JOE BIDEN’S WAR

South Front

Joe Biden’s War

Writtne by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

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

The Indirect Road to China

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

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

The Russian Bear Refuses to Play

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

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

Escalation or a Two-Front War?

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

Joe Biden’s War

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

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

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

Oceania vs. Eurasia

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

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

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MILITARY AND POLITICAL TRENDS OF 2020 THAT WILL SHAPE 2021

South Front

2020 was a year full of surprises. It marked the advent of a new reality which may, with an equal probability, lead humanity to a new dark age or to a global digital dystopia. In this context, there is little room for a positive scenario of sustainable development that would benefit people in general, as opposed to just a group of select individuals and special interest groups. The heft of shifts in 2020 is comparable to what European citizens felt on the eve of another change of the socio-economic formation in the early 17th  and 20th centuries.

The past year began with the assassination of the Iranian military genius General Qasem Soleimani by the United States, and it ended with the murder of the prominent scholar Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by the Israelis.

Iran's top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh assassinated near Tehran -  YouTube

In early January, Iran, expecting another aggressive action from the West, accidently shot down a Ukrainian civil aircraft that had inexplicably altered its course over Tehran without request nor authorization. Around the same time, Turkey confirmed the deployment of its military in Libya, beginning a new phase of confrontation in the region, and Egypt responding with airstrikes and additional shows of force. The situation in Yemen developed rapidly: taking advantage of the Sunni coalition’s moral weakness, Ansar Allah achieved significant progress in forcing the Saudis out of the country in many regions. The state of warfare in northwestern Syria has significantly changed, transforming into the formal delineation of zones of influence of Turkey and the Russian-Iranian-Syrian coalition. This happened amid, and largely due to the weakening of U.S. influence in the region. Ankara is steadily increasing its military presence in the areas under its responsibility and along the contact line. It has taken measures to deter groups linked to Al-Qaeda and other radicals. As a result, the situation in the region is stabilizing, which has allowed Turkey to increasingly exert control over most of Greater Idlib.

ISIS cells remain active in the eastern and southern Syrian regions. Particular processes are taking place in Quneitra and Daraa provinces, where Russian peace initiatives were inconclusive by virtue of the direct destructive influence of Israel in these areas of Syria. In turn, the assassination of Qasem Soleimaniin resulted in a sharp increase in the targeting of American personnel, military and civil infrastructure in Iraq. The U.S. Army was forced to regroup its forces, effectively abandoning a number of its military installations and concentrating available forces at key bases. At the same time, Washington flatly rejected demands from Baghdad for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops and promised to respond with full-fledged sanctions if Iraq continued to raise this issue. Afghanistan remains stable in its instability. Disturbing news comes from Latin America. Confrontation between China and India flared this year, resulting in sporadic border clashes. This situation seems far from over, as both countries have reinforced their military posture along the disputed border. The aggressive actions of the Trump administration against China deepen global crises, which has become obvious not only to specialists but also to the general public. The relationship between the collective West and the Russian Federation was re-enshrined in “the Cold War state”, which seems to have been resurrected once again.

The turbulence of the first quarter of 2020 was overshadowed by a new socio-political process – the corona-crisis, the framework of which integrates various phenomena from the Sars-Cov2 epidemic itself and the subsequent exacerbation of the global economic crisis.  The disclosure of substantial social differences that have accumulated in modern capitalist society, lead to a series of incessant protests across the globe. The year 2020 was accompanied by fierce clashes between protesters professing various causes and law enforcement forces in numerous countries. Although on the surface these societal clashes with the state appear disassociated, many share related root causes. A growing, immense wealth inequality, corruption of government at all levels, a lack of any meaningful input into political decision making, and the unmasking of massive censorship via big tech corporations and the main stream media all played a part in igniting societal unrest.

In late 2019 and early 2020 there was little reason for optimistic projections for the near future. However, hardly anyone could anticipate the number of crisis events and developments that had taken place during this year. These phenomena affected every region of the world to some extent.

Nevertheless, Middle East has remained the main source of instability, due to being an arena where global and regional power interests intertwine and clash. The most important line of confrontation is between US and Israel-led forces on the one hand, and Iran and its so called Axis of Resistance. The opposing sides have been locked in an endless spiral of mutual accusations, sanctions, military incidents, and proxy wars, and recently even crossed the threshold into a limited exchange of strikes due to the worsening state of regional confrontation. Russia and Turkey, the latter of which has been distancing itself from Washington due to growing disagreements with “NATO partners” and changes in global trends, also play an important role in the region without directly entering into the confrontation between pro-Israel forces and Iran.

As in the recent years, Syria and Iraq remain the greatest hot-spots. The destruction of ISIS as a terrorist state and the apparent killing of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not end its existence as a terror group. Many ISIS cells and supporting elements actively use regional instability as a chance to preserve the Khalifate’s legacy. They remain active mainly along the Syria-Iraq border, and along the eastern bank of the Euphrates in Syria. Camps for the temporary displaced and for the families and relatives of ISIS militants on the territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in north-eastern Syria are also breeding grounds for terrorist ideology. Remarkably, these regions are also where there is direct presence of US forces, or, as in the case of SDF camps, presence of forces supported by the US.

The fertile soil for radicalism also consists of the inability to reach a comprehensive diplomatic solution that would end the Syrian conflict in a way acceptable to all parties. Washington is not interesting in stabilizing Syria because even should Assad leave, it would strengthen the Damascus government that would naturally be allied to Russia and Iran. Opposing Iran and supporting Israel became the cornerstone of US policy during the Trump administration. Consequently, Washington is supporting separatist sentiments of the Kurdish SDF leadership and even allowed it to participate in the plunder of Syrian oil wells in US coalition zone of control in which US firms linked to the Pentagon and US intelligence services are participating. US intelligence also aids Israel in its information and psychological warfare operations, as well as military strikes aimed at undermining Syria and Iranian forces located in the country. In spite of propaganda victories, in practice Israeli efforts had limited success in 2020 as Iran continued to strengthen its positions and military capabilities on its ally’s territory. Iran’s success in establishing and supporting a land corridor linking Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iraq, plays an important role. Constant expansion of Iran’s military presence and infrastructure near the town of al-Bukamal, on the border of Iraq and Syria, demonstrates the importance of the project to Tehran. Tel-Aviv claims that Iran is using that corridor to equip pro-Iranian forces in southern Syria and Lebanon with modern weapons.

The Palestinian question is also an important one for Israel’s leadership and its lobby in Washington. The highly touted “deal of the century” turned out to be no more than an offer for the Palestinians to abandon their struggle for statehood. As expected, this initiative did not lead to a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Rather the opposite, it gave an additional stimulus to Palestinian resistance to the demands that were being imposed. At the same time, Trump administration scored a diplomatic success by forcing the UAE and Bahrain to normalize their relations with Israel, and Saudi Arabia to make its collaboration with Israel public. That was a historic victory for US-Israel policy in the Middle East. Public rapprochement of Arab monarchies and Israel strengthened the positions of Iran as the only country which not only declares itself as Palestine’s and Islamic world’s defender, but actually puts words into practice. Saudi Arabia’s leadership will particularly suffer in terms of loss of popularity among its own population, already damaged by the failed war in Yemen and intensifying confrontation with UAE, both of which are already using their neighbor’s weakness to lay a claim to leadership on the Arabian Peninsula.

The list of actors strengthening their positions in the Red Sea includes Russia. In late 2020 it became known that Russia reached an agreement with Sudan on establishing a naval support facility which has every possibility to become a full-blown naval base. This foothold will enable the Russian Navy to increase its presence on key maritime energy supply routes on the Red Sea itself  and in the area between Aden and Oman straits. For Russia, which has not had naval infrastructure in that region since USSR’s break-up, it is a significant diplomatic breakthrough. For its part. Sudan’s leadership apparently views Russia’s military presence as a security factor allowing it to balance potential harmful measures by the West.

During all of 2020, Moscow and Beijing continued collaboration on projects in Africa, gradually pushing out traditional post-colonial powers in several key areas. The presence of Russian military specialists in the Central African Republic where they assist the central government in strengthening its forces, escalation of local conflicts, and ensuring the security of Russian economic sectors, is now a universally known fact. Russian diplomacy and specialists are also active in Libya, where UAE and Egypt which support Field Marshal Khaftar, and Turkey which supports the Tripoli government, are clashing. Under the cover of declarations calling for peace and stability, foreign actors are busily carving up Libya’s energy resources. For Egypt there’s also the crucial matter of fighting terrorism and the presence of groups affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood which Cairo sees as a direct threat to national security.

The Sahel and the vicinity of Lake Chad remain areas where terror groups with links to al-Qaeda and ISIS remain highly active. France’s limited military mission in the Sahara-Sahel region has been failure and could not ensure sufficient support for regional forces in order to stabilize the situation. ISIS and Boko-Haram continue to spread chaos in the border areas between Niger, Nigeria, Cameroun, and Chad. In spite of all the efforts by the region’s governments, terrorists continue to control sizable territories and represent a significant threat to regional security. The renewed conflict in Ethiopia is a separate problem, in which the federal government was drawn into a civil war against the National Front for the Liberation of Tigray controlling that province. The ethno-feudal conflict between federal and regional elites threatens to destabilize the entire country if it continues.

The explosive situation in Africa shows that post-colonial European powers and the “Global Policeman” which dominated that continent for decades were not interested in addressing the continent’s actual problem. Foreign actors were mainly focused on extracting resources and ensuring the interests of a narrow group of politicians and entities affiliated with foreign capitals. Now they are forced to compete with the informal China-Russia bloc which will use a different approach that may be a described as follows: Strengthening of regional stability to protect investments in economic projects. Thus it is no surprise that influential actors are gradually losing to new but more constructive forces.

Tensions within European countries have been on the rise during the past several years, due to both the crisis of the contemporary economic paradigm and to specific regional problems such as the migration crises and the failure of multiculturalism policies, with subsequent radicalization of society.

Unpleasant surprises included several countries’ health care and social protection networks’ inability to cope with the large number of COVID-19 patients. Entire systems of governance in a number of European countries proved incapable of coping with rapidly developing crises. This is true particularly for countries of southern Europe, such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Among eastern European countries, Hungary’s and Romania’s economies were particularly badly affected. At the same time, Poland’s state institutions and economy showed considerable resilience in the face of crisis. While the Federal Republic of Germany suffered considerable economic damage in the second quarter of 2020, Merkel’s government used the situation to inject huge sums of liquidity into the economy, enhanced Germany’s position within Europe, and moreover Germany’s health care and social protection institutions proved capable and sufficiently resilient.

Coronavirus and subsequent social developments led to the emergence of the so-called “Macron Doctrine” which amounts to an argument that EU must obtain strategic sovereignty. This is consistent with the aims of a significant portion of German national elites. Nevertheless, Berlin officially criticized Macron’s statements and has shown willingness to enter into a strategic partnership with Biden Administration’s United States as a junior partner. However, even FRG’s current leadership understands the dangers of lack of strategic sovereignty in an era of America’s decline as the world policeman. Against the backdrop of a global economic crisis, US-EU relations are ineluctably drifting from a state of partnership to one of competition or even rivalry. In general, the first half of 2020 demonstrated the vital necessity of further development of European institutions.

The second half of 2020 was marked by fierce mass protests in Germany, France, Great Britain, and other European countries. The level of violence employed by both the protesters and law enforcement was unprecedented and is not comparable to the level of violence seen during protests in Russia, Belarus, and even Kirgizstan. Mainstream media did their best to depreciate and conceal the scale of what was happening. If the situation continues to develop in the same vein, there is every chance that in the future, a reality that can be described as a digital concentration camp may form in Europe.

World media, for its part, paid particular attention to the situation in Belarus, where protests have entered their fourth month following the August 9, 2020 presidential elections. Belarusian protests have been characterized by their direction from outside the country and choreographed nature. The command center of protest activities is officially located in Poland. This fact is in and of itself unprecedented in Europe’s contemporary history. Even during Ukraine’s Euromaidan, external forces formally refused to act as puppetmasters.

Belarus’ genuinely existing socio-economic problems have led to a rift within society that is now divided into two irreconcilable camps: proponents of reforms vs. adherents of the current government. Law enforcement forces which are recruited from among President Lukashenko’s supporters, have acted forcefully and occasionally harshly. Still, the number of casualties is far lower than, for example, in protests in France or United States.

Ukraine itself, where Western-backed “democratic forces” have already won, remains the main point of instability in Eastern Europe. The Zelenskiy administration came to power under slogans about the need to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine and rebuild the country. In practice, the new government continued to pursue the policy aimed at maintaining military tension in the region in the interests of its external sponsors and personal enrichment.

For the United States, 2020 turned out to be a watershed year for both domestic and foreign policy. Events of this year were a reflection of Trump Administration’s protectionist foreign policy and a national-oriented approach in domestic and economic policy, which ensured an intense clash with the majority of Washington Establishment acting in the interests of global capital.

In addition to the unresolved traditional problems, America’s problems were made worse by two crises, COVID-19 spread and BLM movement protests. They ensured America’s problems reached a state of critical mass.

One can and should have a critical attitude toward President Trump’s actions, but one should not doubt the sincerity of his efforts to turn the slogan Make America Great Again into reality. One should likewise not doubt that his successor will adhere to other values. Whether it’s Black Lives Matter or Make Global Moneymen Even Stronger, or Russia Must Be Destroyed, or something even more exotic, it will not change the fact America we’ve known in the last half century died in 2020. A telling sign of its death throes is the use of “orange revolution” technologies developed against inconvenient political regimes. This demonstrated that currently the United States is ruled not by national elites but by global investors to whom the interests of ordinary Americans are alien.

This puts the terrifying consequences of COVID-19 in a new light. The disease has struck the most vulnerable layers of US society. According to official statistics, United States has had about 20 million cases and over 330,000 deaths. The vast majority are low-income inhabitants of mega-cities. At the same time, the wealthiest Americans have greatly increased their wealth by exploiting the unfolding crisis for their own personal benefit. The level of polarization of US society has assumed frightening proportions. Conservatives against liberals, blacks against whites, LGBT against traditionalists, everything that used to be within the realm of public debate and peaceful protest has devolved into direct, often violent, clashes. One can observe unprecedented levels of aggression and violence from all sides.

In foreign policy, United States continued to undermine the international security system based on international treaties. There are now signs that one of the last legal bastions of international security, the New START treaty, is under attack. US international behavior has prompted criticism from NATO allies. There are growing differences of opinion on political matters with France and economic ones with Germany. The dialogue with Eastern Mediterranean’s most powerful military actor Turkey periodically showed a sharp clash of interests.

Against that backdrop, United States spent 2020 continuously increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea basin. Additional US forces and assets were deployed in direct proximity to Russia’s borders. The number of offensive military exercises under US leadership or with US participation has considerably increased.

In the Arctic, the United States is acting as a spoiler, unhappy with the current state of affairs. It aims to extend its control over natural resources in the region, establish permanent presence in other countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZ) through the use of the so-called “freedom of navigation operations” (FONOPs), and continue to encircle Russia with ballistic missile defense (BMD) sites and platforms.

In view of the urgent and evident US preparations to be able to fight and prevail in a war against a nuclear adversary, by defeating the adversary’s nuclear arsenal through the combination of precision non-nuclear strikes, Arctic becomes a key region in this military planning. The 2020 sortie by a force of US Navy BMD-capable AEGIS destroyers into the Barents Sea, the first such mission since the end of the Cold War over two decades ago, shows the interest United States has in projecting BMD capabilities into regions north of Russia’s coastline, where they might be able to effect boost-phase interceptions of Russian ballistic missiles that would be launched in retaliatory strikes against the United States. US operational planning for the Arctic in all likelihood resembles that for South China Sea, with only a few corrections for climate.

In Latin America, the year of 2020 was marked by the intensification of Washington efforts aimed at undermining the political regimes that it considered to be in the opposition to the existing world order.

Venezuela remained one of the main points of the US foreign policy agenda. During the entire year, the government of Nicolas Maduro was experiencing an increasing sanction, political and clandestine pressure. In May, Venezuelan security forces even neutralized a group of US mercenaries that sneaked into the country to stage the coup in the interests of the Washington-controlled opposition and its public leader Juan Guaido. However, despite the recognition of Guaido as the president of Venezuela by the US and its allies, regime-change attempts, and the deep economic crisis, the Maduro government survived.

This case demonstrated that the decisive leadership together having the support of a notable part of the population and working links with alternative global centers of power could allow any country to resist to globalists’ attacks. The US leadership itself claims that instead of surrendering, Venezuela turned itself into a foothold of its geopolitical opponents: China, Russia, Iran and even Hezbollah. While this evaluation of the current situation in Venezuela is at least partly a propaganda exaggeration to demonize the ‘anti-democratic regime’ of Maduro, it highlights parts of the really existing situation.

The turbulence in Bolivia ended in a similar manner, when the right wing government that gained power as a result of the coup in 2019 demonstrated its inability to rule the country and lost power in 2020. The expelled president, Evo Morales, returned to the country and the Movement for Socialism secured their dominant position in Bolivia thanks to the wide-scale support from the indigenous population. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that these developments in Venezuela and Bolivia would allow to reverse the general trend towards the destabilization in South America.

The regional economic and social turbulence is strengthened by the high level of organized crime and the developing global crisis that sharpened the existing contradictions among key global and regional players. This creates conditions for the intensification of existing conflicts. For example, the peace process between the FARC and the federal government is on the brink of the collapse in Colombia. Local sources and media accuse the government and affiliated militias of detentions and killings of leaders of local communities and former FARC members in violation of the existing peace agreement. This violence undermine the fragile peace process and sets conditions for the resumption of the armed struggle by FARC and its supporters. Mexico remains the hub for illegal migration, drug and weapon trafficking just on the border with the United States. Large parts of the country are in the state of chaos and are in fact controlled by violent drug cartels and their mercenaries. Brazil is in the permanent state of political and economic crisis amid the rise of street crime.

These negative tendencies affect almost all states of the region. The deepening global economic crisis and the coronavirus panic add oil to the flame of instability.

Countries of South America are not the only one suffering from the crisis. It also shapes relations between global powers. Outcomes of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and the global economic crisis contributed to the hardening of the standoff between the United States and China.

Washington and Beijing have insoluble contradictions. The main of them is that China has been slowly but steadily winning the race for the economic and technological dominance simultaneously boosting own military capabilities to defend the victory in the case of a military escalation. The sanction, tariff and diplomatic pressure campaign launched by the White House on China since the very start of the Trump Presidency is a result of the understanding of these contradictions by the Trump administration and its efforts to guarantee the leading US position in the face of the global economic recession. The US posture towards the South China Sea issues, the political situation in Hong Kong, human rights issues in Xinjiang, the unprecedented weapon sales to Taiwan, the support of the militarization of Japan and many other questions is a part of the ongoing standoff. Summing up, Washington has been seeking to isolate China through a network of local military alliances and contain its economic expansion through sanction, propaganda and clandestine operations.

The contradictions between Beijing and Washington regarding North Korea and its nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a part of the same chain of events. Despite the public rhetoric, the United States is not interested in the full settlement of the Korea conflict. Such a scenario that may include the reunion of the North and South will remove the formal justification of the US military buildup. This is why the White House opted to not fulfill its part of the deal with the North once again assuring the North Korean leadership that its decision to develop its nuclear and missile programs and further.

Statements of Chinese diplomats and top official demonstrate that Beijing fully understands the position of Washington. At the same time, China has proven that it is not going to abandon its policies aimed at gaining the position of the main leading power in the post-unipolar world. Therefore, the conflict between the sides will continue escalating in the coming years regardless the administration in the White House and the composition of the Senate and Congress. Joe Biden and forces behind his rigged victory in the presidential election will likely turn back from Trump’s national-oriented economic policy and ‘normalize’ relations with China once again reconsidering Russia as Enemy #1. This will not help to remove the insoluble contradictions with China and reverse the trend towards the confrontation. However, the Biden administration with help from mainstream media will likely succeed in hiding this fact from the public by fueling the time-honored anti-Russian hysteria.

As to Russia itself, it ended the year of 2020 in its ordinary manner for the recent years: successful and relatively successful foreign policy actions amid the complicated economic, social and political situation inside the country. The sanction pressure, coronavirus-related restrictions and the global economic crisis slowed down the Russian economy and contributed to the dissatisfaction of the population with internal economic and social policies of the government. The crisis was also used by external actors that carried out a series of provocations and propaganda campaigns aimed at undermining the stability in the country ahead of the legislative election scheduled for September 2021. The trend on the increase of sanction pressure, including tapering large infrastructure projects like the Nord Stream 2, and expansion of public and clandestine destabilization efforts inside Russia was visible during the entire year and will likely increase in 2021. In the event of success, these efforts will not only reverse Russian foreign policy achievements of the previous years, but could also put in danger the existence of the Russian statehood in the current format.

Among the important foreign policy developments of 2020 underreported by mainstream media is the agreement on the creation of a Russian naval facility on the coast of the Red Sea in Sudan. If this project is fully implemented, this will contribute to the rapid growth of Russian influence in Africa. Russian naval forces will also be able to increase their presence in the Red Sea and in the area between the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman. Both of these areas are the core of the current maritime energy supply routes. The new base will also serve as a foothold of Russia in the case of a standoff with naval forces of NATO member states that actively use their military infrastructure in Djibouti to project power in the region. It is expected that the United States (regardless of the administration in the White House) will try to prevent the Russian expansion in the region at any cost. For an active foreign policy of Russia, the creation of the naval facility in Sudan surpasses all public and clandestine actions in Libya in recent years. From the point of view of protecting Russian national interests in the Global Oceans, this step is even more important than the creation of the permanent air and naval bases in Syria.

As well as its counterparts in Washington and Beijing, Moscow contributes notable efforts to the modernization of its military capabilities, with special attention to the strategic nuclear forces and hypersonic weapons. The Russians see their ability to inflict unacceptable damage on a potential enemy among the key factors preventing a full-scale military aggression against them from NATO. The United Sates, China and Russia are in fact now involved in the hypersonic weapon race that also includes the development of means and measures to counter a potential strike with hypersonic weapons.

The new war in Nagorno-Karabakh became an important factor shaping the balance of power in the South Caucasus. The Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc achieved a sweeping victory over Armenian forces and only the involvement of the Russian diplomacy the further deployment of the peacekeepers allowed to put an end to the violence and rescue the vestiges of the self-proclaimed Armenian Republic of Artsakh. Russia successfully played a role of mediator and officially established a military presence on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan for the next 5 years. The new Karabakh war also gave an additional impulse in the Turkish-Azerbaijani economic and military cooperation, while the pro-Western regime in Armenia that expectedly led the Armenian nation to the tragedy is balancing on the brink of collapse.

The Central Asia traditionally remained one of the areas of instability around the world with the permanent threat of militancy and humanitarian crisis. Nonetheless, despite forecasts of some analysis, the year of 2020 did not become the year of the creation of ISIS’ Caliphate 2.0 in the region. An important role in preventing this was played by the Taliban that additionally to securing its military victories over the US-led coalition and the US-backed Kabul government, was fiercely fighting ISIS cells appearing in Afghanistan. The Taliban, which controls a large part of Afghanistan, was also legalized on the international scene by direct talks with the United States. The role of the Taliban will grow and further with the reduction of the US military presence.

While some media already branded the year of 2020 as one of the worst in the modern history, there are no indications that the year of 2021 will be any brighter or the global crises and regional instability will magically disappear by themselves. Instead, most likely 2020 was just a prelude for the upcoming global shocks and the acute standoff for markets and resources in the environment of censorship, legalized total surveillance, violations of human rights under ‘democratic’ and ‘social’ slogans’ and proxy wars.

The instability in Europe will likely be fueled by the increasing cultural-civilizational conflict and the new wave of newcomers that have acute ideological and cultural differences with the European civilization. The influx of newcomers is expected due to demographic factors and the complicated security, social situation in the Middle East and Africa. Europe will likely try to deal with the influx of newcomers by introducing new movement and border restrictions under the brand of fighting coronavirus. Nonetheless, the expected growth of the migration pressure will likely contribute to the negative tendencies that could blow up Europe from inside.

The collapse of the international security system, including key treaties limiting the development and deployment of strategic weapons, indicates that the new detente on the global scene will remain an improbable scenario. Instead, the world will likely move further towards the escalation scenario as at least a part of the current global leadership considers a large war a useful tool to overcome the economic crisis and capture new markets. Russia, with its large territories, rich resources, a relatively low population, seems to be a worthwhile target. At the same time, China will likely exploit the escalating conflict between Moscow and the US-led bloc to even further increase its global positions. In these conditions, many will depend on the new global order and main alliances within it that are appearing from the collapsing unipolar system. The United States has already lost its unconditional dominant role on the international scene, but the so-called multipolar world order has not appeared yet. The format of this new multipolar world will likely have a critical impact on the further developments around the globe and positions of key players involved in the never-ending Big Game.

Geopolitical Tendencies of the Last Six Years

Geopolitical Tendencies of the Last Six Years

December 30, 2020

Paul Schmutz Schaller for The Saker Blog

1) China, Russia, and Iran – confronted with Western aggressions – develop their strength and collaboration

In my eyes, the most important evolution in the last six years is that now, the leading forces are China, Russia, and Iran, and no more Western hegemonism under the direction of the USA. China, Russia, and Iran have not only fended off different Western attacks, but were also able to strike back. Moreover, the economical and military development in these countries is better than that in the USA.

