NATO Supremacists New Round of Frenzied War Crimes in Syria

MIRI WOOD 

Hasakah people protesting cutting off alouk water

NATO supremacists illegally in Syria have gone into a frenzy of increased war crimes against the Levantine republic, on 17 January: The lame duck Trump forces continue to empty silos in the al Jazeera region of grain; Madman Erdogan forces have again turned off water to one million Syrians living in al Hasakah; Trump cannon fodder SDF terrorists have kidnapped more young Syrian men from al Susa and Hajin, Deir Ezzor countryside.

Featured image above, shows thousands of Syrians demanding their water rights, again turned off by Madman Erdogan’s illegal troops occupying the Allouk water station. Video below is a glimpse of the demonstration.

While the transatlantic stenographers do their belly-bumping phony piety in lamentations over the 6 January invasion of the US Capitol by Trump supporters and various undercovers, and fake rend their clothing over 25,000 National Guard soldiers (to protect 1,435 senators and congress members) they remain arrogantly mute over the ongoing kidnappings, murders, bombings, water deprivation and destruction of essential infrastructure in the Arabic, Muslim-majority country of Syria.

The twenty convoy trucks that smuggled more stolen Syrian grain into Iraq were protected by illegal, armored, US vehicles. NATO supremacy means stealing other people’s foods. This massive theft was a follow up to the massive Syrian barley theft of 10 January, which also had the NATO stenographer supremacists on mute.

Trump forces smuggle stolen Syrian grains to Iraq
Trump forces loot and smuggle Syrian grains to Iraq

Depriving a civilian population of their water is also a war crime. In October 2019, NATO Madman Erdogan bombed the electrical grid at the Alouk station. The Syrian electricity army repairs it, after which Erdogan bombed it again, after which it was again repaired, after which Erdogan’s forces invaded and occupied the water plant. NATO supremacy also means trying to crush other people’s countries by stealing their water.

The demonic SDF separatists were originally created under the NATO supremacist Obama regime, which collected international wetworkers to teach the subsequent cannon fodder how to terrorize the Syrian population. During the Obama years, atrocities against Syria were perpetrated ‘by accident,’ as when he meant to war criminally bomb ISIS but accidentally slaughtered 83 Syrian soldiers defending their homeland.

 

The Trump regime expanded on Obama’s war crimes, intentionally bombed Syrian soldiers for al Qaeda, and set up criminal military bases in Syria (whereas Obama only sent in ‘spec operatives.’ See “Cue the Illegal Orangettes,” here.).

Today, a “weapons shop” run under Madman Erdogan’s al Qaeda forces in Idlib, blew up. It was located in a crowded market, near to a school. Western propagandists have remained silent on this atrocity, also. Imagine such a scene in Paris, London, Berlin, Philly, or Los Angeles being normalized:

Idlib explosion in weapons shop kills one person

Since the “deadly siege” on the US Capitol, 6 January, western supremacists have been aghast, horrified by a small fraction of what those western supremacists do to non-western countries, with impunity, on daily basis. Our unindicted war criminals that drop NATO weapons into the hands of savage beasts in Syria, call the psychopaths “freedom fighters” and cheer the horrors they perpetrate on the Syrian people, in the name of the imperial paraphilia, “democracy.”

Here are some examples of our glorious freedom and democracy, in DC, today, as inauguration day approaches; it does give the appearance of a military occupation, the type of which our terrified politicians in the Capitol on the first Wednesday of the first month of the new year, have imposed on mostly brown-skinned and/or Muslim majority countries for decades.

 

Some of the detritus, hysteria, and shame/lessness of DC may eventually be put into a box labeled “Trump,” and we shall probably return to our collective criminal work as imperial NATO supremacists, entitled to tying up those tedious loose ends of uppity countries refusing to be crushed by western humanitarian democracy.

When that time comes, may we watch Syria’s President Bashar al Assad, walking freely and safely among his fellow countrymen and women, and may we honestly denounce the supremacists among us.

— Miri Wood

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JOE BIDEN’S WAR

South Front

Joe Biden’s War

Writtne by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

The 2000 presidential race being done and over, except for the tens of millions of Americans who believe the election was stolen and a general cloud of illegitimacy that will hang over the Biden presidency for the entirety of his term, Joe Biden finds himself in the place of a dog who was chasing a car—and caught it. Given the magnitude of America’s problem, one would have to be a spectacularly vain and/or power-hungry individual to want the job of President, but then again, who if not Joe Biden is that guy? And now that he has the job, he will have to address a broad range of domestic and international issues in a way that somehow prevents the increasingly intractable problems from causing a system-wide crack-up of US politics. The occupation of the US Capitol with the participation of great many active and retired police officers and members of the military, to the point of prompting US Joint Chiefs to issue an unprecedented proclamation to their troops to shut up and follow orders, means that the temptation to seal the deepening chasms dividing the US society through some sort of desperate foreign adventure intended to secure new markets and resources for US corporations, and therefore US workers and farmers, will increase. That expansion is to be accomplished at the expense of China and Russia, replacing their own homegrown corporations and state monopolies with US-based ones, on the model of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states, and even European countries that are heavily penetrated by US financial and information technology firms to the point of having sacrificed a great deal of their sovereignty. Russia and China have preserved themselves from becoming US “semi-periphery”, in both economic and political sense, which makes them obvious targets for Biden’s own “maximum pressure” campaigns to subjugate them, of the sort that Iran and Cuba, for example, have been bearing for decades. But while it’s clear that US will be openly hostile to both China and Russia, seeking to delegitimize their political institutions and promote destabilization and regime change, it does not appear the Biden administration foreign policy team has a clear plan on how to prioritize between these to biggest targets.

The Indirect Road to China

It is evident from a variety of sources, including quasi-private think tanks like the Atlantic Council and the pronouncements of senior US military officers like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Milley that the US establishment regards China as a rising power and Russia as a declining one. The latter assessment appears to be based on a simple lack of understanding of processes occurring within the Russian Federation in the last two decades, combined with the Western propensity to regard course of history in linear rather than cyclical terms. US power has grown since 1776, therefore it will always continue to grow. Russia’s power declined after the collapse of USSR, therefore it is bound to continue to decline. But regardless of the source of the misconception, in practical terms it means that while China is viewed as the bigger threat, the Main Enemy, as it were, Russia is seen as a more vulnerable and therefore more attractive target. Judging by the changes in the US policies toward Russia, it appears that the goal of US foreign policy became first regime change in Russia, followed by economic isolation of China that would be much easier to achieve once both the Middle East and the Russian Federation, potential or actual sources of vast quantities of raw materials China’s manufacturing and population require, became US satellites in the same way Australia, for example, already is.

This development would place China in a position identical to Japan’s in the late 1930s, a country that proved highly vulnerable to steadily escalating US economic warfare and which moreover could not capitalize on its Non-Aggression Pact with USSR due to its rather ill-conceived alliance with Nazi Germany. Once isolated by US pressure, Japan gambled everything on a three-theater war against China, the British Empire, and the United States which it ultimately lost. Moreover, should Russia become a US satellite state, its military forces could be committed to a land campaign against China, in the name of “democracy promotion”, mirroring USSR’s decision to join the war against Japan that was solicited by Western powers unwilling to sustain the heavy losses an invasion of Japan would inevitably cause.

The Russian Bear Refuses to Play

The “Free Russia” component of US strategy went into high gear in 2014, when it was expected that the Kiev Maidan would be swiftly followed by one in Moscow, particularly after Western economic sanctions that were imposed as “punishment” for the reunification of Crimea. Were that strategy implemented two decades later, it would have likely enjoyed quick success. Instead it merely validated Prime Minister Witte’s “if you give Russia 20 years of peace, you won’t recognize her”. Instead of becoming a US client state, Russia became more independent and assertive internationally, demonstrating this not only in Ukraine but also in Syria. In spite of the US dominance in the Middle East, the small Russian military contingent in Syria proved impossible to dislodge through the usual US means of supplying and directing proxy non-state actors against the Russian presence.

It does not appear that Western powers-that-be have fully grasped the import of the 2014 “stab in the back” to the Russia-West relations for contrary to the usual Western propaganda, the Russian Federation in 2014 was very much a West-oriented country, seeking greater membership and involvement in Western economic and political institutions. The betrayal of these aspirations by Western actions means that Western leaders are now viewed as utterly untrustworthy, which means that greater exposure to and interdependence with Western economies and institutions is seen as a source of mortal danger to the Russian state. Since both nature and geopolitics abhor a vacuum, the West’s rejection of Russia meant better and more extensive relations with China, motivated by both countries’ shared interest in countering aggressive policies aimed at each of the two. In practical terms it means that it is not in China’s self-interest to see Russia succumb to Western pressure, just as it is not in Russia’s interest to see China fall either. That convergence of Russian and Chinese interests means that Obama-Harris foreign policy will have to reassess the Obama-Biden strategy of “Russia first, China second”.

Escalation or a Two-Front War?

Simply continuing the Obama-Biden strategy will be tempting but tricky. For starters, US sanctions against Russia have already greatly escalated during the Donald “Kremlin Asset” Trump presidency, whose initial outreach toward Russia which triggered #RussiaGate was likely nothing more than an attempt to interest Moscow in an alliance against Beijing, followed by economic warfare when it turned out Moscow was not about to sacrifice its stable relationship with Beijing for the sake of courting favor of fickle and unreliable United States and other Western countries. OFAC’s admission that there is hardly anything more that can be sanctioned in Russia suggests that all the “painless” options have been exhausted. Further expansion of sanctions, by leveling them against Russia’s sovereign debt or cutting Russia off from SWIFT, for example, would also have serious consequences for the United States and Europe. There is a reason these lines have not been crossed yet, and it remains to be seen whether the Biden Administration will be desperate enough to cross them. Further escalation of sanctions would also damage US-EU relations that Biden claims he wants to restore, and it is telling that Biden is framing the restoration of these alliances in terms of opposing China. Germany’s opposition to Trump-era sanctions against North Stream 2 means that the United States is limited where Europe’s vital interests are concerned.

Joe Biden’s War

Moreover, it does seem that the US “Deep State” is frustrated by Russia’s resistance and is getting impatient to finally grapple with China. It has already made many moves in that direction during the Trump administration, including the crackdown on Huawei, the effort to ban or seize Tik-Tok, last-minute moves to expand US contacts with Taiwan in violation of the “One China” policy, and most notably by the growing importance of naval and air power in Pentagon thinking. When Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley of the U.S. Army says that the Army will need to have its spending cut in order to bolster the U.S. Navy budget, this is no longer some Trumpian whim, but rather an expression of broad-based consensus preferences. Something that violates the long-standing if unwritten rule that each of the three major services, Army, Navy, Air Force, gets an equal share of the defense budget, cannot be anything other than an indicator of a major shift of focus.

Because while a US naval build-up would have consequences for Russia, since USN warships carry long-range land-attack missiles that are to be supplemented by hypersonic weapons and possess anti-ballistic missile defense capabilities, they are hardly suitable for the task of “defending the Suwalki Gap” and other NATO missions in Eastern Europe. Even the US Marine Corps, which during the Cold War had a major European NATO mission in Norway, is shedding its tanks and artillery to reshape itself as a force for littoral combat in the many archipelagoes of western Pacific. So, if anything, it looks like the United States military is actually sacrificing its ability to put boots, and tanks and guns, on the ground in continental Europe for the sake of putting ships and planes into and over the East China Sea and possibly the Arctic Ocean.

Biden’s team could try to reverse all that, but doing so would carry high political costs. Hunter Biden’s China ties are a liability that will be exploited should Joe “show weakness” toward China. The “Uyghur genocide” rhetoric will only intensify in the coming years, there is nothing that Biden can do to stem that, not anymore than Trump could tamp down on the “Russian collusion” theories that proliferated over the years. China’s success at tackling COVID-19 has only raised the sense of urgency about the “China threat” among the US supremacists. And finally there are the domestic US constituencies, often consisting of traditional Democratic Party voters, who backed Trump because the confrontation with China meant the possibility of manufacturing jobs of coming back to the US.

Oceania vs. Eurasia

All in all, it does not appear possible that Biden will have the luxury of picking and choosing theaters of Cold War, which sets us up for the spectacle of the United States that could not defeat the Taliban attempt to tackle two Eurasian major powers all at once. As in the previous iteration of “Cold War”, the battlefield will be the peripheral countries that are torn between the United States and the Eurasian powers. These include the European Union, whose economic interests are not served by US-led escalation toward either Russia or China, but also Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia, Philippines, and even India which collectively represent a geopolitical “no-man’s land” since their alliance commitments to the US are balanced by economic ties to America’s “designated enemies”.

Whether the United States is up to the task of handling this kind of a challenge is an open question. China’s, Russia’s economic systems are far more viable than they were during the Cold War, and are also healthier than Western economies that are struggling under massive debt burdens and require constant monetary stimulus policies by their respective central banks. US internal problems and divisions will likewise drain attention and budget funding away from international adventures. Should Biden focus on implementing this extreme foreign policy agenda at the expense of domestic priorities, the next round of isolationist backlash in the US will be even stronger than the previous one. So the situation in many ways resembles that facing the Nixon Administration in the late 1960s. However, is anyone in the Biden Administration willing to pursue détente policies?

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

The Sheep Syndrome

The Sheep Syndrome
Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020).

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

January 15, 2021

by Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

Today and during the last few days new “measures” – restrictions of freedom imposed by governments for reasons of “public health security”, i. e. preventing the spread of covid infections – have been tightened throughout Europe. Literally, these treacherous governments say, “we have to tighten the screws”. Seriously. WTF – who do they think they are? Servant of the people who elected them and who pay them. This is high treason. But people take it without asking too many questions, some complaints but not strong enough… we are living in the midst of the Sheep Syndrome.

They – these supposedly people friendly governments – call them “measures”, a euphemism for lockdown – sounds better in the ears of a public tired of continuous and more and more repressions. This second, in some countries even third lockdown, includes further business closing, more severe control on home-office work, police-enhanced social distancing, mask wearing, no indoor group activities, only 5 people may meet in an apartment… and, and, and.

For example, there are about 75 studies – give or take a couple – about the uselessness and even dangers of mask wearing. They address especially the danger for children and young adults… but nobody, nobody in the bought-compromised and coerced, bribed – western governments pays any attention to them, nor does, of course, the presstitute mainstream media. They keep to the narrative – MUST wear a mask – MUST keep the safe 6ft. distance – police enforced.

They also impose homeoffice, knowing damn well that any serious psychologist and sociologist tells you how devastating this is for the individual – loneliness, lack of physical contact, encounter and interaction with colleagues – as well as for society as a whole. Without physical contact it breaks apart. This is of course all wanton – thus, all restaurant closings, all events where people gather and interchange, is forbidden.

People are unhappy. Yes, but not enough to stop this tyranny! – Well, I better behave otherwise I’m going to be punished. – FEAR! – Fear leads to the sheep syndrome – that deep-deep social disease which besets us today – and has done so for a while. People, we got to get out of it.

But, it seems, people are not yet tired enough to stand up in unison, screaming “enough is enough”, we do not continue this is government tyranny, we stop beying.

And yes, to give the tyranny more weight, more credibility, it is enhanced by a so-called Task Force (TF), a group of coopted “scientists”, especially established by the Powers that Be, to inform them what to do. It is an old method of a decision-making duality, when governments have to, or want to, take decisions that are not popular, they ask the Task Force for advice. However, the TF has been told and knows exactly what they have to advise. That’s a premeditated lie.

In the UK and France new lockdown measures were imposed already for days, Austria and Switzerland announced them a couple of days ago – the EU as an entity – says nothing, does not coordinate, does not want see that these lockdowns are not only destroying the individual nations’ economy, but they bring the entire EU to economic suicide. The EU is hamstrung by Washington and by NATO.

The new lockdowns – and possibly more are planned as more waves of covid are in the making – until everybody is vaxxed – and has his / her electromagnetic gel injected in their bodies with an DNA-altering substance. So now, they are totally controllable over time. And the time horizon set for total digitization of everything is 2030. AI and robot control of humans – making them into transhumans that’s the goal for the UN Agenda 21-30. And the instrument to achieve it is the Bill Gates created Agenda ID2020 (see https://www.globalresearch.ca/coronavirus-causes-effects-real-danger-agenda-id2020/5706153 )

More lockdowns are killing more small businesses, shops, and restaurants. Creating more hardship of small business owner, more bankruptcies, more misery for the people and their families, losing their jobs.

Just imagine – home-teaching, a family of 4, both parents work, the kids have to have each one a reasonably powerful computer to be able to connect to the school teacher – the kids have to have reasonable computer skills to manage home-learning, and the parents, even if they have time, do they all have the reasonable computer skills to help their kids? – Does every family in the already much covid-hardship affected society have the resources to spare for buying the needed electronic gear for the kids?

It is a disaster. Again, a wanton disaster. Because it will result in less or non-educated children in the west – non-educated kids will become easier manipulatable adults – well, they are expected to fall – in lockstep – into their parents Sheep Syndrome. – Or will they? – That’s where dynamics may not meet linear elite thinking and expectations.

Now, this is happening in the Global North. Imagine how it is in the Global South, where increasing poverty, misery and famine is ravaging entire societies, in cases more than two thirds of a country’s population. How will these kids be distance-taught? – They simply won’t. So, we have a situation where the Global South produces uneducated kids, because they simply don’t go to school. Most of them will remain poor, they will be the perfect laborers for the elite – or cannon fodder for the wars the rich nations have to (or want to) fight to satisfy their greed. Never forget, wars are profitable. But foremost because of their sociopathic thirst for more and more power and money.

Listening and talking to people in the street and to small business owners, they are all upset, and many of them say they may not survive, may never reopen, despite the subsidy they receive form governments. In Switzerland, the head of “Gastronomie Suisse” said with another lockdown, up to 50% of restaurants may not survive. A similar figure had been mentioned in Germany and Austria – and surely the situation is likewise devastating elsewhere too.

We are talking predominantly for the west. The situation in the East, Russia and China and their allies in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is different, in as much as they have a people-friendlier approach to covid-eradication.

In the west, in some cases, people’s entire lifesaving, their life achievements, their family businesses, are killed for the sake of a useless and purely oppressive rule. The purpose of this rule is not to stamp out a disease, but covid is a means to instill fear and make us compliant, for worse times to come. Because, let me tell you, whatever you may think that in the summer of 2021, or next year, 2022, we will get back to normal – we will not. Never. If we let them do what they are doing now.

This small Globalist Cabal, via its ultra-rich handlers – billionaires with two and three digits of Silicon Valley – does not only have the power to censoring whoever is against the Matrix, but they are all censuring in unison the President of the United States. What does that say about a country, or about a society we live in, a society that calls itself “democratic”?

No matter how much you like or dislike your President, doesn’t it occur to you that this is the embodiment of freedom of speech that is taken away from you? – But again, we do nothing. We watch and complain, but we do nothing. We let it happen. Wouldn’t this be a golden opportunity to block and boycott all social media platforms? Period. – Live without them, for Christ’s sake, some 20, 30 years ago we didn’t even know that they existed, or to what extent we will be hooked on them.

If we can still think independently, it’s now the time to cut yourself loose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and what all their names are — don’t use them. Get back to regular human-to-human communications, dialogues, meeting each other, calling on the phone, landline if possible. Yes, I’m serious.

Think about the consequences of following this trend of no free speech, but a steady increase in AI-ization by algorithms that are precisely using the data you give them on the social platform to further enslave you; by ever more robotization and digitization – to the point when we don’t even realize that our brains have been wired and “hacked” by DARPA-developed super-computers, and we will believe and follow orders we are directly implanted by such super-computers, managed, guess by whom – by the Globalist Cabal – at which point we have irreversibly become the embodiment of the Sheep Syndrome. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is an advanced research and technology branch of the Pentagon.

Does anyone want that?
I doubt it.

We have to find a way to act now. I don’t have the solution. But maybe collectively connecting with each other spiritually, we will find a solution – or we will make a solution emerge.

That would be the noble way – changing an utterly abusive environment with conscientiousness and with spiritual thinking; emitting high-vibrating vibes that influence our collective destiny. But we have to believe in it and in ourselves as a solid and solidary collectivity.

If we fail as humans to claim back our human and civil rights and preserve them, eventually Mother Earth will clean herself. She will clean out the inhuman swamp. Maybe it needs one or two huge and lasting cataclysms; a massive earthquake with a disastrous tsunami, a gigantic eruption of one or several volcanos, darkening the sky for weeks, or a monster hurricane or ice storm that destroys and paralyzes parts of civilization, or a huge solar explosion, knocking out the world’s electric and electronic grid – ending digitization of everything on the spot.  – All this might be much worse than what covid, or its inventors, ever did.

After such a cataclysm, much of humanity might have to start from scratch – from near-to-zero, and certainly without digitization – but with the now lost freedom, to start afresh and develop freely and sovereignly according to our needs.

For decades the Global Cabal has showered us with self-aggrandizing lies, with promises of comfort, of well-being, but with the notion that competition rather than cooperation will be the salvation. These well-thought-out lies led to a society of egocentric psychopaths – not only, but enough to influence the trend of society, of our dystopian lives. We have gradually acquiesced in LOCKSTEP to a move of societal, even civilizational destruction, from where there is no return.

Let’s work ourselves out of the Sheep Syndrome – NOW.


Pompeo Cancels Final Trip Abroad after European Leaders Refuse to Meet With Him

Alahednews

Pompeo Cancels Final Trip Abroad after European Leaders Refuse to Meet With Him

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancelled his Europe trip at the last minute on Tuesday after Luxembourg’s foreign minister and top European Union officials declined to meet with him, European and US diplomats familiar with the matter said.

The extraordinary snub of the top US diplomat, first reported by Reuters, came days after the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, an unprecedented attack on American democracy that stunned many world leaders and US allies.

Pompeo, a close ally of Trump, had sought to meet Jean Asselborn in Luxembourg, a small but wealthy NATO ally, before meeting EU leaders and the bloc’s top diplomat in Brussels, three people close to the planning told Reuters.

But the initial plan to go to Luxembourg, which had not been officially announced, was scrapped after officials there showed reluctance to grant Pompeo appointments, a diplomatic source said. The Brussels leg was still on until the last minute.

But the thin itinerary of Pompeo’s final visit to Brussels raised questions about the merit of the trip. There were no meetings on his schedule with EU officials or any public events at NATO. A third diplomatic source said allies were “embarrassed” by Pompeo after the violence in Washington last Wednesday that left five dead.

Trump encouraged his supporters at a rally earlier that day to march on the building that houses the Senate and the House of Representatives while lawmakers were certifying Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s Nov. 3 election victory. The Republican president claims, without evidence, that the election was stolen from him.

Pompeo condemned the violence but made no reference to the role that Trump’s baseless claims played in galvanizing the march on the Capitol.

Appalled by the violence, Luxembourg’s Asselborn had called Trump a “criminal” and a “political pyromaniac” on RTL Radio the next day.

Luxembourg’s foreign ministry confirmed the previously planned stop there was cancelled, but declined to give further details. The EU declined to comment.

The US State Department, in a statement, attributed the cancellation to transition work before Biden takes office on Jan. 20, even if Pompeo had been reluctant until recently to unequivocally recognize Biden’s win. The State Department declined further comment on European officials’ rejection of meetings with Pompeo.

In Brussels, Pompeo was due to have a private dinner with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday evening at Stoltenberg’s private residence, before meeting Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, whose country is a NATO ally.

One of the sources said the lack of any public events at NATO was another reflection of European officials questioning the point of the trip. It was not immediately clear why Pompeo sought to go to Brussels so near to the end of Trump’s term.

The cold shoulder was a contrast with Pompeo’s previous visits to Brussels, which is home to NATO and EU headquarters, over the past three years, where he has given keynote speeches on US policy and met the EU’s chief executive, even as Europe balked at Trump’s foreign policy.

In 2018, Pompeo said in Brussels that Trump’s ‘America First’ policy was reshaping the post-World War Two system on the basis of sovereign states, not institutions such as the EU.

EU officials, who say they were exhausted by Trump’s unpredictability, are eager to build fresh ties with Biden.

One source, while explaining why Pompeo chose to remain in Washington, cited his eagerness to roll out planned foreign policy tasks until the end of the term and help keep the continuity of government.

For nearly three years, Pompeo proved a loyal executor of Trump’s unconventional style.

