A little less conversation, a little more action

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, Reykjavik, May 19, 2021
A little less conversation, a little more action

May 20, 2021

by Pepe Escobar and first posted at Asia Times

So Sergey Lavrov and Tony Blinken met for nearly two hours at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, on the sidelines of the ministerial session of the Arctic Council.

Frosty? Not really. Even if the get together may not have been a throwback to a Reagan-Gorbachev funfest in the good old Cold War days. After all, there was a NATO warship parked right outside the windows of Harpa Hall – like a prop in a Marvel blockbuster.

Self-described “amateur guitarist” Blinken may have been relatively swayed by the charms of the 1968 Elvis stunner A Little Less Conversation.

Well, at least there was some conversation. As for “a little more action”, as Elvis sang it, it remains to be seen. A good sign is that they addressed each other as “Sergey” and “Tony”. Blinken even attempted a “Spasiba”.

Let’s start with Lavrov – who routinely dwells in the Valhalla of diplomacy, unlike average apparatchik Blinken.

We agreed to continue our joint actions, which are developing quite successfully, on regional conflicts where the interests of the United States and Russia coincide. This is the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula, and the situation with efforts to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program. This is Afghanistan, where the expanded troika consisting of Russia, China, the United States, Pakistan is actively working. We discussed how at this stage we can make all our joint actions more effective.

So there was “a very useful conversation” (Lavrov again) on what they do coincide (revival of the JCPOA), don’t coincide (Afghanistan) and hardly coincide (North Korea).

More than useful, actually: “constructive”. Lavrov again: “There is an understanding of the need to overcome the unhealthy situation that developed between Moscow and Washington in previous years.”

Lavrov made it very clear what we are at a stage of mere “proposal” to “start a dialogue, considering all aspects, all factors affecting strategic stability: nuclear, non-nuclear, offensive, defensive. I have not seen a rejection of such a concept, but experts still have to work on it.”

So Blinken did not reject it. The devil is how the “experts” will “work on it”.

Those pesky “laws of diplomacy”

It’s quite useful to compare what they said to each other – at least according to what was leaked.

Lavrov stressed discussions must be “honest, factual and with mutual respect”. Most important area of cooperation is “strategic stability”. He crucially invoked the “laws of diplomacy” – something that the Hegemon has not exactly been fond of lately: they “call for reciprocity, especially when it comes to responding to any kind of unfriendly action.” Implied is Moscow’s willingness to solve problems “inherited from previous US administrations.”

Blinken said the US wants a predictable and stable relationship: “It’s our view that if the leaders of Russia and the United States can work together cooperatively, our people, the world can be a safer and more secure place.” Areas where interests “intersect and overlap” include battling Covid-19 and climate change, apart from Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea.

“Russian aggression” though could not simply be thrown into the Arctic Sea: “If Russia acts aggressively against us, our partners, our allies, we will respond… not for purposes of escalation, not to seek conflict, but to defend our interests.”

So “experts” will have a field day – actually, days, weeks and months – figuring out how which brands of “Russian aggression” attack “our interests.”

As it stands, it looks like the bilateral Putin-Biden summit next month in a “European diplomatic capital” – as rumors swirl in Brussels – may be a go. To hope that it would take place, for instance, in Nursultan – the diplomatic capital of Eurasia – is a long shot.

Lavrov: “We will prepare proposals for our presidents both on these issues [the work of diplomatic missions] and the matters related to our dialogue on strategic stability.”

It’s quite enlightening to consider two parallel developments to Reykjavik.

The State Dept. confirmed it will waive sanctions against the Swiss-based company overseeing the construction of Nord Stream 2. And SWIFT confirmed to the Russian Central Bank that business continues as usual, and Moscow won’t be cut off from the system.

These may be interpreted as goodwill gestures ahead of the possible June summit. Afterwards, no one knows.

It’s also enlightening to note what Lavrov and Blinken did not discuss: vaccine diplomacy.

Sergey Naryshkin, the director of the SVR foreign intel, is now on the record saying that the registration of Sputnik V vaccine at the EU is being stalled by “signals from the corridors of power” in Brussels – something I confirmed weeks ago with relatively independent diplomats. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) still sustains that the vaccine may be registered before the end of the month.

And then there are glaring cases like Brazil, the target of tremendous pressure by Washington to prevent Sputnik V’s approval. Sputnik V has been registered by 61 nations, overwhelmingly in the Global South.

Let’s assume that Cold War 2.0, in theory, may have been put on hold. Now it’s time then for a “little more action”. Will it come to the point that Sergey and Tony will agree on “a little less fight, a little more spark” and dance to the rhythm of “all this aggravation ain’t satisfactioning me”?

Related

Japan’s prime minister visits Washington this week and will face questions about confronting China. “نيويورك تايمز”: اليابان تواجه ضغوطاً أميركية لمواجهة الصين


Japan’s prime minister visits Washington this week and will face questions about confronting China.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan will arrive in the United States on Thursday.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan will arrive in the United States on Thursday.Credit…Sadayuki Goto/Kyodo News, via Associated Press

TOKYO — As he visits Washington this week, it would seem as if Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan could take a victory lap.

Mr. Suga is the first foreign leader to be invited to the White House by President Biden, who has vowed to reinvigorate alliances. Japan already had the distinction last month of being the first international destination for the new U.S. secretaries of state and defense. And Mr. Suga will not have to contend with threats of higher tariffs or the need for constant flattery that drove Mr. Biden’s mercurial predecessor.

But even as relations between the two countries are calming, Japan faces a perilous moment, with the United States prodding it to more squarely address the most glaring threat to stability in Asia: China.

The second White House invitation to a foreign leader, not coincidentally, went to President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, who is expected to visit in May, Mr. Biden’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said on Thursday.

The meetings with both leaders, Ms. Psaki said, will emphasize “shared coordination and cooperation” on China policy, as well as the mutual “commitment to the denuclearization of North Korea” and other issues of regional security.

The meeting with Japan’s leader is a step in a now-familiar dance between the two nations. Ever since the United States forged an alliance with Japan during its postwar occupation, Tokyo has sought reassurance of protection by Washington, while Washington has nudged Tokyo to do more to secure its own defense.

For decades during the Cold War, the pre-eminent threats seemed to come from Europe. Now, as Mr. Suga goes to Washington, Japan confronts encroaching dangers in its own backyard.

“We’re in a completely new era where the threat is focused on Asia, and Japan is on the front line of that threat,” said Jennifer Lind, an associate professor of government at Dartmouth College who is a specialist in East Asian international security.

“The U.S.-Japan alliance is at a crossroads,” Ms. Lind said. “The alliance has to decide how do we want to respond to the growing threat from China and to the Chinese agenda for international order.”

China has repeatedly ignored diplomatic or legal efforts to contain its aggressive actions in both the South China and East China Seas, and some say Japan needs to be more specific about what it might do in the event of a military conflict.

Perhaps the biggest risk is in the Taiwan Strait, where China has been dispatching warplanes to menace the democratic island, which Beijing considers a rogue territory.

— Motoko Rich and Glenn Thrush

JAPAN-U.S. RELATIONS

Read the full article about what to watch as Japan’s prime minister visits Washington.


“نيويورك تايمز”: اليابان تواجه ضغوطاً أميركية لمواجهة الصين

الكاتب: موتوكو ريتش وغلين ثراش

المصدر: نيويورك تايمز اليوم 16-4-2021

تميزت اليابان الشهر الماضي بكونها الوجهة الدولية الأولى لوزيري الخارجية والدفاع الأميركيين الجديدين.

رئيس الوزراء الياباني يوشيهيدي سوغا قبل توجهه إلى الولايات المتحدة الخميس.
رئيس الوزراء الياباني يوشيهيدي سوغا قبل توجهه إلى الولايات المتحدة الخميس

قالت صحيفة “نيويورك تايمز” إن رئيس الوزراء الياباني يوشيهيدي سوغا يزور وانشطن هذا الأسبوع، وهو أول زعيم أجنبي يدعى إلى البيت الأبيض من قبل الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن الذي تعهد بتنشيط التحالف بين الدولتين. 

وقد تميزت اليابان بالفعل الشهر الماضي بكونها الوجهة الدولية الأولى لوزيري الخارجية والدفاع الأميركيين الجديدين. ولن يضطر السيد سوغا إلى مواجهة التهديدات بفرض رسوم جمركية أعلى أو الحاجة إلى الإطراء المستمر كما كان الحال مع سلف بايدن الزئبقي، الرئيس دونالد ترامب.

وأضافت الصحيفة أنه فيما تصبح العلاقات بين البلدين أكثر دفئاً، تواجه اليابان لحظة محفوفة بالمخاطر حيث تضغط الولايات المتحدة على السيد سوغا للتعامل بشكل أكثر صراحة مع الصين، الذي تعتبره التهديد الأوضح للاستقرار في آسيا.

وقالت المتحدثة باسم بايدن، جين ساكي، يوم الخميس، إن دعوة البيت الأبيض الثانية لزعيم أجنبي، وليس من قبيل الصدفة، ذهبت إلى الرئيس الكوري الجنوبي مون جاي إن، الذي من المتوقع أن يزوره في أيار / مايو المقبل.

وقالت السيدة ساكي إن الاجتماعات مع الزعيمين ستركز على “التنسيق والتعاون المشترك” بشأن سياسة الصين، فضلاً عن “الالتزام المتبادل بنزع السلاح النووي لكوريا الشمالية” وقضايا أخرى تتعلق بالأمن الإقليمي.

ويعد اجتماع الرئيس الأميركي مع زعيم اليابان خطوة مألوفة الآن بين البلدين. فمنذ أن أقامت الولايات المتحدة تحالفاً مع اليابان أثناء احتلالها بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، سعت طوكيو إلى إعادة التأكيد على الحماية من قبل واشنطن، بينما حضت واشنطن طوكيو على بذل المزيد من الجهد لتأمين دفاعها الخاص عن نفسها. فعلى مدى عقود خلال الحرب الباردة، بدا أن التهديدات البارزة تأتي من أوروبا. الآن، بينما يذهب السيد سوغا إلى واشنطن، تواجه اليابان مخاطر عدوانية في فنائها الخلفي.

وقالت جينيفر ليند، الأستاذة المشاركة في الشؤون الحكومية في كلية دارتموث والمتخصصة في الأمن الدولي لشرق آسيا: “إننا في حقبة جديدة تماماً حيث يتركز التهديد على آسيا، واليابان على خط المواجهة في مواجهة هذا التهديد”.

وأضافت ليند أن “التحالف بين الولايات المتحدة واليابان على مفترق طرق. فعلى هذا التحالف أن يقرر كيف يريد أن يرد على التهديد المتنامي القادم من الصين وعلى الأجندة الصينية للنظام الدولي.”

وزعمت “نيويورك تايمز” أن الصين قد تجاهلت مراراً الجهود الدبلوماسية والقانونية لاحتواء أفعالها العدوانية في كل من بحر الصين الجنوبي وبحر الصين الشرقي، وأن البعض يقول إن اليابان تحتاج أن تكون أكثر تحديداً حول ما يمكن أن تفعله في حال حدوث نزاع عسكري.

وقد يكون الخطر الأكبر في مضيق تايوان حيث ترسل الصين طائراتها الحربية فوقه لتهديد الجزيرة التي تعتبرها الصين منفصلة وتطالب بعودتها إلى سيادتها.

وقالت الصحيفة إن الاقتصاديين يتوقعون أن تعلن الصين أن اقتصادها نما بنسبة بين 18 و19 في المائة في الأشهر الثلاثة الأولى من هذا العام 2021، مقارنة بالفترة نفسها من العام 2020، مشيرة إلى أن ذلك رقم مذهل يُظهر الطفرة الملحوظة في الاقتصاد الصيني بعد تفشي الوباء.

نقله إلى العربية: الميادين نت

Whose interests are really being served with US anti-China alliance?

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -March 28, 2021

NEO – Building an anti-China Alliance is the Last US Bid for Political Survival in Asia & the Pacific

by Salman Rafi Sheikh, …with New Eastern Outlook, …and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a research institution for the study of the countries and cultures of Asia and North Africa.

[ Editor’s Note: Is this Biden reinventing Trump’s unipolar power dominance via a two step Biden unipolar power move in Asia with allies in tow, so they are available for cannon fodder use when deemed necessary to keep US trade fluctuations down?

What is important in this Biden plan story is to take a broad overview. By pulling allies into a coalition, he is positioning them for bullet magnets in case of hostilities. So one has to ask, why would they want this exposure when they can just be trade friendly countries with China and sit on the sidelines during a war?

China has no real invasion capability at this point, and has been spending its military money on a defensive navy as protection against the massive US navy firepower. It is also building a strong retaliatory defense as a first strike deterrent. If you want to talk about a threat, that is an undeniable one.

Within this context, to call China’s Navy expansion a threat is just hoaxing the American people to support an aggressive policy by the US to move into a first strike decapitation capability to threaten China.

As for why our own government would want to create a Neo Cold war against someone, the answer is the usual one. The uber wealth interests, who have their hooks deep inside our government, can see themselves making a shit load of military funding money ‘confronting China’, and also Russia, if the peacetime economy is looking dim for them.

NATO is doing a similar move pushing up to the Russian border via Ukraine. Then we have the US wanting the EU to be more dependent on US energy, not for their own security, but so we can have that advantage over them in a time of need.

And, there is the not discussed item that for Biden’s much hyped infrastructure spending to create high paying jobs here, US products based on such will be much less marketable overseas.

Biden needs a cover to always have sanctions put on China so Americans can’t buy Chinese, even if it is better, because sanctions run up the costs.

Economists have always warned that such contrived market moves fail in the long run.

But for countries with a huge military and unlimited borrowing power, which the super rich love, a slow peacetime trade market can always be replaced by a profitable war time market in a jiffy. Think false flag. You just have to press the right buttons… Jim W. Dean ]

First published … March 25, 2021

While the recently held QUAD summit-meeting did not mention China directly, there is little gainsaying that the basic thrust of the group is against China.

Although there are internal disagreements on whether to tackle China through military means or otherwise, or whether to keep this grouping strictly anti-China or not, the Biden administration has no doubts.

For them, the QUAD is a ‘Asia Pivot 2.0.’ and that the very survival of the US in Asia & the Pacific depends on selling a ‘China threat’ and subsequently placing itself as the primary bulwark against it; hence, the hurriedly done arrangements to hold QUAD’s first ever summit level meeting.

In other words, at the heart of Biden’s “China Strategy” is the imperative of rebuilding ties with allies in Asia & the Pacific, especially those frustrated by Trump’s policies, and then assembling a grand anti-China coalition.

Therefore, while the QUAD summit did not mention China as the rival, the so-called “The Spirit of the QUAD” is more than categorically specific about establishing a US led regime of rules governing Asia & the Pacific.

“The spirit” is about making the QUAD “strive for a region that is free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion.” As such, while the summit did not mention China, it still addressed China directly. Indeed, this was more about making China “hear.”

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently told a US Congress House Foreign Affairs Committee that

“the more China hears not just our opprobrium, but a course of opprobrium from around the world the better the chance that we’ll get some changes. We have a number of steps we have taken, or can take, going forward to include for those directly responsible for acts of genocide, gross human rights violations – sanctions, visa restrictions, etc.”

Again, while the QUAD summit was not overtly anti-China, the Biden administration’s follow up visits to Asia & the Pacific are very much focused on building and cementing anti-China alliance.

For instance, the US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Saturday March 13 that he was traveling to Asia to boost military cooperation with American allies and foster “credible deterrence” against China, adding that “China is our pacing threat” and that “Our goal is to make sure that we have the capabilities and the operational plans and concepts to be able to offer credible deterrence to China or anybody else who would want to take on the US”

Criticising the Trump administration’s ambivalent policies that concerned themselves with ‘trade war’ and ‘deal making’, Austin said while the US competitive edge has eroded, “We still maintain the edge and we’re going to increase the edge going forward.”

The key to increasing the edge is through alliances. It is the alliances that, as Austin emphasised, “give us a lot more capability and so one of the big things the Secretary of State and I want to do, is begin to strengthen those alliances — great alliances, great partnerships to begin with.” This will be the key to furthering US interests in Asia & the Pacific against China.

Accordingly, Austin’s visits to Japan and South Korea are most likely to focus on repairing the damaged done to their ties by the Trump administration.

While Japanese officials are sure to seek assurances from Austin that the US military would come to Japan’s aid in the event of a conflict with China over the Senkaku Islands, his time in Seoul is expected to be consumed with the question of whether to resume regular large-scale military exercises with South Korea, which Trump had abruptly cancelled. 

Already, the two countries have reached a cost-sharing agreement for stationing American troops in South Korea, a presence that Trump had also threatened to end.

Austin’s full-scale visit to Asia & the Pacific also includes India, another QUAD member and a country at its lowest point in relations with China in decades after deadly clashes last year. Austin’s visit, therefore, will be particularly focused on utilizing the existing tensions between India & China to the US’ advantage.

The US, as it stands, cannot let these opportunities un-utilized; for, such opportunities allow them [the US ] to inject themselves in conflict zones in ways that, instead of de-escalating tensions, serve US interests first and foremost. If the US needs India as an ally against China, it needs to convince the Modi regime that India’s survival against China demands partnership with the US.

Again, the fact that the Trump administration stood virtually aloof in the last year India-China border skirmishes did a great deal of damage to India’s belief about the extent to which it could rely on the US. Austin’s mission will be, first and foremost, focused on rebuilding India’s belief and assuring the Indian government of the inevitability of the US support for their survival against China.

There is little gainsaying that the core focus of the Biden administration’s foreign policy is China. This is evident not only from the first ever summit level meeting of the QUAD, but also from Lloyd Austin’s first ever overseas mission as the Pentagon Chief.

What it shows is that the Biden administration, which is still less than two months into the presidency, is in no hurry to change of the course of tense relations with Chain set by the Trump administration.

In fact, the Biden administration is not only building on the same tensions, but is also utilizing its relatively more “responsible”, more “democratic” and more “stable and predictable” outlook as compared to the previous administration to woo their somewhat estranged allies into a sort of “global coalition” that Mike Pompeo had sought, and failed, to build and lead.

Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

BIOGRAPHY

Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor

Managing Editor

Jim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. 

Read Full Complete Bio >>>

Jim W. Dean Archives 2009-2014https://www.veteranstoday.com/jim-w-dean-biography/jimwdean@aol.com

Which nation will US Democrats try to destroy in the next 4 years?

Wednesday, 20 January 2021 2:09 AM 

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo of protesters outside the Capitol
Which nation will US Democrats try to destroy in the next 4 years?
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

by Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2) and cross-posted with The Saker

John Kennedy’s “Camelot” was a magical time for US leftists. Too bad its promise was not fully realized – his attempted armed overthrow of the Cuban Revolution failed to return Washington’s fascist allies to power.

It’s so interesting how Lyndon Baines Johnson was brought down by mass protests which were not equaled until Donald Trump. The difference is that the anti-LBJ protests were completely anti-imperialist and internationalist in nature – against his continuation of Kennedy’s war on the Vietnamese people – whereas the “never-Trump” movement is totally self-absorbed in Americanism and vitally concerned with immediately reasserting American dominance and prestige.

Coinciding with the current installation of Joe Biden, Jimmy Carter is being whitewashed (again) in a popular new movie called “Rock & Roll President”. His creation of the Taliban, looking the other way on death squads of progressive clergy in El Salvador and Guatemala and his attempted destruction of the Iranian Revolution are all apparently less important to his legacy than his taste in music.

Bill Clinton was the first Baby Boomer president and he certainly changed things. He totally rolled back the Reagan-Bush Cold War policy of not attacking socialist nations by bombing Yugoslavia into an unstable fragmentation which persists 30 years later.

Barack Obama deserved his Nobel Peace Prize for perhaps as long as five minutes into his presidency – then he bombed seven Muslim countries, increased the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and armed horrific wars in Libya, Syria and Ukraine to advance US interests.

It is fairly said – given the wars on American Indians – that Donald Trump, for all his fomenting of instability in the few nations courageous enough to openly oppose US imperialism, was actually the least belligerent president since Thomas Jefferson. During Trump’s tenure US Democrats drew gapes around the world with the way they virulently criticised Trump for his reluctance to extend Obama’s military conflicts and to start new ones.

But why such surprise at the warmongering of today’s Democrats? Listed above is the post-WWII legacy of Democratic leaders, and it is consistently refreshed by non-American blood.

Joe Biden is about to take the reins of foreign policy, and a bigger creation of the totally anti-internationalist, fake-leftist Democratic establishment could not be found. History shows we need to be prepared, so it’s worthwhile to look at the countries which Biden is likely to try and destroy.

After all, Democrat presidents always try to destroy somebody.

