IGNORING THE MIDDLE EAST AT ONE’S PERIL: TURKEY PLAYS GAMES IN NATO

15.05.2022

Written by James M. Dorsey

Amid speculation about a reduced US military commitment to security in the Middle East, Turkey has spotlighted the region’s ability to act as a disruptive force if its interests are neglected.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set off alarm bells this week, declaring that he was not “positive” about possible Finnish and Swedish applications for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

NATO membership is contingent on a unanimous vote in favour by the organisation’s 30 members. Turkey has NATO’s second-largest standing army.

The vast majority of NATO members appear to endorse Finnish and Swedish membership. NATO members hope to approve the applications at a summit next month.

A potential Turkish veto would complicate efforts to maintain trans-Atlantic unity in the face of the Russian invasion.

Mr. Erdogan’s pressure tactics mirror the maneuvers of his fellow strongman, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban. Mr. Orban threatens European Union unity by resisting a bloc-wide boycott of Russian energy.

Earlier, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia rejected US requests to raise oil production in an effort to lower prices and help Europe reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

The two Gulf states appear to have since sought to quietly backtrack on their refusal. In late April, France’s TotalEnergies chartered a tanker to load Abu Dhabi crude in early May for Europe, the first such shipment in two years.

Saudi Arabia has quietly used its regional pricing mechanisms to redirect from Asia to Europe Arab “medium,” the Saudi crude that is the closest substitute for the main Russian export blend, Urals, for which European refineries are configured.

Mr. Erdogan linked his NATO objection to alleged Finnish and Swedish support for the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the EU.

The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency in southeast Turkey in support of Kurds’ national, ethnic, and cultural rights. Kurds account for up to 20 per cent of the country’s 84 million population.

Turkey has recently pounded PKK positions in northern Iraq in a military operation named Operation Claw Lock.

Turkey is at odds with the United States over American support for Syrian Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State. Turkey asserts that America’s Syrian Kurdish allies are aligned with the PKK.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that Turkey opposes a US decision this week to exempt from sanctions against Syria regions controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

“This is a selective and discriminatory move,” Mr. Cavusoglu said, noting that the exemption did not include Kurdish areas of Syria controlled by Turkey and its Syrian proxies.

Referring to the NATO membership applications, Mr. Erdogan charged that “Scandinavian countries are like some kind of guest house for terrorist organisations. They’re even in parliament.”

Mr. Erdogan’s objections relate primarily to Sweden, with Finland risking becoming collateral damage.

Sweden is home to a significant Kurdish community and hosts Europe’s top Kurdish soccer team that empathises with the PKK and Turkish Kurdish aspirations. In addition, six Swedish members of parliament are ethnic Kurds.

Turkey scholar Howard Eissenstat suggested that Turkey’s NATO objection may be a turning point. “Much of Turkey’s strategic flexibility has come from the fact that its priorities are seen as peripheral issues for its most important Western allies. Finnish and Swedish entry into NATO, in the current context, absolutely not peripheral,” Mr. Eissenstat tweeted.

The Turkish objection demonstrates the Middle East’s potential to derail US and European policy in other parts of the world.

Middle Eastern states walk a fine line when using their potential to disrupt to achieve political goals of their own. The cautious backtracking on Ukraine-related oil supplies demonstrates the limits and/or risks of Middle Eastern brinkmanship.

So does the fact that Ukraine has moved NATO’s center of gravity to northern Europe and away from its southern flank, which Turkey anchors.

Moreover, Turkey risks endangering significant improvements in its long-strained relations with the United States.

Turkish mediation in the Ukraine crisis and military support for Ukraine prompted US President Joe Biden to move ahead with plans to upgrade Turkey’s fleet of F-16 fighter planes and discuss selling it newer, advanced F-16 models even though Turkey has neither condemned Russia nor imposed sanctions.

Some analysts suggest Turkey may use its objection to regain access to the United States’ F-35 fighter jet program. The US cancelled in 2019 a sale of the jet to Turkey after the NATO member acquired Russia’s S-400 anti-missile defence system.

Mr. Erdogan has “done this kind of tactic before. He will use it as leverage to get a good deal for Turkey,” said retired US Navy Admiral James Foggo, dean of the Center for Maritime Strategy.

A top aide to Mr. Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, appeared to confirm Mr. Foggo’s analysis. “We are not closing the door. But we are basically raising this issue as a matter of national security for Turkey,” Mr. Kalin said, referring to the Turkish leader’s NATO remarks. “Of course, we want to have a discussion, a negotiation with Swedish counterparts.”

Spelling out Turkish demands, Mr. Kalin went on to say that “what needs to be done is clear: they have to stop allowing PKK outlets, activities, organisations, individuals and other types of presence to…exist in those countries.”

Mr. Erdogan’s brinkmanship may have its limits, but it illustrates that one ignores the Middle East at one’s peril.

However, engaging Middle Eastern autocrats does not necessarily mean ignoring their rampant violations of human rights and repression of freedoms.

For the United States and Europe, the trick will be developing a policy that balances accommodating autocrats’, at times, disruptive demands, often aimed at ensuring regime survival, with the need to remain loyal to democratic values amid a struggle over whose values will underwrite a 21st-century world order.

However, that would require a degree of creative policymaking and diplomacy that seems to be a rare commodity.

Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and scholar, a Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute and Adjunct Senior Fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and the author of the syndicated column and blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.

A podcast version is available on Soundcloud, Itunes, SpotifySpreaker, and Podbean.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Andrei Martyanov: Victory Day, May 9th, How To Make A Decision. Real War Planning.

May 09, 2022

Please visit Andrei’s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/
and support him here: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=60459185

Can Europe overcome hatred, racism, embrace universalist spirit of refugee convention?

April 17 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Ruqiya Anwar 

The hardship of white Ukrainian refugees was humanized by the United States and Europe, while the West showed racism and double standards when it came to hosting refugees from the global south that were escaping western funded wars in the first place.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov described Ukrainian refugees as Europeans concluding “These are intelligent individuals”

The Ukraine crisis has caused one of Europe’s greatest and fastest refugee migrations since World War II ended. A massive amount of people had fled to neighboring countries. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as many as four million people could evacuate the country in the next weeks. The European Union (EU) estimates that there will be seven million refugees by the end of the year. 

It has revealed significant disparities in the treatment of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa, particularly Syrians who arrived in 2015. However, Europe’s radically divergent responses to these two crises serve a warning lesson for those seeking a more humane and generous Europe. The distinctions also explain why some of those fleeing Ukraine, particularly African, Asian, and Middle Eastern, are not receiving the same lavish treatment as Ukrainian citizens (Tayyaba, 2022).

However, we are aware that this is not how the international protection regime has worked in Europe, particularly in countries now hosting Ukrainian refugees. Racist and xenophobic language towards refugees and migrants, particularly those from Middle Eastern nations, pervades public discourse in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania, and hostile actions such as border pushbacks and draconian detention measures have been taken in the past.

Notably, Hungary, since the 2015 refugee crisis, the country has refused to accept refugees from non-EU countries. Non-European refugees, according to Prime Minister Victor Orbán, are “Muslim invaders” and migrants are “a poison”, and Hungary should not welcome refugees from diverse cultures and religions to preserve its cultural and ethnic unity. 

More recently, in late 2021, the atrocious treatment of refugees and asylum seekers stranded on Belarus’s borders with Poland and Lithuania, most of whom were from Iraq and Afghanistan, provoked an outcry across Europe. Belarus has been accused of turning these people’s misfortune into a weapon by luring them to Belarus to travel to EU countries in retribution for EU sanctions.

Whereas hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian migrants pour into neighbouring nations, clutching their children in one arm and their valuables. And leaders from nations like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania have greeted them.

While hospitality has been praised, it has also brought significant disparities in the treatment of migrants and refugees from the Middle East, particularly Syrians who arrived in 2015. Some of them claim that the language used by politicians currently welcoming refugees is upsetting and cruel.

According to Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, “These are not the refugees we’re familiar with. These are Europeans. These are intelligent individuals. They are well-educated individuals. This is not the type of refugee surge we’ve seen before, with people whose identities we didn’t know, people with murky pasts, and even terrorists”.

However, when over a million individuals walked into Europe in 2015, there was initially a lot of support for refugees fleeing crises in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. There were also instances of animosity, such as when a Hungarian camerawoman was caught on camera kicking and potentially tripping migrants near the country’s Serbian border (CNC, 2022)

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Arab Uprisings of 2011 increased the number of refugees attempting to enter Europe. Even Turkey, which already hosts over 4 million migrants and asylum seekers, including 3.6 million Syrians, could not effectively accommodate them. However, the reception of these minority refugees in European countries has been overwhelmingly unfavourable.

Hundreds of Afghan, Syrian, Iraqi, and other asylum seekers were stranded in Poland-Belarus woodlands and marshes in 2021, without shelter, food, or water in subzero temperatures and facing constant assaults from Polish and Belarusian border authorities. At least a dozen people were killed, including children. Yet, the European Union refused to open the border.

Significantly, although walls are an inadequate means to handle the movement of refugees and migrants, wall-building has been on the rise in the region since the 1990s. Then, the European continent celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall. According to a 2018 Transnational Institute analysis, the primary goal of these walls is to dissuade refugees and asylum seekers from the Global South.

Greece finished building a wall along its border with Turkey in 2021 to keep Afghan asylum seekers out. The Spanish government now intends to construct the world’s tallest wall in northern Morocco, where it claims the power to block migrant access into Spain, which is only 250 miles away.

Lithuania has been constructing an 11-foot-high steel fence with 2-inch-thick razor wire on its border with Belarus since 2021 to prevent migrants from the Middle East and North Africa from entering the country. EU states have agreed to accept Ukrainian refugees for up to three years without requiring them to seek asylum. Poland has stated that it will absorb 1 million Ukrainians. Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Moldova, Greece, Germany, and Spain are among the countries that have already opened their borders.

Unfortunately, these double standards have shown in the attitude of non-Ukrainians leaving Ukraine’s conflict. Students and refugees from the Middle East have been subjected to racist abuse, obstruction, and violence while attempting to exit Ukraine in increasing numbers. Many others said they were barred from boarding trains and buses in Ukrainian cities because Ukrainian nationals were given precedence; others said they have violently moved aside and halted by Ukrainian border guards when attempting to pass into neighbouring countries.

There were tales about non-white refugee communities that had gone unrecorded and unpublished. Despite their huge number and agonizing battles across countries and continents, millions of Syrian refugees remained anonymous and blankly depicted in the media. While standing in line at the border and seeking to get crucial services, a number of non-Ukrainians of colour, including Africans, Afghans, and Yemenis, have experienced prejudice.

The astonishing double standards were on full display in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis and the early phases of the conflict that followed. The hardship of white Ukrainian refugees was humanized by the United States and Europe, as well as their different political spectrums. When the refugees were Arabs or Muslims, Black or Brown, however, it remained vehemently divided.

Moreover, the Polish authorities detained people and refused them to enter the country. The refugee crisis in Ukraine provides Europe with not only an important opportunity to demonstrate its generosity, humanitarian values, and commitment to the global refugee protection regime, and it also provides a critical opportunity for reflection, Can Europe’s people overcome widespread racism and hatred and embrace the universalist spirit of the 1951 Refugee Convention? All member states must apply the provisions of this Convention to refugees without discrimination as to race, religion, or country of origin.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

OPEC to EU: No Alternative to Russian Oil

April 12 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Current and future sanctions on Russia could spawn one of the worst oil supply shocks in history, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo warned EU officials on Monday, adding that it would be impossible to replace the volume of oil lost in such an event.

Some seven million barrels of Russian oil per day are leaving the world market as a result of sanctions and other restrictions on Russian trading, Barkindo explained.

The OPEC official also told the EU that the current volatility in the market is due to “non-fundamental factors” beyond OPEC’s control and that it is the responsibility of the EU to promote a “realistic” approach to energy transition.

The EU has announced that it plans to join the US and UK in instituting an embargo on Russian energy products. However, unlike the US and UK, Europe imports a majority of its energy supplies from Russia, and experts have warned that attempting to cut off the supply could have catastrophic results.

In particular, Germany is anticipating the collapse of entire industries, while the head of Austrian energy giant OMV has declared it would be “impossible” for his country to quit buying Russian gas.

While the US has promised to step up and fill the gaps with its more expensive liquefied natural gas exports, most of Europe’s LNG terminals are already operating at capacity, meaning there would be no place to store the fuel. Other countries are eager to use the crisis as an opening to push into renewable fuels.

Nevertheless, the European Parliament demanded last week an immediate and total embargo on Russian imports of oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear fuel, and it is expected to have a significant negative impact on European standards of living if followed through.

Some countries, such as Hungary and Slovakia, have made clear they plan to ignore the ban in the interests of self-preservation, though others have warned their citizens to tighten their belts and get ready for lean times ahead.

Oil and gas aren’t the only commodities whose supply is drying up amid the war in Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine together produce about a third of the world’s wheat exports, and both countries are also major exporters of sunflower oil and fertilizer. As a result, food prices have hit historic highs, and many countries and NGOs are warning of food shortages looming in the near future.

Special operation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and events in Ukraine April 10, day

 April 10, 2022

By  VT Editors

Source Self Explanatory

Fondsk.Ru: Briefing by the official representative of the RF Ministry of Defense Igor Konashenkov on April 10, 2022 on the progress of the special operation in Ukraine:

– The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue to conduct a special military operation in Ukraine.

– During the night in the village of ZVONETSKOYE, Dnepropetrovsk region, high-precision sea-based missiles destroyed the headquarters and base of the nationalist battalion “Dnepr”, where reinforcements from foreign mercenaries arrived the other day.

– High-precision air-launched missiles in the area of ​​​​the settlement of STAROBOGDANOVKA, Mykolaiv region and at the military airfield CHUGUEV, destroyed launchers of Ukrainian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems identified by reconnaissance.

– Russian air defense systems shot down eight Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the air in the areas of the settlements of OLHOVATOVKA, NOVAYA ASTRAKHAN, AVDEEVKA, SHAKHTERSKOE, KURAKHOVO, NOVOSELOVKA VTORAYA, VESELOYE.

– Operational-tactical aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces hit 86 military facilities of Ukraine. Among them: two command posts, two ammunition depots, three fuel depots, three installations of multiple launch rocket systems, as well as 49 strongholds and areas of concentration of Ukrainian military equipment.

– In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed:

  • 127 planes and 98 helicopters,
  • 234 anti-aircraft missile systems S-300, Buk-M1, Osa AKM;
  • 436 unmanned aerial vehicles,
  • 2052 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles,
  • 232 installations of multiple launch rocket systems,
  • 894 field artillery and mortar guns,
  • 1975 units of special military vehicles.

* * *

“Prime Minister Viktor Orban, of course, condemns the massacre in Bucha. Hungary fully supports the international investigation, the purpose of which is to find out who committed the crime, ”said the press secretary of the Hungarian Prime Minister Bertalan Havasi .

It was not in vain that Zelensky boiled up with indignation that someone in Europe was demanding some kind of proof.

* * *

In the Dnieper (former and future Dnepropetrovsk) there is an unreal commotion. All patrol cars of the national police were pulled up to the monument to Pushkin, on which unknown people put the symbol of the special operation Z.

Several people have been detained. Details are being clarified, writes the telegram channel Operative reports .

https://vk.com/video-35660695_456314482

* * *

Again, the population of Ukraine, as Arestovich said, prevents the Armed Forces of Ukraine from protecting it. For example, he does not want the Ukrainian military to mine the private sector. The population is outraged. He does not understand that, first of all, there is a war, and civilians in this war are a human shield, and their deaths are necessary to blame the Russian army for this.

* * *

The Ukrainian military with joyful shouts destroyed a truck with a red cross with an anti-tank missile.

The video was proudly published by former Ukrainian Ambassador to Austria Oleksandr Shcherba . A red cross and a white awning means that the truck is carrying the wounded or humanitarian aid.

At the same time, the military saw and understood that they were hitting an ambulance, this is clear from their dialogue, Radio Stydoba writes .

* * *

“Ukraine is already ready for big battles. Ukraine must win these battles, including in the Donbass. And after that, Ukraine will get a more substantial negotiating position, from which it can dictate certain conditions. After that, the presidents will meet. It may take two weeks, it may take three,” Mykhailo Podolyak , an adviser to the head of President Zelensky’s Office, one of the negotiators , broadcasts .

Boris Johnson arrived, promised Ukrainushka something extraordinary, posed together with Zelensky for a camera with clay roosters (as if hinting), and now Kiev is in a militaristic hellhole. Ready for war.

* * *

“Ukraine is failing and therefore using the tactics of Syrian terrorists – attacking civilians and calling for external intervention,” Brian Berletic , a geopolitical analyst and former US Marine Corps soldier, said of the Kramatorsk incident.

“It is clear what is happening here. Ukraine is defeated. And this is exactly what we saw during the Syrian conflict. When the terrorists sponsored by the US, Britain and the EU were defeated, they did something similar.

They attacked the civilian population. And they said that the Syrian government did it. And then they called for intervention. They called for new sanctions.

So they did throughout the conflict, until they completely lost. And this is what we see here in Ukraine.”

* * *

Putin’s real weapon against Europe is not missiles, not gas for rubles, and not even Russia Today. The real weapon is the millions of Ukrainian refugees who, in a few weeks, have Ukrainianized the best European cities and turned them into real pigsties.

Take, for example, my beloved Vienna, where I lived a happy year. The Austrians are very pedantic and scrupulous about their way of life. Order and some incredible biblical calm reign in this country. People do not violate parking rules not because high fines are set, but because they consciously protect their comfort, the beauty of their hometown and the rules of coexistence.

With the influx of Ukrainian refugees, a full @@@@ has begun: all parking spaces are filled, refugees strive to take a public transport lane and interfere with the work of city services, every Sunday thousands of Maidanites gather on the Museum Quarter Square, leaving behind not only tons of garbage, but also acoustic noise. For the Austrians, this is worse than being hit by the Kinzhal complex.

And so it is in other capitals. In Riga, the maydanuts yell in zombie costumes, in Chisinau they paint monuments blue and yellow and demand to communicate with them in Ukrainian. In expensive Stockholm, Ukrainian refugees demand accommodation for free that most Swedes cannot afford.

Europe gets tired very quickly. Despite the propaganda, Europeans are beginning to see with their own eyes who the Ukrainians are and what is their fundamental difference from the Russians. Ukrainians are constantly whining and demanding something, without giving anything in return and without thinking that it’s time to wake up and start radically changing their own lives, and not forever Maidan and whining.

Europe is waking up very quickly, and the next electoral cycle will be difficult for the current elites, who, to please the United States, got involved in the sanctions war, incurring enormous economic losses. But they receive a more powerful blow from my compatriots – lazy, capricious, hysterical and complex. Ukrainians for eight years have forgotten how to live in a normal society and turn any nutrient medium into a pigsty. And such a scenario was not difficult to calculate, because this is Putin’s real secret weapon.

* * *

The first footage of the evacuation in the port of Mariupol of the crew of the vessel “Blue Star”, under the flag of Panama, is written by WELDERS .

Crew 14 people. One Russian and 13 citizens of Ukraine.

Эвакуация проходила ещё под огнем нацбатов и ВСУ. Рядом противник оказывал сопротивление. Благодаря самоотверженным действиям военнослужащих ВС РФ и НМ ДНР люди спасены. Сейчас все моряки находятся в полной безопасности.

С началом боевых действий и до освобождения гражданские моряки находились в заложниках украинских нацистов, и использовать нацбатами в качестве «живого щита».

* * *

В морском порту г. Мариуполь отступающие остатки подразделений украинских националистов захватили ДВА иностранных судна «Царевна» и «Леди Аугуста». Удерживая в заложниках экипажи этих судов, националисты «Азова» ведут огонь с палуб из 120-мм минометов, различных типов гранатомётов и стрелкового оружия. Судьбы членов экипажей данных судов и состояние их здоровья пока неизвестно. Народная милиция ДНР совместно с Вооруженными Силами Российской Федерации предпринимают все возможное для спасения жизней насильно удерживаемых украинскими националистами моряков, – Народная милиция ДНР.

Заглавное фото: обстрел Еленовки, фото квадрокоптера “Пчёль”, источник

Если Вы заметите ошибку в тексте, выделите её и нажмите Ctrl+Enter, чтобы отослать информацию редактору.

VT Editors

VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff.

All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff

The Dollar Devours the Euro

April 08, 2022

By Michael Hudson and posted with the author’s permission

It is now clear that today’s escalation of the New Cold War was planned over a year ago, with serious strategy associated with America’s plan to block Nord Stream 2 as part of its aim of blocking Western Europe (“NATO”) from seeking prosperity by mutual trade and investment with China and Russia.