His tenure did not include obvious successes in such long-standing US foreign policy challenges as reining in the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, ending the US war in Afghanistan or containing an increasingly assertive China.

Nevertheless on Jan. 1, Pompeo kicked off a daily Twitter thread, saying the United States was “much safer” today than four years ago thanks to what he saw as the foreign policy accomplishments of the Trump administration.

He said he would showcase the results. “Over the coming days, I’m going to lay out the mission set, the huge wins, personal stories, and a lot more. Just me, Mike,” he said.

The tweets, along with some of his foreign trips, have been largely seen as part of his bid to lay the groundwork for his much-anticipated 2024 run for the Republican nomination for president.

The Empire is losing the energy war

January 12, 2021

The Empire is losing the energy war

by The Ister for The Saker Blog

We can see the ongoing war against Russia’s energy industry as an act of revenge from the Empire – but a war which it is losing.

After Putin prevented the looting of the country’s energy reserves in the early 2000s, this economic war was launched, designed to cripple the nascent Russian Federation’s oil and gas industry and by extension the Russian economy as a whole.

This plan began with the planning of the Trans-Caspian, Nabucco, and Baku Tbisili Ceyhan (BTC) pipelines. The BTC pipeline was erected in 2005, pumping oil from Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea fields through Georgia to Turkey. Next, the planned Nabucco pipeline would have brought Azeri gas from the BTC to the Baumgarten gas hub in Austria, where it would circumvent Europe’s need for Russian energy. As a final blow by NATO, the Trans-Caspian pipeline was intended to cross the Caspian Sea, bringing Turkmen gas and oil to Azerbaijan and eventually to Europe through the BTC and Nabucco routes, isolating Russia.

The Russo-Georgian war can also be understood through this lens. Two days before the outbreak of the conflict, the BTC pipeline suffered from a mysterious explosion. Putin’s victory in the war and subsequent occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia held the Nabucco and Trans-Caspian projects at risk, as Western energy corporations would no longer invest in such an expensive undertaking only miles from a conflict zone. The plans were scuttled. Russia’s oil giant Gazprom now signs deals to purchase Turkmen gas directly in order to disincentivize Turkmenistan from taking part in such a future project.

And while we see the reintegration of Crimea as the return of historically Russian territory, it was also a major victory in the energy war. In the Crimean conflict, Putin’s nightmare was that the overthrow of Yanukovych would be followed by the eventually weakening or removal of Russian military positions on the energy-rich Black Sea. A strengthened position in Crimea was leveraged in the creation of the TurkStream pipeline, which then allowed Russia to bypass Ukraine by shipping gas under the Black Sea to Europe.

Russia’s standing in the pipeline battle has been further cemented by recent events regarding the NordStream 2 pipeline, which will bring Russian gas through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Naturally, America is not a fan of this project and has sought to delay the construction by any means possible.

But even Germany, no friend of Putin or Russia, has pushed ahead with the project. Gazprom will now complete the pipeline alongside partners from British, Dutch, Austrian, and German energy companies. And while America may disapprove from afar, all America exports is its fiat dollar which can offer no substitute for the Russian gas and oil required to power Germany’s industrial clusters.

In December of 2020, Gazprom resumed construction on the pipeline despite America’s protestations. In fact, the German-Prussian state of Mecklenburg Vorpommern has recently voted to create a sanction-proof legal structure that would preempt future attempts by America to interrupt the project.

What a turn of fate: to see America’s omnipotence fade as the Empire’s geopolitical meddling is simply circumvented by peaceful trade

So while Russia’s victory in the pipeline battle has been unequivocal, the war has been fought in other domains. For the last 6 years the Empire has won the pricing battle, with its two primary weapons being the oil of Saudi Arabia and the natural gas produced by the shale revolution.

The oil price battle began when John Kerry and the Saudi King met in September of 2014. An arrangement was worked out where the Saudis would suppress crude prices to weaken the Russian economy in exchange for America’s military support in overthrowing Bashar al-Assad. Because Saudi Arabia has the lowest extraction costs of any major producer (3$ per barrel as of 2020), it can profit at prices much lower than its higher-cost oil-producing opponents such as Russia, Iran, and Syria. Under this new arrangement, crude prices fell to new lows as ISIS was spawned in Eastern Syria, and the Free Syrian Army was given American heavy weapons.

The Russian economy shrank almost 40% over the next two years. By comparison, America’s “Great Recession” almost crushed the entire financial system after a mere 2.5% drawdown in GDP. Russia was able to withstand the enormous contraction because under Putin the country’s monetary policy is focused on maintaining net-zero debt: a far cry from the 1990s when Saudi price-suppression (intended to punish Russia for fighting Islamists in Chechnya) hammered down crude prices and resulted in the 1998 Russian financial crisis. Now that Russia operates without external debt, these price tactics are harmful to the populace but no longer imperil the functioning of the state.

While 2020 has seen a renewal of price suppression by the Saudis, the Kingdom’s long-term prospects are plummeting. Below Saudi Arabia sits the state of Yemen. As the high birth rate outstrips the supply of natural resources, Yemen produces an excess of poor and radicalized young men. In response to Saudi and American airstrikes, the Houthi movement has united Shia and Sunni Muslims in Yemen under a common banner against their northern neighbor. Now Yemeni rebels are targeting Saudi oil facilities with increasingly frequent drone strikes, one of which spiked oil prices by almost 20% in Sep 2019.

Another problem for Saudi Arabia is resource depletion. The Saudis are systematically lying about the amount of oil that’s remaining. Leaked communications showed the former VP of Aramco warning the US that their oil reserves could actually be 40% lower than claimed. Consensus used to be that the Ghawar field had 5 million barrels per day capacity. The IPO filing for Aramco revealed a maximum capacity of 3.8 million barrels per day: and that’s their biggest field, producing a third of the nation’s oil output.

If their oil reserves are fine, why has the Kingdom been panickedly talking about economic diversification for the past 5 years? Why did Aramco even have to IPO? America’s vassal state in the crude oil battle seems to be drying up.

Another weapon in the energy price war has been the shale gas revolution. New advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have allowed America to access previously hard to reach “tight” oil and gas reserves. As many small and mid-sized fracking operations rapidly set up shop in the mid 2010s this flooded the world with cheap natural gas and lowered Russia’s energy earnings. However, many of these firms were unprofitable and existed only due to the ultra-low interest rates available at the time, which enabled companies to operate at a loss for several years: meaning that the profitless shale revolution which hurt Russia was de facto financed by the Federal Reserve.

The fall of US shale seems to be on the horizon, as the industry showed signs of huge weakness in 2020. Oil and gas bankruptcies have quadrupled from 2019 to 2020, and production levels from America’s largest fields have dwindled. The Eagle Ford field is down 30% from 2019, Niobrara is down 35%, and Anadarko is down 40%! The best case for America is that these were voluntary production drawdowns due to cheap prices. The worst case is that these are symptoms of the end stage of depletion – the same fate befalling Saudi Arabia.

Even if the large American fields return to their previous production levels, this wave of bankruptcies will remove many small producers from the market who were essentially drilling at an operating loss for years.

There are other developments that suggest that the Empire is losing the energy war

1. Nikol Pashinian, who targeted Gazprom in Armenia with spurious lawsuits, has been given a black eye by Putin. By brokering the Armenian-Azeri peace deal the Russian military now permanently occupies the Caucasus. Anyone who seriously believes it is limited to 5 years should look to the “temporary peacekeeping operations” that have kept Russian troops stationed in the tiny nation of Transnistria for almost 3 decades. Russia’s position in the region – a crucial energy hub, is now stronger than at any other point since the Soviet Union.

2. In defiance of US sanctions, Iran has restarted its domestic shipbuilding industry by constructing new oil tankers with natively sourced parts. New Aframax size tankers have the capacity to hold 750,000 barrels of crude oil and will be used to surreptitiously deliver oil to Iran’s trading partners

3. Despite feeble efforts by Washington to install Juan Guaido in Venezuela – the only country with comparable energy reserves to Saudi Arabia, Maduro is still in power, and Russia and China are now collaborating to circumvent US sanctions. Throughout 2020, crude from Venezuela arrived at Chinese ports, having been snuck past American detection with the aid of Russian state oil company Rosneft, which made the oil appear as if its port of origin was Malaysia.

So what are the takeaways from these events?

First, we can see that Europe is waking up to the necessity of Russian energy. Despite all America’s bluster, it cannot provide a viable alternative even for the countries with which it aligns ideologically. Sure, there will be haphazard attempts like squirreling tight gas from cracks in the Mediterranean Sea, but those are at best partial solutions. Second, sanctions have backfired: the Russian economy is now fully resilient and profitable. There is no further way to wage economic warfare on a nation that has already been isolated from the global financial system. As far as oil trading is concerned, the willingness of America to impose restrictive sanctions has been matched by the creativity of those hoping to bypass them. Finally, the toughest period of the price war seems to be over and the pipeline battle has been won.

The Empire’s diminishing position in this conflict

Nikol Pashinian who targeted Gazprom is out – and Russia now occupies the Caucasus

Special Report: How China got shipments of Venezuelan oil despite U.S. sanctions | Reuters


The Ister is a researcher of financial markets and geopolitics. Author of The Ister: Escape America

Breaking: Terrorists Murder 25 on Bus on Deir Ezzor Highway

 MIRI WOOD 

Terrorists murdered 25 Syrians and wounded 13 others on a bus in Deir Ezzor on Wednesday. The bus was traveling along the Deir Ezzor – Palmyra Highway in Kabajeb when the attack occurred around 4 p.m., Damascene time. At this writing, no details other details have been released.

Some of the victims were soldiers returning home to start their long-awaited vacation and were in military uniforms as most of the Syrians do not have the luxury of having more suits to change after 10 years of fighting the world’s largest army of terrorists and their NATO sponsors.

Donald Trump maintains a large number of his forces from the Oil Thieves Regiment of the US Army and for their protection, the Pentagon employs a large number of terrorists, mainly of ISIS and its affiliates, and separatists like the Kurdish SDF armed groups. This attack seems to be carried out by one of those Pentagon assets operating illegally in Syria to prolong the suffering of the Syrian people since Syria never invaded any other country and it’s punished for that.

At this writing, the NATO stenographer klan have gone absolutely silent over this mass murder; use of internet search engines result in not even a blurb, and barely a mention of Israel’s early morning war criminal bombing of the Levantine Republic in which one Syrian Arab Army soldier was martyred, and three others wounded.

Deir Ezzor is the part of Syria that contains oil fields, oil fields occupied by Trump forces, and of which the besieged US president has bragged about stealing. His cretinous cannon fodder SDF — created under Obama — which would collapse without US troops, pathetically believe they are the deal makers in the theft of Syria’s oil.

As the overpaid stenographers — indictable under Nuremberg Principle VI, as war criminal propagandists are included in crimes against humanity — have chosen to turn a blind eye from the massacre (possibly because they were not made aware that vacationing soldiers are among the slaughtered), we will use this grizzly opportunity to remind Syria News readers and other civilized human beings the atrocities committed against the SAR, since NATO Spring was inflicted in March 2011.

Please take a closer look at this map:

Google & NATO stenographers insist on erasing history. There is no such place as "Kobane" in Syria. That was the name of the German company that built the station in Ain al Arab, in 1911.
Google & NATO stenographers insist on erasing history. There is no such place as “Kobane” in Syria. That was the name of the German company that built the station in Ain al Arab, in 1911.

Palmyra/Tadmor is in the lower-left corner. It is where Syrian archaeologist, Professor Khaled al Asaad was brutally murdered on 18 August 2015. Toward the center is al Raqqah, the site of Trump’s first war crimes in Syria, when he bombed two civilian bridges there, soon after being sworn in. Between ar Raqqah and Lake Assad is the Tabqa hydroelectric dam. Al Tabqa has been under NATO proxy control since February 2013.

UK, US Holding Tabqa Dam Hostage in Syrian Negotiations?

English terrorist, John Letts, near Syria’s Tabqa Dam.

Note al Hol (“al Hawl”) in the upper right area of the map, near the border with Iraq. Al Hol is the concentration camp run by the Trump forces’ SDF cannon fodder. It houses various foreign savages, such as Brit illegal Shamima Begum; though it is in Syria, it took the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent more than three years of insane negotiations to extricate the kidnapped Italian-Albanian boy, Alvin, and repatriate him with his father.

The al Hol concentration camp is within the al Hasakah governate. In October 2019, Madman Erdogan bombed the electrical power grid there and bombed it again after the Syrian Electricity Army repaired it, and after it was again repaired, the NATO Madman invaded and his illicit troops have occupied the Allouk Water Plant, since — turning the water off and on, and depriving upwards of one million Syrians of their essential water source.

Today, Wednesday 30 December, twenty-five Syrians were massacred while traveling on a bus in Deir Ezzor.

— Miri Wood

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Russia vs a Biden Administration

THE SAKER • DECEMBER 29, 2020 

It sure looks like Biden will take over the White House one way or another, and while Trump and his supporters might still try a few things, the political correlation of forces inside the US ruling classes is clearly against Trump. As for the “deplorables” – they have been neutralized by stealing the election. Which means that Russia will soon face the most rabidly russophobic gang of messianic Neocons in history. So what can the world expect next?

The Dems are not meaningfully different from the Republicans. True, the Dems blame Russia for everything, while the Republicans blame China. Not much of a difference here: it is all about hate and scapegoating. And both of these factions of the oligarchic Uniparty like to blame Iran for, well, being located in the “wrong” part of the world, the Middle-East, which all US politicians (and not to mention their Israeli masters) want to control. As for the Israel Lobby, it has been trying to trigger a US attack on Iran for many decades. Recent US moves of key personnel and bombers might indicate that discussions of an attack on Iran are still very much taking place.

I don’t believe that these fundamental directions in US foreign policy will change much.

Why?

Primarily because the AngloZionist Empire and even the US as we knew them are basically dead, which means that irrespective of who is in control of the US, the objective means/capabilities of the Empire and the US will remain the same. In other words, when Biden promises to show Russia how tough and mighty he will be, he will not have any more capabilities to threaten Russia with than Trump had.

So the first thing we can expect is simply “more of the same”.

Now, in the Empire of Illusions which the United States has become, appearances matter much more than facts. US politicians have two quasi-reflexive reactions to any problem: use violence or throw money at it. Of course, using violence against Russia (or China and Iran) would be extremely dangerous. So throwing money at a problem is the way chosen by the US political elites (see here for the, rather boring, details).

A lot of that money will also be spent on ideological nonsense like supporting trans-gender rights in Africa, woke-awareness in the Baltic, “critical race theory” in Japan (good luck with that!), “Holocaust studies” in Poland and the like.

What will happen next is that this money will be spread amongst a pretty large US and EU bureaucracy (and its subcontractors) to all sorts of political PR actions aimed at presenting modern Russia as “Putin’s Mordor” whose “Nazguls” (scary GRU and/or SVR and/or FSB agents) run around the planet looking for more targets to infect with the totally ineffective, but still scary, “Novichok”. In the past, much of that money was spent inside Russia by all sorts of CIA-run NGOs and much of it was also spent on various propaganda efforts outside Russia. Again, this will not change, if anything, expect even more money poured into what are in reality strategic PSYOP operations.

The sad truth is that US politicians know very little about Russia, a country which they hate and fear, but not a country they even begin to understand. In this case, what US politicians will not realize is that Russia herself has changed a great deal in the past years: many new laws and regulation (see machine translated example here) were adopted which, in essence, “plugged” many political “holes” in the Russian legislation which allowed AngloZionist organizations to have a great deal of influence in Russia. As a result of these reforms, it has become far more difficult for western run NGOs to influence the Russian political scene.

As a direct result of these new rules, I expect that a higher ratio of money will stay allocated to activities situated in the West and less for Russian-based activities. In plain English, this means that more US printed money will be spent on completely useless activities. The only people benefitting from this will be the entire class of pseudo “Russia experts” whose only true expertise is on how to secure grant money. They will produce even more conferences and papers which nobody will care about, but which will allow the US Neocons and their deep state to show how “Biden is firm with Russia”. The typical US cocktail of waste, mismanagement and fraud (and let’s not forget good old corruption!).

Russia’s response to that will also be “more of the same”: Russian politicians will continue to express their disgust with their western “partners” (FYI – when Russians speak of “partners” it is understood by all that they mean this only sarcastically). Foreign Minister Lavrov and one of his deputies have recently made statements basically indicating that Russia will not seek any (!) form of dialog with the West, because, frankly, it is pretty clear to them that this is a total waste of time: Russia has nobody in the West to speak to: the only country with real agency (albeit severely limited by its subordination to Israel) would be the US, all the other countries of the West are really colonies and/or protectorates with no sovereignty at all.

What about all the many military provocations the Empire is organizing all around Russia? Do they concern Russia leaders or not?

Well, no and yes.

In purely military terms, US/NATO military capabilities are no real threat to Russia whose military is much smaller, but also much more capable than the western ones. Why? Simply because building a truly powerful military has been a core strategic priority for the Kremlin who needed a military actually capable of a) deterring the West from attacking Russia and b) defeating the West should deterrence fail. In sharp contrast, western militaries have not been training for real wars for decades already: most of what the US/NATO do is using western militaries for all sorts of propaganda purposes (like “sending messages” or “showing determination” etc.) and for counter-insurgency operations, not for fighting a real, major, wars.

Right now the Russian military is much more modern (about 80% of new gear on average across all military branches and services!) and much better trained for real combat operations. In sharp contrast, the US MIC is heavy on hot air (Space Force! Hypersonic missiles! Artificial Intelligence!) and short on any actually deployed and engageable weapon systems. Away from the propaganda machine (aka “corporate legacy ziomedia”), the reality is that the West is about 1.5-2 decades behind Russia in most critical military technologies.

Last, but not least, wars are not won by machines, computers or fancy engineering: they are won by soldiers, real men, who know what they are defending and why. The contrast between the typical Russian soldier (in any service or branch of the military) and his western counterpart could not be greater than it is today. Simply put: no western country can boast that it has soldiers like Russia has and, again, I don’t mean the “super dooper” elite Spetsnaz operators, I am talking about your very average, garden variety, infantry soldier, like the ones who saved Russia in the Chechen conflict in spite of operating in truly horrible and totally chaotic circumstances. These guys might not look like much, but as soldiers they are the kind every commander dreams about.

All this is to say that Russians have nothing to fear from all the western sabre-rattling, except maybe one thing: the rogue officer, on either side, who would suddenly decide to open fire (for whatever reason) thereby creating a situation which could escalate into a full-scale war very rapidly.

The other thing which is objectively bad for Russia is the number of key treaties the US has now withdrawn from: these treaties are most needed, especially as confidence building measures. Right now there are very few treaties left and that means that the US is desperate to try to suck Russia into an arms race.

This won’t work.

Why?

Putin himself explained it very well when he recently said that while the West throws huge sums of money at any problem, Russia allocates brains, not money. According to Putin, it is the use of brains, rather than wasting money, which allowed Russia to develop all the weapon systems mentioned by Putin for the first time in 2018. This made it possible for Russia to get ahead by a decade or more, while using only a small fraction of the kind of money the US, and other western countries, are allocating on “defense” (while not being threatened by anybody!). In the competition between the US money printing press and the Russian brains, you can be sure that the latter one will always prevail.

The bottom line is this: the US can spend many hundred billion dollars on “countering Russian (or Chinese) influence”, but this will do absolutely nothing to help the objective circumstances and capabilities of the Empire or the US.

So the real question is what will change on the level below direct military confrontation.

In a recent press conference, Putin mentioned something very interesting about the outgoing Trump administration. He said:

“The current administration introduced new sanctions against Russia 46 times – against our legal entities and economic operators. Forty-six times – this has never ever happened before. But at the same time, bilateral trade grew by 30 percent over the previous year, oddly enough, even despite those restrictions.”

So if the putatively pro-Russian Trump Administration sanctioned Russia 46 times, it is normal for the Russians to look at Biden with equanimity or even a resigned fatalism: “the West has always hated us, the West still hates us and the West will always hate us” – this truism is all but unanimously accepted amongst Russian politicians.

Still, we can count on Biden and Harris to try to show how “tough” they are on Russia and Putin: they will show their prowess mostly by demanding that their NATO/EU colonies and protectorates continue “send messages” to Russia and show their “unity” and “solidarity” with each other, mostly by parroting self-evidently nonsensical Anglo and German propaganda. Will the bilateral trade between Russia and the US continue to grow? Probably not as the list of corporations and agencies the US declares to be under sanctions will only grow further. But never say never, especially with the comprehensively hypocritical Dems…

How about the kind of self-evidently ridiculous stories about Russians using (a clearly ineffective) combat biological agent like the so-called “Novichok”, trying to kill irrelevant bloggers and failing to do so, or some variation on “animal Assad” “poisoning his own people”? Will that nonsense also continue? Probably, mainly simply because this is something which the Empire has demonstratively proved that it has the ability to do. So why not continue, especially with a press corps willing to parrot even the most ridiculous nonsense.

The bottom line is this: to get a sense of what any actor could do next, one always has to multiply intentions by capabilities. If there is one thing which the outgoing Maga Administration has shown, is that its declared intentions and actual capabilities are not at all commensurate: hence the long list of countries Trump threatened, but never meaningfully attacked. “Biden” (and I use this term very loosely, meaning “Biden and his real handlers”) will inherit the very same geostrategic toolkit Trump had at his disposal for four years and which did not make it possible for him to effectively flex muscles, not even against weak and nearby Venezuela! We can be pretty sure that the rhetoric about Russia will get even more hate-filled and paranoid. Petty harassment (such as arrest of nationals, closures of offices, expulsion from various international events, etc.) will also continue, not so much because they work, but because a lot of people depend on these for their salary.

How likely is a shooting war? In my personal opinion, not very likely at all. I think that the folks at the Pentagon are mostly aware of the real world out there, and they probably recognize that the US armed forces are in no condition to fight any halfway capable opponent.

How likely is it that the US will use a protectorate like the Ukraine or Georgia to reignite another local war? It is not impossible, especially since the US did support SBU infiltration of terrorists into Russia. Keep in mind that the sole goal of such (a, frankly, suicidal) attack would be to provoke Russia into a military response, not to actually achieve anything else. The main problem here is that the regular armed forces of the Ukraine and Georgia are in no condition to fight, and that the (US letter soup controlled) Ukrainian and Georgian special services have already tried this many times, and so far without success, mainly because, unlike all the western countries, Russia has the actual means to lock her borders when needed.

What about the reported plan to destabilize Russia by creating conflicts all along her periphery?

It would take way too long for me here to describe what is taking place in each of these countries right now, but I will offer just the following bullet points:

  • Russia has officially declared that she will never allow Belarus to be conquered by the West (irrespective of the means used). That ship has sailed.
  • Russia is slowly, but surely and very successfully “choking” the economies of the three Baltic statelets, mostly by denying them transit of Russian cargo and by letting them cut themselves off (yes, they did that to themselves!) from the Russian-Belarusian energy network.
  • Poland is, as always, very loud, and, also as always, highly irrelevant. Poles are only potentially dangerous to a very weak, divided country, or when backed by powerful patrons. Neither is true nowadays.
  • The Ukraine poses no threat to Russia, it is way too weak, too corrupt, too mismanaged and too poor to represent a threat to Russia. The Minsk Agreements have been de-facto rejected by the entire Ukronazi political class and the Donbass is now gone forever.
  • The Caucasus is now firmly in Russian hands (there is no force capable of challenging the Southern Military District or the 58th Combined Arms Army in the region). Those who believe that Turkey strengthened its position in the region simply do not understand the outcome of the recent war (especially the very interesting drone war which showed that while Armenia could not deal with them, Russian EW literally destroyed Turkish drones in mid-air (this also happened in Syria, by the way).
  • Central Asia is an inherently unstable region, mainly because these countries never succeeded in effectively transitioning from the Soviet period to full independence. And yes, the US has a great deal of influence in this region. But only Russia can provide effective security guarantees to the leaders of Central Asia, they all know that. Finally, Kazakhstan plays an important “buffer” role for Russia, putting distance between her and her chronically unstable southern neighbors.
  • In the Far East, Russia and China are enjoying a long honeymoon in which their already very deep relationship only gets deeper and their collaboration stronger (in spite of western PSYOPs trying to scare Russians about how China wants to take Siberia, and other silly fairy tales). Russia is now even supplying key strategic defense technologies to China.
  • Last, but most certainly not least, Russia has total superiority in the Arctic, where the West is many decades behind Russia. In fact, Russia is massively expanding her capabilities (civilian and military) in the Russian north, which will give her even more weight on our planet’s very rich north.