Countries too strong to be invaded, but whom Biden will try to provoke into war

North Korea: Pity the families still devastated by the last remnant of the Cold War: the US-divided Korean Peninsula. A united Korea would almost certainly create a hyper-competitive, top-5 global economy. That’s why Japan and the US won’t allow it – fear of Korean strength. Biden is certain to reverse Trump’s negotiations – despised across the US mainstream – for a minor detente. But victory in war here is impossible – it was tried and it failed, and despite perhaps the most horrific US war crimes ever.

Iran: Due to 70 years of sanctions North Korea is the performance straggler in East Asia, but in the Muslim World Iran is the performance leader despite decades of murderous sanctions. Fear of Iranian strength is the reason why Biden isn’t likely to spectacularly reverse US policy Iran. Washington and Tel Aviv will not consent to see two things: Iran as a thriving, peace-promoting regional leader in the Middle East, and a thriving, progressive Muslim republic anywhere. Biden will likely rejoin the JCPOA but merely return to Obama’s policy: not honoring it, intentionally subverting it and yet publicly claiming the opposite. This time-wasting is unfair for Iranians but very useful for Pentagonians and lobbyists, who have only ever had one policy: to implode Iran’s revolutionary government. There won’t be a military attack on Iran because it would only end in disaster – it’s the same as with North Korea, but Iran doesn’t need a nuclear bomb: they are the Muslim World’s performance leader.

China: For all his anti-China rhetoric Trump wasn’t as belligerent militarily as Obama was – his “pivot to Asia” proved that US-China detente was over. One simply cannot compare a trade war to a Cold War and remain credible, after all. Biden will only ramp up these provocations, as Washington simply cannot tolerate a competitor which rejects the neoliberal form of capitalism in favor of “mutually-beneficial cooperation” in business. The US lost the war against China long ago – now they are losing the battle for global political-cultural attention: China was the only major economy to grow in 20202, and one of the few to defeat the coronavirus. Biden will continue to uselessly beat America’s head against the wall here, and also try to force US allies to uselessly do the same.

Russia: US military supremacy is not only excluded from the Iranian waters of the Persian Gulf but also in the skies – Russia’s involvement in Syria proved that. Fomenting war in poor, neighboring Ukraine was proof that the US knows that direct involvement in Russia is totally unwinnable. The only way that Washington can keep detente – the only solution between equals – off the table is to hysterically and pathetically insist that Russian operatives (such as Trump) are destroying America from within. Absurd, but America is still fighting a Cold War, one must remember: the fight for everyone to accept the American Dream.

Both US parties in disarray after stunning elections
Both US parties in disarray after stunning elections
Both mainstream parties in the United States are profoundly shaken by the election results from November 3rd.

Countries which Biden may attempt to destroy so they can live the American Dream of ‘stability for the 1%’

Cuba: Far-right Latin-American immigrants (from Cuba, Venezuela and elsewhere) have entered their second and even third-generations in the US. The 2020 election showed their essentially reactionary natures shining through – they were credited as being the force which swung Florida in favor of Trump. In order to turn Florida blue we could see Biden building on Trump’s appalling increase of the US-led blockade on the Cuban people. The vagaries of the circus which is US politics may demand a reboot of Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs attack, as useless as that would be against an almost supremely-united Cuban people whose political intelligence is among the best in the world.

Venezuela: Venezuelan strength is always underestimated in Western media, but there is no indication Biden has any intention of pulling back on Washington’s longstanding “Monroe Doctrine”, which declares Latin America to be Washington’s backyard. Iran and Venezuela keep bravely enriching the obvious ideological ties between the two socialist-inspired nations with commercial ties – could Biden force the US Navy to intervene? Trump showed a reluctance for open war, but did Biden ever vote against a war?  

Mali: Defeated in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria – whither Washington’s two-decade war on the Muslim world? Could the US reverse its longstanding policy of ceding West Africa to French imperialism and open up a new front on the opposite end of the Muslim world? France invaded Mali in 2013 without UN approval but there is now unprecedented grumbling about their own “endless war”: If any Western nation could possibly elect a semi-leftist president it would be France, and that could happen in 2022. Surely Biden is open to ideas here, given how many of his cabinet were involved in the destruction of Libya. Are we really wise to imagine Biden will peacefully pull out of the Muslim world? He has certainly promised nothing of the sort.

The United States: This is not an unnecessarily provocative addition. Biden, whom I refer to as “Corporate Joe” due to his half-century of turning his home state of Delaware into perhaps the world’s biggest tax haven for big business, already helped destroy Main Street in order to pay for bailouts of Wall Street during the Great Recession. The economic catastrophe in 2021 is going to be even worse for Main Street than it was in the awful 2020, so the path for America is crystal clear: massive economic redistribution and Roosevelt-era levels of government-controlled investments. Of course, those two things are totally anathema on both sides of the aisle in the US, but they say the times make the man: Just like Obama, Biden has the same chance to break with the failed decades of “trickle-down”, economic right-wing ideology – will “Corporate Joe” admit how spectacularly wrong he has been for so long? On a cultural level, Biden has not condemned the hysterical, vengeful, McCarthy-era tactics being shockingly threatened against 75 million Trump voters – will Biden foment civil discord as a way to distract from even more neoliberal, far-right economic policies that will surely prove unpopular? Is “never-Trumpism” never-ending?


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Related

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (1/2) – November 5, 2020

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (2/2) – November 6, 2020

4 years of anti-Trumpism shaping MSM vote coverage, but expect long fight – November 7, 2020

US partitioned by 2 presidents: worst-case election scenario realized – November 9, 2020

A 2nd term is his if he really wants it, but how deep is Trump’s ‘Trumpism’? – November 10, 2020

CNN’s Jake Tapper: The overseer keeping all journalists in line (1/2) – November 13, 2020

‘Bidenism’ domestically: no free press, no lawyer, one-party state? (2/2) – November 15, 2020

Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem – November 17, 2020

The 4-year (neoliberal) radicalisation of US media & Bidenites’ ‘unradical radicalism’ – November 22, 2020

80% of US partisan losers think the last 2 elections were stolen – December 3, 2020

Trump declares civil war for voter integrity in breaking (or broken) USA – December 5, 2020

Mess with Texas via mail-in ballot? States secede from presidential vote – December 8, 2020

Biden won? 2016-2020 showed what the US does to even mild reformers – Dec 18, 2020

Alleged Nashville bomber not Muslim: Western media disappointed – January 2, 2020

This week in the US: The ‘model nation’ for no nation anymore – January 7, 2020

Biggest threat to global leftism returns to power: US fake-leftism (1/2) – January 8, 2021

US post-Capitol: Armed, hysterical, depressed and yet out for blood – Jan 13, 2021

Zone B exists, thus there is hope, I promise you!

Source

Zone B exists, thus there is hope, I promise you!

The Saker

Today it appears that the triumph of our adversaries is total. I want to post this column saying that I don’t believe for one second that this is true. All I want to do today is explain why. Thus, just to make clear to those alternatively gifted, this is not a comprehensive analysis and I will be leaving many things out.

So, here we go:

First, notice how totally paranoid our adversaries are! Depending on how you count and whom you ask, they had 25k to 65k folks in arms “defending” them. Of course, the primary goal of this nonsense is to make it appear as if there was a terrible domestic terrorist force out there, ready to take over DC and open Gulags for minorities. This, in turn, will make it easier to sell a massive crackdown on civil liberties under the guise of “protecting” the (supposed but, in reality, already defunct) “democracy”. But the fact that they had to engage into a witch hunt even to carefully vet every national guardsman (and probably even more people) shows that they are truly afraid. I think that they are wrong, there is no credible domestic terrorist threat in the USA, other than the government itself, of course. But what matters here is not what I think, but what they think, and they seem to have developed a serious case of paranoia.

Second, while I don’t believe in the existence of US domestic terrorists, I do believe that millions of US citizens are convinced that the vote was stolen. These people are understandably disgusted and angry. Many might be desperate or even despondent. Let’s call them the “deplorables” and consider it a badge of honor. Well, these deporables won’t take DC by force, but they will never trust a Dem or GOP politician again, and neither will they ever trust the corporate media. One of the blessings in disguise of this stolen election is that the GOP and Fox News have shown their true faces, and their faces are evil, stupid and ugly. 4 years ago millions of US citizens did not so much vote for Trump as much as they voted against Hillary whom they (correctly) saw as a symbol and metaphor for the entire “deep state”, or “swamp” or “ZOG” or whatever other expression you prefer. These deplorables first trusted Obama (“change we can believe in”) and, later, Trump (MAGA). Now they know that both sides are equally evil and false.

In the past, both factions of the Big Money Party had safety valves (Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, Rand Paul, Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders, etc.). I think that now the two parties are literally standing naked and boy is that an ugly sight!

Third, and this point I primarily address to my readers in the USA and that will force me to make a sidebar primarily directed at them:

[Sidebar: the planet can be divided into 2 rough parts: ZONE A full controlled by the AngloZionist Empire and, ZONE B, which includes everybody else. The vast majority of Americans are only really aware of Zone A. Why? For the following reasons:

  • Most Americans have never traveled outside Zone A.
  • Those Americans who have traveled outside Zone A typically did so without speaking the local language, thus cutting themselves off the locals and the local media.
  • Most Americans get their news from US-based outlets, often combined with a few from elsewhere in the Anglosphere (UK, AUS).
  • US media outlets lie even more about what happens in Zone B than they lie about Zone A.
  • US schools have pretty much stopped teaching history, and when they do, it is all propaganda about the “city on the hill” and all the rest of the imperialist claptrap about how exceptional the US is. As a result, when most Americans are exposed to factoids about Zone B they are not equipped to understand their meaning or importance.
  • Most Americans simply assume that people in Zone B are very similar to those in Zone A. Most Americans also assume that most governments in Zone B are even more evil than Uncle Shmuel.
  • Most Americans also believe in what I call the “immigration fallacy”: the belief that people come to the USA from all over the planet because they prefer the USA to their home country and people. Anybody living in the USA and speaking Spanish knows that totally false this belief is, of course. But few non-Hispanic Americans ever speak in Spanish to the Hispanics in the USA (FYI – I do). Anglos generally seem to have a hard time with languages…
  • Sadly, most Americans are not educated by their parents, their religious leaders, their communities, or their schools. Most Americans get most of their education from watching TV. Since all the US TV channels offer almost the exact same mix of vulgar entertainment, propaganda and commercials, this “education” resulted in a huge amount of massively dysfunctional families and communities. This addiction to a flickering screen (be it the Idiot Tube or You Tube – same difference) gives them a very short attention span and a limited ability to process large amounts of written information, which is what is needed to be able to analyze a situation]

As a direct consequence of these factors, most Americans live in a “mental space” where Zone B simply does not exist, and when it is mentioned, it is invariable in the “same old clichés” mode.

Finally, considering all of the above, it is truly a miracle that the deplorables completely ignored a massive brainwashing campaign (waaaay worse than anything the Commies or the Nazis ever came up with!) against “Trump the New Hitler” and still voted for him twice, both in 2016 and 2020! It really goes to show that most Americans quietly but passionately hate the regime in DC and that they use every opportunity they get to at least to try to change their country and their lives by means of voting. Makes you wonder what these “disobedient” deplorables will do the next time around now that voting became clearly a waste of time, don’t it?]

Now here is the good news: Zone B does exist! In fact, it is huge, rich, truly diverse and it has long figured out that both the AngloZionist Empire and even the USA as we knew them have basically died, all that’s left from it is some residual momentum and many bad habits by ignorant, arrogant and delusional US politicians.

Why is that so important?

Because if we allow the Great Satan (actually a very good and exact expression, I think that it fits the new regime perfectly, I will use it more often) to convince us that reality is all contained in Zone A, we could really fall into despair. Yeah, the USA is screwed, and so is all of the EU. As for US colonies like AUS or NZ, not only are they screwed (say by siding with the USA against a much, MUCH more powerful China), they also seem to have a morbid desire to outstupid even the USA in terms of crazy laws and insane ideological positions (say on COVID, for example). But all this in ONLY true inside Zone A. Very few people in Zone B still believe that the USA matters a great deal. Most of them already know otherwise, even if this is never reported by Zone A media.

There is even more good news: neither the (rump) AngloZionist Empire nor the (rump) USA represent any credible threat to most countries in Zone B. Oh sure, US politicians can call Russia a “gas station masquerading as a country” or a “regional power”, the truth is that the united West has completely failed to break, or even meaningfully hurt Russia, despite 46 sanction packages (that’s just by Trump, not counting the “change we can believe in” crook). Heck, even COVID only marginally hurt Russia (which, unlike the flag-waving pseudo-patriotic crap spewed by western politicians took COVID seriously, very seriously in fact, as early as March and prepared the country for no less than two major outbreaks, both which happened, and both which Russia successfully dealt with; this is why the EU is now in full COVID-hysteria mode, while Russia does not bother to impose any lockdowns at all!).

Now let’s place two US propaganda items side by side and take a look, ok?

  1. The USA has the most powerful economy on the planet.
  2. Russia is the #1 adversary of the USA (at least according to the Dems, the GOP places China as #1 and Russia only as #2)

Do you see the problem?

If the USA is so powerful, how is it that it failed to crush Russia? What about Iran? Or, in extremis, Venezuela? Yet, even the the last case, the “best” this supposed World Hegemon did was send a few clueless ex-special ops to get caught and give case of hysterical laughter to the entire Latin American continent!

And these folks want to take on China or Russia?!

Peuhleeze!

So here is the other very good news: Zone A presents no real threat to Zone B!!!

Yes, of course, the USA can still nuke China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela or some other country. But let’s look at the consequences of such a strike:

  • Against Russia: the USA simply vanishes as a country. Completely and forever.
  • Against China: the USA as a society completely collapses for a very long time.
  • Against Iran: the USA gets stuck in a major regional war it can only lose with massive geostrategic consequences (still, the new regime might try to pull this one off, never say never, no matter how stupid this idea can seem to you – always remember that the ignoramuses in DC are as delusional as they are ignorant!)
  • Against the DPRK: the USA gets stuck in a major regional war it can only lose with massive geostrategic consequences.
  • Against Venezuela: the USA gets stuck in a counter-insurgency war it can only lose. The comprador regime in Bogota will not survive such a war and Colombia will also “fall”.
  • Against any other Zone B country: the US successfully nukes this/these country/countries only to find itself being treated like a pariah by the entire planet (including quite a few US colonies), including the real military powers. NATO and the EU will also collapse is that happens (the US being their cornerstone).

The bottom line is that while the US triad is still fully functional and capable of waging a full-scale nuclear war against any adversary (including Russia and, even more so, China), the truth is that all this triad really achieves is making it impossible for another nuclear power to use nukes against the USA. Which is not minor or irrelevant, the problem here being that the US nuclear triad provides with with exactly zero help when trying to deal with any adversary not using nukes (either because this adversary choose not to use nukes due to the effective deterrence of the US nuclear triad or simply because it has no nukes in the first place).

As I have mentioned in the past, the US submarine force is, along with the nuclear triad, the other truly effective and powerful force which the US can count on in case of war. However, other than launching large numbers of outdated and, therefore, easily countered cruise missiles there is little this force can do to assist a US ground (or, for that matter) air operation against anything but a very weak adversary. The problem with so-called “sub-peer” adversaries is that they have relatively few lucrative targets to strike with cruise missiles (think Venezuela here). Most of these subpeer adversaries do not have the air defenses needed to deal with any halfway determined US missile and bomb attack and the US can quickly destroy whatever air defenses such “sub-peer” countries have. So yes, I admit it. If tomorrow the USA wants a “short and triumphant war”, say to boost morale or distract from internal problems, they could still attack countries like, say, Antigua and Barbuda or Santa Lucia, but such a farce will hardly would qualify as “brilliant victory” of the “best armed forces in the galaxy”, now would it? Or maybe would, who knows? Ff the united propaganda machine wants to present that as a triumph for US forces, like they did with the Grenada invasion (one of the worst military operation in history!) they can do that, of course. But that would only serve to further ridicule that propaganda machine since 2021 is not 1983, there are now millions of deplorables out there who will never buy this kind of silly nonsense.

Besides, considering how the joint efforts of the USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia (the “Axis of Kindness”) completely failed to deal with the Houthis, my money would not be on any US invasion force in the Caribbean (with the possible exception of a re-invasion of Haiti or the Dominican Republic, but these are already US protectorates, what would be the point?!).

Why does all that matter so much?

Because the Dems are clearly up to no good. Next, not only will we see a wave of repression against free speech internally, but the Dems are already making noises about, you guessed it, China and Russia (again!) and, when that inevitably yield exactly zero results, they will turn to “hate on” Iran and Venezuela again. But even these comparatively weaker countries are now very much capable of making Uncle Shmuel pay an immense price in blood and hell to pay in terms of political blowback on to many fronts to count.

The “power” of a nation (or a coalition of nations) can be measured using very many different type of metrics, but the three most common ones would probably be: economic power, military power and political power. If we use those three to compare Zone A to Zone B, it would be reasonable to posit the following:

  • Economic power: more more or less equal, with Zone A quickly going down and Zone B quickly rising. Zone A still has A LOT of comprador regimes willing to defend it not only at the UN, but in most international bodies (including non-government ones like the IOC for example, or WADA).
  • Military power: Zone A very much weaker than Zone B (just think RU+CN+IN for starters!)
  • Political power: Zone A still stronger, but that is also changing fast. You can say that most world rulers are still serfs for Zone A, but most people worldwide have long switched their support for Zone B countries. The recent triumph of the people of Bolivia over their oppressors is a very telling sign of this trend.

And here is the key factor to keep in mind: there is nothing, absolutely nothing, the Biden/Harris Admin can do to change these trends. It is simply too late and when the initiation of the internal collapse of the USA, these trends will only accelerate.

Yes, the bad guys did win, but only over Trump and his clueless pseudo-allies (did they betray him faster than he betrayed them, or was it the other way around?), but they only won one a battle against the deplorables and they have won exactly nothing against Zone B.

The Dems are now busy with vengeance in all its forms. They also relish in humiliating Trump and those who dared to support him. This is the political equivalent of torturing people in basements, not winning glorious battles. But they don’t realize that, they are too vain, too ideologically hateful, and too cowardly to understand that.

Still, brainwashing, like torture (including mental torture!), is real. In this case, this is a battle for the minds of the deplorables who now have to be beaten down into a catatonic state of total submission and compliance. The Dems are using lies, their favorite weapon, but their assault is real, nonetheless. And this is the battle which we, those who opposed imperialism, have to fight – the battle for the minds of the people in Zone A: we need to show them that the pseudo-reality of Zone A has no real existence outside the Idiot Box and the vapid rhetoric of US decision makers.

We have to mentally prepare for a sharp increase in the amount and scope of the lies the US propaganda machine will be telling us (if you thought the last 4 years were bad, prepare for much, much worse; good example here). And, of course, expect LOTS of false flags, especially to demonstrate the reality of the alleged danger coming from the “domestic terrorists”. That will all go down against a background of a full-spectrum attack on free speech, dissent and any form of actual (as opposed to pretend) thought, really.

The irony is, of course, that the coming witch hunt (it will be way worse than Salem or McCarthy) will be waged in the name of diversity and ostensibly against “hate”. In reality, of course, what the regime wants is to crush real diversity because the leaders of the US Nomenklatura absolutely hate everything besides their sorry selves. Like all ideologues, what these folks want is 1) total power and 2) total uniformity. All those rejecting these modern dogmas will be branded has criminals, terrorists, heretics, racist and, of course, Russian and Chinese agents.

And that is why this regime will also fail.

Conclusion: diversity WILL win. The REAL diversity, of course!

Our planet is wonderfully diverse, especially outside the uniformity sector of Zone A. There IS a Zone B out there, and the leaders of Zone A will be defeated by our real common and shared humanity (and their hatred for us!). Somewhere between Obama and Trump, the world has moved on, and it is now very busy dealing with the immense challenges and opportunities facing it in Zone B. And no, neither Russia nor China is busy trying to sabotage or undermine the USA – US leaders are doing that much better job of that than any Russian or Chinese ever could. So why even bother (and nevermind the risks!)?

We cannot predict what will happen next, there are simply too many variables to do that. But what we can do is predict with a great degree of confidence that the new regime in power in DC will do no better than all the other regimes which came to power by means of color revolutions in the past couple of decades. There is no hope left for the Empire, as for the USA, there will be plenty of hope left for them, but only after a long and painful process of collapse and rebirth (both of which are inevitable by now). The truth is that US is not that unique as empires go, sorry, it is just your typical arrogant and narcissistic empire which will collapse just as all the other arrogant and narcissistic empires in history have collapsed, mostly under their own obscene weight. And those poor souls who sincerely believe that China (or Russia) want to replace the USA simply don’t understand that these two countries already have been empires, it was a disaster, thank you very much, and they have no desire to repeat their past mistakes. This desire for non-exceptionalism and normalcy will, with time, also become the object of a large social consensus in the USA. And, with time, the USA will finally be welcomed into a truly free Zone B or, should I say, a Zone-free world.