The political leadership in the three countries is stable and during the last years, it has become completely obvious that each of the three is much more intelligent than any leadership in North America or in Western Europe. One may also say that the three countries use the intelligence of their peoples in a much more coherent manner than Western countries. Moreover, in China and Russia in particular, new important laws have strengthened the inner stability.

Take the Ukrainian crisis as the first example. After the Maidan putsch, the Crimea went back to Russia. And in the east of the Ukraine, the Kiev’s troops were severely beaten, in the first months of 2015. Subsequently, the West took sanctions against Russia, but this had not a big impact on Russia. Finally, the result was a stronger orientation of Russia towards Asia, in particular towards China. During the last year, the West tried to use Belarus and the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan against Russia. But Russia had no real problem to ward off these dangers.

After the nuclear deal with Iran in 2015, an important part of the sanctions against Iran was lifted by the UNO in January 2016 (the UNO sanctions with respect to arms were only lifted in 2020). But the USA imposed new sanctions in 2018, together with the so-called maximum pressure. While this clearly had negative consequences for the Iranian economy, the USA could not achieve any important goal. Even the murder of Soleimani one year ago could not weaken Iran, quite the contrary. Iran was able to openly strike US military bases in Iraq, and the USA had to accept this shame without risking an answer.

There were various anti-Chinese campaigns, mainly organized by Anglo-Saxon countries. In particular, there were the riots in Hong Kong. However, China was not really disturbed and during 2020, the riots were brought to an end so that the model „one country, two systems“ prevailed. Moreover, China was able to strengthen the military presence in the key region of the South Chinese Sea, without worsening the relations with the neighboring countries. Beijing has also made very clear that any step of Taiwan in the direction of a declaration of independence is a red line, not to be crossed. All countries in East and South-East Asia are more and more ready to accept the emergence of China as a great power.

The common interests of China, Russia, and Iran with respect to Western aggressions have led to a much closer cooperation between the three countries, including military cooperation. However, each of the three keeps the own identity; their model of cooperation is much better than that of the European Union. They are well prepared for the so-called Asian century.

A good illustration of the changes in the last six years is provided by Turkey. Objectively speaking, this is an important country. Turkey uses a rather ambitious and dangerous politics and is a member of NATO. Five year ago, Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft and the two sides were near an open military conflict. Now, the relations between Turkey and Russia are significantly more rational and better under control than the relations between Turkey and USA as well as the relations between Turkey and the European Union. Moreover, the relations between Turkey and Iran are now quite solid.

2) Progress in Middle East

In 2015, three major events related to the Middle East took place; they remained of crucial importance until today. In March, the Saudi aggression war against Yemen began; in July, the nuclear deal about Iran was signed; in September, Russia started the direct military support for the war against terrorism in Syria.

In these six years, the situation has very much evolved; the Middle East remains the region with the fastest changes. There, the geopolitical conflicts are at its hottest. The terrorists of Daesh and Al Qaeda have been essentially beaten, in Syria and Iraq. Turkey, USA, and Israel had to intervene much more directly in order to keep the terrorism in Syria alive; this includes the direct stealing of the Syrian oil (before, this was done by Daesh). Big parts of Syria have been liberated. The Russian military commitment was a great success and has produced broad respect for the Russian army and the Russian arms.

In the Yemen war, Saudi Arabia is now loosing. They already lost some allies of the global south which were bought by Saudi money. Possibly, Israel and USA will henceforth take part in the war more directly, but as in Syria, this can only delay the end of the war, but not change the outcome.

Despite many attacks and complots, Hezbollah in Lebanon has noticeably gained in strength. Even if it is not yet fully obvious, Israel has mainly lost the military superiority in the region. Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, and Ansarullah (in Yemen) have got too strong, and also in Iraq, the patriotic forces are quite solid now. These developments may be a reason for the fact that Israel is not able to install a stable government despite different elections.

During the last four years, when Trump was president, the US aggressions were concentrated on the Middle East; understandably, this region is satisfied about the departure of Trump. However, the USA have not obtained much, Trump’s Middle East politics were a failure.

3) Internal crisis of the West: nationalism versus Western hegemonism

The rich Western countries have lost some of their economical power and they can offer less to their peoples. There is an increasing number of people who are neglected by Western hegemonism, I call them the forgotten classes. The latter have not yet found an own political identity (may-be with the exception of the Yellow Vests in France). On the other hand, this development has provoked the creation of new nationalistic movements in nearly all rich Western countries. In many of these countries, these new movements have become the main political opposition to the Western hegemonism. This does not mean that these movements are progressive. But objectively speaking, they have important positive aspects. This fact is often neglected by left wing oriented people in Western countries.

The leading figures of these nationalistic movements are quite different. Some came from traditional political parties such as Blocher (Switzerland), Trump (USA), Johnson (UK); others have created new political parties. Some have important economical power, examples are Berlusconi (Italy), Blocher (Switzerland), or Trump (USA). Some are quite close to Zionists, for example Trump (USA) or Salvini (Italy). The relation of the leading figures to the forgotten classes is quite varying. Personally, I would say that Marine Le Pen (France) is the most sympathetic one – while she is certainly not the most talented politician among the leaders of the new nationalistic movements.

The year 2016 saw two major political sensations, namely the vote for Brexit in the UK and the election of Trump in the USA. In both countries, the new nationalistic movements won, due to the support of the forgotten classes. The Brexit vote was confirmed by the clear election win of Johnson in UK in December 2019.

In most Western countries, the traditional political forces, which support Western hegemonism, have big difficulties in accepting the rise of the new nationalist movements. They intend to completely defeat these movements. They are not able to see that these movements are „fed“ by the forgotten classes and that the latter are a product of an objective situation and cannot be defeated. Therefore, the internal crisis of the West will continue.

4) Latin America, Africa, India

Latin America saw important developments in the last years. Generally speaking, this region is still in the phase of strategic defensive with respect to Western hegemonism. However, the strength of the anti-imperialist forces has somewhat stabilized. Despite major Western attacks against Venezuela, the elected government could resist. The same is true for Cuba or Nicaragua. And the putsch in Bolivia in 2019 was „corrected“ in 2020 quite quickly. These developments are supported by the increasing relations between the countries of Latin America with China, Russia, and Iran. Setbacks are still possible, if not probable, but the general tendency goes towards a solid implantation of the anti-imperialist camp.

Politically and economically speaking, the weight of the African continent remains small. Western countries and terrorist movements are disturbing the positive developments. The illusion that regional conflicts can be resolved by extern interference, is still quite strong. A recent example is Morocco which blundered into this trap, thinking that the USA and Israel will „help“ with the annexation of the Western Sahara. In general, improvements in Africa are still quite slow.

India is one of the countries which went in a negative direction during the last years. The Indian government had plenty of opportunities, but they took decisions which led to increasing conflicts with neighboring Asian countries such as China and Pakistan. India has also refused to participate in the new RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) of 15 countries (10 ASEAN countries, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand). Instead, India has reinforced relations with the USA, but, as experience shows, this kind of relations is built on sand. It is not by accident that the internal opposition in India against the government is growing.

5) Western Europe disappoints

In June 2015, I restarted writing political articles. This might be the reason why I speak here of the last six years. During this period, I made a number of judgements and predictions. And paradoxically, my biggest errors were with respect to Western Europe (where I live). I had the tendency to be too optimistic about Western Europe. I expected that they would develop politics which are more independent and more related to the geopolitical realities.

However, the leading classes in Western Europe are very stubborn. They are not at all ready to break with their colonial past. They continue to dream of regaining the paradise of global domination. Moreover, their big economic companies are very much dependent on the US economy. So, in each political crisis, they take backward decisions. Examples are Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, Hong Kong riots and sanctions against China, the Syria war against terrorism and sanctions against Syria, the recognition of the US puppet Guaido in Venezuela, the compliance with the aggression against Yemen, with the US sanctions against Iran, with the murder of Soleimani, of al-Muhandis (Iraq), and of Fakhrizadeh (Iran).

Iran’s Khamenei has always warned against making confidence in Western Europe, and he was right. For the time being, leaders in Western Europe exceedingly overrate themselves and keep their utterly unrealistic illusions. It seems that Australia is on a similar path.

Outlook for 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has somewhat frozen the regional and geopolitical conflicts. At the same time, these conflicts were exacerbated. But this is barely visible. The states were very much occupied with their internal situation.

This might continue for some months in 2021. But finally, it will be impossible to contain the conflicts. Quite chaotic developments have to be expected. In this context, analyzing the tendencies of the last years should be useful in order to keep some orientation.

Russia vs a Biden Administration

THE SAKER • DECEMBER 29, 2020 

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, no and yes.

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

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

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

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

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

This won’t work.

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

Biden or Trump – no real difference for Russia.

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

BIDEN’S PYRRHIC VICTORY

South Front

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

As predicted, the election turned out to be considerably closer than most pundits and polls predicted. In spite of polling that suggested Biden leading Trump by a margin of 5%-15%, in actuality the popular vote margin of victory turned out to be more in the vicinity of modest 3%, a remarkably lackluster showing on the part of a veteran political operative like Biden running against an incumbent whose tenure in office was characterized by a mishandled pandemic and a crashing economy. Granted, much of the blame for that ought to be shouldered by the Congress, state governors, and their legislatures. No institution of US governance is coming out of this crisis with an enhanced but, to quote Harry Truman, “the buck stops” in the Oval Office.

The weak margin of victory is nevertheless solid enough to survive legal challenges from Team Trump, which moreover lacks serious heavyweight operatives at the helm. The 2000 election hinged on the outcome in a single state—Florida—which in turn hinged on a recount in a single county. That was not an insurmountable challenge to the likes of James Baker, a long-time Bush family retainer, and it was likewise not overly unpalatable to the courts. This time, however, the situation is far more complex. It is no longer a matter of mis-counted ballots. In order to give victory to Trump, the courts would have to in effect invalidate tens of thousands of ballots in several states, on the grounds that they were counted as valid votes in violation of existing laws and regulations. Barring an extreme case of malfeasance by election officials in several states, something that is yet to be demonstrated, it is unlikely in the extreme the US court system will be willing to set a precedent that in the long term could fatally undermine the entire US system of elections.

Having said that, even senior GOP officials are happy to go along with the argument that Trump was robbed of victory through electoral fraud, in the form of abuse of mail-in ballots. There is literally no political penalty to pay for that, and moreover casting lasting doubt on the legitimacy of Biden’s victory represents payback for the last four years of Democrats casting doubt on the legitimacy of Trump’s victory through the RussiaGate scandal. One has to wonder whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s echoing of Trump’s allegations of voter fraud were at least in part motivated by him having to put up with being commonly referred to as “Moscow Mitch” on social media.  Spending the next four years investigating Biden family finances, and particularly Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine, China, and other regions whose politicians have an interest in being in Joe Biden’s good graces, is vastly preferable to four more years of RussiaGate.

Nevertheless, the GOP machine will hardly much expend political capital on behalf of Donald Trump, in support of his quest to emerge as the winner of the 2020 election. While Trump proved to be a remarkably effective party base motivator, far better at the task than literally any GOP politician of note, he nevertheless poses a long-term threat to the stability of the two-party system. Worse, Trump’s victory in 2020 would have doomed the GOP to major losses in US Congress, governorships, and state legislature in 2022 and 2024, with Trump himself being almost inevitably followed into the White House by a Democrat in 2024, and possibly a very leftist Democrat at that. That is a scenario that neither party wants to see, but to the GOP it would represent a close brush with death.

With Biden and Harris in the White House, both of them relatively unpopular politicians in their own right lacking even the fake charisma of Barack Obama, GOP is likely to rebound very quickly from losing the White House. Even now it looks like a Pyrrhic victory for Biden, whose party will not retake the US Senate barring the unlikely victory in both of Georgia’s runoff races that will take place in January—by which time Biden’s gradual walking away from campaign promises and shifting ever further to the right will have demoralized the base of the Democratic Party—and will have actually suffered losses in the House of Representatives. Biden’s victory also has not translated into any gains at all in state races. So instead of having the Democrats control all three branches of the Federal government by 2024 and at the same time enjoy expanded influence in State governments, it appears rather likely the GOP will return to that level of political dominance in only four short years. Sacrificing Trump is a price well worth paying for it. While it is too early to say who will be the GOP’s champion in the 2024 presidential elections, Donald Trump created an original blueprint for running an effective presidential campaign championing a conservative version of national greatness with a strong element of insular nationalism, as opposed to the aggressive nationalism of globalization that the Democrats embrace. Almost regardless of who the Republican nominee is, they will run a modified version of Trump’s campaign, and they will do so with a high likelihood of success.

Biden’s own likely legacy as a one-term president will be the product of the combination of pandemic and associated economic crisis, and the Obama Alumni Association that will be running his administration. One should not forget Joe Biden won his first election to the US Senate by running a “law and order” campaign in 1972, the year of Richard Nixon’s spectacular re-election landslide that resulted from his application of the so-called “Southern Strategy” of exploiting the backlash to civil rights among the White population of not only the Southern states. Over the decades, Biden himself rode that backlash to successive re-elections to US Senate by running campaigns with only thinly disguised racist themes. That record all but vanished from public memory as soon as Biden was chosen as Obama’s running mate. The fact that Biden, an architect of many crime bills whose effect has been to disproportionately incarcerate Blacks, chose someone like Kamala Harris who enthusiastically applied the provisions of Biden’s crime bills, indicates Biden has not moved past his 1972 persona. While paying lip service to “Black Lives Matter” and other slogans of the day, Biden’s campaign worked really hard to attract suburban White GOP voters and made hardly an effort to woo the growing Hispanic constituency. Biden also has no use for such hot-button issues as Defund the Police, Green New Deal, Medicare for All, that are sacrosanct to the most enthusiastic left wing of the Democratic Party. It is already evident that the individuals Biden is appointing to his transition team and vetting for administration positions, including the just-announced Chief of Staff Ronald Klain, represent a return to the discredited policies of the Democratic Leadership Council.

Likewise when it comes to foreign policy, we are likely to see all manner of retreads from the Obama Administration and a continuation of the aggressive foreign policy from those years. Biden has already made it clear there will be no reduction in defense spending, no withdrawal from “US leadership”, and a return to an emphasis on “human rights” which collectively suggest redoubled regime change efforts around the globe. There is even talk of Hillary Clinton becoming the US Ambassador to the United Nations, where she would presumably continue to ply her brand of American Exceptionalism. All in all, Biden’s ascent to the presidency feels like the post-Napoleonic Bourbon Restoration. Alas, just as the Bourbons “learned nothing and forgot nothing”, everything points to the Democrats making a very similar mistake for which they, and the country, will pay for dearly.

THE STORMTROOPS OF REGIME CHANGE AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION

South Front

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

The West is facing an unprecedented threat to its hegemony, as more agile, innovative, and cohesive non-Western powers are growing by leaps and bounds, to the point of making a transition to a global non-Western hegemony for the first time in history. During the last five centuries, the baton had passed from one European power to the next, and ultimately to the United States. Should the United States falter under the double weight of its global imperial overstretch and domestic oligarchy plundering even its own society, there will not be another Western state there to pick up where it left off. European Union, once touted as a likely successor or possible candidate for US-EU co-hegemony, is showing few signs of consolidating into a federation. Thus America’s decline would in all likelihood lead to the People’s Republic of China becoming the global hegemonic power.

Russia certainly has problems with oligarchy as well, but at least there the oligarchs are essentially treated as a “necessary evil” of capitalist economy and kept in check by the national security wing of the Russian state that is directly answerable to the President. Likewise China’s billionaires are kept at arms length from political power, lest they use In the West, on the other hand, the oligarchs run the show and the national security state is kept under close ideological surveillance to ensure that it will come to the defense of the oligarchy “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. US service academies, which admit on the basis of recommendations by elected US officials, who themselves are creatures of special interests and Big Money, are an example of that ideological oversight. And ultimately the US political system’s apparent inability to reform itself, to make itself more fair and meritocratic, means that it’s bound to lose the great power competition to those who are simply marginally less corrupt.

But that simply won’t do, which means the more effective competitors have to be brought down by other means, up to and including open warfare for which the United States is actually preparing. The current US modernization programs appear to be intended to give the US the ability to wage offensive warfare even against nuclear weapons states by not later than 2030. In the meantime other tactics will be used, such as economic warfare, information warfare, and of course the use of various proxy forces.

Since in an oligarchy property of the elites becomes of paramount importance, right-wing militants have long been used as a means to suppress socialists and communists. Very often these right-wing paramilitaries operate jointly with the official law enforcement and security forces. Examples here include the SA stormtroopers operating as Hilfspolizei in support of German police forces combating left-wing parties in Weimar Germany, the autodefensas in Colombia, even the drug cartels whose own politics tend toward the reactionary end of the spectrum. We are seeing exactly the same process emerge in the United States, in the form of right-wing, white supremacist militias who are allowed to openly flaunt laws of the United States and are invariably, without exception, treated as allies by US police departments, though not at the federal level just yet. The situation is only marginally better in the EU, but even there right-wing militants are treated with kid gloves and, like their Islamist brethren, are allowed to travel to Ukraine and obtain combat training and experience in the Azov Regiment. Considering that, in the view of European leaders, “there is no alternative” to economic neoliberalism, there is little doubt Europe’s far right will be weaponized in support of the regime should pro-democracy protests in European countries rise above the level of the Yellow Vest ones we have seen so far.

But that is only the defensive aspect of weaponizing right-wing nationalists. It keeps the ruling classes secure against threats from below, but does not contribute anything to the struggle against China, Russia, other “emerging threats” to Western hegemony.

Thus whereas extremists are the stormtroopers of counter-revolution waiting in the wings in case there is an actual threat of revolution or even substantial reform in countries of the West, in non-Western countries they are used as the spearhead of regime change. These extremists come in two flavors. The first prong is Islamic extremism, and so far to the extent that Western governments cultivate such individuals (as seems to be the case in Europe), it’s done exclusively for foreign consumption, as it were. For the most part, Western intelligence services displayed remarkable equanimity as French, Belgian, even German islamists traveled back and forth between their home countries and various MENA war zones. Invariably in cases of “blowback” in the form of terror incidents, the perpetrators were described as “known to the security services”. CIA’s investment in Al Qaeda in the 1980s, in particular, did result in fair amount of “blowback” in the form of 9/11, but even that has not dissuaded Western powers from promoting this type of proxy fighter.

The second prong are the ethnic nationalists of Russia and other CIS states. Before Ukraine, not having a war on which to sharpen their claws, they adopted the guise of “soccer hooligans” and, courtesy of UEFA, quickly developed international links. There is little known on Western services’ efforts to utilize these contacts, but it is evident Western countries actually keep track of their “hooligans” in order to occasionally prevent them from international travel if there is danger of excessive violence. Kiev’s ‘hooligans” were in force on the Maidan and formed the lion’s share of Parubiy’s “Maidan security force”. There is also a lot of overlap between these “hooligans” and various right-wing organizations like Right Sector, Azov, C14, and others. But in order to be fully effective, these right-wing militants must be mobilized by someone with big money, usually an oligarch disaffected with the system who enjoys the secret blessing of the US and EU.

In Kiev that scenario worked to perfection. Yes, there were right-wing nationalists, and yes, there were disaffected oligarchs willing to bankroll their organizations and mobilize them to achieve their purposes, which was beforehand blessed by Western powers that be. In Hong-Kong this approach faltered, apparently largely because Beijing was able to reach a behind-the-scenes agreement with the island enclave’s oligarchy which then abandoned its militants to their own devices. Consequently that uprising has all but flared out. In Belarus neither of these conditions were satisfactorily met. The country does not really have oligarchs capable of raising a de-facto army of street-fighters, and the street-fighters themselves are none too numerous. While there is evidence Ukrainian entities participated in grooming Belarusian shock troops, including in the trenches of the Donbass, in the end their numbers and/or enthusiasm was not what the Western curators of Belarus’ coup anticipated. After a few nights of violence, that segment of the protest movement vanished out of sight due to effective Belarusian counter-intelligence efforts. Atlantic Council practically disclosed a state secret when it bemoaned the absence of “robust young men” capable of going toe-to-toe with the security forces. It is evident Lukashenko’s survival took them by surprise, and it is probable someone over-promised their ability to deliver said “robust young men” onto Minsk streets.

Could this work in Russia? Probably not, due to both Russia’s own preparations and the West characteristically shooting itself in the foot. Preparations include formations like Rosgvardia which are meant to combat the low-to-middle intensity scenarios like the Maidan. But the Western economic warfare against Russia, the freezing of assets of Russian firms and individuals, have encountered a consolidation of the Russian oligarchs around the country’s political center. The West overplayed its hand there: expecting a quick, Maidan-like resolution in Moscow, it sent a signal it does not respect Russian individuals’ property rights, and which oligarch wants to have their property rights disrespected?

The tragic irony of it all is that while the strategy of destabilization using the disaffected oligarch—young extremist combination has been progressively less effective with coming years, as governments worldwide have drawn appropriate lessons from colour revolutions and are determined not to be undone in a similar manner. Is United States experiencing a genuine, home-grown, grass-roots pro-democracy movement that is not bank-rolled by oligarchs or spearheaded by racial extremists? To be sure, elements in the Democratic Party think it can be used as a “get out the vote” device against Donald Trump, but on the other hand there is mounting evidence it is having an opposite effect. America’s middle bourgeois, being easily frightened and anxious to protect what little property it still has, just might decide Trump’s the guy to keep them safe going forward. But even, or perhaps especially, if Biden is elected one should expect more use of various paramilitaries to maintain order. Unfortunately America’s internal instability will mean even more erratic and reckless international behavior.

CHICKEN KIEV MEETS COLD TURKEY: BLACK SEA AXIS EMERGES?

South Front

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ukraine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belarus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nagorno-Karabah: Armenia and Azerbaijan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Central Asia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moldova

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

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

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

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

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

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

RAND’s General Recommendations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

How the Western Press Lied About the 2014 Coup in Ukraine, Pretending That It Was Instead a Real Democratic Revolution

How the Western Press Lied About the 2014 Coup in Ukraine, Pretending That  It Was Instead a Real Democratic Revolution — Strategic Culture

Eric Zuesse November 25, 2020

U.S.-and-allied governments, and their billionaires’-controlled press, are unrelenting in their fraudulent portrayal of what was actually the U.S. regime’s conquest and destruction of Ukraine in 2014, by means of a brutal coup, which caused a civil war and the break-up of that country.

The hidden truths about Ukraine, after 2009, will be documented and proven here. These facts have been kept secret from Western publics. (Articles like this are censored-out by the regime’s operatives.)

The first documentation concerns the coup itself, which occurred in February 2014, though the narrator in that video mistakenly says (at 0:27) that the coup started “on February 20th of 2013,” instead of on February 20th of 2014, which is the only slip-up in this entire otherwise-superb presentation. The video is here, and it demonstrates — it even displays — that the U.S. Government, under President Barack Obama, lied through their teeth about that coup, as having been instead a “revolution,” instead of a coup. The key “leaked [phone] call” that’s excerpted in this video can be heard in full here; and its full transcript, including explanations of the persons who are being referred-to in it, is available here. The broader historical significance of that phone-call is reported and explained here. To sum it all up: There is no way that this phone-conversation (which is between two Obama-Administration officials who are discussing whom to appoint to lead Ukraine when the coup will have been completed) can reasonably be interpreted in any other way than that the Obama Administration had carefully planned and executed this coup d’etat, which replaced Ukraine’s democratically elected Government by one that would be controlled by the U.S. regime. This truth is the exact opposite of the U.S.-and-allied ‘news’-reporting about that coup, as its having been, instead, ‘the Maidan revolution’. This is how America (and each of its ‘allies’ or vassal nations) deceives its people, just as much (and just as viciously) as any other dictatorship does.

So: how did that ‘revolution’ come about? Here is how it happened — and also the Western lies hiding this reality:

On November 30th of 2013, UK’s Economist magazine bannered “Stealing their dream: Viktor Yanukovych is hijacking Ukrainians’ European future”, and wrote that:

Unwilling to launch economic reforms, cut spending or tame the appetites of his cronies, Mr Yanukovych [Ukraine’s democratically elected and — for the Ukrainian people — remarkably successful, President, as will subsequently be documented here] proceeded to trade the country’s most valuable asset: Ukraine’s geopolitical position. “The talks with the EU were an auction. It was a position of a pimp who is offering Ukraine up for sale,” says Mr Poroshenko [a political enemy of Yanukovych, who became Ukraine’s President after the coup]. Mr Yanukovych let it be known that, if Europe wanted a modern, democratic Ukraine, it needed to pay. His price was $160 billion by 2017.

European politicians were aghast at such blatant blackmail; Mr Putin seemed happy to haggle. It is not clear what he and Mr Yanukovych agreed during their secret meeting in early November — the deal is said to include cheaper gas, credits and lucrative business contracts — but not, it is rumoured in Kiev, a requirement that Ukraine join a proposed new customs union with Russia. Whatever the understanding, it has persuaded Mr Yanukovych to distance himself from the EU. Though nothing is ever final in Ukraine, Mr Yanukovych’s favoured option seems to be to preserve the status quo and refrain from joining either camp while continuing to milk both — hence his new proposal of three-way talks.

A face-saving memorandum may yet be signed with the EU, but the collapse of the association agreement could be a blessing in disguise for the Europeans. Teaming up with Mr Yanukovych, who would never have implemented it, would have only led to disappointment and recriminations, while helping Mr Yanukovych get re-elected. Instead, the collapse brought pressure on Mr Yanukovych from educated middle-class Ukrainians who feel that their future has been hijacked and their dream stolen. Haunted by the memories of 2004, Mr Yanukovych may try to crack down, but time is against him.