As President Biden and U.S. national-security reports announced, China was seen as the major enemy. Despite China’s helpful role in enabling corporate America to drive down labor’s wage rates by de-industrializing the U.S. economy in favor of Chinese industrialization, China’s growth was recognized as posing the Ultimate Terror: prosperity through socialism. Socialist industrialization always has been perceived to be the great enemy of the rentier economy that has taken over most nations in the century since World War I ended, and especially since the 1980s. The result today is a clash of economic systems – socialist industrialization vs. neoliberal finance capitalism.

That makes the New Cold War against China an implicit opening act of what threatens to be a long-drawn-out World War III. The U.S. strategy is to pry away China’s most likely economic allies, especially Russia, Central Asia, South Asia and East Asia. The question was, where to start the carve-up and isolation.

Russia was seen as presenting the greatest opportunity to begin isolating, both from China and from the NATO Eurozone. A sequence of increasingly severe – and hopefully fatal – sanctions against Russia was drawn up to block NATO from trading with it. All that was needed to ignite the geopolitical earthquake was a casus belli.

That was arranged easily enough. The escalating New Cold War could have been launched in the Near East – over resistance to America’s grabbing of Iraqi oil fields, or against Iran and countries helping it survive economically, or in East Africa. Plans for coups, color revolutions and regime change have been drawn up for all these areas, and America’s African army has been built up especially fast over the past year or two. But Ukraine has been subjected to a U.S.-backed civil war for eight years, since the 2014 Maidan coup, and offered the chance for the greatest first victory in this confrontation against China, Russia and their allies.

So the Russian-speaking Donetsk and Luhansk regions were shelled with increasing intensity, and when Russia still refrained from responding, plans reportedly were drawn up for a great showdown to commence in late February – beginning with a blitzkrieg Western Ukrainian attack organized by U.S. advisors and armed by NATO.

Russia’s preemptive defense of the two Eastern Ukrainian provinces and its subsequent military destruction of the Ukrainian army, navy and air force over the past two months has been used as the excuse to start imposing the U.S.-designed sanctions program that we are seeing unfolding today. Western Europe has dutifully gone along whole-hog. Instead of buying Russian gas, oil and food grains, it will buy these from the United States, along with sharply increased arms imports.

The prospective fall in the Euro/Dollar exchange rate

It therefore is appropriate to look at how this is likely to affect Western Europe’s balance of payments and hence the euro’s exchange rate against the dollar.

European trade and investment prior to the War to Impose Sanctions had promised a rising mutual prosperity between Germany, France and other NATO countries vis-à-vis Russia and China. Russia was providing abundant energy at a competitive price, and this energy was to make a quantum leap with Nord Stream 2. Europe was to earn the foreign exchange to pay for this rising import trade by a combination of exporting more industrial manufactures to Russia and capital investment in developing the Russian economy, e.g. by German auto companies and financial investment. This bilateral trade and investment is now stopped – and will remain stopped for many, many years, given NATO’s confiscation of Russia’s foreign reserves kept in euros and British sterling, and the European Russophobia being fanned by U.S. propaganda media.

In its place, NATO countries will purchase U.S. LNG – but they will need to spend billions of dollars building sufficient port capacity, which may take until perhaps 2024. (Good luck until then.) The energy shortage will sharply raise the world price of gas and oil. NATO countries also will step up their purchases of arms from the U.S. military-industrial complex. The near-panic buying will also raise the price for arms. And food prices also will rise as a result of the desperate grain shortfalls resulting from a cessation of imports from Russia and Ukraine on the one hand, and the shortage of ammonia fertilizer made from gas.

All three of these trade dynamics will strengthen the dollar vis-à-vis the euro. The question is, how will Europe balance its international payments with the United States? What does it have to export that the U.S. economy will accept as its own protectionist interests gain influence, now that global free trade is dying quickly?

The answer is, not much. So what will Europe do?

I could make a modest proposal. Now that Europe has pretty much ceased to be a politically independent state, it is beginning to look more like Panama and Liberia – “flag of convenience” offshore banking centers that are not real “states” because they don’t issue their own currency, but use the U.S. dollar. Since the eurozone has been created with monetary handcuffs limiting its ability to create money to spend into the economy beyond the limit of 3 percent of GDP, why not simply throw in the financial towel and adopt the U.S. dollar, like Ecuador, Somalia and the Turks and Caicos Islands? That would give foreign investors security against currency depreciation in their rising trade with Europe and its export financing.

For Europe, the alternative is that the dollar-cost of its foreign debt taken on to finance its widening trade deficit with the United States for oil, arms and food will explode. The cost in euros will be even greater as the currency falls against the dollar. Interest rates will rise, slowing investment and making Europe even more dependent on imports. The eurozone will turn into an economic dead zone.

For the United States, this is Dollar Hegemony on steroids – at least vis-à-vis Europe. The continent would become a somewhat larger version of Puerto Rico.

The dollar vis-à-vis Global South currencies

The full-blown version of the New Cold War triggered by the “Ukraine War” risks turning into the opening salvo of World War III, and is likely to last at least a decade, perhaps two, as the U.S. extends the fight between neoliberalism and socialism to encompass a worldwide conflict. Apart from the U.S. economic conquest of Europe, its strategists are seeking to lock in African, South American and Asian countries along similar lines to what has been planned for Europe.

The sharp rise in energy and food prices will hit food-deficit and oil-deficit economies hard – at the same time that their foreign dollar-denominated debts to bondholders and banks are falling due and the dollar’s exchange rate is rising against their own currency. Many African and Latin American countries – especially North Africa – face a choice between going hungry, cutting back their gasoline and electricity use, or borrowing the dollars to cover their dependency on U.S.-shaped trade.

There has been talk of IMF issues of new SDRs to finance the rising trade and payments deficits. But such credit always comes with strings attached. The IMF has its own policy of sanctioning countries that do not obey U.S. policy. The first U.S. demand will be that these countries boycott Russia, China and their emerging trade and currency self-help alliance. “Why should we give you SDRs or extend new dollar loans to you, if you are simply going to spend these in Russia, China and other countries that we have declared to be enemies,” the U.S. officials will ask.

At least, this is the plan. I would not be surprised to see some African country become the “next Ukraine,” with U.S. proxy troops (there are still plenty of Wahabi advocates and mercenaries) fighting against the armies and populations of countries seeking to feed themselves with grain from Russian farms, and power their economies with oil or gas from Russian wells – not to speak of participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative that was, after all, the trigger to America’s launching of its new war for global neoliberal hegemony.

The world economy is being enflamed, and the United States has prepared for a military response and weaponization of its own oil and agricultural export trade, arms trade and demands for countries to choose which side of the New Iron Curtain they wish to join.

But what is in this for Europe? Greek labor unions already are demonstrating against the sanctions being imposed. And in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has just won an election on what is basically an anti-EU and anti-U.S. worldview, starting with paying for Russian gas in roubles. How many other countries will break ranks – and how long will it take?

What is in this for the Global South countries being squeezed – not merely as “collateral damage” to the deep shortages and soaring prices for energy and food, but as the very objective of U.S. strategy as it inaugurates the great splitting of the world economy in two? India has already told U.S. diplomats that its economy is naturally connected with those of Russia and China. Pakistan finds the same calculus at work.

From the U.S. vantage point, all that needs to be answered is, “What’s in it for the local politicians and client oligarchies that we reward for delivering their countries?”

From its planning stages, U.S. diplomatic strategists viewed the looming World War III as a war of economic systems. What side will countries choose: their own economic interest and social cohesion, or submission to local political leaders installed by U.S. meddling like the $5 billion that Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland bragged of having invested in Ukraine’s neo-Nazi parties eight years ago to initiate the fighting that has erupted into today’s war?

In the face of all this political meddling and media propaganda, how long will it take the rest of the world to realize that there’s a global war underway, with World War III on the horizon? The real problem is that by the time the world understands what is going on, the global fracture will already have enabled Russia, China and Eurasia to create a real non-neoliberal New World Order that does not need NATO countries and which has lost trust and hope for mutual economic gains with them. The military battlefield will be littered with economic corpses.

The ‘Counter-Revolutions of 1848’ stillborn child: Western Liberal Democracy

April 07, 2022

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri

(This is the fourth chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

The primary cause of the Revolutions of 1848 was the fact that it took 50 years for the sociopolitical ideas of the French Revolution to spread in a Europe dominated by autocratic monarchs. That’s how radical 1789 was, and how slow political history moves.

The secondary cause was the economic changes caused by the refusal to end feudal mindsets anywhere in Europe but in France, and amid the start of industrialisation. 1789 had changed all Europeans, but all monarchs – including the two dynasties in post-Napoleonic France – refused to govern according to the entirely new needs and demands of their citizens. It’s expressed in the primary slogan of 1848, “Bread and work, or lead!”

The primary result of the 1848 Revolutions was total failure everywhere but France. 1848 provided new upheavals to replace Europe’s memories of the Seven European Wars Against the French Revolution (1792-1815), and what replaced them was even worse absolute monarchies. Political gatherings and demonstrations were outlawed, censorship was not just rampant but total – in short, all European political life was back to where it was in 1847: underground, publicly nonexistent and ruthlessly repressed. There was no revolution – an accurate reading of European history would call this period the “Counter-Revolutions of 1848”.

So why isn’t it called that? For the same reason behind this long historical preface before an analysis of the achievements of the Yellow Vests: Western mainstream history and education is a catastrophe of elite bias and propaganda.

The secondary result of the Revolutions of 1848 was the very first establishment, and immediate popular rejection, of what we can finally start calling Western Liberal Democracy. It would last just three years before a coup against it was popularly approved 11 to 1 in what was then the largest democratic vote ever in history. It took just three years for Western Liberal Democracy to prove to voters its total, eternal inability to care for the masses and not for an elitist oligarchy.

This chapter will make that conclusion perfectly clear not only because we have 175 years of hindsight, but because we have the world-shattering journalism and analysis of one Karl H. Marx. His on-the-ground analysis of the actions of 1848 would shape politics for over a century, and inspire both true socialists and socialists-turned-fascists into breaking with Western Liberal Democracy.

Napoleon always draws the crowds – his nephew? Few even know he had one who was important. In between Napoleon’s demise and World War One there is an abyss of historical understanding in the West. In fact, they are instructed to not think of this era as significant at all – this chapter hopes to explain why.

Marx on France: The only country that mattered in 1848… and 1849

Simply look at the results:

Italy carried the torch of 1789 the most. After initially giving false hope, the Pope openly said that the Papacy could not be the leader of a unified Italian state. His refusal to mix religion and politics, even in a country which was so overwhelmingly of the same religion, was a major error. After 1848 the Papacy became totally anti-liberal, anti-national and supportive of absolutist regimes.

Hungary gave up after their ethnic-based revolt failed to take root – unsurprisingly – with the rest of the extremely multiethnic Hapsburg empire. Indeed, many seem to think that Germanic racial elitism was founded by Adolf Hitler?

Revolutionary France had ended the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, but the autocratic Hapsburgs held on after 1848 – the counter-revolutionary victory was primarily theirs… it’s a common theme.

Tsarist Russia was not affected by 1848. They would, in large part to keep Prussia weak, prop up their Austrian autocratic brethren.

Just like in the aftermath of Russia’s 1917 success, and the 1930s, and the Great Recession, Germany totally disappointed. The Germans were especially brutal in repressing their revolutions, and it would require World War One to finally end German despotism, at least in the monarchical form.

Yellow Vest: “We were so numerous in the beginning, but when people began to see how violent and ferocious the government repressed the Yellow Vests, then many got too scared to protest. The government did everything they could to make us disappear, just so they can govern us according to their selfish whims.”

(Note: this book intersperses over 100 quotations taken from actual, marching Yellow Vests which were originally published in news reports on PressTV.)

The broad outline of what happened across Europe in the year of 1848 is simply this: The nouveau riche, professional, and managerial classes were always quite content with mere liberal reformism, which was opposed by the monarchists. Those three groups initially allied with the artisans and students to push back against Anglo-Germanic-Russian enforced absolutism and repression. When this “bourgeois” triumvirate got the mild reformism they wanted (i.e. rights for themselves) these “liberal reformists” would no longer support the artisans and students – of course they never wanted to ally for long with the peasants and proletariat. They instead supported repression of the artisans, students and lower classes, and thus we have the Counter-Revolutions of 1848. These liberal reformers never wanted a revolution, but merely a bill of rights for rich people against autocratic monarchy. As all mere reformists do, they refused to incarcerate, confiscate or execute the counter-revolutionaries, and thus the counter-revolution won, as it always will when facing half-hearted reformism. 1848 stands as proof that the alleged heroes of liberalist reformism are actually right-wingers opposed to actual democracy.

The tertiary result of 1848 was the growth of nationalism, but rarely pointed out in the Anglo-Saxon world is that this nationalism was required to expel Anglo-Germanic theocratic autocrats. We certainly can’t blame the French revolutionaries who departed decades ago, but after planting the seed of anti-feudalism, anti-monarchism and patriotic pride. The rebellions across Europe were against the poor governance of the aristocratic oligarchies who had colluded to wipe out 1789. Some leftists see this rise of nationalism as a bad thing, but they have totally lost the thread.

1848 addressed the “political question”, of how governance should be arranged, and everywhere but France failed to install something which anyone could call “progressive”. Furthermore, France’s revolutionary victory also allowed for the first political discussions of the “social question” – how shall we transfer socially from feudal monarchy: liberal capitalism or socialism? – to be addressed and fought out in their new political structure. At least it was assumed at the start of 1848 that this would be a fair fight!

It took France 33 years (the length of a human generation), from the fall of Napoleon until 1848, for the French to get rid of an unelected executive – once again they were alone in this achievement. Universal (male) suffrage was also spectacularly achieved for the first time, as was the founding of a “right to work”. While all other Europeans gave up achieving any move away from pathetic monarchy France founded the 2nd Republic.

French history from the fall of Napoleon, and thus the end of the French Revolution, until 1848 can be quickly summarised: In 1815 Napoleon was imprisoned on St. Helena, and the Bourbons returned after having fled, again. The Bourbons only ruled until 1830, when Louis Philippe I of the House of Orleans was installed during that year’s “July Revolution”. For France 1848 was the result of 18 years of awful neglect from the Orleanists, who cared only about bleeding the country dry at the behest of the burgeoning financial elite, as it was this “bourgeois” who helped push the House of Orleans into power. 1848 deposed the House of Orleans, and France looked forward this new system we term “Western Liberal Democracy” – they would be disappointed.

In a country with universal male suffrage you would think the new parliament would endeavour to represent the interests of the masses, no? If so, you misunderstand who Western Liberal Democracy aims to serve. Marx summarised the Second Republic thusly, and according to his ideas of political progression: “Under the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe only the bourgeois republic could follow; that is to say, a limited portion of the bourgeoisie, having (from 1830-48) ruled under the name of the king, now the whole bourgeoisie was to rule under the name of the people.

Western Liberal Democracy inevitably turns out that way, but the revolutionaries of 1848 had certainly expected some power and wealth to be devolved to them. In a truly post-feudal France former serfs now had higher opinions of their value to society, their right to earn bread to eat, wanted the necessary stability provided by central planning, social welfare, etc. However, while the souls of the French serfs had grown, the power of the new financial-oriented class had grown at a usurious rate! This is thanks to the start of industrialisation, but also to the usurious abuses of the serfs-turned-sharecroppers. I say “start of industrialisation” because at the time of Napoleon the average workshop had just four workers and the only large businesses were arms manufacturers – not so 30 years later.

As the short-lived 2nd Republic progressed it became clear that this new form of governance was only there to benefit the old landed royalists, the post-1492 corporate trading enterprises and these new “bourgeois” industrialists and rentiers. The 2nd Republic is the start of when powers began to slowly stop being royal and start being monetary powers – when power became corporatised. This is what makes 1848 France so vital to understanding the 21st century.

Yellow Vests: “Our system has become totally rotten. They make the laws to suit their own needs, or the needs of corporations, and they have done nothing to resolve the huge problems of the average person. This is why the Yellow Vests will keep marching in the streets.”

It took the French three years to learn this, then to clear a path for 1848’s popularly-elected president to bloodlessly abolish the always-oligarchical parliament of Western Liberal Democracy. That president was Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose father was Louis “the Good” Bonaparte, who was appointed King of Holland in 1806 in a failed bid to make the Batavian Republic less subject to monarchical attacks.

The above analysis which condemns Western Liberal Democracy is why this chapter is needed: The mainstream historical analysis of 1848-52 France places way too much emphasis on economic changes – i.e. the industrial revolution – and the alleged dictatorship of a guy who was elected because stupid French hillbillies thought an elderly Napoleon had broken free from St. Helena. This faulty analysis exists because it allows for the sidestepping of what actually happened politically: the mismanagement of France’s first Western Liberal Democrats, their obvious bias against the bottom 90%, and the eventual rejection of this form of governance which only entrenched inequality and created regular crises.

On the social level what they were pushing for in 1848, but what the 2nd Republic failed to legislate, is what postwar Europe looks like! The revolutionaries of 1848 were proven right, and that can’t be disproven.

1848-1948 was an awful century for the European masses, but also the masses everywhere else – European imperialism created the tragedies, famines and inequalities which literally moulded a new “Third World”: prior to 1848 a peasant in Europe was in the same socioeconomic condition as a peasant in India, China, Latin America, etc.

Yellow Vest: “The movement will hold firm in the future. It will not disappear because their demands are so very solid and true. There are real reasons for a revolution in France, and we will always continue to play our part.”

Learning how the 1848 Revolution got off-track in the country where it had its greatest success is a major key to understanding governments of today, because it is this form of government which has ultimately prevailed despite instant and lasting popular disapproval!

Thus, the ‘Counter-Revolutions of 1848’, indeed.

Marx’s genius: tying together 1848 and 1789, which is the only way to understand 1848

There are three critical contributions Marx made to the understanding of France’s 1848-52 period. They are so critical because they illustrate how Western Liberal Democracy starts with fake-leftism and ends in oligarchy over and over and over. It should be considered quite important that the complaints of the 2nd Republic are the exact same as the ones heard today!

Firstly, Marx condensed the economic evolution of France in a time when society and economics were changing rapidly even without the complications of a successful 1848 revolution. He laid out how class economic interests twisted the 2nd Republic into something which nobody who was actually at the barricades would have fought for.

Shortly after the February Revolution of 1848 forced the abdication of the House of Orleans the “June Days” uprising scared the royalists and bourgeois republicans (i.e. anti-monarchists) to unite into the “Party of Order”. The Bourbons – who represented the power of landed property, the oldest basis of money – finally ended their royal squabbles with the Orleanists – who were installed to defend the increased power of nouveau riche industrial/financial property. This new unity is what Marx meant by writing, “…landed property has become completely bourgeois through the development of modern society.” Gone were disputes of old or nouveau – it was just riche versus poor. Thus, 1848 in France is the birth of modern class warfare – and the rich started it!

Secondly, Marx condensed what actually took place in the hectic few years after the 1848 Revolution, which culminated in the popular vote which sanctioned the coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte against the unicameral National Assembly. Marx’s charted the lifecycle of this new political structure, and how it discredited itself via the same oligarchical flaws which are eternally apparent in this system.

Thirdly, Marx showed how the new professional politicians, doctors, small-town lawyers, bank managers and other professional-types, who are the cadres in this new Western Liberal Democracy, joined with the richer categories of wealth (royalist, usurious, landed wealth and financial, means-of-production wealth) to engage in a style of governance which put all their own interests first and demonised the interests of anyone else as “socialism!”. Yes, as epitomised in the awful politics of the United States 175 years later, Marx was flabbergasted to see even calls for the most basic reforms and moves to reduce inequality tarred as “evil socialism” at the very first implementation of Western Liberal Democracy. Marx goes even further to permanently indict Liberal Democracy as being far inferior to Social Democracy. This is an old debate, and it should have been decided in the latter’s favor by 1852 France.

By succinctly condensing – in just the one paragraph below – Marx’s summary of the events from 1848 to the voter-backed coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in 1852, all three historical contributions will be made clear.

