محاولة أميركية لاستفراد روسيا وتطويع أوروبا ومهادنة الصين

 

ديسمبر 7, 2018

د. وفيق إبراهيم

الدولة الأميركية العميقة لا تزال تعمل بإتقان على الرغم من هلوسات الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب الذي يعبّر عن حاجات بلاده بأسلوب رجال البورصة الذين لا يلمُّون بالأساليب الدبلوماسية ولا تثير اهتمامهم.

هذه الدولة تعرف من هم منافسو إمبراطوريتها وأين توجد مكامن الخلل فتعمل على معالجتها بالاساليب الترمبية.

يبدو أنها اكتشفت حاجة الامبراطورية الى آليات جديدة لمنافسة وتطويع القوى الأخرى، الامر الذي يتطلب وقتاً وهدنة مع منافسيها فقسمتهم الى ثلاث فئات:

أخطار استراتيجية عالمية تتجسّد في روسيا التي تعاود اجتياح الشرق الأوسط بالتدريج انطلاقاً من الميدان السوري وأهميتها كامنة في قوة عسكرية ضاربة لديها الأنواع التقليدية والنووية وأسلحة الفضاء بشكل يوازي معادلات القوة الأميركية ويزيدها في بعض الأحيان، ولديها أفقٌ مفتوح على أميركا الجنوبية وآسيا وبخلفية تحالف عميق مع الصين. للملاحظة فإن مساحة روسيا تزيد مرتين عن المساحة الأميركية وثلاث مرات ونصف المرة عن الصين. ويختزن باطنها اقل بقليل من نصف ثروات الأرض، لكنها لم تبدأ باستغلالها لخلل في العلاقات بين التقدم الصناعي البطيء ومخزون الثروات وذلك منذ الاتحاد السوفياتي.

لجهة أوروبا وخصوصاً ألمانيا وفرنسا فبلدانها سقطت في السلة الأميركية سياسياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً منذ انتصار الولايات المتحدة في الحرب العالمية الثانية في 1945. هذا لا يعني أنها أصبحت كالدول العربية، فلا تزال دولاً صناعية وعلمية وقوية عسكرياً ولديها مداها العالمي خلف أميركا والصين واليابان، ألمانيا مثلاً استطاعت في العقد الأخير التسلق الى المرتبة العالمية الثالثة اقتصادياً ولولا الاتفاق العسكري الذي قبلت بموجبه أن لا تتسلح منذ خسارتها الحرب العالمية الثانية في 1945 لصنعت أسلحة قد تتفوّق بها على روسيا وأميركا معاً. تكفي الاشارة الى أن هناك قواعد عسكرية أميركية ترابط فيها منذ هزيمتها في الحرب العالمية الثانية 1945.

وبذلك تمكن الأميركيون من استتباع أوروبا لنفوذهم بشكل كامل مؤسسين معها بنى عسكرية وسياسية مشتركة الحلف الاطلسي- على قاعدة العداء للاتحاد السوفياتي ولاحقاً لوريثته أوروبا الشرقية المتاخمة لموسكو.

لكن أوروبا اليوم تصطدم بمعوقات ترامبية أميركية تمنعها من الحصول على مواقع متقدمة، لكنها تعتبر أن من حقها وراثة الفراغات الناتجة عن التراجع الأميركي. لكن الصراخ الترامبي المتقاطع مع حركات تأديب تواصل ضبط أوروبا في الأسر الأميركي ولا تمنع حصول تلاسن بين ترامب ورئيس فرنسا ومستشارة المانيا بشكل حاد.

إن ترامب يعتبر أن على أوروبا دعم بلاده في وجه روسيا والصين من دون أي تأفف او تذمر لانه يحميها حسب مزاعمه، مضخماً ظاهرة الخوف من روسيا «البلد المرعب» متماثلاً بذلك مع اسلافه الذين كانوا يثيرون خوف القارة العجوز من الاتحاد السوفياتي ذي القدرات التسليحية الضخمة والعقيدة الشيوعية المناهضة لمفهوم «العالم الحر الغربي» وكانوا يثيرون ايضاً رعب العرب في الخليج والشرق الاوسط من «الإلحاد والكفر» من الشيوعية الروسية.

هناك اذاً صراع أميركي روسي مكشوف ومتصاعد الى جانب محاولات أميركية لتطويع أوروبا.

ماذا عن الصين: تمكنت بكين من اختراق الاسواق العالمية بسلع رخيصة منافسة واستفادت من إقرار نظام العولمة لاقتحام الاسواق الأميركية بطرح سلع أقبل عليها المستهلك الأميركي الشمالي والجنوبي من أبناء الطبقتين الوسطى والفقيرة فيما عجزت السلع الأميركية من اختراق أسواق الصين بسبب عجز طبقاتها عن التماهي مع أسعارها العالية قياساً لمرتباتهم الضعيفة.

إن راتب العامل الأميركي ذي الحد الأدنى للأجور يعادل عشرة اضعاف العامل الصيني وربما أكثر.

فحدث خلل هائل في العلاقات الصينية الأميركية لمصلحة بكين وهذا ما أزعج ترامب وامبراطوريته؟

اعتبر أن روسيا قوة عسكرية وليست اقتصادية، وهذا لن يؤدي مهما ساءت العلاقات معها الى اندلاع حروب بينهما لأنها مخيفة وقد تفجر الكرة الأرضية نفسها. لذلك رأت امبراطورية ترامب ضرورة إرباك روسيا في أوروبا الشرقية وشرقي سورية وإعادتها الى «حرب تسلح جديدة» قد تؤدي الى اجهاض مشاريعها التوسعية أي تماماً كما حدث للسلف السوفياتي الذي انخرط في حرب تسلّح في مرحلة الرئيس الأميركي السابق ريغان ادت الى سقوطه اقتصادياً وبالتالي سياسياً.

للإشارة فإن الاتحاد السوفياتي كان بمفرده يجابه الأميركيين والأوروبيين وأحلافهم في اليابان والخليج وأميركا الجنوبية. هذه القوى التي نظمها الأميركيون للاستفادة منها آنذاك في حروب الفضاء والتسلح.

هذا ما دفع البيت الابيض الى اتهام روسيا بالعودة الى إنتاج صواريخ نووية متوسطة المدى وقصيرة واختراق المعاهدة الموقعة بين البلدين بهذا الصدد منذ 1987.

إن المتضرر الاكبر من تدمير هذه المعاهدة هم الأوروبيون الذين هاجموا الأميركيين المصرّين على الانسحاب من المعاهدة، لأنهم يعرفون انهم الأكثر تضرراً من إلغائها، لأنهم اقرب الى الاراضي الروسية لكن واشنطن لا تأبه لصراخهم وكانت تريد من حركتها تفجير إشكالات روسية أوروبية تعاود فرض الطاعة على أوروبا لإمبراطوريتها الاقتصادية السياسية بأسلوب التخويف من روسيا.