On November 24th tens of thousands of Ukrainians went to the streets in support of Ukraine’s European course.

The coup happened in February 2014, and the breakaway of Crimea from Ukraine happened in March 2014, and the civil war that erupted in Ukraine’s far-eastern Donbass region (which had voted 90%+ for Yanukovych) started on 9 May 2014. Then, on 24 November 2014, Germany’s Spiegel magazine headlined “How the EU Lost Russia over Ukraine”, and reported that, back on 19 November 2013, in the Presidential mansion in Kiev, Yanukovych informed the EU’s representatives of his predicament:

“But there are the costs that our experts have calculated,” Yanukovych replied. “What experts?” Füle demanded to know. The Ukrainian president described to his bewildered guest the size of the losses allegedly threatening Ukraine should it sign the agreement with the EU.

Later, the number $160 billion found its way into the press, more than 50 times greater than the $3 billion calculated by the German advisory group. The total came from a study conducted by the Institute for Economics and Forecasting at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and it was a number that Yanukovych would refer to from then on.

“Stefan, if we sign, will you help us?” Yanukovych asked. Füle was speechless. “Sorry, we aren’t the IMF. Where do these numbers come from?” he finally demanded. “I am hearing them for the first time.” They are secret numbers, Yanukovych replied. “Can you imagine what would happen if our people were to learn of these numbers, were they to find out what convergence with the EU would cost our country?”

Obviously, those are two very different accounts of Yanukovych, in Economist and in Spiegel — not the same person. However, both of them agree that his reason for rejecting the EU’s offer is that it amounted to a $160 billion loss to Ukraine, which was money that Ukraine didn’t have. So, regardless of which of those two reports about Yanukovych was true, and which was false, they both reported that Ukraine could not afford the $160 billion price which joining the EU would entail. This fact, alone, means that joining the EU would be a disastrously losing proposition for Ukraine.

Did it turn out to be that — a disastrously losing proposition for Ukraine? It wrecked Ukraine’s economy and destroyed that country, as will now be shown in, first, the subsequent figures on the Ukrainian economy: Ukraine’s GDP, which had risen steadily each and every year throughout Yanukovych’s four years in office, from 136.01 in 2010 up to 183.31 in 2013, plunged 27% in 2014 down to 133.5, and then plunged yet another 32% down to 91.03 in 2015. Then in 2016, it crept up 2.6% to 93.36 in 2017. From there, it rose steadily up to 156.78 in 2019, and then it is currently estimated to be around 132 this year, 2020, which is a 14% decline down from that post-coup peak of 156.78. In other words, even now (nearly 7 years after the coup), Ukraine’s economy hasn’t yet recovered from what U.S. President Barack Obama did to Ukraine by his conquest of (coup to grab) Ukraine. Instead of having been rising every year as it had done under Yanukovych — rising a total of 35% during his Presidency — it has declined 41% from then till now, and has averaged, for every year since 2013, 121, which is 34% (one third) lower GDP than it had been in Yanukovych’s last year (183.31), and 11% lower than it had been even in Yanukovych’s first year as President (136.01).

Regarding the second question (“destroyed the country”), this is what Obama’s Ukrainian coup did to Ukraine’s people: On 23 March 2017, Gallup headlined “South Sudan, Haiti and Ukraine Lead World in Suffering”. What more needs to be said about that?

Whether or not the economic losses did amount to $160 billion (as Ukraine’s own experts had estimated) — or more, or less, than that — those losses did turn out to be enormous; and, Obama, clearly, raped Ukrainians. He destroyed Ukraine (and Trump did nothing to reverse that). Here is how this happened:

On 23 June 2011, two emissaries of the Obama Administration — the head of Google, Eric Schmidt, and his aide, and former subordinate to Hillary Clinton in the U.S. State Department, Jared Cohen — visited Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, pretending to be on his side, while deceiving him to reveal to them ways to reach out online to members of Ukraine’s pro-nazi organizations in order to generate mobs for the demonstrations which were to be organized on Kiev’s Maidan Square to overthrow Ukraine’s President.

On 1 March 2013, the U.S. Embassy in Kiev held its first “Tech Camp” to teach Ukraine’s leading pro-nazis how to reach out to their followers so as to get as many people as possible trained and prepared to follow their instructions on what to do when those demonstrations would be held.

In June 2013, the Obama Administration quietly put out for bid to American contractors their planned project to renovate a school in Sevastopol, in Crimea, in Ukraine, in the location where Russia since 1783 had (and still has) its largest naval base:

Federal Contract Opportunity for Renovation of Sevastopol School #5, Ukraine N33191-13-R-1240. The NAICS Category is 236220 – Commercial and Institutional Building Construction. Posted Aug 20, 2013. Posted by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (DOD – Navy). The work will be performed at Sevastopol 99000.

This was before the coup, and there were 28 years still remaining on Russia’s lease there. That part of their plan — to terminate that contract and replace Russia’s largest naval base, by yet another U.S. naval base — got foiled by Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, protecting Crimeans when they (as soon as the coup occurred) demanded to have a referendum on becoming restored again to being a part of Russia, as they had been between 1783 and 1954 (when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea, from the Russian part, to the Ukrainian part, of the Soviet Government).

During the coup, eight busloads of Crimeans, who had come to Kiev to demonstrate against the oust-Yanukovych Maidan demonstrations, hurriedly reboarded their buses in order to flee from nazis who were attacking them, and they finally got cornered en-route home, by those pursuing attackers, in the town of Korsun, and some of their buses were burnt, and many of these Crimeans got clubbed to death by the nazis.

Then, during the interim between the Korsun massacre and the 16 March 2014 Crimean referendum on rejoining the Russian Federation, a Ukrainian federal prosecutor from Crimea, who opposed the coup and managed safely to flee back home by her own private means, became interviewed on local Crimean television and recounted how terrified she had been by the nazis. She was asked whether Crimeans had the right to vote in a referendum to return to being Russians, and she said, “Citizens of Crimea, you have every right in the world” to do that.

The Obama regime (including the International Republican Institute, since foreign conquests are a bipartisan obsession of both Democratic and Republican Party billionaires) had, as part of its planning to take control over Ukraine, hired the Gallup polling firm to survey throughout Ukraine, and especially within Crimea (because of their intention to grab Russia’s naval base), regarding favorability-unfavorability toward NATO, EU, and Russia, both during 16-30 May 2013, prior to the coup (which polling was done ONLY in Crimea, since seizure of Russia’s naval base was the coup’s main goal) and during April 2014 shortly after Crimea broke away from Ukraine in March of 2014. Here are some of the pre-coup findings:

——

Public Opinion Survey Residents of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea May 16 – 30, 2013

International Republican Institute Baltic Surveys Ltd./The Gallup Organization … with funding from the United States Agency for International Development

p.8: “Regardless of your passport, what do you consider yourself?”

24% “Crimean,” 15% “Ukrainian,” 40% “Russian,” 15% “Tatar” (an anti-Russian group)

p.14: “If Ukraine was able to enter only one international economic union, which entity should it be with?”

53% “Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan”

17% “The European Union”

p.15: “How would you evaluate your attitude to the following entities?”

Russia: 68% “Warm,” 5% “Cold”

USA 6% “Warm,” 24% “Cold”

p.17: “In your opinion, what should the status of Crimea be?”

“Autonomy in Ukraine (as today [under Crimea’s 1992 Constitution and as subsequently celebrated by rfe/rl on 20 January 2011]) 53%.

“Common oblast of Ukraine [ruled under Ukraine’s 1991 Constitution]” 2%

“Crimea should be separated and given to Russia” 23%.

——

Regarding the second poll, which was taken throughout Ukraine plus Crimea and only a month after the Crimeans had voted to be Russians again, I headlined on 2 July 2014 “Gallup Poll Finds Ukraine Cannot Be One Country” and reported that, “Views of Foreign Parties’ Role in the Crisis – Ukrainian Residents Exclusive of Crimea” were mostly anti-Russia, whereas “Views of Foreign Parties’ Role in the Crisis – Crimea” were overwhelmingly pro-Russia, by 71.3% to 8.8%, which is 89% pro-Russia. Only 2.8% were pro-America, while 76.2% were anti-America, which is 96.5% anti-America.

As I reported, at that time:

An April poll of Ukrainians, published in June by Gallup’s Broadcasting Board of Governors [CORRECTION HERE: That was actually by Gallup, for the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, which group Wikipedia describes as “an independent agency of the United States government which operates various state-run media outlets,” and, so, that propaganda-agency had sponsored this poll, perhaps hoping to find that the Crimean referendum’s reported 96.77% favoring to rejoin Russia would be inconsistent with this Gallup poll — which didn’t turn out to have been the case], found two shockingly opposite countries: one, in the northwest, where the view of the U.S. is favorable among more than 50% of the population; and the other, in the southeast, where the view of the U.S. is unfavorable among more than 70% of the population. Additionally, in the Crimean region — Ukraine’s farthest southeast area, which our President, Barack Obama, says that Russia forcibly seized when the people there voted overwhelmingly on 16 March 2014 to become part of Russia again (as they had been until 1954) — only 2.8% of the public there view the U.S. favorably; more than 97% of Crimeans do not.

And the situation is even more extreme when the issue is the public’s views of Russia — which, overall, are far less favorable than the U.S. is viewed in Ukraine. Less than 2% of residents in Ukraine’s northwest have a favorable view of Russia, but 71.3% of Crimeans do. In Ukraine’s far east, 35.7% do. In Ukraine’s far south except for Crimea, 28.4% do.

Support for joining the European Union is 59.8% in the far north, and 84.2% in the far west. It is 19% in the far east, and 26.8% in the far south. Crimeans were not asked this question, because they had already voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia.

Support for joining NATO is 37.7% in the North, 53.2% in the west, 13.1% in the east, and 10.3% in the south. (Again, Crimea wasn’t polled on this.)

The 500 people that were sampled in Crimea were asked “Please tell me if you agree or disagree: The results of the referendum on Crimea’s status [whether to rejoin Russia] reflect the views of most people here.” 82.8% said “Agree.” 6.7% said “Disagree.”

That 82.8% who said “Agree” constituted 92.5% of the Crimeans who expressed an opinion on this.

On 10 October 2014, I headlined “What Obama’s Ukrainian Stooges Did” and reported on the effort by his stooges there to ethnically cleanse or eliminate the residents in the portion of Ukraine’s far eastern Donbass region so as to eliminate enough of the voters in that area, which had voted 90%+ for Yanukovych, so as to then enable Ukraine to reabsorb that region without thereby causing another President such as Yanukovych to become elected in Ukraine. His effort failed, largely because Russia has assisted the people there to defeat even such attacks as these by Ukraine.

Then, on 15 February 2015, I headlined “Brookings Wants More Villages Firebombed in Ukraine’s ‘Anti Terrorist Operation’”, but Obama’s people finally gave up their ambitious objective. So, it’s a stalemate there, somewhat like the stalemate in Israel’s ambitious objective to ethically cleanse away most of the Palestinians. But, of course, that is a different situation, with a different history, though with a not too different ethnically eliminative intent.

Neocons Poised to Join New Government

Victoria Nuland was the driving force behind efforts to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

November 12, 2020

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

Philip Giraldi

Donald Trump was much troubled during his 2016 and 2020 campaigns by so-called conservatives who rallied behind the #NeverTrump banner, presumably in opposition to his stated intention to end or at least diminish America’s role in wars in the Middle East and Asia. Those individuals are generally described as neoconservatives but the label is itself somewhat misleading and they might more properly be described as liberal warmongers as they are closer to the Democrats than the Republicans on most social issues and are now warming up even more as the new Joe Biden Administration prepares to take office.

To be sure, some neocons stuck with the Republicans, to include the highly controversial Elliott Abrams, who initially opposed Trump but is now the point man for dealing with both Venezuela and Iran. Abrams’ conversion reportedly took place when he realized that the new president genuinely embraced unrelenting hostility towards Iran as exemplified by the ending of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. John Bolton was also a neocon in the White House fold, though he is now a frenemy having been fired by the president and written a book.

Even though the NeverTrumper neocons did not succeed in blocking Donald Trump in 2016, they have been maintaining relevancy by slowly drifting back towards the Democratic Party, which is where they originated back in the 1970s in the office of the Senator from Boeing Henry “Scoop” Jackson. A number of them started their political careers there, to include leading neocon Richard Perle.

It would not be overstating the case to suggest that the neoconservative movement has now been born again, though the enemy is now the unreliable Trumpean-dominated Republican Party rather than Saddam Hussein or Ayatollah Khomeini. The transition has also been aided by a more aggressive shift among the Democrats themselves, with Russiagate and other “foreign interference” being blamed for the party’s failure in 2016. Given that mutual intense hostility to Trump, the doors to previously shunned liberal media outlets have now opened wide to the stream of foreign policy “experts” who want to “restore a sense of the heroic” to U.S. national security policy. Eliot A. Cohen and David Frum are favored contributors to the Atlantic while Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss were together at the New York Times prior to Weiss’s recent resignation. Jennifer Rubin, who wrote in 2016 that “It is time for some moral straight talk: Trump is evil incarnate,” is a frequent columnist for The Washington Post while both she and William Kristol appear regularly on MSNBC.

The unifying principle that ties many of the mostly Jewish neocons together is, of course, unconditional defense of Israel and everything it does, which leads them to support a policy of American global military dominance which they presume will inter alia serve as a security umbrella for the Jewish state. In the post-9/11 world, the neocon media’s leading publication The Weekly Standard virtually invented the concept of “Islamofascism” to justify endless war in the Middle East, a development that has killed millions of Muslims, destroyed at least three nations, and cost the U.S. taxpayer more than $5 trillion. The Israel connection has also resulted in neocon support for an aggressive policy against Russia due to its involvement in Syria and has led to repeated calls for the U.S. to attack Iran and destroy Hezbollah in Lebanon. In Eastern Europe, neocon ideologues have aggressively sought “democracy promotion,” which, not coincidentally, has also been a major Democratic Party foreign policy objective.

The neocons are involved in a number of foundations, the most prominent of which is the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), that are funded by Jewish billionaires. FDD is headed by Canadian Mark Dubowitz and it is reported that the group takes direction coming from officials in the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Other major neocon incubators are the American Enterprise Institute, which currently is the home of Paul Wolfowitz, and the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at John Hopkins University. The neocon opposition has been sniping against Trump over the past four years but has been biding its time and building new alliances, waiting for what it has perceived to be an inevitable regime change in Washington.

That change has now occurred and the surge of neocons to take up senior positions in the defense, intelligence and foreign policy agencies will soon take place. In my notes on the neocon revival, I have dubbed the brave new world that the neocons hope to create in Washington as the “Kaganate of Nulandia” after two of the more prominent neocon aspirants, Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland.

Robert was one of the first neocons to get on the NeverTrump band wagon back in 2016 when he endorsed Hillary Clinton for president and spoke at a Washington fundraiser for her, complaining about the “isolationist” tendency in the Republican Party exemplified by Trump. His wife Victoria Nuland is perhaps better known. She was the driving force behind efforts to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych, an admittedly corrupt autocrat, nevertheless became Prime Minister after a free election. Nuland, who was the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department, provided open support to the Maidan Square demonstrators opposed to Yanukovych’s government, to include media friendly appearances passing out cookies on the square to encourage the protesters.

A Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton protégé, Nuland openly sought regime change for Ukraine by brazenly supporting government opponents in spite of the fact that Washington and Kiev had ostensibly friendly relations. Her efforts were backed by a $5 billion budget, but she is perhaps most famous for her foul language when referring to the potential European role in managing the unrest that she and the National Endowment for Democracy had helped create. The replacement of the government in Kiev was only the prelude to a sharp break and escalating conflict with Moscow over Russia’s attempts to protect its own interests in Ukraine, most particularly in Crimea.

And, to be sure, beyond regime change in places like Ukraine, President Barack Obama was no slouch when it came to starting actual shooting wars in places like Libya and Syria while also killing people, including American citizens, using drones. Biden appears poised to inherit many former Obama White House senior officials, who would consider the eager-to-please neoconservatives a comfortable fit as fellow foot soldiers in the new administration. Foreign policy hawks expected to have senior positions in the Biden Administration include Antony Blinken, Nicholas Burns, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, Samantha Power and, most important of all the hawkish Michele Flournoy, who has been cited as a possible secretary of defense. And don’t count Hillary Clinton out. Biden is reportedly getting his briefings on the Middle East from Dan Shapiro, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, who now lives in the Jewish state and is reportedly working for an Israeli government supported think tank, the Institute for National Security Studies.

Nowhere in Biden’s possible foreign policy circle does one find anyone who is resistant to the idea of worldwide interventionism in support of claimed humanitarian objectives, even if it would lead to a new cold war with major competitor powers like Russia and China. In fact, Biden himself appears to embrace an extremely bellicose view on a proper relationship with both Moscow and Beijing “claiming that he is defending democracy against its enemies.” His language is unrelenting, so much so that it is Donald Trump who could plausibly be described as the peace candidate in the recently completed election, having said at the Republican National Convention in August “Joe Biden spent his entire career outsourcing their dreams and the dreams of American workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars, wars that never ended.”

‘Gloves will come off’ once Trump’s out & media stop protecting Biden, Democrat’s accuser Tara Reade tells RT

8 Nov, 2020 05:44 

‘Gloves will come off’ once Trump’s out & media stop protecting Biden, Democrat’s accuser Tara Reade tells RT
FILE PHOTO © REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Tara Reade, the former US Senate aide who accused Joe Biden of sexual assault, said more allegations may surface as the media allows more truthful reporting on the former VP’s alleged corruption once his victory is sealed.

“I think there will be more interest as far as other people may be coming forward,” Reade said on Saturday in an interview with RT’s Polly Boiko.

Reade noted that journalists such as Glenn Greenwald were stifled during the election in their efforts to report on alleged influence-peddling by Biden’s family in Ukraine and China, but once Biden has replaced Trump in the Oval Office, the rules may change.

Reade argued that the US media was forced to exercise self-censorship in their reporting on Biden during the election cycle, saying that “the journalists … have been frustrated that they have been basically given a message to not go after Biden.

“I think the gloves come off after he becomes president,” Reade said. “I think the truth needs to come out, and I don’t mean attacks, I don’t mean attacks like I experienced, by any means. What I’m talking about is actual journalism being able to get done. If there was corruption, reveal it. If he used his position as vice president to enrich his family, in the way he’s accusing Trump, then it should be revealed.”

Reade earlier this year accused then-senator Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993. Last year, she was among seven women who alleged that he had touched them inappropriately. She called Biden a “predator” in her interview with Boiko and said some of her friends considered his support for the 1994 Violence Against Women Act a “cover for his misogyny.”

“It’s like the wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Reade said. “Oh look at me, I’m safe. Not really.”

Reade, who claimed she was pressured to quit her job on Biden’s staff after filing a sexual-harassment complaint, said that since leaving Washington in 1993, she has watched the Democratic Party evolve and become more dominated by corporate interests. Even in the 1990s, she said she witnessed Biden’s devotion to credit-card companies and other corporate donors, arguing that such dominance has only increased. 

“We’ve kind of become the United States of oligarchy.”

The party’s controllers also have become more pro-war, Reade said. “What gets me about the Democratic Party is our hypocrisy,” she said. “I was part of that cult, if you will, the Democrats, and I’m out of it now. I really see the hypocrisy, the sanctimoniousness. We need to stop.”

Reade said the party also needs to “stop blaming everything on Russia, which is just ridiculous,” and start having real conversations about improving the US political system.

“Hopefully we can start looking at other countries as allies and collaborators on ways to work with them rather than as enemies and find the next war,” she said. “My fear with Biden’s cabinet, the packed cabinet he will pick, is that we might end up by spring in another regime war. That’s my prediction.”

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Why Taking US NED Money is Wrong

The National Endowment for Democracy has as much to do with promoting “democracy” as the illegal US invasion of Iraq – code name “Operation Iraqi Freedom” had to do with bringing “freedom” to the Iraqi people. And as it turns out the same circle of regime change promoters are/were involved in both. 

November 5, 2020 (Brian Berletic – LD) – I cover the US National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) board of directors – pointing out how many of them have been involved in some of the worst crimes against humanity of the 21st century including promoting and even participating in the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. 

I also explain why taking US NED money poses a danger to national security – and specifically why Thai agitators taking the money pose a danger to Thailand’s peace, stability, and future.

References: 

NED funding – THAILAND 2019: https://www.ned.org/region/asia/thailand-2019/

NED Board of Directors: https://www.ned.org/about/board-of-directors/

CBS News – Elliott Abrams, convicted of lying about Iran-Contra, named special representative for Iran: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/elliott-abrams-iran-contra-named-special-representative-iran/

London Guardian – US diplomat convicted over Iran-Contra appointed special envoy for Venezuela: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/26/elliott-abrams-venezuela-us-special-envoy

NED BoD – Ambassador Victoria Nuland: https://www.ned.org/experts/victoria-nuland/

CNAS Supporters: https://www.cnas.org/support-cnas/cnas-supporters

Reuters – Leaked audio reveals embarrassing U.S. exchange on Ukraine, EU: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-ukraine-tape/leaked-audio-reveals-embarrassing-u-s-exchange-on-ukraine-eu-idUSBREA1601G20140207

NED BoD  – George Weigel: https://www.ned.org/experts/george-weigel/

American Magazine – The Just War Case for War: https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/428/article/just-war-case-war

NED BoD – Scott Carpenter: https://www.ned.org/experts/scott-carpenter/

NED BoD – Senator Tim Kaine: https://www.ned.org/experts/senator-tim-kaine/Tim Kaine – Kaine Statement On Withdrawal Of U.S. Troops From Northern Syria: https://www.kaine.senate.gov/press-releases/kaine-statement-on-withdrawal-of-us-troops-from-northern-syria

CHICKEN KIEV MEETS COLD TURKEY: BLACK SEA AXIS EMERGES?

South Front

Chicken Kiev Meets Cold Turkey: Black Sea Axis Emerges?

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

Kiev’s Unrequited Love

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

Ankara’s Burning Hate

Chicken Kiev Meets Cold Turkey: Black Sea Axis Emerges?

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

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

Quid pro Quos

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

Chicken Kiev Meets Cold Turkey: Black Sea Axis Emerges?

Match Made in Hell

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

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إردوغان بين بايدن وترامب.. أحلاهما مرّ

ترامب وإردوغان في البيت الأبيض - 13 نوفمبر 2019 (أ.ف.ب)
حسني محلي

حسني محلي 

المصدر: الميادين نت

22 تشرين اول 16:58

لا تخفي أنقرة قلقها من احتمالات فوز جو بايدن المعروف بمواقفه السلبية تجاه تركيا، وخصوصاً في خلافاتها مع اليونان وقبرص، على الرغم من تضامنه مع إسلاميي “الربيع العربي” عندما كان نائباً لأوباما.

بعد أن هدّد ترامب وتوعَّد بإعلان الإخوان المسلمين تنظيماً إرهابياً خلال حملته الانتخابية السابقة، وهو ما تراجع عنه لاحقاً بسبب السياسات الأميركية التقليدية، استمرت واشنطن في علاقاتها “المميزة” مع أنقرة، على الرغم من سياسات المد والجزر بين الطرفين، أي ترامب و”الإسلامي” إردوغان.

وعلى الرغم من اتهامات الرئيس إردوغان لواشنطن بتقديم كلّ أنواع الدعم لوحدات حماية الشعب الكردية في سوريا، فقد تهرّبت أنقرة من توتير العلاقة مع حليفتها الاستراتيجية الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، رغم تغريدات الرئيس ترامب على موقع تويتر، والتي هدّد من خلالها إردوغان وتوعّده في حال اعتدى على كرد سوريا، ثم الرسالة التي أرسلها، وفيها الكثير من الإهانات الشَّخصية له.

في المقابل، لم تمنع هذه التهديدات والإهانات إردوغان من الاستمرار في علاقاته مع بوتين، والتي شهدت بدورها الكثير من حالات المد والجزر التي استفاد منها ترامب، إذ عمل على ترسيخ الوجود العسكري الأميركي شرق الفرات، بعد أن أضاء الضوء الأخضر لإردوغان كي تسيطر قواته على المنطقة الممتدة بين تل أبيض ورأس العين بعرض 110 كم من الحدود السورية مع تركيا شرق الفرات، وهو ما تحقَّق للأخير بفضل الضوء الأخضر الروسي، فلولاه منذ البداية (آب/أغسطس 2016)، لما كان الحديث الآن عن خلافات روسية – تركية في إدلب أو ليبيا، وأخيراً القوقاز حيث الحرب الأذربيجانية الأرمينية.

ولم تمنع هذه الخلافات الطرفين من الاستمرار في التعاون الواسع في العديد من المجالات، ومنها الغاز الطبيعي وبناء المفاعل النووي جنوب تركيا، وأخيراً موضوع صواريخ “أس 400″، التي كانت، وما زالت، الموضوع الأهم في الفتور والتوتر بين واشنطن وأنقرة، من دون أن يتحول هذا التوتر إلى مواجهة ساخنة بين الطرفين، على الرغم من تهديدات ترامب والمسؤولين الأميركيين المستمرة لإردوغان، وكأنّ الجميع يمثل، ليس فقط في هذا الموضوع، بل في كل الأمور التي تحولت إلى قاسم مشترك في علاقات تركيا مع كل من روسيا وأميركا.