An uprising truly led by the people (i.e. a popular revolution) in February 1848 forced out King Louis Philippe of the Orleanists, but the modern leftist demands of the people would be betrayed by June. The people’s hopes for a “Democratic and Social Republic” were sold out by the Social Democrats, mostly the small traders who were content with cementing the unprecedented achievement of universal male suffrage. However, the Social Democrats were soon sold out by the bourgeois republicans – those richer cadres of Western Liberal Democracy – who don’t really want universal suffrage but merely liberal rights for the upper class only. However, the republican bourgeois are sold out by the “Party of Order” coalition in parliament, half of which still wants a royalist restoration and the other half of which wants a republic but cares not much for liberal rights, and especially universal suffrage. This faction prevails and eventually guts universal suffrage, and votes the subordination of the constitution to the majority decisions of the parliament – i.e. a true legislative coup against the people. Good news! After three years of inefficiency, grandstanding and state-sponsored looting of the country’s natural, social and labor resources the “Party of Order” is sold out by the Bonapartist party – the National Assembly is dissolved, and what is restored is a Bonapartist idea of a popularly-elected emperor who puts the will and good of the nation first.

This is why Marx famously wrote his opening lines in The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (18th Brumaire is the French revolutionary calendar date for the coup of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799of history repeating itself as farce: instead of the revolution trending upwards in the first several years with leftist successes, as in 1789-94, a similar time period in 1848 sees sees failure. “Accordingly, the revolution moves on a downward line. It finds itself in this retreating motion before the last February-barricade is kicked away.… ”

Having condensed Marx’s timeline of 1848, his comparison with the timeline of 1789 will be especially illuminating of both 1789 and 1848. This book does not dissect the pre-Napoleonic events of 1789-94, in large part because they have been perfectly analysed by Marx in one paragraph. I include in parenthetical my explanations of key 1789 terms/parties which may not be fully known by the average reader (Marx is in bold)

In the first French revolution, upon the reign of the Constitutionalists (i.e., the start of the French Revolution via forcing the king to accept a constitution and to renounce total autocracy. Napoleon Bonaparte’s commitment to constitutionalism is precisely what made him a true political revolutionary of his day.) is succeeded by the Girondins (Truly the early martyrs of today’s Western Liberal Democrats. Most were from the department of Gironde, home of France’s slave-trade capital – Bordeaux -, and were committed to the free market, decentralisation and imperialist war. It’s decapitating them which Westerners call the “Reign of Terror”, precisely because neo-Girondins are what still rule in the West in the modern era. Napoleon Bonaparte clearly supported the Jacobins’ right to govern, fought against these rebels for years, was friends with Augustin Robespierre, etc.) and upon the reign of the Girondins follows that of the Jacobins. Each of these parties rests upon its more advanced element. … Just the reverse in 1848.”

It’s clear why outside of France the “Revolutions of 1848” are such a failure, but why is the French Revolution of 1848 such a failure for Marx? It’s because he was so very anti-Bonapartist. Marx was living in Paris during this era, after all, so we can understand his bias – we, however, do not. In 2022 it seems like a major mistake which loses the thread of political history: moving away from autocracy. I’ll deeply criticise his overly-strong condemnation of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in the next chapter, but what’s needed first is his analysis of France from 1848-52 – it’s critical because it is so reminiscent of Western politics today!

Both revolutionary eras fought against the very same political principle: autocracy, anti-democracy and the rule of an aristocratic elite. The Yellow Vest fight in the exact same way, even if the autocracy is only slightly less barbaric, although you should tell that to one of the many mutilated Yellow Vests.

What happened to France’s progressive revolution of 1848, then? Western Liberal Democracy happened!

The short answer is that Marx places the blame for the failure of 1848 on the half-revolutionary actions of France’s left wing in 1848, as well as the role played by Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte.

In the above section I related in one paragraph Marx’s summary of the events from 1848 to the popular coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. A bit more information is needed on the major political events in between that start and finish.

The February Revolution of 1848 re-ended monarchy, but April’s voting results saw the new constituent (temporary) Assembly filled with royalists, elite and professionals who did not incarnate the socialistic demands which had propelled the popular revolution: the opposition to free markets and the demand for government works to create jobs. National Workshops had been immediately created in 1848 in order to fulfil the “right to work” and thus introduce governmental central planning into the economy.

So one should imagine the hundreds of thousands of workers now trying to ply a trade in Paris while, concurrently, the new temporary parliament to draw up a new constitution is full of capitalistic Western Liberal Democrats. Naturally, the people saw they were getting left behind. On May 15 a leftist demonstration entered and dissolved this temporary National Assembly. The National Guard – which had always played the decisive role in French revolutionary affairs – sided against the protesters. The ardent republicans and protest leaders were arrested; a banker would be installed as the new Paris Chief of Police; a lawyer would now head the restored Assembly.

In June the conservative National Assembly announced that the National Workshops would be closed, and the newly-unemployed workers could either join the army or go back home to the provinces – this sparked the June Days uprising. We see here how Western Liberal Democracy is never – not from it’s very earliest days – going to allow anything but an “invisible hand” to guide the economy, and also that imperialist war (which is not at all revolutionary war) is its primary answer to the economic question. Over 10,000 people were massacred, or 60% as many as were guillotined during the “Reign of Terror” (but without any trial). It also marks the last time French Catholic clergy tried to play a role in elections: The Archbishop of Paris literally entered into the Paris street fray as a mediator – he was shot, almost certainly by the conservative forces. The popular revolution was thus ended: death, prison and exile to Algeria for the leftists.

Yet the trader-class Social Democrats did not condemn the repression – they threw their weight behind November’s Constitution of 1848, which granted universal male suffrage. Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected in December, and like his uncle he took a middle-of-the-road pro-revolutionary approach: he was neither like the leftist socialist candidates, nor the anti-socialist/pro-republican army chief who led the June Days repression, nor a liberalist lawyer. Marx was unwilling to reconcile with Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, who was also a leftist writer – his most famous book was the pro-working class The Extinction of Pauperism, which undoubtedly helps explain his massive victory.

After Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected 1850-onwards was an ineffective and nation-destroying combat between the executive and the legislative branch:

The legislative branch – as it will always do for the next 175 years – lost all popular support by rejecting to represent the populace and not just the upper class. The popular, bloodless coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte would be deemed “fascism installed by country rednecks”, and Marx’s own analysis is very similar to that, sadly.

The executive branch – as it will always do for the next 175 years – would jealously fight to acquire as much autocratic, dictatorial powers as it could, and employ jingoistic, imperialist wars to win popular opinion while mostly advancing the needs of the elite.

It took only three years to realise such a system was unworkable, and yet is this not still the alleged apex of governmental structure and efficiency for Western Liberal Democrats of today?

Yellow Vest: “After three years nothing has changed, except for the fact that things have gotten even worse for the average French person. Life has gotten so much more expensive, but Macron doesn’t care. Macron doesn’t see the demands of the Yellow Vests, or even the French people, as worthy of his attention.”

Weak leftism against a strong executive – France has the same problem today

In May 1849 the first National Assembly of the 2nd Republic was officially seated. This Assembly would eventually go on to approve total non-support for any other popular revolution sweeping Europe; to ban the reborn Sans-Culottes and other political parties; similar to Macron today, they would end the longtime practice of the National Assembly hearing petitions from grassroots special interest groups.

Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte would immediately use foreign war to establish to the “Party of Order”, which had 64% of seats, that he, too, was a mighty man of (executive) “Order”. Even before the new parliament sat he violated the new constitution’s prohibition of military interference in the freedom of other nations by bombarding Rome to prop up an exiled Pope. This was at the expense of the nascent but doomed Roman Republic, which did not have popular support – it would have been nice if the Marxists had won, but it just wasn’t possible until 1917. This does not make either Bonaparte the equivalent of an absolute monarch, one must point out. France had arrived expected to be received as liberators, and also sought to prevent an invasion by Austria.

The opposition Mountain Party, with 26% of seats, who were republicans and neo-Jacobins, boldly voted to impeach Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, who had been elected by a whopping 75% landslide. Propping up the Pope was popular among the average person, and now France’s “left party” (though actually petit-bourgeois small traders and minor professionals) were taking on an extremely popular president?

What cannot be disputed is how ineffectually the Mountain Party fought their fight. Marx’s superb analysis will remind people of the halfhearted, non-revolutionary struggle of fake-leftist parties across Western Liberal Democracy. We should remember that Marx was living in Paris at this time. He surely must have hoped that the Mountain were genuine leftists – after all, “fake-leftism” in a Western Liberal Democratic context had not yet ever been seen!

Following the Mountain’s impeachment vote the unarmed protests of June 1849 were held. The National Guard was there – in uniform, but unarmed. This pacifistic decision was fatal: they had no way to defend themselves from the subsequent army attack. The demonstration ended in total failure – it was the last “Revolutionary Day” of the 2nd Republic – and there were no casualties. Marx writes: “The chief error of the ‘Mountain’ was its certainty of being victorious.” (emphasis his). I don’t think France has had an official “Revolutionary Day” since, and probably because most French don’t know this history either?

Marx saw that the real leftism had been chopped out of the Mountain by the June Days of 1848 and replaced with smug, ultimately conservative, sense of false certainty. He saw these fake-leftists were doomed precisely because they accepted Western Liberal Democratic terms:

“If the Mountain wished to win in parliament, it should not appeal to arms; if it called to arms in parliament, it should conduct itself in a parliamentary way in the street; if the friendly demonstration was meant seriously, it was silly not to foresee that it would meet with a warlike reception; if it was intended for actual war, it was rather original to lay aside the weapons with which war had to be conducted. But the revolutionary threats of the middle class and of their democratic representatives are mere attempts to frighten an adversary….”

This certainly describes France’s union-led demonstrations and the “walks in a park” which are other European Social Democrat-led demonstrations. This same entrapping logic is what the Yellow Vests are told to submit to and what they still so bravely faced down Saturday after Saturday.

Yellow Vests: “France is waking up. The government continues to accuse all of us of being Black Bloc or thugs to make the country turn against us. But we are all united to prevent the destruction of France, and this unity will continue to increase.”

The “superstitious spell” the National Guard had on the French imagination – i.e. its ability to sway the army to back the people and the elite – was crucially broken here. They would be suppressed under Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and then banned at the start of the Third Republic in 1871, when Western Liberal Democrats would wrest back control from the Louis-Napoleon and the Bonapartists, who also existed in the interim between the two Bonpartes.

A clear difference between imperialist Liberal Democracy and anti-imperialist Social Democracy: the former clearly uses foreign war to gut the possibility of a marital spirit which would protect the rights of the people domestically. It also uses perpetual imperialist war to insist that such domestic rights are not convenient, and that such discussions certainly cannot involve anything but words.

The subsequent crackdown caused the remaining true leftist politicians, including many in the Mountain Party, and journalists to be arrested or go into exile – Marx went to London. With the real left gone the new Mountain Party was no opposition. The National Assembly embarked on a series of right-wing measures which turned everyone against them.

On June 13, 1848 they voted the subordination of the constitution to the majority decisions of the parliament – it was a coup against the constitutional rights of the people.

So, indeed, did the republic understand it, to-wit, that the bourgeois ruled here in parliamentary form, without, as in the monarchy, finding a check in the veto of the Executive power, or the liability of parliament to dissolution. It was a ‘parliamentary republic’, as Thiers styled it.”

Thus we see the true emergence of the unstated dream of Western Liberal Democracy: a country ruled by a parliament of the rich; an expansion of absolute monarchy to a tiny coterie of aristocratic elite.

The last straw would come on May 31, 1850, when the assembly would vote to drastically undermine universal suffrage by millions of voters. Marx wrote, “The law of May 31, 1850, was the ‘coup d’etat’ of the bourgeoisie.” Against the voters, he means.

Thus the first coup in the 2nd Republic was actually made by the parliamentarians and not Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte! Bonaparte would restore universal suffrage, to his great credit.

Those two crucial facts are always left out of any discussion of the 2nd Republic and Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s “self-coup” (a coup where a legally-elected executive dissolves the legislative branch). In 2022 they should drastically change our assessment of him, and break from Marx’s negative, rather biased view.

That requires the next chapter – Louis-Napoleon: Confirmation of the revolutionary difference between Bonapartism & Western Liberal Democracy.

From the beginning Western Liberal Democracy showed what it wanted: A country ruled by a parliament of and for the rich

Marx writes in summation of the political discussion permitted in the first Western Liberal Democracy:

“Whether the question was the right of petition or the duty on wine, the liberty of the press or free trade, clubs or municipal laws, protection of individual freedom or the regulation of national economy, the slogan returns ever again, the theme is monotonously the same, the verdict is ever ready and unchanged: Socialism! Even bourgeois liberalism is pronounced socialistic; socialistic, alike, is pronounced popular education; and likewise, socialistic national financial reform. It was socialistic to build a railroad where already a canal was; and it was socialistic to defend oneself with a stick when attacked with a sword.

This was not a mere form of speech, a fashion nor yet party tactics. The bourgeois receives correctly that all the weapons which it forged against feudalism thorn their edges against itself; that all the means of education which it brought forth rebel against its own civilisation; that all the gods which it made have fallen away from it. It understands that all its so-called citizens’ rights and progressive organs assail and menace its class rule, both in its social foundation and its political superstructure – consequently have become ‘socialistic’. It justly scents in this menace and assault the secret of Socialism, whose meaning and tendency it estimates more correctly than the spurious so-called Socialism is capable of estimating itself and which, consequently, is unable to understand how it is that the bourgeoisie obdurately shuts up its ears to it, alike whether it sentimentally whines about the sufferings of humanity; or announces in Christian style the millennium and universal brotherhood; or twaddles humanistically about the soul, culture and freedom; or doctrinally matches out a system of harmony and well-being for all classes. What, however, the bourgeoisie does not understand is the consequence that its own parliamentary regime, its own political reign, is also of necessity bound to fall under the general ban of ‘socialistic’. (Emphasis mine)

If you still believe in Liberal Democracy, may I suggest you read that again.

Not only does Marx show that Western Liberal Democracy refuses to protect the rights which Western Liberal Democracy claims to have created and to believe in, but that Western Liberal Democracy is a phoney “third way”: there is either socialism or autocracy/oligarchy/fascism.

“Accordingly, by now persecuting as Socialist what formerly it had celebrated as Liberal the bourgeoisie admits that its own interest orders it to raise itself above the danger of self government….” Western Liberal Democracy is not a resolution to class warfare, like Socialist Democracy claims to be, but the permanent institution of class warfare with the express goal of government by an elite.

“The parliamentary regime leaves everything to the decision of majorities – how can the large majorities beyond the parliament be expected not to wish to decide?” The parliamentarianism of Western Liberal Democracy is false and unrepresentative, culminating in rule by parties which are controlled by the elite. This is unlike the parliaments in Socialist Democracy, where cobblers become parliamentarians, as in Cuba’s 2018 legislative vote.

No wonder Western schools don’t want to discuss this era!

By examining the era of 1848-52 we see that Western Liberal Democracy totally discredited itself out of the gate, and that we have the same problems as we did 175 years ago: it is autocracy improved into aristocratic rule, but never popular rule. Western Liberal Democracy is so undemocratic that it is not even worthy of the moniker “Western Liberal Democracy”!

Thus the Revolution of 1848 in France was a success – ouster of an unelected king, universal male suffrage, installation of a new political system. It culminated in the 1852 referendum on Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte’s “self-coup” against parliament, and the replacement of the 2nd Republic with the 2nd Empire, to be headed by the new “Napoleon III”. It was approved by 97% of voters with 80% turnout. Over 8 million Frenchmen wanted to vote, and they only could in 19th century France by agreeing that the Bonapartist vision of the French Revolution was the only way to maintain the gains of the French Revolution amid a continent of absolute monarchy and failed revolutionaries AND by rejecting the Western Liberal Democracy of the 2nd Republic.

1848 succeed in France precisely because voters rejected Western Liberal Democracy entirely. Four years to figure it out is not so bad at all?

Thus the period between the 2nd and 3rd Republics is falsely slandered as being equivalent to all the other monarchies of the time. We have been through this before: we are talking about an elected Bonaparte, who naturally was detested by his autocratic contemporaries everywhere else in the region. History is repeated as farce in the modern leftist rejection of both Bonapartes, not in the difference between 1789 and 1848.

Without embracing the will of the inherently progressive French electorate – inherent because there was no other mass electorate at this time – and their eventual selection of the Bonapartes, we are stuck with siding with awful absolute monarchs or awful Liberal Democrats.

Absolute monarchy reigned long after 1848. The slighted Western Liberal Democrat, with all their arrogance, remained non-plussed, as Marx noted: “At all events the (social) democrat comes out of the disgraceful defeat as immaculate as he innocently went into it….” In 1871 the collusion of these two forces with Germany against both Social Democracy and Bonapartism/French Revolutionism led to the traitorous sieging of Paris (the Paris Commune) and then the restoration of Western Liberal Democracy, sadly.

However, in 2022 we must reject Marx’s condemnation and consider the Revolutions of 1848 a success in France. The preservation of universal male suffrage was a spectacular advance from the rest of Europe. This advance alone allows us to clearly see that the ideals of 1789 and the movement away from autocracy still progressed.

But 1848 was an advance for an even greater reason: it allowed the first implementation of modern Western Liberal Democracy… and its endemic flaws were immediately revealed. It became clear that Socialist Democracy was the only true solution – thus the Paris Commune – if one wants broad prosperity, stability and equality for the average person. Those who don’t realise that are stuck in a useless doom loop of 1849-52.

The rise of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte is not as thrilling as that of his uncle’s – the former merely came to power via the vote. He is a modern politician, with plenty of flaws, but the French at the time knew he was a progressive option compared to absolute monarchy or Western Liberal Democracy.

The Algeria section

Before we get into Marx’s failure to appreciate the achievements of France’s 1848 Revolution and the rule of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in opposition to Western Liberal Democracy, we must briefly analyse Marx’s failure to take account of the role the conquest of Algeria played on the French mainland’s politics in 1848.

Marx’s focus was more on banking and industrial systems, instead of imperialism. It’s a significant omission: the treasures, resources and stolen wages of imperialism are enormous – we are talking of the gains of impoverishing an entire country. But where Marx really failed was in not noting the enormous political-cultural impact of being a coloniser.

What the events of 1848 proved, and which Marx failed to note, was how Western Liberal Democracy works hand in hand with militaristic imperialism to repress their nation’s own masses. This is an incredibly important analysis to take from 1848 because the French army went from being a Revolutionary Army in 1789 to an imperialist army in 1830.

The colonisation of Algeria was of an entirely different order than the colonisation of the New World, and we must delineate this difference: the colonisation of a Mediterranean space which saw Marseilles and Algiers socially interact for over two millennia is not at all the same thing as a (ignorant) Western perception of heathen savages who need to be converted. Yes, France had other imperialist domains but we cannot underestimate the power of French Algeria in French history from 1830 until today.

Algeria was invaded in 1830 to distract from and eventually legitimise the take-over by the House of Orleans, which ended the Bourbon Restoration since 1815 – this invasion happened at precisely the same time as the fall of Algiers. The finances and internal prestige of Louis Philippe I was enormously supplemented domestically by the occupation of Algeria. This new “imperialist class” was too ignored by Marx in the French events of 1848.

A proof of the political-cultural impact of this new “imperialist class” is found in the person of Louis-Eugène Cavaignac, who went directly from being governor of Algeria to quelling the June 1848 uprising. He was as vital a player in 1848 and beyond as anyone save Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, to whom he finished second in the 1848 presidential election. As Marx noted: “Cavaignac, the General of the bourgeois republican party, who commanded at the battle of June, stepped into the place of the Executive Committee with a sort of dictatorial power.” The election of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in December would end this dictatorship, but not before the imperialist Cavaignac ruled over the drafting of the November constitution which gave the elite class ruling power over France. This is not a small thing!

The person of Cavaignac thus represents the new capitalist-imperialist rot which would turn against its own people, like a CRS riot cop who aimed his rubber bullet gun at the faces of Yellow Vests. Marx fails to emphasise that it is the imperialism against Muslim Algeria which provided this muscle to topple 1848. Or that the beloved National Guard was sapped by this imperialist deployment. Or that French culture had certainly become hardened by a war which was not waged at all for progressive revolution.

Romaric Godin, economics reporter at top French media Mediapart, in his book La guerre social en France (The Social War in France) recognised Cavaignac’s import (even if Godin does not recognise the importance of imperialism) as both a new type of politician and its clear parallel with Emmanuel Macron. Godin wrote: “Democratic authoritarianism is that of Cavaignac in 1848 and Adolphe Thiers (the future president of the 3rd Republic who colluded with Bismarck to siege Paris) of 1871: that which uses the entire legislative capacity to repress opposition. This sort of abuse is sanctioned by the law and thus is perfectly legal.”

Western Liberal Democracy actually begins with Cavaignac, who suppressed those calling for Socialist Democracy, the National Workshops and a role for the peasants and the proletariat in politics in June 1848. We can draw a straight line from him to Macron’s crushing of the Yellow Vests, and both men are garlanded by Western Liberal “Democracy”.