James Jeffrey’s Confessions: Syria is the gift that continues to give to us, we are in control of northeastern Syria. Erdogan retreats under threat (2) اعترافات جيمس جيفري: سورية الهديّة التي تستمرّ بالعطاء لنا نحن المسيطرون فعلياّ على شمال شرق سورية.. وأردوغان يتراجع تحت التهديد (2)

**Please scroll down for the English translation**

نضال حمادة

نستكمل الجزء الثاني والأخير من المقابلة التي أجراها المبعوث الأميركيّ الخاص السابق الى سورية جيفري جيمس مع «المونيتور».

يقول جيفري جيمس يجب الفصل بين أردوغان وتركيا، وستكون أكبر التحديات التي يواجهها بايدن هي الصين وروسيا وكوريا الشمالية وخطة العمل الشاملة المشتركة الإيرانية والمناخ. هؤلاء هم الخمسة الكبار. المرتبة السادسة هي تركيا، حيث إنّ تركيا لها تأثير مباشر على اثنين من المراكز الخمسة الأولى: إيران وروسيا، وهذا له تأثير على الإرهاب رقم ثمانية أو تسعة.

ويضيف: تركيا دولة مهمة للغاية في الناتو يقع رادار الناتو في قلب نظام الصواريخ المضادة للصواريخ الباليستية الذي يواجه إيران في تركيا. لدينا أصول عسكرية هائلة هناك. لا يمكننا فعلاً «القيام» بالشرق الأوسط أو المؤتمرات الحزبيّة أو البحر الأسود من دون تركيا. وتركيا خصم طبيعي لروسيا وإيران.

ويتابع: أردوغان مفكر كبير في أساليب الحكم. حيث يرى ما يجذب يتحرّك، الأمر الآخر بالنسبة لأردوغان هو أنه متعجرف للغاية ولا يمكن التنبّؤ بما يفعله، وببساطة لن يوافق على حلّ يربح فيه الجميع. ولكن عندما يكون في عجلة من أمره – وتفاوضت معه – فهو ممثل عقلانيّ..

لذا، إذا رأى بايدن العالم مثل الكثير منا الآن، منافسة قريبة من الأقران، تصبح تركيا مهمة للغاية. انظروا إلى ما فعله (أردوغان) للتوّ خلال ثمانية أشهر في إدلب وليبيا وناغورني كاراباخ. كانت روسيا أو الحلفاء الروس هم الخاسرون في الثلاثة.

يصف جيفري أردوغان فيقول: أردوغان لن يتراجع حتى تظهر له أسنانك، هذا ما فعلناه عندما تفاوضنا على وقف إطلاق النار في تشرين الأوّل/ أكتوبر 2019، كنا مستعدّين لسحق الاقتصاد التركي.

هذا ما فعله بوتين بعد إسقاط الطائرة الروسيّة لقد أرسل الروس الآن إشارات قوية مرتين إلى الأتراك في إدلب.

يجب أن تكون مستعداً، عندما يذهب أردوغان بعيداً، لقمعه حقاً والتأكد من أنه يفهم ذلك مسبقاً. الموقف التركيّ ليس صحيحاً أبداً بنسبة 100 %. لديهم منطق وحجج معينة من جانبهم. نظراً لدورهم كحليف مهمّ وحصن ضدّ إيران وروسيا، فإنّ الأمر متروك لنا على الأقلّ للاستماع إلى حججهم ومحاولة إيجاد حلول وسط.

حول رغبة ترامب في مغادرة القوات الأميركية المنطقة يقول جيمس جيفري: الرئيس غير مرتاح لوجودنا في سورية. كان منزعجاً جداً مما اعتبره حروباً لا نهاية لها. هذا شيء لا ينبغي أن ينتقد بسببه. أسقطنا الخلافة (داعش) ثم بقينا. ظلّ ترامب يسأل، «لماذا لدينا قوات هناك؟» ولم نعطه الإجابة الصحيحة.

إذا قال أحدهم، «الأمر كله يتعلق بالإيرانيين»، فربما كان سينجح. لكن الأشخاص الذين كانت مهمتهم معرفة سبب وجود القوات هم وزارة الدفاع. وقد أعطوا الإذن (من الكونغرس) لاستخدام القوة العسكريّة، نحن هنا لمحاربة الإرهابيين.»

أعتقد أنّ سبب سحب ترامب للقوات كان لأنه سئم من تقديم كلّ هذه التفسيرات لسبب وجودنا هناك. كان هناك وعد ضمني له: يا رئيس، لا شيء خطأ، نحن نعمل مع الأتراك، ونعمل مع الروس. ومن ثم يحصل على هذه الكوارث.

لم أبلغ الرئيس بذلك. لقد فعل بومبيو ذلك وقدّم له الحجة، وركز على إيران. لكن ترامب كان غير مرتاح لهذه القوى، وكان يثق بأردوغان. سيواصل أردوغان طرح هذه القضايا حول حزب العمال الكردستاني، وسيستجوب الرئيس الناس، ويجب أن يكونوا صادقين ويعترفوا». بالطبع، الأمر أكثر تعقيداً من ذلك. الحروب معقدة، ويضيف: لقد شرحنا الأسباب للرئيس لكنه يستمع أيضاً إلى أردوغان. أردوغان مقنع تماماً بالنسبة له.

في وزارة الخارجية، لم نكشف للرئيس عن عدد القوات في سورية. إنها ليست وظيفتنا. لم نحاول خداعه. لكننا كنا نعطيه أرقاماً أقلّ بكثير من الأرقام الفعليّة، لذلك عند التحدث إلى وسائل الإعلام والكونغرس، كان علينا توخي الحذر الشديد وتجنبها. بالإضافة إلى أنّ الأرقام كانت مضحكة. هل تحصي الحلفاء الذين لا يريدون الكشف عن هويتهم هناك؟ هل تشمل ثكنة التنف؟ هل تحسب أن وحدة برادلي تأتي وتذهب؟

كنا خجولين لأنّ الرئيس أعطى الأمر بالانسحاب ثلاث مرات. كانت الضغوط مستمرة والتهديد بسحب القوات من سورية. شعرنا بالضعف الشديد وربما شربنا القليل من الخوف لأنه كان يعني الكثير بالنسبة لنا. أتفهّم مخاوفه بشأن أفغانستان. لكن المهمة في سورية هي الهدية التي تستمرّ في العطاء. نحن وقوات سورية الديمقراطية ما زلنا القوة المهيمنة في شمال شرق سورية.

كان الأكراد يحاولون دائماً جعلنا نتظاهر بأننا سندافع عنهم ضد الجيش التركي. وحثوا قوة المهام المشتركة، على الرغم من اعتراضاتي، على البدء في إقامة نقاط استيطانيّة على طول الحدود التركيّة.

James Jeffrey’s Confessions: Syria is the gift that continues to give to us, we are in control of northeastern Syria. Erdogan retreats under threat (2)

Nidal Hamada

We complete the second and final part of the interview that former U.S. special envoy to Syria Jeffrey James gave to Al-Monitor.

Jeffrey James says Erdogan and Turkey must  be separated, and Biden’s biggest challenges will be China, Russia, North Korea, Iran’s JCPOA and climate.

“Turkey is a very important NATO country, and NATO’s radar is at the heart of the anti-ballistic missile system that confronts Iran in Turkey.” We have enormous military assets there. We can’t really “do” the Middle East, party conventions or the Black Sea without Turkey. Turkey is a natural opponent of Russia and Iran.

“Erdogan is a great thinker in governance.” Where he sees what attracts he moves, the other thing for Erdogan is that he is too arrogant and unpredictable as to what he is doing, and simply won’t agree to a win-win solution. But when he’s in a hurry, (and I negotiated with him), he’s a rational actor.

So, if Biden sees the world like so many of us now, a close-up competition, Turkey becomes very important.   

“Erdogan won’t back down until you show him your teeth, that’s what we did when we negotiated a ceasefire in October 2019, we were ready to crush the Turkish economy,” he said.

The Russians have now sent twice strong signals to the Turks in Idlib.

You must be prepared, when Erdogan goes away, to really suppress him and make sure that he understands it in advance. The Turkish position is never 100% true. They have certain logic and arguments on their part. Given their role as an important ally and bulwark against Iran and Russia, it is up to us at least to listen to their arguments and try to find compromises.

“The president is uncomfortable with our presence in Syria,” said James Jeffrey. He was very disturbed by what he considered endless wars. This is something that should not be criticized for it. We brought down the caliphate (ISIS) and then we stayed. Trump kept asking, “Why do we have troops there?” and we didn’t give him the right answer.

If someone said, “It’s all about the Iranians,” maybe it’s going to work. But the people whose job it was to find out why the troops were present was the Ministry of Defence. They have given permission (from Congress) to use military force, we are here to fight terrorists.”

I think the reason Trump pulled the troops out was because he’s tired of providing all of these explanations of why we’re there. There was an implicit to him: President, nothing is wrong, we are working with the Turks, we are working with the Russians. And then he gets these disasters.

I didn’t report it to the President. But Trump was uncomfortable with these forces, and he trusted Erdogan.

At the State Department, we have not disclosed to the President the number of troops in Syria. It’s not our job. We didn’t try to fool him.

We were shy because the president gave the order to withdraw three times. Pressure was continuing and the threat of withdrawing troops from Syria. We felt very weak and maybe even drunk a little fear because it meant so much to us. I understand his concerns about Afghanistan. But the task in Syria is the gift that continues to give. We and the Syrian Democratic Forces are still the dominant force in northeastern Syria.

The Kurds were always trying to make us pretend that we would defend them against the Turkish army. They urged the Joint Task Force, despite my objections, to start establishing outposts along the Turkish border.

أزمة النظام السياسي الأميركي: هشاشة الديموقراطيّة؟ – أسعد أبو خليل

 الصفصاف

لو كانت هناك عدالة على هذه الأرض (أو في السماء)، لكان يحقّ لكل سكّان الأرض الإدلاء بأصواتهم في مسألة تقرير الرئاسة الأميركيّة، لأن أميركا تقحم نفسها في كلّ شؤون الدول، إلى درجة أنّها أرادت أن تحثّ نقولا فتّوش على أن يقطع روابطه مع 8 آذار، وهي كانت ترغب لو أنّ بيار فتّوش حنَّ على حليفها وليد جنبلاط بحصّة في معمله الشهير. يُقرّر الرئيس الأميركي في الشأن اللبناني، مثلاً، أكثر ممّا يقرّر الرئيس اللبناني نفسه (بعد نزع صلاحيّاته في «الطائف»). كذلك الخلافة في سلالات الطغاة الحاكمة في الخليج، لا تُقَرّ من دون ترجيح أميركي. ولا يزال محمد بن سلمان يتمنّع عن الاستيلاء على العرش بانتظار ترخيص أميركي صريح. لكن ليس لنا، شعوب العالم، أن نقرّر في مسألة اختيار إمبراطور الأرض. هذا الأمر متروك لفئة من الشعب الأميركي التي تختار أن يقترع، ومجموعها يكون أحياناً أقلّ من نصف هذا الشعب.

لم تكن نتائج الانتخابات الأميركيّة متوقّعة؛ استطلاعات الرأي كانت (في معدّلاتها على موقع «ريل كلير بوليتكس») تعطي لجو بايدن أرجحيّة بنسبة عشرة في المئة على، صعيد البلاد بأجمعها (أي الانتخاب الشعبي الذي يحتسب أصوات الاقتراع في كلّ البلاد)، كما كانت تُعطي بايدن أرجحيّة واضحة في «الولايات المتأرجحة» (أي تلك التي باتت تذهب في هذا الاتجاه أو ذاك، يوم الانتخاب، وتصبح هي العرضة لتنافس المرشّحَين). المؤشرات كانت لا تفيد دونالد ترامب (أو «طرمب»، حسب لفظ ألبير كوستانيان) على مدى أشهر. لكنّ النتائج (بصرف النظر عن شخصيّة الفائز التي لا تزال عرضة للتكهّن وتعداد الأصوات باليد، تماماً كما كانوا يفعلون في بداية عصر الانتخاب)، تُعمّق من الشرخ الذي يفصل بين وطنَيْن في أمّة واحدة. الحزب الجمهوري يصبح بازدياد حزب الذكور البيض (هو ينال أكثر من ثلثَيْ أصوات الذكور البيض، وتزداد النسبة عند هؤلاء الأقلّ تعليماً بينهم)، والنساء البيض اللواتي يخترن الحزب الجمهوري (بنسبة 58٪ لترامب، مقابل 43٪ لبايدن، فيما صوّتت النساء ككل بنسبة 56٪ لبايدن مقابل 43٪ لترامب). والتغيير الديموغرافي لصالح المهاجرين والملوّنين، يُنقص من حظوظ الحزب الجمهوري على المدى الطويل، ولهذا يعتمد الحزب على وسائل عديدة للحفاظ على أرجحيّته: 1) هو يعمد في الولايات إلى تصعيب عمليّة الاقتراع وتعقيدها (تماماً، كما كان الحزب الديموقراطي يستنبط في الولايات الجنوبيّة حتى الستينيّات، وسائل عديدة وامتحانات لتخفيض حجم الاقتراع للسود) عبر وسائل عديدة، لعلمه أنّ الملوّنين والفقراء – وهم الأقل اقتراعاً بين الطبقات الاجتماعيّة والأعراق – يقترعون غالباً لصالح الحزب الديموقراطي (زاد ترامب من نسبة تأييده بين السود الذكور، وإن قليلاً). كذلك، فإنّ زيادة إجراءات التسجيل قبل الاقتراع، هي حيلة استنبطها الحزبان الممثّلان لمصالح النخب الطبقيّة، تماماً كما أراد المؤسّسون الأوائل الذين اعتبروا أنّ اختيار الرئيس مسألة بأهميّة تفوق القدرة العقلانيّة للعامّة (من البيض الذكور طبعاً، لأنّ الآخرين كانوا مستثنين من العمليّة الانتخابيّة). 2) ينجح الحزب الجمهوري، خصوصاً في عهد ترامب، برصّ الصفوف العنصرية بطريقة لم تألفها البلاد من قبل.

كان هناك دائماً تساؤل في أوروبا، كيف لم تشهد أميركا ظاهرة «اليمين الجديد» (وهو اسم ملطَّف لظاهرة اليمين العنصري الإسلاموفوبي المتطرِّف). لكن سبب عدم ظهور حزب «يمين جديد»، لا يعود إلى غياب أفكار اليمين الجديد عن أذهان المقترعين، بل لأنّ النظام الاقتراعي القائم على الدائرة الانتخابية الواحدة (التي تعطي الفائز الربح المطلق، وهذا صحيح في احتساب الفائز عن كلّ ولاية في الانتخابات الرئاسيّة، حيث ينجح الفائز بأكثريّة الأصوات في ولاية كاليفورنيا، مثلاً، في الحصول على 55 صوتاً اقتراعيّاً ولا يحصل الفائز على الملايين من الأصوات الأخرى على أي من الأصوات الاقتراعيّة) تمنع تشكّل أحزاب ثالثة. يصعب جداً في ظلّ النظام الانتخابي الحالي تشكيل حالة اختراق من قبل حزب جديد، إن على مستوى مجلس النواب أو الشيوخ أو الرئاسة. لكنّ الحزب الجمهوري تكيّف مع تصلّب الفكر العنصري الأبيض عند الناخبين البيض، فبات يمثّل ظاهرة اليمين الجديد من دون إعلان تشكيل حزب جديد منشق عنه. تغيّر الحزب الجمهوري كثيراً عمّا كان عليه في عام 1980 مثلاً، وحتى قاعدته الانتخابيّة تغيّرت. كان الجنوب الأميركي معقلاً للحزب الديموقراطي، لكن مناصرة الأخير للحقوق المدنيّة في قانون 1965 بطلب من الرئيس لندن جونسون (وهو كان عنصريّاً على الصعيد الشخصي، مثله مثل معظم رؤساء أميركا، وفكرة أنّ ترامب هو أوّل رئيس عنصري، كما قال بايدن، هي فكرة مهينة للسود لعلمهم أنّ معظم رؤساء أميركا كانوا من المؤمنين جهاراً بنظريّة تفوّق العنصر الأبيض) دفعت بالبيض إلى الهجرة الكبيرة من الحزب الديموقراطي نحو الجمهوري الذي أصبح الحزب النافذ في الجنوب، وتخلّى عن إرثه كالحزب الذي يرتبط برمزيّة إعتاق العبيد من قبل الرئيس الجمهوري، إبراهام لينكولن.

يعمد الحزب الجمهوري إلى مخاطبة البيض، وتأجيج تعصّبهم (تماماً كما برع حزب «الكتائب» في مخاطبة التعصّب الطائفي لجمهوره وتخويفه من المسلمين على مرّ السنوات التي سبقت الحرب الأهليّة)، مستعيناً بلغة مرمّزة والتشديد على «النظام والقانون» الذي، منذ حملة ريتشارد نيكسون الانتخابيّة في عام 1968، بات مصطلح تخويف البيض من السود – وقد حوّل ترامب شعار «النظام والقانون» إلى لازمة في حملته الانتخابيّة الأخيرة. كما أن ريتشارد نيكسون خاطب الغرائز العنصريّة للبيض، باستعمال مصطلح «الأكثريّة الصامتة». وقد استعار ترامب في هذه الحملة الانتخابيّة من حملة نيكسون، وهو كان شديد الإعجاب به (وقد تسرّب إلى الإعلام أخيراً مراسلات بين ترامب ونيكسون، واللغة فيها لغة مُعجب برئيس سابق). والبيض يتبرّمون من المستقبل، ويحاولون إيقاف تقدّمه: وهذه الغضبة من المهاجرين التي عبَّر عنها ترامب لم تكن إلا حركة من «اليمين الجديد» العنصري الذي يعمّ دول أوروبا – لكن ربط العنصريّة في المجتمعات الغربيّة باليمين فقط، يغمط العنصريّة في وسط الوسط والليبراليّين وحتى اليسار المعادي للمهاجرين. إنّ العنصريّة الفرنسية والإسلاموفوبيّة، باتت تتجلّى في كلّ المروحة السياسيّة، ربما باستثناء الحزب الشيوعي الفرنسي.

واختيار بايدن مرشحاً للحزب الديموقراطي من بين دزّينة متنوّعة (في الجندر وفي العرق) كان عملاً مقصوداً. أراد الحزب الديموقراطي ترجيح كفّته عبر جذب العمّال الصناعيّين البيض في الولايات التي خسرتها هيلاري كلينتون في آخر انتخابات، مثل ميشيغن وبنسلفانيا وويسكنسون، وهي كانت تاريخيّاً ولايات العمّال الصناعيّين البيض الكاثوليك، وكانوا عماداً ثابتاً للحزب الديموقراطي. ونجح رونالد ريغان في جذب هؤلاء في انتخابات عام 1980، لأسباب متعدّدة بعضها عنصري: النقمة ضد سياسات البرامج الاجتماعيّة لم تكن إلا ثورة ضد ما يراه البيض من امتيازات للأقليّات والنساء (مع أنّ النساء البيض كنّ المستفيدات الأكبر من هذه السياسات). الحزب الجمهوري يؤجّل الخسارة الكبيرة التي ستلحقه عندما يصبح البيض أقليّة في البلاد، وهو يعاند ضد ذلك من خلال إجراءات كثيرة، منها إعادة رسم الدوائر الانتخابيّة بطريقة تحفظ للجمهوريّة الحفاظ على أغلبيّاتهم في الولايات، أو من خلال حضّ البيض على الاقتراع بنسب كبيرة، ومنها التحريض ضد المهاجرين والحدّ من التجنيس الذي يفيد الحزب الديموقراطي. وعمليّة إعادة رسم الدوائر الانتخابيّة وتشتيت أصوات الأقليّات تجري من سنوات وليس هناك من رادع لها، لأنّها حق من حقوق المجالس الاشتراعيّة المحليّة الخاصّة بكل ولاية. وهذه لعبة لعبها الحزب الديموقراطي وتمرّس بها، إلّا أنّه بات يعترض عليها متأخّراً لأنها تضرّه.