يأتي ذلك في الوقت الذي يراهن الكثيرون على المواقف المحتملة للرئيس إردوغان خلال المرحلة القريبة القادمة، أي بعد الانتخابات الأميركية التي ستنعكس بنتائجها على سياسات تركيا الداخلية والخارجية، وبشكل خاص تحركات إردوغان الإقليمية، أي في الساحات التي لها علاقة مباشرة وغير مباشرة بالتنسيق والتعاون أو الخلافات التركية – الروسية، فأنقرة لا تخفي قلقها من احتمالات فوز جو بايدن المعروف بمواقفه السلبية تجاه تركيا، وخصوصاً في خلافاتها مع اليونان وقبرص، على الرغم من تضامنه مع إسلاميي “الربيع العربي” عندما كان نائباً للرئيس أوباما.

ولم تهمل أنقرة حسابات التأقلم سريعاً مع تبعات هذا الاحتمال الذي تتوقعه استطلاعات الرأي الأميركية. في المقابل، تتخذ أنقرة كل التدابير لمواجهة مفاجآت المرحلة القادمة في حال بقاء الرئيس ترامب في البيت الأبيض، لأنه سيستمر في سياساته الحالية التي يريد لها أن تحقق انتصاراً حاسماً ومطلقاً لتل أبيب، وهو ما قد يحرج إردوغان، بعد المعلومات التي تتوقع لقطر أن تلحق بركب التطبيع، مع الحديث عن احتمالات المصالحة السعودية – القطرية قبل المصالحة السعودية مع “إسرائيل” أو بعدها. وقد تسبقها مصالحة أو استسلام سوداني وعماني ومغربي وجيبوتي لـ”إسرائيل”، إن صحَّ التعبير، في حال فوز ترامب. وسيدفع كل ذلك ترامب إلى الاستعجال في حسم مساوماته السياسية وحربه النفسية مع إردوغان، ليقول له: “اختر لنفسك موقعاً ما في مخطَّطاتي العاجلة، وأثبت لي ولنا جميعاً أنك حليف صادق وموثوق به دائماً”.

وقد يدفع ذلك إردوغان إلى التفكير في تقرير مصير علاقاته مع الرئيس بوتين بعد وعود واضحة من الرئيس ترامب بتقديم كل أنواع الدعم السياسي والمالي والاستراتيجيّ، ليساعده ذلك على تحديد إطار ومضمون الدور التركي في سوريا وليبيا والعراق والقوقاز، بل والعديد من دول البلقان والدول الأفريقية، وأهمها الصومال.

وفي هذه الحالة، هل سيستمرّ إردوغان في تحالفاته التقليديّة مع الإسلاميين في المنطقة، في حال رضوخ حليفه الأكبر الشيخ تميم لمطالب وشروط المصالحة الخليجية التي ستعني في الوقت نفسه المصالحة مع “إسرائيل”، وهي جميعاً ضدّ المزاج الشخصي للرئيس إردوغان، الذي لا يخفي عبر مقولاته في الداخل والخارج الحديث عن مشاريعه العقائدية على طريق إقامة الدولة الإسلامية بنكهتها العثمانية التركية التي تشجَّع لها إسلاميو المنطقة، وبايعوه ضد العدو التقليدي آل سعود وأميرهم الشاب محمد المتهم بجريمة جمال خاشقجي الشنيعة؟! وكيف سيحصل ذلك؟

وتتحدَّث المعلومات هنا، ولو كانت شحيحة، عن احتمالات الانفراج في العلاقات التركية مع مصر، لسدّ الطريق على التحركات السعودية والإماراتية، وهو ما قد يعني تجميداً مرحلياً في الدعم التركي للإخوان المسلمين. ولا يخفي السوريون تخوّفهم من مثل هذا الاحتمال، وخصوصاً بعد الانسحاب من نقاط المراقبة التركية في جوار إدلب، في الوقت الذي تراقب أنقرة، عن كثب، ما كشف عنه الإعلام الأميركي، وبشكل مقصود، عن خفايا زيارة مسؤولين من البيت الأبيض إلى دمشق، وصادف ذلك عودة الرحلات الجوية بين دمشق وكل من قطر والإمارات، فالأولى حليفة إردوغان، والثانية من ألد أعدائه.

وبات واضحاً أن إردوغان سيجد نفسه في وضع لا يحسد عليه، أياً كانت صحة الاحتمالات والتوقعات، أي بفوز ترامب أو هزيمته أمام الديموقراطي جو بايدن، الذي لا شك في أنه سيتحرك وفق توصيات هيلاري كلينتون، صديقة أحمد داوود أوغلو، وهو الآن من ألدّ أعداء إردوغان. كما سيضع بايدن توصيات نائبه كامالا هاريس وزوجها اليهودي بعين الاعتبار خلال تعامله مع كل الملفات ذات العلاقة المباشرة وغير المباشرة بسياسات إردوغان الخارجيّة، وهي لها أيضاً علاقة مباشرة بمجمل الحسابات الإسرائيلية.

وحينها، سيجد الرئيس إردوغان نفسه أمام خيارات صعبة ومعقَّدة جداً، ما سيضطره إلى وضع النقاط على الحروف في مجمل سياساته الخارجية بانعكاساتها المحتملة على سياساته الداخلية، بعد أن اعترف الأسبوع الماضي بفشله في تطبيق مشروعه الفكري العقائدي، أي أسلمة الأمة والدولة التركية.

ولا شكَّ في أنّ كلّ هذه التناقضات ستضعه أمام امتحان صعب جداً، سيدفعه إلى تحديد المسارات الجديدة لسياساته الخارجية التي ستتطلَّب منه تقرير مصير علاقاته مع الرئيس بوتين في سوريا في الدرجة الأولى، لينتقل منها إلى ملفات أبسط بكثير في ليبيا والقوقاز، فالجميع يعرف أن سوريا كانت بوابة الانفتاح والتدخل التركي باتجاه العالم العربي، حيث أصبحت تركيا طرفاً مباشراً وأساسياً في جميع ملفاته، بما في ذلك مساوماته مع الرئيس بوتين حول كل العناوين الرئيسية، ليس في سوريا فقط، بل لاحقاً في ليبيا، والآن في القوقاز، في الوقت الَّذي لم يهمل إردوغان تحدياته للدول الأوروبية بسبب دعمها لقبرص واليونان، وهو بحاجة إلى التوتر معها لتحريك المشاعر القومية والدينية “ضد أعداء الأمة والدولة التركية”!.

هذا بالطبع إن لم تكن كلّ هذه المعطيات الحالية جزءاً من سيناريوهات متفق عليها مسبقاً بين بوتين وإردوغان، وهو احتمال ضعيف، إن لم نقل مستحيلاً، إلا في حالة واحدة، وهي المعجزة، لأنها ستعني في هذه الحالة انتقال تركيا من خانة التحالف الاستراتيجي مع الغرب منذ العام 1946 إلى الخندق المعادي، وهو أيضاً مستحيل بسبب الكثير من المعطيات التاريخية والسياسية التي ستعرقل مثل هذا الاحتمال. وآخر مثال على ذلك حرص أنقرة على التحالف السياسي والعسكري والاستراتيجي مع الرئيس الأوكراني “اليهودي” زالانسكي، العدو الأكبر لموسكو، والمدعوم من واشنطن ومعظم عواصم الاتحاد الأوروبي.

وقد أثبتت معظمها، رغم خلافاتها مع إردوغان، أنها ما زالت في عقلية الحرب الباردة ضد روسيا بعد 30 سنة من تمزق الاتحاد السوفياتي الذي كان العدو الأخطر بالنسبة إلى تركيا بسبب العداءات التاريخية والخطر الشيوعي. وبسقوطه، تنفَّست تركيا الصعداء، ولم تخفِ فرحتها لاستقلال الجمهوريات الإسلامية في القوقاز وآسيا الوسطى، وهي ذات أصل تركي، حالها حال جمهوريات الحكم الذاتي داخل حدود روسيا الحالية، وكانت جميعاً جزءاً من نظرية الحزام الأخضر للثنائي الأميركي اليهودي كيسنجر وبريجنسكي.

وفي جميع الحالات، وأياً كانت حسابات كل الأطراف في ما يتعلق بالمنطقة، فقد بات واضحاً أن الأيام القليلة القادمة، سواء مع ترامب أو بايدن، ستحمل في طياتها الكثير من المفاجآت المثيرة بالنسبة إلى المنطقة عموماً، كما ستضع إردوغان وجهاً لوجه أمام اختباره الأكبر في سياساته الخارجية، وسنرى معاً وقريباً مؤشراتها الجديدة في سوريا، لأنها قفل المرحلة القادمة ومفتاحه بالنسبة إلى الجميع!

فهل دمشق مستعدة وقادرة مع حليفاتها على مواجهة مفاجآت هذه المرحلة بكل معطياتها الصعبة والمعقدة؟ وهل استخلصت الدروس الكافية والضرورية من جميع محنها وأخطائها، حتى يتسنى لها الانتصار على جميع أعدائها أم أنها ستبقى ورقة في مهب الرياح الإقليمية والدولية، كما هي عليه منذ 9 سنوات، والسبب في ذلك هو حسابات إردوغان في سوريا؟

إقرأ للكاتب

Phoenix and the rebirth of evil Part II:

October 22, 2020

The cold, reptilian eyes of William Colby

By Ken Leslie for the Saker Blog

One of the persisting delusions of the modern liberal thought states that the humanity has succeeded in overcoming its worst primitive instincts and is happily sailing towards some kind of liberal utopia populated by reasonable, objectively-minded, educated technocrats who are capable of reducing any problem to a linear combination of variables to be modelled and resolved rationally. In spite of the pre-eminence of this delusion (I could call it the Dawkins delusion) in the Anglo-Saxon world, one only needs to scratch the surface to discover that not only is humanity as prone to superstition and feral hatred towards others as they have ever been but that same old racial and religious tropes which should have died a long time ago under the onslaught of modernity are not only alive but thriving and successfully being used by the Empire in its total war against potential challengers. Nothing ever changes…

If the above were true, the world would not have been rocked by a series of fratricidal wars instigated by the United States and its vassals ever since the end of WWII.[1] More recently, the final phase of the push towards the East began in the Balkans with the neutralisation of the Serbs as a possible pro-Russian counter to the fascist NATO’s takeover of Europe. Once the European flank was secured, the United States moved to destabilise Russia’s immediate neighbourhood, namely Georgia and the Ukraine. The shift towards the Middle East was prompted by Israel’s ambition to decapitate any Arab government willing and able to assert its independence from the Anglo-Zionist nexus (this is the first time I have used Saker’s label—it fits). A number of Arab countries were destabilised or destroyed rendering the geopolitical position of multi-polar forces difficult. The undeclared war of aggression of a belligerent and imperialist West against anybody who might pose a challenge to its supremacist ambitions goes on and to understand how best to defend themselves, the nations under attack must have no illusions about the nature of the enemy.

The phenomenon I am going to discuss here is in my opinion crucial for understanding the melding of super-modern military technology and primitive murderous instincts which characterise modern warfare. The deadly secrecy and the blurring of the boundaries between combatants and non-combatants, the ruthless dehumanisation of the enemy with elements of medieval torture and unforgivable crime of the murder of a large number of innocent people combined with a bureaucratic and technical mini empire whose sole purpose was to find the targets for the killings and record the kills accurately—those were the characteristics of the infamous Phoenix Programme designed by the CIA in the mid-1960s with the aim of decapitating the secret government established by the Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam. Known by the acronym of COSVN (Central Office of South Vietnam), this clandestine and elusive body was the brain behind the successful resistance to the American occupiers and their Vietnamese vassals.

As a brief prelude, even before Diem’s demise, the question posed by the US military experts was how to counteract the growing insurgency. It was clear even then that standard military approaches wouldn’t work against a popular battle-hardened guerrilla movement which did not follow the prescribed methods of waging war. A more sophisticated strategy was needed based on the experience of other empires in crushing rebellious peasants especially the British empire which at that time was fighting rear-guard battles around the world trying to stem or control various independence movements. Since the Americans lacked the necessary experience, Diem invited Sir Robert Thompson who had masterminded the defeat of the Communist insurgency in Malaya to advise him on counter-insurgency. Thompson proposed a number of relatively sensible measures which could have helped Diem including practicing cultural sensitivity and economy of force. Diem found it impossible to act rationally and the rest is history. In 1962, worried about his prospects in the face of a large-scale popular insurgency, Diem invited an Australian Military Advisory Team (Australian Army Training Team Vietnam) to help with the growing uprising. The first commander of this unit was Colonel Ted Serong, a staunch Roman Catholic of Portuguese ancestry whose anti-Communist fervour played an important part in the genesis of the Phoenix Programme.[2]

Following the introduction of US combat troops into Vietnam in 1965 (they had been there long before this but hey!) the newly installed head of the US military command, General William Westmoreland thought that the best way to eliminate the Communist threat was to blast the hell out of the Vietnamese countryside by means of massive air raids by B-52s (“Arclight”) and large-calibre artillery bombardments which were followed by “search and destroy” deployments of large military units reinforced by tanks, BTRs helicopters and fighter jets.[3] Whole districts were declared “kill zones” (“free-fire” zones in the perverted parlance of the Pentagon) allowing psychopathic generals to satisfy their racial hatred and ideological bloodthirst by destroying vast tracts of fertile land and more importantly, killing and displacing hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Given the horrific impact of the Westmorland’s slash and burn policy, it is a minor miracle that the puppet government in Saigon lasted as long as it did.

This was truly slaughter on the industrial scale which created a massive demographic shift measured in millions of migrants from the destroyed villages into the cities and caused social problems which eventually contributed to the rapid fall of the Saigon regime. However, in spite of the fearsome firepower unleashed against the guerrillas (and increasingly North Vietnamese regular soldiers), victory eluded an exasperated Lyndon Johnson. The enemy was tactically sophisticated and fully aware of the power differential which favoured the Americans. It weaved and bobbed into and out of flooded rice fields, forests and jungles to strike the enemy when he least expected it. Well-equipped and highly motivated fighters harassed the American behemoth relentlessly while avoiding major battles.

A vast system of tunnels stretching for hundreds of kilometres was built in the province of Cu Chi containing entire underground townships complete with kitchens, hospitals, ammunition, food stores, ventilation systems and dormitories. Unlike American soldiers who lived in the comparative luxury of air-conditioned rooms, cold beer and ice cream, their opponents lived on a handful of rice a day. Sometime in 1966, it became clear even to the most intransigent of military hawks that the traditional military approach wasn’t working. The raw firepower of the US military could not best a determined and motivated peasant guerrilla army. A radically different approach was needed—a strategy much less costly in terms of American lives and much more expensive for those on its receiving end.

The need for a strategic turn in Vietnam was exacerbated by a substantial societal change taking place within the United States. Not content with blind Dullesian Cold War patriotism, younger generations of Americans began to question the wisdom of their country’s engagement in Vietnam, especially when the draft and possible death by a punji stick started to threaten the cosseted white middle class. All of a sudden, the war ceased to be cool and a beleaguered Cardinal Spellman was finding it hard to sustain the crusading zeal that characterised Diem’s rule in the 1950s.[4]

The Phoenix (or Phung Hoang) Programme was a brainchild of William Colby the then Chief of CIA Station in Saigon.[5] This is a slight exaggeration because other people on the lower rungs of the greasy pole also played their part (e.g. Nelson Brickham and many others). Phoenix, which was supposed to symbolise the rebirth of the American war effort was a complex administrative, logistical, intelligence and enforcement system supposed to facilitate what CIA and belatedly President Johnson saw as the task number one and the solution for the incipient quagmire in which America was increasingly bogged down. The task was to decapitate the clandestine “infrastructure” of the resistance movement in South Vietnam by any means possible. The definition of “infrastructure” was vague from the beginning.

What the planners in the CIA had in mind was the political personnel or cadre—the individuals who supported the insurgency at any level of the organisational hierarchy—from a hamlet party treasurer, district and province party functionary to the party leader for the South Vietnam. The problem (not that Colby saw it as one) was that these individuals were civilian non-combatants. Thus, in order to be successful, the Phoenix had to abjure the laws of war as well as the Geneva convention which prohibits the targeting of civilians. Naturally, CIAs clandestine agent and assassin networks had been active in South Vietnam ever since the 1950s. The difference this time was that a civilian (of a strong religious persuasion) was going to conduct a war of extermination against other civilians belonging to a different religion or none.

In order to understand the depth of Colby’s involvement with this murder programme, it must be remembered that he was an old Vietnam hand first sent into the country in 1959 to support the Catholic dictator Diem at the time when the disgruntled Buddhists and members of the Viet Minh started to rebel openly against his bloody repressive regime. Unlike Edward Lansdale who enjoyed the limelight, Colby worked in the shadows. His links with the Diems were deep. He became close friends with Diem’s brother Ngo Dihn Nhu, the ultra-Catholic eminence grise, chief ideologue and puppet master of the regime whose secret intelligence apparatus sowed terror and fear throughout the country through another of Colby’s friends—Tran Kim Tuyen, chief of Diem’s intelligence service. It was these structures and the relationships between them and their American advisers that formed the basis of the Phoenix programme that was to arise from the ashes of Tet six years later.

The efficacy of Colby’s killing machine depended on a successful synchronisation of conflicting local interests and bureaucratic norms. Put simply, the Phoenix mechanism consisted of three major components: intelligence gathering, capture and interrogation. The first two tasks were entrusted to so-called Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs) which consisted mainly of zealous Catholic anti-communists, criminals and converted Viet Minh fighters.[6] They were dressed in black, well-armed and led by American “advisors”. Their training took place in a former Catholic seminary on the Vung Tau peninsula where the future killers and torturers were initiated into the program in a faux mystical torch-lit ceremony resembling the initiation into the Waffen SS.

Their job was to scour the countryside following tips from agents and search for anybody resembling the blurry printout of a face or a description by an agent. PRUs were infamous for their cruelty and are as close as any unit in the modern history to the Nazi Einsatzgruppen (Extermination squads). Their ideology (anticommunism), purpose (elimination of the Communist civilian infrastructure) and modus operandi (indiscriminate killing of civilians) were identical. The crimes of PRUs have been described in detail by Douglas Valentine in his book about the Phoenix Programme: they would often break into thatched peasant huts in the middle of the night and kill all people inside before ascertaining whether any of them actually belonged to Viet Cong. They measured their kills by strings of ears they would show their American commanders as proofs required for a monetary reward. Needless to say, most of those ears were innocent of any Communist affiliation. In some ways, those killed in bed had it easy. Many suspected Viet Cong cadres were taken in for interrogation and it is this aspect of the Phoenix program that chills the blood the most.

The essence of Phoenix was the vast system of interrogation centres that dotted the country. The speed with which these were built boggles the mind. Most districts had one as did most provinces and regions (including the country centre in Saigon). These centres were staffed by Vietnamese officers and soldiers and overseen by CIA advisors. In reality the anonymous architecture and anodyne titles hid some of the worst torture centres known to modern history. In the warped minds of Colby and his many Catholic minions, the only way to purge South Vietnam of “godless communism” was to bring back a turbo-charged version of the Holy Inquisition. The bow-tie wearing Savonarola understood that his war was only as good as the reports he sent to Robert Komer (the old CIA hand and Head of Pacification in Vietnam) and Johnson. To ensure a co-ordination of information, the centres were connected by telephone and teleprinter to other centres and the collation of the huge amounts of information produced by the tens of thousands of tortured prisoners was performed by super modern computers located in a dedicated centre in Saigon. This is what gave Phoenix its specific “flavour”—the blending of medieval cruelty and super-modern technology.[7]

And the torture was truly medieval. The prisoners were left to the tender mercies of criminal ARVN staff who employed everything from electroshocks to the genitals, deadly beatings and removal of nails, waterboarding, rape, sleep deprivation and other techniques still used by the CIA to extremely sadistic acts that remind one of the Sack of Magdeburg or Pavelic’s extermination camps. Kenneth Barton Osborn, an army military intelligence officer who worked with Phoenix in 1967 and 1968 flatly told the US House Operations Subcommittee that not a single VC suspect survived interrogation under his supervision. He discussed two of the murders that he witnessed personally: on one occasion, a piece of wood was inserted into the ear canal of a detainee and hammered into his brain; in another, a woman was simply left in a small cage to starve to death.[8]

The idea that the Americans were innocent bystanders in all this is another myth that is difficult to shatter. US special forces (the Green Berets) and the Navy Seals were intimately involved in the hunt for, interrogation and elimination of suspected communist cadres. According to a former Navy Seal Elton Manzione who was interviewed by Douglas Valentine: “We wrapped [detonator] cord around [prisoners’] necks and wired them to the detonator box. And basically what it did was blow their heads off [… the] general idea was to waste the first two. They planned the snatches that way. Pick up this guy because we’re pretty sure he’s VC cadre — these other guys just run errands for him. Or maybe they’re nobody; Tran, the farmer and his brother Nguyen. But bring in two. Put them in a row. By the time you get to your man he’s talking so fast you got to pop the weasel just to shut him up. I guess you could say that we wrote the book on terror.” Some like the infamous Phoenix co-ordinator John Paul Vann deserve (and have been given) much more attention.

Needless to say, the programme soon fell victim to bureaucratic entropy. It was not the torture that let Colby down but the inability of the programme to benefit from it. Inadequate or false information was fed to the central database giving a distorted picture of the success of the programme or lack thereof. In order to save or boost their careers, both Vietnamese executioners and their CIA mentors targeted innocent people and faked their “kills”. Corruption and sloth soon set in and Phoenix became a synonym for senseless and mindless murder of innocent civilians. By 1970, as Paul Ham notes in his Vietnam: The Australian War, “Phoenix had degenerated into “squads of wild-eyed, often drugged, Vietnamese killers roam[ing] the countryside and indiscriminately round[ing]up and tortur[ing] suspects or civilian sympathisers”.

From the book “The Betrayal” by William Corson: “Almost immediately in the wake of the first operations of the Phoenix hit squads in I Corps, the rapport in the CAP (Combined Action Programme) hamlets between the Marines, the PFs (Popular Forces, a local anti-communist militia), and the people, as well as the intelligence flow, dried up. Upon examination we found out that the people and the PFs were scared shitless that the Phoenix hoodlums would come and take them away, or kill them. The Phoenix tactics reeked of the same kind of terrorism practiced by Ngo Dinh Nhu’s thugs in the Delta region during the early 60s, and I knew it had to be stopped, at least in the CAP hamlets.” So, not only did the crazed assassins of Phung Hoang target innocent civilians, but were slaughtering their own allies, not dissimilar to Pavelic’s ustashe whose thirst for Serb blood caused serious problems to their Nazi masters.

It is this period between 1967 and 1971 that recorded the worst excesses of the “Bird of happiness (the meaning of the Vietnamese sacred bird Phung Hoang which was used to symbolise a Phoenix to the Vietnamese)”. Anybody could be suspected of being a secret communist cadre and end up in one of the PICs having his/her nails pulled or worse. The fear and loathing of the Phoenix created an atmosphere of… fear and loathing. Following the murderous offensives by the US military in in 1967, millions of displaced country dwellers poured into Saigon and regional cities creating unprecedented problems for the puppet government of Nguyen van Thieu (whose Catholicism was not advertised loudly) and for the country more generally. The younger generations succumbed to the lure of the dollar and gave the nation large numbers of drug dealers, smugglers and prostitutes. The climate of fear and corruption hung over the country like a dark cloud when at the end of January 1968, the Viet Minh (with the help of reinforcements from the North) executed a fantastically bold co-ordinated attack on the South Vietnamese and US military, intelligence and propaganda assets. Despite the fact that the offensive was eventually defeated, its psychological impact was immense. Not only did it contribute to the view that the United States could not win the war but it also intensified attempts to strangle the leadership of the armed resistance. Phoenix was spreading its deadly wings especially since the Tet offensive had exposed many secret Viet Minh agents especially in the Saigon area. Prisons, camps, interrogation centres and execution sites were heaving with barely-alive victims—many if not most of whom were completely innocent.

Despite the impressive statistics conjured up by computer scientists sitting in the hyper-modern collation centre in Saigon, very few if any high-level COSVN functionaries were ever caught. Instead, innocent suspects were held in the so-called “Tiger cages”—remnants of the French colonial cruelty which were simply holes topped by metal cage doors. Exposed to elements, starvation and torture, most prisoners perished without ever having had a proper trial. To make things slightly easier for its torturers, the CIA initiated another programme through its cut-outs USIS and USAID, namely, Cheu Hoi or “Open hands”. This was an attempt to get the weaker-willed members of the resistance to surrender and recant.

After a gruelling interrogation, they would be offered clemency and a chance to join ARVN. However, many if not most Cheu Hoi returners were Viet Minh soldiers or cadre who would spend some time in different ARVN units to rest, recuperate and gather information on the enemy only to escape and return again in six months’ time. Essentially, the programme such as Phoenix could have never worked. The sympathy of the people for the Viet Minh was real and even where it didn’t exist, there was little enthusiasm for the American occupiers and their Saigon vassals. The close familial bonds between the conflicted sides were so strong that many top South Vietnamese officials and top ARVN generals had close relatives in the Viet Minh and the hellish reincarnation of the Holy Inquisition could do little to sever them.

At the helm of this religious purge stood a quiet man in glasses and bow tie who would eventually reach the very top of the US intelligence pyramid—William Colby—a descendant of Irish immigrants whose religious zeal was matched only by his hatred for “godless communism”. The question of how Colby together with many other right-wing Irish Americans achieved such prominence at the apex of the American deep state has been partially addressed in a couple of my previous essays. This is still something of a taboo and I hope to shed more light on this important subject. Despite his Ivy League education, Colby was an ultramontane Catholic who attended mass every day even as a CIA station head in Saigon. I shall never understand how he managed to reconcile his religiosity with the sadistic and satanic system of murder, torture and extortion that he controlled from the US embassy annex.