ضمن هذا الإطار يلجأ الأميركيون الى كل الوسائل المتاحة لهم لضبط الطموح الأوروبي فيستعملون الموالاة فيها محرّضين في الوقت نفسه المعارضات مثيرين ذعرها من روسيا حيناً والصين حيناً آخر.

والهدف واضح وهو الإبقاء عليها في الحضن الأميركي.

ماذا عن الصين؟ لا تشكل خطراً عسكرياً بالنسبة إليهم، لكنها تجسد رعباً اقتصادياً. يقول المتخصّصون ان بكين قد تتجاوز الناتج الأميركي بعد أقل من عقد فقط وأهميتها انها لا تخلط سلعها بطموحات سياسية. لذلك تبدو الصين سلعة اقتصادية يختبئ خلفها صاحبها الذي يرسم ابتسامة دائمة لا تفارق مُحياه. وهذا ما يسمح للسلعة الصينية باختراق أفريقيا وآسيا والشرق الاوسط والاسواق الأميركية والأوروبية لأنها تُدغدغ إمكانات ذوي الدخل المتوسط والمنخفض.

هذا ما دفع امبراطورية ترامب الى البحث عن طرق جديدة لمهادنة الصين فوجدها في إطلاق تهديدات وحصار وعقوبات فمفاوضات على طريقة السماسرة وطلب منها بوضوح مسألتين عاجلة وآجلة: الأولى تتعلق بخفض الضرائب على البضائع الأميركية لتصحيح الميزان التجاري بين البلدين الخاسر أميركياً فوافقت بكين، لكنها لا تزال تتردّد في تلبية الطلبات الأميركية الحقيقية وهي ضرورة بناء الصين لمعامل السلع التي تبيعها في الأسواق الأميركية داخل أراضي الولايات المتحدة وذلك لتأمين وظائف لملايين الأميركيين العاطلين عن العمل فيها.

يبدو هذا العرض مغرياً لكن التدقيق فيه يكشف انه مجرد فخ… فبناء معامل صينية في أميركا يعني استعمال أدوات وعمال أميركيين تزيد من اسعارهم عن الأسعار الصينية الرخيصة بعشرات المرات، كما ان توظيف عمالة أميركية فيها يعني التسبب برفع اسعار السلع الصينية حتى توازي اسعار السلع الأميركية وربما أكثر فتسقط قيمتها التنافسية.

وهذا يعني أن الهدنة الصينية الأميركية هي خداع متبادل بين طرفين يعتمدان على شراء الوقت لاستيلاد ظروف أفضل لبناء علاقات متوازنة.

فهل تنجح سياسات إنقاذ الامبراطورية الأميركية؟

يبدو أن العالم يتجه بسرعة نحو عالم متعدد الاقطاب لن تتمكن «هلوسات» ترامب من إجهاضه لان الصين مستمرة في الهيمنة الاقتصادية على العالم، وروسيا تواصل توسيع دورها العالمي، أما أوروبا فإن عصر تحررها من الكابوس الأميركي لم يعد بعيداً فهل رأى أحدكم عربياً في هذه المعادلات؟

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صراعات المخابرات والرئاسة في واشنطن: نيكسون وترامب… والسعودية مجدداً

 

نوفمبر 27, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لا يحتاج تفسير التسريب الرسمي لتقرير وكالة المخابرات الأميركية لوسائل الإعلام وقبلها توزيعه على زعماء الكونغرس إلى كثير تحليل، فذلك يحدث بوجود شرطين متلازمين، وجود قضية تتصل بإعادة رسم الاستراتيجيات على مستوى عالٍ من الخطورة، وتمنع الرئيس عن الأخذ برأي المخابرات، لتبدأ مواجهة بينهما تستعمل فيها كل الأسلحة، بما فيها تصنيع ملفات للرئيس وسوقه للمحكمة أو لمواجهة خطر العزل في الكونغرس. وهذا ما حصل مع الرئيس الأميركي الأسبق ريتشارد نيكسون، وما يتهدّد اليوم الرئيس دونالد ترامب.

– لم يصدق أحد في العالم أن استقالة نيكسون استباقاً لمواجهة خطر العزل تمت على خلفية فضيحة ووتر غيت التي تتصل بتستر الرئيس على التنصت على خصومه واتهامه بإعاقة العمل القضائي. فالفضيحة ذاتها لم تكن لتقع لولا التقارير المخابراتية الموثقة، لاستعمالها في لحظة كهذه، يومها كان سجلّ نيكسون ووزير خارجيته هنري كيسنجر مليئاً بالإنجازات التي نظر إليها الكثير من صقور المؤسسات الأميركية كهزائم، وفي مقدمتها الانسحاب من فييتنام والتفاهم على الحد من الأسلحة الاستراتيجية مع الاتحاد السوفياتي وتطبيع العلاقات مع الصين، والإمساك بمفاصل الصراع في الشرق الأوسط بعد حرب تشرين عام 1973 بمشاريع للتسويات كان أهمها فك الاشتباك على جبهة الجولان عام 1974، وبعد اختبار مخاطر استخدام سلاح النفط مجدداً، وما يوصف بإنجازات نيكسون وكيسنجر في أميركا اليوم جاء بعد اختباره لخيارات المواجهة وزجّه بعشرات الآلاف من الجنود الأميركيين في فييتنام، واكتشافه بمشورة كيسنجر محدودية قدرة القوة على رسم السياسات، ووضع يده مع معاونه كيسينجر على ما يمكن أن يترتب على العنجهية الإسرائيلية في ضوء حرب تشرين وما أظهرته القدرات التي أظهرتها الجيوش العربية فيها، والذهاب إلى البحث عن تسوية تاريخية برأي واشنطن تستدعي الضغط على «إسرائيل» لمفهوم مختلف عن السلام.

– كانت المخابرات قد أتمّت بالتعاون مع «إسرائيل» الإعداد لزيارة الرئيس المصري أنور السادات إلى القدس، وأتمّت السيطرة على القرار السعودي السياسي والنفطي مع صعود مرحلة ولي العهد الجديد فهد بن عبد العزيز، وصارت إطاحة نيكسون وكيسنجر طريقا لمواجهة جديدة، ترجمت في أفغانستان وكامب ديفيد وتخطيط حرب الأخوان المسلمين وتفجير الحرب في لبنان بوجه سورية، تمهيداً لغزو «إسرائيل» الذي تم تباعاً في العام 1978 ثم في العام 1982. وكان محور اللعبة التي تديرها المخابرات ما عرف لاحقاً بالحقبة السعودية التي آن الأوان لها أن تبدأ، وما يبدو اليوم من مؤشرات مرافقة للصراع بين المخابرات والرئاسة يبدو معكوساً لجهة اليقين بأن الحقبة السعودية آن لها أن تنتهي، وأن الخط التراجعي في الحروب التي خاضتها واشنطن، وما ينتج عنه من تقدم في مكانة روسيا دوليا وتعزيز مكانة إيران إقليمياً، بات فوق قدرة الحليفين اللذين تبقيا لواشنطن في المنطقة، إسرائيل العاجزة والمردوعة والسعودية المتآكلة والتي تغرق في الفشل، وقد عجزت عن تحقيق تعهدها بضمان الشريك الفلسطيني في صفقة القرن.