Indeed, more and more seem willing to call 21st century France “democratic authoritarianism”. Muslim Algerians knew it back in 1830, and by 1848 everyone knew that authoritarianism is what Western Liberal Democracy has always truly been.

<—>

Upcoming chapter list of the brand-new content in France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. The book will also include previous writings from 2018 through the 2022 election in order to provide the most complete historical record of the Yellow Vests anywhere. What value!

Publication date: June 1, 2022.

Pre-orders of the paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the Kindle version may be made here.

Pre-orders of the French paperback version will be available immediately.

Pre-orders of the French Kindle version may be made here.

Chapter List of the new content

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV 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 ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

Neo-lend-lease, or how to enslave a country

April 07, 2022

Source

By Batko Milacic

Until June 1944, the United States, the most powerful industrial power of the Second World War, had made the main contribution to the battle against Nazism in Europe through the courage of its pilots and Lend-Lease. Lend-lease was a special program authorized by the White House to supply military and civilian aid to America’s foreign allies, which assumed that whatever of those deliveries survived by the time the war was over, would either be returned or paid for by the recipients. Britain received $31 billion worth of military goods (around $400 billion in today’s prices), while the Soviet Union received similar assistance to the tune of $11 billion (140 billion). This assistance was vitally important for the British, who were losing the Battle of the Atlantic, and also for the USSR in the first year of the war, when this country suffered significant losses. However, shortly after the war, the issue of payment arose for the US-supplied military equipment that had not been destroyed in battle, and which had saved the lives of many US soldiers who had avoided direct participation in the war. The exact sum was negotiated for several years, and was repaid only during the 2000s. However, being a great power, which had made the main contribution to the allied victory over Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union could afford not to agree with the conditions put forward by the United States.

Unfortunately for Ukraine, however, it is not even a regional power, looked down on by its Polish and Hungarian neighbors, let alone Washington. Therefore, the modern-day lend-lease program invented for Kiev is provided on different conditions. The Zelensky government is getting more and more “military gifts” from the West, forgetting that it will have to pay for every Javelin rocket, every box of cartridges and every howitzer shell. Unless, of course, there will be someone left to pay after the Russian army, which is slowly but surely advancing in Donbass, has destroyed what has remained of the combat-ready Ukrainian forces, and starts storming the big cities.

That said, someone will still have to pay for the work being done on a round-the-clock basis by Bulgarian arms factories, which are the only ones capable of supplying Soviet-style weapons to Ukraine. Add to this the paycheck for the work of Belgian, US and British gunsmiths, highly paid instructors from NATO countries, for the supply of medicines and food, most of which is not provided on a pro bono basis. Therefore, in the event of an “honorable peace with Russia,” Ukraine will face multimillion-dollar debts. After all, it lacks the status that the Soviet Union enjoyed in 1945, so the Kiev regime will accept any conditions that would allow the current Ukrainian elite to stay in power.

This means that the current lend-lease system for Ukraine is fundamentally different from the one we had during World War II. The United States and Britain are ready to support both radical Islamic groups and Ukrainian neo-Nazis both of whom are complicit in war crimes. Their shared goal is to weaken Russia and make it more compliant. At the same time, unlike the semi-terrorist groups active in the Middle East, Kiev is potentially able to pay for the supplied weapons. The main goal is to save the territories and then start making people pay the bill by freezing their bank deposits for “restoration” purposes, confiscating their foreign currency assets, selling off forests and subsoil – something that was actively done already before the war. If the people of a country impoverished by war are no longer able to pay jacked up direct taxes, no problem – they will have to pay indirectly via excise taxes. As a result, many European and American businessmen will receive a multi-year annuity to be paid for by ordinary Ukrainians.

Moreover, millions of Ukrainian refugees will be brought back home and start earning their living instead of just spending Ukrainian money. As a result, the average Ukrainian citizen, convinced by propaganda that despite the loss of Mariupol, Nikolayev, Odessa, Kherson, and possibly Kharkov and Chernigov, he has won the war, will have to pay, along with his children and grandchildren, the multibillion-dollar “war debt,” while occasionally wondering why he has to cough up so much for utilities and electricity.

The Ukrainian authorities now have to make the people believe that there is still free cheese in the mousetrap. At the same time, they keep offering the NATO countries to sell rather than donate weapons to Ukraine, even though the government was unable to fully meet its defense spending targets even before the war actually broke out. However, ordinary Ukrainians, both in the rear or at the frontlines, sincerely believe that their country is getting everything, from the latest anti-aircraft systems to body armor, just for free. This is not so, of course, but they will never be allowed to see numerous agreements on military supply payments, which are so easy to keep under wraps as “confidential.”

Once the war is over, there will be numerous conferences held on payment “restructuring” issues, which will leave many ordinary people wondering how come they are going to pay for decades for this “selfless help.” Well, their compatriots, who will end up on the territories that Russia will occupy, will also face hard times having to build new roads, rebuild cities and get high-speed trains rolling again. And the average citizen, who “saved” Ukraine will be told by the media day in and day out that the main cause of his troubles are the Russians, who have snapped up the country’s most fertile lands and money-making factories. Meanwhile, it is the neo-lend-lease that is going to be the true cause of all his troubles…

Day 39 of the Russian SMO – a few developments

April 04, 2022

Source

First, in Hungary, Viktor Orban won a supermajority in the latest elections.  This makes perfect sense, as Orban’s policies have guaranteed that Hungary will get her energy at a low and stable price for the next 15 years (if I remember correctly) while the Eurolemmings will get their at astronomic prices on the spot markets which they themselves chose over long term contracts.  The same goes for food items, fertilizer, etc.

I want to congratulate the Hungarian people not only on being the smartest in Europe, but for showing and proving that even a nation which is part of the EU and NATO can defend its own national interests.

Now about the Bucha fake, I won’t repeat it all here, I rather simply refer you to these:

I also would like to use this opportunity to point you to the YouTube channel of Patrick Lancaster: https://www.youtube.com/c/PatrickLancasterNewsToday

Unlike Gonzalo Lira who is in Kharkov, Lancaster reports from Mariupol.  They have very different styles, but they both deserve the recognition for the crucial work they are doing.

I also noticed that the Chinese channel CGTN has very good correspondent in the Ukraine, although I have heard him only on the Russian-language CGTN chanel.  Here is the main one, FYI: https://www.youtube.com/c/cgtn.

Finally, it appears that the USA is trying to color-revolutionize Imran Khan in Pakistan and that this might even involve a plot to kill that man.  Makes me wonder – did the CIA really learn nothing from Belarus or Kazakhstan???

In Russia the mass exodus of pro-western 5th columnists is continuing, which is a real cause for celebration.  The sad part is that the official spokesman for the Kremlin, Peskov, seems to think that these folks are not traitors.  Considering how the Atlantic Integrationists in the Presidential Administration and the Russian Government have totally mismanaged PR war, and then sent a pitiful figure like Medinsky to talk, which resulted in a real panic in Russia as most Russians are much more afraid to have diplomats negate all the efforts of the military.  Frankly, sending Ramzan Kadyrov to negotiate would have been a much better move.

If the first phase of the war has shown that the Russians could achieve amazing results against a major force with a smaller force and the focus on maneuver, it has, alas, also shown that Russian PYSOPs and Civil Affairs capabilities are minimal and mostly ineffective.  Now, wars can be won with little or not efforts allocated to PYSOPs and Civil Affairs, but such wars are much more costly not only in time and money, but also in human lives.  Negotiations, PSYOPs, Civil Affairs and military operations have to work together, towards a common goal – then they act as a force multiplier.  But when civilians do their own thing and the military their own, this needlessly complicates military operations and make wars much harder to end.

In all fairness to the Russians, they never had the kind of propaganda resources the Empire of Lies has.  In fact, since US forces are typically of poor military value, the US has developed very sophisticated capabilities which they now bring to bear with great efficiency.  So Russia faces two very different enemies:

  • The Ukrainian soldiers who are just the cannon fodder for Uncle Shmuel
  • The formidable propaganda machine of the Empire of Lies

The only good news here is that INSIDE Russia the Empire of Lies has totally failed, Putin’s personal popularity is now well above 80% and the popular disgust with the Russian fake “intelligentsia” (the self-applied label of “creative class” the Russian 5th columnist always claim for themselves) is real.  So more and more of them are resigning, moving abroad, or openly caving into the immense pressure of the Empire to condemn their own President and country.

Lastly, remember how for YEARS I wrote that a Russian invasion of the Ukraine would be a dream come true for the Neocons?

Now that this has happened, do you see what I was referring to?  We can now say that thanks to this war, the Empire of Lies can now officially “cancel Russia” – their 1000 year old dream.

That being said, I think that the West also overplayed its hand.  Yes, they managed to make hatred for Russia and Russians a new type of woke virtue signalling, but they went so far overboard that they got the undivided attention of the Russian people who now see the true face and intentions of the Empire of Lies.  And now that most Russians have understood that:

  • Russia and the Empire of Lies are in an existential war which only one side can walk away from and
  • The Empire of Lies wants to genocide the Russian nation (by a combo of means), this is a fight for survival, and for the right to live in a sovereign country

At this point in time, Ze has indicated that he will make no concessions, etc. etc. etc. so the negotiations are going nowhere.  Good.  I think that the Russians need to get rid of the Ukrainian force inside the Donbass cauldron first, and then offer negotiations again.  But until that battle is over, I don’t see the point of talk unless these are talks about the surrender of this force.

Andrei

Gonzalo Lira: News & Views 2022.04.04

APRIL 04, 2022

Book Review: Seven Roads to Moscow

March 26, 2022

Source

By Francis Lee

Seven Roads to Moscow is an intriguing book written by that strange animal, a British soldier intellectual.

Lieutenant-Colonel W.G.F.Jackson

MC, BA, R.E.

Instructor, Royal Military Academy,

Sandhurst, 1950-53

I read this book when I was only 17 and at the time it made a great impression on me. The stories of the seven invasions of Russia have now passed into history. In order of invasions Russia’s uninvited guests were the Vikings, Huns, Swedes, French, and Germans. Each in their turn marched through forest, marsh, and Steppe into the heart of the Russian lands. The impression which these invaders left behind, however, is one of abject failure. All the invaders sooner or later had to succumb to the vastness of the Russian lands and the fortitude and genius of the Russian people.

The only partial success was with Rurik in the rise and fall of Kiev Russia, 862-1228. Rurik is said to have arrived in Novgorod in 862 and gradually established his sovereignty over the native Slavs. From the military point of view Rurik’s invasion is unique in Russian history. It was the first and only invasion which has been largely successful. The tactical methods of Rurik lie shrouded in the mists of early Russian history. For the invaders the military problems of invading Russia do not appear in tangible form until the days of the Swedish King Charles’ XII ill-fated (1707-1709) invasion and no more successful than the much larger and later expeditions by Napoleon and Hitler.

The sole aim of these armies who marched eastwards all had the same objective: to destroy the Russian armies. Moreover, each was faced with the same military problems: namely how could they defeat the Russian armies before they withdrew into the vastness of the Russian interior. If they failed to defeat the Russian armies in the early period of the campaign, how could they prevent the Russians recruiting new levies and returning to counter-attack with overwhelming strength? And how could the invaders manage to keep their armies supplied and reinforced once they had advanced deep into the Russian lands?

Charles XII had the simplest method of all – namely to outmarch and outfight his opponent. He relied on the superior marching and tactical skills of his soldiers to achieve results. But Tsar Peter the Great was a wily old fox who was determined to outwit his opponent and avoid a decisive action. The policy of scorched earth and withdrawal found the Swedes weak, ill-nourished and a long way from home. Charles had failed because he turned away from his primary objective and allowed himself to be cut-off from his base for the uncertain advantage of rallying the somewhat unstable Cossacks of the Ukraine to his banner. He was unable to stem the steady wastage of his best Swedish soldiers. The Cossacks and Kalmuks and other peoples of southern Russia whom he was forced to recruit as reinforcements, were no better than Peter’s reinforcements. The Battle of Poltava (8 July 1709) was the decisive victory for Peter the Great of Russia over Charles XII of Sweden in the Great Northern War. The battle ended Sweden’s status as a major power and marked the beginning of Russian supremacy in eastern Europe. This was the inevitable defeat of trying to achieve too much with too little.

Napoleon did not fare any better. The Grand Army some 600,000 strong marched into Russia in 1812. When the French Revolution had broken out (1789) there was little to indicate that within 23 years a Napoleonic Army would be treading the French Road to Moscow. In what was to become inevitable the West moved East. Thus, the die was cast. Napoleon obviously believed that he was invincible, and the Grand Army outmatched any other fighting force in Europe. But as the Scottish poet Robbie Burns reminds us – ‘’The best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglay.’’ (Translation from the Scottish Celtic – ‘go awry’)

Napoleon tried 3 methods to bring Tsar Alexander to terms. His first plan was to win a quick military victory in these western lands by breaking through the Russian front using overwhelming force at the point of attack. He then hoped in crushing in turn each half of his opponent’s army. This plan failed because the Russians withdrew too soon.

A group of men riding camels Description automatically generated with medium confidence

When Napoleon appreciated that his first plan had failed, he reoriented his strategy. His next step was to lure the Russian forces in attempting to give battle, but the Russians made a tactical retreat further and further into the inhospitable wilderness of marshes and forests of the older Russian lands. If the Russians would only stand and fight, he might well crush them. After all no enemy had ever survived Napoleons military and tactical genius in his set-piece battles. Be that as it may he was unable to persuade the Russians too accept such a battle until it was too late.

From his arrival until the fall of Moscow Napoleon tried every stratagem to entice the Russians to give battle. In threatening the city of Smolensk and eventually Moscow the Russians did stand and fight in the Battle of Borodino in front of Moscow, but the unexpected toughness of the Russian armies prevented an outright victory for Napoleon.

Moreover, things were now beginning to move against the Grand Army; they were no longer possessed of sufficient numerical superiority, and Napoleon was now too far from home to use the Imperial Guard, his last reserve, to snatch a victory. The Russian army remained intact, but Moscow, Russia’s ancient capital, fell into French hands.

Now the problems for the French military began to mount as had the Swedish during their earlier debacle. In front of the Grand Army villagers abandoned their villages and set them ablaze, burning or hiding their supplies. Marauders and guerilla bands started to take a toll of all that passed along the slender French supply routes. The French needed to leave garrisons in every town along the Moscow highway, and the necessity of providing guards for all convoys sapped at the morale, sickness and fatigue caused by constant disease, dust, and intolerable heat. By the time that Kutuzov, the Russian commander-in-chief, offered battle at Borodino, it was too late for Napoleon to win a decisive victory. However, it was too early to stop the Russians to prevent the French capture of Moscow – the Russian army was not yet strong enough, but the wind was getting into their sails. So, all was not over for Napoleon yet.

However, the fall of Moscow was not the be all and end-all of Napoleon’s campaign. In all his previous campaigns the fall of the enemy’s capital had brought about a decision – that is, a surrender. But the Russians were, however, playing from a different game-plan and did not react in the way that other European nations generally reacted, and they were quite prepared to withstand the loss of Moscow. The great conflagration which followed the French entry into the city only served to harden the will of every Russian to resist. The fall of Moscow was in fact the decisive finish to Napoleon’s campaign.

The invasion and defeat of Russia was predicated on three main approaches. 1. Initially a quick victory in the opening stages of the campaign using overwhelming force. 2 A deliberate set-piece pitched battle, 3. And finally the capture of Moscow.

In the first two methods he was defeated by the immense space of the Russian landscape and by the rugged determination of the Russian soldier, and in the third method by his failure to appreciate the determination of the Russian people.

Now Napoleon’s options had come to naught there was only the long retreat from Moscow for the Grand Army which piece by piece was to fall apart in a rendezvous with its total demise.

In 1941 Hitler and the German General Staff launched the invasion of the USSR which had been meticulously planned and prepared. Hitler was fully aware of the reasons for Charles’ and Napoleon’s failures. This was above all a political/ideological war and Hitler was filled with contempt for the Russian Army and the Russian population that his predecessors possessed in abundance.

In the replay of Napoleon’s tactical demise and the rout of the Grand Army, Hitler’s Wehrmacht had defeated the Western European armies, with ruthless efficiency – the French and the low countries were forced to surrender, and the British chased out of the European continent only because they had a bigger navy than Germany as well as the Royal Air Force with the Spitfire being the most advanced fighter plane. Like Napoleon before him Hitler realized the key to success lay in the destruction of Stalin’s frontier armies before its slow mobilization could be completed. The German military concept of Blitzkreig i.e. ‘lightning war’ was a very different animal to the pitched battles of WW1 which in military terms had become archaic in this new approach to warfare.

Now new technologies had mobilized warfare with the advent of railways, motor transport and aircraft. The wireless would make possible the efficient control of vast armies across the whole breadth of the Soviet Union (as it then was).

Hitler’s initial strategy was both military and political. He needed firstly to destroy the Red Army and Communism, so that the military and political objectives were coordinated. The next step was the seizure of the unlimited Russian abundance of economic resources. But in purely military terms there was a certain sense of Déjà vu. In this context with the Soviet Army, Hitler, like Napoleon before, him made significant inroads into Russian space very quickly, but despite capturing large numbers of Russian POWs he failed to trap and destroy the main body before it was reinforced by the slowly mobilizing reserves from deep inside of Russia beyond the Urals. In addition, his endeavour to capture the centres of Soviet resistance was no more successful. Only Kiev and Kharkov fell into his hands, but Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad never succumbed.

In this earlier period of the war the Wehrmacht was seemingly irresistible; but it became like Napoleon’s initial success, only to be locked into what was to become the usual pattern of invasion into Russia. In his drive for the acquisition of Russia’s economic resources Hitler did seize the industrial and grain producing areas of Ukraine, but by his efforts to seize the oil of the Caucasus he lay himself open to the first counter offensive by the fully mobilized Red Army.

Hitler’s solution to this strategic problem showed a characteristic under-estimate of the strength of the Russian Army and an overestimation of his own resources. ‘’He decided to hold the Army groups North and Centre on the defensive whilst he deployed all his strength in the sector of Army Group South. Using the great bend of the Don to protect his northern flank between the Don and the Volga near Stalingrad. From here he could either attack southwards into the Caucasus, and possibly into the middle east to join hands with Rommel.’’ (Seven Roads to Moscow – p.290) But this was rather wishful thinking since by this time the Anglo-American forces were in North Africa as well as their navies in the Atlantic and Pacific this in addition to the US/UK bombing offensive which had started in earnest against German cities.

The German 6th Army, in triumphalist mode, Paris – 1940

The German 6th Army had advanced in the southern part of the Ukraine and had crossed 3 rivers, the Dnieper, the Don, and the Volga, it had arrived in Stalingrad in the shape of the 6th Army, in the same way as it had when it entered Paris in 1940. But the outcome was rather different. By 1942 the German offensive had stalled in Stalingrad.

In the bitter fighting in the city, the Wehrmacht was halted in its tracks and unable to move forward but its flanks were exposed and vulnerable to a Russian counterattack. The line of defence was manned by Romanian and Hungarian forces of dubious quality and loyalty. The Russian counterattack became inevitable and so it worked out when the Russians broke through the Romanian defences and completed the encirclement (or Cauldron) as the Russians now call them.

This changed the whole character of WW2. The Red Army battled all the way to Berlin as well as hooking up with British and American forces coming from the other direction. The war was, apart from the American Japanese conflict in the Pacific and the British-Japanese conflict in Malaya and Burma, was effectively over.

‘’Post-war vital economic objectives for Russia were equally hard to choose, since Russia’s bitter experiences of invasions from the West had taught her to move and develop her industries further and further eastwards as the ranges of western European Armies had increased. The gradual move to the East started with Five Year Plans before the German invasion. Hitler’s attack only accelerated this process. Industrial plants in areas which were overrun by the Nazis, were often dismantled before the Germans could capture them. The dismantled machinery was then to be re-erected beyond the Urals.’’ (Seven Roads to Moscow p.315)

Conclusion

The only lasting road to Moscow was the Viking Road of Rurik that provided the constructive services which the Russian people themselves wanted and for which they themselves asked.

‘’Let us hope that no-one will ever be tempted to emulate Charles, Napoleon, and Hitler in imposing a military solution of a kind of which history has shown must fail, and which will bring nuclear annihilation to mankind.’’ (Jackson – Seven Roads to Moscow – p.319)

In the Greek fable of Pandora’s Box, Pandora could not resist opening the box, but she opened the box, and several evil entities started flying out of it. These included hatred, envy, greed, disease, poverty, pain, death, and war. All these miseries of human life escaped the box and entered the real world. By the time Pandora slammed back the box’s lid, all the evils had escaped except for ‘hope’.