Now ask yourself: do you see any of that changing in the next 4 years, even assuming a rabidly hostile Biden Administration? I sure don’t.

Conclusion:

Yes, the political atmosphere between Russia and the Empire will get worse. Most of the “action” will take place in the public media space. The quasi simultaneous collapse of the Anglo-Zionist Empire and the United States (at least as we knew them before the election steal) will not give much time or energy to western leaders to pursue policies which have already failed in the past and for which they simply do not have the means.

Trump or Biden was never a meaningful choice for Russia (only the Russian court jester Zhirinovskii thought otherwise). It’s not much of a choice today either. The most likely consequence of these collapses will be that the world will split in roughly two sections: “Section A” which will include all the countries of the “collective West” and which will be busy trying to survive a crisis which has only begun and “Section B”: the rest of the world, which will try hard to decouple itself from the sinking West and try to develop itself in this rather unstable environment.

Also, many Russians remember the gerontocracy which ruled in the last years of the USSR and they know how such gerontocracies act (make no difference if the country is ruled by a Chernenko or a Biden – such rulers are always weak and clueless).

Biden or Trump – no real difference for Russia.

This is why most Russians don’t care either way.← NATO and the EU Are Sending a “messag…

Unipolar vs Multipolar: The Death of McKinley and the Loss of America’s Soul

Unipolar vs Multipolar: The Death of McKinley and the Loss of America’s Soul

December 23, 2020

By Matthew Ehret for the Saker Blog

On December 17, 2020 A new US Maritime strategy was unveiled putting into practice the regressive concepts first outlined in the early National Defense Strategy 2020 doctrine which target China and Russia as the primary enemies of the USA and demanding that the USA be capable to “defeat our adversaries while we accelerate development of a modernized integrated all-domain naval force of the future”.

The Pentagon’s Advantages at Sea: Prevailing with Integrated All-Domain Naval Power continued by saying “China’s and Russia’s revisionist approaches in the maritime environment threaten US interests, undermine alliances and partnerships and degrade the free and open international order… moreover, China’s and Russia’s aggressive naval growth and modernization are eroding US institutional advantages.”

The document continued to describe that “we must operate more assertively to prevail in day-to-day competition as we uphold the rules-based order and deter our competitors from pursuing armed aggression… ready, forward-deployed naval forces will adopt a more assertive posture in day to day operations”

For anyone who has been paying attention to the vast growth of the Pentagon’s Full Spectrum containment policy around China’s perimeter begun with Obama’s Asia Pivot, it may appear as though these words are not new, but just a continuation of American unipolar agenda, Pacific war games, and psychological projection onto perceived enemies, that have been underway for years. While this is certainly true, it must be noted that they are occurring at a time that NATO 2030 has enshrined an anti-China military posture into the Trans Atlantic security doctrine which had formerly channeled most of its hate purely onto Russia.

The fact is those unipolar zombies programmed to think in no other terms but global post-nation state dominance are deathly afraid of the Russia-China bond of survival which has created a uniquely viable foundation for an alternative economic/security architecture for the world. This model is based on a system of finance that defines money not in speculative but rather long-term development of the real economic foundations of life. It also features a strong emphasis on win-win cooperation as opposed to Hobbesian zero-sum logic dominant among western powers, and it also finds itself driven by OPEN system economic practices shaped by unbounded scientific and technological progress that once upon a time guided America’s better traditions.

With the obvious threat of nuclear war breaking out between a collapsing unipolar order in the west and an emergent Multipolar alliance, it is important to review what possible latent policy traditions may yet be revived within America’s history which certain forces have worked very hard to scrub out of the historical record and memory. This study will take us to the incredible fights that arose over America’s identity at the turn of the 20th century during the period of President William McKinley and the treasonous anglophile President of vice, Theodore Roosevelt.

Munroe Doctrine or Empire?

As Martin Sieff eloquently laid out in his recent article, President McKinley himself was an peacemaker, anti-imperialist of a higher order than most people realize. McKinley was also a strong supporter of two complementary policies: 1) Internally, he was a defender of Lincoln’s “American system” of protectionism, internal improvements and black suffrage and 2) Externally, he was a defender of the Munroe Doctrine that defined America’s anti-imperial foreign policy since 1823.

The Munroe Doctrine’s architect John Quincy Adams laid out this principle eloquently on July 4, 1821:

“After fifty years the United States has, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations, while asserting and maintaining her own.

That the United States does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

That by involving itself in the internal affairs of other nations, the United States would destroy its own reason of existence; the fundamental maxims of her policy would become, then, no different than the empire America’s revolution defeated. It would be, then, no longer the ruler of itself, but the dictator of the world.”

America’s march is the march of mind, not of conquest.

Colonial establishments are engines of wrong, and that in the progress of social improvement it will be the duty of the human family to abolish them”.

It was an aging John Quincy Adams whom a young Abraham Lincoln collaborated with in ending the imperial Mexican-American war under Wall Street stooge James Polk in 1846. When Adams died in 1848, Lincoln picked up the torch he left behind as the London-directed “proto deep state” of the 19th century worked to dissolve the republic from within. The foreign policy conception laid out by Adams ensured that America’s only concern was “staying out of foreign imperial entanglements” as Washington had earlier warned and keeping foreign imperial interests out of the Americas. The idea of projecting power onto the weak or subduing other cultures was anathema to this genuinely American principle.

A major battle which has been intentionally obscured from history books took place in the wake of Lincoln’s murder and the re-ascension of the City of London-backed slave power during the decades after the Union victory of 1865. On the one hand America’s role in the emerging global family of nations was being shaped by followers of Lincoln who wished to usher in an age of win-win cooperation. Such an anti-Darwinian system which Adams called “a community of principle” asserted that each nation had the right to sovereign banking controls over private finance, productive credit emissions tied to internal improvements with a focus on continental (rail/road) development, industrial progress and full spectrum economies. Adherents of this program included Russia’s Sergei Witte and Alexander II, Germany’s Otto von Bismarck, France’s Sadi Carnot, and leading figures within Japan’s Meiji Restoration.https://www.youtube.com/embed/gYeVDjFKpOU?feature=oembed

On the other hand, “eastern establishment families” of the USA more loyal to the gods of money, hereditary institutions and the vast international empire of Britain saw America’s destiny tied to an imperial global partnership with the Mother country. These two opposing paradigms within America have defined two opposing views of “progress”, “value”, “self-interest” and “law” which have continued to shape the world over 150 years later.

William Gilpin vs Alfred Mahan: Two Paradigms Clash

A champion of the former traditionally American outlook who rose to the international scene was William Gilpin (1813-1894). Gilpin hailed from a patriotic family of nation builders whose patriarch Thomas Gilpin was a close ally of Benjamin Franklin and leading member of Franklin’s Philosophical Society. William Gilpin was famous for his advocacy of America’s trans continental railway whose construction he proselytized as early as 1845 (it was finally begun by Lincoln during the Civil War and completed in 1869 as I outlined in my previous paper How to Save a Dying Republic).

In his thousands of speeches and writings, Gilpin made it known that he understood America’s destiny to be inextricably tied to the ancient civilization of China- not to impose opium as the British and their American lackies were want to do, but to learn from and even emulate!

In 1852, Gilpin stated:

“Salvation must come to America from China, and this consists in the introduction of the “Chinese constitution” viz. the “patriarchal democracy of the Celestial Empire”. The political life of the United States is through European influences, in a state of complete demoralization, and the Chinese Constitution alone contains elements of regeneration. For this reason, a railroad to the Pacific is of such vast importance, since by its means the Chinese trade will be conducted straight across the North American continent. This trade must bring in its train Chinese civilization. All that is usually alleged against China is mere calumny spread purposefully, just like those calumnies which are circulated in Europe about the United States”.

With Lincoln’s 1861 presidential victory, Gilpin became Lincoln’s bodyguard and ensured the president survived his first assassination attempt en route to Washington from Illinois. During the Civil War, Gilpin was made Colorado’s first Governor where he successfully stopped the southern power from opening up a western front during the war of secession (applying Lincoln’s greenback system to finance his army on a state level) and winning the “Battle of Glorieta Pass”, thus saving the union.

After the war Gilpin became a leading advocate of the internationalization of the “American system of political economy” which Lincoln applied vigorously during his short-lived presidency. Citing the success of Lincoln’s system, Gilpin said: “No amount of argument will make America adopt old world theories… To rely upon herself, to develop her own resources, to manufacture everything that can possibly be manufactured within her territory- this is and has been the policy of the USA from the time of Alexander Hamilton to that of Henry Clay and thence to our own days”.

Throughout his speeches Gilpin emphasizes the role of a U.S.-Russia alliance: “It is a simple and plain proposition that Russia and the United States, each having broad, uninhabited areas and limitless undeveloped resources, would by the expenditure of 2 or 3 hundred millions apiece for a highway of the nations threw their now waste places, add a hundredfold to their wealth and power and influence”

And seeing in China’s potential the means to re-enliven the world- including the decadent and corrupt culture of Europe: “In Asia a civilization resting on a basis of remote antiquity has had, indeed, a long pause, but a certain civilization- although hitherto hermetically sealed up has continued to exist. The ancient Asiatic colossus, in a certain sense, needed only to be awakened to new life and European culture finds a basis there on which it can build future reforms.”

In opposition to the outdated British controls of “chock points” on the seas which kept the world under the clutches of the might of London, Gilpin advocated loudly for a system of internal improvements, rail development, and growth of the innate goodness of all cultures and people through scientific and technological progress. Once a global system of mutual development of rail were established, Gilpin stated “in the shipment of many kinds of raw and manufactured goods, it will largely supersede the ocean traffic of Great Britain, in whose hands is now carrying the trade of the world.”

Gilpin’s vision was most clearly laid out in his 1890 magnum opus “The Cosmopolitan Railway” which featured designs for development corridors across all continents united by a “community of principle”.

Echoing the win-win philosophy of Xi Jinping’s New Silk Road today, Gilpin stated:

“The cosmopolitan railway will make the whole world one community. It will reduce the separate nations to families of our great nation… From extended intercommunication will arise a wider intercourse of human ideas and as the result, logical and philosophical reciprocities, which will become the germs for innumerable new developments; for in the track of intercommunication, enterprise and invention invariably follow and whatever facilitates one stimulates every other agency of progress.”

Mahan Derails America’s Anti-Imperial Identity

Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914) represented an opposing paradigm which true American statesmen like Lincoln, Secretary of State James Blaine, William Seward, President Grant, William Garfield, and McKinley detested. Sadly, with McKinley’s murder (run by an anarchist ring with ties to British Intelligence) and the rise of Teddy Roosevelt in 1901, it was not Gilpin’s but rather Mahan’s worldview which became the dominant foreign policy doctrine for the next 120 years (despite a few brief respites under FDR and JFK).

Mahan is commonly credited for being a co-founder of modern geopolitics and an inspiration for Halford Mackinder. Having graduated from West Point’s naval academy in 1859, Mahan soon became renowned as a total failure in actual combat having crashed warships repeatedly into moving and stationary objects during the Civil War. Since reality was not his forte, Mahan focused his post-war career on Ivory tower theorizing gushing over maps of the world and fawning over Britain’s power as a force of world history.

His “Influence of Sea Power Upon History 1660-1783 published in the same year that Gilpin published his Cosmopolitan Railway (1890) was a total break from the spirit of win-win cooperation that defined America’s foreign policy. According to the Diplomat, this book soon “became the bible for many navies around the world” with the Kaiser of Germany (now released from the influence of the great rail-loving statesman Otto von Bismarck whom he fired in 1890) demanding all of his offers read. Later Teddy Roosevelt ordered copies for every member of Congress. In Mahan’s book, the geopolitician continuously asserts his belief that it is America’s destiny to succeed the British Empire.

Taking the British imperial definition of “commerce” which uses free trade as a cover for the military dominance of weak nations (open borders and turning off protectionism simply makes a people easier to rob), Mahan attempts to argue that America need not continue to adhere to “outdated” habits like the Munroe doctrine since the new order of world empires demands America stay relevant in a world of sea power and empire. Mahan writes: “The advance of Russia in Asia, in the division of Africa, in the colonial ambitions of France and in the British idea of Imperial Federation, now fast assuming concrete shape in practical combined action in South Africa” demands that the USA act accordingly.

Attempting to refute the “outdated habits” of rail development which consume so many foolish statesmen around the globe, Mahan states: “a railway competes in vain with a river… because more facile and copious, water traffic is for equal distances much cheaper and because cheaper, more useful”. Like those attacking today’s Belt and Road Initiative, the power of railways is that their returns are not measurable by simple monetary terms, but are rather QUALITATIVE. The long-term construction of rail systems not only unite divided people, increase manufacturing and industrial corridors but also induce closer powers of association and interchange between agriculture and urban producers. These processes uplift national productive powers building full spectrum economies and also a culture’s capacity for creative thought.

The attempt made to justify sea traffic merely because “larger amounts of goods can be shipped” is purely quantitative and monetaristic sophistry devoid of any science of real value.

While Gilpin celebrates the successful awakening of China and other great nations of the world, in the Problem of Asia (1901) Mahan says: “It is scarcely desirable that so vast a proportion of mankind as the Chinese constitute should be animated by but one spirit”. Should China “burst her barriers eastward, it would be impossible to exaggerate the momentous issues dependant upon a firm hold of the Hawaiian islands by a great civilized maritime power.”

Mahan’s adherence to social Darwinism is present throughout his works as he defines the political differences of the 3 primary branches of humanity (Teutonic, Slavic and Asiatic) as purely rooted in the intrinsic inferiority or superiority of their race saying: “There are well recognized racial divergencies which find concrete expression in differences equally marked of political institution, of social progress and of individual development. These differences are… deep seated in the racial constitution and partly the result of the environment”. Mahan goes onto restate his belief that unlike the superior Teutonics “the Oriental, whether national or individual does not change” and “the East does not progress”.

Calling China a carcass to be devoured by an American eagle, Mahan writes: “If life departs, a carcass can be utilized only by dissection or for food; the gathering to it of the eagles is a natural law, of which it is bootless to complain… the onward movement of the world has to be accepted as a fact.”

Championing an Anglo American alliance needed to subdue and “civilize” China as part of the post-Boxer Rebellion, Mahan says “of all the nations we shall meet in the East, Great Britain is the one with which we have by far the most in common in the nature of our interests there and in our standards of law and justice”.

In case there was any doubt in the minds of Mahan’s readers as to the MEANS which America should assert its dominance onto China, Mahan makes clear his belief that progress is caused by 1) force and 2) war: “That such a process should be underlain by force… on the part of outside influences, force of opposition among the latter themselves [speaking of the colonial European monarchies racing to carve up China in 1901 -ed] may be regrettable, but it is only a repetition of all history… Every step forward in the march that has opened in China to trade has been gained by pressure; the most important have been the result of actual war.”

A Last Anti-Imperial Push

The chaos induced by the anti-foreigner Boxer Rebellion of 1899 which spread quickly across China resulted a heated battle between imperial and anti-imperial forces in both Russia and the USA. Where Transport Minister Sergei Witte who spearheaded the development of the Trans Siberian rail line (1890-1905) tried to avoid military entanglement, McKinley was busy doing the same.

The boxers soon attacked the Manchurian rail connecting Russia to China by land and Witte succumbed to pressure to finally send in troops. The reformers of China who attempted to modernize with American and Russian assistance under Emperor Kuang Hsu and Li Hung Chang fell from power as total anarchy reigned. The outcome of the Boxer chaos involved the imperial powers of France, Germany and England demanding immense financial reparations, ownership of Chinese territory and mass executions of the Boxers.

While McKinley is often blamed for America’s imperial turn, the reality is just the opposite.

The Spanish-American war begun in 1898 was actually launched unilaterally by Anglophilic racist Theodore Roosevelt who used the 4 hour window he had while Undersecretary of the Navy (while the actual Secretary was out of Washington) to send orders to Captain Dewey of the Pacific fleet to engage in a fight with the Spanish over their Philippine territories. McKinley had resisted the war hawks until that point but found himself finally bending to the momentum. In China, McKinley, like Witte worked desperately to reject taking territory resulting in great fears from the British oligarchy that a U.S.-Russia alliance led by McKinley and Witte was immanent.

The assassination of McKinley on September 18, 1901 catapulted Mahan-loving Vice President Teddy Roosevelt into high office, who enmeshed America into a new epoch of Anglo-American imperialism abroad, a growth of eugenics and segregation at home and the creation of an independent police state agency called the FBI.

As Sieff writes“Roosevelt devoted his next eight years in the presidency and the rest of his life to integrating the United States and the British Empire into a seamless web of racial imperialist oppression that dominated Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and that destroyed the cultural history and heritage of the Native North American nations.”

In Russia, the 1902 Anglo-Japan Treaty led to the disastrous Japan-Russo war of 1905 which devastated the Russian navy, ended the political career of Sergei Witte and threw Russia into chaos leading to the fall of the Romanovs (Czar Nicholas II was the last statesman occupying high office that this author is aware of to have actively promoted the Bering Strait Tunnel rail connection in 1906. It wasn’t until FDR’s Vice President Henry Wallace met with Foreign Minister Molotov in 1942 that the idea resurfaced once more).

In his Two Peoples One Friendship, Wallace described his discussions with Foreign Minister Molotov in 1942 saying:

“Of all nations, Russia has the most powerful combination of a rapidly increasing population, great natural resources and immediate expansion in technological skills. Siberia and China will furnish the greatest frontier of tomorrow… When Molotov [Russia’s Foreign Minister] was in Washington in the spring of 1942 I spoke to him about the combined highway and airway which I hope someday will link Chicago and Moscow via Canada, Alaska and Siberia. Molotov, after observing that no one nation could do this job by itself, said that he and I would live to see the day of its accomplishment. It would mean much to the peace of the future if there could be some tangible link of this sort between the pioneer spirit of our own West and the frontier spirit of the Russian East.”

While the “open door” rape of the China was attempted by the Anglo-Americans, a fortunate rear guard maneuver orchestrated by another follower of Abraham Lincoln named Sun Yat-sen resulted in a surprise overthrow of the Manchu dynasty in 1911 and the institution of the Republic of China with Sun Yat-sen as the acting President. While Sun Yat-sen sided with Gilpin and Lincoln in opposition to the Mahanists on the issue of rail and industrial development (illustrated in his extraordinary 1920 International Development of China program which called for 160 000 km of rail, water diversion projects, ports and 1.5 million km of paved roads- illustrated below), the intrigues that sank the world into World War I made any hopes of this early development of China impossible in Sun Yat-sen’s lifetime.

Expressing his own deep understanding of these top down tactics of world history (and the recognition that the same British imperial forces that orchestrated the US Civil War were planning to do the same to China), Sun Yat-sen wrote in 1912:

“We understand too well that there are certain men of power—not to include for the present, certain nations—who would view with a greater or lesser satisfaction an internal rupture in the new Republic [of China]. They would welcome, as a move toward the accomplishment of their own ends and designs, a civil war between the provinces of the North and the South; just as, 50 years ago, there was applause in secret (in certain quarters) over the terrible civil strife in the United States.

Americans of today who were alive in those dark days of the great republic will remember the feelings in the hearts of the people—the bitter and painful thoughts that arose from the knowledge that foreigners were hoping and praying for the destruction of the American Union.

Had the war been successful from the South’s standpoint, and had two separate republics been established, is it not likely that perhaps half a dozen or more weak nations would have eventually been established? I believe that such would have been the result; and I further believe that with the one great nation divided politically and commercially, outsiders would have stepped in sooner or later and made of America their own. I do not believe that I am stating this too forcibly. If so, I have not read history nor studied men and nations intelligently.

And I feel that we have such enemies abroad as the American republic had; and that at certain capitals the most welcome announcement that would be made would be that of a rebellion in China against the constituted authorities.

This is a hard statement to make; but I believe in speaking the truth so that all the world may know and recognize it.”

Today’s Belt and Road Initiative, and strategic friendship established between Russia and China has re-awoken the forgotten vision of William Gilpin for a world of cooperating sovereign nation states. Does the USA have the moral ability to avoid disintegration by accepting a Russia-U.S.-China alliance needed to revive McKinley’s American System or will we slip into a new Great Reset and World War?

Matthew Ehret is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Patriot Review , Senior Fellow at the American University in Moscow, BRI Expert on Tactical talk, and has authored 3 volumes of ‘Untold History of Canada’ book series. In 2019 he co-founded the Montreal-based Rising Tide FoundationHe can be reached at matt.ehret@tutamail.com

Turkey and the West: confrontation or Taming? تركيا والغرب: صدام أم ترويض؟

**Please scroll down for the English Machine translation**

تركيا والغرب: صدام أم ترويض؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط*

من يراقب حركة تركيا في الفترة التي أعقبت الانتخابات الأميركية يجد انّ أردوغان يتصرّف وكأنه في سباق مع الوقت ويريد أن يقفل ملفات او يستجمع أوراقاً الى اقصى ما يمكنه جمعه قبل حلول الحاكم الجديد في البيت الأبيض الأميركي، لأنّ أردوغان يعرف أي علاقة تربطه بهذا الحاكم ويعرف مدى التباين بين المشروع التركي الخاص الذي يعمل من أجله والمشروع الغربي الذي تقوده الولايات المتحدة الأميركية والذي تعمل عليه بشكل واضح منذ العام 2010 في ظل حكم الديمقراطيين لأميركا وبوجود بايدن نفسه في مقعد نائب الرئيس الأميركي.

وهنا نتذكر بأنه عندما اندفع أردوغان في العام 2011 في قيادة العدوان الإرهابي على سورية تنفيذاً لخطة أطلسيّة بقيادة أميركية ظن أن الغرب والحلف الاطلسي الذي ينتمي اليه فوضه بحكم المنطقة وإقامة او استعادة الإمبراطورية العثمانية البائدة التي كان «الحلفاء» الأوروبيون قد أنزلوا الهزيمة بها وتقاسموا ممتلكاتها ومناطق احتلالها في غربي آسيا خاصة وكامل الشرق الأوسط بالمصطلح الغربي عامة.

تصرف أردوغان في سورية، ومنها في كامل المنطقة منذ اندلاع الحريق العربي (يسمّيه الغرب «ربيع عربي») تصرف على أساس انه سلطان المستقبل وبهذه الذهنية انقلب على تفاهماته وتوافقاته الاستراتيجية مع سورية وقاد العدوان الإرهابي عليها. وهنا كان التباين المستتر والخفي بين الظن التركي والتكليف الغربي الأطلسي، ففي حين عمل أردوغان بذهنية العمل لاستعادة سلطنة غابرة، كان الغرب يريد من أردوغان لعب دور رأس الحربة والقائد الميدانيّ لإسقاط محور المقاومة وتفكيكه من البوابة السورية التي تشكل القلعة الوسطى لهذا المحور، هدف تحتاجه أميركا من أجل إقامة النظام العالمي الأحادي القطبية وتعويض الإخفاق الذي عانت منه في افغانستان والعراق ولبنان.

وعلى هذا الأساس كانت الحرب الكونيّة التي استهدفت سورية منذ العام 2011 موضع تباين في النظرة من كل من الجانب التركي والاطلسي، وكانت عرضة للتنازع الخفي بين مشروعين، مشروع تركي يقوده أردوغان الحالم بإزالة آثار الهزيمة التي انزلت بالعثمانيين في الحرب الأولى، ومشروع أطلسي بقيادة أميركية جوهره تثبيت انتصار الغرب في الحربين العالميتين وتدمير القوى المقاومة للاستعمار والسيطرة الغربية وإنتاج بيئة تصفية القضية الفلسطينيّة، ويلتقي هذان المشروعان في سورية بشكل خاص على هدف إسقاط النظام السوري بقيادة الرئيس الأسد، لكنهما يتنافران بدرجات متفاوتة في أكثر من مكان وإقليم.