كانت نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسيّة مفاجئة، فقط لأنّ خللاً حلّ بوسائل الإعلام وباستطلاعات الرأي. استطلاعات الرأي ليست علماً، وهي لا تتفوّق إلا بدرجة قليلة عن خزعبلات وبلاهات ميشال حايك وليلى عبد اللطيف. ونسبة تأييد ترامب في عام 2016، كانت أقلّ في استطلاعات الرأي ممّا هي عليه يوم الاقتراع، وهذا الأمر تكرّر هذا الأسبوع بالرغم من وعود وتعهّدات من شركات الاستطلاع بأنّها أصلحت أخطاء منهجيّة وتقنيّة في الاستطلاعات الماضية (كانت الاستطلاعات مثلاً تقلّل من نسبة سكّان الريف والمزارعين في الولايات، وهذه المجموعة السكّانية تميل للحزب الجمهوري، والاستطلاعات تقلِّل من نسب الاقتراع للقاعدة الحزبيّة الجمهوريّة، أي الذكور البيض). لكنّ الأخطاء كانت فظيعة هذه المرّة: توقّعت الاستطلاعات تفوّقاً بنسبة 15% لصالح بايدن في ولاية ويسكنسون (بحسب استطلاع «ذي واشنطن بوست» وشبكة «إي.بي.سي») فيما نجح بايدن هناك بنسبة ضئيلة جداً. وحصل شيء مشابه أيضاً في ولاية مين، حيث فازت سوزان كولنز بمقعدها في مجلس الشيوخ بنسبة مريحة، فيما توقّعت الاستطلاعات خسارتها بنسبة كبيرة. استطلاعات الرأي لم تكن يوماً علماً، ولن تكون مهما تحسّنت تقنيّاتها، وهي أقلّ فائدة في دولة تنقسم بنسبة النصف بين فريقَيْن متصارعَيْن. ولقد ساهمت وسائل الإعلام في الإساءة إلى استطلاعات الرأي، لأنّها خلقت ثقافة شيطنة ضد ترامب، ما دفع بالعديد من أنصاره إلى إخفاء أهوائهم عن المستطلعين خشية وصفهم بالعنصريّين (ولهذا تاريخ معروف في الاستطلاعات الأميركيّة، ويرتبط بظاهرة «وايلدر»، وهو كان مرشحاً لمركز المحافظ في ولاية فرجينيا في عام 1990 وفضحت الانتخابات يومها أنّ نسبة البيض الذين اقترعوا له كانت أقل بكثير من النسبة التي أبلغت شركات الاستطلاع بنيّتها الاقتراع له). أي أنّ تأييد ترامب مكتومٌ في تبيانات الاستطلاع، وهذا شبيه بنسبة التأييد المكتوم لمارغرت تاتشر في بريطانيا في الثمانينيات، إذ أنّ الشباب كانوا لا يفصحون عن نيّتهم الاقتراع لها، لأنّ ذلك لم يكن محبّذاً في الجو الشبابي البريطاني يومها. هذه مشاكل لن تُحل في استطلاعات الرأي هنا، مهما تعقّدت وتشعّبت النماذج الحسابيّة التي تعتمدها وسائل الإعلام، وشركات الاستطلاع، في توقُّع نتائج الانتخابات. لم تخطئ حنة أرندت عندما قالت إنّ السياسة لا تكون في التوقّع، وليس هذا شأنها. وفي لبنان، هناك لـ8 آذار شركات استطلاع معتمدة، وهناك أخرى معتمدة لـ١٤ آذار، وهي قادرة على توقّع نتائج انتخابات ملائمة لكلّ طرف، كما أن شركة «زغبي» باتت متخصّصة في إنتاج نتائج استطلاعات رأي في العالم العربي، تتّفق مع مصالح وتوجّهات محمد بن زايد.

أراد الحزب الديموقراطي ترجيح كفّة بايدن عبر جذب العمّال الصناعيّين البيض في الولايات التي خسرتها هيلاري كلينتون في آخر انتخابات

لم يكن سقوط ترامب – لو تأكد – عفويّاً أو نتيجة تقلّبات هائلة وجذريّة في أهواء الرأي العام. النتائج كانت متقاربة، لو حسبتها من خلال الكليّة الاقتراعيّة أو من خلال النسب على مستوى البلاد. ولقد نجح ترامب في زيادة تحالفه الانتخابي: فهو وإن خسر نسبة ضئيلة من الرجال البيض (من62% في عام 2016 إلى 58% في هذه الانتخابات) فإن عوّض عن ذلك بتحقيق نسب إضافيّة طفيفة من تأييد اللاتين (نحو الثلث) ومن السود (الذكور بصورة خاصّة). لكنّ نسبته من تأييد القوات المسلّحة انخفض إلى 52٪ فقط، وهذا غير مألوف للمرشح الجمهوري. وهذا التقلّص يكشف حقيقة أسباب خسارة ترامب. لقد شنّت البنية العسكرتاريّة – الاستخباريّة حملة لا سابق لها ضده، وهو استهان بعدائها له لأنّه غير متمرّس في الحكم والعمل السياسي. لم يكن ترامب يعلم أنّ هناك أثماناً باهظة يتكبّدها من رصيده السياسي كلّ رئيس يحاول أن يشنّ حرباً ضدّ أجهزة الاستخبارات، هي تعمل في الخفاء ولديها من مخزون المعلومات ما يجعلها خصماً لا يُستهان به. لم يكن ترامب يعلم أنّ شنَّ حرب علنيّة وسريّة ضد 17 وكالة استخبارات ذات ميزانيّة سرّية بعشرات المليارات لها أكلافها السياسيّة والشخصيّة. من سرَّبَ وثائق ضرائب ترامب، بعد سنوات من إصراره على عدم الإفصاح عنها؟ هل هناك غير وكالات الاستخبارات هذه، التي لديها القدرة على النفاذ إلى أماكن حفظ هذه الوثائق؟ ثمّ من الذي سرّبَ هذه الوثائق قبل أسابيع فقط من الانتخابات الرئاسيّة؟ ما يُسمّى في مصر بـ«الدولة العميقة» (وهي أعمق هنا من أيّ دولة أخرى في العالم، لأنّها دولة الإمبراطوريّة المترامية الأطراف) لم تكن راضية عن ترامب، وتركيبة السياسة الخارجيّة التقليديّة (من الديموقراطيّين والجمهوريّين) خشيَت من أن يقود ترامب الإمبراطوريّة إلى حتفِها. لم يسبق في السنوات الماضية، أن حظي مرشّح بهذا الإجماع من قبل نخبة الحزبَيْن في السياسة الخارجيّة كما حظي بايدن، وهذا مؤشِّر إلى الانحراف الذي قاده ترامب في نظر هؤلاء.

ستعود قيادة إمبراطوريّة الحرب الأميركيّة إلى أيدٍ أمينة موثوق بها، وستحسِّن من مسار الإمبراطوريّة لضمان استمراريّتها. قادة القطاع الاستخباري – العسكري عبّروا عن الكثير من القلق في ظلّ إدارة ترامب. إنهاء حالة العداء مع كوريا الشمالية، مثلاً، كان مثاراً للقلق الذي تسبّبت به سياسات ترامب. إنّ حالات العداء التقليديّة ضرورة من ضرورات سياسة الإمبراطوريّة – وفي أي حال لم يُسمح لترامب بالمضي في سياساته المهادِنة لكوريا الشمالية، كما أنّه لم يُسمح له بسحب القوات الأميركيّة من أماكن مختلفة في العالم. نشر القوات ضرورة من ضرورات الإمبراطوريّة الحربيّة، والتهريب ضرورة للحدّ من التهديدات لمصالح قوة الحرب الأميركيّة. وقد خشي خصوم ترامب من خبراء الإمبراطوريّة من تفكيك «حلف شمال الأطلسي»، وذلك بحجّة التخفيف من نفقات الالتزام الأميركي. وكان ترامب على حق بأنّ اهتمامه بأولويّة تحسين الاقتصاد وتخفيض الأعباء الماليّة للسياسة الخارجيّة (باستثناء ميزانيّة الدفاع والاستخبارات) ستعود بالنفع المالي على أميركا.

فضحت الأزمات السياسيّة الأميركيّة في السنوات الماضية هشاشة الديموقراطيّة الأميركيّة. فقَد النظام السياسي الكثير من خواصه التي كانت أميركا تزهو بها بين الأمم، عن عراقة ديموقراطيّتها. التهديد الأكبر للنظام السياسي، برز في انتخابات عام 2000، عندما تقرّرت الانتخابات الأميركيّة في المحاكم وليس في صناديق الاقتراع. النظام السياسي يفقد شرعيّته، أو تصبح الشرعيّة مرتبطة فقط بتطابق الحزب الحاكم مع أهواء الناخب: الديموقراطي لا يرى شرعيّة خارج حكم حزبه، والعكس صحيح في حالة الجمهوريّين – أو هي أعمق في حالة هؤلاء. أنصار الحزب الجمهوري أكثر تعصّباً لفريقهم وأكثر استعداداً للجوء إلى الحيَل والخدع والطرق الملتوية للبقاء في السلطة. لم يكن أنصار ترامب يمزحون عندما كانوا يهتفون لولاية ثالثة له (التعديل الدستوري الثاني والعشرون يحدّد ولاية الرئيس بولايتَيْن فقط). وظاهرة ترامب ليست، كما يحاول الإعلام الليبرالي تصويرها، ظاهرة شخص واحد يمرّ مروراً عابراً في السياسة السياسيّة الأميركيّة. هي نتاج عوامل تحتدم في النظام السياسي، منذ التسعينيّات على الأقل. يكفي أن تعرف أنّ البيض الذكور لم يختاروا رئيساً من خارج الحزب الجمهوري منذ عام 1977، وهم بذلك يثورون على تحالف النساء والملوّنين في الحزب الديموقراطي (زيادة ترامب في الانتخابات الأخيرة من نسبة تأييد الذكور السود، لم تظهر في التغطية الليبراليّة له، لأنّها تريد جعله ظاهرة محصورة بالمتطرّفين لأنّها لا تريد أن تعترف بعمق الأزمة السياسيّة الأميركيّة). قد لا يختفي ترامب عن الساحة السياسيّة بعد سقوطه، لكن سيأتي مثله – الكثير مثله – في السنوات المقبلة. كانت معادلة ترامب ناجحة: هذه شعبيّة الرئيس بين أعضاء حزبه لم يسبق لها مثيل، حتى أنه فاق شعبيّة ريغان في عزّه. وهذا العامل يمنع حتى خصوم ترامب في داخل حزبه من المجاهرة بانتقاده.

هناك سيناريوات حقيقيّة لتقويض النظام السياسي الأميركي من الداخل. تتخيّل ترامب، مثلاً، أو غيره في المستقبل، وهو يحضّ أنصاره على اقتحام مراكز الاقتراع لتعطيل عميلة عدّ الأصوات (القانون المحلّي في أريزونا يسمح للمتظاهرين بمحاصرة مراكز عدّ الأصوات، وهم مدجّجون بالسلاح الظاهر). وقد غرّد ترامب، قبل يومين، مطالِباً بـ«وقف العد». هذه الجملة لو صدرت عن زعيم دولة في العالم النامي، لكانت أدّت إلى تقريع فوري من وزير الخارجيّة الأميركي، إلّا إذا كان هذا الزعيم من أدوات أميركا الكُثُر في العالم الثالث. هناك بوادر على حالة تمرُّد في النظام الحاكم. تسرّب أنّ وزير الدفاع الأميركي السابق، جيمس ماتس، اتّفق مع البعض في هيئة الأركان على معارضة ترامب، في حال أصدر أوامر اعتبروها مناقضة للمصلحة الأميركيّة العليا، وقادة في مكتب التحقيقات الفدرالي تباحثوا في انتخابات عام 2016 في إمكان تعطيل انتخاب ترامب. كان النظام الأميركي مستقرّاً عندما كانت الشرعيّة محلّ إجماع بين الناس، وعندما كان الحزبان متقاربَيْن في الموقع نحو الوسط الأميركي المحافظ. لكنّ الحزب الجمهوري سافرَ كثيراً نحو اليمين ممّا كان عليه من قبل، والتحالف الجديد للحزب الديموقراطي يدفعه نحو الليبراليّة، فيما قيادة الحزب لا تزال في حالة رفض الواقع والإصرار على البقاء في موقع الوسط المحافظ. هي معركة أجيال في داخل الحزب الديموقراطي، وينعكس ذلك على سياسات الحزب نحو الاحتلال “الإسرائيلي”.

سخِرت أميركا كثيراً من أنظمة في العالم النامي، وهي باتت تحمل سمات بعض تلك الأنظمة. هل يرفض ترامب مغادرة البيت الأبيض؟ هل سيحرّض أنصاره على التمرُّد المسلّح؟ هذه الأسئلة لم تعد سيناريوات أفلام هوليوود. وإمكانيّة طرد ترامب من البيت الأبيض بالقوّة ليست مستعبدة. يمكن لنا اليوم الاستعانة بأمثلة من أنظمة في العالم الذي لا يعتبره الغرب متحضِّراً لتوقُّع مجرياتٍ سياسيّة أميركيّة. لعلّ مشاغلهم الداخليّة تصرفهم عن دول العالم النامي، وتقلِّل من حوافز شنّ حروبهم التي تبدأ ولا تنتهي.

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الأخبار

“Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map”, 204 Atomic Bombs against 66 Major Cities, US Nuclear Attack against USSR Planned During World War II

When America and the Soviet Union Were Allies

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, August 04, 2020

To read this article in other versions, click: French, German, and Russian.

First published November 4, 2017. Revisions to the English Text, December 10, 2017

Author’s Note 

Since this article was first published in 2017, YouTube has decided to Censor the short video produced by South Front which is largely based on the declassified documents quoted in this article. 

US nuclear threats directed against Russia predate the Cold War. They were first formulated  at the height of World War II under the Manhattan Project when the US and the Soviet Union were allies.  

The plan to bomb 66 Soviet cities was “officially” formulated in mid-September 1945, two weeks after the formal surrender of Japan.  

Had the US decided NOT to develop nuclear weapons for use against the Soviet Union, the nuclear arms race would not have taken place. 

Neither The Soviet Union nor the People’s Republic of China would have developed nuclear capabilities as a means of “Deterrence” agains the US which had already formulated plans to annihilate the Soviet Union.

Flash Forward to 2020: Nuclear War is still on the drawing board of the Pentagon. In the post Cold War era, under Donald Trump’s “Fire and Fury”, nuclear war directed against Russia, China, North Korea and Iran is “On the Table”.

A one $1.2 trillion ++ nuclear weapons program, first launched under Obama, is ongoing. 

Michel Chossudovsky, August 4, 2020

***

According to a secret document datedSeptember 15, 1945, “the Pentagon had envisaged blowing up the Soviet Union  with a coordinated nuclear attack directed against major urban areas.

All major cities of the Soviet Union were included in the list of 66 “strategic” targets. The tables below categorize each city in terms of area in square miles and the corresponding number of atomic bombs required to annihilate and kill the inhabitants of selected urban areas.

Six atomic bombs were to be used to destroy each of the larger cities including Moscow, Leningrad, Tashkent, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa.

The Pentagon estimated that a total of 204 atomic bombs would be required to “Wipe the Soviet Union off the Map”. The targets for a nuclear attack consisted of sixty-six major cities.

To undertake this operation the “optimum” number of bombs required was of the order of 466 (see document below)

One single atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima resulted in the immediate death of 100,000 people in the first seven seconds. Imagine what would have happened if 204 atomic bombs had been dropped on major cities of the Soviet Union as outlined in a secret U.S. plan formulated during the Second World War.

Hiroshima in the wake of the atomic bomb attack, 6 August 1945

The document outlining this diabolical military agenda had been released in September 1945, barely one month after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (6 and 9 August, 1945) and two years before the onset of the Cold War (1947).

Video produced by South Front

The secret plan dated September 15, 1945 (two weeks after the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri, see image below) , however, had been formulated at an earlier period, namely at the height of World War II,  at a time when America and the Soviet Union were close allies.

It is worth noting that Stalin was first informed through official channels by Harry Truman of the infamous Manhattan Project at the Potsdam Conference on July 24, 1945, barely two weeks before the attack on Hiroshima.

The Manhattan project was launched in 1939, two years prior to America’s entry into World War II in December 1941. The Kremlin was fully aware of the secret Manhattan project as early as 1942.

Were the August 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks used by the Pentagon to evaluate the viability of  a much larger attack on the Soviet Union consisting of more than 204 atomic bombs? The key documents to bomb 66 cities of the Soviet Union (15 September 1945) were finalized 5-6 weeks after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings (6, 9 August 1945):

“On September 15, 1945 — just under two weeks after the formal surrender of Japan and the end of World War II — Norstad sent a copy of the estimate to General Leslie Groves, still the head of the Manhattan Project, and the guy who, for the short term anyway, would be in charge of producing whatever bombs the USAAF might want. As you might guess, the classification on this document was high: “TOP SECRET LIMITED,” which was about as high as it went during World War II. (Alex Wellerstein, The First Atomic Stockpile Requirements (September 1945)

The Kremlin was aware of the 1945 plan to bomb sixty-six Soviet cities.

The documents confirm that the US was involved in the “planning of genocide” against the Soviet Union.

Let’s cut to the chase. How many bombs did the USAAF request of the atomic general, when there were maybe one, maybe two bombs worth of fissile material on hand? At a minimum they wanted 123. Ideally, they’d like 466. This is just a little over a month after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Of course, in true bureaucratic fashion, they provided a handy-dandy chart (Alex Wellerstein, op. cit)

Pentagon Plans to Destroy Dozens of Soviet Cities and the So-called Cold War

The Nuclear Arms Race

Central to our understanding of the Cold War which started (officially) in 1947, Washington’s September 1945 plan to bomb 66 cities into smithereens played a key role in triggering the nuclear arms race.

The Soviet Union was threatened and developed its own atomic bomb in 1949 in response to 1942 Soviet intelligence reports on the Manhattan Project.

While the Kremlin knew about these plans to “Wipe out” the USSR, the broader public was not informed because the September 1945 documents were of course classified.

Today, neither the September 1945 plan to blow up the Soviet Union nor the underlying cause of the nuclear arms race are acknowledged. The Western media has largely focussed its attention on the Cold War US-USSR confrontation. The plan to annihilate the Soviet Union dating back to World War II and the infamous Manhattan project are not mentioned.

Washington’s Cold War nuclear plans are invariably presented in response to so-called Soviet threats, when in fact it was the U.S. plan released in September 1945 (formulated at an earlier period at the height of World War II) to wipe out the Soviet which motivated Moscow to develop its nuclear weapons capabilities.

The assessment of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists mistakenly blamed and continue to blame the Soviet Union for having launched the nuclear arms race in 1949, four years after the release of the September 1945 US Secret Plan to target 66 major Soviet cities with 204 nuclear bombs:

“1949: The Soviet Union denies it, but in the fall, President Harry Truman tells the American public that the Soviets tested their first nuclear device, officially starting the arms race. “We do not advise Americans that doomsday is near and that they can expect atomic bombs to start falling on their heads a month or year from now,” the Bulletin explains. “But we think they have reason to be deeply alarmed and to be prepared for grave decisions.” (Timeline of the Doomsday Clock, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 2017)

IMPORTANT: Had the US decided NOT to develop nuclear weapons for use against the Soviet Union, the nuclear arms race would not have taken place. 

Neither The Soviet Union nor the People’s Republic of China would have developed nuclear capabilities as a means of “Deterrence” agains the US which had already formulated plans to annihilate the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union lost 26 million people during World War II.

The Cold War List of 1200 Targeted Cities: 

This initial 1945 list of sixty-six cities was updated in the course of the Cold War (1956) to include some 1200 cities in the USSR and the Soviet block countries of Eastern Europe (see declassified documents below). The bombs slated for use were more powerful in terms of explosive capacity than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Source: National Security Archive

“According to the 1956 Plan, H-Bombs were to be Used Against Priority “Air Power” Targets in the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe. Major Cities in the Soviet Bloc, Including East Berlin, Were High Priorities in “Systematic Destruction” for Atomic Bombings.  (William Burr, U.S. Cold War Nuclear Attack Target List of 1200 Soviet Bloc Cities “From East Germany to China”, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015

Source: National Security Archive

Washington, D.C., December 22, 2015 – The SAC [Strategic Air Command] Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959, produced in June 1956 and published today for the first time by the National Security Archive www.nsarchive.org, provides the most comprehensive and detailed list of nuclear targets and target systems that has ever been declassified. As far as can be told, no comparable document has ever been declassified for any period of Cold War history.

The SAC study includes chilling details. According to its authors,  their target priorities and nuclear bombing tactics would expose nearby civilians and “friendly forces and people” to high levels of deadly radioactive fallout.  Moreover, the authors developed a plan for the “systematic destruction” of Soviet bloc urban-industrial targets that specifically and explicitly targeted “population” in all cities, including Beijing, Moscow, Leningrad, East Berlin, and Warsaw.  Purposefully targeting civilian populations as such directly conflicted with the international norms of the day, which prohibited attacks on people per se (as opposed to military installations with civilians nearby).National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015

List of Cities

Excerpt of list of 1200 cities targeted for nuclear attack in alphabetical order. National Security Archive, op. cit.

From the Cold War to Donald Trump

In the post Cold War era, under Donald Trump’s “Fire and Fury”, nuclear war directed against Russia, China, North Korea and Iran is “On the Table”.

What distinguishes the October 1962 Missile Crisis to Today’s realities:

1. Today’s president Donald Trump does not have the foggiest idea as to the consequences of nuclear war.

2, Communication today between the White House and the Kremlin is at an all time low. In contrast, in October 1962, the leaders on both sides, namely John F. Kennedy and Nikita S. Khrushchev were accutely aware of the dangers of nuclear annihilation. They collaborated with a view to avoiding the unthinkable.