I begin to wonder if we have in fact opened the box?

Two more briefings: Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy and Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev

March 25, 2022

https://telegra.ph/Speech-of-the-Head-of-the-Main-Operational-Directorate-of-the-General-Staff-of-the-Armed-Forces-of-the-Russian-Federation-on-the-03-25 March 25, 2022

Speech of the Head of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy

(This should be read with the previous statements of this morning:  http://thesaker.is/briefing-by-the-russian-ministry-of-defence-on-the-current-results-of-the-special-military-operation-in-ukraine/

In accordance with the decision of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief since February 24 this year. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are conducting a special military operation.

Its main goal is to provide assistance to the people of the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, who have been subjected to genocide by the Kiev regime for 8 years.

It was impossible to achieve this goal by political means. Kiev has publicly refused to implement the Minsk agreements. The Ukrainian leadership twice in 2014 and 2015 tried to solve the so-called Donbass problem by military means, was defeated, but did not change its plans on resolving conflict by force in the East of the country. According to reliable data, the Armed Forces of Ukraine were completing the preparation of a military operation to take control of the territory of the people’s republics.

In these conditions, it was possible to help the Donetsk and Lugansk republics only by providing them with military assistance. Which Russia has done.

There were two possible courses of action.

The first is to limit the territory to only the DPR and the LPR within the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which is enshrined in the constitutions of the republics. But then we would be faced with constant feeding by the Ukrainian authorities of the grouping involved in the so-called joint force operation.

Therefore, the second option was chosen, which provides for actions throughout the territory of Ukraine with the implementation of measures for its demilitarization and denazification.

The course of the operation confirmed the validity of this decision.

It is conducted by the General Staff in strict accordance with the approved plan.

The tasks are carried out taking into account minimizing losses among personnel and minimizing damage to civilians.

With the beginning of a special military operation, air supremacy was won during the first two days.

Offensive actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are carried out in various directions.

As a result, Russian troops blocked Kiev, Kharkov, Chernigov, Sumy and Nikolaev. Kherson and most of the Zaporozhye region are under full control.

The public and individual experts are wondering what we are doing in the area of blocked Ukrainian cities.

These actions are carried out with the aim of causing such damage to military infrastructure, equipment, personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the results of which allow not only to shackle their forces and do not give them the opportunity to strengthen their grouping in the Donbass, but also will not allow them to do so until the Russian army completely liberates the territories of the DPR and LPR.

Initially, we did not plan to storm them in order to prevent destruction and minimize losses among personnel and civilians.

And although we do not rule out such a possibility, however, as individual groups complete their tasks, and they are being solved successfully, our forces and means will concentrate on the main thing – the complete liberation of Donbass.

Significant territories of the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics have also been liberated. The people’s militia has taken control of 276 settlements that were previously under the control of the Ukrainian army and the national battalions.

Demilitarization of Ukraine is achieved both by high-precision strikes on military infrastructure facilities, locations of formations and military units, airfields, control points, arsenals and warehouses of weapons and military equipment, and by the actions of troops to defeat opposing enemy grouppings.

Currently, the Ukrainian air forces and the air defence system have been almost completely destroyed. The naval forces of the country ceased to exist.

16 main military airfields were defeated, from which combat sorties of the AFU aviation were carried out. 39 storage bases and arsenals were destroyed, which contained up to 70% of all stocks of military equipment, materiel and fuel, as well as more than 1 million 54 thousand tons of ammunition.

All 24 formations of the Land Forces that existed before the start of the operation suffered significant losses. Ukraine has no organized reserves left.

Losses are replenished at the expense of mobilized persons and personnel of the territorial defence forces who do not have the necessary training, which increases the risk of large losses.

At the time of the start of the special military operation, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, together with the National Guard, numbered 260 thousand 200 servicemen. During the month of hostilities, their losses amounted to about 30 thousand people, including more than 14 thousand – irretrievable and about 16 thousand – sanitary.

Of the 2,416 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles that were in combat on February 24, 1,587 units were destroyed; 636 units out of 1,509 field artillery guns and mortars; 163 out of 535 MLRS; 112 out of 152 aircraft, 75 out of 149 helicopters; 36 Bayraktar TB2 UAVs – 35;

180 out of 148 S-300 and Buk M1 air defence systems; 300 out of 117 radars for various purposes.

The AFU continue to use high-powered weapons indiscriminately against towns in Donbass. An example of this is the strikes by the Tochka-U missile system on the civilian population of Donetsk and Makeyevka.

In this regard, they are the primary targets.

As of today, 7 Tochka-U launchers have been destroyed, and 85% of missiles are in arsenals and in the air. This significantly limited Ukraine’s capabilities for their combat use.

Since the beginning of hostilities, the Western countries have supplied the Kiev regime with 109 field artillery guns, 3,800 anti-tank weapons, including Javelin, Milan, Konkurs, NLAW ATGM, M-72, Panzerfaust-3, 897 Stinger and Igla MANPADS.

We consider it a vast mistake for Western countries to supply weapons to Kiev. This delays the conflict, increases the number of victims and will not be able to influence the outcome of the operation.

The real purpose of such supplies is not to support Ukraine, but to drag it into a long-term military conflict “to the last Ukrainian.”

We are closely monitoring the statements of the military and political leadership of individual countries about their intention to supply aircraft and air defence systems to Ukraine. In case of implementation– we will not leave it without attention.

We also hear assurances from NATO leaders about non-interference in the conflict. At the same time, some member states of the North Atlantic Alliance propose to close the airspace over Ukraine. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will immediately respond accordingly to such attempts.

In order to prevent the restoration of weapons and military equipment of the AFU that have received combat damage, the Russian Armed Forces are disabling repair enterprises, arsenals, storage bases, logistics warehouses with high-precision weapons.

At the moment, 30 key enterprises of the military-industrial complex have been hit by cruise missiles X-101, Kalibr, Iskander, and the Kinzhal aviation complex, which carried out repairs of 68% of weapons and equipment disabled during combat operations.

Russian modern weaponry has proven to be highly accurate, reliable and capable of operational use.

I would like to emphasize that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation do not strike at civilian infrastructure facilities, including the destruction of bridges across rivers.

127 bridges were destroyed in the area of military operations. All of them were blown up by Ukrainian nationalists in order to deter the advance of our troops.

Another example of recklessness is the mining of approaches to the ports of Odessa, Ochakov, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny, where over 400 anchor mines of obsolete types are installed.

At least 10 mines have broken anchor and are drifting in the western part of the Black Sea, which poses a real threat to warships and civilian vessels.

The rampant crime, looting and marauding and civilian deaths have been caused by the Ukrainian regime’s massive uncontrolled distribution of tens of thousands of small arms to the civilian population, including to criminals released from prisons. The situation will only get worse in the future.

The course of hostilities, the testimonies of civilians who left the blockaded settlements and captured Ukrainian servicemen show that today the AFU’s ability to resist is based on fear of reprisals by neo-Nazis. Their representatives are embedded in all military units.

The mainstay of the Kiev regime are nationalist formations such as Azov, Aidar, Right Sector and others recognized in Russia as terrorist organizations. In Mariupol alone, they include more than 7 thousand militants who are fighting under the guise of civilians, using them as a “human shield”.

The militants of the Azov battalion drive women and children out of the basements, threatening them with weapons, and send them towards the advancing units of the DPR in order to hinder the advance of the people’s militia. This has become a common practice for them.

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, on the contrary, seek to avoid unnecessary losses. Before the start of the offensive, the AFU units are invited to leave the combat area and move along with equipment and weapons to the point of permanent deployment. Not to resist when the offensive begins and those who lay down their arms are guaranteed safety.

Civilians caught in a war zone are always advised to stay in their homes.

Humanitarian corridors are being organized in all cities to get the population out of the area of hostilities, and their security is also maintained.

Humanitarian corridors are being created in all towns to allow people to leave the area where the fighting is taking place, and their security is being maintained.

In addition, at the initiative of the Ukrainian leadership, the country has become a home to 6,595 foreign mercenaries and terrorists from 62 states.

They are not subject to the rules of war and will be ruthlessly destroyed.

Today, the number of foreign mercenaries is declining. This was facilitated by high-precision strikes on their bases and training camps. On March 13, more than 200 militants were killed and more than 400 wounded in Starichi and at the Yavorovskii training ground alone.

I note that not a single foreign mercenary has arrived in Ukraine in the last seven days. On the contrary, there has been an outflow. Within a week, 285 fighters escaped into Poland, Hungary and Romania, I hope without Stingers and Javelins.

Previous experience has shown that man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) and ATGMs are spreading out fairly quickly, along with the mercenaries who return home.

In general, the main objectives of the first phase of the operation have been achieved. The combat capabilities of Ukraine’s Armed Forces have been significantly reduced, which allows us, once again, to concentrate our main efforts on achieving the main goal – the liberation of Donbass.

In eight years, in the area of the so-called “joint forces operation”, a defence belt has been prepared that is deeply echeloned and well-fortified in engineering terms, consisting of a system of monolithic, long-term concrete structures.

In this regard, in order to minimise casualties among the troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, the conduct of offensive operations is preceded by a heavy fire attack on the enemy’s strongholds and their reserves.

At the beginning of the special military operation, the LPR and DPR people’s militias were confronted by a group of 59,300 people comprising the most combat-ready units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the National Guard and nationalist formations.

As a result, Ukraine’s security forces in the OOS zone lost about 16,000 people, or 26% of their total strength as of 24 February this year.

More than 7,000 of them were irrecoverable losses.

Replacing losses is prevented by isolating the Ukrainian grouping of troops in Donbass, taking control of railway stations and key road routes with firepower.

The supply of missiles and ammunition, fuel and food to Ukrainian forces has been almost completely halted.

The field depots of missile and artillery weapons and ammunition, as well as fuel located directly in the area of the Joint Forces Operation are being hit. To date, 32 facilities have been destroyed, or 61% of the total.

All weapons and military equipment, including foreign-made, seized by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation during the special military operation are handed over to the People’s Republics. Already 113 tanks and other armoured combat vehicles, 138 Javelin and 67 NLAW grenade launchers and other trophy weapons have been handed over.

Units of the People’s Militia of the Lugansk People’s Republic have liberated 93% of the republic’s territory.

Fighting is currently taking place on the outskirts of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.

The People’s Militia of the Donetsk People’s Rupublic controls 54% of the territory. The liberation of Mariupol continues.

Units of the Russian Armed Forces together with the People’s Militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic are conducting an offensive to liberate settlements to the west of Donetsk.

Unfortunately, there are casualties among our comrades-in-arms during the special military operation. As of today, 1,351 servicemen have been killed and 3,825 wounded.

All family support solutions will be taken over by the state, raising children up to higher education, full repayment of loans, housing solutions.

We receive a large number of appeals from Russian citizens wishing to take part in the special military operation to liberate Ukraine from Nazism.

In addition, more than 23,000 foreigners from 37 countries have expressed their willingness to fight on the side of the people’s republics. We offered the leadership of the LPR and DPR to accept this assistance, but they said they would defend their land themselves.

They have enough power and resources.

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will continue to conduct a planned special military operation until the tasks set by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief have been completed.


Speech of Head of the National Centre for Defence Control of the Russian Federation Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev

March 25, 2022

The special military operation in Ukraine with its corresponding objectives and tasks was preceded by an eight-year period of a highly grave humanitarian disaster in Donbass that made more than 6.5 million persons to be victims of violations of human rights and caused deaths of more than 14.5 thousand persons. The almost daily shelling carried out by the Armed Forces of Ukraine and nationalist battalions caused 4,115 infrastructure buildings destroyed and 55,310 damaged, including residential buildings, educational establishments, hospitals and many other social facilities.

Over these eight years, 19.5 per cent of the infrastructure of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’ s republics has been completely destroyed and up to 37 per cent damaged by the use of heavy weaponry from Ukraine.

From April 2014 to February 2022, 1,451,304 refugees had been displaced just to the Russian Federation.

Due to a rapid aggravation of the situation and increase of the shelling intensity on the territory of Donbass, only from 18 to 23 of February the number of refugees had rapidly increased; during these six days, the border of Russia has been crossed by 106,946 persons.

The rest of the population – 3,600,940 people, including civilians, mostly elderly, children, women and some vulnerable groups – continued to be shelled every day, in basements without any basic conditions for life – no water, heat, electricity, food or medicines.

This period comparable with two Great Patriotic Wars 1941-1945 in terms of timeline caused numerous victims every day.

Meanwhile, the countries of the so-called “civilised” West, led by the United States of America, have deliberately kept silent about all this, showing complete indifference to the fate of millions of residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’ republics.

The special military operation commenced in the conditions of this highly grave humanitarian crisis.

Since 4 March, the Russian Federation has been providing humanitarian corridors on a daily basis, exclusively for humanitarian purposes, in the directions of Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov and Mariupol, of which one humanitarian corridor to Russia and one more through Kiev-controlled territories towards Ukraine’s western borders.

The Ukrainian side has never confirmed a single humanitarian corridor towards the Russian Federation for the entire period.

At the same time, we coordinate all additional humanitarian corridors proposed by Kiev on a daily basis.

The Russian Armed Forces strictly observe ceasefire on all routes, despite the fact that this slows down the pace of conducting a special military operation. But this is done solely in the interests of saving civilians.

And on the Ukrainian side, systematic shelling of humanitarian convoys and attempts to shift responsibility for their own inhumane acts to units of Russian troops continue. So, this week alone, 17 attacks on civilians traveling along humanitarian corridors were recorded, including the cynical shelling of a convoy of refugees from Mariupol.

In the face of tough opposition from the official authorities of Ukraine, since the beginning of the special military operation, 419,736 people, including 88,373 children, have been evacuated to Russia from dangerous areas of Ukraine, Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. 49,362 units of personal motor transport crossed the state border of the Russian Federation.

Without any participation of the Ukrainian side, nine thousand foreign citizens who applied for help were assisted in the evacuation.

Russia continues to work on the preparation, delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid to the civilian population of the liberated territories.

A total of 5,043 tons of basic necessities, food packages, including baby food, vital medicines and hygiene products were delivered. 617 humanitarian actions were carried out in Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Kherson and Nikolaev regions.

All Ukrainian prisoners in the Russian Federation are treated as required by the norms of international humanitarian law. They are kept in decent conditions, provided with three meals a day, timely and qualified medical care is provided to them. They are not subjected to violence or psychological pressure. Everyone is given the opportunity to contact relatives.

Interaction with the International Committee of the Red Cross on these issues is organized.

At the same time, the Ukrainian authorities, against the general background of the lawlessness that reigns everywhere in Ukraine, grossly violate elementary humane norms, not to mention the requirements of the Geneva conventions,

regarding the treatment of prisoners of war.

Despite this, or most likely contrary to what the Kiev authorities are doing, the Russian side will continue to treat Ukrainian prisoners of war humanely and respectfully.

Being aware of the nature of all the existing difficulties, as well as the essence, the origins and the character of the provocations carried out by the Kiev regime, considering the passiveness of the international organizations, the Russian Federation will continue opening and maintaining humanitarian corridors every day and informing the Ukrainian party and all the international community.

The Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation General of the Army Sergei Shoigu reports regularly to the leadership of the country as the implementation of the special military operation, as the efforts adopted by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to provide humanitarian aid and security at the liberated territories.

War in Ukraine: “The whole world is with us” – and, with whom is “us”, with Kiev or with Moscow?

March 03, 2022

by Yuri Podolyaka for this YT channel

Source

translated by N.

Hello, my dear listeners.

Today is March 2 and today’s first material will not be a review of the war front situation, because in the last few hours I just have not had a chance to get a whole lot of information. There is some information, but I will cover it in the next review.

Today, and also in the future, in the morning reviews, I want to look at what is happening around the conflict in Ukraine.

And, one of the most important issues is – which countries of the world have supported Russia on this issue and which have not, because this question is actually critical for Ukraine. And not only for Ukraine, for it is unquestionably very important for Russia too, because the prevailing opinion in Ukraine is that “the whole world is with us”.

So, let’s take a look – who is this “whole world” and to what extent is it with them?

Well, it is obvious that the USA, Canada and most of the European countries are really with them, at least so they say, but then there are other countries, like Hungary, for example, which express ambivalence. On one hand, they support sanctions, but then on the other hand, regarding military assistance to Ukraine, Hungary said a firm “No”. Furthermore, it will not even allow any transportation of any goods across its territory and borders.

Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina have taken a special position as well, certainly, because the position of the Serbs is very clear and resolute – they are totally behind Russia.

Then, there is the USA and Europe – with them it is all quite clear, as with Japan, Australia and all the closest political partners of the USA. After that – silence.

All other significant countries, in one form or another, have expressed support for Russia. Firstly, it is very visible in Latin America, where Brazil, Argentina, and yesterday Mexico – everyone, the main countries, all stated in unison that they will not support sanctions against Russia. Understandably, besides Columbia and several other countries, the more economically developed countries of that region, however, have stated that they will not support sanctions against Russia.

South Africa, the only country of the African continent that has some political weight, also took the same position. And, almost forgot – also Egypt. It is also against the sanctions. Well, it’s understandable why – because if Egypt says “yes” to the sanctions, it would stand to lose all the Russian tourists. Also, Turkey said it was against the sanctions against Russia. And, so it follows, all the countries that orient themselves around Turkey, also are against the sanctions. Even Israel’s position in this question looks very, very ambivalent.

Israel really, really does not want to quarrel with Russia. And it’s clear that Israel will continue to maneuver till the very last moment. For the leadership of Israel, the final knife in the back was the killing of an Israeli citizen by the nationalist Ukrainian soldiers, during the attempt to evacuate him, when he was mistaken for a Kadyrov Chechen mercenary associated with the pro-Russian separatists.

Also, none of the Middle Eastern countries, at least none of the significant ones, have expressed support for the sanctions against Russia. The United Arab Emirates were against, Saudi Arabia was against – moreover, it stated that it would strictly adhere to the policies of OPEC-Plus. The Americans had implored them to increase production.

It is also clear that Iran is behind Russia. So, the axis that Russia has developed in the Middle East is working and, in fact, working strictly like clockwork.

India also did not support the sanctions, although yesterday there was communication that the Bank of India was looking into the matter of halting some transactions with Russian banks but so far the matter is unresolved.

At the national level, India is saying that it is against the sanctions.

Understandably, China’s position is clear and unequivocal – China is Russia’s ally.

But, an even more interesting situation has emerged in the post-Soviet space. It is obvious and predictable that the Baltic states are supportive of the sanctions, but with the others it is not nearly as obvious. It could have been expected with the participant countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, that are part of the CSTO. Naturally, all of them have supported Russia. However, two countries which Ukraine depended on heavily, Moldova and Georgia, did not support the sanctions. Even Georgia, did not support Ukraine in the sanctions against Russia. Also, Moldova – I remind you that today Moldova has a pro-Europe government. So, it appears that in the post-Soviet space, none of the countries, except the three little Baltic limitrophe states, supported the sanctions against Russia. Even the ones that Ukraine really counted on – Moldova and Georgia.

This raises a very legitimate question – so, “who is the whole world with”?

Is the “whole world” – the USA plus the better part of Europe, the sum total population of which comprises less than 20% of the world’s population, and represents less than about 50% of the world GDP? Again, this figure includes and is based on fake, digital GDP numbers, which exist only on paper.

Therefore, we can see that on a diplomatic level, Russia prepared for this war very well.

Russia’s alliances and her allies work. It also means that all the countries of the world understand perfectly well what the battle that has unfurled in Ukraine is all about.

It is not a battle between Ukraine and Russia. Of course, not.

It is a battle of the USA against Russia and China – the destruction of that world where the Anglo-Saxon dominated countries are the leaders. It is perfectly understandable, why most of the countries that are not part of this European and North American bloc, wish to see the victory of China and Russia.

So, unfortunately I have to disappoint President Zelensky and the Ukrainian nationalists, who believe “the whole world is with us”. No, far from it.

In fact, the greater part of the world is not with you. Even Moldova and Georgia are not with you. That is what I wanted to say in this release. So, that is all for now on this subject matter. Please wait for the review on all fronts. I think it will come out somewhere around noon to 1:00pm.

See you soon.

Ukraine Crisis Will Spurn Wave of Authoritarianism Around the World

February 21, 2022

A convoy of truckers and supporters block an intersection near the border as they continue to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates, in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, February 19, 2022. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier – RC29NS9TJIMK

Martin Jay

Middle East countries, certainly in the GCC region, are benefitting from the Ukraine standoff as the heat is taken off them, Martin Jay writes.