بيد أن أردوغان عندما فشل في سورية في موجة العدوان الأول عليها في سياق ما أسميناه يومها «استراتيجية الاخوان المسلمين للسيطرة على سورية»، وجد نفسه عرضة لسحب التفويض الغربي منه ونقله الى السعودية التي جرّبت حظها مع سورية في سياق ما أسميناه «خطة بندر»، الخطة التي لم تكن أفضل حظاً من خطة الاخوان، والتي انتهت الى فشل دفع أميركا الى النزول مباشرة الى الميدان وإنشاء تحالف عسكري بقيادتها بعد ان اصطنعت المبرر ودخلت في المرحلة الثالثة من العدوان على سورية والعراق هي «مرحلة داعش».

لم يكن أردوغان مرتاحاً للشعور الذي تشكل لديه نتيجة الفشل والإحساس بالتهميش الغربي له، واغتنم فرصة مدّ اليد الروسية والإيرانية له وانتظم في ثلاثي آستانة المشكل لمعالجة الوضع السوري ميدانياً، ورأى انّ ذلك يمنحه الوقت للمناورة الزئبقية ويتيح له العمل بطلاقة أكثر لتنفيذ مشروعه الخاص في سورية ومنها لنشره في الإقليم بعيداً عن المحدّدات او القيود الغربية. وقد نجح أردوغان في استثمار موقعه في استانة إلى حد بعيد ورغم التباين مع قطبي استانة الآخرين إيران وروسيا في أكثر من موضوع فقد بقي على علاقة معهما لا تتصف بالحميمية لكنها غير صدامية، علاقة يحتاجها من أجل مشروعه الخاص كما ذكرنا.

لقد مارس أردوغان مع كلّ من عمل معه في الشرق والغرب بسياسة سمتها الرئيسية الزئبقية المتقلبة، بحيث انه لم يجد نفسه مضطراً للإيفاء بوعد او لتنفيذ عقد او عهد وعمل بنَفَسٍ ميكافيليّ خالص باعتبار «انّ الغاية تبرر الوسيلة». وظنّ انّ «ذكاءه النشط» يجعله يحقق أهدافه من دون أن يعرضه الى أيّ خطر جدي، أي انه يخدع الآخر ويجعله يعطيه ثم يسكت على عدم الأخذ المقابل، معتقداً انّ الآخر بحاجة الى صداقته او على الأقل عدم عدواته نظراً لموقعه وتأثيره في المسرح الاستراتيجي الذي يتحرّك فيه.

بيد ان الأمور الآن وصلت نقطة لا يستطيع شركاء تركيا في الملفات المشتركة السكوت عنها أو مداراة تركيا فيها، ما جعل الانتصارات او الإنجازات التركية السابقة عرضة للنقض او الانهيار، وقد أحس أردوغان بالخطر الآتي واستشعر الحاجة لتدابير سريعة تحصّن وضعه ولهذا نراه الآن:

ـ يعود الى مغازلة أوروبا من الباب الألمانيّ بعد التهدئة مع اليونان لتجنب المواجهة الحادة مع أوروبا بعد أن وصلت علاقته بفرنسا وبماكرون شخصياً الى أدنى وأسوأ مستوياتها، وهو يظن بانّ ألمانيا التي ليس لها طموحات شرق أوسطية أقله حالياً لن تكون له منافساً في مشروعه الخاص، ويريد من أوروبا الآن أن تكون الظهير الاحتياطي الذي يعوّضه بعض الشيء عن الحضن الأميركي الذي يخشى برودته وجفافه مع بايدن.

ـ يسرع في تقويض الكيان الكردي الانفصالي في شمالي شرقي سورية قبل أن يصل بايدن الى البيت الأبيض، لأنه يعرف بأن مشروع بايدن هناك يقوم على استراتيجية التقسيم وإقامة الكيان الكردي المستقل أو شبه المستقل برعاية أميركية صهيونية، الامر الذي يخشى منه أردوغان لأنه يرى فيه مسّاً بالأمن القومي التركي.

ـ يعيد انتشار قواته في إدلب بشكل يخفض تداخلها مع الجيش العربي السوري على خطوط التماس ويقيم الخطوط والمواقع الحصينة المدعومة نارياً بشكل فاعل ليمنع أي محاولة سورية روسية لاستعادة المنطقة عسكرياً بعد فشل المحاولات جميعها لاستعادتها عبر منصة استانة واتفاقات سوتشي وموسكو.

ـ يهدّئ الصراع الذي فجّره في أذريبجان ويكتفي حالياً على حدّ وصفه بـ «الإنجاز الذي حققه في ناغورني كارباخ«، متوعّداً بالمزيد عندما تسنح الفرص.

بالخلاصة نرى أردوغان الآن في مرحلة مراجعة مواقفه بحثاً عن إجراءات متطورة من المشروع الغربي من اجل صياغة مشروع وسط في المنطقة يجمع العناصر الرئيسية للمشروع التركي العثماني الخاص والمشروع الأطلسي الأميركي، بحيث يحدّ من وجوه التناقض او التنافر بينهما ويمنع الاحتكاك او التناقض مع الغرب وبشكل لا يبقى مبرراً له لاتخاذ المواقف الحادة منه وصولاً الى فرض العقوبات الغربية على تركيا، كما حصل الآن. فهل ينجح أردوغان في سعيه هذا؟

قبل الإجابة نذكر بأنّ الحلف الأطلسي الذي أسّسته 12 دولة أوروبية وأميركية قبل تركيا فيه ليس حباً بها أو خدمة لها بل نتيجة إحساسه بأن تركيا تستطيع ان تقوم بوظيفة ودور أساسي في خدمة مهمة الحلف الدفاعية وأهدافه في وجه الاتحاد السوفياتي وأراد المؤسسون امتلاك قاعدة عسكرية متقدّمة تشكل جزءاً من الستار الحديديّ الذي اقامه الغرب في وجه الشيوعية، وبالتالي كانت عضوية تركيا في الحلف الأطلسي ناشئة من حاجة أطلسية لتركيا للقيام بدور وظيفي عملاني واستراتيجي، ولهذا جذب تركيا إليه كأول دولة بعد تأسيسه في العام 1949، وقبلها في عضويته في العام 1952 من أجل هذا الدور الوظيفي ولم يقبلها من أجل أن يمنحها فرصة منازعته النفوذ.

فتركيا في الأطلسي لخدمة أهداف الدفاع عن أوروبا أصلاً ولخدمة الأهداف الأميركية بعد تفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي حاضراً وليست من أجل استعادة الإمبراطورية العثمانية التي أسقطتها أوروبا، وعليه فانّ أيّ عمل او محاولة توحي بأنّ أردوغان يعمل في سبيل ذاك الهدف لن تلقى من أوروبا والأطلسي الا الرفض والمواجهة. فالغرب الذي قاسى الكثير من دولة بني عثمان لن يقبل بسهولة إعادة إحيائها بأيّ شكل وبأيّ صورة. وبالتالي لا مجال للمواءمة بين الطموح الأردوغاني والنزعة الغربية وهما أمران متناقضان. وهذا ما سيفرض على تركيا الاختيار بين التخلي عن مشروعها الخاص او التخلي عن التوجه غرباً، أما الجمع بين النقيضين فلن يكون ممكناً فأيّ خيار ستختار؟

* أستاذ جامعي – باحث استراتيجي.

فيديوات ذات صلة

Turkey and the West: confrontation or Taming?

Brigadier General Dr. Amin Mohammed Hatit*

Anyone who watches Turkey’s movement in the post-Election period finds that Erdogan is acting like he is in a race against time and wants to close files or gather papers as much as he can gather before the new governor of the U.S. White House, because Erdogan knows any connection to this ruler and knows the extent of the disparity between the Turkish private project he is working for and the Western project that the United States has been working on clearly since 2010 under the democratic rule of America and with Biden himself in the vice president’s seat.

Here we remember that when Erdogan rushed in 2011 to lead the terrorist aggression against Syria in implementation of an Atlantic plan led by the United States, he thought that the West and NATO to which he belonged delegated the rule of the region and the establishment or restoration of the former Ottoman Empire, which the European “Allies” had defeated and shared their property and areas of occupation in Western Asia in particular and the entire Middle East in the Western term.

Erdogan acted in Syria, and from it throughout the region since the outbreak of the Arab fire (the West calls it an Arab Spring) acted on the basis that he is the sultan of the future and with this mind turned on his strategic understandings and agreements with Syria and led the terrorist aggression against it. While Erdogan worked with the mentality of working to restore the Sultanate, the West wanted Erdogan to play the role of the spearhead and field commander to overthrow the axis of resistance and dismantle it from the Syrian gate, which forms the central fortress of this axis, a goal America needs in order to establish a unipolar world order and make up for the failure it suffered in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon.

On this basis, the global war that has targeted Syria since 2011 has been the subject of a divergence of views from both the Turkish and NATO sides, and was subject to a hidden conflict between two projects, a Turkish project led by the dreamer Erdogan to remove the effects of the defeat inflicted on the Ottomans in the first war, The Project Atlantic, led by the United States, is essential to stabilize the victory of the West in the two world wars, destroy the forces that are resistant to colonialism and western domination, and produce an environment to liquidate the Palestinian cause, and these two projects meet in Syria in particular on the goal of overthrowing the Syrian regime led by President Assad, but they are competing to varying degrees in more than one place and territory.

However, when Erdogan failed in Syria in the first wave of aggression against it in the context of what we called the “Strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood to control Syria”, He found himself vulnerable to withdrawing the Western mandate from it and transferring him to Saudi Arabia, which tried its luck with Syria in the context of what we called “Plan Bandar”, a plan that was no better luck than the Brotherhood plan, which ended in failure to push America to go straight to the field and establish a military alliance led by it after it made the justification and entered the third phase of the aggression against Syria and Iraq is the stage of ISIS.

Erdogan was not comfortable with the feeling that formed him as a result of the failure and the sense of western marginalization, and took the opportunity to reach out to him and joined the tri-Astana problem to address the Syrian situation on the ground, and saw that this gives him time to maneuver mercury and allows him to work more fluently to implement his own project in Syria and from there to spread it in the region away from western restrictions or restrictions. Erdogan has succeeded in investing his position in Astana to a large extent and despite the contrast with the other Poles Astana Iran and Russia on more than one subject, he has remained in a relationship with them that is not intimate but non-confrontational, a relationship he needs for his own project as we mentioned.

Erdogan, along with all those who worked with him in the East and the West, practiced a policy that was characterized by a volatile mercury master, so that he did not find himself obliged to fulfill a promise or to implement a contract or covenant and worked with the same kind of Machiavelli, considering that “the end justifies the means”. He thought that his “active intelligence” makes him achieve his goals without exposing him to any serious danger, i.e. he deceives the other and makes him give him and then shut up about not taking the opposite, believing that the other needs his friendship or at least not his enemies due to his position and influence in the strategic theater in which he moves.

However, things have now reached a point where Turkey’s partners in the joint files cannot be silent or managed by Turkey, which has made turkey’s previous victories or achievements vulnerable to rebuttal or collapse, and Erdogan has sensed the danger coming and felt the need for quick measures to fortify his situation and that’s why we see it now:

He returns to flirt with Europe from the German door after the lull with Greece to avoid a sharp confrontation with Europe after his relationship with France and Macron personally reached its lowest and worst levels, and he thinks that Germany, which has no Ambitions Middle Eastern at least at least at present will not have a competitor in his own project, and wants Europe now to be the backup back who compensates somewhat for the American brood that fears his cold ness and dryness with Biden.

He is quick to undermine the Kurdish separatist entity in northeastern Syria before Biden arrives at the White House, because he knows that Biden’s project there is based on the strategy of partition and the establishment of an independent or semi-independent Kurdish entity under the auspices of the United States of Zionism, which Erdogan fears because he sees it as an affront to Turkish national security.

It redeploys its forces in Idlib in a way that reduces its interference with the Syrian Arab Army on the lines of contact and effectively establishes the lines and fortified sites supported by fire to prevent any Syrian-Russian attempt to retake the area militarily after all attempts to retake it through the Astana platform and the Sochi and Moscow agreements.

The conflict he has triggered in Azerbaijan calms down and is now content with what he described as “the achievement he has achieved in Nagorno-Karabakh”, promising more when opportunities arise.

In summary, We see Erdogan now in the process of reviewing his positions in search of advanced procedures of the Western project in order to formulate a middle project in the region that brings together the main elements of the Turkish-Ottoman special project and the Atlantic project of the United States, so that reduces the faces of contradiction or disharmony between them and prevents friction or contradiction with the West and in a way that does not justify him to take sharp positions from him to the imposition of Western sanctions on Turkey, as has happened now. Does Erdogan succeed in his quest?

Before answering, we recall that the NATO alliance founded by 12 European and American countries before Turkey is not in love with it or service to it, but as a result of its sense that Turkey can play a function and a key role in the service of the alliance’s defence mission and objectives in the face of the Soviet Union and the founders wanted to have an advanced military base that forms part of the Iron Curtain established by the West in the face of communism Turkey’s membership in NATO was therefore arising from Turkey’s Atlantic need for a functional and strategic role, which attracted Turkey as the first country after its founding in 1949, and accepted it as a member in 1952 for this role and did not accept it in order to give it the opportunity to dispute its influence.

The risk that haunts the great powers: the ghost of rebellions

The risk that haunts the great powers: the ghost of rebellions

December 15, 2020

By Fabio Reis Vianna for the Saker Blog

In a recent article published in the American magazine Foreign Affairs, Christorpher Layne, professor of international relations at the University of Texas, defends the thesis that a hegemonic war between the United States and China, if tensions escalate at the current pace, is not unlikely.

In his article The Return of Great-Power War, the author argues that the intensification of geopolitical competition between the two powers, despite the prevailing view in academic circles, would have explosive potential if we analyze the scenario in the light of history.

In this sense, the majority view argues that the economic interdependence between the two countries would be a factor in reducing the risk of an eventual conflict. As Professor Layne reminds us, if we return to history we would see similarities between the current situation and that which preceded the first great world war.

According to the professor, the current sour relations between the United States and China would remind us, in geopolitical terms, of the troubled relationship between the United Kingdom and Germany in the years before that war.

It is even worth emphasizing that in economic terms, as well as the United States and China, the United Kingdom and Germany maintained very close ties, and there was, therefore, also an interdependence between the two powers at the time.

Something, however, that the author may be mistaken is the idea that the so-called liberal international order led by the United States would be a factor in curbing Chinese pretensions and the so-called “revisionist powers” to destabilize the preservation of peace, maintained through the multilateral institutions created in the postwar period.

This would make sense in the idealized world of Atlanticist analysis, where the rise of new actors had never occurred, and American unipolar hegemony was undeniable.

The so-called liberal international order has been systematically dismantled by its own creators: the United States of America.

Long before Donald Trump was elected – after the September 11, 2001 attacks – the United States, in instituting the war on terror, practically tore apart the fantasy of liberal cosmopolitanism and assumed itself as an imperial power, arrogating itself with the right to intervene in any scenario and against anyone who posed a supposed, generic terrorist threat.

Little is said about this in Atlanticist circles, but the global instability that this irresponsible attitude generated was most likely one of the reasons why such revisionist actors took themselves seriously to project themselves autonomously into the interstate system.

In particular, Russia, which – being harassed by NATO’s enlargement towards its borders – since 2008, in the war in Georgia, has given a demonstration of warlike power that has not been seen for some time.

In fact, the concrete rise of emerging powers is the reason why – and contrary to what Professor Layne maintains – the United States would be undermining the multilateral institutions it once supported.

This attitude has led them to act in a truculent and imperial manner, even against their traditional and historical European allies, which denotes the dysfunctional character of the Trump administration for the United States’ own internal system, that is, the figure of Trump would have driven a radicalization of this new American strategy.

But paradoxically, while in rhetorical terms Donald Trump made this new strategy clearer, in practice his erratic figure became a serious factor in the internal destabilization of the American system, and thus his permanence became seen as a threat to the establishment of the United States.

Thus the election of Joe Biden would serve as a factor in the recomposition of the establishment in the face of a weakened hegemon who loses more and more global influence.

The moment is grave, and the lack of a concrete response to a vaccine, combined with the surprising resurgence of the virus in Europe, shed light on the depth of the crisis and the risk that silently haunts the minds of world leaders: the ghost of rebellions.

According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, “Those who have spoken with Premier Giuseppe Conte describe him impressed by the images of street protests.

As the virus advances again over Italy, the government’s popularity drops sharply.

For historical and geographical reasons Europe is still considered the sounding board of the world, and social dissatisfaction on the continent with the new measures to contain the virus is visible among workers and small businesses, desperate with the ghost of unemployment and bankruptcy.

According to unsuspected IMF researchers Tahsin Saadi Sedik and Rui Xu, “in the years following the pandemics, the countries most affected saw an increase in social unrest. Based on this historical trend, the Covid-19 pandemic may pose a threat to the social fabric in many countries. When inequality is high, the pandemic can fuel social unrest”.

Such a situation could lead to another risk already witnessed along the so-called first wave: the increase of military escalation.

In recent times, one of Brazil’s greatest thinkers, UFRJ professor José Luís Fiori, has been defending the thesis that the current hegemonic power, the United States, when threatened by emerging powers, would have chosen to destroy the Bretton Woods system and go for an all-militaristic valley against its rivals.

What at first could be interpreted as a demonstration of weakness, or a proof that the hegemon would be in decline, in fact, according to Fiori, reinforces the hypothesis that every hegemonic power tends to expand uninterruptedly in order to remain in the leadership of the system, but when threatened, if necessary, it is capable of destroying the system it itself created in order to stay ahead.

Against this backdrop, and as has been happening in Europe, the internal pressure that the pandemic has generated in American society could most likely trigger a reaction from the new democratic government to the outside; that instead of being mere aggressive rhetoric – as has been happening with Trump – could result in some new theater of war, both in the Middle East and next door in Venezuela.

One thing is certain: the industrial-military complex is thirsting for a new war to call its own, and with the democrats back in power, everything gets easier.

The longer a solution to contain the virus takes, the more social dissatisfaction will spread due to the economic collapse generated by the delay.

As in other times when systemic impasses have occurred, it is not difficult to remember the escalation of interstate conflict at the beginning of the 20th century – with antagonistic protagonists the United Kingdom and Germany – which soon deepened into widespread systemic chaos; then descended into popular rebellions.

Hegemonic dispute, abrupt technological changes, precarious work; general and diffuse dissatisfaction: the pandemic is phosphorus.

Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor of laws (LL.B), MA student in International Relations at the University of Évora (Portugal), writer and geopolitical analyst. He currently maintains a column on international politics at the centennial Brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil.

China’s Economy of Peace

China’s Economy of Peace

December 14, 2020

by Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

In the context of China’s webinar on 14 December 2020, on the topic of “China’s New Development Paradigm and High-Quality Belt and Road Cooperation”, organized by the China Center for Contemporary World Studies, International Department of CPC Central Committee and the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, my presentation was on China’s Economy of Peace.
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China, about a decade ago, has deliberately embarked on an Economy of Peace. A strategy that China pursues, unimpressed by constant aggression from the west, which are mostly led by the United States. Is it perhaps this Chinese steadfast, non-aggressive way of constant forward-creation and embracing more and more allies on her way – that has made China such a success story? Overcoming violence by non-violence is engrained in 5000 years of Chinese history.

Despite relentlessly repeated assertions by the west, China’s objective is not to conquer the world or to “replace” the United States as the new empire. Quite to the contrary. The alliance China-Russia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is seeking a multipolar world, with more justice for all – i. e. fairer trade in the sense of “win-win”, where all parties are benefitting equally. This is also a policy pursued by the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, the 15-country trade agreement signed at the 37th ASEAN Summit – 11 November 2020, in Vietnam, as well as by President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched in 2013 by the President himself.

China does not coerce cooperation – but offers peaceful cooperation. In 2014, Mr. Xi traveled to Germany to offer Madame Merkel for Germany to become – at that time – the western most link to the BRI, or the New Silk Road. This would have been an opening for all of Europe. However, Madame Merkel, having to follow Washington’s mandates – did not respond positively. President Jinping returned to Beijing, no hard feelings. And China continued her persistent course of connecting the countries of our Mother Earth with transport infrastructure, inter-country industrial ventures, education and research projects, as well as cultural exchanges to enrich the world – all the while respecting individual countries’ monetary and political sovereignty.

Many country leaders from Africa and the Global South in general express openly their contentment and satisfaction to have China as a partner and for dealing with China on the basis of equals. With the west, especially the US, there is bullying and coercion, unequal contracts, and often total disrespect for legally signed contracts.
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Meanwhile, the west lives in a permanent state of hypocrisy. It bashes China – actually without any reason, other than that the dying Anglo-Saxon-American empire mandates it to its partners, especially the European NATO allies – under threats of sanctions. Unfortunately, spineless Europe mostly complies.

Yet, having outsourced – for economic and profit reasons – most production processes to reliable, efficient and cheaper-labor China, the west depends very much on China for its supply chains. The covid-crisis, first wave, has clearly shown how dependent the west is on goods produced in China from sophisticated electronic equipment to pharmaceuticals.

As an example: About 90% or more of antibiotics or ingredients for antibiotics are Made in China. Similar percentages apply to other vital western imports. – But China does not “punish” or sanction. China creates and moves forward offering her alliance to the rest of the world.

China has also developed a new digital international Renminbi (RMB) or Yuan that may soon be rolled out for use of monetary transactions – of all kinds, including transfers, trade and even as a reserve currency. The yuan is already an ever-stronger reserve currency. This trend will be further enhanced through the RCEP and BRI.

Of course, the US is afraid that their dollar-hegemony they have built up since WWII with Fiat money backed by nothing, may suffer as international trading currency which the Anglo-American banking cartel practically imposed on the world, will come to an end; and the US-dollar’s standing as a reserve currency may rapidly decline.

And yes, the yuan will gradually replace the US dollar as reserve currency – and this – because countries’ treasurers realize that the yuan is a stable, gold-backed currency, also supported by a solid economy – the only economy of any importance in the world that will grow in the covid-year 2020, by perhaps as much as 3.5%, while western economies will falter badly. Predictions are dire for the US and Europe, between 12% (EU predictions) and up to 30% / 35% (US FED prediction).

The US dollar and its dominion over the international transfer system through SWIFT – has been used massively for sanctioning non-compliant countries, including totally illegal confiscation of assets – even countries reserve assets – case in point is Venezuela.

Escaping this coercive dollar dominion is the dream of many countries. Therefore, trading, investing and dealing with the Chinese currency, will be a welcome opportunity for many sovereign nations.
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China’s economic achievements and forward-looking perspectives may be summarized in two major events or global programs, the just signed free trade agreement with 14 countries – the 10 ASEAN countries, plus Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, altogether, including China 15 countries. The so-called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, was in negotiations during eight years – and achieved to pull together a group of countries for free trade, of some 2.2 billion people, commanding about 30% of the world’s GDP. This is a never before reached agreement in size, value and tenor.

In addition to the largest such trade agreement in human history, it also links to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), or One Belt, One Road (OBOR), which in itself comprises already more than 130 countries and more than 30 international organizations. Also, China and Russia have a longstanding strategic partnership, containing bilateral agreements that too enter into this new trade fold – plus the countries of the Central Asia Economic Union (CAEU), consisting mostly of former Soviet Republics, are also integrated into this eastern trade block.

The myriad of agreements and sub-agreements between Asian-Pacific countries that will cooperate with RCEP, is bound together by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), founded on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai as an intergovernmental organization, composed of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The SCO is little known and little talked-about in the west.

The purpose of the SCO is to ensure security and maintain stability across the vast Eurasian region, join forces to counteract emerging challenges and threats, and enhance trade, as well as cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

Much of the funding for RCEP and BRI projects may come in the form of low-interest loans from China’s Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) and other Chinese and participating countries’ national funding sources. In the hard times emerging from the covid crisis, many countries may need grant assistance to be able to recover as quickly as possible from their huge socioeconomic losses, created by the pandemic. In this sense, it is likely that the new Silk Road may support a special “Health Road” across the Asian Continent.

The RCEP may, as “byproduct”, integrate the huge Continent of Eurasia that spans all the way from western Europe to what is called Asia and covering the Middle East as well as North Africa, of some 55 million square kilometers (km2), and a population of about 5.4 billion people, close to 70% of the world population – See map (Wikipedia).

The crux of the RCEP agreement’s trade deals is that they will be carried out in local currencies and in yuan – no US-dollars. The RCEP is a massive instrument for dedollarizing, primarily the Asia-Pacific Region, and gradually the rest of the world.