This is an aspect of the US engagement in Vietnam that has been kept away from the prying eyes of the media—not that they have been particularly interested. From its inception, the Republic of South Vietnam depended completely for its survival on a tight-knit Roman Catholic network of officers, priests, politicians and agents. Although their allegiance was maintained by access to loot and power, the ultimate binding agent that kept the apparatus going was their membership of the Catholic Church. Of course, in a country which was 80-90% Buddhist, the system would not have functioned without the tacit collusion of a number of corrupted Buddhists who were ready to overlook the persecution of their co-religionists in exchange for wealth and promotion (e.g. Nguyen Cao Ky).

It is this rich resource put in place by the CIA through its man on the ground, namely Diem, that led directly to Phoenix and its excesses. Torture, forced relocation, public recantations, cold-blooded murder of innocent people, mass conversions and other forms of religious persecution—it was all there by the time Colby unleashed the CIA’s Hellboyish brainchild.[9] The primary motivator for the cruelty and sadism that characterised Phoenix was the fear by the mainly Catholic apparatus of repression of the justice that would eventually be meted by the victorious Viet Minh. This resembled the fear of retribution experienced by most German soldiers withdrawing from the scene of their giga-crime in the Soviet Union.

Unsurprisingly, these crusaders were helped and supported by the Vatican and the West. The Catholics in Vietnam knew they were an absolute minority and that their dominance and safety could only be safeguarded by means of a bloody dictatorial regime inspired by their faith. Although the foundations of the system were laid by the French, the consensus is that they were amateurs compared with the Americans and “their Vietnamese”.[10] As mentioned in part I, many Catholics found the excesses of Diem and his successors unpalatable and this led to an increase in the Catholic participation in the liberation movement.

However, the religious orgy of mindless killing and torture could not go on forever. The death of Pius XII in 1959 signalled a change of tack by the Vatican towards a less bellicose posture towards its enemies. Although attempts at a détente and lowering of tensions were being made in the West, the exotique places such as Vietnam were safe from prying eyes, at least for the time being. One can speculate that with Pius’s death Diem lost his main supporter and became supremely vulnerable from that moment on. However, all was not lost for the Catholic cause, for Pius’s first lieutenant for the Americas, Cardinal Francis Spellman was well and more belligerent than ever and the loyal soldier of the Vatican, William Colby, was hurriedly dispatched to Vietnam to bolster Diem’s murderous dictatorship. Spellman’s support for the American intervention was such that to the young non-conformist generation of the 1960s, the War in Vietnam became known as “Spellman’s war”. There was no stunt, religious or otherwise that Spellman wouldn’t pull in order to strengthen the case for a continued slaughter of innocent Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians. His continued advocacy of the war and immense power over the faithful ensured that at least for a while, Colby was free to run the programme as he saw fit. His moment came in 1968, when he was pulled from his new job as the Chief of the CIA’s Soviet Block Division and sent to Vietnam to co-ordinate Phoenix.

As stated above, the orgy of killing and torture went on for a couple of years fuelled by the need to avenge the embarrassment of Tet. However, times were changing—if not substantially. The fake patriotic fervour of the 1950s bolstered by the right-wing certainties of the era was eroding fast especially in contact with a never-ending procession of coffins of young (increasingly middle-class) Americans. The main supporter of the war, Spellman, died in 1967 and the shaky consensus regarding the importance of the war began to crumble. Let me stress that the shift away from the gung-ho approach by Kennedy (no, he actually hugely increased the number of US “advisers”) and Johnson was not motivated by any reflection or consideration of ethical precepts.[11] Rather, the war was beginning to take unprecedented toll on an exhausted America. Those were the years of strife, deadly riots, loss of confidence and assassinations and the financial situation was becoming dire. Not even the exquisitely-timed launches of different flavours of Apollo could restore the faith in the righteousness of the American cause. Add to that the publication of the Pentagon Papers by that enfant terrible of the US deep state Daniel Ellsberg which documented the lies and subterfuge inflicted on the American people by its government and things were starting to unravel fast.

The crimes committed by the Americans in Vietnam could not be hidden any longer, especially after the atrocity at My Lai when over 500 innocent men, women and children were murdered in cold blood, gang raped, tortured and mutilated by a company of crazed grunts led by a sadistic captain (Ernest Medina). There is evidence that the unit responsible was linked to the Phoenix programme and needless to say, it was later congratulated by the murderer-in-chief Westmoreland (another Catholic convert). More important, a young black major named Colin Powell made sure that no serious inquiry took place thus clearing a smooth path to promotion, a debt he would be asked to repay once again in 2003 before the eyes of an unbelieving world.

Increased scrutiny of the Phoenix programme and the loss of Colby in 1971 meant that the programme was quickly atrophying helped by the paramount goal of Richard Nixon to withdraw the US troops from Vietnam. The enthusiasm of the early days was replaced by cynicism and defeatism. The programme passed into the South Vietnamese hands (under the strategy of “Vietnamisation”) and limped on for another couple of years. By that time, the writing was on the wall and after witnessing the North Vietnamese troops’ liberation of Saigon, Colby himself was dismissed from his post as Head of the CIA. Time had come to put the skeletons back into the closet. A man of huge chutzpah, Colby wrote two books about his experiences and denied that any atrocities had taken place within Phoenix. His victims were unavailable for comment.

In spite of Colby’s best efforts, the gargantuan and technologically superior war machine of the US Empire ground to a halt and slowly withdrew under the ever-bolder jabs by the resistance. Phoenix was wound down under political and fiscal pressures and finally burst into flames sometime in 1972 generating a never-ending debate on how successful it was, notwithstanding the fact that it was an extrajudicial inquisition successful only in propagating horror and suffering.

Although America’s Vietnamese inquisition died in infamy, it never really died. Like the mythical bird which is reborn periodically, the Phoenix Programme has been reincarnated many times since the halcyon days of PRUs and PICs. The lessons of Phoenix survived the nadir of the early 1970s and were faithfully implemented in South America (Operation Condor—see e.g. Alfredo Astiz) and later in the Middle East and the Ukraine. Techniques of torture have been perfected with the help of the American Psychological Association (thank God for small mercies) and as a result of convulsions experienced following My Lai, the power of the media to question the criminal transgressions of the US military has been curtailed. And while the CIA still pulls the strings, most of the fighting these days is left to its various (mainly RC and Islamist) proxies.

To prove me wrong, the great Clint Eastwood has filmed an ode to the Hmong (sorry, I waited for so long).[12]

  1. One possible argument is that the world would be better off if people behaved rationally. Perhaps, but it is a bit like the choice between a dormant Swiss town and the explosion of life in all its forms one encounters in India and elsewhere. 
  2. According to some sources, Serong was a member of the CIA and a keen promoter of his fellow RC criminal Colby’s assassination programme. From https://newmatilda.com/2009/05/12/australias-vietnam-style-killing-program/: “”Yes,” he said, “we did kill teachers and postmen. But it was the way to conduct the war. They were part of the Viet Cong Infrastructure. I wanted to make sure we won the battle.” Another Australian Catholic officer David Kilcullen argued as late as 2004 that Phoenix had been “unfairly maligned”. 
  3. According to Avro Manhattan, Westmoreland whom many consider a premier war criminal converted to Catholicism at some point (like Tony Blair, Shiro Ishii, Adolf Eichmann and many other war criminals). 
  4. To illustrate the degenerate bloodthirst of the demonic Spellman, here is a quote from Ron Capshaw’s article available on http://libertymagazine.org/article/the-war-within. “A priest approaches the weapon, blesses it, and then sprinkles holy water on it. He does so because the weapon will be used for “Christ’s war.” The scene is not from the Middle Ages, but given the mind-set of the priest, it might as well be. It’s 1965.The weapon blessed is a B-52 bomber about to go on a mission. “Christ’s war” is the American effort in Vietnam. The priest is Cardinal Francis Spellman.” 
  5. William Colby like many of other heads of the CIA was a zealous and ruthless Roman Catholic who hid his total devotion to the aims of the Vatican and murderous instincts behind a studied façade of horn-rimmed glasses and bow ties. In this, he emulated other RC murderers and their useful idiots such as Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy, Walt Rostow and Allen Dulles. However, with Colby, this attempt to project respectability fails the moment you look into his cold, merciless, reptilian eyes. 
  6. Other ethnic groups including the Hmong were trained by the US Special Forces to fight the Viet Minh. 
  7. Any similarity with Abu Ghraib, CIA black prisons and rendition centres, Guantanamo and Ukrainian SBU centres in the Donbass is accidental. 
  8. From Douglas Valentine’s book “The Phoenix Program”. About 50000 people are known to have been killed by Phoenix (the true number could be double that) from 1968 until 1972. A much larger number (up to half a million) were tortured and imprisoned without trial. 
  9. If you think I am being flippant, think again. The blockbuster “Hellboy” was directed by ultra-Catholic Guillermo del Torro and starred ultra-Catholic master actor John Hurt (great actor!). In it, a cabal of black-clad Nazis attempts to summon a demon from the depths of Hell in order to stop and reverse the downfall of the Reich. In this, they are guided by none other than the Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin(!). This device satisfies both the Roman Catholics and Zionists in Holywood who will happily agree on the irredeemable evil of the Russian Orthodox faith as well as the need to shift the blame for collaborating with the Nazis from the likes of Pius XII, Petain, Franco, Menachem Begin and Vladimir Zhabotinsky onto their common enemy—a completely innocent Russian monk. The key is that the little baby demon called “Hellboy” is adopted by an ultra-Catholic academic (played by an ultra-Catholic actor) who works for a CIA-like secret institute. Hellboy is then used by the deep state (with the guidance by his mentor) to fight evil (or rather life forms which refuse to conform to the diktat of the “Judaeo-Christian” empire). Hellboy’s real name is An Ung Rama—a clear slight directed at the Hindu deity. 
  10. As became known during the war in Algeria, the French had nothing to learn when it came to manipulating a blowtorch and a pair of pliers. 
  11. A quick scan of the numbers suggests that JFK was responsible for a 20-fold increase in troop levels. In 1959, there were 760 US personnel in Vietnam. In 1963, there were 16300. So much for the liberal paeans to the “peacemaker” Kennedy. 
  12. The Hmong are an indigenous ethnic group (neither RC nor Islamist) from the central highlands of South Vietnam that fought on the side of the Americans (the film is called “Gran Torino”). 

Phoenix and the rebirth of evil part I:

The Great Reset. Our way.

The Great Reset. Our way.

October 19, 2020

By Katerina for the Saker Blog

In this one, which I promise to be the very LAST of my essays, I would like, first of all, to do a short re-cap on the responses to my three previous ones – feedback so to speak. Always useful.

Although in this essay the main subject will be the reflections on a rather unfortunate current relationship between Russia and USA, in the same vein as I did in my last essay regarding England.

First, here is my brief feedback on those three essays’ commentary.

Quite a lot of comments were highly informative and also supportive in what one was trying to say; quite a few provided the necessary backgrounds and the all-important details; there were also those who were trying to show off some knowledge but unfortunately totally missed the whole point; on the other hand, we also had a few that were attempting to discredit the author by any possible means. Difficult to know what motivates and compels these people to act in such a way. Here, someone who took the trouble to analyse and then write something about the subject that concerns them, not doing a full blown historical or whatever essay, just trying to highlight some concerns and to share those with, hopefully, some intelligent readers. And immediately we will have some people here who would be vying among themselves to pull the author down. Why? What are you hoping to archive? Is it the lack of understanding, the lack of manners, the lack of self-confidence, the sheer mendacity or just trying to prove something? What is it? This site is all about analysing the current events and providing some answers. In my opinion those who can take in the offered piece of writing, understand its context and can respond with some degree of intelligence by providing some valid and knowledgeable comments, need to be here. We want to learn a lot more of what is going on in our world and this is a great forum for it. As for the rest of you, the likes of CNN, WaPo, NYT, BBC, etc would do you just fine. For the closed minds to be reinforced by daily propaganda from the above-mentioned media outlets, would be perfect for supporting your attitudes.

What is obvious with those people – if any incoming information does not fit with these ingrained attitudes, that information will be totally ignored, mocked, and dismissed. Sadly, we see it here again and again.

Let’s move on.

Here is the main subject – relations between two global superpowers. (And this one, without any doubt, will also have those commentators showing lots of their ingrained attitudes. Let’s hope some stuff might actually sink in).

For a start, those relations between Russia and USA have NOT been based on unresolvable animosity as exists between Russia and England, on the contrary, USA and Russia were firm allies in the past, right from the beginning. As I have already pointed out in one of my comments, Russia was totally behind the fledging USA in their fight for independence. Russian Tsar Alexander even sent a naval task force to block the English troops heading for America’s shores. Russia has helped a GREAT deal in America’s fight to get its independence from the English Crown. Not that you will find any of that in your “history” books now. What’s more, for a very long time that relationship was friendly and cooperative.

During WWII Russia and USA were close allies once again, this time help was coming from the other side. Russia very much needed the essential supplies in their fight with Nazi Germany and that help came at the right time from one of their closest neighbours, USA. There is only less than 90 km, about 50 or so miles between those two. That’s about the length of the Bering Strait, between Russia and Alaska. Many people forget that.

Now let’s look at the USA from the beginning of the 20th Century. By then some of that country’s vital organs were already taken over by this Anglo Zionist cancer. The Great Depression, at the beginning, was a planned destruction by that very same Banking Cabal that I had described in my previous piece. US recovered from that horror show thanks to some outstanding Presidents that Americans were very fortunate to have at the time. After WWII, the US economy absolutely boomed, as the rest of the world was laying in ruins and needing everything they could get to recover and to re-build, USA was there to provide, but of course at the price. Some of those countries were still paying that debt LONG after the war.

In US, 50s and 60s were the GOLDEN years. It produced great stuff. Even now, when my husband and I need to buy some tool, I would first look for a second-hand one that was made in USA – these were absolutely awesome in their quality and longevity. It was then that the USA was at its best . Unfortunately, they had spoilt a lot of that with their Korean and Vietnam wars.. sadly.

Then came the 70s – the Hippy Era, with drugs and sexual freedoms and from then on, the rot has established itself and then taken hold of that great country. I am saying “great”, for despite its rather unsavoury beginning, starting with the genocide and then slavery – since then it has tried to make up for it to some degree, well, at least, tried. Blacks in USA have been given every opportunity to advance themselves, unfortunately the lack of motivation on their part was not the white Americans fault. Doesn’t matter how those blacks are trying to spin this now – the self-reflection is the hardest thing. One can only help those who want to help themselves. They haven’t shown that.

Here, for simplicity sake, I would call the US citizens “Americans”, with no disrespect to other Americans, in the south and the north.

As people, the Americans, well, the ones that I have met, were quite genuine, open and friendly, with a good sense of humour- much like the Russians in that respect. Stuff that interested them they knew very well and in depth, although they did possess a very American view on the world affairs, but willing to listen to the alternatives to these views. We had no problems whatsoever in communicating, resulting in having a mutual regard and respect.

Why is it so difficult now to do that between the two nations?!

But let’s continue.

Russia, in the 70s had largely escaped that Hippy Era, being very much under the very strict Socialist Communist control. But there were some other major developments appearing – after decades of such oppression people wanted to have some freedoms – to write and to say what they wanted, to express themselves, without being censored or prosecuted, to have some say in the matters that affected their lives, and also, of course, to see the rest of the world. In Russia that rot had set in for the ENTIRE SYSTEM that was in power at that time.

The late 70s and 80s was a strange decade. Lots of thing were obviously happening under the surface but in the visible part it was rather uneventful. No great culture-social movements, the only exception was the appearance of the ghastly Punk Era, thankfully, a short one. Music scene was also rather uninspiring with just a handful of outstanding talents, like Queen, ABBA, Michael Jackson and a few others. (Here I would probably have an avalanche of rebuttals from those for whom that was their time. That’s all right, as long as you had the good times in those days. : )

But things were happening, the mood was changing.

The late 80s-early 90s had suddenly seen the collapse of USSR, something no-one was expecting, thanks to a few traitors, like Gorbachev and Yeltsin plus some others in that power structure. After 75 years it had basically run its course and had to be replaced with something else. People wanted something different. But what? No-one knew.

Enter the USA’s willing and highly motivated “helpers”! Thousands of them poured in – company executives, “experts”, “advisers”, banking specialists, business managers, you name it –they were ALL there. Bringing Instant Capitalism!

Buying Soviet-built industry, resource production, like oil and gas, mines, etc for pennies – everything they could lay their greedy and grubby hands on was looted in this way. Aided and abetted by local scum, feverishly helping themselves to all of that as well, to become the so-called “Russian oligarchs”, with lots of them immediately running to the West with their stolen loot.

With American (read cabal) “help” the new Russian Constitution was duly written, where Russia, obviously, did not have much say in their own national interests. And, of course, the setup of the Central Bank, to control it all! For them it ALL came true at last – their old wet dream has suddenly been realised. Russia was under their control. Or so they though.

These were the terrible 90s in Russia, when it was on its knees, in the gutter, raped, robbed and abused..

In this dire and practically hopeless situation appears a relatively young man, an ex KGB Colonel, who slowly and carefully, over the years, nurses Russia back to health, being surrounded by dedicated group of Russian patriots. This remarkable man has all the necessary skills and abilities that were absolutely needed at that time. His name is Vladimir Putin.

In 90s in Russia, it was a dangerous time. The vultures were not ready to abandon their feeding frenzy – our Colonel had to be extremely careful, smart and clever among that lot and had to be well protected. The vultures sensed the threat.

Add to this the purposely instigated war in Chechnia and the destruction of the “Kursk” submarine, and the young President had an incredible lot on his plate, right from the start.

He had to make that start by seemingly playing along, to a point, with those that managed to get to some levers of power and control at the time, and then slowly, but surely he eliminated all of them from there, one by one. In the West it is known as ”draining the swamp”. He actually did that!

In Russia at present, no State Power or Control belongs to any of the so-called “oligarchs”- they are allowed to have ownership in some business enterprises (paying their taxes of course), but absolutely no power in top political structures. There are a few leftover liberals who still want to hang on to the western idea for Russia, but these people are very much marginalised now. Russia is a democracy not a dictatorship, in Parliament there are quite a few different flavours of various politicians, some quite colourful and entertaining, but the man in charge absolutely knows what he is doing.

The Russian President’s very first task was to re-build Russia’s military power, which he has done truly spectacularly. Russia is now several generations ahead of the rest of the world in its military capabilities. The Russian Constitution has been reviewed and necessary changes made through the people’s referendum. The economy is growing and so are the gold reserves. Next on the list will be the Central Bank, the globalist’s last hook that is still in Russia’s body. Believe me, VVP is working on that as we speak. All takes time. He is against a very powerful and evil entity that wants to be in an absolute control. Careful steps needed.

He is the President of the biggest country on the planet, with 11 time zones, a vast number of nationalities, with infrastructures that other countries cannot even imagine, he has former soviet republics taken over by the western interests that are trying to cause him as much headache there as they possibly can, good examples are Georgia and Ukraine. They are also trying to whip up as much Russophobia as possible, as well as doing other nefarious things, such as building Biolabs. He has an on-going military operation in Syria to eliminate the remnants of ISIS terrorists, which are still being supported and supplied by various players. He had to protect Belarus from the same fate as befell Ukraine, he has the deluded and “ the loose cannon” Turk to deal with, the pathetic EU quislings with their constant inane verbiage, and now he has another instigated war in South Caucuses.

For those who wonder why Russia is having so much trouble with the former Soviet Republics the answer is very simple. These, at the time of USSR break-up, had enthusiastically embraced their newly-found “independence from Russia” thinking that now they can be the ”little kingdoms” with their own “little king”, which is wonderful for one’s ego. Until then, as Dmitry Orlov had wryly observed, they were ”14 greedy little piglets” suckling on emaciated sow, Russia. Once that teat was taken away from them, they were left to fend for themselves and since such was obviously impossible to do – having their own “little kingdoms” and nothing to feed on, they all ran to look for a replacement teat, which was readily offered by the West. With lots of strings attached, obviously. In my previous essay I have already described what these former republics had become since then, so I will not repeat it here, but just to make a point–Russia does not interfere in their affairs, as far as Russia is concerned they are well and truly on their own. There is, of course, a high price to pay for the ungratefulness and the betrayal and that is something that all of them are paying now. Also, sometimes a hard lesson has to be learnt. I believe they are slowly learning that lesson.

At present, any Russian military involvements in these former Republics would be the absolute last resort, I have already explained what a provocation is.

On top of it all the Russian President is also facing the Anglo Zionist Cabal, with their agenda. And that agenda is to start a war with Russia; he is not giving them that chance, as the consequences for the world would be unthinkable. Through all of this he is holding steady and is in control. Meantime, he has re-built his Russia from the ruins, back to being a superpower once again.

Many in the West cannot understand or see that, as their MSM is feeding them something else with regard to Russia. Even here, on this site, we still have some people who are simply incapable of any comprehension as to what the Russian President has to deal with. To them he is either “not doing things fast enough” o,r not doing what they expected him to do, so, “he must be weak” or even some kind of the “western sell-out” then. Really!? Having closed minds has never been a great attribute.

Meantime in USA, there was a different kind of “fun and games” being played on those poor Americans by that very same Cabal. The late 80s – early 90s had also seen quite a lot of changes for US of A. This is when the cabal had decided it was the right time to take over the West’s mass media and education. The Cold War was over, Russia was not in position to be a serious opponent on the global chessboard anymore so, they made their move.

Some people, being adults in that time, no doubt will remember the sudden changes taking place in the large media organisations and what’s more, corporations, appearance of new cable networks, amalgamations, takeovers, sacking of journalists, editors, even directors – it was all happening at once, in USA, in UK, in Europe..

In schools, there suddenly appeared lots of new teachers and subjects, for example something called “social studies” and similar ones that were being introduced, and the subjects that actually gave kids some proper knowledge were taken out and replaced with this weird stuff.

Following that development, (and again some people might remember), was a sudden wave of most disturbing and strange accusations from the kids that their parents had sexually abused them in some ways. Lots of parents had been put through hell at the time. This is what THIS EVIL was doing to those kid’s brains. That was just the beginning, after three decades of such “education” we now have at least two generations of the horrendously brain/mind damaged people, unable to think objectively or even rationally, not looking for facts, unable to have a debate or even effectively communicate with each other face to face. They have been turned into something that can only be described as, yes.. sheeple or even zombies. No other words for them. Looking at them, everyone is with that phone in hand, either lost in that screen or holding that phone above the head to film something so that later they can post that on their FB or Twitter account. All of them doing that, all at the same time, as if some invisible power is controlling them. Which it is.

It is actually quite scary to think that this is the future generations that will soon be in “charge”.

For the Cabal, owing this Mass Media, it is now relatively easy for them to control and manipulate those minds, where they can get them instantly out on the streets, protesting or demonstrating against whatever, (as in “colour revolutions”), most of them probably wouldn’t even know why, but that doesn’t matter. It is that herd mentality.

Such total control of Mass Media also allows this Cabal to easily shape people’s perceptions on various situations and happenings in this world, let alone on issues back in the good old USA. How many Americans think that Iran is their enemy, that Russia is an even bigger enemy and now so is China? Unfortunately, I would say, quite a lot. Where do these perceptions come from? The MSM. All pervasive, powerful, unrelenting. The brainwashing goes on non-stop. Russia has been demonized to such an extent where it is now being made out to be some kind of caricature – on one hand, an all-powerful evil entity that can control your lives and even “influence your elections”, it is “an aggressor, invading Ukraine and annexing it’s territories”, it is planning to “control Europe through its energy supplies there”, “ it’s “bombing sick little children in hospitals in Syria”, but at the same time it is also nothing more than “a gas station masquerading as a country”, “its economy is going down the drain” and “its military is a joke” – all that sounds familiar? This Cabal must be thinking that Americans are absolutely dumb, ignorant and stupid morons, since they continue to feed them this garbage day after day. EVERY SINGLE THING they hear about Russia, or any other country that is supposed to be an enemy of US is a mind-numbing, made-up BS, which is being fed to them CONSTANTLY, and lots of them are swallowing this stinking pigswill. I assume that most of them don’t know any better and I actually feel sorry for them, being subjected to this kind of cruel mental tyranny. No other way to describe it – one can honestly feel sympathy for them as it is obviously very hard to shake yourself awake from that constant, induced, long-term stupor. We can only hope.

Here are few more words that I want to say, this time to the Americans – Russia, as I have said before, is NOT your enemy and never has been, all it wants from you is to STOP this aggressive posturing and provocations – that is not going to end well. Not for the Americans, not for anyone else in this world. Just stop it!

If this insane, deranged doctrine of “maximum pressure” and “containment” (!?) continues towards Russia, Russia will eventually respond. Those imbecilic “Dr Strangelove” characters, that should have been removed from the so-called “administration” long ago, are recklessly and stupidly provoking a very powerful, nuclear armed country and guess what is going to happen to YOUR country when that line is crossed. You, Americans, need to stop these madmen who actually BELIEVE that they can win a war against Russia!! Stop them before it’s too late. You had a great tradition of demonstrating against US instigated wars around the world – bring back that tradition. Right now this is needed more than ever!