– في الزمن المتبقي من ولاية الرئيس ترامب يبدو الصراع مفتوحاً، تحت عنوان رسم الاستراتيجية الجديدة، بعد سقوط صفقة القرن، وتعافي سورية وتعاظم مكانة روسيا وصمود إيران، ويبدو ترامب الباحث عن تسويات منتصف الطريق كوقف الحرب في اليمن ساعياً للتخفف من الأعباء وهو يدرك أنه وهو يقول بأن التمسك بالحكم السعودي شرط لخوض المواجهة مع إيران أن إيران هي الرابح الأول من وقف حرب اليمن، كما يدرك وهو يقول إن السعودية ضمان لعدم ترحيل «إسرائيل»، أن وقف حرب اليمن يزيد قوة محور المقاومة صاحب مشروع الترحيل، بينما تدرك المخابرات أن تعديل المكانة السعودية وتقاسم ما تمثله سياسياً واقتصادياً مع شركاء جدد منهم روسيا وتركيا وإيران، يستدعي تخريب مساعي ترامب لتسويات منتصف الطريق، فيتم التصعيد في أوكرانيا وسورية بإشارات مخابراتية متزامنة وواضحة.

– الأكيد أن الاعتراف بالحقائق التي بشر بها تقرير بايكر هاملتون قبل اثنتي عشرة سنة، يجمع في نهاية الطريق ترامب والمخابرات، لكنهما يفترقان حول من يدفع ثمن التسويات، فترامب يسعى لحماية السعودية من التحول إلى غنيمة العصر، وحماية القيادة الحاكمة في كيان الاحتلال والسعي الإسرائيلي للتصعيد، ويسعى للبحث عن تسويات منتصف الطريق في سورية والعراق ومع إيران وروسيا، بينما يبدو للمخابرات أن نهاية الزمن السعودي سيكون كافياً لروسيا وإيران وتركيا لصفقة قرن أخرى.

– في هذه المرحلة تطغى الفوضى السياسية والأمنية، ويعمّ ضياع الوكلاء والعملاء في معرفة أي التحالفات يقيمون وأي الخطابات يتبنّون، ويصير عدم الانشغال بتفاصيل الصراعات الجانبية بين حلفاء واشنطن، هو الأصل، شرط التفرغ لفرض الوقائع في الجغرافيا والوقائع السياسية الثابتة. فالمركب الذي يضم جماعة أميركا في المنطقة بلا ربان تائه، وهذه مناسبة لتثبيت الوقائع الجديدة التي كلفت من الدماء الكثير، أهم من تضييع الوقت بانتظار معرفة لمن ستكون الغلبة بين صفوف صناع القرار في واشنطن.

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The Meaning of a Multipolar World

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker BlogThe Meaning of a Multipolar World

Right now, we live in a monopolar world. Here is how U.S. President Barack Obama proudly, even imperially, described it when delivering the Commencement address to America’s future generals, at West Point Military Academy, on 28 May 2014:

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. [Every other nation is therefore ‘dispensable’; we therefore now have “Amerika, Amerika über alles, über alles in der Welt”.] That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. … Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us. [He was here telling these future U.S. military leaders that they are to fight for the U.S. aristocracy, to help them defeat any nation that resists.] … In Ukraine, Russia’s recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. But this isn’t the Cold War. Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away. [He was proud of the U.S. Government’s effectiveness at propaganda, just as Hitler was proud of the German Government’s propaganda-effectiveness under Joseph Goebbels.] Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies; the IMF is helping to stabilize Ukraine’s economy; OSCE monitors brought the eyes of the world to unstable parts of Ukraine.

Actually, his — Obama’s — regime, had conquered Ukraine in February 2014 by a very bloody coup, and installed a racist-fascist anti-Russian Government there next door to Russia, a stooge-regime to this day, which instituted a racial-cleansing campaign to eliminate enough pro-Russia voters so as to be able to hold onto power there. It has destroyed Ukraine and so alienated the regions of Ukraine that had voted more than 75% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama overthrew, so that those pro-Russia regions quit Ukraine. What remains of Ukraine after the U.S. conquest is a nazi mess and a destroyed nation in hock to Western taxpayers and banks.

Furthermore, Obama insisted upon (to use Bush’s term about Saddam Hussein) “regime-change” in Syria. Twice in one day the Secretary General of the U.N. asserted that only the Syrian people have any right to do that, no outside nation has any right to impose it. Obama ignored him and kept on trying. Obama actually protected Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate against bombing by Syria’s Government and by Syria’s ally Russia, while the U.S. bombed Syria’s army, which was trying to prevent those jihadists from overthrowing the Government. Obama bombed Libya in order to “regime-change” Muammar Gaddafi, and he bombed Syria in order to “regime-change” Bashar al-Assad; and, so, while the “U.S. Drops Bombs; EU Gets Refugees & Blame. This Is Insane.” And Obama’s successor Trump continues Obama’s policies in this regard. And, of course, the U.S. and its ally UK invaded Iraq in 2003, likewise on the basis of lies to the effect that Iraq was the aggressor. (Even Germany called Poland the aggressor when invading Poland in 1939.)

No other nation regularly invades other nations that never had invaded it. This is international aggression. It is the international crime of “War of Aggression”; and the only nations which do it nowadays are America and its allies, such as the Sauds, Israel, France, and UK, which often join in America’s aggressions (or, in the case of the Sauds’ invasion of Yemen, the ally initiates an invasion, which the U.S. then joins). America’s generals are taught this aggression, and not only by Obama. Ever since at least George W. Bush, it has been solid U.S. policy. (Bush even kicked out the U.N.’s weapons-inspectors, so as to bomb Iraq in 2003.)

In other words: a mono-polar world is a world in which one nation stands above international law, and that nation’s participation in an invasion immunizes also each of its allies who join in the invasion, protecting it too from prosecution, so that a mono-polar world is one in which the United Nations can’t even possibly impose international law impartially, but can impose it only against nations that aren’t allied with the mono-polar power, which in this case is the United States. Furthermore, because the U.S. regime reigns supreme over the entire world, as it does, any nations — such as Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Ecuador — that the U.S. regime (which has itself been scientifically proven to be a dictatorship) chooses to treat as an enemy, is especially disadvantaged internationally. Russia and China, however, are among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and therefore possess a degree of international protection that America’s other chosen enemies do not. And the people who choose which nations to identify as America’s ‘enemies’ are America’s super-rich and not the entire American population, because the U.S. Government is controlled by the super-rich and not by the public.

So, that’s the existing mono-polar world: it is a world that’s controlled by one nation, and this one nation is, in turn, controlled by its aristocracy, its super-rich.