Much of the BRI infrastructure investments, or New Silk Road, may be funded by other currencies than the US-dollar. China’s new digital Renminbi (RMB) or yuan may soon become legal tender for international payments and transfers, and will drastically reduce the use of the US-dollar.

The US-dollar is already in massive decline. When some 20-25 years ago about 90% of all worldwide held reserve-assets were denominated in US-dollars, this proportion has shrunk by today to below 60% – and keeps declining. The emerging international RMB / yuan, together with a RCEP- and BRI-strengthened Chinese economy, may further contribute to a dedollarization, as well as dehegemonization of the United States in the world. And as said before, the international digital RMB / yuan may progressively also be replacing the US-dollar, as well as euro reserves in countries’ coffers around the globe. The US-dollar may eventually return to be just a local US-currency, as it should be.

Under China’s philosophy, the unilateral world may transform into a multi-polar world. The RCEP and New Silk Road combination are rapidly pursuing this noble objective, a goal that will bring much more equilibrium into the world.

Maybe for a few years more to come, the west, led by the US – and always backed by the Pentagon and NATO, may not shy away from threatening countries participating in China’s projects, but to no avail. Under Tao philosophy, China will move forward with her partners, like steadily flowing water, constantly creating, avoiding obstacles, in pursuit of her honorable goal – a world in Peace with a bright common future.

*****
Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals such as Global Research; New Eastern Outlook (NEO), Information Clearing House (ICH) and more. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the 28th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Moscow, December 10, 2020

Source

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the 28th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Moscow, December 10, 2020
File Photo

11 December 202000:22

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the 28th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Moscow, December 10, 2020

Colleagues, friends,

Fyodor Lukyanov spoke about the role of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy. Who would have thought at the time when the Council was created, and I was invited to join in as a co-founder, that the Council would live to this day. The experience gained over the decades of its functioning is instrumental in our work and makes it possible to bounce ideas off the expert community, which is deeply versed in international matters and is keenly interested in them. This is important.

This year was truly challenging and pivotal. Humanity was unprepared for the differences and mixed trends that had been piling up on the agenda over years and exacerbated confusion in international affairs. The habitual way of life of hundreds of millions of people and states, as well as ordinary citizens, has been upended, many sectors of the economy found themselves on the verge of collapse, business activity has significantly decreased, global cooperation chains were disrupted and the unemployment rates went up. Closed borders abruptly reduced the chances for maintaining multifaceted contacts between the countries and the people.

The scale and inertia of the events that we are witnessing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic make it impossible to say when life will get back to normal. I hope Mr Lukyanov was right when he confidently stated, albeit with reservations, that we will be able to meet in person in the spring. So far, humanity and its best representatives in the person of healthcare professionals are just trying to understand where we are and when this might end. Many people are saying that this will never end, and we will have to live with it just like the annual flu, but with much more severe consequences. One of the key lessons of the pandemic is that no one can secure themselves against these cross-border threats.

The pandemic affected literally everyone. Clearly, this kind of global cataclysm can only be overcome by uniting and rising above fleeting differences. President Putin has repeatedly stated this firm position adopted by Russia. Unfortunately, a number of countries, primarily the United States and its allies, are trying to take advantage of this situation in their geopolitical interests and ignore the needs that are common to humanity.

The term “common to humanity” does not at all mean an average, consensus-based or accommodating understanding of how the inter-civilisational diversity should be respected. This manifests itself in way too many areas of modern international life, including the interpretation of multilateralism energetically promoted and propagated by our Western colleagues. This is also happening in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact that people in America and Europe are suffering from COVID-19 as badly as people in other countries.

The need for conducting a mutually respectful dialogue and rejecting artificially created confrontational schemes is nowhere to be seen. Just think of the indiscriminate accusations against China regarding the spread of the disease. There was an attempt to blame the PRC for everything that happened. This undermined the efforts to achieve unity, including of the research capacities, in order to come up with effective responses. In addition to healthcare aspects, we must take a closer look at the international bodies in charge of the health and well-being of the people. The WHO-related developments are quite telling in his regard. Ideas are being put forward to create some non-governmental institutions mandated to determine the international community’s policy. This is a clear attempt to sideline the World Health Organisation. These developments are reminiscent of neo-colonial approaches and habits and show the attempts to restrain the formation of new global centres and to punish those who pursue an independent foreign policy. This can also be seen in the “vaccine race.” We are well aware of attempts to oppose the new concept of the so-called rules-based international order to everything that has been created after establishing the UN and forming a large block of universal international legal instruments.

Russia believes it is imperative to look for ways to unite countries and governments, to look for a constructive agenda relying on the principles of collegiality and equality, which should contribute to de-escalating international tensions and ensuring the predictability of global processes. Later, we will discuss the initiatives that Russia has been promoting to this end. A CSTO summit and a Collective Security Council meeting took place on December 2. Among other decisions, the participants adopted a statement by the heads of state on forming a just and sustainable international order. Among other initiatives, this document proposes setting up a meeting of authorised representatives of the CSTO, the CIS, the SCO, the OSCE, NATO and the EU and seeing if these organisations can sit down and form a common agenda, jointly identify problems and, ideally, outline ways to overcome them. This is not something radically revolutionary. In 1999, the Platform for Co-operative Security was adopted at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul. It proclaimed the unification of the efforts of the OSCE and other sub-regional organisations in the Euro-Atlantic space. Some time ago, before the pandemic, we told our Western partners that it would be nice to take advantage of that consensus and try to build bridges between these organisations, instead of watching them build up confrontational potential, but our Western colleagues chose to step aside. Cooperative security and engagement of the bodies created in the post-Soviet space were important in the 1990s (in this case, in 1999), when the West still hoped that we would follow the path charted by the winners of the Cold War. Now, we have officially submitted a proposal on behalf of the CSTO heads of state. Let’s see how the West will respond to it.

Our goal is clear. We seek stability, fair opportunities for all states, including, of course, Russia. Gunboat diplomacy or democratic or any other sort of messianism is hardly an option if we want to accomplish this. I mentioned the rules which the West wants to base the international order on. There’s an “effective multilateralism” initiative which is openly opposed to multilateralism within the UN. There’s a tendency to interpret it as the need to return to Euro-Atlantic solidarity without exemptions. We are seeing this. I believe that more positive and sustainable results can be achieved through joining efforts based on the observance of the norms and principles of the UN Charter. We are upholding this consistently. President Putin’s initiative to hold a summit of the UN Security Council’s permanent members is part of our policy. It is imperative that they realise their responsibility under the UN Charter and act upon this responsibility. We must do our best to defuse this tension acting together. Heads of all UN Security Council permanent member states gave their consent. The coronavirus pandemic thwarted our efforts to agree on specific dates. However, we are working on it and agreeing on the concept and the potential outcomes of this summit.

We realise that the UN is not a static structure. It needs reform, including the reform of the UN Security Council. Our position is absolutely clear and consistent. It is necessary to increase the representation of the developing countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa if we want to make this body more representative. Only this approach will add value to reforming the UN Security Council. Everything else is up for discussion, but it is unlikely that an increase in Western representation on the Security Council will add diversity of opinions to this central body, which is in charge of peace and security on the planet. In any case, it is necessary to strive for the broadest possible agreement between the member states, so everything will depend on compromises. We are ready to discuss these compromises based on a balance of interests. In principle, this is the key to what needs to be accomplished if we want to ensure stability and harmony in the world inasmuch as this harmony is possible.

We believe that respect for the cultural and civilisational specifics of the modern world and refusal to impose one development model and values on everyone is an absolutely necessary step if we want to calm down the current situation. We see that this approach is shared by the overwhelming majority of participants in international communication. We disagree with the Western attempts to portray Russia as a country in isolation or a geopolitical loner. The viewpoint of our Western colleagues whereby everyone who disagrees with them is a lonely state probably has the right to exist.

However, we can see how the positions that we share are promoted within BRICS, the SCO, the CSTO and the CIS. The EAEU is actively working to align its plans with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. There is the G20. It has been in existence for quite a while, but was brought to the highest level and its meetings were made regular after the 2008 crisis. At first they met twice a year, then once a year. The G20 is the recognition of the fact that the G7 (and even the G8 in its old format) is not capable of resolving all international problems. The G20 includes the G7, the BRICS countries and a number of other like-minded states. The recognition that the G20 is necessary in order to develop generally acceptable approaches based on the balance of interests is a highly symptomatic trend.

Reviewing peace problems should not be driven by ideology, but rather be approached on the basis of equality. President Putin’s initiative to form a Greater Eurasian Partnership is going in the same vein. The partnership is supposed to unite continental efforts with the participation of the EAEU, the SCO and ASEAN and be open to all countries of our vast continent, including the EU states in the long run. This is a long process, but it is crucial to set this goal.

Russia’s proposals regarding strategic stability, arms control and European security are indicative of our constant readiness to achieve mutual understanding. You are aware of our position on renewing the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty (START), a moratorium on deploying ground-based intermediate and shorter-range missiles and de-escalating tensions along the Russia-NATO contact line. We came up with a proposal to agree on an arrangement that the exercises on both sides are conducted at a distance from the contact line, and also agree on the minimum distances that may not be violated by military aircraft and warships of Russia or NATO.

Conceptually, we came up with a proposal a long time ago (and failed to see any reciprocity on the part of the United States) to confirm, in the statement made by our countries, and perhaps in the Russia-NATO format, the unacceptability of nuclear war. Many of you have probably seen the recent remarks by US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea, where he almost ridiculed our proposal and called on any future US Administration to never agree with the statement on the unacceptability of nuclear war.

We believe that implementing these initiatives or, at least, a professional straight-to-the-point and substantive discussion of the subject, possibly along with other steps, would help improve the overall atmosphere in Russia-West relations.  Dialogue itself on these matters would improve it. But so far these ideas have been hanging in the air.

Leaving behind almost everything that has been achieved so far, including our proposals, Mr Billingslea puts forward confrontational ideas, including sanctions against all buyers of military products from Russia and China. This is a fairly telling philosophy, which, unfortunately, has not met any serious opposition in Washington so far.

If we take a close look at what we have heard from the North Atlantic camp so far, we can come to a conclusion that it has consciously opted for not just a policy of containment, but confrontation. Perhaps this approach underlies its unwillingness to admit that the world must change. We are now witnessing two opposite trends in Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron is strongly promoting the EU’s strategic autonomy. The trend embodied by Germany is based on the assumption that defending Europe without the United States is impossible. We have already asked about whom they want to defend it from, but haven’t received a clear answer yet. Given this, multipolarity, which Yevgeny Primakov foresaw many years ago, has shown its objective nature. In an effort to stop it, they are doing whatever it takes in order to minimise the number of potential poles that have the strength and courage to uphold national interests.

One of Washington’s primary goals is to make the EU lose its strategic independence and return to the fold of Euro-Atlantic unity, where everyone is aware of who pays the piper and calls the tune.

Despite the above, we are open to an equal dialogue. Most importantly, our counterparts must be willing to engage. We will keep the communication channels open until they are. Our proposals and initiatives remain on the negotiating table. They have been reiterated many times. It is enough for our partners to know that they remain valid. However, in order to move ahead, we need our Western colleagues to respond to them.

Keeping open the channels for a dialogue on all matters, we will continue to work on the newly available opportunities in the economy, culture, science and people-to-people contacts. We do not fence ourselves off from this. Those who want to impose their agenda on us and ignore our status of a subject in international affairs must understand that we are not going to either make excuses or seek approval for our actions. Threats, sanctions or attempts to come up with other punishments are absolutely pointless and counterproductive. It is strange that the West has not realised this so far.

We do not need interaction with the West any more than the West needs Russia and what it has to offer. If our Western colleagues prefer to stick to certain rules and concepts that they themselves invented when they talk with each other, this is up to them. They can build a dialogue with other participants in international life, including Russia, solely on the basis of a generally accepted code of conduct. You can call it the rules enshrined in the UN Charter, namely, respect for the sovereign equality of states, the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

We are pursuing our own foreign policy, which has taken shape over the past two decades. It is aimed at ensuring the country’s security and creating the most favourable external environment for achieving our internal development goals. We are aware that the goal of the West is to prevent us from creating this particular external environment that is beneficial for our internal development. Everything that is being done to contain Russia is clearly done to this end. Attempts to destroy external opportunities that can be used to promote Russia’s growth continue unabated, but, in any case, there’s more to the world than the West. In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we wanted to become part of something, but we now realise that there isn’t much we can become part of. At least, the West is not building anything of its own. Indeed, President Macron has come up with a proposal to conduct an analytical and philosophical dialogue about whether modern capitalism can meet the needs of the people and resolve related problems.

If we take Western development models, we have no place to fit in. The coronavirus, as if everything else wasn’t enough, showed it very convincingly. We need to build something ourselves. This is a fairly ambitious and complex goal, but it calls for immediate action.

NATO and the EU Are Sending a “message” to Russia. Again.

THE SAKER • DECEMBER 10, 2020

I lived most of my life in Europe and even though by the time I moved to the US (2002) Europe was already in a very bad shape, what I see happening there now never ceases to amaze me. In fact, it makes me wonder if the Europeans or, more accurately, the European leaders have gone completely insane. Either that, or maybe they have some kind of death wish?

The first thing which absolutely amazes me is the fact that the EU leaders are acting as if this was still the 1980s when Europe still mattered and when the European continent was relatively prosperous. And even when EU leaders acknowledge the problems facing Europe today (crime, immigration, lockdowns, civil unrest, tensions with Russia, self-defeating sanctions under US pressure, etc.), they systematically deal with them (so to speak) by minimizing their actual and potential impact and consequences. And if nothing else matters, they use the riot police forces to “solve” the issue.

Then there is NATO which now seems to believe that mantric incantations and some really dumb military “for show” activities along the borders of Russia will terrify the Kremlin and turn Russians into Poles. Apparently, the entire analytical apparatus of NATO has never opened a history book. Either that, or they have decided to ignore the lessons of history, because “this time around” the Russians will definitely surrender.

To be fair, all the military operations along the Russian border bother the Russians only because they show that the “collective West” still hates and fears Russia. But in purely military terms, they are a joke.

Not so long ago the endless western provocations eventually got a reaction out of Russia: the Russians re-created of the First Guards Tank Army (FGTA). For most people, the concept of “Tank Army” means little. A “Guards Tank Army” even less. So rather than use any Russian sources (Putin’s never sleeping “hackers” and “agents”), let’s take a source which nobody can suspect of being pro-Russian: Wikipedia. Please check this Wikipedia entry for the history of the First Guard Tank Army”. At the bottom of the article, there is a partial list of units and subunits composing this Army. Check it out:

  • Army Headquarters (Odintsovo, Moscow Oblast)
  • 60th Command Brigade (Selyatino village near Odintsovo, Moscow Oblast)
  • 2nd Guards Motor Rifle ‘Tamanskaya’ Division (Kalininets, Moscow Oblast)
  • 4th Guards Tank ‘Kantemirovskaya’ Division (Naro-Fominsk, Moscow Oblast)
  • 6th Separate Tank ‘Częstochowa’ Brigade (Mulino, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast)
  • 27th Separate Guards Motor Rifle ‘Sevastopol’ Brigade (Mosrentgen, Moscow City)
  • 112th Guards Missile ‘Novorossiysk’ Brigade (Shuya, Ivanovo Oblast) (9K720 Iskander)
  • 288th Artillery ‘Warsaw’ Brigade (Mulino, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast)
  • 49th Missile Air Defence Brigade (Krasnyi Bor, Smolensk Oblast) (Buk-M2)
  • 96th Separate ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance) Brigade (Sormovo, Nizhny Novgorod City)
  • unknown Combat Engineer Regiment (in formation until the end of 2018) (unknown location in Moscow Oblast)
  • 20th Separate NBC Defence Regiment (Tsentralny, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast)
  • 69th Separate Logistics Brigade (Dzerzhinsk, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast)

No need to go into all the details, but let’s just say two things about this Tank Army: first, it has a lot more capabilities than “just” tanks and, second, this was the Army which really broke the back of the Nazi forces in WWII: it destroyed or captured 5,500 tanks, 491 self-propelled guns, 1,161 aircraft, 1,251 armored vehicles and armored personnel carriers, 4,794 guns of various calibers, 1,545 mortars, 5,797 machine guns, 31064 vehicles and other military equipment. The 1st guards tank army fought its way from Kursk to Berlin, which stretched for three thousand kilometers (source).

By the way, the FGTA will also get the very newest and best Russian tanks (there is no point in deploying the Armata family of armored vehicles elsewhere but towards the western borders of Russia), and the two most famous tank divisions of modern Russia.

Furthermore, we need to understand that this Tank Army will not operate in isolation, but will be directly supported by the Western and Southern Military Districts, the Black and Baltic Sea Fleets (equipped with the newest Russian hypersonic missiles) and the Aerospace Forces. Even the powerful Northern Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla (!) could, if needed, provide support for central European operations thanks to the long reach of Russian missiles.

So what is the purpose of the FGTA? Think of it as a powerful armored “fist” whose main goal is to stop any enemy attack and then punch through its defenses. Russia also announced that she will double the size of her Airborne Forces (currently at 4 Airborne/Air Assault Divisions, 4 Air Assault Brigades, 1 Special Operations Brigade, with roughly 45’000+ soldiers). Besides these Airborne/Air Assault units, the Russian military can also make use of her Spetsnaz Forces (8 Spetsnaz Brigades and 1 Spetsnaz Regiment according to the IISS’s Military Balance 2020). True, only part of these units will go to the Western and Southern Military Districts, but that is already much more than what NATO could realistically hope to be able to cope with (for details, see here).

Here is a short video to give you a sense of how Russian Airborne Forces (all fully mechanized, unlike their western “equivalents”) are preparing for next generation wars:

Oh, and did I mention that the entire Russian nuclear triad has been modernized (or is currently in the process of modernization)?

Now comes the interesting question:

What kind of forces does NATO have which could deal with this kind of power?

On paper, a lot. In terms of raw numbers (what military analysts call “bean counts”), the West has much larger forces than the Russian ones.

But, in reality, very, very little, at least of military value.

What is NATO today? First, a coalition of small countries trying to find the courage to bark at the Russian bear the way dozens of chihuahuas would bark at a big brown bear. These small countries are what I call “prostitute states” – they don’t want sovereignty, freedom or dignity. All they want is for Uncle Shmuel to protect them when they bark and for the EU to give them tons of money as a reward for their prostitution to the collective West. They are apparently unaware that Uncle Shmuel is a world champion in destroying countries, but in terms of actually winning wars, Uncle Shmuel is one of the worst war losers in history (in that sense, the US and Russian militaries are polar opposites). They are also apparently unaware that the EU is broke and in a deep crisis. Besides, even the normally compliant the Germans are now getting fed up spending billions of Euros on their clueless and hopeless eastern neighbors (and I don’t blame them!).

There are also more civilized countries in NATO, countries which used to have some very real military power and a history of winning and losing wars: Germany, the UK, France, etc – what Rumsfeld called “Old Europe”. They are all former imperial powers of their own, and they are much more aware of what it takes to win (or lose) a war.

Their problem, however, is that they are now true US protectorates/colonies, with no real foreign policy of their own. Their top leaders, political and military, are also prostitutes, just like “New Europe”, so while they have a wealth of historical experience to draw from, they cannot act on it because of the iron grip Uncle Shmuel has on their political throats. Even France, which used to have some real independence, under such leaders as de Gaulle and Mitterrand, now is just another voiceless and clueless protectorate.

Which leaves the US. I won’t repeat it all here, but to sum it all up: there are only two segments of the US military forces which are still meaningfully combat capable: the nuclear triad and the US submarine forces (strategic and attack). Both use mostly old, even outdated, equipment, both waste absolutely fantastic sums of money, but both are still for real. The problem with such a lop-sided force is that while it can devastate any enemy, it can only do so at the cost of being devastated by the Russian counter-strikes. In other words, by the time the US SSN and SSBN are engaged against Russia, we will be dealing with a large-scale war (even more so if nukes are used, which they probably will, at least on the tactical level). Oh, and this too: no amount of subs and nukes can “protect” any part of Europe from a (entirely hypothetical) Russian attack (conventional or not). For that, you still need the one thing the US has the least of: combat capable “boots on the ground”.

Did you know that in the 1990s Russia had almost no defenses in the western direction? Nothing bigger than division/brigade sized forces. And they were all in very bad shape. And the Kremlin, under Eltsin, only wanted to further “reform” (i.e. “destroy”) the Russian military.

So what brought about such dramatic changes in the Russian force posture?

The EU/US/NATO war against the Serbian nation.

And the endless western threats, of course.

One could be excused for thinking that the collective West would have realized this mistake and that now they would try something smarter?

Nope!

They did exactly the same thing again, this time with the Kaliningrad enclave.

And they are now openly talking about “dealing with Russia from a position of force”!

Last time Germany tried that, it didn’t go too well, did it?

Let me summarize what recently happened: the Russians mostly deployed defensive systems in Kaliningrad: air defenses, early warning radars, signals intelligence, fighters, interceptors, electronic warfare units, etc. According to Russian sources, these systems had the ability to spy on much of northern Europe and were capable of simultaneously engaging 475 aerial targets (missiles, aircraft, etc.). Furthermore, these capabilities provided much needed support for the operations of the Baltic Sea Fleet.

Western analysts, always in search for some kind of buzzword or fancy sounding acronym, described that as “anti-access and area denial” aka A2/AD, and proceeded to use it as a justification for more money spending on completely unrealistic plans (see here for a good example). But that was not all, NATO commanders openly stated that they would “send” all sorts of “signals” to “deter” Russia. Again. And, so they did. They sent comparatively tiny forces to their 3B+PU (that is 3 Balts plus Poland and the Ukraine) protectorates where they played at all sorts of seriously sounding wargames.

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, but NATO analysts apparently don’t know that. But what had to happen did happen: Russia has now announced that she will create a full Motor-Rifle Division inside the Kaliningrad enclave. And this division won’t be “sending” any “messages” to 3B+PU, NATO or anybody else. But they will train for real war, the kind of war which Russia always waged on her enemies when attacked. Bravo NATO! Now you are going to have to deal with a much more dangerous force than before, well done!

As for the Poles, they are now claiming that the entire “Fort Trump” plan, of which they were so proud of, was just a concept. Why? Because these losers are now terrified that the Biden team will remember how they backed Trump during the past four years (as did the rest of the 3B+PUs). This really is worth repeating: unlike those countries which heroically resisted the AngloZionist Empire (Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, etc), or those who at least did not volunteer to be occupied (Japan, Korea, Germany), the 3B+PU are the only countries actually willing to pay (while being mostly broke!) for the US military to occupy them. Just from that perspective any Russian will immediately conclude that irrespective of their numbers on paper, these country’s actual combat potential is close to zero (the Russians remember very well that all the many units composed of volunteers from many European countries occupied by Germany and who were fighting on the side of Germany during WWII were only good at massacring and terrorizing civilians, but when faced with the regular Red Army they *always* ran like hell).

Finally, if you think of NATO as a structure, then the US military is both its foundation and its cornerstone. With the US entering the worst crisis of its (admittedly short) history, it is completely unable to perform even its normal tasks, nevermind fighting the most powerful military force on the planet.

If the EU leaders had any kind of awareness of these realities, they could immediately embark on a series of steps to stop this insanity. Amongst these could be such “unthinkable” steps as:

  • Declaring that Russia and/or Putin are not always responsible for all the evil and problems in the universe.
  • Immediately being to take small, but steady, confidence building measures, including resuming normal contacts between western and Russian militaries.
  • Resuming economic collaboration with Russia, not because anybody has to like or approve of Putin, but simply to give the best possible conditions to the European industries.
  • Stop parroting the idiocies à la Skripal/Navalnyi cooked up about Russia by the Anglos and tell them that they can fight their own (useless) propaganda wars if they like them so much.
  • Getting together with the Russians and any mentally sane central European leaders to discuss what to do together to save the Ukraine from its current implosion (which will very negatively affect the EU, much more so than Russia).
  • Define a list of policy issues in which Russia and the EU could work together, stuff like immigration, crime, terrorism, Takifirism, space, health crises, etc.

These are just a few, basic, suggestions. A real list could be several pages long and be much wider than the few options I listed. None of them require anything painful or crucial from Europe, just good old common sense.

But no, not only are EU leaders not making even small steps to return to sanity, they still think they can bully and threaten Russia into some kind of compliance. I wish somebody told them something as simple as “Russia ain’t Poland”, really.