You can also go out on the streets and demand that the mind-boggling, trillions of $ worth of military spending budget be spent on adequate health care, on crumbling infrastructure, on proper education, on re-building your economy, reducing massive unemployment (what figures you are fed there is another BS) and to reduce the hardships for the families that lots of them will be facing after this scamdemic is over. This is YOUR MONEY.

The world’s big hope is for US to get itself back to what it used to be. By that, to be once again, just another country on this our planet, the country that looks after its own interests and its own well-being, without trying to control all the others. Not being the world’s belligerent Hegemon that nobody wants and everyone hates. (You, Americans, have no idea just how much you are absolutely hated and despised around the world.)

If there is a will there is a way. Surely you must still have some honest politicians left there who love their country and who have not sold themselves to the Zionists. Commissions that can be set up to clean out your Banking and Wall Street rackets – the way it was done before. Cooperating, trading and dealing with the rest of the world in good faith and with good intentions, without any demands or impositions – you might even get some genuine allies at last, instead of having nothing but pathetic vassals. Closing hundreds(!) of your military bases all around the world and bringing these men back home to their families. Most imperative is to stop this deranged, insane and extremely dangerous “POWER PROJECTION” all around the globe. Tell us what is that all about, for Christ’s sake?! That will bring you nothing but grief.

Both Russia and China have embarked on a great journey of good will cooperation with mutual benefits, also for all of those that want to join in, and my absolute belief is that you, Americans, will do very well by joining them on that journey, as an equal partner. It is THE future for this world.

In conclusion I will repeat it once again – we ALL have ONE COMMON ENEMY, the parasite that needs to be destroyed before it destroys all of us. We must stop fighting among ourselves and concentrate our efforts towards THAT.

May God help us and give us the strength we need for the task.

More Pressure On Russia Will Have No Effect

20 years of Vladimir Putin in power: a timeline.

Source

October 17, 2020

Over the last years the U.S. and its EU puppies have ratcheted up their pressure on Russia. They seem to believe that they can compel Russia to follow their diktat. They can’t. But the illusion that Russia will finally snap, if only a few more sanctions ar applied or a few more houses in Russia’s neighborhood are set on fire, never goes away.

As Gilbert Doctorow describes the situation:

The fires burning at Russia’s borders in the Caucasus are an add-on to the disorder and conflict on its Western border in neighboring Belarus, where fuel is poured on daily by pyromaniacs at the head of the European Union acting surely in concert with Washington.

Yesterday we learned of the decision of the European Council to impose sanctions on President Lukashenko, a nearly unprecedented action when directed against the head of state of a sovereign nation.

It is easy enough to see that the real intent of the sanctions is to put pressure on the Kremlin, which is Lukashenko’s guarantor in power, to compound the several other measures being implemented simultaneously in the hope that Putin and his entourage will finally crack and submit to American global hegemony as Europe did long ago.

The anti-Russia full tilt ahead policy outlined above is going on against a background of the U.S. presidential electoral campaigns. The Democrats continue to try to depict Donald Trump as “Putin’s puppy,” as if the President has been kindly to his fellow autocrat while in office. Of course, under the dictates of the Democrat-controlled House and with the complicity of the anti-Russian staff in the State Department, in the Pentagon, American policy towards Russia over the entire period of Trump’s presidency has been one of never ending ratcheting up of military, informational, economic and other pressures in the hope that Vladimir Putin or his entourage would crack. Were it not for the nerves of steel of Mr. Putin and his close advisers, the irresponsible pressure policies outlined above could result in aggressive behavior and risk taking by Russia that would make the Cuban missile crisis look like child’s play.

The U.S. arms industry lobby, in form of the Atlantic Council, confirms the ‘western’ strategy Doctorow describes. It calls for ‘ramping up on Russia’ with even more sanctions:

Key to raising the costs to Russia is a more proactive transatlantic strategy for sanctions against the Russian economy and Putin’s power base, together with other steps to reduce Russian energy leverage and export revenue. A new NATO Russia policy should be pursued in tandem with the European Union (EU), which sets European sanctions policy and faces the same threats from Russian cyberattacks and disinformation. At a minimum, EU sanctions resulting from hostilities in Ukraine should be extended, like the Crimea sanctions, for one year rather than every six months. Better yet, allies and EU members should tighten sanctions further and extend them on an indefinite basis until Russia ends its aggression and takes concrete steps toward de-escalation.

It also wants Europe to pay for weapons in the Ukraine and Georgia:

A more dynamic NATO strategy for Russia should go hand in hand with a more proactive policy toward Ukraine and Georgia in the framework of an enhanced Black Sea strategy. The goal should be to boost both partners’ deterrence capacity and reduce Moscow’s ability to undermine their sovereignty even as NATO membership remains on the back burner for the time being.

As part of this expanded effort, European allies should do more to bolster Ukraine and Georgia’s ground, air, and naval capabilities, complementing the United States’ and Canada’s efforts that began in 2014.

The purpose of the whole campaign against Russia, explains the Atlantic Council author, is to subordinate it to U.S. demands:

Relations between the West and Moscow had begun to deteriorate even before Russia’s watershed invasion of Ukraine, driven principally by Moscow’s fear of the encroachment of Western values and their potential to undermine the Putin regime. With the possibility of a further sixteen years of Putin’s rule, most experts believe relations are likely to remain confrontational for years to come. They argue that the best the United States and its allies can do is manage this competition and discourage aggressive actions from Moscow. However, by pushing back against Russia more forcefully in the near and medium term, allies are more likely to eventually convince Moscow to return to compliance with the rules of the liberal international order and to mutually beneficial cooperation as envisaged under the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act.

The ‘rules of the liberal international order’ are of course whatever the U.S. claims they are. They may change at any moment and without notice to whatever new rules are the most convenient for U.S. foreign policy.

But as Doctorow said above, Putin and his advisors stay calm and ignore such trash despite all the hostility expressed against them.

One of Putin’s close advisors is of course Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In a wide ranging interview with Russian radio stations he recently touched on many of the issues Doctorow also mentions. With regards to U.S. strategy towards Russia Lavrov diagnoses:

Sergey Lavrov: […] You mentioned in one of your previous questions that no matter what we do, the West will try to hobble and restrain us, and undermine our efforts in the economy, politics, and technology. These are all elements of one approach.

Question: Their national security strategy states that they will do so.

Sergey Lavrov: Of course it does, but it is articulated in a way that decent people can still let go unnoticed, but it is being implemented in a manner that is nothing short of outrageous.

Question: You, too, can articulate things in a way that is different from what you would really like to say, correct?

Sergey Lavrov: It’s the other way round. I can use the language I’m not usually using to get the point across. However, they clearly want to throw us off balance, and not only by direct attacks on Russia in all possible and conceivable spheres by way of unscrupulous competition, illegitimate sanctions and the like, but also by unbalancing the situation near our borders, thus preventing us from focusing on creative activities. Nevertheless, regardless of the human instincts and the temptations to respond in the same vein, I’m convinced that we must abide by international law.

Russia does not accept the fidgety ‘rules of the liberal international order’.  Russia sticks to the law which is, in my view, a much stronger position. Yes, international law often gets broken. But as Lavrov said elsewhere, one does not abandon traffic rules only because of road accidents.

Russia stays calm, no matter what outrageous nonsense the U.S. and EU come up with. It can do that because it knows that it not only has moral superiority by sticking to the law but it also has the capability to win a fight. At one point the interviewer even jokes about that:

Question: As we say, if you don’t listen to Lavrov, you will listen to [Defense Minister] Shoigu.

Sergey Lavrov: I did see a T-shirt with that on it. Yes, it’s about that.

Yes, it’s about that. Russia is militarily secure and the ‘west’ knows that. It is one reason for the anti-Russian frenzy. Russia does not need to bother with the unprecedented hostility coming from Brussels and Washington. It can ignore it while taking care of its interests.

As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?

Posted by b on October 17, 2020 at 16:31 UTC | Permalink

Before the Bidens ‘Did’ Ukraine, There Was Iraq – and Serbia

Before The Bidens “Did” Ukraine, There Was Iraq… And Serbia – Finanz.dk
Analyst, former U.S. diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership

James George Jatras

October 16, 2020

The United States approaches the November 2020 election with growing apprehension, even dread.

Among the possibilities:

For those who have followed events outside the United States during the past few decades, much of this sounds familiar. We’ve seen it before – inflicted on other countries.

Now It’s Coming Home to the U.S.

As explained by Revolver News, what happens in America next to a great extent may be a form of blowback from a specific event: the U.S.-supported 2014 regime change operation in Ukraine:

‘A “Color Revolution” in this context refers to a specific type of coordinated attack that the United States government has been known to deploy against foreign regimes, particularly in Eastern Europe deemed to be “authoritarian” and hostile to American interests. Rather than using a direct military intervention to effect regime change as in Iraq, Color Revolutions attack a foreign regime by contesting its electoral legitimacy, organizing mass protests and acts of civil disobedience, and leveraging media contacts to ensure favorable coverage to their agenda in the Western press.

‘It would be disturbing enough to note a coordinated effort to use these exact same strategies and tactics domestically to undermine or overthrow President Trump. The ominous nature of what we see unfolding before us only truly hits home when one realizes that the people who specialize in these Color Revolution regime change operations overseas are, literally, the very same people attempting to overthrow Trump by using the very same playbook. Given that the most famous Color Revolution was the [2004] “Orange Revolution” in the Ukraine, and that Black Lives Matter is being used as a key component of the domestic Color Revolution against Trump, we can encapsulate our thesis at Revolver with the simple remark that “Black is the New Orange.”

This hardly should come as a surprise. The same government agencies and their corporate, NGO, and think tank cronies that are now weaponizing Black Lives Matter, Antifa, other Wokesters, and military putsch plotters here at home to remove Trump have turned regime change abroad into an art form. Ukraine was one of their signal successes, featuring a cast of characters later key to the failed “Ukrainegate” impeachment.

Another consequence of regime change: corruption. As the old saying goes, any idiot can turn an aquarium into fish soup, but no one has yet figured out how to reverse the process. Once a country gets broken it tends to stay broken, whether the “breaking” is accomplished by military means (Serbia 1999, Iraq 2003, Libya 2011) or by a color revolution from the streets (Serbia 2000, Georgia 2003, Ukraine 2004-2005 and again in 2014, Kyrgyzstan 2005, Lebanon 2005, Armenia 2018, plus many others of varying degrees of success, and failures in Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China (Hong Kong), and Belarus). With the target nation’s institutions in shambles, the dregs take over – in Libya, for example, even to the point of reintroducing trade in sub-Saharan African slaves, whose black lives evidently don’t matter to anyone at all.

Iraq: Crush, Corrupt, Cash In

Finally, once regime change occurs and corruption is rampant, another shoe drops: foreign vultures descend on the carcass, profiteers who in many cases are the very same people that helped to create the chaos on which they are cashing in. Invariably, these carpetbaggers are well-connected individuals in the aggressor states and organizations positioned on the inside track both for the carve-up of the target country’s resources and (the word “hypocrisy” doesn’t begin to describe it) for funds to implement “reform” and “reconstruction” of the devastated target.

The showcase of this scam, pursuant to Colin Powell’s reported “Pottery Barn Rule” (You break it, you own it) was the money ostensibly spent on rebuilding Iraq, despite assurances from the war’s advocates that it would pay for itself. With the formal costs conservatively set at over $60 billion to $138 billion out of a tab for the war of over two trillion dollars, the lion’s share of it went to U.S. and other vendors, including the notorious $1.4 billion no-bid contract to Halliburton subsidiary KBR, of which then-Vice President Dick Cheney, a major proponent of the war, had been a top executive. (“Rand Paul Says Dick Cheney Pushed for the Iraq War So Halliburton Would Profit.”)

In Ukraine, Biden’s Son Also Rises

The predatory cronyism vignette most pertinent to the Black/Orange regime change op now unfolding before us with the intent of installing Joe Biden in the Oval Office is that of his son, Hunter, and a Ukrainian energy company with a sketchy reputation, Burisma Holdings. (Right at the outset, even some of Hunter’s associates though the gig with Burisma was too “toxic” and broke off ties with him.) Though ignored or dismissed as fake news and a conspiracy theory by Democrats and legacy media (or do I repeat myself?), the facts are well enough known and fit the Iraq pattern to a T: then-Vice President Joe Biden pushed for regime change in Ukraine, which succeeded in February 2014 with the ouster of the constitutionally elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. In April 2014, Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was brought onto Burisma’s board (along with a fellow named Devon Archer, later convicted of unrelated fraud) at an exorbitant level of compensation that made little sense in light of Hunter’s nonexistent expertise in the energy business – but which made plenty of sense given that his dad was not only Veep but the Obama administration’s point man on policy toward Ukraine, including foreign assistance money. [NOTE: It now has come out that in 2015 Hunter put his dad, the U.S. Vice President, in direct contact with Burisma, news the giant tech firms sought to suppress on social media.]

When a troublesome Ukrainian prosecutor named Viktor Shokin seemed to be taking too much interest in Burisma, Papa Joe came to the rescue, openly threatening the western-dependent politicians installed after Ukraine’s 2014 color revolution with withholding of a billion dollars in U.S. aid until Shokin, whom Joe unironically alleged to be “corrupt,” got the heave-ho. As Tucker Carlson nails it, Shokin’s ouster followed a direct request from Burisma’s Clinton-connected PR firm, Blue Star Strategies, to Hunter to lobby his dad to get Shokin off their back. Joe did just what was asked. He later bragged: “I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here [i.e., Kiev] in, I think it was about six hours.’ I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.”

But First There Was Serbia

Today many people remember Iraq, some have a clue about Ukraine. But Serbia, which preceded them, is off the radar screen of most Americans. To recap:

As a Senator in the 1990s, Joe Biden was one of the most militant advocates of U.S. military action against Serbs during the breakup of the Yugoslav federation, first in Croatia (1991-95), then in Bosnia (1992-95), and then in Serbia’s province of Kosovo (1998- 1999). (As has been said about others like Hillary Clinton and the late John McCain, Biden evidently has never met a war he didn’t like. Along with Hillary, in 2003 Biden helped to whip Senate Democrat votes for the Bush-Cheney Iraq war.) Channeling his inner John McCain, Biden continually called for the U.S. to bomb, bomb, bomb bomb the Serbs while (in a foreshadowing of the Obama-Biden administration’s support for jihad terrorists in Libya and Syria, which ultimately resulted in the appearance of ISIS) pushed successfully for sending weapons to the Islamist regime in Bosnia and then for the U.S. to arm the Islamo-narco-terrorist group known as the “Kosovo Liberation Army” (KLA).

Joe Biden was the primary sponsor of the March 1999 Kosovo war authorization for military action against Serbia and Montenegro, S. Con. Res. 21. (As a little remembered historical note, Biden’s resolution might be seen as the last nail in the coffin of Congress’s constitutional war power. While S. Con. Res 21 passed the Senate, it failed in the House on a 213-213 tie vote, with Republicans overwhelmingly voting Nay. It didn’t matter. Bill Clinton, reeling from the Lewinsky scandal, went ahead with the bombing campaign anyway.) The ensuing 78-day NATO air operation had little impact on Serbia’s military but devastated the country’s infrastructure and took hundreds of civilian lives. (Even now, more than 20 years later, Serbia suffers from elevated cancer levels attributed to depleted uranium munitions.) But for Jihad Joe even that wasn’t punishment enough for people he collectively demonized as “illiterate degenerates, baby killers, butchers, and rapists.” In May 1999, at the height of the NATO air assault, he called for the introduction of U.S. ground troops (“we should announce there’s going to be American casualties”) followed by “a Japanese-German style occupation.”

Eventually the bombing stopped in June 1999 when then-Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević acceded to temporary international occupation of Kosovo on the condition that the province would remain part of Serbia, as codified in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. It was a promise the U.S. and NATO, not to mention their European Union (EU) concubine, had no intention of keeping. Under the nose of the NATO occupation, ostensibly demobilized KLA thugs were given virtually free rein to terrorize the Serbian population, two-thirds of whom were driven out along with Jews and Roma, the rest sheltering in enclaves where they remain to this day. Orthodox Christian churches and monasteries, many of them centuries old, were particular targets for destruction and desecration. KLA commanders – who were also kingpins in the Kosovo Albanian mafia dealing in sex slaves, drugs, weapons, and even human organs – were handed local administration.

In 2007 Senator Biden praised the new order as a “victory for Muslim democracy” and “a much-needed example of a successful U.S.-Muslim partnership.” A year later, the Bush administration sought to complete the job by ramming through Kosovo’s independence in barefaced violation of UNSCR 1244 and despite strong Russian objections. But instead of resolving anything the result was a frozen conflict that persists today, with about half of the United Nations’ member states recognizing Kosovo and half not. Touting itself as the most pro-American “country” [sic] in the world, the Kosovo pseudo-state became a prime recruiting ground for ISIS.

But hey, business was good! Just as in Iraq, the politically well-connected, including former officials instrumental in the attack on Serbia and occupying Kosovo, flocked to the province fueled by lavish aid subsidies from the U.S. and the EU, which for a while made Kosovo one of the biggest per capita foreign assistance recipient “countries” in the world. One such vulture – sorry, entrepreneur – was former Secretary of State Madeleine we-think-a-half-million-dead-Iraqi-children-is-worth-it Albright, a prominent driver of the Clinton administration’s hostile policy on top of her personal Serb-hatred. Albright sought to cash in to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars on sale of the mobile telephone company PTK, originally a Yugoslav state-owned firm that was “privatized” (i.e., stolen) in 2005 as a joint stock company, but who later dropped her bid when it attracted unwanted publicity. Also in the hunt for Kosovo riches was former NATO Supreme Commander and operational chief of the Kosovo war General Wesley Clark, who reportedly cornered a major share of the occupied province’s coal resources under a sweetheart deal that seems to have vanished from public scrutiny since first reported in 2016.

At the moment there seems to be no smoking gun of a direct Biden family payout, à la Ukraine, but there is a possible trail via Hunter’s Burisma-buddy Devon Archer and Archer’s fellow-defendant John “Yanni” Galanis, who in turn is connected to top Kosovo Albanian politicians. In any case, the Biden clan seems to have paid a lot of attention to Kosovo for not having skin in the game. Joe’s late son and Delaware Attorney General, Beau, worked in Kosovo following the war to train local prosecutors as part of an OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) “rule of law” mission (admittedly a big task in a mafia-run pseudo-state), for which a road was named after him near the massive U.S. base Camp Bondsteel. With Hunter on hand for the naming ceremony, Joe Biden took the opportunity to express his “condolences” to Serbian families who lost loved ones in the NATO air assault – of which he was a primary advocate.

A ‘Shokin’ Demand  

Perhaps the best parallel between Biden’s handiwork in Ukraine and his interest in Kosovo also relates to getting rid of an inconvenient individual. But in this case, the person in question wasn’t a state official like Burisma prosecutor Viktor Shokin but a hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

In May 2009 Vice President Biden insisted on visiting one of Kosovo’s most venerable Serbian Orthodox Christian sites, the Visoki Dečani monastery. Ruling Bishop Artemije of the Eparchy of Raška and Prizren, which includes Kosovo and Metohija, refused to give his blessing for the visit, in effect telling Biden he was not welcome. Bishop Artemije long had been a bane of Biden and others advocating detachment of Kosovo from Serbia, starting with his first mission to Washington in 1997 as war clouds gathered. In 2004 Bishop Artemije sued the NATO powers in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg following their inaction to protect his flock during an anti-Serbian rampage by Muslim Albanian militants in March of that year. Then, in March 2006, as preparations were underway for a “final solution” to the Kosovo issue, Bishop Artemije launched an intensive multinational lobbying and public relations effort (in which Yours Truly was the lead professional) to try to derail the U.S. policy to which Biden had devoted so much attention. While the Bishop’s campaign was unsuccessful in reversing U.S. policy it was instrumental in delaying it for over a year – to howls of outrage from Biden’s associates in Washington. Thus, for Biden, the monastery visit snub by Bishop Artemije was adding insult to injury.

The end for Bishop Artemije came a few months later, at the beginning of 2010 at the time of two visits to Kosovo by U.S. Admiral Mark P. Fitzgerald, then Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, and Commander, Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples, (who retired later that year, becoming, unsurprisingly, a consultant “with numerous defense and commercial maritime and aviation contractors”). At that time, an unconfirmed report indicated that a high NATO officer (whether Admiral Fitzgerald or someone else is not specified) stated in the course of one of his local meetings (this is verbatim or a close paraphrase): “What we need here is a more cooperative bishop.” (More details are available here. Since that posting last year the NATO command in Naples seems to have scrubbed the items about Fitzgerald’s 2010 visits from their site.)

Shortly afterwards, Biden’s troublesome priest was forcibly removed by police and exiled from his see, without ecclesiastical trial, by Church authorities in Belgrade under pressure from compliant Serbian politicians installed after the October 2000 color revolution, in turn pressured by NATO. The pretext? Transparently baseless charges of financial wrongdoing. In other words, bogus accusations of “corruption” – like against Ukraine’s Shokin.

One could almost hear Joe Biden chortle: “Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.”

But Look at the Bright Side…

Back to the incipient coup facing the United States, there should be no illusion that what’s at stake in the unfolding scenario for the removal of Donald Trump is not just his presidency but the survival of the historic American ethnos of which he is seen as an avatar by both his supporters and detractors. Remember, we’re dealing with predators and scavengers who are happy to burn the old, evil America down as long as they can achieve total power and continue to feather their cushy nests. Short of a blowout Trump victory by a margin too big to hijack, we’re headed for a dystopian state of affairs.

If they do manage to remove Trump, “by any means necessary,” and Joe Biden takes the helm, we can anticipate a bevy of globalist warmonger appointees that make Trump’s team look like disciples of Mahatma Gandhi. Among the names floated like Nicholas BurnsAntony BlinkenMichele FlournoyEvelyn Farkas, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, all were on board with Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria … [NOTE: The Atlantic Council, known as NATO’s semi-official think tank in Washington and which will be instrumental in staffing a future Joe Biden administration, also has been the beneficiary of generous donations from Hunter Biden’s paymaster, Burisma.]

It’s a recipe for wars, regime changes, and color revolutions galore.

But to finish on a positive note, the potential future business opportunities will be endless!

A New Wall For A New Cold War?

Source

12 OCTOBER 2020

A New Wall For A New Cold War?

The head of the prestigious Munich Security Conference warned late last month against efforts to “build a new ‘wall’ between Russia and the West” in light of the Navalny incident and the many other disagreements between both sides, and while it’s unrealistic to expect another Berlin Wall-like physical division of Europe, there’s no denying that their different governing models have created a sharp split across the continent.

Welcome To The New Cold War

Last month will probably go down in history as the moment when the New Cold War became impossible to deny. The US has been attempting to rekindle its fading unipolarity since the onset of its coordinated Hybrid War “containment” campaigns against Russia and China in 2014, which only intensified in the aftermath of Trump’s election. The leaders of all three countries addressed the UN General Assembly (UNGA) by video in a series of speeches that laid bare these two sides’ contradictory assessments of contemporary global affairs and related visions of the future. Their keynote speeches were preceded by UN Secretary General Guterres warning the world that “We must do everything to avoid a New Cold War.” Trump obviously didn’t listen to him, which is why the head of the prestigious Munich Security Conference (MSC) followed up that global representative’s warning with his own at the end of that historic week cautioning that “It will result in nothing if we now try to build a new ‘wall’ between Russia and the West because of Navalny and other sad and terrible events.” It’s his dramatic words that form the basis of the present article.

The US’ Hybrid War On Russia

There are many angles through which the ongoing global competition can be analyzed, but the prospect of a new wall of some sort or another accompanying the New Cold War in Europe is among the most intriguing. The MSC head presumably isn’t implying the creation of a 21st-century Berlin Wall, but seems to be speaking more generally about his fear that the growing divisions between Russia and the West will soon become irreversible and potentially even formalized as the new status quo. The author wrote last month that “The US’ Hybrid War On Russian Energy Targets Germany, Belarus, And Bulgaria”, pointing out how even the partial success of this latest “containment” campaign will greatly advance the scenario of an externally provoked “decoupling” between Russia and the West. That would in turn help secure American grand strategic interests in the continent. This “decoupling” would reverse the progress that was made in bilateral relations since the end of the Old Cold War up until the Ukrainian Crisis. Taken to its maximum extent, the spiritual return of the Berlin Wall seems almost inevitable at this point.

Governing Differences

It’s true that the border between the NATO countries and Russia’s CSTO (which importantly includes Hybrid War-targeted Belarus) represents the modern-day military equivalent of the “Iron Curtain”, but the situation isn’t as simple as that. While military divisions remain (albeit pushed much further eastward over the past three decades), ideological and economic ones are less apparent. Russia no long ascribes to communism but follows its own national variant of democracy within a mostly capitalist system, thus reducing the structural differences between itself and its Western counterparts. Unaware observers might wonder why there’s even a New Cold War to begin with when considering how much both sides have in common with one another, but that overlooks their contradictory worldviews which lie at the heart of their mutual suspicions. Russia strongly believes in safeguarding its geopolitical and domestic socio-political sovereignty so it accordingly follows a more conservative path whereas Western countries mostly submit to the US’ authority and generally regard their liberal position on many social issues as universalist.