3. The nuclear doctrine was entirely different during the Cold War. Both Washington and Moscow understood the realities of mutually assured destruction. Today, tactical nuclear weapons with an explosive capacity (yield) of one third to six times a Hiroshima bomb are categorized by the Pentagon as “harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground”.

4.  A one trillion ++ nuclear weapons program, first launched under Obama, is ongoing.

5. Today’s thermonuclear bombs are more than 100 times more powerful and destructive than a Hiroshima bomb. Both the US and Russia have several thousand nuclear weapons deployed.

Moreover, an all war against China is currently on the drawing board of the Pentagon as outlined by a RAND Corporation Report commissioned by the US Army  

“Fire and Fury”, From Truman to Trump: U.S Foreign Policy Insanity

There is a long history of US political insanity geared towards providing a human face to U.S. crimes against humanity.

Truman globalresearch.ca

On August 9, 1945, on the day the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, president Truman (image right), in a radio address to the American people, concluded that God is on the side of America with regard to the use of nuclear weapons and that

He May guide us to use it [atomic bomb] in His ways and His purposes”. 

According to Truman: God is with us, he will decide if and when to use the bomb:

[We must] prepare plans for the future control of this bomb. I shall ask the Congress to cooperate to the end that its production and use be controlled, and that its power be made an overwhelming influence towards world peace.

We must constitute ourselves trustees of this new force–to prevent its misuse, and to turn it into the channels of service to mankind.

It is an awful responsibility which has come to us.

We thank God that it [nuclear weapons] has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it [nuclear weapons] in His ways and for His purposes” (emphasis added)

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

ASSISTING ‘INVISIBLE HAND OF MARKET’: U.S. THREATENS GERMAN COMPANIES OVER NORD STREAM 2

Source

Assisting 'Invisible Hand Of Market': U.S. Threatens German Companies Over Nord Stream 2

In a last-ditch attempt to impede the Nord Stream 2, the Trump administration began to threaten German (and not only) companies who are involved in it with sanctions.

According to German media, this is a showing of a new, and incredible, “low point” in Transatlantic relations.

According to a report by German outlet Die Welt, the United States is increasing pressure on German and European companies involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline.

In the past few days, US representatives had held video conference calls with contractors of the project to “point out the far-reaching consequences of continuing to work on the project,” the outlet reported.

The company representatives sometimes faced up to twelve representatives of the US government.

They “made it very clear in a friendly tone that they want to prevent the pipeline from being completed,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed observer of the talks:

“I think the threat is very, very serious.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the controversial Baltic Sea pipeline to transport gas from Russia to Germany would now fall under a law that would allow punitive measures, among other things, against companies doing business with Russia or countries like Iran and North Korea.

In response, the German Federal Government declared that it rejected extraterritorial sanctions, since these were “contrary to international law”.

The German economy condemned the threats as an “incredibly low point in transatlantic relations”.

Nord Stream 2 is said to transport gas from Russia to Germany and is particularly controversial in Eastern Europe.

The main fear is a weakening of alternative pipelines and traditional transit countries, such as Ukraine. The US government argues that Europe is becoming energy-dependent on Russia.

The United States had previously tried to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2. Sanctions put into effect by President Donald Trump at the end of 2019 are aimed at the operators of laying ships involved in the construction. The construction of the pipeline therefore had to be interrupted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed optimism that the project would be completed by early 2021, with a delay of only a few months.

On July 16th, the US updated its sanctions regime against the Nord Stream 2.

Until July 15th, the scope of US sanctions legislation excluded direct investors, enhancing Russia’s ability to build export pipelines before August 2nd 2017. That cut-off date was removed, meaning contracts signed for Nord Stream 2 and the second line of TurkStream will be included.

“The US signals that sanctions could potentially be applied retroactively, including in respect of European companies that are Gazprom’s partners in Nord Stream 2. However, it is hard to see how this could be enforceable; this would be against the law and should it happen it would certainly be contested in international courts,” according to Katja Yafimava, researcher at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

“The question is whether the state department has the right to independently enforce the provisions of this law. The state department is formally subordinate to the president, but no separate documents have been issued stating that the president gave the state department the right to impose sanctions from the [sanctions act] package,” according to Igor Yushkov, an expert of the National Energy Security Fund and the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation.

The proposed additional sanctions in the draft national defence act “are unacceptable and contrary to international law, and the EU firmly opposes them,” EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy Josep Borrell said on June 25th.

The biggest issue is that the US is concerned that there are no buyers for its liquefied natural gas (LNG) that it wants to sell to Europe at prices, higher than those Russia offers Europe.

Sometimes, the invisible hand of the market requires a tangible attempt at a push for it to properly and “independently” settle the market on a desirable scenario.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Kazakhstan may hold the secret for Greater Eurasia

Source

July 06, 2020

Kazakhstan may hold the secret for Greater Eurasia

Submitted by Pepe Escobar – source Asia Times

The no holds barred US-China strategic competition may be leading us to the complete fragmentation of the current “world-system” – as Wallerstein defined it.

Yet compared to the South China Sea, the Korean peninsula, the Taiwan Straits, India-China’s Himalayan border, and selected latitudes of the Greater Middle East, Central Asia shines as a portrait of stability.

That’s quite intriguing, when we consider that the chessboard reveals the interests of top global players intersecting right in the heart of Eurasia.

And that brings us to a key question: How could Kazakhstan, the 9th largest country in the world, manage to remain neutral in the current, incandescent geopolitical juncture? What are the lineaments of what could be described as the Kazakh paradox?

These questions were somewhat answered by the office of First President Nursultan Nazarbayev. I had discussed some of them with analysts when I was in Kazakhstan late last year. Nazarbayev could not answer them directly because he has just recently recovered from Covid-19 and is currently in self-isolation.

It all harks back to what was Kazakhstan really like when the USSR dissolved in 1991. The Kazakhs inherited a quite complex ethno-demographic structure, with the Russian-speaking population concentrated in the north; unresolved territorial issues with China; and geographical proximity to extremely unstable Afghanistan, then in a lull before the all-out warlord conflagration of the early 1990s which created the conditions for the emergence of the Taliban.

To make it even harder, Kazakhstan was landlocked.

All of the above might have led to Kazakhstan either dispatched to political limbo or mired in a perpetual Balkan scenario.

Have soft power, will travel

Enter Nazarbayev as a fine political strategist. From the beginning, he saw Kazakhstan as a key player, not a pawn, in the Grand Chessboard in Eurasia.

A good example was setting up the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building measures in Asia (CICA) in 1992, based on the principle of “indivisibility of Asian security”, later proposed to the whole of Eurasia.

Nazarbayev also made the crucial decision to abandon what was at the time the fourth nuclear missile potential on the planet – and a major trump card in international relations. Every major player in the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia knew that selected Islamic nations were extremely interested in Kazakhstan’s nuclear arsenal.

Nazarbayev bet on soft power instead of nuclear power. Unlike the DPRK, for instance, he privileged Kazakhstan’s integration in the global economy in favorable terms instead of relying on nuclear power to establish national security. He was certainly paving the way for Kazakhstan to be regarded as a trustworthy, get down to business neutral player and a mediator in international relations.

The trust and goodwill towards Kazakhstan is something I have seen for myself in my pan-Eurasia travels and in conversations with analysts from Turkey and Lebanon to Russia and India.

The best current example is Astana, currently Nur-sultan, becoming the HQ of that complex work in progress: the Syrian peace process, coordinated by Iran, Turkey and Russia – following the crucial, successful Kazakh mediation to solve the Moscow-Ankara standoff after the downing of a Sukhoi Su-24M near the Syria-Turkish border in November 2015.

And on the turbulent matter of Ukraine post-Maidan in 2014, Kazakhstan simultaneously kept good relations with Kiev and the West and its strategic partnership with Russia.

As I discussed late last year, Nur-sultan is now actively taking the role of the new Geneva: the capital of diplomacy for the 21st century.

The secret of this Kazakh paradox is the capacity of delicately balancing relations with the three main players – Russia, China and the US – as well as leading regional powers. Nazarbayev’s office boldly argues that can be even translated to Nur-sultan placed as the ideal venue for US-China negotiations: “We are tightly embedded in the US-China-Russia triangle and have built trusting relationships with each of them.”

In the heart of Eurasia

And that brings us to why Kazakhstan – and Nazarbayev personally – are so much involved in promoting their special concept of Greater Eurasia – which overlaps with the Russian vision, discussed in extensive detail at the Valdai Club.

Nazarbayev managed to set a paradigm in which none of the big players feel compelled to exercize a monopoly on Kazak maneuvering. That inevitably led Kazakhstan to expand its foreign policy reach.

Strategically, Kazakhstan is smack in the geographical heart of Eurasia, with huge borders with Russia and China, as well as Iran in the Caspian Sea. Its territory is no less than a top strategic bridge uniting the whole of Eurasia.

The Kazakh approach goes way beyond connectivity (trade and transport), two key planks of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to get closer to the converging vision of BRI and the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU): a single, integrated Eurasian space.

Nazarbayev sees the integration of the Central Asian “stans” with Russia and with Turkic-speaking countries, including of course Turkey, as the foundation for his concept of Greater Eurasia.

The inevitable corollary is that the Atlanticist order – as well as the Anglo-American predominance in international relations – is waning, and certainly does not suit Asia and Eurasia. A consensus is forming across many key latitudes that the driving force for the reboot of the global economy post-Covid-19 – and even a new paradigm – will come from Asia.

In parallel, Nazarbayev’s office make a crucial point: “A purely Asian or Eastern answer is unlikely to suit the collective West, which is also in search of optimal models of the world’s structure. The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative clearly showed that Western countries are not psychologically ready to see China as a leader.”

Nur-sultan nonetheless remains convinced that the only possible solution would be exactly a new paradigm in international relations. Nazarbayev argues that the keys to solve the current turmoil are not located in Moscow, Beijing or Washington, but in a strategic transit node, like Kazakhstan, where the interests of all global players intersect.

Thus the push for Kazakhstan – one of the key crossroads between Europe and Asia, alongside Turkey and Iran – to become the optimal mediator allowing Greater Eurasia to flourish in practice. That is the uplifting option: otherwise, we seem condemned to live through another Cold War.

Central Downtown Nur-Sultan: in center Bayterek tower

Does the next Presidential election even matter?

Source

President Barack Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden head toward the Capitol Platform during the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2017. More than 5,000 military members from across all branches of the armed forces of the United States, including reserve and National Guard components, provided ceremonial support and Defense Support of Civil Authorities during the inaugural period. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

THE SAKER • JULY 2, 2020

Just by asking the question of whether the next Presidential election matters, I am obviously suggesting that it might not. To explain my reasons for this opinion, I need to reset the upcoming election in the context of the previous one. So let’s begin here.

The 2016 election of Donald Trump

The first thing which, I believe, ought to be self-evident to all by now is that there was no secret operation by any deep state, not even a Zionist controlled one, to put Donald Trump in power. I would even argue that the election of Donald Trump was the biggest slap in the face of US deep state and of the covert transnational ruling elites this deep state serves. Ever. My evidence? Simple, look what these ruling “elites” did both before and after Trump’s election: before, they ridiculed the very idea of “President Trump” as both utterly impossible and utterly evil.

As somebody who has had years of experience reading the Soviet press or, in another style, the French press, I can honestly say that I have never seen a more ridiculously outlandish hate campaign against anybody that would come even close to the kind of total hate campaign which Trump was subjected to. Then, as soon as he was elected, the US neo-liberals (who are not liberals at all!) declared that Trump was “not their President”, that Trump was put into power by Putin and that he was a “Russian asset” (using pseudo-professional jargon is what journos typically do to conceal their abject ignorance of a complex topic) and, finally, that he was a White racist and misogynist who will deeply divide the country (thereby dividing the country themselves by making such claims).

The fact is that for the past four years the US liberals have waged a total informational war against Trump and it would be absolutely unthinkable for them to ever accept a Trump re-election, even if he wins by a landslide. For the US Dems and neo-liberals, Trump is the personification of evil, literally, and that means that “resistance” to him and everything he represents must be total. And if he is re-elected, then there is only one possible explanation: the Russians stole the election, or the Chinese did. But the notion that Trump has the support of a majority of people is literally unthinkable for these folks.

Truth be told, Trump has proven to be a fantastically incompetent President, no doubt about that. Was he even worse than Obama? Maybe, it really all depends on your scoring system. In my personal opinion, and for all his very real sins and failings, Trump, at least, did not start a major war, which Obama did, and which Hillary would have done (can’t prove this, but that is my personal belief). That by itself, and totally irrespective of anything else, makes me believe that Trump has been a “lesser evil” (even if far more ridiculous) President than Obama has been or Hillary would have been. This is what I believed four years ago and this is what I still believe: considering how dangerous for the entire planet “President Hillary” would have been, voting for Trump was not only the only logical thing to do, it was the only moral one too because giving your voice to a warmongering narcissistic hyena like Hillary is a profoundly immoral act (yes, I know, Trump is also a narcissist – most politicians are! – but at least his warmongering has been all hot air and empty threats, at least so far). However, I don’t think that this (not having started a major war) will be enough to get Trump re-elected.

Why?

Because most Americans still like wars. In fact, they absolutely love them. Unless, of course, they lose. What Americans really want is a President who can win wars, not a President who does not initiate them in the first place. This is also the most likely reason why Trump did not start any major wars: the US has not won a real war in decades and, instead, it got whipped in every conflict it started. Americans hate losing wars, and that is why Trump did not launch any wars: it would have been political suicide to start a real war against, say, the DPRK or Iran. So while I am grateful that Trump did not start any wars, I am not naive to the point of believing that he did so for pure and noble motives. Give Trump an easy victory and he will do exactly what all US Presidents have done in the past: attack, beat up the little guy, and then be considered like a “wartime President hero” by most Americans. The problem is that there are no more “little guys” left out there: only countries who can, and will, defend themselves if attacked.

The ideology of messianic imperialism which permeates the US political culture is still extremely powerful and deep seated and it will take years, probably decades, to truly flush it down to where it belongs: to the proverbial trash-heaps of history. Besides, in 2020 Americans have much bigger concerns than war vs. peace – at least that is what most of them believe. Between the Covid19 pandemic and the catastrophic collapse of the economy (of course, while the former certainly has contributed to the latter, it did not single-handedly cause it) and now the BLM insurgency, most Americans now feel personally threatened – something which no wars of the past ever did (a war against Russia very much would, but most Americans don’t realize that, since nobody explains this to them; they also tend to believe that nonsense about the US military being the best and most capable in history).

Following four years of uninterrupted flagwaving and MAGA-chanting there is, of course, a hardcore of true believers who believe that Trump is nothing short of brilliant and that he will “kick ass” everything and everybody: from the spying Russians, to the rioting Blacks, from the pandemic, to the lying media, etc. The fact that in reality Trump pitifully failed to get anything truly important done is completely lost on these folks who live in a reality they created for themselves and in which any and all facts contradicting their certitudes are simply explained away by silly stuff like “Q-anon” or “5d chess”. Others, of course, will realize that Trump “deflated” before those whom he called “the swamp” almost as soon as he got into the White House.

As for the almighty Israel Lobby, it seems to me that it squeezed all it could from Trump who, from the point of view of the Zionists, was always a “disposable President” anyway. And now that Trump has done everything Israel wanted him to do, he becomes almost useless. If anything, Pelosi, Schumer and the rest of them will try to outdo Trump’s love for everything Israeli anyway.

So how much support is there behind Trump today? I really don’t know (don’t trust the polls, which have always been deeply wrong about Trump anyway), but I think that there is definitely a constituency of truly frightened Americans who are freaking out (as they should, considering the rapid collapse of the country) and who might vote Trump just because they will feel that for all his faults, he is the only one who can save the country. Conversely, they will see Biden as a pro-BLM geriatric puppet who will hand the keys of the White House to a toxic coalition of minorities.

So what if Trump does get re-elected?

In truth, the situation is so complex and there are so many variables (including many “unknown unknowns”!) that make predictions impossible. Still, we can try to make some educated guesses, especially if based on some kind of logic such as the one which says that “past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior”. In other words, if Trump gets elected, we will get more of the same. Personally, I would characterize this “same” as a further destruction of the US from within by the Democrats and their “coalition of minorities” combined with a further destruction of the US Empire abroad by delusional Republicans.

I very much doubt that it makes any sense at all to vote for that, really. Better stay at home and do something worthwhile with your time, no?

Now what about a Biden election?

Remember that Biden is now the de-facto leader of what I would loosely call the “anti-US coalition”, that is the “coalition of minorities” which really have nothing in common except their hatred of the established order (well, and, of course, their hatred of Trump and of those who voted for him).

These minorities are very good at hating and destroying, but don’t count on them to ever come up with constructive solutions – it ain’t gonna happen. For one thing, they are probably too stupid to come up with any constructive ideas, but even more important is the fact that these folks all have a hyper-narrow agenda and, simply put, they don’t care about “constructing” anything. These folks are all about hatred and the instant gratification of their narrow, one-topic, agenda.

This also begs the question of why the Dems decided to go with Biden in spite of the fact that he is clearly an extremely weak candidate. In spite? I am not so sure at all. I think that they chose him because he is so weak: the real power behind him will be in the hands of the Schumer-Pelosi-Obama gang and of the interests these folks represent.

Unlike Trump who prostituted himself only after making it to the White House, the neo-liberal Dems have *already* prostituted themselves to everybody who wanted to give them something in return, from the Ukie Nazis to the thugs of BLM, to the powerful US homo-lobby. Don’t expect them to show any spine, or even less so, love for the USA, if they get the White House. They hate this country and most of its people and they are not shy about it.

What would happen to the US if the likes of Bloomberg or Harris took control? First, there would be the comprehensive surrender to the various minorities which put these folks in power followed by a very strong blowback from all the “deplorables” ranging from protests and civil disobedience, to local authorities refusing to take orders from the feds. Like it or not, but most Americans still love their country and loathe the kind of pseudo-liberal ideology which has been imposed upon them by the joint actions of the US deep state and the corporate world. There is even a strong probability that if Biden gets elected the USA’s disintegration would only accelerate.

On the international front, a Biden Presidency would not solve any of the problems created by Obama and Trump: by now it is way too late and the damage done to the international reputation of the United States is irreparable. If anything, the Dems will only make it worse by engaging in even more threats, sanctions and wars. Specifically, the Demolicans hate Russia, China and Iran probably even more than the Republicrats. Besides, these countries have already concluded a long time ago that the US was “not agreement capable” anyway (just look at the long list of international treaties and organization from which the US under Trump has withdrawn: what is the point of negotiating anything with a power which systematically reneges on its promises and obligations?)

The truth is that if Biden gets elected, the US will continue to fall apart internally and externally, if anything, probably even faster than under a re-elected Trump.

Which brings me to my main conclusion:

Why do we even bother having elections?

First, I don’t think that the main role of a democracy is to protect minorities from majorities. A true democracy protects the majority against the many minorities which typically have a one-issue agenda and which are typically hostile to the values of the majority. Oh sure, minority rights should be protected, the question is how exactly?

For one thing, most states have some kind of constitution/basic law which sets a number of standards which cannot be violated as long as this constitution/basic law is in force. Furthermore, in most states which call themselves democratic all citizens have the same rights and obligations, and a minority status does not give anybody any special rights or privileges. Typically, there are also fundamental international standards for human rights and fundamental national standards for civil rights. Minority rights (individual or collective), however, are not typically considered a separate category which somehow trumps or supplements adopted norms for human and civil rights (if only because it creates a special “minority” category, whereas in true “people power” all citizens are considered as one entity).

It is quite obvious that neither the Republicrats nor the Demolicans represent the interests of “we the people” and that both factions of the US plutocracy are under the total control of behind-the-scenes real powers. What happened four years ago was a colossal miscalculation of these behind-the-scenes real powers who failed to realize how hated they were and how even a guy like Trump would seem preferable to a nightmare like Hillary (as we know, had the Dems chosen Sanders or even some other halfway lame candidate, Trump would probably not have prevailed).

This is why I submit that the next election will make absolutely no difference:

  1. The US system is rigged to give all the power to minorities and to completely ignore the will of the people
  2. The choice between the Demolicans and the Republicrats is not a choice at all
  3. The systemic crisis of the US is too deep to be affected by who is in power in the White House

Simply put, and unlike the case of 2016, the outcome of the 2020 election will make no difference at all. Caring about who the next puppet in the White House will be is tantamount to voting for a new captain while the Titanic is sinking. The major difference is that the Titanic sank in very deep water whereas the “ship USA” will sink in the shallows, meaning that the US will not completely disappear: in some form or another, it will survive either as a unitary state or as a number of successor states. The Empire, however, has no chance of survival at all. Thus, anything which contributes to make the US a “normal” country and which weakens the Empire is in the interests of the people of the USA. Voting for either one of the candidates this fall will only prolong the agony of the current political regime in the USA.