Boris Johnson’s words themselves may be prolific. He said at a conference on 19th of February in Munich that a Ukraine invasion would “echo” around the world while asking for Europe to take a united stand against Russia. In fact, the Ukraine crisis, without even one Russian soldier entering Eastern Ukraine, is having quite an impact already simply due to the media bandwidth it has taken, depriving other big stories the oxygen they deserve – particularly affecting the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA).

These countries, certainly in the GCC region, are benefitting from the Ukraine standoff as the heat is taken off them. In particular the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been given a get-out-of-jail-free card by western media in the latter’s abandonment of Yemen, a bloody senseless war there which has wiped out generations and left the rest with starvation and whose gruesome images used to fill TV screens and mainstream media’s print and online portals. But no more.

In fact, sceptics might even go further and argue that in the case of Saudi Arabia, it would appear that its mercurial young crown prince has actually taken full advantage of the media blackout on Yemen by ploughing ahead with his reforms which include the banning of Mosque loudspeakers, significantly reducing hours spent on Islamic education and Arabic language in the national curriculum and even allowing bikini beaches in Jeddah. The hope presumably is that at some point western media will return to the region and notice such changes and start to feature them in their reporting.

But there might be a long wait.

Remarkably, Putin’s standoff with the West might go on for some time, even if there is no invasion as such. In the meantime, for many of the elite which make up countries in the region who are fearing another Arab Spring, the limited media attention given to Yemen is interesting. But it is Justin Trudeau’s extraordinary authoritarian behaviour in Canada against peaceful truckers who wish to protest which will have ramifications in the Arab world. Not only will Arab leaders note that also the press coverage is limited as is the opprobrium from the normal so-called experts in Washington and London, but that they now have the green light from the West to replicate anti-democratic measures all in the name of the sanctity of the state and woe betide Canada for criticising KSA’s human rights record as it did previously when it demanded the release of Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi in 2018.

Trudeau has truly shocked the world with his arbitrary move to criminalise the protests and has set a template for the Middle East and Africa to follow suit.

Indeed in Africa, tyrannical, brutal regimes will not doubt note how the Ukraine crisis and the media attention it has attracted has caused almost a media blackout on authoritarian power grabs in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, western satellites which, in the case of Mali at least, have fallen into the hands of Moscow simply by its association with Wagner mercenaries. The very real fear that African dictators have which impacts their ability to scrounge aid from the World Bank and the IMF is press coverage itself from the media giants. When that line of communication is closed down, there’s no telling how African countries’ elites will react. There may well be a domino effect which will take many with it as it sweeps across the region, while the EU remains a impotent spectator to the winds of change.

And in the EU itself, Poland is no longer alone in being seen as the rude boy in the class who might be expelled from the club, or rather leaves unceremoniously. Others, like Hungary, are now falling victim to EU laws which challenge their constitutions and place them on a collision course with the maniacs in Brussels who cannot see how they are digging their own graves with their bellicose language and ultimatums. A recent study by the EU revealed that MEPs themselves are asking for a special slush fund of billions of euros to head off the next anti-EU referendum which is sending some EU leaders into a panic as many believe that one more EU member to follow Britain might be the end of the project as we know it.

None of these stories are getting any real traction or attention by journalists who are either heading to Ukraine or have turned all their attention to the tensions in their copy and left these subjects aside. Is this what Boris Johnson meant when he warned leaders in Munich about the consequences echoing around the world?

Hungary does the “unthinkable” and defends its national interests

September 28, 2021

Hungary does the “unthinkable” and defends its national interests

Hungary as just signed a 15 year contract with Russia for the delivery of Russian gas via the southern route, thus bypassing the Ukraine completely (3.5 billion cubic meters via Serbia and 1 billion cubic meters via Austria).  But that is not all.  The Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has stated, in so many words, that this is a sovereign decision of Hungary and that is is nobody’s business how the Hungarians will heat themselves in the winter.

This is a direct act of “disobedience” not only to the rest of the EU and NATO, this is also a “screw you” to the US.

Oh, that does not make Hungary a “friend” of Russia or Putin, not at all, this is still an EU/NATO member with all that implies.  But this hopefully shows that at least one country in Europe has retained enough sovereignty to act in its own interests rather than prostituting itself to the Empire.

I am not an expert on eastern Europe, so I will let other, better qualified than myself, comment and analyze this.  All I will say is that I wish the other Europeans had even 10% of the courage shown by Hungary.  But, at least so far, only the Hungarians have my respect for being at least trying to retain some sovereignty.

Will that set a precedent?  I am not holding my breath…

Andrei

Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads

Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads

December 22, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

The referendum on Britain’s vote to Remain or Leave the EU – Brexit – has raised deeper issues than simply whether or not the UK retains its European membership. The real issue is that of the whole Transatlantic bloc from Seattle to Warsaw, its, culture, institutions, politics, and economics has also been undergoing deep structural changes – not necessarily for the good.

The victory of the Leave majority in the first UK Brexit referendum in 2018 and a rerun, which should never have been allowed, of the Remain campaign in the general election of 2019 – both in the face of a massive establishment propaganda blitzkrieg was quite remarkable. The centrist coalition of the centre-right Conservative business class and the still deeply Blairite and third-wayist faction of the overwhelming majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the Trades Union Congress (TUC and most of its affiliated unions) and tens of thousands of rank-and-file woke militants, threw everything but the kitchen sink into their campaign but lost. But even then, the issues had not been settled – that is for the self-appointed, London based, middle-class, parvenues who imagined themselves as carrying the torch for civilization. After what was a definitive verdict – which in both instances was a ‘NO’ to the continued membership of Britain in the EU – there was a vicious counter-attack. It started from the premise that EU membership is an absolute good, the absolute truth, and that any opposition is racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynist … and so on and so forth. The fuddy-duddy notion of national sovereignty was of course considered completely de rigueur. Therefore, there is not, nor can there be any legitimate critique of the EU. Argument closed: no engagement or discourse on the subject, just hysterical ranting, and mass cancellation. Sound familiar?

In fact the EU before, during, and after the referendum was hardly the Shangri La imagined by the ‘Remainer’ constituency. At that time, their political and cultural love object was the EU of Manuel Barroso, ex-Maoist, ex-President of the European Commission, now working for Goldman Sachs, Merkel’s pet Russophobe, Donald Tusk, and not forgetting Jean-Claude Juncker, at that time President of the European Commission, who was incidentally involved in a tax avoidance scandal in Luxembourg where he was one-time Prime Minister, and then a litany of other self-serving political mediocrities on the make. The EU is also an economic dead zone (particularly in the peripheral areas of Eastern and Southern Europe) with unemployment rates higher than the UK and growth rates lower.

A veritable economic and political Shangri-la? Yeah, right. Like Lord Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen* the Remainers are putting the telescope to their blind eye: I see no economic and political dead-zone! Maybe they should have gone to Specsavers!

These sentiments are not just conservative, they are downright reactionary and anti-democratic. And the ex-centre-left has played an insidious part in this development. The glaring contrast between the people’s vote for leaving and the vote of the PLP and TUC institutions which supposedly represent them, for remaining, prompted even left observers to conclude that the people, like sheep, had gone astray and handed racist xenophobes a shameful victory. This was the liberal centre-left’s great Brechtian moment when ‘the people should be dissolved and a new one elected.’ The famous German playwright, Bertolt Brecht, was of course making a sardonic comment on the actions of the East German Communist regime in 1953 when it suppressed the workers uprising. It bears a striking similarity to the response by our own neo-totalitarians in 2016. Additionally, the procrastination of the establishment Remainers, which was slowing down the whole exit project, can be thought of as the establishment’s Augustinian moment. St. Augustine ‘’God give me chastity and celibacy, but not yet.’’ the Remainer-speak version being God give me Article 50 but not yet.

In sociological terms the upper-echelons of the liberal class who think that they have the divine right to set the political agenda, represent a sub-hierarchy below the real policy makers and shakers. The 20% beneath the 1%. They tend to be ensconced in the media, academia, professions such as law and medicine, middle-management, financial planners, economists, computer programmers, aerospace designers, and the entertainment business. Quite a number, particularly in business, government, both local and central, advertising, telemarketing, public relations, could be considered to be ‘bullshit jobs’ (in the late) David Graeber’s insightful observation. As a whole this particular social and occupational stratum, look up rather than look down, they serve power not the people. They are Orwell’s Outer party in his 1984 novel, sandwiched between the Inner party and the Proles. Knowing which side their bread is buttered on they identify with and support the Power Elite.

An avant garde leading from the rear, yes. Trahison des Clercs, most certainly but more politically and culturally homogeneous today than as was once the case.

This shell of a once fighting left (now unrecognisable from their previous political and ideological moorings) now embraces the culture of identity but excludes the entity of class. As a result poverty has become the P-word, and the poor the pariahs of neoliberal dystopic utopia. When we talk about class in a Marxist, materialist sense, we are talking about a relation of power, specifically about who does and who doesn’t have power to shape society. Identity politics makes this conflict of interests in society invisible. Neoliberal economics, however, is quite simply class war. It has advanced in part because identity politics depoliticized the public. Is it mere coincidence that the melange of post-Marxism, identity politics, and neoliberal economics saw the light in the same post-sixties decades? Together, they form the heart of the reaction, which is the take-back by the economic elite in the last four decades of every gain the fighting left loosed from the fist of capital before and since World War II. The rapacity of contemporary capitalism is enabled by the weakness, dishonesty, and cowardice of the flaccid and collaborationist left.

On the American side of the pond the same (albeit worse) diseased and morbid social tendencies began to emerge from a decaying body-politic circa 2001 and maybe even before, but the 9/11 was the pinnacle, which was of course no accident. For one of the persistent strands in American political life is a cultish extremism that approaches fascism. This was given expression and  reinforced during the two terms of Barack Obama. “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being.” said Obama, who expanded America’s favourite military pastime, bombing, and death squads (“special operations”) as no other president has done since the Cold War.

The American political and social-theorist, Christopher Lasch, now unfortunately no longer with us, succinctly identified the political/cultural shifts in the American polity in the late twentieth-century. (1) America has undergone a profound structural, cultural, and political transmutation: it is not the masses or working class, so much as an emerging sub-elite of professional and managerial types who constitute the greatest threat to democracy, according to Lasch. The new cognitive sub-elite is made up of what Robert Reich called “symbolic analysts’. This middle-class occupational stratum – in the British rather than the American sense – traffics in information and manipulates words and numbers for a living. They live in an abstract world in which information and expertise are the most valuable commodities. Since the market for these assets is international, the privileged class is more concerned with the global system than with regional, national, or even local communities. In fact, members of the new sub-elite tend to be estranged from their communities and their fellow citizens. “They send their children to private schools, insure themselves against medical emergencies … and hire private security guards to protect themselves against the mounting violence against them,” Lasch writes. In effect, they have removed themselves from the common life and have moved offshore.

These tendencies, however, have been observable even before Lasch’s observations. Way back in the middle to late 1950s, the great American theorist C Wright Mills, produced powerful polemics concerning the structure and direction in which the Republic was headed. These tendencies were recognised as early as the 1950s. (2)

He argued:

‘’We cannot assume today that men (sic) must in the last resort be governed by their own consent. Among the means of power that now prevail is the power to manage and manipulate the consent of men … and many people are neither radical nor reactionary, they are simply inactionary. If we accept the Greeks definition of an idiot as an altogether private man then we must conclude that many citizens of mass societies are indeed idiots … History making may well go by default, men may well abdicate its continual making and so merely float along as corks in a bottle of an Ocean drift. The implication of this, however, is that history will indeed be made – but by narrow elite circles without effective responsibility to those who must try to survive the consequences of their decisions and of their defaults.’ (3)

A more recent American social critic, Morris Berman, has also been cognisant of the cultural decline and disintegration of America; indeed it would have been difficult to miss. His caustic analysis on the current state of American Culture – The Twilight of American Culture (4) – makes particularly compelling reading for the English-speaking world. Mr. Berman argues provocatively and incisively that the direction of American civilization is locked into a path which will lead nowhere except into its own demise. The American empire has now borne witness to the passage of its most fruitful and triumphant years and its approaching the future – if it hasn’t already got there – and a period of social and political chaos from which there doesn’t appear to be an exit, or at least a controlled exit. So the controlled exit is about the best route on offer, though only 50/50 at best.

‘’For when a population becomes distracted by trivia, and when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of ‘baby-talk’, when in short, a people become an audience and their public business becomes a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture death is a near (extremely near) possibility.’’(5)

CONCLUSIONS:

The fault-lines, stresses and cleavages in the Transatlantic bloc are becoming increasingly clear both within nations and between nations. In Europe the exit of Britain from the EU and Europe, and the possible defections of Hungary, Poland and Italy. In the United States the strain on the Republic with an increasing and assertive emergence of the South and possible mid-west as well as the drift of coastal America away from flyover America. It could be said that these are simply speculative guesses, but these future possibilities are a little more than simply straws in the wind. For better or worse, big changes are on the way.

Interesting times.

NOTES

(1) Christopher Lasch – The Revolt of the Elites – published posthumously in 1994. The title of the book was taken from the name of a book “the Revolt of the Masses” by the elite theorist Jose Ortega Y Gasset in 1930.

(2) The Power Elite, 1959 and The Sociological Imagination 1956.

(3) C Wright Mills – The Sociological Imagination – Ibid – pps. 51, 195

* The naval Battle of Copenhagen (1801) occurred during the War of the Second Coalition when a British naval fleet commanded by Admiral Sir Hyde Parker defeated a Danish fleet anchored just off Copenhagen. Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack. During the battle, he famously is reputed to have disobeyed his senior officer, Sir Hyde Parker’s, order to withdraw by holding the telescope to his blind eye to look at the signals from Parker. The signals had given Nelson permission to withdraw at his discretion. Nelson then turned to his flag captain, Thomas Foley, and said ‘You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes.’ He raised the telescope to his blind eye saying, ‘I really do not see the signal.’ Copenhagen is often considered to be Nelson’s hardest-fought victory.

(4) Morris Berman – The Twilight of American Culture – published in 2000.

(5) Berman – Ibid., -Introduction.

Reforming the EU – Like waiting for Godot!

Reforming the EU – Like waiting for Godot!

October 22, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

There is a human tendency to cling on to cherished beliefs even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There was a time, during the heady days of Jacques Delors and the Social Chapter, when the EU appeared to represent a social-democratic and neutral geopolitical bloc; a third force between the USSR as it then was and the US/NATO – this, however, is no longer the case. The EU has long since transmuted into part of an aggressive neo-liberal and neo-conservative imperial alliance under US command. The liberal, centre-left Remainers such as Yanis Varoufakis seem to think that it is possible to reverse this development and get the EU back to its original prototype, presumably by dint of political will. In view of historical developments this view seems increasingly difficult to sustain.

EU/NATO PUSHES EAST.

In particular since the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty of 2005 the EU Defence and Security Policy has been aligned with NATO. Indeed, EU membership has become a stalking horse for NATO membership and vice versa. NATO’s geopolitical drive to Russia’s western borders has been concurrent with the EU’s economic expansion – a strategic partnership between a military push and an economic push.

Not surprisingly perhaps the Russians see the siting of US anti-ballistic missile systems on their western borders in Romania and Poland, together with ongoing NATO military exercises involving tens of thousands of alliance troops as something of a provocation. Little wonder we now have a second cold war.

The position of the EU is, in geopolitical terms, completely subordinated to US interests. If there is a Russian-NATO conflict it will be fought on Europe’s turf not on America’s; Europe is ultimately expendable. This much can be inferred from facts on the ground, though this must be kept assiduously secret from the electorates of western Europe. Eastern Europe, however, seems only too willing to serve as the cannon-fodder for the US imperial designs; witness the incessant baying for war on the part of Russophobic states such as Poland and the Baltics, as well as NATO-EU wannabees like Ukraine and Georgia. It was precisely this expansion to the East (or new Europe as it was called by Donald Rumsfeld) which served as the essential prerequisite for the NATO takeover of the whole of Europe. The change has been noted:

EUROPE FROM LISBON TO VLADIVOSTOCK – AN IMPOSSIBLE DREAM.

‘’The destructive Russophobia of the new Europe undermined the credibility and cohesion of Europe as a whole. It had been anticipated that the new members’’ – Poland, the Baltics. etc. – would be ‘socialised’ into the ways of the EU, but, instead, the EU was in danger of reverse socialization incorporating the axiological (ethical – FL) dynamics and virulent neo-liberalism of some of the newer members, accompanied by their prioritisation of Atlantic Security over EU social solidarity.’’ (1)

In its original quasi-Gaullist form the EU might have played a constructive part in the Ukrainian crisis as a third party and disinterested broker between Russian and American interests, but by 2014 the EU had been transformed into something very different from its original configuration: it had become joined at the hip to the US imperial juggernaut. Moreover, the EU’s status in this relationship was subaltern rather than equal. It should be understood that the United States does not do ‘partnerships’ only master and flunkey slave relationships. It is further commented that:

‘’Instead of a vision embracing the whole continent it (the EU) it has become little more than the civilian wing of the Atlantic security alliance … The drift toward a merger with the Atlantic Security system left it bereft of autonomy and policy instruments when it really mattered – maintaining peace on the European continent.’’ (2)

COSTS IN EUROPE OF US FOREIGN POLICY

The terrorism and refugee crisis in Europe – the blowback – was unquestionably traceable to the US bull-in-a-china-shop foreign policy in the middle east, this much is obvious to even an impartial observer; but answering the call of duty the western media has strained every nerve and muscle in an attempt to deny what was a blatant fact. Terrorism and refugee flows were ripped out of the wider context in an attempt to obfuscate any causal connexions with these phenomena and US/EU/NATO foreign policy. The media propaganda tsunami notwithstanding the electorates of Europe were able to put 2 and 2 together, and this resulting in an ongoing political crisis in Europe which shows no signs of stabilization and, if anything, seems to be intensifying including the Brexit vote which committed the UK to leaving the EU, and, the electoral advances for the AfD in Germany as well as anti-EU sentiments which in Hungary and Poland has gained significant support from the population of those states. Propaganda and economic stagnation seems to have its limits; like Abe Lincoln said: ‘You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.’

So much for the geopolitics.

WASHINGTON CONSENSUS CROSSES THE POND

Perhaps as significant is the shift in economic policies and development which has taken place within the EU. Without doubt there has taken a sharp right turn since the 1980s.This policy consists of full-on neo-liberal economic and social imperatives involving the imbibing of a ruthless, winner-takes-all orthodoxy and its equally brutal imposition; Greece is perhaps the most egregious victim of this frugal economic diet, followed by Latvia, Estonia, Ireland, Portugal, Greece and even Italy, all of which are being forced into penury and debt-peonage courtesy of the Troika’s relentless austerity programme.

THE EURO – A NON-OPTIMAL CURRENCY WITHOUT A STATE.

Piling on the agony the creation of the Euro single currency (the key problem) since 1992 has put the Euro member states into an economic strait-jacket. The currency value cannot be changed or devalued to boost national exports during economic downturns such as that experienced since 2008. The result has been that the largest industrial power in the Eurozone, Germany, has benefited from the stable euro while weaker economies on the periphery of the EU, including most notably, France, have endured catastrophic consequences to the rigid Euro rate. The cost and productivity structures of Germany and the northern bloc in the EU, means that its goods will be cheaper than the higher costs and lower productivity levels in the southern belt. It follows therefore that the northern bloc runs permanent trade surpluses whilst the south has permanent trade deficits.

In a new report, the Dutch think-tank, Gefira Foundation, notes that French industry has been contracting since the adoption of the euro. “It was not able to recover after either of the 2001 or 2008 and present crisis because the euro, a currency stronger than the French franc would be, has become a burden to France’s economy. The floating exchange rate works like an indicator of the strength of the economy and like an automatic stabilizer. A weaker currency helps to regain competitiveness during a crisis, while a stronger currency supports consumption of foreign goods.

The only reason that the Germans were prepared to abandon their beloved deutschmark was that it would be replaced by a hard euro whose exchange rate was fixed and overvalued. The euro is an orphan, a currency without a state, and thus a foreign currency to all the European states in Europe.

EASTERN EUROPE:

TWO COLLAPSES. 1. COMMUNISM, 2. NEOLIBERAL CAPITALISM

The EU’s eastern periphery also has problems, but of a different kind. However only the Baltics, Slovenia and Slovakia actually use the euro. It is planned to include them into the euro in the fullness of time. Apart, that is, from basket cases like the Baltics whose government, unlike the people, went where angels feared to tread – into the Eurozone and the euro.