The End Of The “Great Convergence”

The reason why the thaw in Russian-Western relations failed to achieve the “Great Convergence” that Gorbachev originally hoped for was because the US wanted to impose its will onto Russia by treating it as just another vassal state that would be forced to follow its lead abroad and accept extreme liberal social mandates at home instead of respecting it as an equal partner. Nevertheless, this policy was actually surprisingly successful all throughout the 1990s under Yeltsin, but its fatal flaw was that it went much too far too quickly by attempting to dissolve the Russian Federation through American support for Chechen separatist-terrorist groups. That inadvertently provoked a very patriotic reaction from the responsible members of Russia’s military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) who worked together to ensure their motherland’s survival in the face of this existential crisis. The end result was that Putin succeeded Yeltsin and subsequently set about to systematically save Russia. This took the form of stabilizing the security situation at home in parallel with reasserting Russia on the world stage.

The “Russian Model”

Putin, though, was always a liberal in the traditional (not post-modern) sense. He never lost his appreciation for Western civilization and sincerely wanted to complete Gorbachev’s hoped-for “Great Convergence”, though only on equal terms and not as a US vassal. Regrettably, the Russian leader’s many olive branches were slapped away by an angry America which feared the influence that a powerful “moderately liberal” state could have on its hyper-liberal subjects. All of Putin’s efforts to take the “Great Convergence” to its next logical step of a “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” failed for this reason, after which an intense information warfare campaign was waged to portray Russia was a “radical right-wing state” even though it was never anything of the sort. This modus operandi was intended to prevent Europe’s indoctrinated masses from ever countenancing whether a “moderate” alternative exists whereby they’d preserve their domestic and international sovereignty despite remaining committed to traditional liberal values, just like the “Russian model” that Putin pioneered. Understandably, this would pose a serious threat to American strategic interests, hence the campaign against it.

The Rise Of America’s Russian Rival

As time went on, the “Russian model” was partially replicated in some of the countries of Central Europe such as Poland and even within the US itself through Trump’s election, though this wasn’t due to any so-called “Russian meddling” but was a natural result of the ideological interplay between radical and “moderate” liberals. It just so happened that Russia was the first country to implement this model not because of anything uniquely “Russian” within its society, but simply as the most pragmatic survival plan considering the extremely difficult circumstances of the 1990s and attendant limits on the country’s strategic maneuverability during that time. It was considered by the patriotic members of Russia’s “deep state” to be much too risky to reverse the direction of post-Soviet reforms, hence why the decision seems to have been made to continue with them, though doing all in the country’s power to regain control over these processes from Russia’s Western overlords in order to protect national geopolitical and domestic socio-political interests. This struggle led to Russia becoming an alternative pole of influence (in the governance sense) within the “Greater West”, rivaling the US.

Hillary & Trump: Same Anti-Russian Strategy, Different Infowar Tactics

With this insight in mind, the New Cold War was inevitable in hindsight. Had Hillary been elected, then the infowar narrative would have focused more on Russia’s different “values”, seeking to present its target as a “threat to the (hyper-liberal) Western way of life”. Since Trump’s America interestingly enough shares many of the same values as contemporary Russia does, however, the focus is on geopolitical differences instead. From the prism of International Relations theory, Hillary’s angle of attack against Russia would have been more liberal whereas Trump’s is more realist. Either way, both American leaders (theoretical in the first sense and actual in the second) have every reason to fear Russia since it challenges the US’ unipolar dominance in Europe. Hillary would have wanted to portray Russia as being outside of the “Western family of nations”, though Trump can’t convincingly do that given his much more high-profile provocations against obviously non-Western China, hence why he’s basically competing with Russia for leadership of the “moderate” liberal model of Western civilization, ergo accepting their structural similarities but instead over-hyping their geopolitical differences.

Post-Soviet Russia’s Irreversible Impact On Western Civilization

Taking all of the aforementioned into account, it’s understandable why the US wants to build a “new wall” in Europe by “decoupling” its NATO-captive subjects from Russia through a series of Hybrid Wars, though the genie is out of the bottle since some Central European countries like Poland the even the US itself under Trump already implement elements of the “Russian model”. This means that while the physical separation of Russia and Europe along military, geopolitical, and soon perhaps even economic-energy lines is practically a fait accompli at this point, the ideological-structural influence emanating from Moscow is impossible to “contain”. No “wall” will reverse the impact that the “Russian model” has had on the course of Western civilization, though it should be remembered that the aforesaid model wasn’t part of some “cunning 5D chess plan” but an impromptu survival tactic that was triggered in response to American unipolar-universalist soft power aggression on post-Soviet Russia. It’s not distinctly “Russian”, which is why the hyper-liberal Western elite fear it so much since they know very well that it could take root in their countries too, just like in Poland and the US.

Concluding Thoughts

The typical Western mind is conditioned to think in terms of models, especially historical ones, which is why they imagine that the New Cold War will closely resemble the Old Cold War simply because of the effect that neuro-linguistic programming has on their thought process. This explains why the MSC head warned against the creation of a “new wall” between Russia and the West even though no such scenario is realistic. No physical barrier like the Berlin Wall will ever be erected again, and even though the geopolitical, military, and perhaps even soon economic-energy fault lines between them might become formalized through the impending success of the US’ “decoupling” strategy, this will not address the root cause of the New Cold War which lies with Russia’s “moderately liberal” model of state sovereignty in contrast to the US’ (former?) hyper-liberal universalist one of state vasselhood. It’s this difference that’s primarily responsible for every other dimension of their competition since it placed Russia on the trajectory of supporting a Multipolar World Order instead of the US’ hoped-for Unipolar World Order.By Andrew KorybkoAmerican political analyst

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions during the meeting with members of the Association of European Businesses in Russia, Moscow, October 5, 2020

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions during the meeting with members of the Association of European Businesses in Russia, Moscow, October 5, 2020

October 08, 2020

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Mr Vanderplaetse,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Colleagues,

Thank you for the opportunity to address once again the members of the Association of European Businesses in the Russian Federation. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the 25th anniversary of your association. We appreciate your efforts to promote our economic, investment and trade ties, laying a solid foundation for building good relations between us and the countries you represent.

Here at the Foreign Ministry we value opportunities for dialogue with European entrepreneurs aimed at pushing forward a pragmatic, politics-free and mutually beneficial agenda. At the end of the day, these efforts are designed to improve the wellbeing of the people in Russia and in your countries. Holding regular meetings in this format has become a good tradition, testifying to our mutual commitment to keeping this dialogue going.

Since our previous meeting last year, in fact more than a year ago, the overall global environment has not become any easier, seriously affecting business activity. For many years now, the problems of international terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime have been escalating around the world. Regional conflicts continue unabated and their number is growing. Recently, the coronavirus infection emerged as a new and a very serious challenge for all of humanity. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it changed the lives of billions of people overnight. Today, no one can say with certainty when the pandemic will end. I will not elaborate here on how the interruption of global supply chains affects global trade. Unemployment is on the rise in many countries. All this weighs on the global economy, which will have to go through a lengthy and probably challenging recovery.

Speaking broadly, in the global context, the pandemic has yet again highlighted what we have long been talking about, that all countries without exception are interconnected, regardless of their geography, size and the level of economic development. All of them have been affected. This is how the pandemic has shown again that cross-border issues cannot be disregarded in this globalised world.

We believed that the conclusion was obvious, that the common tasks and challenges should bring all of us together based on the universally recognised norms of international law. Regrettably, this has not happened so far.  Quite to the contrary, some of our Western colleagues led by the United States have tried to take advantage of the novel coronavirus crisis to promote their narrow interests even more energetically and to settle scores with their geopolitical rivals. The appeals by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to suspend the illegitimate unilateral sanctions at least during the pandemic, primarily to allow the delivery of medicines and medical equipment as well as the necessary financial transactions, have fallen on deaf ears. Likewise, they have paid no heed to the initiative, put forth by President Vladimir Putin at the online G20 meeting, for setting up green corridors free from trade wars and sanctions to supply medications, food, equipment and technologies. This attitude to unifying initiatives is seriously poisoning the atmosphere of international cooperation and increasing the lack of mutual trust, damaging not only ordinary people, who have been affected first of all, but also the business circles. You know this better than anyone.

These alarming trends have also affected Russia-EU relations. There are hardly any positive achievements to speak about. Since 2014, when the European Union flagrantly violated its own pledge to guarantee the agreement between President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition, it has not just accepted the coup but has actually been encouraging those who seized power in Ukraine illegally and in violation of the Constitution. In particular, the EU has turned a blind eye to the fact that the coup plotters’ policy is based on Russophobia, and that they threatened to oust Russians from Crimea and tried to browbeat the Russian-speaking regions which refused to recognise the coup and said they wanted to sort out the situation. They were denounced as terrorists, even though they had not attacked anyone, and the army and Ukrainian security forces were sent to fight them. As I said, they have been designated terrorists for refusing to recognise the coup.

Since then, the EU, probably becoming aware of its negative role in these processes but still trying to shift the blame onto someone else. Since 2014, it has ruined the multilevel architecture of interaction between Brussels and Moscow, from summit meetings to over two dozen sectoral dialogues. The programme of four common spaces has been abandoned. To this very day, the normalisation of our relations is being artificially conditioned on the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Moreover, they say openly that it is the Russian Federation that must do this. Meanwhile, our Ukrainian colleagues have announced once again through their leaders, as you probably know, that the Minsk agreements should be preserved as the basis of the EU and US sanctions against Russia. This is their logic.

Of course, we will insist on the implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures, which has been approved by the UN Security Council, but we will not do this because we want the EU to lift its sanctions. We will do this above all in the interests of the fraternal Ukrainian people, who are suffering from what has been recently going on in Kiev and other parts of their country.

Restrictions are still retained on Russian economic operators’ access to external financial markets. European producers, too, continue to sustain multi-billion losses. The other day, we became aware that Sweden has taken yet another discriminatory step. A Swedish company, Quintus Technologies AB, has refused to supply spare parts for GAZ Group’s industrial press, under an absolutely far-fetched pretext. Allegedly, the equipment is of a military nature and has a dual purpose. This is absolutely artificial logic. This press has been in use since 2009, and never before, including the entire period of crisis in our relations after the coup in Ukraine, have the Swedish regulators entertained any doubts. Judging by all appearances, this is by far not the last example, where the wish to curry favour with those who lay down the West’s geopolitical line prevails over commonsense and own interests. Of course, this will also affect Swedish businesses that cooperate with the GAZ Group and the company’s employees.

Regrettably, we have to state that the EU agencies continue their shortsighted policies. In particular, this refers to the EU member countries that have proclaimed themselves “frontline” states. Their mood is also “frontline” and they pursue “frontline” policies. Let me note that in July, the EU set into motion, under an absolutely far-fetched pretext, its 2019 framework for unilateral sanctions against violations of certain “rules” in the cyberspace, which rules have not yet been coordinated on a universal basis. Invented last year, this generic regime, as they decided, should be “test-driven” in practice over Russian citizens. Without providing any real evidence, they have accused them of launching a cyber attack against the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. Created in 2019, this regime is not the only one of its kind. The EU has spawned, also within its “inner circle,” yet another generic regime punishing violations in the field of employment of toxic chemicals, or, to put it in a nutshell, the use of prohibited types of chemicals that are chemical weapons. It is intended to be used in specific situations. I have no doubt that they will be attempting to apply this regime to the situation involving Alexey Navalny. Moreover, there is no need to “test-drive” or discuss the facts for this on a universal basis either.

Our French colleagues, again unilaterally, have established the so-called “partnership against impunity for the use of chemical weapons,” a structure outside of the UN or any universal and generally approved international legal framework. But a narrow circle of soul-mates will establish so called “facts,” whereupon a unilaterally created EU organisation intended to punish those who are allegedly guilty of violations will approve sanctions, based on these unilaterally established “facts.” All of this is sad and makes one think that our Western colleagues’ talk of the need for everyone to respect the rules-based order is not just a figure of speech or a synonym of the need to respect international law, but a conscious policy to substitute unilateral and illegitimate actions for the universal international legal framework that requires a consensus of all states in order to approve relevant conventions.

We are interested in establishing the truth regarding Alexey Navalny. That said, this is an outrageous situation that is unfolding following the exact same scenario as in the so-called Skripal case, when accusations were made without presenting any evidence. As you are aware, Russia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office sent requests under the 1959 European Convention for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters to the relevant agencies in Germany, France and Sweden, where the required tests were allegedly carried out. Under the protocols to this convention they were asked to share information on the results of these tests. We were told that no action will be taken under this convention, which in itself is a violation, and that the results were handed over to the OPCW. They told us to wait for this organisation to release the results of its tests. However, the OPCW informed us that they continue investigating this matter and the samples they collected (it is unclear who collected them and when). We were told that once they are finished, they will communicate the results to Germany, since the request came from there, leaving it to Germany to decide whether to share this information with us. This is a travesty of common sense, and I believe that everyone understands this, including our Western colleagues who deny our requests that are based on a binding international convention. It seems that their Russophobic fervour is so strong that it prevents them from exercising good judgement.

We regret that trade and economic cooperation is becoming increasingly politicised. I have just cited some examples. Trade and economy have always been viewed as a safety net in relations among nations. Nowadays though, things seem to have shifted into a somewhat different phase. I remember so well that in 2014 German businesses called on the European Union and its agencies not to place politics above the economy in its approach to Ukrainian affairs. At the time it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said that there are cases when politics must be above economics. This is regrettable.

We are now witnessing another example. The European Commission has drafted a report with a long title: Report on Significant Distortions in the Economy of the Russian Federation for the Purpose of Trade Defence Investigations. You probably understand what this is all about. The document is clearly biased and can lead to new restrictions on the access of Russian goods to the EU market. You know that this will definitely prompt us to reply. In particular, this report presents regulatory measures that are totally legitimate, including in energy, transport and labour resources, as distortions in the Russian economy. We also have questions regarding another EU initiative. I am referring to the key element of the European Green Deal, the so-called carbon border adjustment mechanism. Brussels said that it will be enacted not later than on January 1, 2023 in one form or another. For now, we are looking into what this initiative actually means. We do hope that this mechanism would not contradict the World Trade Organisation (WTO) norms and will not lead to “trade protectionism on climate issues.” We would like to avoid having to take retaliatory measures. I believe now is not the time for trade wars, even in the current politicised environment.

I will not elaborate too much on the games with Nord Stream 2. It all started quite a few years ago when the EU retrospectively amended the gas directive within its Third Energy Package just to make it harder to carry out this project. This ran counter to all legal norms and established practices approved by all countries. It was with great difficulty that compromises were found. This did not prevent things from going awry afterwards. When the end of the project was on the horizon, a new factor emerged in the form of the heavy hand of the United States that stated its open and unscrupulous intention to derail this project for Russia and the Europeans in order to force the US LNG on the Europeans. They are franticly creating LNG capabilities. Washington claims that these measures are designed to support US producers. This is a gloves-off approach free from any ethical boundaries. They do not seem to be concerned with the fact that higher costs for buying expensive gas will undermine the competitiveness of entire European manufacturing sectors. In fact, this suits the US.

Politicised energy cooperation is yet another blow at the foundations of what we call European security. Energy is the area of cooperation dating back over 50 years. We recently marked the anniversary with our Austrian colleagues. Energy was always left outside any forms of confrontation during the Cold War. Our joint energy programme and cooperation have survived the dissolution of some states and the formation of others; they have always served the long-term interests of all European nations, including the Russian Federation.

Protectionism and other barriers and restrictions will only aggravate the economic situation, which is already complicated. By the way, we noted that the BusinessEurope Confederation of European Business recently published recommendations aimed at protecting European businesses amidst sanctions-related restrictions. The document directly states that the weaponisation of the sanctions policy to pursue economic interests is unacceptable. It may seem obvious but as things go nowadays, it takes a lot of courage to say something as obvious as this.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Russian leadership is implementing measures to support the public and businesses in the face of COVID-19 related problems. We are doing everything we can, considering certain minimum requirements of the epidemiological authorities, to help return foreign workers to Russia, which you are well aware of. You have made respective requests and requests continue to come in. We will continue to process them promptly. We expect that, according to the forecasts made in Russia and foreign capitals (including multilateral institutions), the depth of the economic decline in our country will not be as significant as in many other countries, including the eurozone.

Our potential for countering infectious diseases is becoming increasingly more effective. We have learned a lot while taking practical measures to fight this challenge. Relying on our past experience in countering various pandemics, we managed to develop a series of test systems to diagnose the coronavirus and launch the production of drugs to treat it efficiently. As you know, we registered the Sputnik V vaccine. Registration of one or two more vaccines developed by the Vector Research Centre is being finalised. We support sharing experience in this area and cooperating with all interested countries because it is important for overcoming the consequences of our common emergency once and for all. As you know, speaking at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly via videoconference, President Vladimir Putin proposed an initiative of holding a high-level online conference involving the states interested in cooperation on developing coronavirus vaccines. We hope to receive a constructive response to this important proposal.

Before concluding my opening remarks, I would just like to say a few more words about the main subject on our agenda today: as we have already seen more than once, economic interdependence can be both a boon and a bane. I don’t really think that anything good will come out of this if the EU continues to see its partners as some “appendages” of the Eurocentric world. The world that was based on the central role of Europe has become history, not regrettably or happily but objectively. The drivers of economic growth and political influence are now in the East. The new polycentric reality calls for new approaches in politics and the economy. The “leader-follower” relationship is no longer tenable. What we need now is respect for the fundamental principle of equality.

Nowadays we must help the global economy through this difficult period and ensure its consistent post-COVID development. This goal should unite all of us, because this is about the welfare of all nations. We call for finding new growth points in order to overcome the global recession. It is crucial in this respect to combine the potentials of the various integration initiatives that are being implemented throughout Eurasia. This is the objective of President Putin’s initiative on the Greater Eurasian Partnership based on the universal principles of international law and transparency and open to all countries of our huge common continent without exception. You are aware that we are actively promoting dialogue on this subject within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), as well as in relations with ASEAN nations. While doing so, we point out that we would like all countries of our common continent to join this process, both members of regional associations and the unaligned countries. This means that the EU countries could also take a look at this initiative with regard to their own interests, the interests of European businesses, including the possibility of easy access to the rapidly growing markets and new transit routes within the framework of this project. We have a starting point for launching this work in earnest. I am referring to the contacts created at the technical level between the European Commission and the Eurasian Economic Commission. We would like these contacts to break out of the restrictions of technical and regulatory issues. We would like our discussions to move over to a political level and to acquire a political vision of the development of Eurasia, which will become a global economic driver – there is no doubt about this.

We firmly believe that it is in our common interests to prevent the appearance of undesirable dividing lines in the new economic spheres created by the new technological paradigm. Energy and industry are becoming ever greener and all spheres of human activity, including the work of economic operators, are being digitalised. It is our strong conviction that this calls for combining efforts rather than trying to play zero sum games again, as was the case in the past. We are ready for cooperation on the broadest possible basis.

Thank you. I am now ready for the interactive part of our meeting.

Question: There is a saying in my native German language that smart people give way in a dispute. What steps would Russia be ready to make in this regard? What opportunities do you see for giving an impetus to this process and putting it back on a more constructive trajectory? What mechanisms and measures do you see for shielding small islands of cooperation from the collateral damage caused by geopolitical rivalry?

Sergey Lavrov: As far as I can see, the way you used this German saying (smart people giving way in a dispute) suggests that you are certain that the West will never give way.

I also see this in the way many of the ongoing developments are unfolding. In particular, this refers to the complaints we hear. Russia invariably owes something regardless of the international matter, be it Syria, Libya or Belarus. The same goes for Alexey Navalny, any cyber affairs and poisonings. But no evidence is presented. Moreover, when we question their claims and findings, in this case I am referring to the Bundeswehr laboratory, or to the Porton Down laboratory in the Skripal case, they see this as an insult. But no evidence was presented. Our German colleagues are now telling us that this is our problem and that the poisoning took place on Russian territory, so they don’t know anything. Go ahead and open a criminal case, but we will not give you anything, they tell us.

By the way, I remember a rather gruesome episode in our relations with Germany when there was a problem in 2016 with Yelizaveta Fesenko, a Russian underage girl. She disappeared and the search continued for quite a long time. She later resurfaced and said that she had been raped. It turned out that she had not been raped but Germany still opened a criminal case on child sexual abuse charges. One of the defendants received a suspended sentence. But when we tried to become involved to help the girl (apart from a German citizenship she also is a citizen of the Russian Federation) and asked our German colleagues to explain what happened, we faced an outpouring of resentment, including a statement by then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who said that Russia should not interfere in Germany’s domestic affairs or use this incident for propaganda purposes. This is a similar case. Something happened to a Russian national on German territory. When we asked to explain what had happened they told us that it’s not our business and asked us not to interfere in their domestic affairs. When now we asked our German colleagues to share their findings after analysing Alexey Navalny’s test samples, they referred us to the OPCW. The OPCW referred us to Germany, arguing that it was Germany that filed the request, while Russia should have had the same findings as Berlin. However, the doctors in Omsk passed on to the Germans the results of all the tests they ran and everything they did. When the Germans came to transport Alexey Navalny to Germany, they signed papers confirming that they received all the information. Moreover, Alexey Navalny’s spouse signed a document assuming responsibility for all the consequences of his transfer to Germany, since our doctors were not convinced that this was safe. It is true that they did not find any traces of weapon-grade toxic substances. They honestly said so. Let me draw your attention to the fact that the Charite clinic did not find any toxic agents from the so-called Novichok group in Navalny’s samples either. It was the Bundeswehr clinic that made these findings. We still do not know whether the French and the Swedes collected the samples themselves or the Germans simply passed on these samples to them. The fact that our partners are trying to keep this secret, muddying the waters, is a matter of serious concern for us. We want to get to the truth and will pursue this objective. I don’t know what to do with this. Now we are being accused of the developments in the Central African Republic, and they are trying to pin the blame for something that happened in Mozambique on us as well. We stand accused of everything no matter where it occurs.

When US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, his deputies and other members of the US administration travel around the world, they openly call on their partners during news conferences in Africa, Greece or elsewhere to stop cooperating with Russia and China. These statements are being made officially and unceremoniously, for everyone to hear. It is difficult for me to say now what concessions we can make when it comes to this situation.

As your board chairman has already mentioned, it is good that the ties with the EU are being revived. Yes, they are indeed being revived, but only in specific areas, such as Syria, Libya and Africa – we have recently held such consultations. However, we do not see a systemic approach to our relations on the global and hugely important political plane.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell is a good friend of mine. We spoke with him earlier  this year on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. In June, we talked for two hours via videoconference. We discussed all topics in great detail. There is a common understanding that we need to review the situation, at least so as to see if the EU policy based on sanctions is really effective. This is for the EU to do. In our opinion, it is a flawed policy. Sanctions damage both those against whom they are applied and those who apply them. You are aware that we are trying to abandon all forms of cooperation that can strengthen our dependence on Europe, including in the fields of technology and agricultural goods. I believe that we have achieved good results with this. We are probably doing this because we are no longer sure that our European partners will honour their commitments. I have cited the example of Nord Stream 2. It would seem that the EU’s Legal Service has long analysed this project and concluded that it is good and does not contradict any EU norms. Nevertheless, the question has been reopened and the rules have been changed. Is this how reliable partners act? Moreover, this is being done contrary to the fact that companies from the five respected “old” EU members were fully interested, and continue to be interested, in the Nord Stream 2 project. But politics has prevailed over business.

Of course, selective dialogue is underway on some specific matters, as you mentioned. We are not abandoning it. But we can see that the EU has been trying to preserve the five guiding principles and only to modernise them (and they are based on the fact that the normalisation of EU’s relations with Russia is conditioned by the implementation of the Minsk agreements by Russia, not by Ukraine). While these futile discussions are underway in the EU and the very aggressive and loud Russophobic minority is preventing any efforts to reassess relations with Russia, very serious analytical processes are gathering momentum in Germany. As far as we know (this information is based on German media reports), experts close to the German Government are developing what they describe as “a new Eastern policy,” which actually amounts to removing the remaining positive parts on our agenda.  Their main arguments, as cited by the press, are that strategic partnership is a thing of the past; that the Partnership for Modernisation, which used to be a symbol of our cooperation with Germany and subsequently with the EU as a whole, has not materialised; and that Russia refused to become an ally for the EU and NATO and hence became their opponent when it comes to fundamental political and ideological aspects of the new international order. I have already said that our Western friends want the new international order to be based on rules rather than international law, and on rules invented in a narrow circle of confederates.

As for selective cooperation, the circles close to the Government who are formulating a new agenda say that such cooperation will be possible only after Russians mend their ways. Amid mental stagnation in Brussels, these processes are gathering momentum first of all in Germany. Geopolitical analysts have probably seen that Germany is becoming the lead player in ensuring a strong and lasting anti-Russia charge in all processes underway in the EU.

We have seen this before. The first sanctions were adopted after an absolutely transparent referendum was held in Crimea and nobody questioned their outcome – US representatives told me so immediately after the referendum. Nobody doubted then, and nobody doubts now, that it was a sincere desire of the Crimean residents. But as soon as this happened, we were told in a quite superior manner that Russia should know that there would be no “business as usual.” We replied that yes, there will be no “business as usual.” You yourself have ruined your standing and reputation when you were spit in the face – excuse my French – by those who terminated the agreement guaranteed by France, Germany and Poland. We know very well that there will be no “business as usual,” but we are nevertheless ready to look for spheres of constructive interaction. But take a look at the current situation. Just a small but telling example regarding Nord Stream 2: the Swedish authorities have cancelled their companies’ permit for cooperation with GAZ. There are more examples of this kind too. The question now is not that there will be no “business as usual,” but that there may be no reliable basis for doing business with Europe in the long term and we cannot be sure that our European partners will honour their commitments. I am not talking about companies. They want to do business, but it is the politicians who are ruling over business now. This is the problem. As I have already said, there is no lack of goodwill or desire to develop normal relations on our part. Just read President Putin’s message of greetings to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on Germany’s reunification. It clearly says everything. But goodwill cannot be unilateral. It is said that he who is smarter and stronger should take the first step. We probably have grounds to believe that our partners are strong and smart. I really do hope that they think about us in the same way. If there is goodwill on both sides, we can turn the tide. But we do not see any reciprocity so far.