Trump Unloads on Bolton After Bolton Unloads on Trump

Source

Philip Giraldi

Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

June 25, 2020

Trump Unloads on Bolton After Bolton Unloads on Trump - TheAltWorld

John Bolton’s new memoir “The Room Where It Happened,” which came out two days ago in spite of White House attempts to block it, is the standard kiss and tell that senior American politicians and officials tend to write to make money for their retirement. There should be no question but that Bolton has done his best to cast the president in as bad a light as possible, which is easily done considering that communicating by twitter and through insults leaves a lot of room for second guessing about motive and intentions.

As required by law, Bolton’s book was reviewed for classified information starting in December, and when the process was finished it was started all over again, making clear that the tit for tat over the contents was essentially political and unrelated to national security. Having failed to stop the publication, the Trump Justice Department will now move to take away Bolton’s earnings from the book, a tactic that originated back in the 1970s with CIA whistleblower Frank Snepp’s “Decent Interval.” Critics of the security review process have noted that when a book says nice things about the government it is rarely interfered with no matter what classified information it might reveal, while a work that is unfriendly can expect to be hammered and delayed by the state secrets bureaucracy.

Why Donald Trump hired leading neoconservative John Bolton in the first place remains somewhat of a mystery, but the most plausible theory is that the number one GOP donor Sheldon Adelson demanded it. Adelson regards Bolton as something of a protégé and was particularly taken by Bolton’s enthusiasm for attacking Iran, something that the Las Vegas casino magnate and the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu both passionately desired.

After months of an apparently difficult tenure as National Security Advisor, John Bolton was finally fired from the White House on September 10, 2019, but the post mortem on why it took so long to remove him continued for some time afterwards, with the punditry and media trying to understand exactly what happened and why. Perhaps the most complete explanation for what occurred came from President Donald Trump himself shortly after the fact. He said, in some impromptu comments, that his national security advisor had “…made some very big mistakes when he talked about the Libyan model for Kim Jong Un. That was not a good statement to make. You just take a look at what happened with Gadhafi. That was not a good statement to make. And it set us back.”

Incredible as it may seem, Trump had a point in that Bolton was clearly suggesting that North Korea get rid of its nuclear weapons in exchange for economic benefits, but it was the wrong example to pick as Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi gave up his weapons and was then ousted and brutally killed in a rebel uprising that was supported by Washington. The Bolton analogy, which may have been deliberate attempt to sabotage any rapprochement, made impossible any agreement between Kim and Trump as Kim received the message loud and clear that he might suffer the same fate.

Subsequently, Bolton might have been behind media leaks that scuttled Trump’s plan to meet with Taliban representatives and that also, acting on behalf of Israel, undercut a presidential suggestion that he might meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Trump summed up his disagreements with Bolton by saying that the National Security Advisor “wasn’t getting along” with other administration officials, adding that “Frankly he wanted to do things — not necessarily tougher than me. John’s known as a tough guy. He’s so tough he got us into Iraq. That’s tough. But he’s somebody that I actually had a very good relationship with, but he wasn’t getting along with people in the administration who I consider very important. And you know John wasn’t in line with what we were doing. And actually in some cases he thought it was too tough, what we were doing. Mr. Tough Guy.”

Trump’s final comment on Bolton was that “I’m sure he’ll do whatever he can do to spin it his way,” a throw-away line that pretty much predicted the writing of the book. Bolton has many supporters among hardliners in the GOP and the media as well as among democracy promoting progressive Trump haters and it will be interesting to see what damage can be inflicted on the president’s reelection campaign.

Pre-publication reviews have focused on the takeaways from the book. The most damaging claim appears to be that Donald Trump asked the Chinese government to buy more agricultural products from the U.S. to help American farmers, which the president described as a key constituency for his reelection. Bolton claims that Trump specifically asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to buy American soybeans and other farm commodities and, as a possible quid pro quo, Trump intervened to reduce some financial penalties imposed on the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE for evading sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

Also concerning China, Bolton asserts that the president encouraged Xi to continue building concentration camps for the Muslim Uighurs, a religious and ethnic minority largely concentrated in the country’s Xinjiang region. The context of the alleged comment is not clear, nor is it easy to imagine how the subject even came up, so the claim might be regarded as exaggerated or even apocryphal. Bolton was not even present when the alleged conversation took place and only learned of it second hand.

Other claims made by Bolton include that Trump didn’t know that Britain was a nuclear power and that Finland is not part of Russia. The book also describes in some detail how Trump spent most of his time in White House intelligence briefings presenting his own views instead of listening to what analysts from the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offices had to say.

That Donald Trump was a poor student and is an intellectual lightweight has been noted by many observers. Combining that with his essential lack of curiosity about the world and its peoples means that he does not know much about foreigners and the places they live in. But it is both condescending and somewhat of a cheap trick by Bolton to pillory him for his ignorance.

The media’s vision of the most damaging charge, that Trump colluded with the Chinese, is, quite frankly ridiculous. Buying American agricultural products is in the interest of both farmers and the U.S. economy. Reducing penalties on a major Chinese company as a sweetener and to mitigate bilateral tensions is called diplomacy. Of course, anything a president does with a foreign country will potentially have an impact when reelection time rolls along, but it would be difficult to suggest that Trump did anything wrong.

The Bolton book has also been critiqued by some, including the New York Times, as the exposure of “a president who sees his office as an instrument to advance his own personal and political interests over those of the nation.” Bolton writes how “Throughout my West Wing tenure, Trump wanted to do what he wanted to do, based on what he knew and what he saw as his own best personal interests… I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations.”

Trump is, to be sure, a man who has subordinated the dignity of the office he holds to personal ambition, but he differs more in the pervasiveness of his actions than in the substance. Many other presidents have made many of the same calculations as Trump though they have been more restrained and careful about expressing them.

Finally, a number of editors who have read review copies of the book have observed how badly written and organized it is. If anyone is looking for a real indictment of Donald Trump and all his works, they will not find it in the Bolton book. Apart from the new information it provides, which seems little enough, it would appear to be a waste of $20 to possibly enrich an author who has been promoting and saying “more please” to America’s wars for the past 20 years.

THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF THE EMERGING NEW WORLD ORDER

 A

Source: New Eastern Outlook

By James O’Neill
One of the many difficulties in interpreting the statements of United States President Donald Trump is to decide what category to put his many statements (and even more prolific tweets) in.

Is it another thought bubble similar to his pronouncements on a cure for COVID-19 that was more likely to kill rather than to cure those who followed his advice? Is the latest pronouncement said with an eye to his re-election this coming November, to be discarded once that hurdle has been passed?

The answer to that question is perhaps best found by looking at his track record over the past 3 ½ years. There have been many pronouncements in the foreign policy field, but vanishingly small achievements have followed. The much-heralded nuclear deal with North Korea is one of the latest to fall by the wayside with North Korea’s president Kim announcing a resumption of nuclear testing.

Kim’s cited reason was the total absence of any concrete moves by the United States in settling their multiple outstanding issues. Kim noted, with some justification, that Trump’s negotiating technique was to demand concessions from the North Koreans which had to be fulfilled before the US would make any moves itself, such as reducing troop numbers in South Korea, or ceasing its economic warfare on the North.

It is a well-established principle that what a person does is a much more reliable indicator of future behaviour than what they say. Since becoming president, Trump has withdrawn from, or announced the United States’ intention of withdrawing from, a significant number of major treaties. These included, a by no means exhaustive list, the nuclear arms deal with Iran negotiated with the other United Nations Security Council permanent members plus Germany and European Union; the International Postal Union; the Paris climate agreement; the Trans-Pacific Partnership; UNESCO; and the Human Rights Council.

Whatever else these moves may mean; they are not the actions of a country committed to solving international problems in a multi-national format. Given this track record over the past 3+ years there is no basis for believing that they are temporary measures designed only to enhance Trump’s re-election prospects. Rather the attitude has been, “as long as you do what we want, we will stay.”

Given also the lack of any serious opposition to these moves in the US Senate or his putative presidential opposition candidate Joe Biden, it is probably safe to assume that these moves reflect a broader US approach to multilateral relations. That is, “as long as you do what we want we will stay” in any given organisation.

The reaction to unfavourable decisions by international bodies does however go further. The International Criminal Court (that the United States does not belong to) recently announced it was reopening its investigation into war crimes committed by the United States (and its allies) in Afghanistan. One might argue that this is long overdue, given that these alleged crimes have been a feature of the long 18+ years of warfare carried out on that country. This is before one even begins to contemplate the manifest lies on which the original invasion was based.

Trump’s reaction to the ICC announcement was to threaten both the organisation and its investigating staff, implying a military response if they had the temerity to indict any Americans for war crimes. The principles established in the Nuremberg and Tokyo war crimes trials are, it seems, but an historical aberration when even the investigation of what are, in reality, well documented crimes, invokes such a lawless and violent response.

It is in this context that one has to look at Trump’s sudden enthusiasm for an arms control treaty with Russia. This is the topic to be discussed at the forthcoming meeting between the United States and Russian representatives at a 22 June 2020 meeting in Vienna.

There are a number of ways to interpret the United States’ sudden enthusiasm for an agreement with Russia. The first and most obvious is that it is that the United States has realised that the modern Russian arsenal, partially detailed in President Putin’s March 2018 speech to the Russian parliament, is vastly superior to anything in the United States arsenal and that gap is unlikely to narrow, little alone close, for the foreseeable future.

The Russian (but United States resident) writer and military analyst Andre Martyanov is particularly scathing on this point, both in his books and all his website.

While that is possibly part of Trump’s motivation, this is far from being the whole explanation. One has only to look at the continuing role of the United States in Ukraine, not to mention the farcical trial of four alleged perpetrators of the shooting down of MH 17 (three Russians and one Ukrainian) to gauge a measure of United States sincerity.

Far more likely a motive is that Trump is using the meeting as part of his much wider campaign of trying to disrupt the burgeoning Russia China partnership that is going from strength to strength. Trump wants a new deal on nuclear arms that includes China, but he is silent on the other nuclear powers (Great Britain, India, France, Pakistan and Israel) all of whom have a similar or greater number of nuclear weapons than China.

China has long since passed the United States as the world’s largest economy in terms of parity purchasing power. It has formed a close and growing relationship with Russia, not only in its huge Belt and Road Initiative (with now more than 150 countries) but in a series of other organisations such as the Shanghai Corporation Organisation and ASEAN that is presenting a radically different model of economic co-operation and development than the exploitative western model that has dominated for the past 300 years.

This threat to the United States’ self-defined role as the world’s dominant power did not commence during Trump’s presidency, and the United States reaction to it will not cease with the ending of that presidency, either at the end of this year or in four years’ time. If Biden wins in November, we may be spared the endless tweets and bombastic behaviour, but it would be naïve to anticipate any significant change in United States foreign policy.

Therein lies the greatest danger to world peace. The likely future trends arising out of the growing might of China and its relationship with Russia have recently been analysed by the imminent Russian academic Sergey Karaganov. His analysis of the developing China Russia relationship and its geopolitical implications was recently published in an Italian outlet and conveniently summarised in English by Pepe Escobar in his article “Russia Aiming to Realise Greater Eurasian Dream”.

Karaganov argues that Russia’s growing relationship with China represents a wholly new non-aligned movement centred in the greater Eurasian landmass. Unlike the British and the later United States models which depended on invasion, occupation and exploitation of the natural resources of the conquered nations, the new Eurasian model is much more likely to recognise the individual rights and aspirations of the participating nations and pursue policies of mutual benefit.

None of which is seen as other than a threat to the United States and the model it seeks to impose upon the world. Trump’s recent gestures towards Russia need to be interpreted in that light. The United States has no genuine interest in the welfare and prosperity of either Russia or China. Rather, they exist as pieces to be used in the United States version of the world chess board, manipulated to try and maintain the old model of Western, and in particular, United States dominance.

The reluctance of a growing number of European countries to subscribe to that version is more apparent by the day. Therein lies the challenge, the prospect for a better future for the countries joining the pivot to the east, and the greatest danger from a desperate United States unwilling to acknowledge that its days of dominance are rapidly disappearing.

As the Indian commentator M.K. Bhadrakumar says: “Trump’s diatribe against the ICC exposes the hypocrisy of American policies, which keeps blabbering about a rules based international order while acting with impunity whenever it chooses, for geopolitical reasons.” He cites examples and then concludes that “America under Trump has now become the rogue elephant in the international system.” That is, with respect, a perfect summation of where we are at present.

Why does the public tolerate its biological warfare?

Why does the public tolerate its biological warfare?

June 10, 2020

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

As Jeffrey A. Lockwood recounted in his 2008 book Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War, the first four nations that pioneered biological warfare were during the 1930s — Hitler’s Germany, Hirohito’s Japan, and Churchill’s England and Canada. However, under U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940s, a biowarfare R&D program, “Operation Capricious,” was created in 1943 so secretly that though it operated under William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan, who headed the OSS predecessor to the CIA, it was hidden even from Donovan himself. The way it was hidden is that it was being described to higher-ups as purely defensive, R&D against insect pests that enemy nations might use against America by bombing America with germ-infected insects. It was placed under the direction of George W. Merck, the hereditary President of the pharmaceutical giant, Merck & Co. This newly formed U.S. biological warfare program, that he headed, produced and stockpiled bacillus anthracis (anthrax), clostridium botulinum (botulism), and other deadly bacteria. However, starting under U.S. President Harry S. Truman, the actually aggressive program was finally approved and operationalized by the U.S. military in 1952 against North Korea and parts of China, but it was crude and unsuccessful, like all prior biowarfare efforts had been.

No biological warfare program has ever been strategically successful, because the really effective pathogens, such as viruses or the plague, simply cannot be successfully targeted — they are too contagious — and no weapon that can’t be targeted can be of use either tactically or strategically. However, the United States today has a vast network of biological-warfare laboratories, by far the world’s largest, many of them located in foreign countries.

As Major Leon A. Fox, who was the chief of the Medical Section for the U.S. Army’s Chemical Warfare Service, was the first to point out, in 1932, which then became published in the journal The Military Surgeon, v. 72, #3, in 1933, and republished in the Veterinary Bulletin, v. 28, pages 79-100:

Bacterial warfare is one of the recent scare-heads that are being served by the pseudo-scientists. … 

How are these agents to be introduced into the bodies of the enemy to produce casualties? … Certainly at the present time we know of no disease-producing micro-organisms that will respect uniform or insignia. … The use of bubonic plague today against a field force, when the forces are actually in combat, is unthinkable for the simple reason that the epidemic could not be controlled. …

Many are now associating chemical warfare and bacterial warfare, with the result that in the resolution of adjournment, voted by the General Commission of the Disarmament Conference on July 23, 1932, at Geneva, we find chemical, bacteriological, and incendiary warfare grouped for consideration. …

Certainly at the present time, practically insurmountable difficulties prevent the use of biologic agents as effective weapons.

So, although the U.S. Government, ever since at least 1952, has tried to use bacteria and viruses as weapons, the result has always been failure, for two reasons:

1: Such ‘weapons’ didn’t behave as they had been hoped to behave — they’re uncontrollable (just as Dr. Fox had predicted), and no uncontrollable thing can be effectively used as a weapon.

2: Even if they were to have behaved as they had been hoped to, they cannot be effectively targeted (which again is what Fox had predicted): they would have endangered not only the targeted country but the entire world, even if they worked, since all of us are humans, and since biological ‘weapons’ work only if they’re extremely contagious and thus pose an extreme danger to the entire human species.

Consequently: all of that public expenditure (maybe in the trillions of dollars) is sheer waste, in terms of national defense. But it’s even worse than waste, because it poses extreme danger to ANY nation, including to the one that develops the given ‘weapon’.

And Fox was likewise correct that grouping “chemical and biological weapons” together is plain stupid. Perhaps it works as propaganda, but it certainly is false as science, and as military strategy and tactics. This fact, too, is hidden from the public, instead of published to the public.

The U.S. Arms Control Association, which is secretive but was founded by major figures in America’s military-industrial complex and is charitably funded by U.S. billionaires, has squibs on 16 countries as currently having real or alleged “Chemical and Biological Weapons”, and this ‘charitable’ Association groups together those two types of ‘weapons’, so as to hide the obvious fact that ‘biological weapons’ cannot really exist, as a practical matter, since we all are humans (not only a given targeted country are), and therefore those fake ‘weapons’ are certainly not rationally to be discussed in the same category along with chemical weapons, which — like nuclear weapons — can be targeted, and therefore can and do actually exist as weapons, so that “nuclear weapons and chemical weapons” might be rationally discussed together, but “chemical and biological weapons” cannot (since there are no actual ‘biological weapons’). The ONLY reason why “chemical and biological weapons” are discussed together is that this enables the U.S. military contractors, who derive profits from selling to the United States Government, to continue their “socialism-for-the-rich” gravy train, by treating germs and viruses (which are contagious) as if they were merely chemicals (which are not contagious). For example: On 24 January 2008, Barton J. Bernstein’s article in the Journal of Strategic Studies“America’s biological warfare program in the Second World War” described U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s unsuccessful attempt, on 14 July 1943, to find out “Why is it so confidential to destroy insect pests?” And it’s why that Deep State program was headed by George Merck, who “led the War Research Service, which initiated the U.S. biological weapons program with Frank Olson.”

Nonetheless, as Whitney Webb well documented in her 30 January 2020 “Bats, Gene Editing and Bioweapons: Recent DARPA Experiments Raise Concerns Amid Coronavirus Outbreak”, the Pentagon currently has an extensive program of R&D into even just specifically bat-based biological ‘weapons’, and China has cooperated with the Pentagon in that research. Why would China be cooperating with America in order to develop unnaturally deadly — human-created — human pathogens? Whereas America’s funding of this ‘research’ is open, publicly acknowledged (even though the ‘weapons’ that might result from it would be international war-crimes to use), China’s Government claims to have no biological-warfare program. Who, then was funding such useless ‘research’ at the Wuhan lab?

The basic question here, however, is “Why does the public tolerate its biological warfare?” and one possible reason why they tolerate it might be that they are propagandized by the media of the billionaires who benefit from bioweapons R&D — profit from it — and who (like the Arms Control Association, and like the also billionaires-owned-and-

Who profits from biowarfare R&D? Who are the people that have been behind this?

The laboratories, that do it, receive some, but not all, of their funding from the governments (the taxpayers) in all nations that perform this research — mainly the U.S., but also including China, Canada, and perhaps a few others.

Here are the top 100 U.S. corporations that profit from warfare — invading and militarily occupying and subduing foreign countries (since all actual dangers to U.S. national security that haven’t been “false-flag” events such as 9/11, ended when World War II ended, and were produced in order to increase U.S. military expenditures, not actually in order to protect Americans or anyone else). Other than some universities, such as (in 2015) #56 Johns Hopkins, and #82 Johns Hopkins Health Sys Corp., and drugmankers, like #89 GlaxoSmithKline, few of them seem even possibly to be receiving federal money for the deveopment of biological ‘weapons’. However, if some of them are owned or controlled by the same people who own or control Merck or other drug companies that might be profiting from this, then control of the military contractors could be boosting those drug companies’ stock values. And the ownership and control of virtually all major corporations is hidden by many devices, both legal and illegal. What exists in such a situation is secret government, not even possibly a democratic government.

Regarding specifically China: Are some Chinese profiting from this research; and, if so, which ones? And why isn’t the Chinese Government publicly exposing them, legally trying them in entirely public proceedings, and executing them if clear evidence is presented to the public that they had been doing this illegal research for private profit? Because, if the Chinese Government won’t do that, then it’s not really illegal in China.

All the while, the nation that has by far the largest biological-warfare program, the U.S., continues to expand it, instead of bans it — as international law would require, if the U.S. Government even paid attention to international law, which it doesn’t. (This U.S. flouting of international law is endorsed by both of America’s political Parties; it is bipartisan in the U.S.)

If the public will no longer tolerate its funding biological warfare, then when will the massive public demonstrations be organized throughout the world condemning the U.S., China, and other governments, that either participate in this R&D or else tolerate instead of clearly outlawing it — punish everyone in the given nation who participates in it?

Why haven’t these massive public demonstrations, against this R&D, already occurred?

If this won’t happen, then there is no public demand for accountability, and then this purely destructive R&D will continue, and it will continue to be publicly funded, though it benefits only some stockholders and corporate executives, and causes massive global harm — perhaps including the coronavirus-19 pandemic.

—————

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

Will Trump really start *two* wars instead of “just” one?

May 20, 2020

Will Trump really start *two* wars instead of “just” one?

[Note: this article was written for the Unz Review]

Amidst the worldwide pandemic induced scare most of us have probably lost track of all the other potential dangers which still threaten international peace and stability.  Allow me to list just a few headlines which, I strongly believe, deserve much more attention than what they got so far.  Here we go:

  • Military Times: “5 Iran tankers sailing to Venezuela amid US pressure tactics
  • Time: “5 Iranian Tankers Head to Venezuela Amid Heightened Tensions Between U.S. and Tehran
  • FoxNews: “Iran tankers sailing to Venezuela in effort to undermine US sanctions

Notice that Military Times speaks of “US pressure tactics”, Time of “tensions” and FoxNews of “efforts to undermined US sanctions”?