If one of the five permanent members of the Security Council would table at the U.N. a proposal to eliminate the immunity that the U.S. regime has, from investigation and prosecution for any future War of Aggression that it might perpetrate, then, of course, the U.S. and any of its allies on the Security Council would veto that, but if the proposing nation would then constantly call to the international public’s attention that the U.S. and its allies had blocked passage of such a crucially needed “procedure to amend the UN charter”, and that this fact means that the U.S. and its allies constitute fascist regimes as was understood and applied against Germany’s fascist regime, at the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945, then possibly some members of the U.S.-led gang (the NATO portion of it, at least) would quit that gang, and the U.S. global dictatorship might end, so that there would then become a multi-polar world, in which democracy could actually thrive.

Democracy can only shrivel in a mono-polar world, because all other nations then are simply vassal nations, which accept Obama’s often-repeated dictum that all other nations are “dispensable” and that only the U.S. is not. Even the UK would actually gain in freedom, and in democracy, by breaking away from the U.S., because it would no longer be under the U.S. thumb — the thumb of the global aggressor-nation.

Only one global poll has ever been taken of the question “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?” and it found that, overwhelmingly, by a three-to-one ratio above the second-most-often named country, the United States was identified as being precisely that, the top threat to world-peace. But then, a few years later, another (though less-comprehensive) poll was taken on a similar question, and it produced similar results. Apparently, despite the effectiveness of America’s propagandists, people in other lands recognize quite well that today’s America is a more successful and longer-reigning version of Hitler’s Germany. Although modern America’s propaganda-operation is far more sophisticated than Nazi Germany’s was, it’s not entirely successful. America’s invasions are now too common, all based on lies, just like Hitler’s were.

On November 9th, Russian Television headlined “‘Very insulting’: Trump bashes Macron’s idea of European army for protection from Russia, China & US” and reported that “US President Donald Trump has unloaded on his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, calling the French president’s idea of a ‘real European army,’ independent from Washington, an insult.” On the one hand, Trump constantly criticizes France and other European nations for allegedly not paying enough for America’s NATO military alliance, but he now is denigrating France for proposing to other NATO members a decreasing reliance upon NATO, and increasing reliance, instead, upon the Permanent Structured Cooperation (or PESCO) European military alliance, which was begun on 11 December 2017, and which currently has “25 EU Member States participating: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.” Those are the European nations that are now on the path to eventually quitting NATO.

Once NATO is ended, the U.S. regime will find far more difficult any invasions such as of Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2012-, Yemen 2016-, and maybe even such as America’s bloody coup that overthrew the democratically elected Government of Ukraine and installed a racist-fascist or nazi anti-Russian regime there in 2014. All of these U.S. invasions (and coup) brought to Europe millions of refugees and enormously increased burdens upon European taxpayers. Plus, America’s economic sanctions against both Russia and Iran have hurt European companies (and the U.S. does almost no business with either country, so is immune to that, also). Consequently, today’s America is clearly Europe’s actual main enemy. The continuation of NATO is actually toxic to the peoples of Europe. Communism and the Soviet Union and its NATO-mirroring Warsaw Pact military alliance, all ended peacefully in 1991, but the U.S. regime has secretly continued the Cold War, now against Russia, and is increasingly focusing its “regime-change” propaganda against Russia’s popular democratic leader, Vladimir Putin, even though this U.S. aggression against Russia could mean a world-annihilating nuclear war.

On November 11th, RT bannered “‘Good for multipolar world’: Putin positive on Macron’s ‘European army’ plan bashed by Trump (VIDEO)”, and opened:

Europe’s desire to create its own army and stop relying on Washington for defense is not only understandable, but would be “positive” for the multipolar world, Vladimir Putin said days after Donald Trump ripped into it.

Europe is … a powerful economic union and it is only natural that they want to be independent and … sovereign in the field of defense and security,” Putin told RT in Paris where world leader gathered to mark the centenary of the end of WWI.

He also described the potential creation of a European army “a positive process,” adding that it would “strengthen the multipolar world.” The Russian leader even expressed his support to French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently championed this idea by saying that Russia’s stance on the issue “is aligned with that of France” to some extent.

Macron recently revived the ambitious plans of creating a combined EU military force by saying that it is essential for the security of Europe. He also said that the EU must become independent from its key ally on the other side of the Atlantic, provoking an angry reaction from Washington.

Once NATO has shrunk to include only the pro-aggression and outright nazi European nations, such as Ukraine(after the U.S. gang accepts Ukraine into NATO, as it almost certainly then would do), the EU will have a degree of freedom and of democracy that it can only dream of today, and there will then be a multi-polar world, in which the leaders of the U.S. will no longer enjoy the type of immunity from investigation and possible prosecution, for their invasions, that they do today. The result of this will, however, be catastrophic for the top 100 U.S. ‘defense’ contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon, because then all of those firms’ foreign sales except to the Sauds, Israel and a few other feudal and fascist regimes, will greatly decline. Donald Trump is doing everything he can to keep the Sauds to the agreements he reached with them back in 2017 to buy $404 billion of U.S. weaonry over the following 10 years.  If, in addition, those firms lose some of their European sales, then the U.S. economic boom thus far in Trump’s Presidency will be seriously endangered. So, the U.S. regime, which is run by the owners of its ‘defense’-contractors, will do all it can to prevent this from happening.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

Written in History: The Death of America’s Hyper-Power Fantasy

Written in History: The Death of America’s Hyper-Power Fantasy

07.11.2018

Written in History: The Death of America’s Hyper-Power Fantasy

In 1987, Paul Kennedy, a British professor of history at Yale University, unleashed a political and intellectual firestorm with the publication of his great (677-page) book, “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.” Kennedy produced a magisterial overview of the competition for global power over the past 500 years from 1500 AD to the present.

Kennedy proposed the thesis that any power that achieved, imagined it had achieved or sought to achieve and maintain a dominant hyper-power role of global dominance was doomed to lose it and then rapidly decline in overall power, wealth, prosperity and influence.

Kennedy argued – with a wealth of detail drawn from different nations over his vast period of half a millennium – that the very attempt to achieve and maintain such power forced every nation that attempted it into a ruinous pattern of strategic overstretch.

This demanded every major global empire in their turn to devote ruinously far too many economic resources to unproductive military power and ever more costly global commitments and conflicts.

The more ambitious the commitments, the quicker came military defeat, economic ruin and national collapse, Kennedy documented.

Kennedy published his book however at exactly the wrong moment for its abundantly documented conclusions and arguments to be taken seriously in the United States. The Cold War was just ending. The heroic actions of the Russian people in rejecting communism and leading in the dismantling of the Soviet Union were being misinterpreted as an eternal and lasting victory for the United States and for the forces of free market capitalism and minimum government regulation.

Kennedy was therefore subjected to a furious firestorm of abuse, especially from the emerging neoconservatives who under President George W Bush succeeded in imposing their reckless policies on nations across the Middle East and Eurasia. Kennedy, unlike his enraged critics was a gracious and tolerant gentleman as well as great scholar and took the firestorm in his stride.

Now more than 30 years after Kennedy published his great work, we can see how prescient, wise and visionary it truly was.

In 2016 President Donald Trump was elected on a platform of dealing with domestic crises raging from economic ruin and impoverishment to an out of control drug and opioid abuse epidemic and the collapse of law and order across the long US land border with Mexico.