At the core of it all, there is a cultural difference: Europeans (and nevermind their US bosses!) are not really afraid of war. That is why they are not really prepared for it at all. The Russians are very, very afraid of war, because they know and remember it. This is why the West is all threats and no action, while Russia is all actions and no threats. From the Russian point of view, the best way to avoid war is to really, really prepare for it. One could argue that 1000 years of Russian history were a never ending lesson in preparation for war, especially since most wars fought by Russia were existential.

As my friend Andrei Martyanov recently mentioned in his blog, “Russians also have a saying: once every century Europeans gather their forces and go to Russia to get the shit beaten out of them”. He is right. But last time around Russia lost 30+ millions of people in truly horrible battles. She also lost most of her economy. Then, in the 1990s, Russia almost completely disappeared as a country. As a result, there is this notion of “never again – enough is enough!” underlying most Russian actions today.

The US and Europe can only ignore this at the greatest possible risk for their own survival. Take it from Putin himself, who recently declared “as a citizen of Russia and the head of the Russian state I must ask myself: Why would we want a world without Russia?”

KURD RUNNER 2020

South Front

The situation in the northern Syrian provinces of Aleppo and al-Hasakah is once again escalating amid speculations on the upcoming Turkish advance in the area.

In recent weeks, the Turkish military and its proxies increased the intensity of strikes on positions of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and even on nearby positions of the Syrian Army along the contact line in the northeast of Syria. For example, on the evening of December 6, Turkish strikes hit a position of the Syrian Army near Tall Tamr destroying a BMP vehicle and reportedly injuring or killing several soldiers. Meanwhile, fighters affiliated with the SDF attacked a position of the Turkish Army near Bab al-Khayr. According to pro-Kurdish sources, 2 Turkish soldiers were allegedly killed or injured in the attack. On the same day, the Turkish military and its proxies launched over 150 artillery shells at targets near and inside the town of Ain Issa. The shelling that lasted for several hours reportedly killed at least one SDF member and injured several others.

The activity of Turkish forces near Ain Issa was permanently high in the last few months but in recent weeks the situation deteriorated even further. A nearby observation post of the Russian Military Police and a position of the Syrian Army did not stop the Turks from violating the ceasefire. In its own turn, pro-Ankara sources insist that the tensions in the region are a result of regular sabotage attacks by the SDF and affiliated Kurdish rebels near Ain Issa itself and in entire northern part of Syria in general. For example, Kurdish groups linked with the SDF regularly inflict casualties on Turkish forces and their proxies in Afrin.  While publicly the SDF pretends that it is not linked with these attacks, nobody with at least one brain cell believes in this.

The strong SDF links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish separatist armed group that seeks to create an independent Kurdish state on the territory of southeastern Turkey, and if it is possible northern Iraq and northern Syria, also does not contribute to stability. Turkey sees the group as a vital threat to its national security. Recently, the SDF Commander-in-Chief Ferhat Abdi Şahin officially confirmed that at least 4,000 PKK members died in the battles in Syria fighting on the side of the SDF. Abdi, better known by his nom de guerre Mazloum Kobani, is himself a senior member of the PKK and a personal friend of the group’s leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been imprisoned in Turkey since 1999.

So, there is no surprise that Ankara sees claims of the United States leadership and SDF officials that the Kurdish-led group is not an offshoot of the PKK, but a ‘democratically-oriented multiethnic alliance’ as a bad joke and the highest level of hypocrisy. In these conditions, the fate of the SDF is predetermined and the group remains under the permanent threat of a large-scale Turkish military attack.

At the same time, the main backer of the SDF, the United States, has never hurried up to openly back the group against its own important ally in the Middle East and a member of NATO. Therefore, on the one hand, in its actions, the SDF relies on US support and has been consistently sabotaging Damascus’ proposals on the political and security reintegration into Syria. On the other hand, the Kurdish-led group has already lost a large part of the territories that it had controlled as a result of Turkish attacks.

This posture led to expected results and the last time the SDF even asked the Russians and the Syrian Army to rescue it from the Turkish advance in the northeast. The deployment of the Russian and Syrian units along the contact line put an end to Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in 2019. Immediately after this, the Kurds turned their back on their rescuers and started cooperation with Washington in the field looting Syrian oil on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. Now, when the situation near Ain Issa is once again on the brink of military confrontation with Turkey, pro-SDF media have been crying and complaining about the alleged Russian demand to surrender the town to the Syrian Army to prevent the escalation. SDF sources call this ‘unfair’ and ‘unacceptable’.

It looks like that for the current Kurdish SDF leadership on Washington’s payroll it would be more acceptable to lose another chunk of territory and provoke a bloodbath than to finally normalize relations with Damascus.

CHICKEN KIEV MEETS COLD TURKEY: BLACK SEA AXIS EMERGES?

South Front

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

On the face of it, an alliance between Turkey and Ukraine seems like a rather odd creation, yet one that may surprisingly durable simply because neither country has anywhere else to turn. What practically dooms them to a partnership if not an outright alliance is their unenviable geographic and geopolitical position of occupying the strange “no man’s land” between Russia, NATO, and the Middle East. It is, of course, largely a predicament of their own making. Ukraine, with considerable Western backing and encouragement but nevertheless mostly through efforts of a faction of its own oligarchy, opted out of the Russia-centered network of loose alliances, trade partnerships, and other forms of cooperation that were mutually beneficial to the two in the previous two decades. But that defection was not rewarded by the West in a way the likes of Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk, Avakov, Parubiy, and other architects of the Maidan coup expected. Merely being stridently anti-Russian did not prove enough to warrant a shower of US and European cash, only onerous IMF loans which moreover come with conditions Kiev elites are in no hurry to abide by. EU foreign policy chief Josef Borrel lecturing Kiev that the European Union is not an “ATM machine” delivered that point loud and clear: Kiev is supposed to privatize whatever crown jewels its economy still has (at this point, mainly agricultural land), fight corruption of its own elites and facilitate the corruption of Western elites. Joseph Robinette Biden Junior is hardly the only Western politician with a talentless son in need of a lucrative sinecure. There are entire Western companies eager to participate in the thinly disguised plunder that the privatization of Ukraine’s economy will inevitably turn into. A Kiev court’s recent decision to declare the country’s anti-corruption institutions that were painstakingly stood up with considerable aid and tutelage from Western governments, down to screening appropriately-minded individuals for the job, looks as if it were calculated to send a middle-finger gesture to Borrel in terms even dense EU bureaucratic hacks will comprehend. Pro-EU newspapers like Kiev Post were quick to label this a “death of democracy”, presumably with the intent of interesting EU and NATO in sponsoring yet another Maidan since last one seems not to be delivering the goods. The expected shower of Western weaponry has not materialized, probably because NATO is afraid to give Ukraine so much aid that it will risk a full-blown war with Russia.

Erdogan’s Turkey, by contrast, is in process of de-facto opting out of NATO, though neither Turkey nor the alliance itself want to take the final step of severing ties completely. NATO membership is still beneficial to Turkey. While the procurement of Russian S-400 air defense systems angered NATO and US in particular, resulting in the expulsion of Turkey from the F-35 program and the cancellation of F-35 sale to the country, evidently Ankara hopes that by nominally remaining in the alliance it limits NATO and EU sanctions that would no doubt be far harsher if it were totally out of the alliance. The hope that Turkey, possibly post-Erdogan, will yet see the error of its ways and return to the fold, prevents NATO from adopting harsher stances that would definitely push Ankara away. Yet the drifting apart is unmistakable, and the animosity between Turkey’s leaders and their Western European counterparts is so intense as to beggar belief. While Germany’s Merkel is careful to tip-toe around the issue due to fear of another wave of refugees as well as unrest among the large Turkish diaspora in Germany, France’s Macron seems to have taken a personal affront to Erdogan’s suggestion he might need a mental evaluation and will press the issue of EU sanctions against Turkey at future Union summits.

But from Turkey’s perspective, getting a cold shoulder from the EU is par for the course. Its own migration to the geopolitical gray zone of Eurasia was motivated by EU’s failure to admit Turkey as a member after decades of leading it by the nose and promising neighborhood in some nebulously distant future right after Hell froze over. Like Ukraine, Turkey was not seeking EU membership because of some mythical “shared values”. It, too, saw EU as an ATM machine that would shower Turkey, one of the poorest countries on the continent, with development assistance and moreover allow Turks to freely travel and work throughout the Union. Needless to say, neither of these prospects appealed to pretty much any European country, no matter how close or distant it was geographically. So after decades of leading Turkey by the nose, EU politely put an end to the charade citing problems with Turkey’s democracy. Thus snubbed, Erdogan opted to chart an independent course and appears to be finding a similarly snubbed oligarch clique in Kiev looking for ways the two countries could extract mutual benefit from their isolated status.

There are plenty of those to be had, as limited as Ukraine’s and Turkey’s resources are, compared to such patrons as EU, NATO, US. Faced with isolation and even a potential ban on arms exports, Turkey has a strong incentive to exploit the resources of the Ukrainian defense industry and engage in some export substitution in case vital supplies are no longer available from the West. Canada’s and Austria’s ban on exports of optronics and engines needed for the Bayraktar TB2 combat drones means Ukraine’s ability to provide substitutes would be most welcome. Ukraine, for its part, would not be against deploying a huge attack drone fleet of its own in the hopes of replicating Azerbaijan’s successful offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh on the Donbass, though there Ukraine’s drones would probably run afoul of Novorossiya’s air defenses in the same way Turkish drones were brought to heel over Idlib. Turkey’s Altay main battle tank is likewise little more than an assembly of components imported from other countries, particularly Germany. Since Germany has already placed a ban on export of powerpacks and transmissions for the Altay, Turkey has been casting about for replacements, looking as far as China. Whether Ukraine’s developments in this realm can be adopted to rescue the Altay project remain to be seen. However, the Oplot powerpacks and transmissions can probably be adapted to Altay use, resulting in Turkey realizing its goal of a home-grown MBT. Ultimately, the greater the contribution of Ukrainian defense industry to Turkey’s military modernization, the more freedom of action it would bestow on Turkey and make it less dependent on other foreign sources of military hardware who can exert influence over Turkey simply by withholding future technical support. If the United States were to follow up on the F-35 expulsion with a ban on servicing Turkish F-16s which form the mainstay of its airpower, the result would be crippling of the country’s air combat capabilities that drones cannot compensate for and which would be sorely missed in any confrontation with another comparable power like Greece. Turkey’s efforts to develop an indigenous fighter aircraft would benefit from Ukraine’s technological contributions and its own interest in indigenous aircraft designs. For Ukraine, the relationship would be an opportunity to acquire NATO-compatible weaponry with the caveat that it would have to pay in full for every last drone, either with cash or in kind. Turkey’s economic situation is not so strong as to allow largesse in the form of free military aid to anyone.

Mitigating against the long-term development of what Zelensky referred to as “strategic partnership” with Turkey is the erratic behavior of Erdogan who seeks to dominate any and all partners and tries to see how far he can push before the partners push back. This practice has led to the confrontations in Syria, Libya, and eastern Mediterranean. Ukraine, in contrast to Russia, France, and even Greece, is hardly in a position to push back. The most dangerous aspect of Turkish politics, from Ukraine’s perspective, is the ideology of Pan-Turkism that just might transform Ukraine’s Tatar community into a proxy force for Turkey right inside Ukraine, adding yet another fissure to the already fractured political picture. On the plus side, Erdogan does not appear interested in “combating corruption” in Ukraine, though that does not preclude the possibility Turkey’s military collaboration with Ukraine might not cost Ukraine dearly, though not to the same extent as EU-promoted privatization efforts.

CHAOS AND ARMED CONFLICTS: U.S. STRATEGY TO DISMANTLE RUSSIA IS ALREADY WORKING

South Front

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

In 2020, there have been several notable developments, that all seem to have been happening along Russia’s borders and in key regions developments in which influencing the Russian position on the international scene.

These include:

  • Ukraine’s refusal to seek peace in its East with the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and various questionable policies.
  • Western-backed protests against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, with a ‘school teacher-turned-politician’ challenging him with an insignificant share of the vote in the presidential election. She received wide support from the West, especially from heavily US-aligned states such as Poland and the Baltics.
  • The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and other groups in Syria are being supported openly, and not so openly, by the United States and sabotage the further diplomatic settlement of the conflict in Syria.
  • The situation in Central Asia is rather exacerbated, with an evident increase in ISIS activity in Afghanistan, alongside various terrorist elements appearing near its borders with Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) countries. The Russian Security Service – FSB – is hard at work in countering various ISIS and other terror cells on the territory of the Russian Federation, and reports such as these are frequent, meaning that there appears to be a network that is successful in either moving terrorist elements into the country, or recruiting them there.
  • There also was the Armenian-Azerbaijan War in Nagorno-Karabakh, which Russia didn’t directly involve itself in, since the fight was for the self-proclaimed independent republic of Artsakh, and Armenia never officially asked for assistance. Regardless, with the Peace Deal it brokered on November 10th, there have been numerous voices in Armenia blaming Russia for the defeat. And that is even though it essentially saved it from an even bigger fiasco and loss of territory. At the same time, despite being the victor, Azerbaijan simply received what it was promised with the Minsk agreements, with the addition of Shusha. There are protests against Russia in Azerbaijan, a country in which any non-government sanctioned protest is snuffed, violently. There are calls that Russia stole the “glorious victory”, while in Armenia there are calls to renew hostilities, while the Russian peacekeepers are there and somehow force their hand in the fight.
  • Turkey deployed thousands of Syrian militants to South Caucasus, and there are claims that it is even reportedly attempting to relocate families from Syria’s Afrin and other areas to the parts of Karabakh that were given to Azerbaijan. This is likely to also provide a fresh extremist presence in the region.
  • Turkey, once again, appeared to be shifting its gaze towards Crimea, but also cooperate with Ukraine in terms of selling UAVs to it and other military equipment.

All of these developments, somehow, almost entirely coincide with a report which the RAND Corporation released back in 2019.

The report is called “Extending Russia” with the subtitle “Competing from Advantageous Ground.” A short description of the report reads the following:

“The steps we posit would not have either defense or deterrence as their prime purpose, although they might contribute to both. Rather, these steps are conceived of as measures that would lead Russia to compete in domains or regions where the United States has a competitive advantage, causing Russia to overextend itself militarily or economically or causing the regime to lose domestic and/or international prestige and influence. This report deliberately covers a wide range of military, economic, and political policy options. Its recommendations are directly relevant to everything from military modernization and force posture to economic sanctions and diplomacy; consequently, it speaks to all the military services, other parts of U.S. government that have a hand in foreign policy, and the broader foreign and defense policy audience.”

Notably, the report suggests that the following “Geopolitical measures” need to be employed in order to counter Russia’s spreading influence and capabilities to provide an adequate answer to an extraordinary situation.

This chapter describes six possible U.S. moves in the current geopolitical competition:

  • providing lethal arms to Ukraine,
  • resuming support to the Syrian rebels,
  • promoting regime change in Belarus,
  • exploiting Armenian and Azeri tensions,
  • intensifying attention to Central Asia,
  • isolating Transnistria (a Russian-occupied enclave within Moldova).

There are several other possible geopolitical moves discussed in other RAND research but not directly evaluated here—including intensifying NATO’s relationship with Sweden and Finland, pressuring Russia’s position in the Arctic, and checking Russia’s attempts to secure its influence in Asia.

Ukraine

Between 2014 and 2016, the US provided $600 million in security assistance to Ukraine. These funds have been used to train Ukrainian military forces and provided nonlethal military equipment, including counterartillery and countermortar radars, secure communications, logistics systems, tactical unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, and medical equipment.

According to RAND, the US could increase its military assistance to Ukraine, or increase its calls to allow Kiev into NATO.

“Expanding U.S. assistance to Ukraine, including lethal military assistance, would likely increase the costs to Russia, in both blood and treasure, of holding the Donbass region. More Russian aid to the

separatists and an additional Russian troop presence would likely be required, leading to larger expenditures, equipment losses, and Russian casualties. The latter could become quite controversial at home, as it did when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.”

Eastern Ukraine is already a significant drain on Russian resources, exacerbated by the accompanying Western sanctions. Increasing U.S. military aid would certainly drive up the Russian costs, but doing so could also increase the loss of Ukrainian lives and territory or result in a disadvantageous peace settlement. This would generally be seen as a serious setback for U.S. policy.

What’s going on in reality? There appears to be no conclusive peace settlement in Ukraine, and anti-Russian policy continues moving forward full speed. The Kiev regime, at large controlled from Washington, is intentionally sabotaging attempts to de-escalate the situation and publicly preparing for a new military operation in eastern Ukraine. Recently, pro-Kiev sources started laying great hopes on the Turkish military aid. For sure, the US is also involved. In August 2020, incoming US President Joe Biden promised to provide Ukraine with even more lethal weapons. In late 2019, the Trump administration also approved several sales of “defensive lethal weapons” to Ukraine.

As such this part of RAND’s suggestion appears to be moving, more or less, according to plan.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Syria

“In 2015, Russia’s intervention in Syria cost an estimated $2.4 million to $4 million a day, according to the Moscow Times and IHS Janes’ estimates. 34 Given the size of Russia’s defense budget ($50 billion that year), the sum might not be significant in and of itself.”

Increased U.S. support to the so-called ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition could perpetuate and intensify a civil war that had begun to wind down, thereby imposing attritional costs on both Russia and Iran.

RAND believes that such support should also reduce the “moderate opposition’s” reliance on the better-armed, more extremist groups and ultimately might improve the willingness and ability of moderate opposition forces to combat the “more extremist elements.” Now, first of all RAND doesn’t even deny that the most of “moderate opposition” is made up of extremists, who are fighting against even more extreme elements.

At the same time, the reality of the situation is this: the US, with all its claims of complete withdrawal from Syria, simply employed the SDF separatist leadership as a tool of sabotaging the peace settlement in Syria, while Washington is looting Syria’s oil fields. US companies exploit Syrian oil resources. Some of the money is used to bankroll the SDF.

The Russian side has repeatedly also claimed that ISIS and ISIS-affiliated fighters were being trained and received improved weaponry in the US-controlled areas of Syria.

Unlike Ukraine, the United States does not have a single actor to aid in the fight in Syria but rather faces a plethora of groups—often with murky affiliations—increasing the chances of weapons falling into the wrong hands.

“Supporting the rebels could run counter to the most prominent objective of the Trump administration’s Middle East foreign policy—fighting radical Islamist terrorism.”

In the highly unlikely event of total success—if Russia were to abandon the Assad government and the opposition were to somehow ‘defeat’ Damascus—the result would be a major geopolitical setback for Moscow but also a major contraction in its foreign commitments and associated expenditures, not to mention a huge responsibility for the United States and its allies to assume.

At the same time, it appears that supporting the “moderate rebels” isn’t proving effective enough and Israel is picking up the slack with targeting various Syrian and alleged Iranian positions in the areas under Damascus’ control.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Essentially, there were some attempts, but none of them are any significant, since the fight in Syria appears to be too far gone.

Likewise, according to RAND, this course of action might have been viable a few years ago, when the armed opposition was stronger and less radicalized. Under current circumstances, the most that expanded U.S. aid could likely do would be to perpetuate a conflict that has already destabilized an entire region. Russia might be forced to pay a bit more for its Syrian commitment but only at the cost of continued regional turbulence, societal radicalization, and increased civilian casualties and displaced personnel.

Belarus

Belarus is Russia’s neighbour and important ally. It provides a buffer between Russia and major NATO countries and is the initial link in Russia’s ground lines of communication between the mainland and Kaliningrad— the Russian enclave entirely encircled by Lithuania and Poland. Already host to Russian forces, Belarus features prominently in many notional conflicts among the United States, NATO, and Russia.

In a zero-sum world, denying Russia its one and only true ally would be a clear geopolitical and ideological gain for the West. It would bring an end to “Europe’s last dictatorship,” a long-standing U.S. policy goal.

“Starting revolutions is not easy, and the United States lending public support to opposition movements does not guarantee that they will be successful. In 2007, Gallup found that 60 percent of Belarusian respondents believed democracy was important and 47 percent believed it was “somewhat” or “very” important for Belarus to have an active opposition party.”

RAND considered regime change in Belarus as one of the most significant escalations, but the attempts have all but failed, and with Russia actually not having to lift a finger.

Even despite Lukashenko attempt to get some concessions from Russia prior to the protests in the country.

“Promoting regime change in Belarus is one of the most escalatory options considered in this report. Such an effort probably would not succeed and could provoke a strong Russian response, including the possibility of military action. Such a reaction might extend Russia by requiring the nation to commit resources to preserve its grasp over Belarus, thereby provoking the United States and its European allies to respond with harsher sanctions, but the result would be a general deterioration of the security environment in Europe and a setback for U.S. policy.”

Currently, protests in Belarus are still on-going, but they’ve barely achieved any real progress in the regime change agenda. However, the Western/NATO interference in the internal situation in Belarus is an undeniable fact.

Lukashenko may be making some interesting claims regarding Russia, or attempting to play tough in order to get a discount from Moscow on natural gas, or some other commodity, but at the same time is wise enough to continue actively communicating with Russian President Vladimir Putin and remain a formal ally.

Nagorno-Karabah: Armenia and Azerbaijan

The RAND analysis begins with reminding that in 2008, the Georgian-Russian relations with damaged severely, after a few days of war and the resulting South Ossetia and Abkhazia as separate countries.

Russia also plays a key role with Azerbaijan and Armenia, particularly over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Ethnically Armenian but geographically located within Azerbaijan, Nagorno- Karabakh’s bid to join the Armenia Soviet Socialist Republic during the latter years of the Soviet Union was denied by the Soviet Politburo because of the risk of encouraging secessionist movements elsewhere.

According to RAND, the United States could extend Russia in the Caucasus in two ways. First, the United States could push for a closer NATO relationship with Georgia and Azerbaijan, likely leading Russia to strengthen its military presence in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Armenia, and southern Russia.

Alternatively, the United States could try to induce Armenia to break with Russia.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

“Increased U.S. involvement in the region could produce additional economic benefits as well. The Caspian Sea remains a key producer of both oil and natural gas. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that there are “48 billion barrels of oil and 292 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in proved and probable reserves in the Caspian basins. Almost 75 percent of oil reserves and 67 percent of natural gas reserves are located within 100 miles of the coast.”

According to the analysis, resolving Nagorno-Karabakh is likely a prerequisite to Armenia breaking with Russia, but it is unclear precisely how the United States or NATO could resolve the decades-old conflict without privileging one side and antagonizing the other. NATO has encouraged both parties to resolve the conflict through the Minsk Group—led by the Russians.

Currently, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the six-week war that started on September 27th, 2020 was due to several factors.

Notably, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, as an avid supporter of the West worked to the benefit of what RAND describes and distanced Armenia from Russia with questionable policy.

In turn, Turkey, in support of Azerbaijan saw a chance, prepared and began to largely pull the strings on Baku’s offensive on the region.

Still, Russia managed to somehow salvage the situation for Yerevan, by brokering a peace deal which saw Azerbaijan get what it was supposed to be given under the Minsk Agreements, with the addition of Shusha.

Pashinyan, however, continued blaming Russia, the Armenian population, foreign countries and such for the failure and the gross mismanagement of Armenia’s forces in the war.

Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev presents the war as “gloriously won” but there are some elements which are protesting and claiming that Moscow actually robbed Baku of its “glorious victory.”

There are anti-Russian protests, in a country in which all non-government approved protests are violently stopped.

The US made some claims for peace and so on, as did many Western countries, with France even attempting to somehow mediate the conflict, but only barely.

Paris attempted to prove itself as a valuable ally to Armenia, but in the end, it simply said “we are with you, our Armenian brothers” and all they provided were empty words.

In Armenia, in order for Pashinyan and the pro-Western leadership to remain, political arrests of the opposition began. As such, support for Russia still remains rather low, and it is playing to the measure that RAND outlined in April 2019. In the current conditions, pro-Western forces in the region would continue their efforts to destabilize the region creating chaos near the Russian border and setting conditions for the NATO expansion there.

Central Asia

Russia is part of two economic ventures related to Central Asia: the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative. Russia has benefited from both, although in the case of the former, partners might have been harmed economically. There might be steps the United States and allies could take to reduce Russia’s benefits from both of these.