I don’t think that this is a coincidence.  Folks in the US military are much more in touch with reality than the flag-waving prostitutes which some people call “reporters” or “journalists”.

Furthermore, the USA has embarked on a new policy to justify its acts of piracy on the high seas with something called Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) all under the pretext of the war on drugs.  To get a better understanding of the context of these developments I asked a specialist of Maritime issues of our community, NatSouth, who replied the following: (stress added)

If a ship does not comply with the request to be boarded, it is usual that the pursuing authorities must gain the permission of the ‘flag’ state prior to boarding, on the high seas and the pursuit has to have started in the coastal state’s jurisdictional waters. The caveat here is that in the Caribbean – Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement (CRA) – (long name: Agreement Concerning Co-operation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Air Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Area).  So, there is an agreement with participating coastal states on boardings and pursuits in EEZs and the like.  You can find more on the legal aspects of boardings at sea here  and more info on so-called “consensual boardings” here

The anti-drug/ counterterrorism angle allows the U.S. Navy and the USCG to carry out interdictions on the high seas. Important point to note whether this approach will be taken to interdict the tankers, given that Venezuela is a declared narco-State. The absurdity is that Venezuela isn’t the primary transit point in the region, Colombia holds that honour. https://orinocotribune.com/narco-state-the-report-that-leaves-venezuela-on-the-sidelines-of-the-cocaine-route/

Tweet threat

If I could add at this point, the origins are that Venezuela didn’t wish to play ball with Washington anymore, specifically with the DEA back in 2005, squaring the circle of sorts, (or should that be a vicious circle cunningly used by Washington, because who is going to argue with that narrative, aka the war on terror). March: SOUTHCOM’s Adm. Faller: “There will be an increase in US military presence in the hemisphere later this year. This will include an enhanced presence of ships, aircraft, & security forces to reassure our partners… & counter a range of threats to include illicit narco-terrorism.” At the same time, the State dept released this https://twitter.com/StateDept/status/1260988270302777350 so the US could effectively carry out boardings under the guise of counterterrorism as well.

While the Iranian tankers were in the Mediterranean, Washington released a (delayed) “Global Maritime Sanctions Advisory”, to the maritime industry, setting out guidelines to shipowners and insurers to enable them to avoid the risks of sanctions penalties related to North Korea, Syria and Iran. This also concerns oil exports from Iran, (but doesn’t apply to Iranian flagged ships).  This came after the State Dept gave warning notice to oil companies  to stop operations, including Rosneft (Russia), Reliance (India) and Repsol (Spain).

Then NatSouth concluded the following:

Under international law, every merchant ship must be registered with a flag state, which has jurisdiction over the vessel.  Hence, this time, the use of Iranian-flagged tankers, as a direct response from Washington’s latest version of restating “maximum pressure” campaign on enforcement of Iran and Venezuela sanctions, (back in Feb, literally the same language as in Aug 2019). There was talk back then of a naval embargo, which would a serious notch up in tensions. There was mention of the 4 U.S. warships in the Caribbean, the U.S. Navy tweeted about, but one the Preble went through the Panama Canal into the Pacific). https://twitter.com/USNavy/status/1261325507473391618

Pretty clear, isn’t it?

What the USA is doing is substituting itself for the United Nations and it is now openly claiming the right to board any vessel under whatever kind of pious pretext like, say, narco-trafficing, nuclear proliferation, sanctions against so-called “rogue states”, etc.   Clearly, the AngloZionists expect everybody to roll over and take it.

How likely is that?

Let’s look at a few Iranian headlines, all from PressTV:

  • PressTV, May 16th: “Iran’s fuel shipment to Venezuela guaranteed by its missile power
  • PressTV, May 17th: “US aware Iran will respond ‘very strongly’ if Venezuela-bound ships attacked: Analyst
  • PressTV, May 18th: “Iran: US bears responsibility for any foolish act against tankers heading to Venezuela

Three days in a row.  I think that it is fair to assume that the Iranians are trying very hard to convince Uncle Shmuel not to mess with these tankers.  Does anybody seriously believe that the Iranians are bluffing?

Before we look at some of the aspects of this potential crisis, let’s just mention a few things here.

First, the US is acting in total and official illegality.  Just like the bombing of Syria, the threats to Iran, or the US murderous sanctions Uncle Shmuel imposes left and right – the blockade of Venezuela is a) totally illegal and b) an act of war under international law.

Second, if USN commanders think they can operate with impunity only because the Caribbean is far away from Iran, they are kidding themselves.  Yes, Iranian forces cannot defend these tankers so far away from home, nor can they take any action against the USN in the Atlantic-Caribbean theater of naval operations.  But what they can and will do is retaliate against any AngloZionist target in the Middle-East, including any oil/gas tanker.

Third, while Venezuela’s military is tiny and weak compared to the immensely expensive and bloated US military, being immensely expensive and bloated is no guarantee of success.  In fact, and depending on how the Venezuelan leadership perceives its options, there could be some very real risk for the USA in any attempt to interfere with the free passage of these ships.

What do I mean by that?

Did you know that Venezuela had four squadrons of Su-30MKV for a total of 22 aircraft?  Did you know that Venezuela also had an unknown number of Kh-31A supersonic anti-shipping missiles?  And did you know that Venezuela had a number of S-300VM and 9K317M2 Buk-M2E long range and medium range SAMs?

True, that is nowhere near the amount of weapons systems Venezuela would need to withstand a determined US attack, but it is more than enough to create some real headaches for US planners.  Do you remember what the Argentinian Air Force did to the British Navy during the Malvinas war?  Not only did the Argentinians sink two Type 42 guided missile destroyers (the HMS Sheffield and the HMS Coventry) which were providing long-range radar and medium-high altitude missile picket for the British carriers, they also destroyed 2 frigates, 1 landing ship, 1 landing craft, 1 container ship.  Frankly, considering how poorly defended the British carriers were, it is only luck which saved them from destruction (that, and the lack of sufficient number of Super Étendard strike aircraft and Exocet missiles).  I would add here that the British military, having been defeated on many occasions, has learned the painful lessons of their past defeats and does not suffer from the cocky-sure attitude of the US military.  As a result, they were very careful during the war against Argentina and that caution was one of the factors which gave a Britain well-deserved the victory (I mean that in military terms only; in moral terms this was just another imperialist war with all the evil that entails).  Had the Argentinians had a modern air force and enough anti-shipping missiles, the war could have taken a very different turn.

Returning to the topic of Venezuela, war is a much more complex phenomenon than just a struggle of military forces.  In fact, I strongly believe that political factors will remain the single most important determinant factor of most wars, even in the 21st century.  And chances are that the Venezuelans, being the militarily weaker side, will look to political factors to prevail.  Here is one possible scenario among many other possible ones:

Caracas decides that the US seizing/attacking the Iranian tankers constitutes an existential threat to Venezuela because if that action goes unchallenged, then the US will totally “strangle” Venezuela.  Of course, the Venezuelan military cannot take on the immense US military, but what they could do is force a US intervention, say by attacking one/several USN vessel(s).  Such an attack, if even only partially successful, would force the US to retaliate, bringing US forces closer not only to Venezuelan air defenses, but also closer to the Venezuelan people which will see any US retaliation as an illegitimate counter-counter-attack following the fully legitimate Venezuelan counter-attack.

Then there is the problem of defining victory.  In the US political “culture” winning is usually defined as pressing a few buttons to fire off some standoff weapons, kill lots of civilians, and then declare that the “indispensable nation” has “kicked the other guy’s ass”.  The problem with that is the following one: if they other guy is very visibly weaker and has no chance for a military victory of his own, then the best option for him is to declare that “surviving is winning” – meaning that if Maduro stays in power, then Venezuela has won.  How would the USA cope with that kind of narrative?  Keep in mind that Caracas is a city of over two million people which even in peacetime is rather dangerous (courtesy of both regular crime and potential guerilla activities).  Yet, for Maduro to “win” all he has to show is that he controls Caracas.  Keep in mind that even if the US forces succeed in creating some kind of “zone of real democracy” somewhere near the Colombian border, that will mean nothing to Maduro, especially considering the terrain between the border and the capital city (please check out this very high resolution map of Venezuela or this medium resolution one).  As for the notion of a USN landing on the shores of Venezuela, all we need to do is to remember how the immense Hodgepodge of units which were tasked with invading Grenada (including 2 Ranger Battalions, Navy Seals, most of an Airborne Division, etc. for a total of over 7,000 soldiers(!) against a tiny nation which never expected to be invaded (for details, and a good laugh, see here for a full list of participating US forces!) was defeated by the waves of the Caribbean and the few Cuban military engineers who resisted with small-arms fire (eventually, most of the 82AB was calling in to fix this mess).

In other words, if Maduro remains in power in Caracas then, in political terms, Venezuela wins even though it would loose in purely military terms.

This phenomenon is hardly something new, as shown by the following famous quote by Ho Chi Minh: “You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and I will win.”

By the way, this is exactly the same problem the Empire faces with Iran: as long as the Islamic Republic remains an Islamic Republic it “wins” in any exchange of strikes with the USA and/or Israel.

Still, it is pretty obvious that the US can turn much of Venezuela into a smoking heap of ruins.  That is true (just like what the USA did to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Serbia and Israel what did to Lebanon in 2006).  But that would hardly constitute a “victory” in any imaginable sense of the word.  Again, in theory, the US might be able to secure a number of landing locations and then send in an intervention force which could try to take key locations in Caracas.  But what would happen after that?  Not only would the hardcore Chavistas trigger a guerilla insurrection which would be impossible to crush (when is the last time the USA prevailed in a counter-insurgency war?), but many Venezuelans would expect the US to pay for reconstruction (and they would be right, according to the rules of international law, “once you take it, you own it” meaning that the USA would become responsible for the socio-economic situation of the country).  Finally, there is always the option of an anti-leadership “decapitating” strike of some kind.  I believe that in purely military terms, the US has the know-how and resources to accomplish this.  I do not believe that this option would secure anything for the USA, instead – it would further destabilize the situation and would trigger some kind of reaction by the Venezuelan military both outside and inside Venezuela.  If anything, the repeated failures of the various coup attempts against Chavez and Maduro prove that the the bulk of the military remains firmly behind the Chavistas (and the failed coup only served to unmask the traitors and replace them anyway!).

The bottom line is this: if Uncle Shmuel decides to seize/attack the Iranian tankers, there is not only a quasi certitude of a war between the US and Iran (or, at the very least, an exchange of strikes), but there is also a non-trivial possibility that Maduro and his government might actually decide to provoke the USA into a war they really can’t win.

Is Trump capable of starting a process which will result in not one, but two wars?

You betcha he is!  A guy who thinks in categories like “my button is bigger than yours” or “super-dooper weapons” obviously understands exactly *nothing* about warfare, while the climate of messianic narcissism prevailing among the US ruling classes gives them a sense of total impunity.

Let’s hope that cooler heads, possibly in the military, will prevail.  The last thing the world needs today is another needless war of choice, never mind two more.

The Saker

America the Victim: Are Enemies Lining Up for Revenge in the Wake of the Coronavirus?

America The Victim: Are Enemies Lining Up For Revenge In The Wake ...

Philip Giraldi

April 30, 2020

When in trouble politically, governments have traditionally conjured up a foreign enemy to explain why things are going wrong. Whatever one chooses to believe about the coronavirus, the fact is that it has resulted in considerable political backlash against a number of governments whose behavior has been perceived as either too extreme or too dilatory. Donald Trump’s White House has taken shots from both directions and the response to the disease has also been pilloried due to repeated gaffes by the president himself. The latest mis-spoke, now being framed by Trump’s press secretary as sarcasm, involved a presidential suggestion that one might consider injecting or imbibing disinfectant to treat the disease, either of which could easily prove lethal.

So, the administration is desperate to change the narrative and has decided to hit on the old expedient, namely seeking out a foreign enemy to distract from what is going on in the nation’s hospitals. The tale of malevolent foreigners has been picked up by a number of mainstream media outlets and has proven especially titillating because there is not just one bad guy, but instead at least four: China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.

The accepted narrative is that America’s enemies are now taking advantage of a moment of weakness due to the lockdown response to the coronavirus and have stepped up their attacks, both physical and metaphorical, on the Exceptional Nation Under God. The most recent claim that the United States is being targeted involves an incident in mid-April during which a swarm of Iranian gunboats allegedly harassed a group of American warships conducting a training exercise in the Persian Gulf by crossing the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at close range. The maneuvers were described by the Navy as “unsafe and unprofessional” but the tiny speedboats in no way threatened the much larger warships (note the photo in the link which illustrates the disparity in size between the two vessels).

Donald Trump characteristically responded to the incident with a tweet last Wednesday: “I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.” Although no context was provided, the president commands the armed forces and the tweet essentially defined the rules of engagement, meaning that it would be up to the ships’ commanders to determine whether or not they are being harassed. If so, the would be able to open fire and destroy the Iranian boats. Of course, there might be a physical problem in “shooting down” a gunboat that is in the water rather than in the air.

In the Mediterranean the threat against the U.S. consisted of two Russian jet fighters flying close to a Navy P8-A submarine surveillance plane. The Russian fighters were scrambled from Hmeymim air base in Syria after the U.S. aircraft approached Syrian airspace and Russian military facilities. One of the fighters, a SU-35 carried out an “unsafe” maneuver when it flew upside down at high-speed 25 feet in front of the Navy plane.

Also in mid-April, North Korea meanwhile fired cruise missiles into the Sea of Japan amidst rumors that its head of state Kim Jong Un might be dead or dying after major surgery. President Trump was unconcerned about the missiles and also commented that he had received a “nice note” from the North Korean leader.

Wars and rumors of wars notwithstanding, China continues to be the principal target for Democrats and Republicans alike on Capitol Hill. GOP congressmen are reportedly urging sanctions against China while there are already a number of coronavirus lawsuits targeting Chinese assets in U.S. courts, at least one of which has a trillion dollar price tag. Theories about the deliberate weaponization of the Wuhan virus abound and they are also mixed in with stories of how Beijing unleashed the weapons and is now engaged in Russia style social media intervention to promote the notion that the United States has proven incapable of handling what has become a major medical emergency. However, those who are pushing the idea that the Chinese communist party has declared war by other means fail to explain why the government in Beijing is so keen on destroying its largest export market. If the U.S. economy goes down a large part of the Chinese economy will go with it, particularly if China’s second largest export market Europe is also suffering.

The craziness of what is going on in the context of the disruption caused by the coronavirus has apparently increased the normal paranoia level at the top levels of the U.S. government. Pentagon plans to fight a war with Russia and China simultaneously, first mooted in 2018, are still a work in progress in spite of the fact that Washington has fewer cards to play currently than it did two years ago. The economy is down and prospects for recovery are speculative at best, but the war machine rolls on. Many Americans tired of the perpetual warfare are hoping that the virus aftermath will include demands for a genuine national health system that will perforce gut the Pentagon budget, leading to an eventual withdrawal from empire.

In spite of the hysteria, it is important to note that no Americans have been killed or injured as a result of recent Iranian, Russian, Chinese and North Korean actions. When you station ships and planes close to or even on the borders of countries that you have labeled as enemies it would be reasonable to expect that there will be pushback. And as for taking advantage of the virus, it is the United States that has suggested that it would do so in the cases of Iran and Venezuela, exerting “maximum pressure” on both countries in their times of troubles to bring about regime change. If those countries that are accustomed to being regularly targeted by the United States are taking advantage of an opportunity to diminish America’s ability to intervene globally, no one should be surprised, but it is a fantasy to make the hysterical claim that the United States has now become the victim of some kind of vast international conspiracy.

SPACEX: CAMEL’S NOSE UNDER THE TENT OF SPACE MILITARIZATION

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

In the last several decades, and certainly in the post-9/11 environment in which the previous restrictions on the militarization of the American society largely disappeared, the US national security establishment has expand not only by creating new programs and agencies, but also by co-opting non-state actors. Many a US think-tank is now little more than an extension of some US government agency, conducting research to validate previously arrived-at conclusions in furtherance of a specific institutional agenda. Likewise many corporations have gone beyond being mere defense or intelligence contractors. Rather, their business activities are from the outset designed to be readily weaponizable, meshing seamlessly with the armed services and intelligence agencies.

It is not entirely clear how the process works, for there does not appear to be a system of contract awards for specific deliverables. Rather, it seems these capabilities are developed on the initiative of specific businesses which speculate their efforts will be utilized by the US national security establishment ever on the lookout for technological “game-changers”. Moreover, given the unchecked growth of the US national security budget, these entrepreneurs can operate in high confidence their efforts will also be financially rewarded by the intelligence and defense establishments, even if they are not commercially viable.

There have been numerous examples of initially civilian applications being put to use for the benefit of US national security institutions. Facebook has made its databases available to various agencies to test facial recognition technologies, for example. Google and Amazon make their cloud capabilities available to the Pentagon and the intelligence communities. The opposition to China’s Huawei 5G networks and cell phones appears to be motivated by the concern these systems do not have backdoors installed for the benefit of US national security state.

Elon Musk’s business empire has benefitted from its proximity to the US national security state. Musk, an immigrant from the Republic of South Africa, has made his initial fortune by creating PayPal. While Musk has sold his remaining interest in PayPal in 2002, that entity has since then engaged in furthering US national security agendas by blocking payments to organizations which were critical of US policies. This, however, is probably more of a reflection of the subservience of US tech firms to the US government than of Musk’s original intent.

Nevertheless, the timing of Musk’s departure from PayPal and the entry into the space business is noteworthy. Already in the late 1990s, there were rumblings in the United States about the desirability of militarizing space and building up anti-ballistic missile defenses, ostensibly against the so-called “rogue states” of North Korea and Iran. These initiatives gained considerable impetus in 2001, following the election of the Bush-Cheney administration which promptly moved to end the ABM Treaty as the first step toward the future of weaponization of space.

Space-X’s establishment in 2002, the same year the ABM Treaty collapsed due to the Bush Administration abrogation, seems entirely too convenient to be a mere coincidence, even though the stated aims of the company are mainly commercial. Still, it is easy to imagine why a firm focused on the development of low-cost, possibly reusable, space launch vehicles would be useful to the Pentagon. Creating a government program with the same objective would have attracted unnecessary attention. There would be budget appropriations battles, congressional testimony, various forms of oversight, and the inevitable domestic and international opposition to such destabilizing and provocative initiatives. Providing Space-X with technological assistance, allowing it to hire government specialists, then giving it access to lucrative government space launch orders, is a far more attractive proposition. Moreover, the bypassing of the normal defense contracting system actually meant considerable cost savings, thanks to Musk’s red tape-cutting techniques. Its design bureau functioned in a fashion akin to Lockheed’s famous “skunk works” which developed extremely ambitious projects such as the U-2 and SR-71 in large part thanks to being able to fly “under the radar” (no pun intended). However, since that time Lockheed ballooned into a massive “too big to fail” defense contractor which delivers costly and poorly performing aircraft.

Musk’s fantasies about colonizing Mars and selling seats on orbital space flights proved a very effective cover for the corporation’s core military applications. Moreover, Space-X’s status as a private corporation allows it to defray some of the research and development costs through genuine commercial activities. Yet one has to wonder whether SpaceX success would have been as spectacular if it weren’t for privileged access to government facilities. SpaceX has been able to piggy-back on the massive US government investment in space launch facilities. It is able to operate out of not only Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center, but even from the Vandenberg Air Force Base. The speed with which SpaceX was able to develop, test, and deploy several different new rocket engine design of the Kestrel, Merlin, Raptor, and Draco families also may be due to privileged access to technologies developed for NASA and military space programs.

Even though SpaceX was founded in 2002, it won a $100 million USAF space launch contract in 2005 and the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract in 2006, even though the first orbital mission of the Falcon I rocket would not take place until 2008. USAF awarded another $1 billion contract to SpaceX in early 2008, even before the first Falcon I flight. SpaceX has become the de-facto research and development branch of NASA when it comes to manned spaceflight. The 2014 NASA contract for the Crew Dragon has so far resulted in one successful docking with the International Space Station, though without a crew on board, and was followed by a successful splashdown. The larger Starship reusable heavy manned spacecraft is expected to start flying in the 2020s.

Competition from United Launch Services and even Boeing notwithstanding, there is little doubt SpaceX is to US manned spaceflight what Boeing is to heavy commercial aircraft and Lockheed-Martin to “fifth-generation” fighters. It has become the primary go-to contractor of such systems for both commercial and military US government applications, with the competitors being maintained in existence with occasional contracts largely as insurance against spectacular failure of SpaceX.