That outcome provided telling testimony to the previous US policies of wasting at least $2 trillion on entirely unsuccessful nation-building and government-toppling projects ranging from Iraq to Afghanistan and since extended into such nations as Ukraine, Syria, and Libya

All the national pathologies of bankruptcy, exhaustion, decline and ever spreading human misery that Kennedy in his book traced in previous empires can now be clearly delineated in the policies of the post-Cold War United States.

The bottom line lesson to be drawn from Kennedy’s great book that so outraged neoconservatives at the time was a simple and stunning clear one: Unipolar Moments are just that and nothing more. They last for moments not ages.

Instead, the very attempt to maintain a unipolar moment of apparent global supremacy by any power automatically instead will raise up a host of challenges to that power that will rapidly exhaust and then doom it.

Kennedy traced this process of inexorable over – commitment and decline in 17th century Habsburg Spain. He followed it again in 18th century Bourbon France. He documented it once more in the rise, pride and inevitable fall of the British Empire and in the rash German attempts to create dominant global empires in both world wars of the 20th century.

A generation before Kennedy published his great work, British historian Correlli Barnett, focusing only on the British Empire, published in 1972 his own classic “The Collapse of British Power.” Barnett focused on a one, single unipolar moment – the 1920s and 1930s when the British ruling class, like their American successors today imagined that they were the divinely-appointed global policeman charged by Providence with maintaining their own conceptions of right and wrong over the whole world.

The British at least were reluctantly forced to cede independence to their vast global territories. It is doubtful whether the American people will be so lucky: The US Deep State establishment and their tame, unthinking media puppets remain blindly committed to inflexible expansion, conflict and strategic gambling with the peace and even survival of the world.

Thirty years after his magnum opus was published, Paul Kennedy’s message of warning remains unheeded. America’s Unipolar Moment is long since dead and gone. America’s pretensions to rule supreme as the world’s unchallenged hyper-power have become a dangerous and unsustainable fantasy.

A wakening to sanity is long overdue and the hour is late: National catastrophe can be the only other outcome.

Imran Khan Sucks Poisonous Ideology Out of Pakistan’s Diplomatic Relations

By Adam Garrie
Source

Any country that forms its diplomatic relations on the basis of ideology rather than pragmatism is necessarily signing up for conflicts which are as unnecessary as they are detrimental. Just as so-called interlocking alliances in Europe led to a regionalised Balkan conflict growing into a monstrous First World War, so too did the ideological divides of the Cold War lead to multiple global conflicts that could have otherwise been avoided. From the time of Pakistan’s birth to the US led invasion of Afghanistan, multiple Pakistani leaders have felt an inexplicable need to form alliances on the basis of someone else’s ideology. As a result, Pakistan was cut off from opportunities in the wider world while Pakistan’s own partners had not sufficiently respected Pakistan as a sovereign nation with monumental potential as an economic and diplomatic powerhouse in Asia.

During this year’s general election in Pakistan, Imran Khan’s PTI party campaigned on a manifesto of pragmatic non-alignment whereby Islamabad would remain neutral in the conflicts of others while simultaneously working with all nations in order to secure win-win outcomes for the Pakistani people. Already, Imran’s policy shift from ideological subservience to intelligent openness has literally paid dividends. At a time when western Eurasian and European nations questioned their relationship with Saudi Arabia over the controversial murder of a journalist, Imran not only remained neutral but he turned the tables on a long standing relationship in order to replace lopsidedness with equality and the win-win mentality.

It was Imran’s tactful diplomacy that secured from Riyadh a much needed one year $3 billion loan in addition to a further $3 billion in the form of deferred payments of oil purchases. It was also under Imran’s watch that Saudi Arabia decided to integrate itself in the Belt and Road initiative in the form of a deal to invest $10 billion for the building of a new oil refinery in Pakistan’s Gwadar port city.

But this did not happen in isolation. Days prior to Imran’s trip to Riyadh (the second since becoming Prime Minister), he held a positive meeting with Qatari officials. Likewise, not long after Imran’s second trip to Riyadh, Pakistan’s President was dispatched to Turkey where he spoke positively about expanding the scope and breadth of relations between two nations that have long standing fraternal relations. When one considers that Saudi Arabia is currently in the midst of a manifold diplomatic row with both Turkey and Qatar, Imran’s achievement was to make the most of warm relations with all – without taking a side in affairs remote from Pakistan’s national interest. Likewise, Pakistan’s offer to mediate in the three year long war in Yemen has been met with good will from all quarters, thus demonstrating that Pakistan’s international prestige has already increased as a result of Naya Pakistan (new Pakistan) replacing a beleaguered Pakistan.

While Pakistan’s relations with neighbouring Iran have long been strained, Imran has already met twice with Tehran’s influential Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. While the proximate cause of Zarif’s recent visit to Islamabad was to discuss the most unfortunate and mysterious kidnapping of Iranian border guards who were brought into Pakistani territory, the meetings also covered a wide range of issues in-line with the gradual rapprochement between Pakistan and Iran. Coming to Pakistan in a spirit of good will, Iran’s Foreign Minister stated,

“Iran and Pakistan are two very good neighbours, and Tehran enjoys good relations with Islamabad. We consult with them on all matters”.

Later Pakistan’s Foreign Minister released the following statement:

“While expressing satisfaction over cooperation with regard to the Pakistan-Iran border, it was agreed to continue close consultations through the established multipronged mechanism between the two countries. Foreign Minister Qureshi underlined that the Pakistan-Iran border was a border of peace and Pakistan will spare no effort to keep it this way”.

Pakistan looks therefore to continue improving relations with Iran while simultaneously enjoying a more equal and more importantly a more meaningful relationship with long standing allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Any notion that Pakistan must choose to align itself with one set of rivals over another is not only counter intuitive in a multipolar world but it runs contrary to Pakistan’s own national interests.

While the poison of a zero-sum mentality to foreign affairs is being sucked out of the Pakistani body politic by the new government, just over the border in India, Pakistanis can see how the government of Narendra Modi is scrambling to re-align itself after a policy of almost subservient devotion to the United States backfired on several fronts.

First the US refused to exempt India from its tariffs which came as a shock to some policy makers in New Delhi. Then India was excoriated by elements of the US establishment for purchasing the S-400 missile system from Russia and finally, in a symbolic blow to India’s prestige among its newfound American partner, Donald Trump refused an invitation to the country’s Republic Day parade. In this sense, India has learned the hard way that if one doesn’t have good relations with as many nations as possible, one stands to be exposed and humiliated by a hegemon disguised as a co-equal partner.

India’s disappointment in the US (however temporary it may prove to be) will be a familiar tale to Pakistanis who have witnessed decades of humiliation due to Islamabad’s track record of locking itself into lopsided alliances formed on the basis of foreign ideologies. By contrast, US President Richard Nixon once said that Indira Gandhi, “suckered us”, referring to the fact she was willing to engage in dialogue with the US without evading strong relations with India’s then Soviet ally.