Excluding Russia, of course, these Eastern European states – termed ‘transitional economies’ – have become stalled in economic stagnation which so far has been difficult if not impossible to overcome. These obstacles have been specific to the Eastern periphery. The European Union now consists of 28 states. No fewer than 10 of these are former states of the Eastern Bloc, and this proportion is set to grow with the impending accession with some minor Balkan nations. Although Georgia and Ukraine are in line for membership of the EU, they are also expected to join NATO as has become customary for aspirant EU states.

Whether they obtain either is a matter of conjecture, however, as this would be almost certain to cross Russia’s red lines and result in a major geopolitical flareup. Europe’s centre of gravity is shifting. And while the process of joining the European Union is driving change within these countries, it is also changing the nature of Europe itself. Those Eastern European states which emerged from the break-up of the Soviet Union had been led to believe that a bright new world of West European living standards, enhanced pay levels, high rates of social mobility and consumption were on offer.

Unfortunately, they were sold an illusion: the result of the transition so far seems to have been the creation of a low-wage hinterland, a border economy on the fringes of the highly developed European core; a Euro version of NAFTA and the maquiladora, i.e., low tech, low wage, low skills production units on the Mexican side of the US’s southern borders. Moreover there are acute demographic problems confronting the ‘new Europe’.

Eastern Europe is bleeding people. With low fertility rates, higher death rates, and emigration. Case study:

‘’IN THE Lithuanian town of Panevezys, a shiny new factory built by Devold, a Norwegian clothing manufacturer, sits alone in the local free economic zone. The factory is unable to fill 40 of its jobs, an eighth of the total. That is not because workers in Panevezys are too picky, but because there are fewer and fewer of them. There are about half as many students in the municipality’s schools as there were a decade ago, says the mayor.

Such worries are increasingly common across central and eastern Europe, where birth rates are low and emigration rates high. The ex-communist countries that joined the European Union from 2004 dreamed of quickly transforming themselves into Germany or Britain. Instead, many of their workers transported themselves to Germany or Britain. Latvia’s working-age population has fallen by a quarter since 2000; a third of those who graduated from university between 2002 and 2009 had emigrated by 2014. Polls of Bulgarian medical students show that 80-90% plan to emigrate after graduating.

Lithuania’s loss of workers is costly, says Stasys Jakeliunas, an economist. Remittances and EU money for infrastructure upgrades have helped, but labour shortages discourage foreign investment and hurt economic growth. According to the IMF, in some countries in eastern Europe emigration shaved 0.6-0.9 percentage points from annual GDP growth in 1999-2014. By 2030 GDP per person in Bulgaria, Romania and some of the Baltic countries may be 3-4% lower than it would have been without emigration.

All of this imperils public finances. Pensions, which take up about half of social spending in eastern Europe, are the biggest worry. In 2013 Latvia had 3.3 working-age adults for each person older than 65, about the same as Britain and France; by 2030 that is projected to fall to just over two, a level Britain and France will not reach until 2060. Countries are raising the retirement age (apart from Poland, which is recklessly lowering it). Benefits are already meagre, leaving little room for cuts. As a share of GDP, social spending in Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic states is roughly half of that in many richer European countries.

Unable to dissuade people from leaving, governments are trying instead to lure them back, inspired by successful efforts in Ireland and South Korea. Daumantas Simenas, project manager of the Panevezys free economic zone, credits his return from Britain to the country’s “Create for Lithuania” programme, which matches educated professionals from the diaspora with government jobs. Having a job already lined up made the decision to return easier, he says. Plus, he adds, “home is home.”

Whether such efforts can turn the tide seems doubtful. “Create for Lithuania” has brought back more than 100 people since its launch five years ago, says Milda Darguzaite, who started the programme after leaving an investment-banking career in America for a government post in Vilnius. Returnees include an MP, a deputy mayor and several advisers to the prime minister. Bringing back doctors and engineers, however, is trickier. Studies show that skilled workers from eastern Europe are attracted abroad primarily by the quality of institutions such as good schools; better social benefits matter more for unskilled migrants. Data on return migration are scanty, but a recent report by the IMF suggests it has been “modest”, in some countries as low as 5% of those who left.’’ (3)

In more general terms figures for Eastern and central Europe as a whole are as follows. With the exception of the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Russia, every eastern European country has a declining population. Population declines as follows from 2006 to 2018:

Latvia and Lithuania = 12%

Ukraine = 9%

Hungary = 8.5%

Romania = 7%

Bulgaria = 6%

Estonia = 1.5%

Poland = 0.3%

The comprador vassal elites on the wrong side of the Oder-Neisse Line have been caught in the trap of dependency and semi-development, and in some cases under-development, and this was partly of their own making due to their rush to throw themselves into the arms of the US-NATO-EU alliance and an expected pay-off/bribe. The only states to avoid this have been Czechia, Slovakia and Russia. In the Balkans the same devastating NATO coalition engineered the destruction and break-up of what was once the sovereign state of Yugoslavia.

Thus In both economic and foreign policy the European political and financial elites have acted as overseas branch managers of a multinational enterprise whose HQ is on the other side of the pond (the US) where policy is determined and exported. Quislingism might be an appropriate word in this context.

DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT – THE FINAL ACT.

Finally, we come to the democratic deficit. This is important since the only way that change is possible is through the EU institutions. In order of importance these institutions comprise 1. The Council of Ministers, 2. The European Central Bank, 3. The European Commission. The last of these institutions consists of a President, at present, Ursula Von der Leyen, and formerly, Jean-Claude Juncker, seven, Vice-Presidents, whose identities are not known to me, and twenty Commissioners, equally obscure. Juncker succinctly enunciated the process of EU’s decision making as follows: ‘’If it’s Yes, we will say on we go, and if it is a No, we will say we will continue.’’ So much for open and flexible debate on policy.

The Council of Ministers and the ECB also pull various levers, often in tandem with extra-European global institutions such as NATO, WTO and IMF. Of course there is absolutely no sign that the current policies of the EU are not continuing along their present reactionary trajectory; and since the electorates of the EU have no control of the Council of Ministers and ECB there seems no way to break into this closed system of rule by a technocratic oligarchy. Once again political unrest in Europe suggests a causal connexion between the nature of the EU’s political and economic structures and the policies and outcomes emanating thereof.

This is not the EU we (the UK) signed up to in 1976, and there comes a time in politics where it is judicious to give up flogging a dead horse. A ‘progressive’ Labour government – if such a political animal is possible – would not be allowed by EU law to implement its economic reforms, cancel Trident, leave or even modify its NATO membership. Democracy is impossible without some measure of sovereignty, and nations must get control of their own foreign and economic policies since if they don’t the globalisers and Bilderbergers will and have done. There is nothing wrong with a volte face in politics.

It was J.M. Keynes who once said: ‘’When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do sir?’

NOTES

(1) Richard Sakwa – Frontline Ukraine.

(2) Sakwa, Ibid. pp.227/228)

(3) The Economist – 19/01/2017. It should be added that the Economist is very much the house journal of the British elite. Yet even they have their doubts about the Euro project.

Krampus is alive and well: How the myth of Soros paralyses the anti-imperialist struggle

Krampus is alive and well: How the myth of Soros paralyses the anti-imperialist struggle

June 27, 2020

By Ken Leslie for The Saker Blog

1. The making of a demon

Remember the days of your childhood—especially if you are German. If you even dream of being naughty or disobeying your elders and betters, Krampus will put you in his basket and take you to some swampy Germanic hell. Nothing will be heard from you ever again.

Krampus is a leftover from ancient pre-Christian times when he (and he is a he) consorted with witches and indulged in unspeakable acts with them. The idea of a horned demigod taking away and destroying that which is most precious survived all attempts at Christianising and remains to this day a well-known and dreaded member of the pantheon of early childhood monsters. The pedagogic value of Krampus is that he is so horrible looking and mean that the very mention of his name (frightening in itself) is enough to pacify the most recalcitrant toddler. He is a demon born at the dawn of time in a dark and cold Alpine redoubt with a single purpose—to frighten and torture naughty children. Many of us non-Germans knew of Krampus as children and although we had our own non-Germanic demons to defend against, somewhere far at the back of our minds, the Supreme Fear in the form of Krampus was just a few steps away.

How does the story of a scary childhood character relate to the present day? Am I being flippant in comparing a mythical demonic creature to a highly successful trader and philanthropist? Well, no. George Soros’s history of dirty deeds spanning decades and continents has been so destructive that he has created his own demonic myth within his lifetime. A mysterious character who refuses to shuffle his mortal coil and is kept in a semi-mummified semi-stasis by some miracle of “medical science” or another, Gyorgyi Schwartz of Budapest and a billionaire has become Krampus of our time. He is a demon of extreme power, cunning and devilry (he was called something not very dissimilar by Mahathir Mohammed). He is the eternal wanderer ever ready to profit from others’ misery who has been funding his destructive vision ever since the fall of the Soviet Union. He has become the synonym for a disruptive, meddling anti-national, neoliberal, “cosmopolitan” conspiracy. The point of these, allegedly, has been to weaken any indigenous patriotic forces in order to a) protect a particular group of people from possible persecution by diluting any nationalist urges and b) allow those same people to set the tone of the political discourse and capture the levers of power.

At the time, people marvelled at how someone can emerge from such obscurity to become a global player overnight—but like always, such success was ascribed to Soros’s genius and hard work.[1] Our modern-day Krampus has been compared to Jakob Schiff, the famous/notorious Jewish-American financier and philanthropist (word that is rapidly losing its positive connotation), whose anti-Russian animus found a fruitful outlet in financing all enemies of imperial Russia—from Japan to various ethnic nationalists and finally—and most importantly—the Bolsheviks. Another Schiff, the senator Adam, is the current torch bearer of Russophobia in US Congress. The analogy is mostly apt. While the target of Schiff’s wrath was mainly the Russian Empire, Soros has targeted both the dying Soviet Union and its capitalist successor.[2] He named his nebulous pseudo-philosophy “Open Society” (probably plagiarising another Russophobe—Karl Popper) as a counter to the still weak attempts by Russia to escape the death sentence handed down to it by the triumphant West. This was a time when prominent Soixante-huitards such as Joschka Fischer, Bernard Henry-Levy, Andre Glucksmann, Bernard Kushner, Alain Finkelkraut and other future war criminals ruled the European roost. These third-rate activists and intellectuals excelled in one thing only—hatred of Russia and Orthodox Christianity.

Soros wormed his way into the newly “liberated” countries via a network of well-funded “foundations”, “institutes”, “universities” and “human rights organisations”. In other words, Soros used a strategy known to all predators that aim to overrun a country. By pretending to care about the plight of refugees, minorities, LGBT population and generally—human rights—Soros undermined the self-governance of newly independent countries leaving them vulnerable to depredations by the US and EU intelligence-organised disruption operations. That Soros’s demonic project had nothing to do with socialism and everything to do with harming Russian interests is confirmed by the fact that he has targeted both socialist Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and a capitalist Russia, funded anti-Russian forces all over the world (in Chechenia, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, EU, Africa, Middle East and USA) and fought a continuous ideological and cultural war against what he perceived as the menace of the rebirth of the Russian Empire.

He honed his destructive apparatus with the help of corrupt local politicians and quasi intellectuals. Offering grants, studentships and targeted subsidies to the members of national “elites” ready to betray their nations’ interests in exchange for participation in one of Soros’s fake “young leader seminars” or “human rights conferences”.

Here is a personal anecdote which demonstrates my long-term interest in Soros’s. In the mid-1990s, my wife wanted to do a PhD on the post-Soviet theatre in Eastern Europe and as part of a multi-country schedule, we visited an eastern European capital in 1996 and arranged an interview with the well-known “alternative” theatre practitioner and the then-director of the Soros-funded anti-government hub camouflaged as a cultural centre. The interview went well until my wife asked a question that I had inserted earlier—it was about Soros’s funding and support for the Centre’s anti-government activity. This is when things became interesting. The interviewee became irritated and suspicious and defended Soros’s meddling in Yugoslavia’s internal affairs by claiming unconvincingly he wasn’t involved in setting the editorial policy etc. Needless to say, the interview was terminated on the spot.

A detailed account of George Soros’s destructive crusade must await another time. What needs to be said is that Soros and his humanitarian hydra were behind a number of so-called colour revolutions—ritualised coups d’etat that resulted in bringing to power swaths of anti-Russian politicians and surrounding Russia with a ring of NATO satrapies (most of whom had been Nazi satrapies during WWII). One interesting detail is that Soros removed mainly moderate or left-leaning politicians and replaced them with anti-Russian nationalists. After many years of unconstrained criminality, rapine and harmful meddling, president Vladimir Putin decided to put a stop to Soros’s harmful activity at the moment when Russia was again existentially threatened by the West in 2015. “It was found that the activity of the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation represents a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and the security of the state,” a translated version of the press statement read. All Soros’s activities were banned in Russia and from that day on, Russia redoubled its efforts to become economically and politically independent of its enemies. The kicking out of Soros from Russia was seen in the West as another manifestation of Putin’s antisemitism when it was nothing of the sort.

President Putin correctly assessed the threat of Soros’s machinations and in one fell swoop rid his country of possibly the greatest threat to its security. After this epic defeat, Soros fought a rear-guard action by focussing on the emerging nationalist and populist governments such as that of Victor Orban in Hungary. Here also, Soros experienced a defeat—Orban proclaimed Soros a threat to national security and after an epic battle, closed down the so-called Central European University presided over by Michael Ignatieff, the notorious Russophobe. The two campuses in Budapest and Vienna were supposed to embody the discredited idea of Mittel Europa (Central Europe), that jewel in the Austro-Hungarian crown and motive power for any anti-Russian Drang. By closing down the Eastern lobe of the CEU, Orban has in a sense destroyed the Russophobic symbolism of Soros’s crowning achievement.[3]

As the power of the neocon/neolib forces in Europe weakened, Soros’s political projects lost more and more ground until they became largely irrelevant. Soros was so deeply compromised and so completely exposed as a predatory fraud and agent of dark powers that he ceased to be an important player in international affairs (despite his money and influence). Even the ever-vigilant “Nazi hunters” of ADL have found it difficult to defend him. His brand became toxic with the ascent of populist and alt-right politics in Europe and US. It could even be said that his own strategy (securing “cosmopolitan” interests by fighting nationalism) backfired—the alt-right rebellion was largely the reaction to the excesses of the Sorossian surge of the 1990s. So, what was the mummified billionaire to do now that the steppes of Russia were out of reach? He could have done “a Berezovsky” (I like where this is going) by writing a contrite letter to president Putin begging his forgiveness. Or he could have tried to repent for his evil deeds by pursuing real philanthropy. He chose neither but doubled down on political meddling under the guise of a (tainted) pseudo-humanist brand.

Thus, Soros’s name has (justifiably) become synonymous with evil liberal cosmopolitanism. This is definitively a positive development because it ensures that Soros (or his currently groomed descendants) can never cause as much damage as he did to Russia, Eastern Europe or Middle East. The other side of the medal is that any mention of a left-wing, progressive, social or racial justice cause, however valid, has been scarred by the mark of Sorro. And this I believe is Soros’s true legacy—providing the Empire with a permanent and unassailable excuse to discredit any genuine critique of and rebellion against the inhuman and inhumane neolib/neocon system.

2. Back in the USSA

After a brief phoney skirmish with the European alt-right, Soros shifted his attention to the United States where a new president was elected on a conservative, isolationist and anti-neocon agenda. Many people irrespective of persuasion, greeted Donald Trump’s election victory with relief if not elation. (it would be more correct to say that most right-thinking people hailed the defeat of the warmongering hag Hilary Clinton). The hope was that the United States would abandon its empire which has been destroying it and focus on recovering and rebuilding peacefully in co-operation with other great powers. Many well-meaning people from across the world sent their good wishes—after all, many of us carried a small piece of America in our heads and hearts.

Unfortunately, it transpired very soon that most of what Trump had promised his gullible voting base would never be carried out. Like ruthless Lucy van Pelt who fools Charlie Brown every time, the Deep State pulled the ball from a large basketful (or was it bucketful?) of deplorables and moved on with its plan to keep the dying Empire alive as long as possible (there is an analogy here with Soros, Rockefeller, Kissinger and Lord Rothschild who seem very reluctant to depart this world, haunting instead the corridors of power in the guise of liver-spotted spectral mummies and reminding the world that money can’t buy love but can certainly buy young bone marrow and stem cells). Instead of “draining the swamp”, Trump surrounded himself with right-wing neocons and Roman Catholic zealots and promptly set out to renege on all of his election promises.

Here, I shall only focus on Trump’s actions as they concern Russia and China. In an attempt to stem the accelerating exsanguination of the American empire, Trump declared a total war on Russia and China that has thus far involved: propaganda and psychological warfare, sanctions, threats, assassinations, mass arrests of Russian and Chinese citizens, sabotage, theft of diplomatic property, bombing Russia’s allies, commandeering of commercial assets and wealth, tariffs, support for coloured revolutions, McCarthyite witch hunts, an offensive against the Russian Orthodox Church and its allies, abrogation of all important international treaties regulating the deployment and monitoring of nuclear weapons, moving nuclear-capable missile bases close to Russian border, using India, Japan, Vietnam et al. as tools against China, weaponizing fascist fiefdoms in Eastern Europe and giving the Ukrainian zhidobandera (Judaeo-banderite) regime hundreds of millions of pounds of military aid, provoking China and Russia with large-scale military exercises and all kinds of military brinkmanship, trade war, weaponizing Hindu nationalism against China, approving extra funding for anti-Russian activities, expanding NATO, boosting Israel’s right-wing regime, strangling Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba and almost provoking a war with Iran. Oh, fresh off the press—moving 10000 soldiers and dozens of aircraft from Germany to Poland. Did I miss anything?

To summarise, Trump has done everything in his power to bring the world shockingly close to an all-out conflict. None of his moves so far have been peace oriented except as cheap political stunts or admissions of defeat. It is not even about Trump. America has entered its terminal decay stage and any president worth their salt would do anything to slow down this process. Once it becomes clear that this cannot be achieved by peaceful means (e.g. investment in vast infrastructure projects a la New Deal), all that is left is war. And yet a large portion of the deluded blogosphere looks up to Trump as some kind of a saint whose idealism is constantly being thwarted by evil Democrats. The latter bunch of misfits are labelled “communists”, Marxists” etc. confirming beyond any reasonable doubt that the crude and uneducated American right is as stupid and as pernicious as its post-Trotskyite, warmongering “left”. Note that the so-called Democrats do not oppose any of the above crimes/transgressions and are even more strident in their Russophobia—if that were at all possible.

An often-heard argument used in the defence of Trump is that at least he hasn’t started a hot war with Russia (something they say, Hilary would have done without a doubt). But this argument falls flat straight away. Please re-read the above: Do you really think that Hilary would have been able to do more harm than Trump? If so, what—given Russia’s exceptional nuclear and non-nuclear arsenal that could turn America into a giant glass ashtray without so much as breaking a sweat? Second, one of the most destructive presidents in the US history (both for his country and the world), was a gaudy entertainer and a populist who brought the world to the brink of nuclear war without ever starting one (Grenada excepted). For the most part, the opposition to Trump is manufactured for internal political consumption and does not reflect his actions. In a way, this fake opposition strengthens Trump’s hand because in front of Lavrov he can defend his aggressive moves as forced by his enemies and use these to silence the Russophobic opposition inside the country.

The quiet despair I felt for years started to dissipate as soon as racial protests erupted inside the US not because I hate America (on the contrary) but because I have been so disgusted with its international conduct since 1945, that I couldn’t supress my Schadenfreude. Knowing the benighted history of this country quite well (a huge amount of genocide, slavery and oppression has been packed into an extraordinarily short time period), I started to hope that the doddering behemoth would focus its Sauron-like gaze inward and give the world a chance to take a breather. Great, I thought. Perhaps, after years of false accusations, the Russians or the Chinese have acted—carefully organised a nationwide rebellion by leveraging one of the most emotional issues in the USA, namely, race. Finally, a well-calculated act of revenge for the dozens of destructive “revolutions” on Russian borders. Although it did achieve some popularity among Black Americans and especially their leaders, the mighty Soviet Union failed to capitalise on this despite America’s dismal record on race. Perhaps, in a fit of creativity, the Russians turned Soros’s tactics on his bosses putting into motion a masterful plot worthy of KGB’s top hits. Alas, I soon awakened from my reverie only to realise that Russia has neither the will, nor means to engineer such a vast conspiracy and save itself from a nuclear confrontation. The Chinese perhaps? No way.