Engaging more with Central Asia could have modest benefits. Expanding Central Asian connectivity to the rest of the world could reduce that area’s trade with Russia. It must be noted, however, that economic growth within these countries would likely have the opposite effect and increase their trade with Russia because economic size and trade are correlated.

Now, little of this has succeeded in the year. Notably, and not in the vein which RAND describes is that militant activity in Afghanistan, as well as along its borders with the CSTO countries has increased, which Russia sees as a threat.

There are frequent reports of the FSB arresting various terrorist elements that either came from Central Asian republics or were recruited from groups from there. There is little evidence that the US has anything to do with that, but there are some reports that unknown black hawks have been extracting militants from all around, and they’ve resurfaced in northern Afghanistan, after a while.

The US efforts to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and is attempting to counter various projects in the Eurasian Economic Union, which Russia is part of such as the Nord Stream 2, but they are unrelated to Central Asia. In conclusion, regarding this, RAND appears to be a bit far from what’s been carried out, or if such measures are being implemented – they’re not being effective.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Moldova

Transnistria is a Russian-speaking enclave within Moldova that currently hosts a Russian peacekeeping force and army base.

Officially, Russian policy toward Transnistria is ambiguous. Russia’s Foreign Policy Concept includes only a single, rather inarticulate statement:

Russia strongly advocates a political and diplomatic settlement of conflicts in the post-Soviet space, specifically, Russia works within the existing multilateral negotiating mechanism to find an inclusive solution to the Transnistrian issue, respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and neutral status of the Republic of Moldova in determining the special status of Transnistria.

The United States could encourage Transnistria’s youth (who, according to some journalistic accounts, might be more pro-West than their elders) to push their pseudo-state to leave the Russian orbit.

Moldovan cooperation in an effort to expel the Russians would not be easy to secure. In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Moldova’s pro-Russian President Igor Dodon stated, “A NATO office in Chisinau [Moldova’s capital], in a neutral country, is a provocation. I do not want this. I want neither NATO nor this Russia-led [military] alliance as far as armed forces are concerned.”

There’s been very limited movement throughout 2020, but it is likely that activities have been more focused on Belarus, Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh, and Moldova has been left for sometime in the near (or far future). The pro-Western presidential candidate, Maia Sandu, won the 2020 election in Moldova, and she’s already promoting the ideal of the need of the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping force from Transnistria. This move sets conditions for the increase of instability.

RAND’s General Recommendations

Extending Russia through geopolitical competition is a fundamentally difficult and dangerous proposition. One might bait Russia into extending its foreign commitments, but only at the risk of serious setbacks to local U.S. partners. Even if such efforts succeeded in generating Russian withdrawals, the result would be the opposite of an extension.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Any geopolitical moves to extend Russia would also need to consider other options that (for reasons of length and resources) were not considered here in depth—namely, intensifying NATO’s cooperation with Sweden and Finland, pressuring Russia’s claims in the Arctic, and checking its influence in the Arctic.

Many of these are not exactly spot on, and whether they’re entirely connected to what’s going on comes down to conspiracy theories. However, it is fact that within a year and a half of the publishing, many of these recommendations have been implemented.

There has been a regime change attempt in Belarus, which is still on-going. Armenia and Azerbaijan went to warn for Nagorno-Karabakh, and Russia had to mediate, deploy peacekeepers and further resources, as well as is being accused of both sides for either losing the war for Armenia, or stealing away a bigger victory for Azerbaijan.

Militants are being delivered to South Caucasus, and even families are being relocated there from Syria.

The US and the “moderate rebels” in Syria are still operating, albeit not as actively as before, but Israel is there to provide assistance by bombing Syrian and alleged Iranian targets.

Attempts to spread chaos in Central Asia are apparent, and the FSB continues arresting various extremist elements, but there are likely more who are roaming around and entering the country through various channels.

It is unknown what will happen in Moldova, as of yet, but the trend is alredy seen.

Another thing that could be added is cooperating with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, assisting in the forming of the autonomous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, making pushes to repeat that questionable “success” in other countries such as Montenegro, and more.

Regardless, pressure on Moscow is being exerted from quite a few directions, at the same time, and it is unlikely that under US President Joe Biden this will end. After all, his chosen aides all plan to improve relations with allies, while countering Russia’s spreading influence. Namely in Ukraine, since Biden appears to have a soft spot for the country from which he and his son allegedly funneled billions. Ukraine, and Eastern Ukraine, could also be the best direction from which to target Russia.

Things are still developing on many fronts, and the pieces are yet to fall squarely on the board.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

US Back to ‘Normal’ Imperialism

U.S. Army soldiers prepare to clear and secure a building during exercise Hammer Strike at the Udairi Range Complex near Camp Buehring, Kuwait

Sputnik

By Finian Cunningham

13:09 GMT 24.11.2020

The next US administration is taking shape with President-elect Joe Biden naming his picks to top cabinet posts and national security. It heralds a return to “normal” US imperialism and militarism. That is something to dread not celebrate, as American and European media would have us believe.

The incoming Democrat president, who is due to be inaugurated on January 20, is cheerfully reassuring European and NATO leaders that “America is back” after four years of erratic US foreign policy under the maverick Donald Trump.

Biden said his administration will “reclaim America’s seat at the top of the table”.

US media are also straining with Orwellian euphemisms. CNN says under Team Biden, the US will “reclaim its squandered leadership role”. While the Washington Post said the new Biden administration hails the “return to competent government”.

Other commentators say it is a “return to normalcy”. Former US Assistant Secretary of State PJ Crowley is quoted by the BBC as saying of Biden’s picks: “They have a consistent world view. They are strong believers in American leadership and international alliances”.

Well, what is “normal” and “competent” about wars, death and destruction?

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hold a joint news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 12, 2017.
© REUTERS / JONATHAN ERNSTU.S. President Donald Trump (R) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hold a joint news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 12, 2017.

Biden’s cabinet is a rehash of holdovers from the Obama administrations. Several of the people he has nominated or who are tipped to fill vacancies are advocates of warmongering.

The next US Secretary of State – if vetted by the Senate – is Antony Blinken. As part of the previous Obama administration, Blinken was a major proponent of US military intervention in Libya, Syria and Yemen. He also pushes a hard line towards Russia and China.

All the recent media swooning about Blinken being a professional diplomat and fluent in French belie the true, ugly face of American war policy which he instrumented. We only have to look at the misery of starving children in Yemen to realise the horror and criminality of US militarism which the likes of Blinken are responsible for.

Not yet confirmed by Biden for cabinet posts are Obama-era warmongers Susan Rice, Samantha Power and Michèle Flournoy. The latter is hotly tipped to head the Pentagon as Secretary of Defence.

International human rights lawyer Christopher Black dismissively describes the Biden team as “cruise missile liberals”. Meaning they are adept at using righteous rhetoric to justify war.

Flournoy wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine in June that the US military must build up “deterrence” against China by being able to “credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours”.

Blinken and Flournoy co-founded a shadowy political strategy business called WestExec Advisors which connects weapons manufacturers with the Pentagon. Talk about conflict of interest! Or maybe that should be a confluence of interest. These people have a vested interest in promoting conflict and war for profit.

During Trump’s four years in the White House, the chaos in US foreign policy was such that American imperial interests were often frustrated. Not that Trump was a peacemaker. His aggression towards China, Iran and Venezuela and Russia (if you count the Nord Stream-2 sanctions), was apparent. But his erratic egoism and cronyism got in the way of the “vital interests” of the US foreign policy establishment and the military-industrial complex.

Joe Biden receives a national security briefing in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 17, 2020
© REUTERS / TOM BRENNERJoe Biden receives a national security briefing in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 17, 2020

That’s why Biden was so heavily backed during his election campaign by former Pentagon and intelligence chiefs, as well as by Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. He’s their man to get back to business-as-usual. And the team he is forming is meant to deliver Washington to the “top table” of exerting hegemonic ambitions.

That means solidifying the NATO alliance and cohering European allies behind US policy of confronting China and Russia – a move which the European vassal politicians seem to be cooing over.

Trump’s feckless leadership was infuriating and exhausting. He was a destabilising figure in international relations. But so too are all US presidents. They will use massive violence and lawlessness to achieve whatever the “vital interests” demand. Supposed “business genius” Trump was just incompetent and inefficient as the so-called leader of the US-led “free world”.

A Biden administration will bring “competence” back to US imperialism with the deployment of professional warmongers. Absurdly, the brainwashing of US and European media present this dreadful prospect as something to be welcomed.

NATO’s Attempted Infringement Of Russia’s Airspace & Maritime Borders Is Very Dangerous

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Recent attempted infringements of Russia’s airspace and maritime borders by NATO are very dangerous instances of de-facto brinksmanship intended to provoke the Eurasian Great Power into reacting in a way that could then be manipulated as the “plausible pretext” for imposing further pressure upon it.

It seems like almost every week that Russian media reports on NATO’s attempted infringement of Russian airspace and maritime borders, but two ultra-dangerous developments occurred over the past week which signify that this trend will intensify. The Russian Navy threatened to ram the USS John McCain after it aggressively passed into the country’s territorial waters near Peter the Great Bay off Vladivostok, after which it thankfully reversed its course. The second incident involved the US launching rockets into the Black Sea from Romania that are capable of reaching Crimea in a wartime scenario. These two events deserve to be discussed more in detail because of their significance to NATO’s grand strategy.

The transatlantic alliance intends to provoke the Eurasian Great Power into reacting in a way that could then be manipulated as the “plausible pretext” for imposing further pressure upon it. It amounts to de-facto brinksmanship and is therefore incredibly dangerous since both parties are nuclear powers. Furthermore, it’s the definition of unprovoked aggression since Russia doesn’t partake in symmetrical provocations against NATO. If anything, every time that it’s been dishonestly accused of such was just the country carrying out military exercises within its own borders which just so happen to abut several NATO states after the bloc extended its frontiers eastward following the end of the Old Cold War.

It’s the eastern expansion of NATO and the alliance’s recent activities in the Arctic Ocean that represent the greatest threat to peace between the two. On the eastern front, the US is once again provoking Russia in order to craft the false impression among the Japanese that Moscow is a military threat to their interests. Washington is greatly perturbed by their past couple years of technically fruitless but nevertheless highly symbolic talks over signing a peace treaty to end the Second World War and resolve what Tokyo subjectively regards as the “Northern Territories Dispute”. Moscow’s reclamation of control over the Kuril Islands following that conflict was agreed to by the Allies, but then America went back on its word in order to divide and rule the two.

Their mutual intent to enter into a rapprochement with one another could in theory occur in parallel with a similar rapprochement between Japan and China, which might altogether reduce Tokyo’s need to retain as robust of an American military presence on its islands. That in turn would weaken the US’ military posturing and therefore reduce the viability of its grand strategic designs to “contain” both multipolar countries in that theater. As regards the Arctic and Eastern European fronts, these are also part of the same “containment” policy, albeit aimed most directly against Russia and only tangentially against China’s “Polar Silk Road”.

It’s understandable that the US will continue to compete with these two rival Great Powers, but such competition must be responsibly regulated in order to avoid the unintended scenario of a war by miscalculation. It’s for that reason why the world should be alarmed by American brinksmanship against them, especially the latest developments with respect to Russia that were earlier described. All that it takes is one wrong move for everything to spiral out of control and beyond the point of no return. Regrettably, while Biden might ease some pressure on China, he’ll likely compensate by doubling down against Russia.

Trump should also take responsibility for this as well since it’s occurring during his presidency after all, even if it might possibly be in its final months if he isn’t able to thwart the Democrats’ illegal seizure of power following their large-scale defrauding of this month’s elections. He capitulated to hostile “deep state” pressure early on into this term perhaps out of the mistaken belief that “compromising” with his enemies in the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies would result in them easing their pressure upon him on other fronts, but this gamble obviously failed since it only emboldened them to pressure him even more.

It’s unfortunate that Trump was never able to actualize his intended rapprochement with Russia for the aforementioned reasons, but he could have rebelliously defied the “deep state” after this month’s fraudulent elections by reversing his currently aggressive policy against Moscow if he truly had the political will to do so. He doesn’t, though, and this might nowadays be due more to his support of the military-industrial complex than any “deep state” pressure like it initially was. After all, war is a very profitable business, and artificially amplifying the so-called “Russia threat” by provoking Moscow into various responses could pay off handsomely.

It’s therefore extremely unlikely that this dangerous trend will change anytime in the coming future. To the contrary, it’ll likely only intensify and get much worse under a possible Biden Administration. Nevertheless, Russia doesn’t lack the resolve to defend its legitimate interests and will always do what’s needed in this respect, albeit responsibly (so long as it’s realistic to react in such a way) in order to avoid falling into the Americans’ trap. The ones who should be the most worried, then, are the US’ NATO and other “allied” vassals who stand to lose the most by getting caught in any potential crossfire for facilitating American aggression.

NATO – A Comatose Body Whose ‘Mission’ Seems To Be Little More Than To Preserve And Expand Itself.

NATO –  A  Comatose Body Whose ‘Mission’ Seems To Be Little More Than To  Preserve And Expand Itself.

November 28, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

PART 1.

In 1851, France had the misfortune to fall victim to a coup by the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, who styled himself Napoleon III. Karl Marx had been an enthusiastic supporter of the French 1848 uprising – one among those which had taken place throughout Europe – and viewed the coup as the work of a buffoon who happened to put together an odd coalition of social classes– businesspeople, aristocratic landlords, and a rabble of barely employed street peddlers and other workers with no consciousness of their own class interests. With his wicked wit, Marx saw Napoleon III as a dramatic come-down for France from the European-wide empire of Napoleon I. Marx wrote the famous words:

“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He (Hegel) forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

In addition to the self-perpetuating, bloated monstrosity of NATO there should be added the various spook agencies, CIA, MI5, MI6 MOSSAD, BND, 5-EYES, and the rest whose mission is generally unstated and, for many, clouded in secrecy but nonetheless visible enough to those with eyes to see. Their permanent existence as a state within a state and their purported goals concerning ‘national security’ are not necessarily made clear, and, in fact, they might often be the very opposite of what they claim. Also included in the list of non-state actors are the NGOs such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which in fact is not an NGO since it receives funding from the US government which makes it a GO. Along with this is the Human Rights Watch (HRW) as well as Soros’s Open Society Foundation, and these are just some of the lavishly underwritten think tanks and secretly funded organizations which have proliferated into the rich soil that sustains them. (Please see Ray McGovern on MICCIMATT) – Military Industrial Congressional Intelligence Media Academic Think Tanks, in this respect. (1) Just how large these sprawling bureaucracies are and how far their influence reaches is almost impossible to ascertain. It could I suppose be compared to a late stage carcinoma on the body politic which is actually killing the host. Given the enormous dimensions of this geo-political super-blob I will restrict myself to a few but telling examples of its activities and their outcomes.

The Trial Run: NATO And The Destruction Of Yugoslavia

In the early 1990s NATO had been taking a particular interest in the events in the independent sovereign state of Yugoslavia. Between June 1991 and April 1992, four republics declared independence, and, egged on by Germany, the local NATO enforcer, Slovenia, and Croatia were the most important. Only Serbia and Montenegro remained federated but the status of ethnic Serbs outside Serbia and Montenegro, and that of ethnic Croats outside Croatia, remained unsolved. This was the beginning of the deconstruction of Yugoslavia – part of a longer-term dismantling which would ultimately also include reducing the USSR/Russia to vassal status or failing that, of outright occupation. This contrived disintegration of Yugoslavia ultimately laid the early basis for the complete fragmentation of the Yugoslav state. The secessionist crisis which had started in 1991 ultimately laid the basis for overt NATO intervention in the Kosovo war in 1999, all of which is well-documented.

In 1999 NATO openly entered the conflict and began a massive blitz against the rump state of Serbia, a country with no aerial defence capability, and which was subjected to a merciless bombardment of the country with thousands of cruise missiles and bombs in what would become the largest military assault in Europe since the Second World War. NATO’s campaign of air and missile strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which consisted of Serbia and Montenegro, lasted 78 days, ending on June 10, 1999. During the campaign, dubbed ‘Operation Noble Anvil’ by NATO, alliance warplanes carried out some 2,300 sorties against 995 facilities, firing nearly 420,000 missiles, bombs and other projectiles with a total mass of about 22,000 metric tonnes. Belgrade was a chief target and the bombs also fell on especial targets such as the Chinese Embassy and the City’s important radio/tv station where a number of Serbian journalists were at work. An accident. Maybe. Apologies? Of course not, these were ‘good bombs’ after all.

This set down the marker for future NATO regime changes. Yugoslavia was followed by both the enlargement of NATO and the conduct of US-NATO wars and military interventions in the Middle East starting with Iraq, along with the fabled Weapons of Mass Destruction. The conduct of US-NATO wars and military interventions in the Middle East which had spread into Iraq, was also to spread to Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iran.

And all of these interventions followed a similar pattern.

The NATO war machine operated by lining up the above states for ‘regime change’. This represented something of a change from the usual pattern as NATO had always regarded itself as being a defensive barrier to Soviet/Russian ‘aggression’. But the Yugoslav operation signalled a 180-degree change of policy. This caused some misgivings within the alliance as the United States had pushed NATO to become an offensive rather than a purely defensive security organization.

‘’The alliance now also pursues military missions in the areas such as the Balkans, Afghanistan, the Middle-East, and North Africa. All of those theatres lie outside, – in some cases far outside – NATO’s original territorial concern. Such military missions are also vastly different from NATO’s original purpose: i.e., the defence of Western Europe from possible aggression by the (then) Soviet Union.’’ (2)

What was of crucial importance to these wars of choice, however, was the role played by the MSM. It was the demonization of Heads of State in the targeted countries – in turn Milosevic, Saddam and Gaddafi found themselves caste as pantomime villains in a rogues gallery of ne’er-do-wells who were subjected and groomed by the MSM for these roles. Granted Saddam and Gaddafi were not Martin Luther King or Gandhi, but they were however the legitimate Heads of State of their own nations. It could be argued that Obama, Cameron, and Sarkozy also had blood on their hands, but for some reason, best known to the western MSM and to the political class, this didn’t count.

But Milosevic was a more difficult nut to crack. Not that the NATO defamation brigade didn’t try. The anti-Milosevic crescendo was key element in the myth structure which held that Milosevic incited the Serbs to violence, setting loose the genie of Serb nationalism from the bottle that had contained it under Tito. But neither these remarks by Milosevic nor his June 28, 1989, speech on the six-hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo had anything like the characteristics imputed to them. Instead Milosevic used both speeches to appeal to multi-ethnic tolerance, accompanied by a warning against the threat posed to Yugoslavia by nationalism—“hanging like a sword over their heads all the time”

The MSM-concocted crescendo surrounding Milosevic was reaching hysterical heights. In a commentary in 2000, Tim Judah wrote that Milosevic was responsible for wars in “Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo (Wow! Not bad, that’s some going! – FL) four wars since 1991 and [that] the result of these terrible conflicts, which began with the slogan ‘All Serbs in One State,’ is the cruellest irony.” Sometime journalist, sometime spokesperson for the ICTY at The Hague, Florence Hartmann of Le Monde, and The New York Times’s Marlise Simons wrote about the “incendiary nationalism” of the man who “rose and then clung to power by resurrecting old nationalist grudges and inciting dreams of a Greater Serbia … the prime engineer of wars that pitted his fellow Serbs against the Slovenes, the Croats, the Bosnians, the Albanians of Kosovo and ultimately the combined forces of the entire NATO, wrote that “Long before the war began, Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia and, following his example, Franjo Tudjman in Croatia, had turned their backs on the Yugoslav ideal of an ethnically mixed federal State and set about carving out their own ethnically homogeneous States.’’ Such were the accusations. But then something strange happened:

It was reported on Wednesday 28 February 2007 00.08 GMT that Slobodan Milosevic, who it is alleged had died of a heart attack in 2006, was posthumously exonerated on Monday when the international court of justice ruled that Serbia was not responsible for the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica. The former president of Serbia had always argued that neither Yugoslavia nor Serbia had command of the Bosnian Serb army, and this has now been upheld by the world court in The Hague. By implication, Serbia cannot be held responsible for any other war crimes attributed to the Bosnian Serbs.

The allegations against Milosevic over Bosnia and Croatia were cooked up in 2001, two years after an earlier indictment had been issued against him by the separate International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at the height of NATO’s attack on Yugoslavia in 1999. Notwithstanding the atrocities on all sides in Kosovo, NATO claims that Serbia was pursuing genocide turned out to be war propaganda, so the ICTY prosecutor decided to bolster a weak case by trying to “get” Milosevic for Bosnia as well. It took two years and 300 witnesses, but the prosecution never managed to produce conclusive evidence against its star defendant, and its central case was conclusively blown out of the water. (3)

All very convincing and indeed incontrovertible to most rational and neutral observers, but water off a duck’s back for the western MSM, who either simply ignored the findings or found new pastures to cultivate. After the Yugoslavian denouement, the western MSM found itself at a loose end. They had to find somethinnegative to write about Russia, since this was their apparent raison d’etre. This consisted of an ongoing barrage of propaganda including 9/11, Iraq and the WMDs, the recruitment, training, and funding of a US foreign legion of Jihadists pursuing war against Syria, Yemen, Iran and Libya, some still live and ongoing (see below).

PART 2

Politics as Theatre – Graham Greene 1904-1991 Our Man In Havana And The Quiet American.

The above were fictional stories of a transparently bungled MI6 stunt in Cuba and similar CIA cack-handed intrigue in Indo-China. Both shed some light on these James Bond wannabees: what and who they are, how the operate, and just how successful their little plots turn out. Talking of MI6 for example the fact that a group of famous British writers, Graham Greene, Arthur Ransome, Somerset Maugham, Compton Mackenzie and Malcolm Muggeridge, and the philosopher A.J. “Freddie” Ayer, all worked for MI6, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service. They are among the many exotic characters who agreed to spy for Britain, mainly during wartime, and who appear in a first authorised history of MI6. Generally these were spies during the war against Germany, so they could be forgiven for their adopting this ‘profession’ (sic). More to the point, however, was that the CIA/MI6 was staffed by complete fools, as is instanced in two of Greene’s novels, to wit: Our Man In Havana, which was frankly hilariouscompared to the more disturbing tale, The Quiet American.

Our Man in Havana is a black semi-comedy, set in Havana during the Fulgencio Batista regime. James Wormold, a British vacuum cleaner retailer, is approached by MI6 operative, Hawthorne, who tries to recruit him for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). Wormold’s wife had left him and now, he lives with his beautiful 16-year-old daughter, Milly, who is devoutly Catholic, but also materialistic and manipulative. Since Wormold does not make enough money to pay for Milly’s extravagances, he accepts the offer of a side job in espionage. Because he has no information to send to London, Wormold fabricates his reports using information found in newspapers and invents a fictitious network of agents. Some of the names in his network are those of real people (most of whom he has never met), but some are made up. Wormold tells only his friend and World War I veteran, Doctor Hasselbacher, about his spy work, hiding the truth from Milly.

At one point, he decides to make his reports “exciting” by sending to London sketches of what he describes as a ‘secret military installation’ in the mountains, actually vacuum cleaner parts scaled to a large size. In London, nobody except Hawthorne, the only one to know that Wormold sells vacuum cleaners, doubts this report. However, Hawthorne keeps quiet for fear of losing his job. In the light of the new developments, London sends Wormold a secretary, Beatrice Severn, and a radio assistant codenamed “C” with much spy paraphernalia. Wormwold is eventually uncovered as being a complete imposter. To avoid embarrassment and silence him from speaking to the press, MI6 offers Wormold a teaching post at headquarters and recommends him for the Order of the British Empire. (Episode closed. Not quite. Of course it was fiction, but does the Steele Dossier or, Russiagate ring a bell?)

Similarly, in another of Greene’s novels set in the first US involvement in the Indo-China War, The Quiet American, the British journalist Thomas Fowler is befriended by an American Aid worker, Alden Pyle, who it is understood works for a US aid agency. Actually he is not what he seems and was working for the CIA all along, this was eventually teased out by Fowler, with a romantic background which also involved a triangular relationship between Fowler-Pyle and Fowler’s Vietnamese mistress. Pyle was ultimately uncovered and assassinated by a Vietcong agent.

So much for the fiction.

MI6 – Libya – A Fools’ Playground For Wannabee James Bond Devotees.