Today, Imran Khan is neither suckering anyone nor is he insulting Pakistan’s dignity by locking the country into the rusty cage of ideological alliances and partnerships. Indeed, even by approaching the IMF at a time when it would clearly be more beneficial for Pakistan to rely on loans from friendly countries, Imran has been able to use this reality to leverage both the cash rich Saudi Kingdom and Pakistan’s all-weather Chinese partner in order to secure the best deal possible for Pakistan.

As Imran is hours away from departing for China where he will hold the most important meeting of his career with President Xi Jinping, he can go in the confidence that Naya Pakistan is win-win Pakistan. The ghosts of the past are being exorcised in more ways than one and Imran is prepared to make the best of any potential situation through his steadfast and open approach to diplomacy which has already helped to ease the economic tensions he inherited from his predecessors.

Who profits from the end of the mid-range nuclear treaty?

October 26, 2018

Who profits from the end of the mid-range nuclear treaty?

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

The US move to shelve the Intermediate-range Nuclear-Forces treaty could accelerate the demise of the whole post-WWII Western alliance, and herald a bad remix of the 1930s

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved its Doomsday Clock to only 2 minutes to midnight. It might be tempting to turn this into a mere squabble about arrows and olives if this wasn’t such a terrifying scenario.

US president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, secretary-general of the USSR, signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 1987.

The Arms Control Association was extremely pleased. “The treaty marked the first time the superpowers had agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals, eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons, and utilize extensive on-site inspections for verification.”

Three decades later, the Trump administration wants to unilaterally pull out of the INF Treaty.

Earlier this week President Trump sent his national security adviser John Bolton to officially break the news to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

As they were discussing extremely serious issues such as implications of a dissolving INF Treaty, the perpetuation of anti-Russia sanctions, the risk of not extending a new START Treaty and the deployment, in Putin’s words, of “some elements of the missile shield in outer space”, the Russian President got into, well, arrows and olives:

“As I recall, there is a bald eagle pictured on the US coat of arms: it holds 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other as a symbol of peaceful policy: a branch with 13 olives. My question: has your eagle already eaten all the olives leaving only the arrows?”

Bolton’s response: “I didn’t bring any olives.”

A ‘new strategic reality’?

By now it’s clear the Trump administration’s rationale for pulling out of the INF Treaty is due, in Bolton’s words, to “a new strategic reality”. The INF is being dismissed as a “bilateral treaty in a multipolar ballistic missile world”, which does not take into consideration the missile capabilities of China, Iran and North Korea.

But there is a slight problem. The INF Treaty limits missiles with a range from 500 km to 5,000 km. China, Iran and North Korea simply cannot pose a “threat” to the United States by deploying such missiles. The INF is all about the European theater of war.

So, it’s no wonder the reaction in Brussels and major European capitals has been of barely disguised horror.

EU diplomats have told Asia Times the US decision was a “shock”, and “the last straw for the EU as it jeopardizes our very existence, subjecting us to nuclear destruction by short-range missiles”, which would never be able to reach the US heartland.

The “China” reason – that Russia is selling Beijing advanced missile technology – simply does not cut it in Europe, as the absolute priority is European security. EU diplomats are establishing a parallel to the possibility – which was more than real last year – that Washington could nuclear-bomb North Korea unilaterally. South Korea and Japan, in that case, would be nuclear “collateral damage”. The same might happen to Europe in the event of a US-Russia nuclear shoot-out.

It goes without saying that shelving the INF could even accelerate the demise of the whole post-WWII Western alliance, heralding a remix of the 1930s with a vengeance.

And the clock keeps ticking

Reports that should be critically examined in detail assert that US superiority over China’s military power is rapidly shrinking. Yet China is not much of a military technology powerhouse compared to Russia and its state of the art hypersonic missiles.

NATO may be relatively strong on the missile front – but it still wouldn’t be able to compete with Russia in a potential battle in Europe.

The supreme danger, in Doomsday Clock terms, is the obsession by certain US neocon factions that Washington could prevail in a “limited”, localized, tactical nuclear war against Russia.

That’s the whole rationale behind extending US first-strike capability as close as possible to the Russian western borderlands.

Russian analysts stress that Moscow is already – “unofficially” – perfecting what would be their own first-strike capability in these borderlands. The mere hint of NATO attempting to start a countdown in Poland, the Baltics or the Black Sea may be enough to encourage Russia to strike.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov starkly refuted Trump and Bolton’s claims that Russia was violating the INF Treaty: “As far as we understood, the US side has made a decision, and it will launch formal procedures for withdrawing from this treaty in the near future.”

As for Russia’s resolve, everything one needs to know is part of Putin’s detailed intervention at the Valdai Economic Forum. Essentially, Putin did not offer any breaking news – but a stark reminder that Moscow will strike back at any provocation configured as a threat to the future of Russia.

Russians, in this case, would “die like martyrs” and the response to an attack would be so swift and brutal that the attackers would “die like dogs”.

The harsh language may not be exactly diplomatic. What it does is reflect plenty of exasperation towards the US conservatives who peddle the absurd notion of a “limited” nuclear war.

The harsh language also reflects a certainty that whatever the degree of escalation envisaged by the Trump administration and the Pentagon, that won’t be enough to neutralize Russian hypersonic missiles.

So, it’s no wonder that EU diplomats, trying to ease their discomfort, recognize that this, in the end, is all about the Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine and the necessity of keeping the massive US military-industrial-surveillance complex running.

Even as the clock keeps ticking closer to midnight.

American War Declaration

American War Declaration

PATRICK ARMSTRONG | 22.10.2018

American War Declaration

Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the US State Department, gave a remarkable presentation to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 21 August 2018. Titled “US Strategy Towards the Russian Federation” it ostensibly lays out the US reaction to Russia’s continuing aggression, hostility, interference and so forth. It is written in the tone of a sadder but wiser householder who, formerly expecting better from his neighbour, now realises that there will be no better: the neighbour, alas, is not capable of decent behaviour. While remaining ever hopeful that reason will prevail, the peaceful neighbour must gird himself for an unpleasant struggle – Washington must respond to Moscow’s disruption. How sad.

But in all of these areas, it is up to Russia, not America, to take the next step. Our policy remains unchanged: steady cost-imposition until Russia changes course.

But, in an interesting slip of the tongue, he gave away the real policy. I say “slip of the tongue” because the State Department version of his speech leaves out the two sentences that tell you that most of Mitchell’s testimony is sleight of hand to distract the audience.

Senate testimony version

The starting point of the National Security Strategy is the recognition that America has entered a period of big-power competition, and that past US policies have neither sufficiently grasped the scope of this emerging trend nor adequately equipped our nation to succeed in it. Contrary to the hopeful assumptions of previous administrations, Russia and China are serious competitors that are building up the material and ideological wherewithal to contest US primacy and leadership in the 21st Century. It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers. The central aim of the administration’s foreign policy is to prepare our nation to confront this challenge by systematically strengthening the military, economic and political fundaments of American power.

The State Department version leaves out the two emphasised sentences.

