy in Europe, since Trump does not consider Russia “a significant economic or military threat to vital US interests.”

Trump’s advisers have attempted to portray what the president is up to as a project of revitalization, not wholesale revision. In a recent interview with Mead, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that Trump wants a “reset” of a world order in need of updating after decades of stasis—to reform aspects of the system “that no longer are fair and equitable” while preserving “the important historical relationships with Europe and the countries in Asia that are truly our partners.” The president is preoccupied not with how a given international rule or institution “may have impacted America in the ’60s or the ’80s, or even the early 2000s,” but rather how it benefits the United States “in 2018 and beyond,” Pompeo said. Last month in Brussels, Wess Mitchell, the assistant secretary of state for Europe who before joining the Trump administration issued dire warnings about the revisionism of countries such as Russia and China, asserted that the Trump administration is engaged in “strategic renovation” aimed at “shoring up and strengthening the West” politically, economically, and militarily. The objective is to ensure “that we don’t have to do so later on terms that are less favorable”—even if that requires controversial steps that shatter “the appearance of transatlantic unity.”

But whatever you call it—a reset, strategic renovation, or America First revisionism—Trump’s agenda of upending the international status quo is reorienting the United States as an actor in the world, even if the US president’s ambitious plans have often been frustrated by resistance from his own advisers, Congress, and the inertia of a global system that the United States has invested in for decades. (Note that, in the wake of Trump’s Europe tour, NATO members are still pushing back against Trump’s steep spending demands, the United Kingdom appears to be proceeding with only a partial break with the EU, and Trump is struggling mightily to translate his personal bond with Putin into the world-changing cooperation with Russia that he envisions.)

And if three of the world’s top powers—the United States, China, and Russia—are all acting like revisionists, that suggests the world is poised to change a whole lot, even as US allies such as the European Union, Canada, and Japan strive to uphold the status quo.

EU leaders are seeking to reconcile their “post-nationalism identity with the reality of a world that has grown more competitive,” Célia Belin, an expert on US-Europe relations, recently observed. “In a world of carnivores, [Europe] is the herbivore. It’s a power without teeth, basically. [While] big predators are preying on resources out in the world and playing zero-sum games, you have an entire continent that thrives under a win-win type of interdependence, rule of law.”

At the moment, Europe “is not strong enough to uphold this system by itself,” Belin continued. It “still needs big allies like the US”.

Source: The Atlantic, Edited by website team

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