In a more serious vein, however, where an actual example of MI6 buffoonery came to light occurred with the Jihadist bomb outrage, carried out by the Jihadist Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG – see below) in Manchester UK in 2017. Most detail was not published in the MSM except by the superb investigative journalism of Patrick Cockburn writing in The Independent. Cockburn’s report is worth quoting here in full.

‘’The culpability of the British government and its intelligence agencies which enabled suicide bomber LIFG Salman Abedi to blow himself up at a pop concert in Manchester is being masked one year later by the mood of grief and mourning over the death and injury of so many people.

It is heartrending to hear injured children and the relatives of the dead say they do not hate anybody as a result of their terrible experiences and, if they feel anger at all, it is only directed towards the bomber himself. Victims repeatedly say that they did not want the slaughter at the Manchester Arena to be used to create divisions in their city.

The downside of this praiseworthy attitude is that it unintentionally lets off the hook those British authorities whose flawed policies and mistaken actions really did pave the way towards this atrocity. Appeals against divisiveness and emphasis on the courage of survivors have muted attacks on the government, enabling it to accuse those who criticise it of mitigating the sole guilt of Abedi.

This attitude is highly convenient for former Prime Minister David Cameron who decided in 2011 on military intervention against Muammar Gaddafi. His purported aim was humanitarian concern for the people of Benghazi, but – as a devastatingly critical report by the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs said last year – this swiftly turned into “an opportunistic policy of regime change”.

This NATO intervention succeeded and by the end of the year Gaddafi was dead. Real power in Libya passed to Islamist militias, including those with which the Abedi family were already associated. Pictures show Salman’s brothers posing with guns in their hands. Libya was plunged into an endless civil war and Benghazi, whose people including British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and French president Nicolas Sarkozy were so keen to save, is today a sea of ruins. Inevitably, ISIS took advantage of the anarchy in Libya to spread its murderous influence.

This is the Libyan reality, which was created by Cameron and Sarkozy, with sceptical support from Barack Obama, the then US president, who famously referred to the Libyan debacle as a “shit show”.

Libya became a place where the Abedi family, returning from their long exile in Manchester, were able to put their militant Islamist beliefs into practice. They absorbed the toxic variant of Islam espoused by the Al-Qaeda clones, taking advantage of their military experience honed in the Iraq war, such as how to construct a bomb studded with pieces of metal designed to tear holes in human flesh. The bomb materials were easily available in countries like Britain.

Salman Abedi was responsible for what he did, but he could not have killed 22 people and maimed another 139 others, half of them children, if the British government had not acted as it did in Libya in 2011. And its responsibility goes well beyond its disastrous policy of joining the Libyan civil war, overthrowing Gaddafi, and replacing him with warring tribes and militias.

Manchester had since the 1990s become a centre for a small but dangerous group of exiled Libyans belonging to anti-Gaddafi groups, such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, originally formed by Libyans fighting the communists in Afghanistan. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, strict measures were taken by MI5 and the police against Libyans thought likely to sympathise with al-Qaeda in Iraq and, later, ISIS. They were subject to counter-terrorism control orders monitoring and restricting their movements and often had their passports confiscated.

But no sooner had Britain joined the war against Gaddafi than these suspected terrorists became useful allies. Their control-orders were lifted, their passports returned, and they were told that the British government had no problem with them going to Libya to fight against Gaddafi. In place of past restrictions, they were allowed to pass to and fro at British airports. Some militants are reported as saying that when they had problems with counter-terrorism police when flying to Libya, the MI5 officers with whom they were in touch were willing to vouch for them and ease their way to the battlefront in Libya, where MI6 was cooperating with Qatar and UAE as financiers of the armed opposition.

This opportunistic alliance between the British security services and Libyan Salafi-jihadis may explain why Salman Abedi, though by now high up on the list of potential terrorists, was able to fly back to Manchester from Libya unimpeded a few days before he blew himself up

There should be far more public and media outrage about the British government’s role in the destruction of Libya, especially its tolerance of dangerous Islamists living in Britain to pursue its foreign policy ends. The damaging facts about what happened are now well established thanks to parliamentary scrutiny and journalistic investigation.

The official justification for British military intervention in Libya is that it was to prevent the massacre of civilians in Benghazi by Gaddafi’s advancing forces. The reason for expecting this would happen was a sanguinary speech by Gaddafi which might mean that he intended to kill them all. David Cameron, along with Liam Fox as defence minister at the time and William Hague as foreign secretary, have wisely stuck with this explanation and, as a defence of their actions, they are probably right to do so. But a report by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee says that the belief that Gaddafi would “massacre the civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence”. It points out that he had retaken other towns from the rebels and not attacked the civilian population.

These facts notwithstanding the British still followed the French lead in military intervention and Sarkozy similarly justified his policy as being in defence of the people of Benghazi. We are a little better informed about the real French motives thanks to a report, revealed through the Freedom of Information Act, made in early 2011 by Sidney Blumenthal, an unofficial advisor to Hillary Clinton, the then US secretary of state, after a meeting he had had with French intelligence officials about Sarkozy’s motives for intervention.

The officials told Blumenthal that Sarkozy’s plans were driven by five main causes, the first being “a desire to gain a greater share of Libyan oil production” and the next being to increase French influence in North Africa. His other aims were to improve his own political standing in France, enable the French military to reassert their position in the world, and prevent Gaddafi supplanting France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa.

The intelligence officials make no mention of any concern on the part of Sarkozy for the safety of the Libyan people. Conceivably the British Foreign Policy Team of David Cameron, William Hague, and Liam Fox, had much purer and more altruistic motives than their French counterparts. But it is more likely that the aim was always regime change in the national interest of those foreign powers who brought it about.

It is easy enough to convict Cameron and Sarkozy of hypocrisy, but a more telling accusation is that they betrayed the very national interests that they were seeking to advance. They destroyed Libya as a country, reduced its six million people to misery and played into the hands of men like Salman Abedi.’’ (4)

The whole squalid episode qualified as another MI5/6, CIA, and the French DGSE, operation carried out under the NATO umbrella and gave us the ‘shit show’ as enunciated by Obama. Of course the whole tawdry affair bore the customary NATO imprimatur: An EU-US-NATO led operation. Hardly an R2P operation, more like an R2B (Responsibility to Bomb). Its sticky fingers were as usual all over the joint campaign. It should be understood that NATO is an organization which exists to solve the problems it first created.

NATO – Who’s Next For Membership And/or Regime Change?

In any sane world the above would read as being a purely rhetorical question. Unfortunately, however, we do not live in a sane world. We live in Washington’s post-Westphalian world of an out-of-control Leviathan that has remained seemingly indifferent with Turkey’s seizure of Northern Cyprus, Israel’s acquisition of the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Worst of all has been Saudi Arabia’s atrocity-ridden war of aggression and extermination against Yemen – a policy in which the latter Obama and Trump administrations actively assisted and was carried out with NATO weapons, trainers, and the sustained bombing of civilian targets. (Guernica anyone!?) ‘’In this post-Westphalian world the United States and its allies have violated all those principles contained in the UN prescriptions whenever it seemed expedient to do so. It seems exceedingly difficult to square a rules-based international system with ongoing violations which have taken place in Indo-China and Yugoslavia and Iraq, even if this is carried out under a flag of convenience.’’ (5)

Respecting the Westphalian premise of spheres of influence would require a necessarily reduced application of the US’s military prerogatives; prerogatives which it has continued to exercise since 1945 in order to achieve its foreign policy objectives. It is taken as normal that the US may intervene at any time and place on the planet as it suits. The Monroe Doctrine has apparently become globalized.

But the emerging Eurasian bloc have a rather different perspective on affairs. They maintain an (irritating to western eyes) adherence to the Westphalian principles (1648). From their standpoint this should form a universal basis for peaceful coexistence. The Westphalian principles can be briefly delineated as follows:

  • States existed within their own recognised borders.
  • Each States sovereignty was recognised by the others.
  • Principles of non-interference were agreed.
  • Religious differences between states were tolerated.
  • States might be monarchies or republics.
  • Permanent State interests or raison d’etat was the organizing principle of international relations.
  • War was not eliminated, yet it was mitigated by diplomacy and balance-of-power politics
  • The object of a balance-of-power was to prevent one state from becoming so powerful that it could conquer others and destroy world order.

This was a very different philosophy and global project from the one that NATO, the US neo-cons, MSM, deep-state and spook bureaucracies have in mind. But how to reconcile the irreconcilable? There must be a meeting of minds for diplomacy to set out such matters and set workable limits on the goals of contending parties. But, in Hamlet’s words, ‘Ay, there’s the rub’. At the present time there are no signals from the US war party who are attempting to delegitimize the entire concept of spheres of influence, and, as such, is a non-starter for even reasonably cordial relationships between East and West. However,

‘’What is worse is the apparent US attitude that Russia is not entitled to even a minimum-security zone adjacent to its homeland. Pushing Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, after already admitting the Baltic republics, reduces any Russian security buffer to a nullity. Conducting NATO military exercises within mere miles (and at least in one case barely hundreds of yards) of the Russian border highlights such menacing arrogance. A fundamental change in Washington’s approach is essential.’’(6)

Agreed, but it takes two to tango. And it would appear that the US is not going to take to the dance floor any time soon. Instead, for example, the following brainless responses to any minimal peace proposals emanating from the Eurasian bloc are revealing. After the Yugoslavian denouement, the western MSM found itself at a loose end. They had to find something negative to write about Russia. However, instead of reciprocated and reasoned diplomacy on the part of the West and its various agencies we got the following. A piece of journalistic fluff.

The Navalny Episode.

The whole farcical Navalny episode should be an object lesson in just how totally incompetent and amateurish whole western security agencies appear to be. The CIA-MI6-BND mob seems to be on the loose! In a ridiculously burlesque performance the whole fabric of western society was supposed to be apparently undermined by the devious Vlad the compulsive poisoner who strikes yet again. Cue the predictable MSM cacophony from the usual suspects subjecting us to the ‘two-minutes-hate’’ routine. Russia did it! Russia did it! Putin personally took charge of it. NATO should stand together and forestall the challenges of Russian dirty tricks. Blah, blah blah.

The wholly foreseeable reaction of the western establishment, politicians and MSM, was to have an expected mass apoplectic seizure. Something must be done! Yes, and we know precisely what that something is. It is clear as daylight that this stunt is intended to scuttle the Nordstream-2 deal between Germany and the Russian Federation, a deal which was almost finalised and is still awaiting implementation.

The story (fantasy) goes something like this. Suddenly a political nobody – Navalny – was allegedly poisoned by Putin (but of course) using the deadly one tiny drop of Novichok – which reputedly wipes out a whole city. Only as with the Skripals it didn’t work, well, ahem, we’ll just pass on that.

The whole parody – worthy of a Monty Python sketch – has been orchestrated by the western spook agencies governments and MSM whose sole object is to engineer the cancellation of Nordstream-2 which, if it happens, will mean that the Americans will be able to export their very expensive LNG, sending their little armada across the Atlantic. More fool the Germans if they agree to this directive. But this abject surrender was entirely predictable and in keeping with the squirming deference of the euro-vassals to the US’s NATO allies, Germany being one.

Norway being another. One only has to listen to a complete dolt like Jens Stoltenberg – member of the Norwegian Labour party and ex-Prime Minster now Secretary-General of NATO – to realise how monumental the problem is when the said Mr Stoltenberg talks quite enthusiastically about the future entry of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO.

This is the fire which the ‘West’ is now playing with. The NATO idiocracy is now calling the shots and such a move of incorporating Ukraine and Georgia into NATO would be a virtual declaration of war against Russia. Russia’s response might well be a message from Elvis.

‘’If you’re looking for trouble, you’ve come to the right place.’’

NOTES

(1) McGovern and Bureaucracy – passim.

(2) This observation is usually attributed to Richard Sakwa, author of Frontline Ukraine and Russia Against The World. But I think that it might have been influenced by J.A.Schumpeter who once remarked that in Ancient Egypt ‘‘a class of professional soldiers formed during the war against the Hyskos persisted even when those wars were over – along with those warlike instincts and interests’’. But Schumpeter capped this part of the narrative with a pithy summary of his viewpoint: ‘’Created by wars that required it, the military machine now created the wars it required.’’ J.A.Schumpeter Critical Exposition Chapter 2, p.63. Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers – John Medearis. Also Ted Galen Carpenter – NATO – The Dangerous Dinosaur – passim.

Sure sounds like NATO to me (FL)

(3) John Laughland – Travesty: The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the corruption of International Justice

(4) Patrick Cockburn – The Independent – passim

(5) Ted Galen Carpenter – NATO: The Dangerous Dinosaur – page.9

(6) Ted Galen Carpenter – Ibid, page.144

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei

November 27, 2020

Source

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei

While this press conference contains a shorter Belarus update, it has a wider context and is posted to illustrate Foreign Minister Lavrov’s clear expression of irritation with the west, which he now covers in each of his routine press conferences.  In this one, he handles among other topics, protests across the world, Heiko Maas, Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE), International agencies, including the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner being silent and not doing their jobs, as well as strategic stability.

Joint session of the collegiums of the Russian and Belarusian Foreign Ministries, November 26, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have held a joint session of the collegiums of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. By tradition, it took place in a confidential and truly friendly atmosphere.

Using this opportunity, I would like to thank again our Belarusian friends for their traditional hospitality and excellent organisation of work. We highly value these annual meetings in the format of members of the collegiums and other representatives of the two ministries’ top management. They allow us to discuss in detail the most urgent international issues that involve the interests of our countries and need to be addressed.

Despite the complicated epidemiological situation, we managed to meet offline and talk face to face. We had four items on our agenda: relations of our countries with the European Union, participation in UN peacekeeping missions (in part, in the context of the prospects of the CSTO’s involvement in the UN peacekeeping activities), cooperation in the EAEU on forming the Greater Eurasian Partnership and ways of ensuring international information security.

We achieved specific agreements on all of these issues. They are reflected in a resolution that we signed in addition to the plan of consultations between our foreign ministries in 2021. We also spoke about broader cooperation in international organisations, including the CIS, CSTO, EAEU, UN and OSCE.

We and our Belarusian colleagues had to state that unfortunately our US-led Western partners continue persistently promoting their narrow selfish interests in a bid to preserve their hegemony in the world arena. They are using the concept of the “rules-based” world order, setting it directly against universal, commonly recognised standards of international law, including the UN Charter.

We are concerned about the attempts by the Western countries to establish control over international organisations, up to and including privatisation of their secretariats. When this fails, they try to replace collective work in universal formats with private get-togethers where all those who agree with the Western policy make decisions that are later presented as multilateral and binding. It is hardly possible to make us follow these rules. The overwhelming majority of countries are firmly committed to the old, tried-and-tested principle – respect for international law, primarily the UN Charter.

We noted numerous facts of crude interference by the US and those who follow in its wake (I am referring to some European capitals) in the internal affairs of sovereign states. The dirty methods of colour revolutions continue to be used. These include manipulation of public opinion, instigation and support of overtly anti-government forces and contribution to their radicalisation. We are seeing how these methods are being applied to the Republic of Belarus. We spoke about this in detail today both with Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, who received us before this meeting.

We were informed in great detail about the current developments in Belarus. We are not indifferent to them. The Republic of Belarus is our ally and strategic partner and also a fraternal nation. We are interested in a calm and stable situation in that country. This will be facilitated by the Constitutional reform that was launched by the Belarusian leadership as a major transformation of the political, economic and legal systems.

We believe the Belarusian people are wise and always act in a balanced manner. They are capable of resolving their problems without any outside prompting or obtrusive proposals on unwanted mediation. It is obvious that attempts to jeopardise normalisation are being made. There are many examples of this: a desire to radicalise the protesters, encouraging people to engage in subversion and high treason, which are made, in part, from abroad.

Today we again reviewed in detail the entire range of our ties and ways of protecting the interests of each of our countries, as well as the interests of the Union State of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation.

I would like to emphasise again that we are content with our joint discussion. We will carry out everything we have agreed on today.

Question (addressed to both ministers): On November 18, 2020, your German counterpart Heiko Maas accused the authorities of Belarus of violently suppressing peaceful protests. Having said this, he urged the Council of Europe to use its instruments for monitoring the situation even in those European countries that do not want to join the organisation. Could you comment on this, please?

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Vladimir Makei):  We took note of how Germany took over the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE). German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas first made a speech at a closed CMCE meeting and then held a news conference. His speech was unconventional for the presidency of this pan-European body because the main goal of the Council of Europe, which is recorded in its statute, is to promote greater unity of all European countries. By definition, the President, all the more so in the Council of Europe, must focus on enhancing unity in his future work rather than stir up confrontation.

It is no secret that at the CMCE meeting prior to that news conference, Heiko Maas presented his programme for the next sixth months in a politicised vein and unacceptable tone, in a crude, undiplomatic manner. He made a number of Russophobic statements. He had grievances not only as regards the Republic of Belarus but also made groundless Russophobic accusations in respect of Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria and southeastern Ukraine. His opinion on the Nagorno-Karabakh agreement also sounded rather strange.

At the news conference Mr Maas urged everyone “to respect the rules-based order.” Our Western colleagues are not going to respect international law as a matter of principle. He did say that the principles of the Council of Europe must be imposed by using relevant instruments, including on those countries that are not members of the Council of Europe. I consider this absolutely unacceptable.

It is indeed strange that of all countries it is Germany that has recently decided to act as a driver of aggressive approaches to the countries that are not NATO or EU members.

Those who are objective and pay attention to double standards will note that neither Mr Maas, nor other Western representatives or UN human rights agencies have said a word about rather serious incidents in France and Germany. There were protests by yellow vests in France, demonstrations against COVID restrictions in Germany and some other countries, and protests against a ban on abortions in Poland. They were dispersed in a very tough manner.

International agencies, including the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner, stayed silent. Human rights champions in France covered the yellow vests protests in a completely different manner than they cover events in Russia and Belarus. Only in the beginning did they cautiously urge the sides to overcome their differences. But later the yellow vests began to encounter a tough police response. In the estimate of French human rights activists, almost 15,000 rubber bullets were shot at the protesters; 2,500 people were wounded and 12,000 detained, including 2,000 who were sentenced, in part, to real prison terms. But nobody speaks about this. This is considered normal because these are their compatriots. It is necessary to get rid of this attitude, especially for those who head the Council of Europe.

About a month ago, Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric asked us in Moscow about our assessments of the events in the Republic of Belarus. She received our answers and inquired whether the Council of Europe can contribute to normalisation there in some way. We promised do convey her wish to those concerned. She emphasised that this will be possible only if the Republic of Belarus makes this request itself. But as you can see, the German Presidency has different plans in this respect. This is regrettable.

We will try to compel the Council of Europe, all the more so under the German Presidency, not to forget about the issues that the West is trying to hush up in many different ways. This applies to discrimination against Russian speakers in the Baltic states, the disgraceful lack of citizenship, and the so-called reforms in the field of education and language in Ukraine that are aimed only against the Russian language, as distinct from the languages of other national minorities because they are EU languages. We will not accept the efforts of the Council of Europe (or some of its members) to hush up the facts of the purposeful harassment of the Russian media, not to mention the glorification of Nazism. The German Presidency must remember all this and must not divert the Council of Europe to the discussion of issues that are more comfortable for the West and justify its positions, while ignoring the problems that have become chronic for our Western colleagues.

Question: What are the prospects for concluding new strategic stability treaties with the United States once the new administration is in office? Last year, President Trump mentioned a new trilateral document involving Russia, the United States and China. What will happen now?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a long-standing matter. True, the Trump administration was consumed (I can’t come up with any other word) by a desire to involve the People’s Republic of China in disarmament talks. Initially, they talked about the need to include the PRC in the START Treaty which is still in force, although this is impossible by definition. Then, they proposed creating a new treaty and not renewing the current one, because it’s outdated and bilateral, whereas they would like to take a step towards multilateral disarmament and arms control. Their position was erratic. As a result, they came up with a proposal to extend the treaty for another year, but on the condition that we recount each other’s warheads and put in overseers at the defence plants’ checkpoints. Counting warheads and ignoring carriers and innovative technologies that directly affect strategic stability is a frivolous and unprofessional approach.

Earlier this year, we made proposals to our US colleagues about structuring our future dialogue on arms control and non-proliferation. They stood their ground and insisted on warheads alone. They have long been interested in Russian tactical nuclear weapons, hence their interest in warheads at the expense of everything else. We say we will be ready to discuss non-strategic nuclear weapons, including warheads, when the Americans withdraw their tactical weapons from other countries. In Europe, these weapons are deployed in five NATO countries. Also, NATO structures conduct training in handling nuclear weapons for military personnel from non-nuclear countries in flagrant violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

With regard to the People’s Republic of China, President Putin has repeatedly stated that we have nothing against it, but the decision is up to the PRC. China has officially and publicly stated on several occasions that it is not going to join the talks with Russia and the United States, since its nuclear arsenal is an order of magnitude smaller than the corresponding arsenals of Moscow and Washington. We respect this position. If and when the Americans persuade China to join multilateral talks, we will have no objection to that. We will be willing to participate in them if the PRC agrees to this of its own accord. But we are not going to persuade Beijing to do so just at the whim of the Americans. But if and when a multilateral format in disarmament and arms control talks is created, we will push for France and the United Kingdom to join it as well.

When we told the Americans about this, they told us that these counties are their allies and they vouch for them. Precisely because they are allies of the United States, we would like to see them at the negotiating table, if the talks become multilateral. Washington’s absolutely hostile doctrine towards Russia cannot but raise questions about the motives of the US allies, whether in Europe or Asia. When they enter into a military alliance with a country that declares us a hostile state, we must draw our own conclusions regarding these allies.

I don’t see how we can seriously discuss anything related to the continuation of the arms control process with the Trump administration. We do not know yet what kind of administration will move into the White House or what kind of policy it will conduct. The voting results have not yet been announced officially, but there’s already an understanding that the change-of-command process is underway. Let’s wait and see what kind of assessments will eventually form in the minds of those who will shape the US strategic stability policy after January 21, 2021.

Question (addressed to both ministers): Popular protests have been growing around the world for various reasons, including political ones. The law enforcement reaction is the same everywhere, going as far as the use of force and special equipment. At the same time, such events in Belarus are receiving heightened attention from foreign politicians. What do you think is the reason?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already cited examples of protests being suppressed in France. Those drastic figures are rarely revealed to the general public. Human rights agencies in the UN system, as well as numerous human rights rapporteurs are trying their best to avoid any topics that are uncomfortable for Western representatives.

Speaking of the protests in Paris, there is a huge wave of protest against the global security bill, which includes a ban on photographing, filming or otherwise identifying law enforcement officers. I can imagine the kind of racket a bill like that would have sparked if it were proposed in Russia or Belarus. The French public and human rights groups are concerned, yet we can see no reaction from international bodies. The police used water cannons and noise grenades during rallies against the bill. The protesters, too, provoked the police, using stones and sticks. One police officer was injured. And yet, I repeat, this does not prevent the West from lecturing anyone who is not their ally.

Voting processes in Russia and Belarus have been scrutinised through a magnifying glass. When a similar story happens in the United States, it is declared “normal, it’s democracy, and everything is just fine.” Though, even respected and influential think tanks in the United States openly write about “the problems with the US electoral system.” To put it mildly, that system does not fully comply with the principles of democracy or the rule of law. They write these things themselves, but our international partners prefer to ignore them and concentrate on the countries whose “regimes” they find undesirable.

When UN rapporteurs, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, describe violent clashes in Western capitals, they urge everyone to find a solution through dialogue. When they criticise us or Belarus, they demand a change of the system. This difference is visible to the naked eye. We have long lost any illusions about what kind of standards the West is promoting and how they use double standards. We will fight, and will defend our position at the UN bodies, where these issues should be considered. We will not allow the vices that the Western community is demonstrating to be forgotten.

Question (addressed to both ministers): How can you comment on Pavel Latushko’s last interview, where he spoke about the possibility of unofficial contacts with Moscow?

Sergey Lavrov: Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has just shown me part of that interview. Not only did he mention the possibility of unofficial contacts with Moscow – he said such contacts were underway and were coordinated. He shamelessly declared he could not cite any names, but mentioned “contacts at a sufficiently high level.” He speculated whether I will be allowed to tell my Belarusian friends about it. I will answer briefly: this is a blatant lie, and it once again says something about those trying to make some kind of career with foreign handouts.

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