So, Mitchell – who ought to know – is telling us that a “foremost [but there can be only one foremost] national security interest” of the USA is to

prevent the
domination of
the Eurasian landmass by
Russia and China

In 1904 Halford Mackinder wrote a paper in which he divided the world into “the World-Island” (Europe, Asia and Africa); the “Offshore islands” (British Isles, Japan and others), and “the Outlying Islands” (the Americas and Australia) and discussed the geopolitical implications. In 1919 he summed his theory up as:

Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;

who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;

who rules the World-Island commands the world.

In Mitchell’s presentation, the principal “Outlying Island” and its allies in the “Offshore Islands” must prevent Russia and China from controlling the “Heartland”. Echoed by George Friedman’s remarks that the essence of US policy for a century or more was to prevent Germany and Russia from uniting.

Now Americans have always been a bit uncomfortable about their imperium. Going so far sometimes as to deny that there is any such thing. Perhaps a hegemony but only an empire if President Bush makes the wrong decisions (which I suppose the author would say he did). Niall Ferguson says it’s an “empire in denial“. Friedman seems prepared to use the word. A “tempered American imperialism” maybe. Not an empire; yes it is but it’s a good empire. And so on: there’s as much or as little debate as you want but the central reality is that Americans are not comfortable with the idea of being an imperial power. Not so the Romans: they gloried in it; Rome had the power and it used it. Cato the Elder was delighted with the death and enslavement of the Carthaginians. Caesar claimed to have killed a million Gauls and enslaved a million more and there’s nothing to suggest he lost a moment’s sleep over it. Vae victis.

What Mitchell would be saying, if he were a Roman, is that we intend to remain the world’s predominant power and if Russia is an obstacle, we will crush it. That’s the way of the world and that’s what we’ll do. And China and Iran and anyone else. But he’s an American so he must pretend that the USA is the peaceful householder and Russia is the troublesome neighbour; he must tell the Senate committee, and it so expects, that Moscow has broken the peace and deserves punishment.

The specific charges he makes against Russia are nonsense.

In Ukraine, we have maintained an effort under Ambassador Kurt Volker to provide the means by which Russia can live up to its commitments under the Minsk Agreements.

The word “Russia” doesn’t even appear in the Minsk Agreements; there are no “commitments”.

unprecedentedly brazen influence operations orchestrated by the Kremlin on the soil of our allies and even here at home in the United States

few Facebook ads, most of which appeared after the election and only “Russian” by assertion. Even at the most generous interpretation of “Russian-influenced”, it’s a negligible number of possibles. And, as I have argued elsewhere, had Moscow wanted to influence the election it would have used the Uranium One case to either blackmail or smear Clinton.

Putin wants to break apart the American Republic, not by influencing an election or two, but by systematically inflaming the perceived fault-lines that exist within our society. His is a strategy of chaos for strategic effect.

I suppose that the “factual basis” for that is that some American who wants to break California into two parts lives part time in Moscow and a Russian professor thought that the USA would break up into a number of pieces. So what? there are lots of opinions around, who cares what some academic says or thinks? Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was a lot closer to power than these Russians, thought that a “loosely confederated Russia” of three parts would be a good idea. And Stratfor’s Friedman thinks Russia will break up soon. But when a senior US official says that “Putin wants to break apart the American Republic”, that’s existential; that’s a pretty serious charge. Is it a nuclear war kind of charge?

the Putinist system’s permanent and self-justifying struggle for international dominance.

(But didn’t Mitchell say something about preventing the “domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers”? Wouldn’t his Russian equivalent be able to point to his speech and talk about how Russia must resist Washington’s “permanent and self-justifying struggle for international dominance”?). It’s not Moscow that has 800 or so military bases around the world; Moscow isn’t expanding its military alliance to the US border. Projection.

There’s lots of projection in Washington’s and its minions’ assertions about Russia. As far as official Washington is concerned, Moscow’s resistance to the Imperium can only mean that it wants to crush the US, break it up, incite civil war and impose its imperium on the world. (Romans would agree: either Rome eats, or Rome is eaten.) If you look in a mirror you see yourself. Projection again.

Doing so involves an evolved toolkit of subversive statecraft first employed by the Bolshevik and later the Soviet state, which has been upgraded for the digital age. While these tools and technologies differ depending on the context, the key to their success is that the Kremlin employs them within a common strategic and operational framework aimed at leveraging all available means to achieve a decisive strategic effect.

Bolsheviks, Putinists whatever: Russia, the Once and Future Enemy. I think my favourite part – what adjective? – deluded? crazy? insane? McCartheyesque? is this bit:

we formed a new position – the Senior Advisor for Russian Malign Activities and Trends (or, SARMAT) – to develop cross-regional strategies across offices.

SARMAT – a Russian ICBM named after the Sarmatians, who may have been the origin of the Arthurian legends. Is this a joke? But who can tell these days? But one can be certain that the office will grow and grow as it busily finds evidence of Russian involvement everywhere: Star Warsorganic foodgunsMuellervaxx; whatever brings in the salaries and promotions. (But a rather unimaginative name though: why not SPecial Executive for Countering Terrorist Russian Excesses? Or Special Ministry for Engaging Russian Sabotage and Horrors?)

Pretty crazy stuff indeed – frighteningly so – but, thanks to Mitchell giving away the secret, we don’t have to waste our time debating Russia and Ukraine or how cute puppies “sow discord and chaos“. They’re only shoved in because Americans have to be the white hats – “Moscow is attacking us!” – when a Cato would bluntly say: “Moscow must be destroyed!” But it’s the same thing: it’s a Mackinder war. So far with sanctions (the economic fundament) and propaganda accusations (the political fundament). The military fundament fortunately remains offstage.

* * *

But Mitchell is late to the party. Moscow and Beijing know they’re on the hitlist and their alliance grows and strengthens. Iran, a significant player on the “World-Island” knows it’s on the hitlist too. India is playing both sides. The endless American wars in the MENA do not strengthen Washington’s control of the “Eurasian landmass”. CAATSA will alienate everyone else. Even Zbigniew Brzezinski came to understand “[the US was] no longer the globally imperial power“.

I would argue that the American dominance of the Twentieth Century was principally due to four factors. A tremendous manufacturing capacity; great inventive ingenuity allied to the ability to exploit new inventions; a stable political system; the emotive reality of “the American Dream”. How much remains? A recent government report summarises the outsourcing of manufacturing. Is the inventive capacity more than just social media, pop music or a different iPhone button? Political stability wobbles. And as to the American Dream: will your children be better off than you are? One should not forget that Trump was elected on the slogan “Make America Great Again”.

Perhaps the Mackinder War has already been won by the “Heartland” powers.

* * *

Statement of A. Wess Mitchell

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs

Senate Foreign Relations Committee

US Strategy Towards the Russian Federation

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Menendez, thank you for inviting me to testify today. I will use my prepared comments to outline in brief form the overarching strategy of the United States towards the Russian Federation. The foundation for this strategy is provided by three documents, as directed and approved by the President: the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy and the Russia Integrated Strategy.