Question: We have noticed these concerns regarding the recent trends that you mentioned, and the articles claiming that the partnership has come to an end. We share these concerns. As an association, we agree that it takes two to tango.

Sergey Lavrov: These days, some prefer breakdancing and you don’t need a partner.

Question: Let’s hope that partner dancing will not go out of style. As an association, we adhere to the principle of independence. We communicate both with Brussels, by voicing our concerns with the current situation, and with officials in Russia. I was very happy to hear your greetings on our anniversary. This year we marked 25 years. We planned to organise a conference using the motto “Russia and Europe in the world of tomorrow: looking back on the past to move towards the future.” How do you see Russia and Europe in the world of tomorrow? What are the most promising areas for continuing the cooperation that has not always been easy but has undoubtedly been productive over these 25 years? What are the key areas for you?

Sergey Lavrov: We spoke about this at length today. If we talk about specific areas, these include, of course, the digital economy, the green economy and everything related to the new types of energy (the Russian-Italian-French thermonuclear reactor project). We have many hi-tech projects with Germany. There is mutual interest. But, again, the political course pursued right now, mainly by the United States, is aimed at preventing any mutually beneficial, promising and competitive economic projects in Europe to be carried out without the American involvement – be it Russia or China. This has been stated openly. Politics is the art of the possible but perhaps, in the current circumstances, the economy is also the art of the possible. As long as the leaders of your countries are capable of protecting the core interests of European businesses, as long as they can protect your competitiveness and as long as they can withstand this pressure.

But, of course, besides the economy, we are deeply concerned about the military and political situation. It is not improving in Europe and, on the contrary, it is becoming more disturbing. By the way, there have been many reports, analysis pieces and articles recently marking the anniversary of the German reunification. Russian television filmed a two-hour documentary, The Wall, which came to a rather sad conclusion: the Berlin Wall was never destroyed; it simply became virtual and moved to the East very close to the Russian border, despite all the promises and assurances. I will not comment on this film right now. I hope you watched it. If you did not, I recommend it because you will understand a lot about the current conditions for the Russia-Europe relations, how the Russian leadership and Russian people remember the times when – and we all know this very well – Russia played the decisive role in the German reunification, by making a huge sacrifice. I am not exaggerating. The withdrawal of our troops was conducted in absolutely cruel and inhumane conditions. We know the real (financial) cost Germany paid for this. We also know that, not that our Western colleagues tried to persuade the Soviet leaders against it but they asked whether they [the Soviet leaders] had thought carefully and whether everybody needed a united Germany. You know the outcome. I find the manner used by some representatives of the German leadership in communication with the Russian Federation not only unacceptable but fully indicative of the fact that the era everybody considered a historic victory of Germans and Russians and eventually the victory of the entire Europe is now completely forgotten. This is unfortunate. I really hope that this anomaly goes away. It cannot reflect the Germans’ true attitude towards Russia. Speaking of which, in a recent public opinion poll, half of the German people across the Federal Republic of Germany, including Western Germany, expressed a positive attitude towards the Russian people. I think the number of people in our country supporting cooperation with Germans will not be less than that. Our historic victory is in overcoming all phobias and focusing on the constructive process in the interests of our nations. Of course, it would be a crime to lose it.

Question: I would like to get back to the issue of highly skilled professionals returning to Russia. We are very grateful for the help we received from the Government of the Russian Federation and, in particular, from the Foreign Ministry. We know that the rules currently in place, the Government Directive No. 635-r of March 16, 2020, is greatly appreciated by our members because it opens a channel for returning highly skilled professionals. However, on the other hand, this process is still complicated and there are many unresolved matters. What are the prospects of relaxing the border crossing regime, especially ahead of the New Year days off?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already spoken on this matter multiple times. The Foreign Ministry will play a secondary role there. Public health is the top priority. Therefore, the epidemiological and sanitary authorities are calling all the shots. We have an Emergency Response Centre headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, the Federal Supervision Service for Consumer Protection and Welfare, the Healthcare Ministry and the Federal Medical-Biological Agency. All these experts are working on the best measures to protect our citizens and our visitors from the danger of contracting the coronavirus.

It is in the interests of the Foreign Ministry to establish contacts as quickly as possible. As you are aware, the aviation authorities are also interested in this – as are the airline companies which are suffering losses and hoping to resume air services as quickly as possible. Once again, the decisions are up to the epidemiologists.

Question: I can see that Russia is trying to shut itself off from the rest of the world by demanding that production facilities be more localised.  We invested about 2 billion and are one of the largest companies. Seventy percent of our products will not be considered Russia-made products in two years. I am urging you to do everything you can to make sure that Russia does not isolate itself from the rest of the world and cooperates with Western companies. Do not force us to resort to localisation which puts us at a disadvantage and which will seem rather strange after we invested 2 billion.

Sergey Lavrov: I agree with the idea that we should not destroy the global forms of cooperation and build barriers. If we look at localisation as a barrier, this logic probably applies here. But again, we need to remember about the strategic goals set for our economy by President Vladimir Putin and the Government. To a great extent, they have to do with the events in our relations of the past six or seven years and with the fact whether the West demonstrated itself as reliable and capable of negotiating in relations with us.

When it comes to localisation, we are not alone. For example, India is rather actively pursuing its Make in India policy and I think it is much more demanding than the localisation policy in the Russian Federation. Overall, I understand your production-related concerns and assume that these issues should be raised with the Government Foreign Investment Advisory Council that is in charge of these matters.

Question: The Government of the Russian Federation adopted new rules that prevent us from investing for the next two years. We do not know whether we can invest in the future because in two years there will be no benefits in this for us.

Sergey Lavrov: The Foreign Ministry is interested in continuing pragmatic and mutually beneficial economic cooperation; therefore, let’s agree that following this meeting, following our discussion, your chairman, the Director General, will send me a proposal outlining the steps which, in your opinion, would allow our cooperation to continue on a mutually beneficial basis.

I know that you cooperate with the GAZ Group. I meant exactly the same thing that you are talking about when I said that some small European countries are trying to run before the American hounds because the seizures by the United States were once again extended. The Americans are thinking about themselves, too. Many American jobs depend on continuing this cooperation. Our Swedish neighbours decided that they will be more American than the Americans themselves.

Question: When we discuss relaxing the border crossing regime for highly skilled professionals, please do not forget about their family members because it is a major part of their lives here. I would like to ask you to consider this issue.

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, their comfort is important. We will make sure to support requests concerning their family members as well.

Question: We are witnessing the US administration purposefully dismantling the international relations system that took shape after World War II. How much have they managed to accomplish in this regard? Is this an irreversible process? What can we expect from the upcoming election?

Sergey Lavrov: As I mentioned earlier, the current international relations system is collapsing under the banner of the “rules-based world order.” It became part of the political vocabulary, or narrative, in modern parlance, about three to four years ago. We took note of it immediately. When we began to talk about this term which was proposed to be included in the declarations of international forums, we were told that “this is the same as international law.” When we proposed replacing this term with “respect for international law,” we were told, by hook or by crook, that “we need to use some fresh language.” And then everything that I was talking about came to the surface.

Two parallel processes are underway that are directly related to the erosion of the system that was created after World War II, which suited everyone, made it possible to avoid another world war and, as we all hoped, would be ridding itself of confrontational components after the Cold War ended. We have already talked about the Berlin Wall and everything that followed and what we are witnessing now.

There are two obvious areas where this system is being eroded. The first is the privatisation of the existing international organisations’ secretariats. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is based on the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), is a case in point. It was adopted unanimously (any convention can only be adopted unanimously) and is binding exclusively for the countries that have ratified this Convention, 193 in all. The OPCW is one of the most universal organisations. The Convention can only be amended by way of talks, and the language must be agreed upon by a consensus, after which the amendments are adopted and ratified. Under the convention, the OPCW Technical Secretariat (TC) has the competence to conduct a probe in response to an inquiry by any CWC member country. This should be done by an onsite visit by the experts to a location designated by the corresponding party to take samples that are then taken to certified labs. Then, a report is compiled which says whether a substance prohibited by the special lists attached to the CWC was found in these samples. That’s all there is to it. The OPCW Secretariat began to grossly violate the Convention. For example, in Syria, they were making decisions and compiling reports without onsite visits. They just said that they managed to get samples from, say, Great Britain or France (there was such an episode in Khan Shaykhun), since it was “unsafe” for them to go there. We insisted that, under the Convention, they must go there themselves. The answer was “it’s unsafe.” Then, we asked the British and the French, since they were able to obtain the samples in unsafe circumstances, to use their contacts to ensure the safety of the OPCW inspectors so that they comply with the convention. We were told there was nothing they could do, and it’s “classified.” The Syrian government was accused of airstrikes using bombs filled with toxic agents. This “classified” information was used to conclude that a poisonous agent was used in Khan Shaykhun. End of story. Nobody knows who took these samples, or who took them to which laboratory, because it’s “classified.”

There are many questions. When we started asking them and stopped accepting such reports in the UN Security Council (only the UNSC can decide who is right and who is wrong under international law and the UN Charter), our Western colleagues at the OPCW convened an extraordinary session of all parties to the Convention. They put to the vote a proposal that, in addition to what is allowed for the OPCW Technical Secretariat under the Convention (to determine whether a prohibited poisonous agent was used or not), it should also be authorised to identify the perpetrators and to carry out the attribution. Less than half of the countries members of the convention voted in favour of the proposal. The rest voted against it or abstained. However, according to the rules of procedure, the decision was declared adopted. Thus, instead of an international law instrument, which any universal convention is, we got an instrument of the “rules-based order.” Of course, we will not be paying for the portion of the Secretariat’s activities that focuses on these purposes. China and a number of other countries are doing the same, but that doesn’t make the problem disappear. This is an outright privatisation of the Secretariat, which can now be seen in the way the senior officials of this body (Western countries hold the posts of Director-General and his “right hand”) react to our inquiries on many issues (Syria, Navalny, etc.). Concurrently, privatisation is carried out in less aggressive forms, when the Western employees of the respective secretariats conduct blatantly one-sided policies at the UN organisations.

The second area is about the propensity to move “inconvenient” matters outside the UN system. In my opening remarks, I mentioned that our French colleagues had created the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons. We asked why we can’t discuss this at the UN or the OPCW, which they are trying to manipulate. Why do this somewhere else? We were told that this is just a “group of like-minded people.” Today, I spoke on the phone with my French colleague, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, and asked him why they were not responding to a request filed by the General Prosecutor’s Office of Russia regarding Alexey Navalny’s tests. Mr Le Drian told me they were waiting for the OPCW to respond. The OPCW has not yet responded (today is October 5). However, already on September 24, our French colleagues initiated the distribution, among their closest partners at the very same organisation in The Hague, of a draft statement by the countries participating in the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons. The draft of this statement is already saying that, as confirmed by the OPCW Secretariat, Mr Navalny was poisoned with Novichok. The Secretariat has not confirmed or said anything. We have an official letter from the OPCW Director General Fernando Arias Gonzalez saying that the process is still underway.

This “privatisation,” as we call it, creates quite serious problems in other areas of the universal institutions’ work as well. Instead of once again provoking scandals at the conferences of the parties to the relevant universal conventions, they are now making decisions in a narrow circle of “like-minded people” and then present this as an example of multilateralism. This approach forms the basis of the Franco-German initiative for a new multilateralism, which they are promoting and which was proclaimed not so long ago. It was stated that the EU is an example of multilateralism. We asked again why multilateralism is being considered outside the framework of the UN multilateral organisation. There’s no answer, but we know it. There will be more cases like this. Along with this International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, the French have created a similar partnership on the freedom of journalism and information in cyberspace.

Question: The impact of geopolitics on de-globalisation. Modern equipment has a very broad built-in functionality for data collection and transmission. At the same time, requirements for a mandatory local hosting are being tightened, in particular, with regard to data collection and transmission. Some forecasts say that by 2030, many countries will close their markets to each other. What do you think could promote the opening of a common economic space?

Sergey Lavrov: For 15 years, if not longer, we have been actively promoting the initiative (it has gained a large number of supporters now) to figure out how the internet should work so that everyone feels comfortable. This question was raised at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an organisation dealing with all forms of information and communication technologies, and in the UN, where it was proposed to agree on the rules of responsible behaviour in the information landscape. It is about international information security. At the same time, we are promoting initiatives at the UN to combat crime in cyberspace. There is one part that relates to processes affecting national security, and the other is crime proper – drug trafficking, paedophilia, pornography, and so on. But things are moving with difficulty at the ITU. All these years of discussions have led us nowhere. The Americans do not seem interested in making this topic the subject of agreements. The discussion continues, but you know how the internet is governed, how it all works. It suits them. The Americans are actually pushing forward the idea that there is no need for any anti-cybercrime conventions or rules of conduct to ensure security in the information landscape. There is international law and it is applicable. This also reflects our Western partners’ policy to declare cyberspace an arena of potential confrontation, including the possibility of hostilities (and the outer space for good measure).

As we have seen from hours of discussions with the Americans and other Westerners, they are reluctant to introduce new regulations and cite applicable international law because the West again wants to reserve some extra rights. I mentioned the partnership to protect freedom in cyberspace. If it is established that someone has violated “freedom in cyberspace,” they will not have to prove anything to anyone, because international law is already in place. The Americans are primarily interested in Article 51 of the UN Charter (the right to self-defence and the possible use of weapons). They do not hide this and want to reserve the right to strike. More precisely, not reserve, but actually obtain the right to use military force in response to what they might consider an encroachment in cyberspace that affects their national interest. You can implicate just about anything there.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin proposed reopening the existing channels on cybersecurity issues. On October 2, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev met with US President Trump’s National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, who said that so far, Washington has not seen any Russian interference attempts in the 2020 United States elections. Well, they kind of expected Moscow to interfere, but “Mr Patrushev assured them they won’t.” What the Russian Security Council Secretary proposed – we actually lived through all this many years ago with the Obama administration, and later it resumed with Donald Trump – was a proposal to sign a deal on non-interference in each other’s affairs, including in cyberspace, concerning elections or other processes. The US does not want to, because they really interfere in our internal affairs. After Kiev events in 2014, they passed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, which explicitly ordered the State Department to spend $20 million a year to liaise with Russian civil society, to support certain “independent” and “non-governmental” organisations. You are certainly well aware of this. Indeed, a cutting-edge sphere like cyberspace and information and communication technologies in general, where progress is rapidly gaining momentum, is a field for competition. Look at what is happening with 5G networks now, how the Americans prohibit Europe and the rest of the world from cooperating with China; look at how these policies affect the atmosphere of international relations. Consider artificial intelligence. I think competition will continue, as we are seeing a new industrial revolution – or rather, not an industrial, but a technological one.

If we consider the US policy line they are pursuing today, it is difficult to predict how and when it will end, whether it will even come to a close in our lifetime, because anything’s possible. Who knows what will happen on this planet in 50-100 years. There are many people who believe the current US policy line is irrevocable, and from now on, they refuse to put up with it. The most interesting thing is that they actually achieve their goals in some cases. As we say, might is right. But it seems to me that the United States should and will try to pay more attention to its internal problems. I would say what we can see there now has very deep roots. There are many forecasts that any empire will reach a crisis at some point and become smaller and quieter. As Vladimir Vysotsky wrote, “it goes at random, all over the place, and downhill.”

I am not trying to make any predictions about the US elections now; I do not want to be blamed again for supporting someone or not supporting someone else. Vladimir Putin has said many times that we will work with anyone they elect. We are watching the squabbles between Democrats and Republicans. No silver lining, of course. Destabilisation in the United States is unlikely to do any good to any of us. We are actually all interested in the United States being a responsible player in the international arena; but for that, they should at least have some internal stability, which is now being tested. We want them to be a responsible player, which means they should follow the rules, not those invented by them, consistently rather than occasionally, and not change those rules at their whim or use loopholes (like we say, every law has a loophole). This is rules-based order. Unfortunately, the trend is quite steady – they have left the UNESCO, the UN Human Rights Council, and withdrawn from nearly all treaties; now the last one, the New START, is going to die. The conditions they set are absolutely unilateral and do not take into account either our interests or the experience of many decades, when arms control was enforced to everyone’s satisfaction and was welcomed by all countries. I cannot rule out that the World Trade Organisation will be next. They are also complaining about it, as I understand it, and continue blocking the dispute resolution body, preventing the appointment of the necessary participants for a quorum.

This question causes everyone’s concern, but I have no answer to give you. Some expound on how empires grow old and new ones emerge, like when you all play together as kids, and there is always the main bully in the sandbox who hits the younger ones. But later, when they grow up, they get even. This probably happens in different forms on a bigger scale, like centuries-long cycles.

Question: As you may be aware, Turkey and Libya have certain agreements regarding the Mediterranean Sea. We’re amid an abnormal situation, where Turkey, a NATO member, has a run-in with Europe, where most countries are NATO members as well. Clearly, in addition to the economic interests, there are geopolitical and military reasons as well. What’s your view about a potential increase in the number of clashes in this region and Russia’s role?

Sergey Lavrov: Here, too, we need to look through the lens of geopolitical interests. The situation in Libya, Syria and a number of other countries is far from being alright, but hydrocarbons are among the factors that clearly influence politics. At least what the Americans are doing with oil having illegally occupied the eastern coast of the Euphrates River in Syria and making a decision allowing their company to produce oil. Together with the Kurds, they are trying to “cobble up” a Kurdish autonomy, which will have quasi-state functions. It is well known that they are also trying to talk the Turks into not objecting to the idea of creating such autonomy, assuring them that the Americans will ensure the Kurds’ loyalty. Flirting with a country’s territorial integrity is a gross violation of international law. In this case, this applies not only to Syria, but also to the Kurdish problem, which can be so explosive that the current situation will appear much less serious. It affects a number of countries in the region. An invitation to separatism and its active promotion can end very badly. This is being done by a distant overseas country, but the countries of the region and Europe will have to deal with the consequences. We are not far away from there, either. So, we have come up with an initiative to develop a security concept in the Gulf with the participation of all Arab countries, Iran, the League of Arab States (LAS), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the UN Security Council permanent members, and the European Union.

The time has come when too many problems have piled up in and around the Gulf, including the Middle East and North Africa. We need to sit down and talk.

The Americans are also departing from international law and moving to the rules on which they want to establish the world order, I mean a Middle East settlement. They are turning the Arab Peace Initiative upside down, which proclaimed the creation of the Palestinian state followed by the normalisation of relations between the Arab countries and Israel. Now, the process has reversed.

We welcome any agreements that normalise relations between the states, but we cannot agree to this being done to the detriment of the Palestinian people’ interests which are enshrined in numerous consensus resolutions adopted by the Security Council and the UN General Assembly.

Question: More than a year ago now, President of Russia Vladimir Putin met with President of France Emmanuel Macron in Bregancon. How would you assess the results of that meeting? I know that recently in Lithuania, President Macron said he would continue cooperating with Russia because it is crucial for Europe. What do you have to say  on this score?

Sergey Lavrov: In August 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron had a very good and productive meeting in Bregancon. France is the only state whose government responded to Vladimir Putin’s address circulated in autumn 2019, when it became known that the INF Treaty had finally “died.” That long letter went to all NATO members and a number of other states, in which Vladimir Putin spelled out the history of the issue, explained how important the INF Treaty was, how its termination would increase the risks and wipe out any control over such missiles, and proposed to declare a voluntary moratorium. He said that Russia has already announced it and will not build or deploy any such missiles until such US-made systems are deployed in some part of the world. The President of Russia asked his NATO partners to consider the possibility of a counter moratorium without concluding any agreement – just pure goodwill, similar to the previous nuclear test ban. Only a few of them even bothered to respond, usually “thank you and we’ll read it later.” Some just declined. French President Macron was the only one who actually wrote he was ready to discuss the proposal, and who noticed that we were not just proposing two counter-moratoriums in that letter – a Russia-NATO and a wider one – but we were ready to discuss specific ways to verify compliance. Western Europeans as well as our American colleagues said the “cunning” Russia was proposing a moratorium when it allegedly had such missiles in Kaliningrad. They believe our Iskander systems violate this Treaty, but never provided a single fact that proved it. If they say that an Iskander missile has been tested at a prohibited range, then obviously, they should have satellite images, but they never showed any, just as they have not shown any satellite images when it comes to the Malaysian Boeing shot down over Donbass. They have some pictures, but they just don’t show them to anyone. So Vladimir Putin proposed, if they have any such concerns, to discuss what verification measures we can agree upon to make everyone feel comfortable. The only one who responded to that was Emmanuel Macron.

Unlike our selective cooperation with EU’s Brussels on specific conflict matters, sporadically, from time to time, what we have with France is a stable dialogue, including the two-plus-two format with the foreign and defence ministers. In September 2019, our French colleagues were in Moscow. We also established cooperation in more than ten working groups on various strategic tracks. The working groups on combating terrorism and cybersecurity met recently – these topics should obviously be of interest to everyone, but the Americans and most other Westerners, including the Germans, have shown little interest in cooperating on them, to put it mildly.

Emmanuel Macron also makes critical statements. We can hear those. We also have some questions for France. I have just mentioned some of the steps they are taking that undermine the legitimacy of universal organisations, attempts to isolate some issues to be addressed by a narrow circle of participants they find comfortable. But we are having a dialogue, whatever disagreements we might have cannot be a reason to refuse to discuss serious matters, and limit interaction to some selective, elective topics, as the European Union does.

Question: The international community failed to prevent two global catastrophes in the 20th century: the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. Today we are witnessing the escalation of a conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in which Turkey has become involved. Do we have any mechanisms for preventing genocide in the 21st century?

Sergey Lavrov: We have the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention), which is effective. Genocide has been denounced as a crime against humanity. There are different types and forms of genocide. What is happening today to the Russian language and Russian education in the Baltic countries (in Latvia and Estonia), in Ukraine and several other places clearly amounts to infringement on the fundamental rights of a very large group of people.

One of the topics we discussed with Josep Borrell was discrimination against Russian speakers, in particular, in Ukraine. We regularly raise the question of the Baltics with the EU. They seem unable to do anything, and it even looks to me as if they are unwilling to do anything about it. They only speak in favour of naturalisation. The process is underway, they claim, adding that everything will be just fine, in time. Nothing good is taking place there though. And in Ukraine they adopted several laws on education and language, following which they have adopted amendments that stipulate exemptions for EU languages, which has placed the Russian language in conditions of double discrimination, even though the Ukrainian Constitution stipulates the protection of national minority rights. And it directly mentions Russians.

We have informed the EU that there are Hungarian, Bulgarian and Polish communities in Ukraine and called on them to join forces to protect the rights of the national minorities at the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe. We sense a trend in each of these countries to settle the problems of their national minorities in Ukraine unofficially, and they don’t care what happens after that. I asked Josep Borrell if Brussels would support this policy. Absolutely not, he replied, adding that they would equally protect all national minority languages and that the EU would never be content with exemptions for their minorities. But these exemptions have already been made. A law prohibiting primary school tuition in any language other than Ukrainian was to become effective as of September 1. A three-year exemption has been approved for the EU languages, but not for the Russian language. I asked Josep Borrell why this was so. He answered that they were working on this problem.

I don’t think a repetition of genocide in its classical form is possible today, but regrettably, discrimination trends will be gathering momentum. Speaking about Karabakh, we maintain contact with Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as with Turkey and Iran as their neighbours. Today I had a telephone conversation with [French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs] Jean-Yves Le Drian, during which we also spoke about Karabakh. The presidents of the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – Russia, France and the United States – have made a very strong statement. We are now preparing a statement of the three countries’ foreign ministers.  However, what we need is not only statements but practical moves that can be made to end the bloodshed and resume negotiations.

You have mentioned that Emmanuel Macron said in Vilnius that cooperation with Russia was crucial for finding solutions to problems. We fully share this view. He also met with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya there; she has met with a number of high-ranking officials from EU countries.

This has jogged my memory regarding a situation, I think it was in 2017, when Jean-Marc Ayrault held the post of foreign minister. In March 2017, Marine Le Pen came to Russia at the invitation of our parliament. She met with President Putin. Mr Ayrault criticised that meeting between the President of Russia and the leader of a large French party. He interpreted it as “an attempt to interfere in the election process.” “We would like to understand if this is so. France is not interfering in Russia’s internal affairs, and we hope that Russia will not interfere in our affairs either,” he said. This is how he commented on President Putin’s meeting with the leader of a French political party who had been invited to visit Russia by our parliament. Now look at the [Western] reaction to what is taking place in Vilnius and other places. This is double standards.

Question: First of all, I would like to point out the importance of [foreign] professionals returning to Russia so that they can resume their operations here. As for our exports to Russia, we would like to say that we account for 25 percent of them, and we would like to continue to increase our share. We can see great potential here, in particular, when it comes to raw materials. We should start with renewable materials and discuss recycling. We also need to coordinate certification issues and think about improving the furniture industry in Russia so as to be able to export more IKEA products from Russia.

Sergey Lavrov: I hope your products will not be designated as military or dual-purpose items, as was the case with Sweden’s Quintus Technologies, and that you will continue to supply us with affordable, solid and reliable furniture.

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