SpaceX portfolio of reusable space launch vehicles, manned spacecraft, and most recently also satellites means that the company is well positioned to serve as a one-stop shopping center for the newly created branch of the US armed forces. Given the United States’ desire to weaponize space as part of its effort to undermine strategic nuclear deterrence of rival powers, namely the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, there is every reason to expect SpaceX will be a recipient of considerable financial largesse from the USSF.

Arguably the most intriguing project SpaceX is pursuing is Starlink, a proposed network of over four thousand miniature satellites whose ostensible aim is to provide broadband internet service to the entire planet. However, the interest in Starlink demonstrated by the US military suggests that, once again, this is at the very least a dual-use project. Articles discussing the military’s interest in Starlink cite the possibility of it becoming the replacement for the aging J-STARS airborne ground target acquisition radars, suggesting these satellites’ emissions can be used to track moving land objects.. If that is indeed the case, they could also serve the role of anti-ballistic missile warning satellites, and even be used to track stealth aircraft, since the constellation of satellites would function as a massive distributed multi-static radar array.

The mad pace of SpaceX has not been without mishaps. The Crew Dragon, in particular, suffered a number of embarrassing failures, and it may yet be that the corner-cutting hell-for-leather approach the corporation may yet lead to disaster when applied to the considerably more demanding problem of manned spaceflight. Other private entrepreneurs, such as Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, either suffered fatal accidents that greatly delayed their respective programs or prompted their shut-down. G_7 SpaceX, however, differs from them in that its main customer is the US government that is greatly interested in having the USSF dominate the Earth’s orbit in the same way as the USN dominates the global ocean by establishing large-scale permanent presence of US military personnel in space. The US government has gambled SpaceX will deliver products necessary for such domination. Whether it can do that still remains to be seen.

Kim Jong-un’s Health Not Deteriorated – Russian Lawmaker After Talk with North Korean Ambassador

 April 26, 2020

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

Rumours have been circulating in the media regarding the North Korean leader’s health, with some reports suggesting that Kim is in a vegetative state or even dead. The reports emerged due to Kim’s absence from high-profile official events.

Speculations about Kim Jong-un’s health cannot be verified and it is early to jump to conclusions, Russian legislator Kazbek Taysaev said on Sunday after his talks with the new North Korean ambassador to Russia.

“We’ve discussed this topic with the ambassador and I’ve received no confirmation of such rumours. Only the official statement from the authorities in Pyeongyang can be seen as a confirmation, but before that I would caution against making any conclusions and cite any unconfirmed information,” the lawmaker said.

Source: Sputnik

Warhawk US Senator says he will be ‘shocked’ if North Korean leader isn’t dead

By News Desk -2020-04-26

Following the emergence of unconfirmed reports about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un allegedly either being dead or in a vegetative state, US Senator Lindsey Graham announced that he’d be quite surprised if these rumors don’t turn out to be true.

Speaking with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, Graham argued that despite the closed nature of North Korea, the country’s leadership would eventually have to address these speculations.

“It’s a closed society. I haven’t heard anything directly, but I’ll be shocked if he’s not dead or in some incapacitated state because you don’t let rumors like this go forever or go unanswered in a closed society which is really a cult, not a country, called north Korea,” the senator said. “So I pretty well believe he is dead or incapacitated”.

Having expressed hope that the people of North Korea “will get some relief” if Kim is indeed dead, Graham added that US President Donald Trump “is willing to do business with North Korea in a win-win fashion”.

“So if this guy is dead, I hope the guy who takes over will work with President Trump to make North Korea a better place for everybody,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Russian legislator Kazbek Taysaev, who recently held talks with the North Korean ambassador to Russia, warned that it is too early to jump to conclusions regarding speculations about Kim’s health, as “only the official statement from the authorities in Pyongyang can be seen as a confirmation”.

Many social media users, however, have already proceeded to crack jokes about Kim’s possible demise as the hashtag #KIMJONGUNDEAD started trending on Twitter.

American Groups Urge Washington to End Sanctions amid Virus Pandemic

American Groups Urge Washington to End Sanctions amid Virus Pandemic

By Staff, Agencies

More than 70 civil society groups urged the US to put an immediate end to its sanctions targeting Iran and other nations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“In a context of global pandemic, impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all of us,” the US-based Common Dreams News Website cited an open letter written on behalf of the groups, including CodePink, Veterans Against the War and No War Campaign, as saying on Thursday.

The report said that the groups behind the letter represented up to 40 million people.

Entitled “Lift Sanctions, Save Lives,” the initiative is aimed at ensuring the economic warfare by the US claims as few lives as possible as nations fight off the health crisis.

The letter, which addressed US President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, called for immediate sanctions relief for numerous countries such as Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea.

The appeal also proposed a framework of safeguards assuring access to six categories of aid, either directly related to aid needed to counter the pandemic or to challenges exacerbated by the outbreak, such as providing adequate water and food.

The report also cited a number of activists urging the US to “rethink its approach to sanctions”.

“Denying people access to lifesaving resources now represents a risk to the entire world,” said Daniel Jasper of the American Friends Service Committee, a signatory to the letter.

“Sanctions kill innocents indiscriminately just like bombs,” said Peace Action senior policy director Paul Kawika Martin.

“During this pandemic crisis, the US needs to remove all barriers, like sanctions, so countries can counteract COVID-19,” he said.

The open letter addressing the Trump administration also warned of the risk of companies “over-complying” with US financial sanctions.

“Banks often block purchases for these items out of fear of running afoul of sanctions, in what is known as over-compliance,” said CodePink Latin America Campaign coordinator Teri Mattson.

“Over-compliance is one of the many ways that innocent civilians end up being harmed by sanctions regimes,” Mattson said.

Is the United States About to Engage in Official State Piracy Against China? Strong Precedent Points to Worrying Trend

April 18, 2020

by A. B. Abrams for The Saker Blog

Is the United States About to Engage in Official State Piracy Against China? Strong Precedent Points to Worrying Trend

The Coronavirus crisis appears set to herald a new era of much poorer relations between China and the Western world, with Western countries having borne the brunt of the fallout from the pandemic and, particularly in the United States, increasingly blaming China at an official level for the effects.[1] Looking at the U.S. case in particular, at first responses to the virus were if anything optimistic – the fallout in China was seen as a ‘correction’ which would shift the balance of global economic power back into Western hands. Indeed, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stated on January 30th that the fallout from the virus in China “will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America” with millions at the time placed under lockdown in Wuhan and elsewhere.[2] Western publications from the New York Times to the Guardian widely hailed the virus as potentially bringing an end to China’s decades of rapid economic growth – with a ‘rebalancing’ of the global economy towards Western power strongly implied.[3],[4] Against North Korea, the New York Times described the virus as potentially functioning as America’s “most effective ally” in achieving the outcome Washington had long sought – “choking the North’s economy.” [5]

The result, however, has if anything been strong resilience to the virus across much of East Asia, with Vietnam and South Korea being prime examples of successful handling alongside Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland – in contrast to a very sluggish and often ineffective response in the West.[6] From rot filled and broken emergency supplies in the U.S. national reserve[7] to nurses wearing bin bags due a lack of protective equipment,[8] the commandeering of supplies heading to other countries, [9] and the enlistment of prison labour to build mass graves in New York City[10] – signs have unanimously pointed to chaos. It should be pointed out that the U.S. reported its first case on the same day as South Korea – which had the virus fully under control several weeks earlier due to more effective handling and a lack of complacency.[11] The U.S. and wider Western world had a major advantage in its warning time over China in particular, but effectively squandered it.[12]

The results of the fallout from the Coronavirus in the Western world, and in the U.S. in particular, could be extremely serious given the context of escalating American pressure on China in the leadup to the outbreak. Blaming China for the virus across American press and in the White House itself – despite it having reached America primarily from Europe rather than Asia[13] – has heralded mass hate crimes against the Asian American community of unprecedented seriousness and scale since the targeting of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s.[14] Perhaps even more seriously, however, the official American response as public opinion is directed against China appears set to place the world’s two largest economies on a potentially catastrophic collision course. On April 14th U.S. Senator Josh Hawley unveiled highly provocative legislation which would strip China of its sovereign immunity in American courts and allow Americans to sue China’s ruling Communist Party directly for the damages caused by the coronavirus crisis.[15] Such legislation relies heavily on growing anti-Chinese sentiments and depictions of China as directly responsible – and contradicts evidence from the World Health Organisation among others that China’s response effectively stalled the global spread of the virus at its own expense with its lockdown.[16]

An unbiased analysts shows that the disproportionate fallout in the Western world relative to East Asia is overwhelmingly due to poor preparation – and had effective South Korean style measures been implemented from the outset America would have seen only a small fraction of the cases it currently suffers from.[17] Nevertheless, calls from the U.S. and to a lesser extent from within other Western states[18] to make China foot the bill are manifold. Scholars from the American Enterprise Institute and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution among others have made direct calls for Western states to unilaterally “seize the assets of Chinese state-owned companies,” cancel debts to China and expropriate Chinese overseas assets “in compensation for coronavirus losses.”[19] The Florida based firm the Berman Law Group has already filed two major lawsuits suing China calling for compensation for the outbreak – and the situation looks set to worsen considerably with many more suits to follow. Regarding how the crisis could play out, and how the U.S. could act on its massive claims against China over the virus which are expected to be in the hundreds of billions at least, there is an important precedent for American courts providing similar compensation to alleged victims of an East Asian government and the American state taking action accordingly – that of the Otto Warmbier case in 2018. Assessment of the Warmbier case sets a very important precedent with very considerable implications for the outcome of a Sino-American dispute.

Otto Warmbier was an American student arrested in North Korea in 2016 for stealing a poster and violating a restricted high security area in Pyongyang. The student was returned to the U.S. the following year in a comatose state, with his parents alleging that his teeth had been artificially rearranged and his body showed signs of torture. This was strongly contradicted by medical analyses, with the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office carrying out an external examination of Warmbier’s body and dismissing the claim by his father that his teeth had been pulled out and rearranged by the North Koreans. “The teeth are natural and in good repair,” the office concluded, after Warmbier’s father had sensationally claimed that “his bottom teeth look like they [the Koreans] had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged them.” Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco stated addressing the claim of forced rearranging of Otto’s teeth: ”I felt very comfortable that there wasn’t any evidence of trauma. We were surprised at the [parents’] statement.” She said her team, which included a forensic dentist, thoroughly evaluated the body and assessed various scans of his body.[20] Medical assessments showed no signs of mistreatment or any trauma to the student’s head or skull, with a blood clot, pneumonia, sepsis, kidney failure, and sleeping pills were also cited as potential causes of death.[21] Nevertheless, Warmbier’s parents would continue to claim against all available evidence that their son had been tortured to death – filing a lawsuit against the North Korean government. Where a full autopsy could have provided data to more completely undermine their claims, and was strongly recommended by doctors, they were adamant in their refusal and no autopsy was carried out. Forensic scientists were highly critical of this unusual and unexpected decision in this critical case.[22]

In response to the Warmbers’ claim against the North Korean state, which amounted to a staggering $1.05 billion in punitive damages and around $46 million for the family’s suffering in a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Washington in October 2018, Pyongyang was asked to pay the couple $500 million.[23] This was despite no evidence for the couple’s claims of Korean culpability, but at a time when public opinion was strongly against North Korea and would have supported the motion. To seize the Warmbiers’ compensation, the United States Navy would later that year commandeer a North Korean cargo ship, the Wise Honest, and escort it to American territory where it was subsequently sold at auction. The couple was provided with a part of the ship’s value, and future seizures of Korean merchant shipping to meet the remainder of the American family’s claim remain possible under U.S. law.[24] The seizure of the ship, one of North Korea’s largest, represented a considerable loss to its fleet and complemented the effects of ongoing Western sanctions to undermine the country’s economy.

The significance of the Warmbier case is that it provides a strong precedent for the U.S. Military, should China inevitably refuse to pay the hundreds billions expected to be demanded in compensation, to engage in effective state level piracy against Chinese merchant shipping to provide funds for its increasingly struggling economy.[25] With trade war having failed to significantly slow Chinese economic growth and foreign trade, which had been its primary goal,[26] more drastic means may be adopted for the same end using the Coronavirus crisis as a pretext. Other similar recent cases of do exist, including unilateral seizure and sale of Iranian government owned properties by the Canadian government in 2019 to compensate alleged victims of terror of conflicts with Hezbollah and Hamas. This was despite neither of these being UN recognised terrorist organisations and Iran’s support for these non-state actors being entirely legal under international law.[27] The fact that these properties were on Canadian soil and governed under Canadian law however, rather than in international waters, makes this a considerably less provocative case than the Warmbier case one or than what is being proposed against China.

Further evidence that the U.S. would consider unilateral commandeering of shipping against China was provided by the U.S. Naval Institute, which in April published an important paper titled ‘Unleash the Privateers’ highlighting that it remained legal under American law for U.S. security firms to be tasked with commandeering and either sinking or capturing and selling Chinese merchant ships in the event of conflict. It highlighted that China was the largest trading nation in the world with a merchant fleet several times the size of its American counterpart – and that this provided a vulnerability the U.S. should be willing to exploit.[28] Taken together, the circumstances surrounding claims against China and moves to strip it of its sovereign immunity, the Warmbier precedent, the well timed and extremely radical naval institute paper and above all America’s need to reverse its losses and undermine China’s growing trade and economic prosperity to perpetuate its own hegemony, between them point to a high possibility of the U.S. adopting state level piracy against Chinese shipping as a future policy. While evidence strongly contradicts claims that China is responsible for the Coronavirus and the massive fallout the U.S. is now experiencing – much as evidence from American coroners and forensic scientists contradicted the claims of the Warmbier family – these inconvenient facts are highly unlikely to prevent the U.S. from taking action to secure its perceived rightful place as the leader of the global economy by seizing what it sees as its rightful property through attacks on Chinese trading vessels.

It is by no means a certainty that the United States will engage in such an escalatory course of action, and the nature of the overall Western response beyond the current harsh rhetoric and unfounded accusations is yet to be seen. It is important at this stage, however, to highlight the not insignificant possibility such a course will be taken by the U.S. and other Western parties to reverse the trend towards a decline in their economic positions relative to China. Repercussions from such seizures will almost certainly be far more severe than the relatively muted global response to the seizure and sale of a commandeered North Korean ship two years prior. While China’s Navy is concentrated in the Western Pacific and is poorly placed to defend its trade routes from the global reach of Western warships, Beijing and its allies have a wide range of means to retaliate which could deter the Western powers from taking such a course of action.

  1. ‘Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak,’ New York Times (accessed April 16, 2020). 
  2. Staracqualursi, Veronica and Davis, Richard, ‘Commerce secretary says coronavirus will help bring jobs to North America,’ CNN, January 30, 2020. 
  3. Bradsher, Keith, ‘Coronavirus Could End China’s Decades-Long Economic Growth Streak,’ New York Times, March 16, 2020. 
  4. Davidson, Helen, ‘Coronavirus deals China’s economy a “bigger blow than global financial crisis,”’ The Guardian, March 16, 2020. 
  5. Koettl, Christoph, ‘Coronavirus Is Idling North Korea’s Ships Achieving What Sanctions Did Not,’ New York Times, March 26, 2020. 
  6. Graham-Harrison, Emma, ‘Coronavirus: how Asian countries acted while the west dithered,’ The Guardian, March 21, 2020.Inkster, Ian, ‘In the battle against the coronavirus, East Asian societies and cultures have the edge,’ South China Morning Post, April 10, 2020. 
  7. Chandler, Kim, ‘Some states receive masks with dry rot, broken ventilators,’ Associated Press, April 4, 2020. 
  8. Glasser, Susan B., ‘How Did the U.S. End Up with Nurses Wearing Garbage Bags?,’ The New Yorker, April 9, 2020. 
  9. ‘US Seizes Ventilators Destined for Barbados,’ Telesur, April 5, 2020.Willsher, Kim and Holmes, Oliver and. McKernan, Bethan and Tondo, Lorenzo, ‘US hijacking mask shipments in rush for coronavirus protection,’ The Guardian, April 3, 2020.Lister, Tim and Shukla, Sebastian and Bobille, Fanny, ‘Coronavirus sparks a ‘war for masks’ as accusations fly,’ CNN, April 3, 2020. 
  10. Crane, Emily, ‘Workers in full Hazmat suits bury rows of coffins in Hart Island mass grave as NYC officials confirm coronavirus victims WILL be buried there if their bodies aren’t claimed within two weeks after death toll rises to 4,778,’ Daily Mail, April 9, 2020. 
  11. ‘Special Report: How Korea trounced U.S. in race to test people for coronavirus,’ Reuters, March 18, 2020.‘Once the biggest outbreak outside of China, South Korean city reports zero new coronavirus cases,’ Reuters, April 10, 2020. 
  12. Johnson, Ian, ‘China Bought the West Time. The West Squandered It,’ New York Times, March 13, 2020. 
  13. ‘New York coronavirus outbreak originated in Europe, studies show,’ The Hill, April 9, 2020. 
  14. De Souza, Alison, ‘Asian Americans tell harrowing stories of abuse amid coronavirus outbreak in the US,’ Straits Times, April 1, 2020.Chapman, Ben, ‘New York City Sees Rise in Coronavirus Hate Crimes Against Asians,’ Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2020. 
  15. Schultz, Maarisa, ‘Sen Hawley: Let coronavirus victims sue Chinese Communist Party,’ Fox News, April 14, 2020. 
  16. Wang, Yanan, ‘New virus cases fall; WHO says China bought the world time,’ Associated Press, February 15, 2020.Johnson, Ian, ‘China Bought the West Time. The West Squandered It,’ New York Times, March 13, 2020. 
  17. ‘Special Report: How Korea trounced U.S. in race to test people for coronavirus,’ Reuters, March 18, 2020.‘Once the biggest outbreak outside of China, South Korean city reports zero new coronavirus cases,’ Reuters, April 10, 2020. 
  18. Cole, Harry, ‘China owes us £351 billion: Britain should pursue Beijing through international courts for coronavirus compensation, major study claims as 15 top top Tories urge “reset” in UK relations with country,’ Daily Mail, April 5, 2020. 
  19. Stradner, Ivana and Yoo, John, ‘How to Make China Pay,’ American Enterprise Institute, April 6, 2020. 
  20. Nedelman, Michael, ‘Coroner found no obvious signs of torture on Otto Warmbier,’ CNN, September 29, 2017. 
  21. Lockett, Jon, ‘Tragic student Otto Warmbier ‘may have attempted suicide’ in North Korean prison after being sentenced to 15 years for stealing poster,’ The Sun, July 28, 2018.Basu, Zachary, ‘What we’re reading: What happened to Otto Warmbier in North Korea,’ Axios, July 25, 2018.Tingle, Rory, ‘Otto Warmbier’s brain damage that led to his death was caused by a SUICIDE ATTEMPT rather than torture by North Korean prison guards, report claims,’ Daily Mail, July 25, 2018.Fox, Maggie, ’What killed Otto Warmbier?’ NBC News, June 20, 2017.Tinker, Ben, ‘What an autopsy may (or may not) have revealed about Otto Warmbier’s death,’ CNN, June 22, 2017.Nedelman, Michael, ‘Coroner found no obvious signs of torture on Otto Warmbier,’ CNN, September 29, 2017. 
  22. Tinker, Ben, ‘What an autopsy may (or may not) have revealed about Otto Warmbier’s death,’ CNN, June 22, 2017.Nedelman, Michael, ‘Coroner found no obvious signs of torture on Otto Warmbier,’ CNN, September 29, 2017. 
  23. Brookbank, Sarah, ‘Family of Otto Warmbier awarded $500 million in lawsuit against North Korea,’ USA Today, December 24, 2018. 
  24. Lee, Christy, ‘U.S. Marshals to Sell Seized North Korean Cargo Ship,’ VOA, July 27, 2019.‘Seized North Korean cargo ship sold to compensate parents of Otto Warmbier, others,’ Navy Times, October 9, 2019. 
  25. Blyth, Mark, ‘The U.S. Economy Is Uniquely Vulnerable to the Coronavirus,’ Foreign Affairs, March 30, 2020.Schulze, Elizabeth, ‘The coronavirus recession is unlike any economic downturn in US history,’ CNBC, April 8, 2020.Schwartz, Nelson D., ‘Coronavirus Recession Looms, Its Course “Unrecognizable,”’ New York Times, April 1, 2020.Davies, Rob, ‘Coronavirus means a bad recession – at least – says JP Morgan boss,’ The Guardian, April 6, 2020.Lowrey, Annie, ‘Millennials Don’t Stand a Chance,’ The Atlantic, April 13, 2020. 
  26. Wei, Liu, ‘Trump’s Trade War on China Is About More Than Trade,’ The Diplomat, July 20, 2018. 
  27. Bell, Stewart, ‘Iran’s properties in Canada sold, proceeds handed to terror victims,’ Global News, September 12, 2019. 
  28. Cancian, Mark and Schwartz, Brandon, ‘Unleash the Privateers!,’ U.S. Naval Institute, vol. 146, no. 2, issue 1406, April 2020. 
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