The starting point of the National Security Strategy is the recognition that America has entered a period of big-power competition, and that past US policies have neither sufficiently grasped the scope of this emerging trend nor adequately equipped our nation to succeed in it. Contrary to the hopeful assumptions of previous administrations, Russia and China are serious competitors that are building up the material and ideological wherewithal to contest US primacy and leadership in the 21st Century. It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers. The central aim of the administration’s foreign policy is to prepare our nation to confront this challenge by systematically strengthening the military, economic and political fundaments of American power.

Our Russia policy proceeds from the recognition that, to be effective, US diplomacy toward Russia must be backed by “military power that is second to none and fully integrated with our allies and all of our instruments of power.” To this end, the administration has reversed years of cuts to the US defense budget, begun the process of recapitalizing the US nuclear arsenal, requested close to $11 billion to support the European Deterrence Initiative, and, in the past year and a half, worked with NATO Allies to bring about the largest European defense spending increase since the Cold War – a total of more than $40 billion to date. In addition to commitments from over half of the Alliance to meet NATO’s two-percent defense spending requirement by 2024, the United States achieved virtually all of our policy objectives at the NATO Summit, including the establishment of two new NATO Commands (including one here in the United States), the establishment of new counter-hybrid threat response teams, and major, multi-year initiatives to bolster the mobility, readiness, and capability of the Alliance.

In tandem, we have worked to degrade Russia’s ability to conduct aggression by imposing costs on the Russian state and the oligarchy that sustains it. Building on Secretary Pompeo’s recent testimony, I am submitting for the record a detailed list of actions this administration has taken. These include, to date: 217 individuals and entities sanctioned, 6 diplomatic and consular facilities closed or kept closed, and 60 spies removed from US soil. The State Department has played the lead role in ensuring that these efforts are closely and effectively coordinated with European allies through synchronized expulsions and the continued roll-over of sanctions related to Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine.

Our actions are having an impact. Research by the State Department’s Office of the Chief Economist shows that on average sanctioned Russian firms see their operating revenue fall by a quarter; their total asset valuation fall by half; and are forced to fire a third of their employees. We believe our sanctions, cumulatively, have cost the Russian government tens of billions of dollars on top of the broader impact on state-owned sectors and the chilling effect of US sanctions on the Russian economy. Following the announcement of sanctions in April, the Russian company Rusal lost about fifty percent of its market value. In the five days following our August 8 announcement of Chemical and Biological Weapons Act sanctions, the ruble depreciated to its lowest level against the dollar in two years.

Even as we have imposed unprecedented penalties for Russian aggression, we have been clear that the door to dialogue is open, should Putin choose to take credible steps toward a constructive path. In Syria, we created de-escalation channels to avoid collisions between our forces. In Ukraine, we have maintained an effort under Ambassador Kurt Volker to provide the means by which Russia can live up to its commitments under the Minsk Agreements. But in all of these areas, it is up to Russia, not America, to take the next step. Our policy remains unchanged: steady cost-imposition until Russia changes course.

As with the overall strategy, the premise of these efforts has been that our diplomacy is most effective when backed by positions of strength. We have placed particular emphasis on bolstering the states of frontline Europe that are most susceptible to Russian geopolitical pressure. In Ukraine and Georgia, we lifted the previous administration’s restrictions on the acquisition of defensive weapons for resisting Russian territorial aggression. In the Balkans, American diplomacy has played a lead role in resolving the Greece-Macedonia name dispute and is engaging with Serbia and Kosovo to propel the EU-led dialogue. In the Caucasus, Black Sea region, and Central Europe we are working to close the vacuums that invite Russian penetration by promoting energy diversification, fighting corruption, and competing for hearts and minds in the lead-up to the 30th anniversary of the end of Communism.

Our strategy is animated by the realization that the threat from Russia has evolved beyond being simply an external or military one; it includes unprecedentedly brazen influence operations orchestrated by the Kremlin on the soil of our allies and even here at home in the United States. These activities are, as FBI Director Wray recently stated, “wide and deep,” being both extensively resourced and directed from the highest levels of the Russian state. We work closely with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and, and the National Security Council to ensure that all relevant resources are being brought to bear to thwart and punish any Russian influence campaigns in the run-up to the elections.

It’s important to state clearly what these campaigns are and are not about.

What they’re not about is any particular attachment to specific US domestic political causes. They are not about right or left or American political philosophy. The threat from Russian influence operations existed long before our 2016 presidential election and will continue long after this election cycle, or the next, or the next. As the recent Facebook purges reveal, the Russian state has promoted fringe voices on the political left, not just the right, including groups who advocate violence, the storming of federal buildings and the overthrow of the US government. Russia foments and funds controversial causes – and then foments and funds the causes opposed to those causes. Putin’s thesis is that the American Constitution is an experiment that will fail if challenged in the right way from within. Putin wants to break apart the American Republic, not by influencing an election or two, but by systematically inflaming the perceived fault-lines that exist within our society. His is a strategy of chaos for strategic effect. Accepting this fact is absolutely essential for developing a long-term comprehensive response to the problem. The most dangerous thing we could do is to politicize the challenge, which in itself would be a gift to Putin.

What Russian efforts are about is geopolitics: the Putinist system’s permanent and self-justifying struggle for international dominance. As stated by a handbook of the Russian Armed Forces, the goal is “to carry out mass psychological campaigns against the population of a state in order to destabilize society and the government; as well as forcing a state to make decisions in the interests of their opponents.” Doing so involves an evolved toolkit of subversive statecraft first employed by the Bolshevik and later the Soviet state, which has been upgraded for the digital age. While these tools and technologies differ depending on the context, the key to their success is that the Kremlin employs them within a common strategic and operational framework aimed at leveraging all available means to achieve a decisive strategic effect.

The State Department takes this threat very seriously. From my first day on the job, I have established for our team that countering this threat, in both its overt and covert forms, will be among the highest priorities for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. As a co-chair of the Russia Influence Group, I work with General Scapparotti to bring the combined resources of EUR and EUCOM to bear against this problem. Under EUR’s leadership, all 50 US missions located in Europe and Eurasia are required to develop, coordinate and execute tailored action plans for rebuffing Russian influence operations in their host countries.

Within the Bureau, we recruited one of the architects of the Global Engagement Center legislation from the staff of a member of this committee; in addition, we formed a new position – the Senior Advisor for Russian Malign Activities and Trends (or, SARMAT) – to develop cross-regional strategies across offices. Early this year, EUR created a dedicated team within the Bureau to take the offensive and publicly expose Russian malign activities, which since January of this year has called out the Kremlin on 112 occasions. Together with the GEC, EUR is now working with our close ally the UK to form an international coalition for coordinating efforts in this field. The State Department requested over $380 million in security and economic assistance accounts in the President’s 2019 Budget for Europe and Eurasia that can be allocated toward combatting Russian malign influence.

In these efforts, we recognize that Congress has an important role to play in providing the tools and resources that will be needed to deal effectively with the combined Russian problem set. As Secretary Pompeo made clear in his recent testimony, we are committed to working with all of you to make headway against this problem and align our efforts in support of the President’s Russia strategy.

Mr. Chairman, thank you again for inviting me to speak today. I welcome your questions.

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