In my view, the Russians are too conciliatory and lack the vast soft power apparatus necessary for the coordination and execution of such an ambitious project. Never mind, the most important point is that anybody who cares about world peace and Russia should cheer the protests as a severe setback for the global hegemon—a clear sign of its decline and an opportunity to profit from its weakness. One immediate benefit of the protests was a body blow (blubber blow) that felled warmongering troll Mike Pompeo. The moment protests started, any American foreign policy based on enforcing human rights and democracy became unsustainable—forever. The myth of a democratic paradise in which a common man/woman benefits from hard work and pioneer spirit fell apart in a couple of hours. The Chinese were laughing at Phat Po while hundreds of hitherto timid Twitterati gleefully pointed out the rank hypocrisy of America’s position and beheld with a mixture of fascination and horror the absence of the junior emperor’s clothes.

A more disturbing consequence of my awakening has been the realisation that most of the political commentators in the West who had previously maintained a pro-Russian front started defending Trump and his version of American supremacy. Many moons ago, I remember watching the remake of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers starring Donald Sutherland. At the very end of the movie, the heroine turns to the ever-dependable Donald, hoping for a salvation, when he turns on her and emits an unforgettable blood-curdling scream—the symbol of ultimate betrayal and final triumph of an alien evil. I felt like the woman in the film who realised in a second that she was completely alone in the universe facing a fate worse than death. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit but you know what I mean. Russia has receded into the background and saving Trump is all that matters.

All of a sudden, people forgot that as late as the end of 1960s, African Americans were barred from country clubs and other “respectable establishments” and started finding reasons to exonerate the murderous cop. But never mind that. Overnight, these tribunes of anti-imperial struggle morphed into the staunchest defenders of Emperor Trump and “traditional family values” espoused by a lecherous pervert linked to Jeffrey Epstein. When asked how they can maintain such an anatomically impossible yoga position, most of the time the answer is: because… Soros. I still haven’t come to terms with this and have tried to explain it to myself ever since. Here are some tentative explanations.

3. Answers and questions

a) People have been so traumatised by Soros’s malfeasance (or is it maleficence) that they see him everywhere now—as a universal symbol of evil—a Krampus. As a consequence of a careful ploy by the Deep State, no criticism or protest is now allowed outside very clearly drawn boundaries—especially from the left. As soon as someone tries to protest various injustices, they are automatically labelled as agents of Soros intent on harming the HOMELAND. It is immaterial to the accusers that under most recent presidents America has become a cesspit of electronic surveillance and a home to a gargantuan military-intelligence-industrial-media complex which is swallowing everything in its path. America’s crumbling infrastructure, lack of common values and ghettoised cities are a testimony to its forthcoming demise. Here, Soros has become Krampus of the right, a monster evoked every time someone points out that America is mortally ill. In this, Soros has joined another Krampus of the RC and neocon right—Joseph Stalin. Although exact opposites in terms of ideology, both have been used in the West to suppress socially-conscious voices.

b) Many of the so-called “alternative” websites were never pro-Russian to start with (Saker has discussed this many times). Rather, they are US Deep State sleeper agents who were allowed, in exchange for their loyalty, to monetise their writings and expose dissidents by posing as critics of the US regime. Now that their true master is in danger, they feel obliged (or are gently reminded) to repay their debt. Although I dismissed this option initially, it has gained in credibility the more I sampled their wares. A less paranoid version of this explanation is fear—fear of the ubiquitous and Kafkaesque machine which can crush an individual without their knowledge leading to auto-censorship. Or the fear of the “barbarians”—those lower-caste humans who threaten further to disrupt our vicarious participation in the sense of exceptionality and achievement of our “race”. I am guilty of both.

c) The commentators are correct and I am deluded. Soros is so rich and powerful that he can confront and defeat the all-powerful system that created him. This is probably the worst nonsense of them all. Soros might be rich but he is a mere gnat in comparison with his supposed enemy. Second (and even more pertinent), why would the old CIA-spawned Hellboy bite the arm that feeds him? Because Soros, a billionaire several times over and notorious Russophobe hawk, is some kind of a communist and social justice warrior? If this is true, the implication is that all 17 powerful intelligence agencies that could swat Soros like a fly at a single wink of Trump’s rheumy eye are betraying “the constitution” and siding with the unruly anarchists. Balderdash.

The world is again separating into two broad and irreconcilable camps—imperialist and anti-imperialist. While the boundary is not completely clear, many conservatives will join fascists and racists in the defence of civilisation (Europäische Kultur), (Western) Christianity (Gott mit Uns), homeland (Vaterland), white race (arische Rasse), family values (Kinder, Küche, Kirche), unchallenged Western supremacy (Das tausend jährige Reich) and law and order (Ordnung muss sein). I am not interested in how these “ideals” are implemented as long as they are not used as an excuse to attack and enslave other countries—as they always are. A minority of conservatives will understand the danger of a revived fascism and side with Russia and its allies. The fascists will be joined in their struggle by right-wing Zionists and neocons who hate Russia more than they love peace and democracy. While agitating for human rights, they will be happy to see the destruction of Russia and China. As in WWII, most Central European Ruritanias will gladly join the imperialist side. Some large countries such as India might just remain neutral but the nationalist zeal of its current government (Aryanism and swastikas anyone?) is likely to push it into the imperialist camp. This would not be the first time. The great Indian politician and tribune Subhas Chandra Bose openly collaborated with Japan during WWII.[4]

I shall be joining the other side—the side that sides with the oppressed, dirty, helpless and weak. The anti-imperialist camp espouses a multi-polar world free from imperial diktat from the West (or elsewhere). It advocates peaceful coexistence and abolition of huge multinational corporations that have replaced states as agents of international politics.[5] This block is progressive in the sense in which the Trotskyite dogma isn’t. There is a lot of room for cultural differences and idiosyncrasies. The idea is that these differences enrich the world and allow individual nations to find their own way towards prosperity, without the constant sabotage by the US Empire and its pawns. Absence of interference into other nations’ affairs ensures a peaceful and sustainable growth. Crucially, there is no such thing as an exceptional or chosen nation or race. We are all equal in terms of God’s mercy and the world must be purged from the exceptionalist evil forever. If anybody is still confused about what’s going on, I’ll end with a few questions (some of which I’m trying to answer myself):

– If Trump is so good for Russia (an idiotic claim by the Democrats), why did Russia urgently rachet up its nuclear doctrine a few weeks ago?

– Do you really think that for this many decades Soros has acted independently of the US Deep state? Are you so naïve as to believe that a semi-anonymous trader with a dodgy past would be allowed to destroy British Pound and meddle in international politics, or god forbid, unseat Trump, without the blessing of the grey cardinals of Langley? Do you think that one of the ugliest swamp creatures known to man would risk upsetting his masters by launching crippling riots possibly leading to a civil war for no good reason? No, defeating Trump is definitely not a good enough reason. If Soros is indeed behind the turmoil (and this hasn’t been proved), he is either doing the humanity a favour for once—by crippling the Empire or (highly likely) is acting on behalf of the repressive apparatus set on discrediting and banning any and all protest.

– What does one need to do in order to defeat the CIA, FBI, NSA and the myriad of spying and political police agencies that underpin the Empire? Do you really think that you can get past the most monstrous, intrusive and comprehensive system of surveillance and oppression in history by being transparent and honest? If your aim is to drain the swamp, do you really believe that you can achieve this by laying all your cards on the table and asking the (metaphorically) black Jesuitical cabal to vacate its throne at the top of the world? If you understand that this is impossible, why expect the BLM movement and all the others to be transparent?

– Do you really believe that BLM and other similar movements (e.g. Occupy) have not been penetrated BEFORE THE PROTESTS and co-opted for FBIs purposes? If yes, you are completely naïve (not to use something nastier).

Wake up, Trump is not your friend and he is no friend of Russia. Soros is evil but he is just one of the many flavours of evil. Do not let your mental inertia render you blind to what is really going on.

If you prefer the global dictatorship of hyper-corporate capital protected by US weapons under the guise of “law and order” to peace and justice, why are you on this pro-Russian site?

Russia, whatever its political system, has and will always stand with the oppressed and in opposition to global bullies and criminals. YOU CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON BOTH. Choose wisely—I have.

  1. I had the displeasure of reading Soros’s scribblings a long time ago. I can assure the reader that he is no genius. 
  2. https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/12/09/soros-and-his-cia-friends-targeted-ussr-russia-1987/. We cannot know what Jakob Schiff would have done to the USSR—he died in 1920. 
  3. A friend tells me that Orban used to receive large sums of money from Soros. I did not check this but it wouldn’t surprise me that the two were partners in the 1990s. 
  4. I am not criticising Bose who was a great leader in many respects but just pointing out that India has its own perspective which might not always agree with the Eurocentric or Anglocentric view of history. 
  5. It is amusing to watch fake nationalists and patriots get in a tizz when asked how they can support Amazon, Google and other corporate behemoths and how this takeover of a country by corporatist fascism can be compatible with “freem” and democracy. 

Israel to Police European Coastlines – Protecting the Continent from Refugees?

November 12, 2018

by Peter Koenig for The Saker BlogIsrael to Police European Coastlines – Protecting the Continent from Refugees?

This sounds like a bad joke. It ain’t. Its real. One fascist government helps another fascist government. Yes, I have written about fascism invading the west before – warning that the European Union (non-union) is being gradually, but ever faster turned into a fascist dictatorship under the guise of democratic protection of ‘Democracy’; and this by her unelected European Commission (EC) leaders (sic). EU citizens are being brainwashed with neoliberal lie-propaganda into believing that they are living in the heart of democracy – that they are free and protected by police and military, 24×7.

Indeed, such protection can be seen at almost every street corner in France’s major cities; France, the country that had the audacity to make the permanent state of emergency part of her Constitution. And others are dutifully following Macron’s example. No wonder, EU member country governments have all been ‘put in place’ by fake elections, with the help of Cambridge Analytica and other social media tricks, by now well-known around the globe – and even the myriad MSM (mainstream media). It would be a strange coincidence, if practically all of the heads of EU states are following either neoliberal or Nazi doctrines. In any case, the difference are a few details. Most obvious neonazis are depicted with the denigrating term of populists, disregarding the fact that a populist is someone who is liked by the people. Wouldn’t that be democracy?

The PM of Hungary, Victor Orbàn, and Poland’s far-right Andrzej Duda, fall into this category and soon Italy’s government, basically led by the far right, deputy PM, Matteo Salvini, who calls the shots in Italy, to the detriment of the Five-Star lead party, will follow suit. Everybody who refuses to bend to Brussels’ rules is a ‘populist’. It’s that simple. And it’s no coincidence.

Back to the head-story: An Israeli private military contractor, Elbit Systems Ltd, has been awarded a contract to Monitor European Coasts, as reported by the Palestine Chronicle. Israel’s private defense contractor has “won” a 68 million dollars two-year contract, renewable by another two years, to survey most of European coastlines and to report to Brussels and the countries’ authorities. Universal surveillance and fascism are on the march – and running ever faster. This ‘bidding process’ was not an open competition. This was ‘one fascist hand washing the hand of another fascist. Yes, that’s as bad as we have become in Europe. And the populace has no clue, because they are comfortably seeing their freedom, their civil rights, their human rights, being eroded, ‘floated’ away, under the pretext of national security – and of course their own, the people’s security. – That’s what a few ‘false flag’ terrorist attacks can achieve – people scream for help, for police protection. The more the better. And who is better suited than a fascist state to respond to that call of desperation – to fulfill that fake role of protector?

Israel is known having armed the fascist Ukraine government. Israel’s purpose of policing the European coastlines is to prevent Palestine Gaza prisoners from escaping their horrible, horrible fate. Two million Palestinians need to be forcefully kept locked into this open-air concentration camp, being tortured, bombed, starved and finally killed. That’s what Zionist-Israel is all about. Mind you, that is no at all an anti-Semitic statement. There are millions of Israelis who disagree with this fascist policy. But they are being shut-up, they have no right to speak out – plus they are, like Europeans, constantly drip-by-steady-drip indoctrinated by lies, falsehoods and deceptions – that Palestinians are a danger for the survival of Israel.

This is simply NOT TRUE. It is a flagrant lie – a lie sustained by the United States, whose interest is permanent conflict in the Middle East to control the Middle Easts rich resources – and Israel is an important ally – more than an ally. Thanks to Israel’s and AIPAC’s (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the strongest Washington lobby) endless flow of money to Washington’s politicians – Israel, as the paymaster of political campaigns of both parties of the US-One-Party system – calls the shots. By Israel, is meant Zionist-led Israel, not the common people who want nothing more than peace and a friendly and harmonious relationship with Palestine; Israelis who are aware that they are actually camping on Palestine land – Israelis, who have not been blinded by those who have since 70 years purposefully distorted history, altered schoolbooks and pretend that this Holy Land is theirs, rather than a piece of land of mutual ownership, to be shared equally and with equal rights.

These Israelis, the vast majority, are not targeted with this article, or with the accusation of being fascists. It’s their dictator leadership, those who are in lock-step with the neofascist Trump Administration – and, well, those who call the shots in Washington, in all the so-called thinktanks (sic) that make US foreign policy. Neoliberal, cum neonazi Israel wants to eradicate Palestine, Iran, Syria, but they are in bed with the murderous Saudis – with the killers of tens of thousands of Yemeni children, with the brutal murderers of the entire Yemeni population through famine, destruction of water supply and sanitation systems, of lack-of-hygiene induced cholera and a myriad of other diseases.

Israel’s private defense contractor announced having won a two-year contract, renewable for another two years, with the EU Maritime Safety Agency. They will patrol the Mediterranean Sea and Europe’s Coast lines with drones and inform Europe’s authorities of ‘irregularities’, of refugee ships, of last-hope vessels carrying desperate people, escaping from western created misery in their lands. And Palestinian refugees are on the rise. They can no longer stand their abject fate under Israeli’s inescapable rules and cruel dictate. They seek refuge in Europe, paradoxically, they go to their hangman seeking shelter. But where else to go?

So, these unmanned Israeli military aircraft will automatically signal the defense forces of Israel to intercept any attempt of escaping Palestinians – to bring them back to their open torture chamber – which Gaza has become. – Gaza’s terror conditions have become the utter “normality” from the western populace, especially Europeans. They will just watch like Palestinians will be slaughtered into fear of escaping from their ‘life’ prison, called Gaza.

That’s what the west has become, or as my friend, Andre Vltchek, would say, they have colonized, enslaved and raped Asia, Africa and Latin America for at least a thousand years – why would you expect them to change? They have gotten away with murder for so long – why would they change? Today, they continue with (slightly) different methods – its financial slavehood. It’s the epitome of shameless criminal neo-colonialism. Israel’s two to four- year contract of their defense contractor serves as a mere proxy for the EU’s terror, lack of compassion and inhumanity. Mind you, the United States is just the heritage of Europeans migrated across the Atlantic.

The company, Elbit Systems Ltd, will provide European Union countries with maritime unmanned aircraft patrol services and in theory with nothing more -which is, of course, a flagrant lie. They will ex-contractually confiscate refugee boats, as miserable as they may be, contributing to more refugee deaths. In September 2018, UNHCR, Mediterranean refugee transfers have been deadlier than ever this year, having reached more than 1,600 so far.

“Rocket News” reports, “in October, Israeli companies signed purchase agreements with the United Nations for the provision of water and security service to UN forces in Africa. Israel also won a $777 million contract for the supply of India’s missile defenses, as well as being revealed as a lead exporter of tools for spying on civilians being used by dictatorships or authoritarian governments around the world.”

Rocket News continues, “Such deals and multi-million-dollar contracts over a variety of regions are seen as not only a benefit to the Israeli economy but also [as proof for] the reliability of its [Israel’s] services and the subsequent potential increase of its international credibility.”

Whatever Zionist-Israel does, the Chosen People, is for the good of Mother Earth. How long will it take until the populace inhabiting Mother Earth wakes up, screaming for fear and agony, bringing an end to this farce, this criminal Anglo-Zionist farcical dictatorship?

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 Vineyard of 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.

Dirty little secret: ‘Think tanks’ are among top culprits in media disinformation crisis

By Bryan McDonald
Source

5be58dd1dda4c8511a8b459e.jpg

Most consumers are unaware off the mainstream media’s dirty little secret. Think tanks are increasingly taking advantage of tight news budgets to influence the press agenda in favour of their sponsors.

Decades ago, these outfits generally operated as policy advisories. Although, some were comfortably enumerated ‘retirement homes’ for distinguished public servants or intellectuals. However, in modern times, they have become indistinguishable from lobbying firms. With the budgets to match.

On the Russia (and broader Eastern European) beat, think tank influence is becoming increasingly dangerous and malign. And it’s leading to a crisis in journalistic standards which nobody wants to acknowledge.

Two cases this week highlight the malaise.

Right now, Hungary and Ukraine are embroiled in a standoff regarding the rights of ethnic Hungarians in the latter country. The disagreement is entirely local, with roots in the 20th century carving-up of Budapest’s territory after it found itself on the losing side in both World Wars. As a result, lands were dispersed into other nations – former Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union.

There are tensions, to varying degrees, between Hungary and pretty much all the successor states housing its lost diaspora. Especially since nationalist Viktor Orban started handing out passports to compatriots stranded on foreign soil.

Until recently, most of the focus was on disagreements with Slovakia, but now attention has switched to Ukraine.

Let’s be clear. This is a mess of Kiev’s making. In a bid to appease “patriotic” fundamentalists, it began moves towards restrictive language laws, which has especially alienated the small band of Hungarian speakers on its western frontier.

Predictably, Budapest rushed in to defend its “people,” and now we have a nasty little imbroglio with headbangers on both sides entrenched.

One thing it’s not about is Russia. But Western media, egged on by think tank “experts,” keeps banging this drum. And here is a case in point this week.

The Los Angeles Times sent a correspondent to Uzhgorod, a Ukrainian border city. And rather than merely report from the ground, the writer spends a huge amount of the article referring to Russia and intimating that Orban is operating in lock-step with Moscow. Which is laughable to anybody who understands the Hungarian PM’s political methods. And which reeks of disinformation.

And who is used to “back up” these assertions? Only one Peter Kreko, “director of the Political Capital Institute, a Budapest think tank,” who is concerned Orban’s moves “help Russia hamper Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration.”

Now, isn’t that a weird sort of thing for a Hungarian analyst to be worrying about? Well, it wouldn’t be if the LA Times were transparent and disclosed Kreko’s funding. You see, here’s who bankrolls the “Political Capital Institute, a Budapest think tank.”

  • Institute of Modern Russia (plaything of disgraced former 90’s oligarch and Putin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky)
  • National Endowment For Democracy (a US neoconservative outlet dedicated to “regime change” and promoting a pro-US outlook in Eastern Europe, whose chair has dubbed Ukraine “the big prize”)
  • Open Society (George Soros, who needs no introduction)

And here are some of the “most important international and domestic professional partners” of the Political Capital Institute:

  • Atlantic Council (NATO’s propaganda wing)
  • European Values (a Soros-funded Prague lobby group which smeared hundreds of European public figures as useful idiots for appearing on RT. Including Jeremy Corbyn and Stephen Fry).
  • German Marshall Fund of the United States (proprietors of the infamous ‘Hamilton 68’ dashboard)

Thus, the agendas at play are pretty clear here. Yet, the LA Times keeps its readers ignorant of Kreko’s paymasters. Which is especially interesting when you see RT, almost always, referred to as “the Kremlin-funded Russia Today,” or some version thereof, when described in Western media. And this is fine, because it’s true, but when the same rules don’t apply across the board, the bias is obvious.

The second case comes courtesy of “the Rupert Murdoch controlled Times of London” (see what I did there?) This week, it alleged around 75,000 Russians in London alone are Kremlin informants. All based on an “investigation” by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a neoconservative pressure group which seems to have successfully mounted a reverse takeover of the once venerable paper. With its leader writer, for instance, being a founding signatory of the concern.

Anyway, HJS, apparently based on a mere 16 interviews, with unnamed sources, concluded that “between a quarter and a half of Russian expats were, or have been informants.” And the Times splashed it.

However, it “clarified,” with comment from an anonymous “dissident,”how, in reality, “it was about half.” So, only the 32,500 odd ‘agents’ in London then. Which, if true, would means the walls of the Russian Embassy would have to be made from elastic to house the amount of handlers required to keep tabs on their information sources.

Look, it’s hardly a secret that standards at the Times are low. After all, the main foreign affairs columnist, Edward Lucas, is literally funded by US weapons manufacturers.

No, this is not a joke. Lucas is employed as a lobbyist at CEPA, a Washington and Warsaw-based outfit, which promotes the arms manufacturer’s agenda in Central and Eastern Europe. Namely, the likes of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, FireEye, and Bell Helicopters.

Of course, The Times doesn’t make this conflict of interests clear to its readers. Another example of how the ‘think tank’ tail is wagging the mainstream media dog these days.

%d bloggers like this: