EU Admits: Yes, Double Standards Applied in Ukraine, Palestine!

August 12, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The EU’s foreign-policy chief Josep Borrel has admitted that double standards permeate international relations, after being asked in an interview why Brussels was far more willing to support the people of Ukraine than the people of Gaza. The Middle East conflict is not in the EU’s hands, he said, pointing the finger at the US.

“We are often criticized for double standards. But international politics is to a large degree about applying double standards. We do not use the same criteria for all problems,” he told El Pais newspaper, as cited on Thursday.

Earlier in the interview, Borrell had said that supporting Kiev against Moscow was a “moral imperative” for Western nations.

“Resolving the situation with those people trapped in an open-air prison, which Gaza is, is not in the hands of the EU,” the diplomat said. He called the squalid living conditions in Gaza “scandalous” and “a shame,” but would not be drawn on the origins of the humanitarian crisis.

Gaza is under a blockade by the apartheid “Israeli” entity.

Borrell explained that “there is no solution to the Middle East conflict without a very strong commitment on the part of the US.” Many attempts were made in the past, but at the moment there appears to be no path forwards, he concluded.

The Letter of the Islamic Resistance Mujahideen to Sayyed Nasrallah

August 10, 2022 

By Al-Ahed News

The poster below depicts excerpts from the Letter sent by Hezbollah mujahideen to their Leader His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in which they affirmed their readiness to confront and destroy the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity.

The Letter of the Islamic Resistance Mujahideen to Sayyed Nasrallah

العدوان الإسرائيلي المُبيَّت ودور عرب التطبيع

 الخميس 11 آب 2022

أليف صباغ 

كان لا بد لحكومة الاحتلال أن توجّه عيون الرأي العام الإسرائيلي إلى موقع آخر، وأن تقوم بعمل يرفع أسهم الحكومة أمام الناخبين اليمينيين. إذن، لا بد من القيام بضربة استباقية لإضعاف الجبهة الجنوبية.

العدوان الإسرائيلي المُبيَّت ودور عرب التطبيع

ليست أول مرة، تتعاون فيها الرجعية العربية و”إسرائيل” على الشعب الفلسطيني، وعادة ما يأخذ هذا التعاون شكلاً خبيثاً، ظاهره “حماية” الفلسطينيين وباطنه كسب ودّ الاستعمار لمصالح ضيقة.

هل كان العدوان على غزة مخططاً مسبقاً؟ وما أهدافه؟

مذ اعتُقل الشيخ المجاهد بسام السعدي، ولاحظنا الحملة العسكرية الكبرى التي شنّت لتحقيق ذلك، والتي استخدمت فيها قوات الاحتلال الإسرائيلي طائرات مروحية وأخرى مسيّرة، ومصفحات وقناصين وكتيبة من الجيش والمستعربين وكلاباً بوليسية، لاعتقال شخص واحد، فهمنا أن هذه العملية العسكرية ليست عادية، إنما تشكل نموذجاً أو تجسيداً ميدانياً حقيقياً لعمليات من هذا النوع جرى التدرّب عليها من قبل. وعندما رافق ذلك حشد عسكري قرب السياج المحيط بقطاع غزة المحتل، واجتمع لبيد بالقيادات الأمنية يوم الأحد الماضي، وقرّر قطع إجازته المقررة سلفاً، وتذكرنا أن الإعلام الإسرائيلي سبق ذلك، بأسبوع، بحملة إعلامية اتّهم فيها المقاومة الفلسطينية باستخدام المدارس والمستشفيات في تخزين الصواريخ، فهمنا، يقيناً، أنه يجري الاستعداد لعملية عسكرية ضد السكان المدنيين والمقاومة في قطاع غزة، وأن المدنيين سيكونون هدفاً للعدوان. وكيف لا نفهم، ونحن من يتابع كل عدوان بما يسبقه، وما يجرى خلاله، وما يتبعه من تلخيصات ودروس وكشف ما كان مستوراً؟!

أما عن الأهداف فهي كثيرة ومتعددة الاتجاه، منها المُعلن، ومنها غير المعلن، وفق الحاجات الإعلامية السياسية. 

في الأسابيع الأخيرة شنت وسائل الإعلام اليمينية، مع اليمين الإسرائيلي المعارض حملة على حكومة لبيد-غانتس، واتهمتها بالجُبن والتقاعس عن مواجهة التحدي الذي أبدته المقاومة اللبنانية، وفق المعادلة الجديدة، التي أطلقها سماحة السيد، “ما بعد “كاريش” وما بعد بعد “كاريش”، و”إما أن نستخرج غازنا ونفطنا من البحر وإلا فلن نسمح لأحد بأن يستخرج”! هذه المعادلة شغلت الحكومة الإسرائيلية والرأي العام، وسرّعت وتيرة نشاط المبعوث الأميركي الصهيوني، أموس هوكستين، للوصول إلى حل لترسيم الحدود، وبدأت الحكومة الإسرائيلية ترجو من كل ذي صلة أن يتوسط لدى حزب الله بألا ينفذ تهديداته.

وفي الأجواء يحلّق سؤال مُلِح ومقلق، ماذا لو حصلت الحرب المتوقعة مع المقاومة اللبنانية؟ هل تستطيع “إسرائيل” أن تصمد في هذه المواجهة؟ لا سيما أن كل التقديرات تقول إن المقاومة الفلسطينية قد تنضم إلى كل حرب بين “إسرائيل” والمقاومة اللبنانية، فتكون حرباً على جبهتين على الأقل.

في مثل هذه الحالة السياسية والأمنية، كان لا بد لحكومة الاحتلال أن توجّه عيون الرأي العام الإسرائيلي وأذهانه إلى موقع آخر، وأن تقوم بعمل يرفع أسهم الحكومة أمام جمهور الناخبين اليمينيين، والرأي العام الذي يزداد يمينية وتطرفاً. إذن، لا بد من القيام بضربة استباقية لإضعاف الجبهة الجنوبية ومنعها من المشاركة في أي حرب مع حزب الله. لتحقيق ذلك كان لا بد من تقييم وضع المقاومة في القطاع المحتل. هل تستطيع قوات الاحتلال أن تشن حملة عسكرية محدودة على الجهاد الإسلامي من دون تدخل سائر الفصائل، وحماس تحديداً؟ ومن يضمن ذلك؟ 

كما اعتادت حكومات “إسرائيل” السابقة، لا بد من سفك الدماء الفلسطينية على مذبح الانتخابات، ولا بد من إزهاق الأرواح الفلسطينية وتهديم الأبراج السكنية في غزة، لأن هذا ما يرضي الناخب الإسرائيلي الصهيوني المتعطّش إلى ذلك. لكن المشكلة التي كانت تواجه حكومة الاحتلال وجيشها، كيف ستخرج من المعركة؟ وهل تستطيع أن تستفرد بفصيل صغير تلقي عليه حممها البركانية لتشعر بالقوة بدلاً من الضعف، تعيد ثقة الجيش بنفسه وترضي جمهور الناخبين اليمينيين؟ ومن يضمن ذلك؟

أما الأهداف المعلنة، التي صرحت عنها الجهات الرسمية بعد اجتماع لبيد بالكابينيت الأمني، واستبعاد السياسي، يوم الأحد 31 تموز/يوليو، فتتمثل “بالاستعداد لمنع الجهاد الإسلامي من تنفيذ عملية رد عسكرية على اعتقال القيادي بسام السعدي من مخيم جنين”. وادعت الجهات الأمنية والسياسية أن لديهم معلومات بالتخطيط للرد، ولذلك قاموا بإجراءات منع تجوال للمستوطنين في مستوطنات “غلاف غزة”، المقامة على أراضي اللاجئين الفلسطينيين الذين يعيشون ببؤس في القطاع المحاصر منذ 15 سنة. وفي الحقيقة كان كل ذلك ضمن حلقات الاستعداد النفسي والسياسي لسيناريو العدوان المُبيّت.

في تقييم الظروف الملائمة للقيام بعدوان غادر

لتقييم الظروف المناسبة للعدوان وشق صف المقاومة، اعتمدت سلطات الاحتلال على ثلاثة مصادر من المعلومات: 

أولاً: خبرة ومتابعة وتقييم مراكز الأبحاث الإسرائيلية، ومنها مركز أبحاث الأمن القومي، وضمن ذلك، التمييز بين مصالح حماس من جهة، والجهاد الإسلامي من جهة ثانية، إضافة إلى مصلحة مصر والاستخبارات المصرية تحديداً في تقليم أظافر “الجهاد” من دون تدخل “حماس” وسائر فصائل المقاومة المسلحة، معتمدة في ذلك على دور الاستخبارات المصرية في معركة “سيف القدس”، وما تبعها من معارك صغيرة، الأخيرة فيها مسيرة الأعلام الاستفزازية في القدس القديمة، واقتحامات المستوطنين في حزيران/يونيو الماضي، ودور مصر وقطر في منع تدخل المقاومة من غزة. 

ثانياً: أما المصدر الثاني، فهو ما تستخلصه الاستخبارات من خلال مئات المحادثات غير المباشرة التي تجرى مع عمال فلسطينيين تم السماح لهم دخول “إسرائيل” والعمل فيها خلال الشهر الماضي، وبلغ عدد التصاريح 14 ألف تصريح. هذه المحادثات لا تجري من خلال تحقيق يجريه الشاباك مع العمال، إنما هي أحاديث، تبدو عادية، تجري بين المشغل الإسرائيلي والعامل الفلسطيني، أو بين صحافي إسرائيلي وعامل فلسطيني، لتصل إلى الباحثين في صفوف الشاباك مادة تضاف إلى التقييمات والأبحاث، تعزز فرضية أو ترفضها.

ثالثاً: الأهم من هذا المصدر وذاك التقييم المشترك مع الاستخبارات المصرية للأوضاع في غزة، وعلاقات الفصائل فيما بينها وقدرة الجمهور الفلسطيني على احتمال التضحيات، وقدرة مصر على ضبط إيقاع وردود المقاومة من غزة، وتدخلها في الوقت الملائم، لمنع تدحرج المعركة واتساعها وتورط قوات الاحتلال تالياً بما لم تكن مستعدة له. من هنا قال البيان الإسرائيلي الرسمي إن العدوان جاء بناء على توصيات القيادة العسكرية والشاباك، والمقصود هنا هم الباحثون الذي يتواصلون مع نظرائهم المصريين. وعليه، جاء التواصل الإسرائيلي المصري من اليوم الأول بعد اعتقال السعدي، وشن العدوان ضمن الأهداف المحددة له، كما راقب الطيران المسيّر تحركات القادة الفلسطينيين خلال لقائهم الاستخبارات المصرية حتى الساعة الأخيرة قبل العدوان، ويقول رئيس تحرير صحيفة “الأهرام”: “إن إسرائيل وعدت الاستخبارات المصرية أن تكون العملية العسكرية محدودة، وموجّهة ضد “الجهاد الإسلامي” فقط”.

دور الاستخبارات المصرية وغيرها

للتفصيل أكثر، يتمثل دور الاستخبارات المصرية وجهات عربية أخرى في ثلاثة مستويات ومراحل

أولاً: في تقييم مشترك مع الاستخبارات الإسرائيلية والباحثين المختصين بالظروف الداخلية في القطاع، وفي العلاقة بين قوى المقاومة ومصالح كل منها، لمعرفة ما إن كانت الظروف ملائمة لشن العدوان وإمكان تحقيق أهدافه. ولا يتورع “الخبراء”، العسكريون والأمنيون المصريون عن الإدلاء بتقييماتهم هذه على شاشات التلفزة الإسرائيلية أيضاً.

ثانياً: في ضبط إيقاع الرد من المقاومة، من خلال الضغوط والتهديدات.

ثالثاً: في الوصول إلى وقف إطلاق النار أو تهدئة، حين تحتاج “إسرائيل” إلى ذلك، وفق الشروط الإسرائيلية، لكن إخراج هذه النهاية يتطلب أن تبدو وكأنها مبادرة مصرية، تقوم بموجبها الاستخبارات المصرية بتقديم “ضمانات” إلى المقاومة، وقد ثبت من تجربة المعارك السابقة، أنها ضمانات فارغة، وهي مجرد تضليل للرأي العام العربي عامة والفلسطيني خاصة، لأن “إسرائيل” لا تقدم إلى مصر إلا الفتات الذي يحفظ ما وجهها. في النهاية، هي جهود مصرية تهدف إلى إرضاء السيد الأميركي والإسرائيلي، بحثاً عن مصالح مصرية ضيقة أو مصالح شخصية لهذه الشخصية أو تلك. 

ليس صحيحاً أن “إسرائيل” خدعت الاستخبارات المصرية، وهي تدعي في كل جولة أن “إسرائيل” خدعتها، وأن “إسرائيل” لم تفِ بوعودها، وفي تنفيذ الاتفاقيات، أين هي الاتفاقيات؟ إذا كان الأمر كذلك فلماذا تعلنون اتفاقيات وتفاهمات، وتعودون إلى تقديم الضمانات الفارغة؟ إن المشاركة الفعلية في تقييم الظروف الملائمة لشن العدوان يحتم المعرفة المسبّقة لنيات “إسرائيل” العدوانية.

من يراجع تصريحات المسؤولين الإسرائيليين والمصريين قبل العدوان وخلاله، وغداة وقف إطلاق النار، والتعبير عن رضاهم عن الدور المصري، لا بد أن يصل إلى هذه الحقيقة. وكان أكثر التصريحات توضيحاً ودلالة على الدور المصري، هو المديح الذي كاله الرئيس بايدن، بعد بضع ساعات من وقف إطلاق النار، للدور المصري والقطري في الوصول إلى وقف لإطلاق النار، مع التذكير بأن أميركا هي من أعطى “إسرائيل” الضوء الأخضر لشن هذا العدوان من خلال الإعلان عن إبلاغ غانتس نظيره الأميركي، أوستن، بذلك، ووقوف بايدن إلى جانب “إسرائيل” في عدوانها منذ اليوم الأول، بذريعة “الدفاع عن النفس”. فلو كانت أميركا محبة لوقف إطلاق النار، أو منع سفك الدماء الفلسطينية فعلاً، لما أعطت الضوء الأخضر للعدوان؟ 

في تقييم النتائج

الحقيقة أن “سرايا القدس” لم “تنتصر”، بالمعنى التكتيكي لجولة واحدة، على “إسرائيل”، لكنها أثبتت أن “الجهاد الإسلامي” قادر على الصمود، وعلى إدارة معركة دفاعية ومعنوية تحفظ وفاءه لأرواح الشهداء ودماء الجرحى وعذابات الأسرى في معتقلات العدو الصهيوني، ووحدة الساحات الفلسطينية. الجهاد كانت وحدها في وجه جيش قوي يتمتع بقدرات عسكرية كبيرة، بل يدّعي أنه من أقوى الجيوش في العالم، وهذا الصمود هو ما يقلق الخبراء الإسرائيليين في الوقت الحاضر. وتساءل عدد منهم، على شاشات التلفزة الإسرائيلية، كيف ستواجه “إسرائيل” حزب الله، وهو يمتلك قدرات عسكرية ولوجستية أضعاف أضعاف ما تمتلكه سرايا القدس؟ كيف ستواجه حزب الله، وهو غير محاصر من دولة “شقيقة”، ولا يخضع لأي ضغوط من استخبارات عربية موجَّهة من الولايات المتحدة و”إسرائيل”؟

في غضون ثلاثة أيام، وعلى الرغم من الخسارات الكبيرة التي تكبدها “سرايا القدس”، باغتيال القادة العسكريين الكبار منذ اللحظة الأولى للعدوان، وعلى الرغم من ضغوط “الأشقاء” العرب، وقدرات الطيران الحربي الإسرائيلي، إلا أن سرايا القدس استطاعت أن تطلق ما يقارب 1000 صاروخ باتجاه قوات العدو، أي بمعدل 300 صاروخ يومياً، وهذا يساوي المعدل اليومي لما أطلقته قوى المقاومة مجتمعةً في غزة إبّان العدوان الإسرائيلي في أيار/مايو 2021 المسمّى إسرائيلياً “حامي الأسوار”. ولم يكن هذا منتظراً قطّ.

علينا أن نفهم، أنه لم يحن وقت الانتصار بعد، وأننا ما زلنا في حدود الصمود في وجه العدوان الصهيوني المدعوم من الاستعمار والرجعية العربية التابعة للبيت الأبيض. ومع ذلك، على منظمة الجهاد الإسلامي أن تراجع تجربتها بموضوعية ومسؤولية لتجنب نقاط الضعف، وتعزيز نقاط القوة، وبذل جهود أكثر لفهم مخططات العدو وخطر علاقاته بالأنظمة العربية المطبّعة، وخصوصاً الاستخبارات المصرية. على المقاومة الفلسطينية عامة أن تراجع مواقفها من هذه المعركة تحديداً، ومن معارك أخرى، وأن تحذر كل الحذر من التعاون القائم بين الاستخبارات العربية والإسرائيلية برعاية أميركية، على العامل الفلسطيني في “إسرائيل” أن يحذر أحاديث تبدو بريئة، وهي في الحقيقة أحاديث خبيثة تهدف إلى استطلاع الراي العام الفلسطيني وظروف المقاومة، وعلى قوى المقاومة أن تتخذ كل الخطوات التي من شأنها التحرر من ضغوط وقيود “الأشقاء”… 

“من جرّب المجرّب كان عقله مخرّب”.

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The United States responded to Griner’s sentence by kidnapping a Russian

August 06, 2022

Vinnik faces virtually life imprisonment in the United States

source: https://m.vz.ru/society/2022/8/5/1171157.html

A Russian national, Alexander Vinnik, who now faces more than 50 years in prison, has been arrested in the United States. On Thursday, he was actually fraudulently taken out of Europe to San Francisco in violation of all international legal norms. Apparently, this is how Washington responded to the verdict of the Brittney Griner, convicted in the Russian Federation for drug smuggling. Why is Washington abducting Russian citizens and is there a way to stop this, in fact, hostage-taking?

Alexander Vinnik, whom the United States accuses of cybercrime, was taken from Greece to the United States. “Everything happened and was staged as a kidnapping,” RIA Novosti reports the words of one of Vinnik’s family members. Relatives reported that the Russian citizen was taken from Greece to Boston on a private plane in violation of all legal procedures. “Alexander was allowed to call home from Boston,” a member of Vinnik’s family said. Later, the Russian was transported on a company plane to San Francisco.

The police at the Athens airport on Thursday evening claimed that they knew nothing about Vinnik’s extradition and that he had been taken to Athens. Employees of the consular department of the Russian Embassy in Greece were not allowed to see a Russian citizen, although he asked for a meeting. The Kremlin is monitoring the fate of Vinnik, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The procedural norms of Greek law did not allow to immediately send Vinnik from Greece to the United States, but in Athens “they turned a blind eye to this,” a relative of the captured Russian told RIA Novosti. “The Greeks will again say that they did not know, forgot, were confused, that they are sorry. As before, there was an extradition document with a fake signature of the Minister of Justice, and then it turned out that he did not sign anything,” the source said.

From an international legal point of view, the entire mechanism of Vinnik’s deportation to the United States via Greece is inadequate, so Russia equates such cases with kidnappings, Pavel Gerasimov, Honored Lawyer of the Russian Federation, Vice President of the Union of Lawyers of Russia, explained to the newspaper VIEW. “In any case, foreign security forces had to appeal to the representatives of Russia in Interpol with the justification for sending Vinnik to the United States. But no one contacted either our Foreign Ministry or law enforcement officers,” the lawyer stated.

It should be noted that simultaneously with the American operation to kidnap a Russian from Greece, Joe Biden complained about the “unlawful” detention in Russia of US citizen Brittney Griner and the “unacceptable” sentence. Recall that a Russian court on Thursday found Griner guilty of smuggling drugs into our country. The judges sentenced the American to nine years.

Biden promised that the US authorities would use “all possible means” to return Griner and another American serving time in Russia, Paul Whelan, to their homeland. In mid-June, the Moscow City Court found this former Marine guilty of espionage and sentenced him to 16 years in a strict regime penal colony.

It can be assumed that the American side will try to use Vinnik captured in Greece (along with another compatriot of ours serving time in the USA – Viktor Bout) to bargain for the extradition of Griner and Whelan. Note that at the end of July, reports appeared in the American press that Biden approved a plan to exchange Whelan and Griner for Booth. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken discussed the exchange of prisoners in a telephone conversation. Lavrov urged the head of the State Department to return to “quiet diplomacy” on this issue, the Foreign Ministry said.

It is also worth noting the briefing held on Thursday by the Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council (NSC) USA by John Kirby. According to TASS, a White House official was asked whether Washington believes that Russia will accept the American proposal, which does not involve an equal exchange of prisoners – one for one or two for two? That is, it was initially assumed that the United States intended to offer one Russian in exchange for two Americans. “I can say that we have made a serious offer… I won’t go into details, but we urge them (the Russians) to accept it,” Kirby replied evasively. It can be assumed that Vinnik, who was taken by private plane to the United States, may become this second Russian, who is supposed to be exchanged for convicted drug smuggler Griner and spy Whelan.

Regardless of whether a person is guilty (in this case, a Russian Vinnik) or not, the law must act, but the absolute arbitrariness on the part of the United States is comparable to extortion,

State Duma deputy Oleg Morozov told the newspaper VIEW. “This practice is on a par with the bombing of Iraq, when the United States didn’t care what others thought about it. They are detaining a Russian citizen on the territory of a third country and they don’t care what the law says and the world community thinks about it,” the politician stressed. Incidents like the capture of Vinnik have long been part of the international practice of the United States, stated Deputy Morozov. “There are many cases when Russian citizens are detained on the territory of third countries, and then absolutely illegally and secretly extradited to the territory of the United States, where they are put on trial,” the source said.

Let’s explain – several countries are involved in the Vinnik case, which has been going on for more than five years, and the Strasbourg Court was involved. In July 2017, a Russian IT specialist was arrested in Greece at the request of the United States. The American investigation accused Vinnik of creating a BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange without a license from the United States authorities, through which, according to the American side, billions of dollars were laundered. The Russian was also accused of failing to register his activities with the US Financial Intelligence Service (FINCEN) and failing to comply with anti-money laundering requirements. In the United States, 33-year–old Vinnik faces 55 years in prison – in fact, life imprisonment.

In January 2020, Greece extradited Vinnik, not to the United States but to France. Here, a Russian IT specialist was charged with 19 criminal offenses. A French court acquitted Vinnik of all charges brought by France and sentenced him to five years on one American charge. Moreover, the judges considered that the Russian had committed not a criminal offense, but a misdemeanor. The term of imprisonment ended, but Vinnik remained in prison. He was already supposed to be returned to Greece for extradition to the United States. However, the European Court of Human Rights banned the transfer of Vinnik to Greek justice. On Thursday, a Paris court decided to release Vinnik as part of the extradition case to the United States – Paris formally refused to transfer the Russian to the Americans. But the same French court immediately ordered to detain the Russian citizen and redirect him under escort to Greece. The very next day, a private plane took Vinnik from Athens to Boston.

As lawyer Gerasimov explained, the normal scheme from the point of view of international law should have looked like this: Greece detains Vinnik at the request of the French, since the case against him was opened in France. Further, in the French court, the process takes place with the participation of a representative of Russia, and the Russian consulate had to respect the rights of our citizen. Including consideration of the issue of Vinnik’s extradition to Russia.

“But the participation of American representatives in this case without substantiating the cross–border nature of the crime in general would be impossible by law, since Vinnik is not a US citizen,” the lawyer pointed out. – Another justification for American involvement could be that it was the United States that suffered the main damage from Vinnik’s alleged crime. But Washington has not provided any justification.” Moreover, at the stage of discussing extradition, the American side did not contact Moscow in any way, so the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a note of protest.

Now, in order to be able to exchange Vinnik or simply extradite him to Russia, he must be convicted in the United States, Gerasimov explained. “After that, Moscow tells Washington that the Russian side is ready to accept Vinnik to serve his sentence in Russia. This starts a two-way dialogue. If the two states agree, and if Vinnik arrives in Russia, then here he has the right to appeal for a judicial review and try to prove that the American court made an unfair decision,” the lawyer detailed.

At the same time, lawyer Gerasimov added, it cannot be ruled out that the arrested Russian may be transported to Puerto Rico or to the base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where a special prison is still operating. “Legally, this will not be an American territory, but the same US law enforcement agencies will “work” with the detainee there,” the lawyer noted. “You can only be safe without committing crimes. But in any case, it is better to rest in the Crimea, and not abroad,” the interlocutor added, not without sarcasm.

The issue of countering American international racketeering is primarily a political issue, said Deputy Morozov. “It’s impossible to live by the principle of “what if the Americans accuse me of something, so I can’t move beyond the Ural Mountains.” The only way to answer is what Russia, China and many other countries are doing now: they break the world order established by the Americans, refuse to participate in an unfair world order and will offer the world completely different norms and rules,” the interlocutor stressed. – Sooner or later we will come to a world where Americans will no longer be allowed to engage in extortion. In the meantime, the United States, unfortunately, acts on the principle of might is right, that they themselves are the law.”

In the meantime, the Russian Foreign Ministry has outlined Moscow’s position: our side is ready to discuss the exchange of prisoners with the United States, but only within the framework of the channel that was approved by the presidents of the two countries at a meeting in Geneva last June. This was stated on Friday by the head of Russian diplomacy Sergey Lavrov, commenting on reports about the plan approved by Biden to rescue Griner and Whelan.

Islamic Resistance Fighters Respond to Sayyed Nasrallah Readiness Command: We’ll Defend Fortunes and Dignities

August 9, 2022

The Islamic Resistance fighters sent a letter to Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in which they respond to his eminence’s readiness command included in his Ashura speech.

Few hours after the speech, the Islamic Resistance military department released the letter that reflected the fighters’ preparedness to carry out all the missions set by Hezbollah leadership in order to defend Lebanon’s fortunes.

The letter stressed that the Resistance fighters are ready on the borders to defend sovereignty and dignity, confirming that if the enemy returns, they will return.

Addressing resistance supporters, and especially resistance fighters, Sayyed Nasrallah said, during his Ashura speech in Beirut’s Dahiyeh on Tesday, they should be ready for all options.

“We are dealing with this battle with utmost level of seriousness. I say to the Israelis and the Americans (US administration): Lebanon will ever tolerate stealing its wealth.

“We have reached the end of the line and we will keep up on this way.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website


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المُقاومون لنصر الله: جاهزون «على الحدود»

الثلاثاء 9 آب 2022

الأخبار 

أكّد مقاومو «المقاومة الإسلامية» استعدادهم عند الحدود بكل ما أعدّوا من قوّة لمواجهة العدو الإسرائيلي، وإلحاق الهزيمة به، في رسالة ردّاً على طلب الأمين العام لحزب الله، السيد حسن نصر الله، أن يكونوا جاهزين لأي مستجدٍ في الأيام القادمة.

ووزّع «الإعلام الحربي» رسالة مقاومي حزب الله، التي أجابوا فيها على ما طلبه نصر الله منهم خلال خطاب إحياء ذكرى عاشوراء اليوم، وقد جاء فيها الآتي:

«بسم ربّ المجاهدين قاصم الجبّارين
سماحة القائد الأمين المفدّى…
وصلتنا رسالتكم وسمعنا مقالتكم، وعلى حَرِّ جمر العاشر من محرم لبّينا مع المُلبّين في محضر خطابكم، ونحن نتقلّد شموخ الحسين وإباء العبّاس وفداء الأكبر…
لقد أشعل، يا سيدنا، نداؤكم أرواحنا المتوقّدة عزماً وحزماً في أيام عاشوراء، وأجّج نفوسنا الأبيّة المتوثّبة دائماً، فأمرُنا أمرُ القيادة كما عهدتموننا، واليد على الزّناد نرمي ببصرنا أقصى القوم…
أيها الأمين على الدماء والأرواح والساكن في العقول والقلوب، يا حبيبنا، يا عزيزنا، يا سليل الأئمة ومختصر وصايا الأنبياء، يا بأس العبّاس وصيحة الحسين، رسالتنا لكم يا سيّدنا أننا:
نقسم باللّه العظيم الّذي نصرنا مُنذ بدر وذات تموز وفي كل ساحٍ وناح، أننا جاهزون بكل ما أعددنا لهم من قوة؛ متوثّبون على الحدود، حدود السيادة وخطوط الكرامة براً وبحراً ومن حيث لا يحتسبون…
نعرفك وتعرفنا يا سيدنا، ثابتون على الثّغور بالنّحور، تزول الجبال ولا نزُل، فنحن الأرض والصخر والشجر، ونحن حكايا الناس وزمن الانتصارات الذي بدأ…
قسماً لدماء جدّك في يومه الجلل، إن عادوا عدنا، وأحلناهم عصفاً…
سنحطّم مركبات نارهم، ونهشّم غرورهم، وندك أوكارهم…
سنكتب للأحرار نصرنا الأكبر الذي ننتظره بشوق، وبوشم دمدم رصاصنا سنحفر للمحتلين المعتدين هزيمة الهزائم…
لبّيك يا ابن الحسين…
نحفظ الثّروات ونصون الكرامات…
ما تركناك يوماً يا سيّدنا ولن نتركك… لبّيك على العهد دائماً يا صاحب الوعد…
ولله رجال إذا أرادوا أراد».

فيديوات ذات صلة

مقالات ذات صلة

S. Nasrallah Warns ‘Israel’ against Miscalculation: We’ve Reached End of Line, Ready for All Options

August 9, 2022

Marwa Haidar

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah Warned the Zionist entity against any miscalculation towards Lebanon, stressing that Hezbollah has reached “the end of the line” regarding the issue of gas and maritime border.

Addressing mourners in Beirut’s southern suburb (Dahiyeh) on Ashura Day, Sayyed Nasrallah affirmed that the Lebanese resistance group is fully ready to confront all options, in response to Israeli threats and in a clear message that Hezbollah is prepared for war.

Sayyed Nasrallah hailed what he called the legendry steadfastness of Gaza’s people and resistance in face of Israeli aggression, voicing full commitment to Palestine as the central cause of the nation.

His eminence also voiced sympathy and support to Nigeria’s Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and people of Bahrain, Yemen and Syria.

Sayyed Nasrallah also warned Iraqis against foreign schemes.

Ashura and Nigeria

Sayyed Nasrallah started his speech by offering condolences for Imam Mahdi (a.j.), the lord of the age, and all Muslims over martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (a.s.).

Talking via a video link, Sayyed Nasrallah renewed allegiance to Imam Hussein, noting that “throughout 40 years, we haven’t abandoned him, and we will never do so.”

He voiced sympathy with Nigeria Shia cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, who has been for years subjected to repeated crackdowns by Nigerian authorities.

“Ashura is the day when we shall voice support to all those who are oppressed. We voice sympathy with Sheikh Zakzaky, along with his supporters.”

Palestine and Bahrain

The Hezbollah S.G. then stressed that Palestine is the central cause of the nation, praising those who were martyred and injured to defend the occupied country.

“Palestine is the central cause. We don’t expect mercy from the US, but we address those who claim they are Arabs. To be Muslims or Arabs is to support oppressed people.”

“We feel proud of the martyrs and resistance fighters over their legendry steadfastness. We renew our commitment to this affair.”

Sayyed Nasrallah, meanwhile, slammed Bahraini regime over normalizing ties with the Zionist entity, and over attacking Ashura ceremonies across the Arab island.

“One of the ugliest parties who normalized ties with Israel is the regime in Bahrain who proved that it doesn’t tolerate a black flag,” he said referring to flags raised during Ashura ceremonies.

“We recall the oppression of people of Bahrain, whose rights are stolen by their treacherous rulers who are embracing the enemies of this nation.”

Yemen, Iraq and Syria

Sayyed Nasrallah then reiterated the Lebanese resistance group’s stance towards Yemen.

“In the day of oppressed (Ashura) we reiterate that we stand by the people of Yemen who have been for years tirelessly fighting for their dignity and confronting tyrants.”

“People of Yemen are real personification of Karbala and supporting them is a duty.”

The Hezbollah S.G. also urged Iraqis to solve their disagreements, calling on them to foil schemes set by the nation’s enemies.

On Syria, Sayyed Nasrallah said the country has overcome the universal war launched by many international regional sides, but stressed that the blockade represented by the US Caesar Act.

His eminence also praised Iran, describing the Islamic Republic, led by Supreme Leader Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, as the heart of the Axis of Resistance.

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah recalled sacrifices made by martyrs Qassem Suleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis who were martyred by a US strike in Baghdad in 2020.

In Lebanon, Another Account to Settle

On Lebanon, Sayyed Nasrallah was very clear, as he responded to Israeli threats and warned the occupation regime against any miscalculation.

“The Lebanese are the only people who decide their fates and make their decisions. Throughout 40 years we have confronted all forms of challenges including wars, blockades and assassinations.”

“We look forward to a free and powerful Lebanon that is capable to defend its dignity and to invest its wealth. We look forward to Lebanon which is capable of cutting off any hand that would extend to its wealth.”

Meanwhile, his eminence called on Lebanese sides to exert joint efforts in a bid to form a government and to cope with current crises, urging officials to feel the pain of the Lebanese citizens.

On the issue of gas, oil and maritime border, Sayyed Nasrallah said Hezbollah will see the responses to the Lebanese State’s requests in the coming days.

Addressing resistance supporters, and especially resistance fighters, Sayyed Nasrallah said they should be ready for all options.

“We are dealing with this battle with utmost level of seriousness. I say to the Israelis and the Americans (US administration): Lebanon will never tolerate stealing its wealth.”

“We have reached the end of the line and we will keep up on this way.”

On the other hand, Sayyed Nasrallah responded to Israeli remarks regarding the “messages” behind the last 3-day aggression on Gaza.

“Yes, I was watching the latest developments in Gaza and the message was delivered. We have seen heroism and steadfastness in Gaza as well as the unity of its resistance factions. Gaza managed to impose its own equation of deterrence. As for Lebanon, there is another account to settle.”

In this context, his eminence warned: “any aggression on any person in Lebanon won’t go unpunished. We remind you that we are the lovers of Imam Hussein (a.s.) who once said ‘Humiliation, never!’.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Biden war criminal, Taiwan part of China: Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters

August 9, 2022

Source: CNN

By Al Mayadeen English 

Pink Floyd’s co-founder Roger Waters criticizes the United States over its role in the Ukraine war while underlining that Taiwan is part of China.

British singer-songwriter Roger Waters of Pink Floyd

China is not encircling Taiwan, for the latter is part of China, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters told CNN during an interview on Monday, sparking controversy against the British artist.

In an interview with CNN‘s Michael Smerconish, Waters responded to comments from Smerconish that China was “encircling Taiwan”, saying: “They [the Chinese forces] are not encircling Taiwan! Taiwan is part of China.”

“And that’s been absolutely accepted by the whole international community since 1948, and if you don’t know that, you are not reading enough,” the singer added.

The comments led to a large-scale campaign of hate against the British artist.

China announced carrying out fresh military drills around Taiwan Monday, days after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island escalated tensions between the two powers.

Pelosi’s visit led China to announce ending cooperation with the United States on a number of issues such as climate change, anti-drug efforts, and military talks.

The US official’s visit to Taipei triggered a series of Chinese large-scale military drills east of the Taiwan Strait, as well as massive rows between Beijing and Washington.

“Try and figure out what the United States would do if the Chinese were putting nuclear-armed missiles into Mexico or Canada,” Waters stressed.

Waters responded to questions about his This Is Not a Drill live show, which sees an image of Joe Biden appear among pictures of “war criminals”.

He backed his position by underlining that this was because Biden was “fueling the fire in the Ukraine.”

US President Joe Biden among the “war criminals” in George Waters’ “This Is Not a Drill” live show

It is a “huge crime,” he said. “Why won’t the United States of America encourage [Volodymyr] Zelensky, or whatever his name is, the [Ukrainian] President, to negotiate, obviating the need for this horrific, horrendous war?”

He went on to say that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine was to do with the “action and reaction of NATO pushing right up to the Russian border.”

Waters brought up the ratification of the Minsk agreement, calling on Zelensky to explain why “when he stood on the platform of ratifying the Minsk agreements, which he did when he was elected by 73% of the Ukrainian population that was able to vote.”

“After that, somebody whispered in his ear, or he completely changed his mind about making peace in the Donbass and about solidifying the Minsk agreement and making peace with their Russian neighbors, and obviating the need for this horrific, horrendous war. You’re killing – we don’t know how many Ukrainians,” Waters underscored, holding Zelensky accountable for what has taken place in Ukraine.

His position backs that of Moscow, who had been warning NATO and the European Union against pushing toward the Russian border, but its warnings fell on deaf ears and culminated in the Ukraine war.

Producing New Enemies for No Reason Whatsoever

Why did Nancy Pelosi go to Taiwan?

AUGUST 9, 2022

PHILIP GIRALDI 

A good friend of mine, learning of the impending visit of Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, recalled Homer’s description of Helen of Troy, “The face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the towers of Ilium.” Well, Nancy ain’t no Helen of Troy, but she might nevertheless be in the business of launching warships and burning cities due to her bizarre interpretation of her foreign policy prerogatives as Speaker.

It is like watching a train wreck developing in slow motion. Witnessing the highly dangerous behavior of the Biden Administration and its acolytes in power like Pelosi, one feels compelled to ask whether the White House and Congress are now setting the stage for the elevation of China to the status of foreign enemy number one? Indeed, if one has been hanging around Washington for the past twenty-five years or so, it was hard to miss the often-surfaced bipartisan contention that China is America’s major over-the-horizon adversary, or even enemy, with its growing economy, its successful geopolitics, and its huge industrious population. I can still recall my shock at hearing Democratic Senator Jim Webb, an honorable and highly intelligent Iraq War critic, telling a conservative gathering in 2015 that the real future threat to the United States would be coming from China.

Fear of China, sometimes dubbed in racist language as the “Yellow Peril,” has a long tradition in the United States and in Europe. In the current context, the US government is certainly apprehensive about where the increasing rapprochement between China and Russia is going, summed up by Secretary of State Tony Blinken as “The deepening strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order run counter to our values and interests.” Ironically enough, that development stems from the inept US diplomacy exemplified by Blinken’s tunnel vision that most recently allowed a negotiable crisis to develop into a full-fledged war over Ukraine.

But a much more significant development stems from the Chinese success when playing at what might be called the global geostrategy game. The Chinese Silk Road project threatens to create a new economic reality for Eurasia, squeezing the US out and creating unique networks for marketing, transportation, and the contractual exploitation of third world natural resources. Again ironically, the US was once upon a time the master at creating such networks to benefit the American economy and workers, but unmanageable debt plus inflation combined with outsourcing and lack of any industrial policy means that that advantage has largely vanished. To put it bluntly, China has outcompeted the United States, and whether that constitutes a threat depends on which side of the fence one is standing on.

NATO alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, is also part of the gamesmanship, observing how “China is substantially building up its military forces, including nuclear weapons, bullying its neighbors, threatening Taiwan … monitoring and controlling its own citizens through advanced technology, and spreading Russian lies and disinformation.” Stoltenberg and Blinken’s indictment of China was followed by a NATO issued “strategic concept” document that declared for the first time that China poses a “systemic challenge” to the alliance and declarations by the heads of the CIA and MI6 that China constitutes the “biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security.”

One would not expect China to be silent when confronted by the threats from the West and, indeed, Beijing has made clear that that Washington is “playing with fire” and that there would be “consequences.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian observed that the “so-called rules-based international order is actually a family rule made by a handful of countries to serve the US self-interest,” adding that “[Washington] observes international rules only as it sees fit.”

It would be correct to describe the US-China relationship as currently occupying a low point. The result has been to create an international crisis where there was none to start with, and it goes on. There have been two more interesting developments in the US versus China saga in the past two weeks. First came a video-link two hour and seventeen minute “summit” between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Biden’s declared mission was to address those issues that impeded a more manageable relationship between the two countries, or at least that is how it was described.

The issues discussed by Biden and Xi included not taking any steps that would challenge the status quo re Taiwan as well as Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea which the US maintains have inhibited “freedom of the seas” for foreign vessels transiting the area. China has responded that it is only exercising its sovereignty and stresses that its international presence is largely derived from its perfectly legal commercial and business activity. Other issues under discussion included what to do about climate change and the evolving situation in Ukraine. The possibility of rolling back some tariffs imposed by Donald Trump apparently was not discussed.

More provocative by far than the Biden phone call, which at least was ostensibly intended to mend fences, is the decision by Nancy Pelosi to make an August trip to Taiwan, which has now been completed. It was the first visit by an American official at that level since 1997 and it sought to confirm the US total commitment to defend the Taiwanese if China were to seek to establish full control of the Island. The proposed visit had been linked to moves by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who shifted US military resources in the Far East to provide possible protection for Pelosi’s travel on a US Air Force plane if the Chinese were to attempt to block her by declaring a no-fly zone over the island. Austin ordered the Commander of US Forces in the Indo-Pacific region (aka INDOPACCOM) to send the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group into the South China Sea as a “show of force,” which was construed as a deliberate demonstration to the Chinese that they have no actual sovereignty over Taiwan.

In the event, China responded to the Pelosi visit with a live fire military exercise in the air space and in the waters around Taiwan and whatever takes place next will have to be dealt with by the Taiwanese. The Pentagon is reportedly preparing “options” if China actually does choose to invade. But nevertheless, the visit, which cost the US taxpayer $90 million, was clearly intended to send certain signals to Beijing and those signals were not only not friendly but even threatening. Pelosi assured Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, that there would be US support despite threats from China, saying “Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy. America’s determination to preserve democracy here in Taiwan and around the world remains ironclad.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It is also language that is largely intended to appeal to the domestic audience in the US with midterm elections coming up in November. It always is popular to take cheap shots at Russia, Iran or China.

Interestingly, President Joe Biden, apparently supported privately by Austin, actually opposed the Speaker’s trip as it reportedly could disrupt his intention to actually meet Xi face-to-face at some point in the future. Pelosi, who lacks having any actual constitutional foreign policy role apart from approving budgets, has provided ammunition for those among the Chinese leadership who have come to believe that the United States cannot be trusted to honor any agreement made with a foreign government. The Speaker clearly had not heard about or understand the “One China Policy” and the “strategic ambiguity” that governs the relationship between China and the US over Taiwan to avoid any military escalation regarding that issue. Joe Biden, admittedly, has also muddied the waters by declaring three times that the US might have to use force to defend Taiwan if it is attacked as Ukraine was, even though he and his aides later insisted that he was not changing policy. The US, for its part, actually concedes the island is part of China, though “strategic ambiguity” has meant that Beijing has not yet sought to assert direct political control over it. Given that status and the threatening moves by Austin to protect Pelosi’s trip, one might imagine what the American reaction would be if China were openly making plans to fly its fighter jets into US airspace in order to forcibly land a senior Chinese official without an invitation from the State Department.

As always, there have been other possible developments, including reports that the US-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is active in currently unstable Myanmar (Burma), fomenting trouble to distract China in its own backyard. NED is notorious for its role in regime change operations that were once the responsibility of the CIA, including the 2014 Maidan revolt in Ukraine. China is surely aware of the American involvement in regional meddling. Pushing from the other direction, North Korea is threatening to use nuclear weapons if it is attacked by the US and South Korea, which will inevitably involve China. Pyongyang was responding to reports that Seoul and Washington are planning war games that will include a “decapitation exercise” simulating the assassination of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.

On balance, the United States has little to gain and much to lose by ratcheting up the pressure on China and its leadership in an attempt to create the “Pearl Harbor Moment” so much desired by the neocons and the hardliners in government. On the contrary, Nancy Pelosi should have stayed home and the White House should be working even harder to identify and pursue those opportunities for cooperation between the two countries. The ongoing bipartisan framing of China as an enemy of both the United States and of NATO is not the way to go, as it will literally force the Chinese to respond in kind. If one considers what is going on with Russia in terms of disruption of international trade, just imagine what would happen if the world’s biggest economy in China were to begin its own round of sanctions and selective withholding of manufactured goods. And then there is the risk of igniting yet another needless war, one that also comes with nuclear weapons as a last resort if either side were to perceive that it was “losing.” It is just not worth it, is it? But then again, it never is.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

Exclusive: The Fugitive Who Tried to Spark a US-China War

With a Special Correspondent

AUGUST 5, 2022

PEPE ESCOBAR

ISTANBUL – Guo Wengui, also known as Guo Haoyun, and by his English names Miles Kwok and Miles Guo, is a politically connected, self-proclaimed exiled Chinese billionaire who tried to start a U.S.-China war.

On Feb. 15, the billionaire filed for Chapter 11, personal bankruptcy protection in US Bankruptcy Court in Bridgeport, CT, listing assets of just $3,850 and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million. Guo’s declaration came after a Hong Kong money manager, Pacific Alliance Group, sued him over unpaid debts.

That certainly didn’t add up. Only three months after filing for bankruptcy, Guo had spent nearly $2 million on legal fees. Yet on May 11, he filed a waiver of personal bankruptcy with the court through his lawyer, stating he had no more funds to pay his legal fees.

During the bankruptcy hearing, Guo claimed he owned no house, no car, and no credit cards. That certainly didn’t square up with the lavish lifestyle he flaunted on social media – replete with mansion, private jet and yacht.

So is this story really about bankruptcy? Or a very elaborate ruse?

‘I Wanna Be a Part of It, New York, New York’

Guo was born to a modest family in February 1967 in a rural area of Shandong province. According to the news site China Youth Network, he went through proverbial, eye-opening experiences as a teenager, such as skipping school, brawling and gambling. He married at 18; got his own brother killed for an argument revolving around a mere 7,000 yuan; and was sentenced to three years in prison and four years probation for fraud.

Guo rose to fame by building a real estate empire in Beijing, which earned him titles such as “Capital Giant”, “Power Hunter” and “Pirate of the Caribbean” from awed Chinese netizens. In 2017, Interpol issued a Red Notice for Guo, who had already fled to the US in 2015 after being accused by the Chinese government of fraud, bribery, and money laundering. He denied all charges.

Yet according to information publicly available, Guo committed a series of financial frauds, including a $539 million scam targeting small investors in the United States, a $470 million fraudulent loan in China, and a $43 million cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme.

In recent years, Guo has had a quite active life online, amassing special notoriety for his fierce criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.

According to China’s Chongqing Public Security Bureau, Guo has been building a case since August 2017 for political asylum in the US by concocting a series of online exposés.

Some of these, revolving around Hunter Biden’s sex antics, caught the attention of US media. Guo’s central spin at the time was that “We have to express…the Chinese Communist Party used these to threaten Hunter and [Joe] Biden.” But he provided no proof of this.

In 2017, Guo gained the attention of Foreign Affairs in an article co-written by Rush Doshi, who’s now senior director for China at the US National Security Council. The article focused on how Guo – without providing sources or conclusive evidence – threw lurid allegations at Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, the head of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.

“Guo Wengui, an expatriate Chinese billionaire, began to make explosive allegations on YouTube and Twitter about China’s leaders,” Doshi and co-author George Yin explained.

“President Xi Jinping, Guo claimed, had sought incriminating information about Wang Qishan, Xi’s right-hand man and the chief of his anti-corruption campaign. The figure tasked with rooting out China’s official graft, Guo suggested, was himself corrupt — if not directly, then through his family’s alleged financial holdings. Guo’s claims seemed designed to sever China’s most important political relationship before this fall’s 19th Party Congress, where officials will determine Xi’s longevity as president and select members for China’s top decision-making bodies.”

Guo’s patrons included disgraced Chinese security officials Ma Jian, Vice-Minister of Public Security 2006-2015 and Zhou Yongkang, Minister of Public Security 2002-2007.

A powerful member of the Politburo’s Standing Committee, Zhou was expelled from the Communist Party in 2014 and sentenced to life in prison the following year. In 2018, Ma was sentenced to life in prison for taking bribes from Guo, according to court proceedings. Another of Guo’s handlers, Politburo member Sun Zhengcai, got a life sentence for bribery in 2018.

Sun was the Communist Party boss in the western megacity Chongqing. After Sun’s disgrace, the supervision of Guo passed to China’s vice-minister of police Sun Lijun (no relation), and Justice Minister Fu Zenghua. Sun Lijun was convicted of corruption in July 2022 and awaits sentencing. Fu is under arrest and awaiting trial.

What stands out is that throughout this period Guo acted as an agent of elements in China’s security services purged and convicted for corruption.

Later, in 2021, Guo switched to promoting the allegation that Chinese hackers had shifted presidential election votes from Trump to Joe Biden.

Guo’s politicking is just as intriguing as his business adventures.

Especially because of his status as former protégé of the very powerful ex-Vice Minister of State Security Ma Jian, who was himself a mentor of security chief Zhou Yongkang, then a Politburo member.

It’s not an accident that Guo fled China soon after Ma and Zhou were arrested as part of President Xi’s anti-corruption campaign. At the time, Guo was in a bitter business dispute with his former partner and politically connected tycoon Li You. That was bringing unwanted attention to his financial dealings.

The central plot in this murky saga revolves around opaque developments inside the all-powerful Ministry of State Security (MSS) in the early 2010s, when Xi Jinping came to power.

Guo’s intelligence handlers, Ma and Zhou, were allies of Ling Jihua, who was former President Hu Jintao’s chief of staff. The crucial link between Ma and Ling was provided by Sun Zhengcai, the former party secretary of Chongqing, also a Politburo member.

As we’ve seen, Zhou, Ling, and Sun all ended up in jail – targets of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign. But, remarkably, not Guo – who according to former Chinese government officials was Ma’s MSS agent in charge of special ops overseas.

Guo’s job in 2012 was to sabotage the ascension of Xi by spreading an array of fake news in China and among the Chinese diaspora. That failed.

Nonetheless, Guo remained at work as an MSS agent until at least October 2021, according to well-placed Chinese sources. Considering his recent activities and the fact he was lavishly embraced by prominent US China hawks, it appears that his assignment was to cause maximum damage to US-China relations, arguably derailing them to a point of no return.

How to Profit From Lavish Overseas Funds

Guo impressed his American hosts with a show of vast wealth. After fleeing China he took up residence in New York in a $70 million apartment in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel on Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park.

His bragging rights included buying more than 200 custom-tailored suits a year; spending more than $20 million in legal fees around the world; smoking $10,000 cigars; and drinking limited editions of the Chinese liquor Moutai. All that, of course, neatly fit his claim to bankruptcy court of holding only $3,850 in personal assets.

In his bankruptcy filing, Guo argued to the court that his expenses were funded by his family. The luxury apartment in New York was owned by the family company; a villa was owned by his wife’s company; daily expenses and all those customized suits were provided by Golden Spring, a New York-based company owned by his son Guo Qiang.

Qu Guojiao, or Natasha Qu, Guo Wengui’s former financial assistant, still living in China, revealed in an exclusive interview that in the space of over 20 years, Guo set up more than 100 companies in Hong Kong, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. None of these were under his name, she said. Yet regardless of who and which company holds them, the ultimate flow of funds and shareholding arrangements always proceeded at Guo’s own discretion, Qu said.

Guo is known to have amassed a huge fortune by colluding with corrupt Chinese powerbrokers and business tycoons: that’s the reason for his fame among Chinese netizens as a “Capital Giant”. Yet most of the funds came from unknown sources, and were never under his name.

The Blair Connection

As previously reported by the respected Chinese business newspaper Caixin Global, one of Guo’s main sources of money materialized with the help of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. With Blair’s endorsement, Guo raised $3 billion from the Abu Dhabi royal family.

Blair flew on a luxury private jet during a visit to the Middle East in 2013 when he was the U.N. Quartet’s Middle East envoy; he was accompanied by Guo, who was responsible for paying for the flight, according to Caixin.

Guo won the Blairs’ favor when he bought 5,000 copies of Blair’s wife Cherie’s new autobiographical book in Chinese, Speaking for Myself, in August 2009. In 2013, Blair introduced Guo to a group of dignitaries from the Abu Dhabi royal family, the newspaper reported.

In 2014 Guo, with the support of all-powerful Ma Jian, then Chinese vice minister of security, used Blair’s position as the Special Envoy to the Middle East Quartet to gain the trust of the Abu Dhabi royals. Guo ended up signing a contract with them in Macau on Dec. 16 that year, setting up a “China-Arab Fund,” according to China Daily.

The first $1.5 billion was paid from Abu Dhabi’s Cayman Islands-registered company Roscalitar 2 to one of Guo Wengui’s bank accounts the following day. Guo’s assistant at the time, Qu, confirmed in the interview that the money was used to buy Hong Kong stocks, property, a yacht and other assets.

CAPTION: Voucher signed and authorized by Guo Wengui for the transfer of €25.2 million from Bravo Luck Ltd to DWF LLP for the balance of the purchase of the Lady May yacht

CAPTION: Voucher signed and authorized by Guo Wengui for the transfer of €25.2 million from Bravo Luck Ltd to DWF LLP for the balance of the purchase of the Lady May yacht

Natasha Qu stated: “In December 2014, the Abu Dhabi side transferred 1.5 billion to Guo Wengui, who immediately instructed her to transfer the money to HK International Funds Investment Ltd, a company controlled by Guo Wengui through her and Guo Qiang.”

Guo, according to Qu, “asked to transfer a total of $520 million in two installments to the Bravo Luck Ltd account. Payments were then made through the Bravo Luck Ltd account to purchase the Lady May yacht, the luxury apartment in New York, and money was also transferred to Guo Qiang himself and to his controlled [company] Golden Spring” at its Hong Kong head office.

CAPTION: Voucher signed and authorized by Guo Wengui for transfer from Bravo Luck Ltd \\$62,990,741.85 to IVEY Barnum & O’Mara LLC for the balance of the apartment in the Sherry Netherland Hotel in New York

CAPTION: Voucher signed and authorized by Guo Wengui for transfer from Bravo Luck Ltd $62,990,741.85 to IVEY Barnum & O’Mara LLC for the balance of the apartment in the Sherry Netherland Hotel in New York

Natasha Qu adds: “Although Guo Wengui had more than a hundred companies in Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands, none of them had any real business and there was basically no money in the company accounts. They were set up simply to raise and transfer money. All of Guo Wengui’s spending in those two or three years both at home and abroad came from this Abu Dhabi money.”

There’s no information as to whether any of these funds are still left. What is clear is that Guo kept spending right up until and after his recent bankruptcy filing. After claiming he was flat broke, Guo hired three big-name lawyers from top US law firm Brown Rudnick LLP each charging more than $1,000 an hour, according to news reports of the bankruptcy filing.

Lawyers’ fees listed in the court papers submitted by Guo Wengui

Lawyers’ fees listed in the court papers submitted by Guo Wengui

Documents in Guo’s bankruptcy case show that the day before filing for bankruptcy, he sent $1 million to law firm Brown & Rudnick from Lamp Capital Ltd (Lamp Capital). In addition to this firm, Guo also hired the services of Stretto Insolvency Solutions and V&L Financial Services, according to court filings. In May 2022 Guo set up an $8 million loan from his own New York-based company Golden Spring to pay for insolvency administration and financial services.

Should I Stay (Bankrupt) or Should I Go?

It’s not clear how wealthy Guo Wengui really is, and what are his real assets.

One of the most contentious assets in the years-long litigation between Hong Kong’s Pacific Alliance Group and Guo Wengui is the now-famous Lady May yacht, where federal officials had arrested Steve Bannon in 2020 for alleged fraud. Guo claimed that he sold the yacht to his daughter Guo Mei for $1, and that it is docked in a Spanish harbor.

Natasha Qu reports that the yacht was purchased in February 2015 by Guo Wengui for €28 million, with funds from the first US$1.5 billion released by the China-Arab Fund, in the name of Hong Kong International Fund Investment Ltd, and registered in the same name.”

Qu says she transferred the ownership of Lady May to Guo Mei for US$1 on June 17, 2017, as instructed by Guo. Back in October 2014, Guo asked Natasha Qu to sign a Declaration of Trust to hold Hong Kong International Fund Investment Limited for him, after which the company was transferred to Natasha Qu to hold on his behalf for the price of HK$1.

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The Declaration of Trust made it clear that all actions of the trustee, Natasha Qu, in relation to the shareholding of the company were to be done in accordance with the instructions of the beneficiary, Guo Wengui. After Qu signed the Declaration of Trust, she said the document was taken away by Guo and kept by his lawyer.

As Natasha Qu explains, “When the Hong Kong police investigated Guo Wengui for money laundering in 2017, Guo asked me to prepare the paperwork for a trip to the United States to transfer the entirety of Hong Kong International Fund Investment Limited to Guo Mei.”

CAPTION: Declaration of trust signed by Natasha Qu to hold Hong Kong International Fund Investment Limited for Guo Wengui

CAPTION: Declaration of trust signed by Natasha Qu to hold Hong Kong International Fund Investment Limited for Guo Wengui

After he fled to the US, Guo tried his best to package himself as deeply hostile to Beijing. Guo’s patrons in the security services were convicted of major crimes or under investigation, and he feared arrest under corruption charges. According to the New York Times, Guo was on China’s most-wanted list for bribery, fraud and money laundering.

Guo spent lavishly to win the support of associates of President Donald Trump. He hired former White House strategist Steve Bannon for a $1 million a year retainer. In 2020, alongside Bannon, Guo announced the creation of the “New Federal State of China,” supposedly to overthrow China’s Communist Party.

The “Federal State” held an event in New York on June 4, 2022, with Bannon and a group of former senior Trump aides, including White House trade advisor Peter Navarro and speechwriter Jason Miller.

Before the “Federal State” adventure, Guo set up the Rule of Law Foundation in 2018; launched a G series of investment projects such as GTV and G Coin, as well as farm loans, G-Club cards and Xi Coin. These ventures brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in sales and donations, but landed him in legal trouble.

In May 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) imposed a $539 million penalty for Guo’s US$487 million in illegal private placements of GTV and G Coin. The remaining projects are also being investigated to varying degrees, including a “farm loan” of almost US$200 million at the end of 2020 and over US$100 million from the sale of one billion H-coins in 2021. The whereabouts and use of these funds are a complete mystery.

Guo Wengui’s personal bankruptcy case is still pending. Under court order, Guo, as the owner of the Lady May yacht, promised on April 6 to allow the yacht to return to the US by July 15 and to post a US$37 million bond. On April 17, the bankruptcy court held Guo in contempt for hiding his yacht overseas.

On May 11, Guo voluntarily filed to dismiss his personal bankruptcy case. This bizarre behavior caught the attention of major news media.

Bankruptcy Court Acts

On June 16, the Connecticut Bankruptcy Court noted that Guo Wengui and his family had interests in numerous limited liability companies and allegedly hid assets and defrauded creditors by depositing substantial personal assets among numerous subordinates and family members.

The court ultimately denied Guo’s motion to dismiss, appointed a trustee for the bankruptcy assets, continued the bankruptcy proceedings, and appointed a trustee to conduct a worldwide investigation into Guo’s assets and whether Guo had acted in good faith in filing for bankruptcy.

If creditors pursuing their investigation find that Guo has hidden assets and filed for bankruptcy, he may be found guilty of violating US bankruptcy laws as well as bankruptcy fraud. That would land him in serious legal trouble. And this time there won’t be any powerful Ministry of State Security patrons to lend a helping hand.

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• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American MilitaryChinaChina/AmericaGuo WenguiTaiwan

The China/America Series

Fresh Zionist Attacks on Gaza Come Out of US President’s Regional Tour: Iran’s Veep

 August 8, 2022

First Vice-President of Iran Mohammad Mokhber underscored that the new attacks by the Zionist regime on the Gaza Strip is a result of a recent trip by US President Joe Biden to the West Asia region.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Ashura day mourning ceremony, Mokhber said on Monday that the recent regional tour by the US president to the region has emboldened the Zionist regime to resume brutal attacks on the Gaza Strip.

The new round of pounding Gaza is also indicating that Israel is facing internal challenges and crises, but such attacks will end up in consolidating unity among Muslims and resistance movement groups, the Iranian official argued.

Describing Iran as the steadfast supporter of oppressed Palestinian people and resistance movements, he emphasized that efforts made by the Zionist regime and its regional and international allies show that how much the resistance movement’s might has improved.

The first vice president also stressed that resistance is the only way to conquer the occupiers, expressing hope that the holy Quds region can be liberated soon with the God’s help and as a result of resistance by Palestinian youths and Muslims.

The Islamic Jihad of Palestine fired hundreds of rockets into occupied territories in retaliation to the Zionists’ pounding of the Gaza enclave.

According to the most recent reports, the number of martyrs of Zionists’ attacks on Gaza mounted to 43 people, including 15 children. Moreover, some 311 residents in Gaza have been injured in the new wave of Zionist attacks so far.

Some news sources have reported that Gaza and the Zionist regime have agreed upon a ceasefire to be announced at 23:30 local time on Monday, which was mediated by Egypt.

Source: Agencies

Israel looking to delay border deal with Lebanon until after November elections

Tel Aviv is also reportedly looking to push back the extraction of gas from Karish

August 08 2022

An Israeli Sa’ar Class 4.5 missile boat guards the Energean floating production, storage and offloading vessel at the disputed Karish gas field, 2 July, 2022. (Photo credit: Israeli army)

ByNews Desk

Arabic media reports revealed on 8 August that the US sent a message to Lebanon via Kuwaiti diplomatic channels, saying that a deal to demarcate their maritime border with Israel will not be possible until after Knesset elections in November.

In their communication, Kuwait also told Lebanon that the US is willing to “provide guarantees” that they will receive “all of their demands” in the maritime dispute.

Tel Aviv has reportedly also held discussions to delay the extraction of gas from the disputed Karish gas field, likely due to officials shifting their focus to bombing the Gaza Strip.

However, the report by Al Akhbar highlights that Hezbollah did not welcome the proposal, and that they would not wait longer than announced, reiterating that the resistance is ready to take military action.

The US mediator in the negotiations, Amos Hochstein, returned to Israel on Monday to receive a response to Lebanon’s latest maritime proposal, a week after leaving the region.

Hochstein arrived in Israel on 8 August according to Al-Ahed, to complete his meetings with Israeli officials after failing to reach a conclusion during his visit on 3 August.

Hochstein left last week, as the Israeli premiership was midway through planning for the offensive on Gaza.

According to Al Jazeera TV, the Israeli proposal delivered by Hochstein on 31 July would grant Lebanon the area north of Line 23, including the unproven Qana gas field, while giving Israel full control of the Karish field.

Additionally, the Israeli proposal demanded that Lebanon accept to alter the dimensions of several maritime blocs, giving Israel parts of the southwest blocks near Cyprus.

The demand, however, was rejected by Lebanon, as they refuse to compromise further after forfeiting Karish.

In light of these developments, Lebanon is waiting for the written Israeli response in order to be able to resume the US-mediated negotiations at the UN headquarters in Naqoura, South Lebanon.

On 7 August, Lapid welcomed opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu to his office, marking the end of Netanyahu’s year-long boycott of meeting with the coalition government that unseated him last June.

However, Lapid and Netanyahu will face off again in the November elections. Polls indicate that the elections might unseat Lapid in favor of the Netanyahu’s Likud party, leading to a shift in policy, according to local Israeli media.

إسرائيل تعرض تأخير الترسيم إلى ما بعد انتخابات الكنيست… وقلق في اليونان | المقاومة: إقرار كامل بالحقوق… وسريعاً

الإثنين 8 آب 2022

الأخبار 

سياسة قضية اليوم 

تطورات متسارعة ومتناقضة ترافق انتظار لبنان عودة الوسيط الأميركي عاموس هوكشتين، بعدما حمل من بيروت الى تل أبيب، الأسبوع الماضي، الموقف اللبناني الذي وثّقه اجتماع بعبدا بموقف موحّد من الرؤساء الثلاثة، يقوم على الإقرار بحق لبنان في الخط 23، مع كامل حقل قانا، وإعطاء ضمانات للشركات بالتنقيب بعد إنجاز الترسيم، ورفض أي كلام عن أي تنقيب مشترك تتولّاه شركة واحدة.

ومع أن هوكشتين عقد اجتماعات مع كبار المسؤولين الإسرائيليين، وناقشت الحكومة الإسرائيلية المُصغرة الأمر الأربعاء الماضي، إلا أنه تبيّن أن العدو لم يصل إلى قرار في هذا الشأن، وأن التركيز كان على خطة العدوان على قطاع غزة. فيما يبدو أن الحكومة الإسرائيلية المؤقتة تميل إلى التسويف وتأخير بتّ الملف الى فترة لاحقة، مع إعطاء إشارات متناقضة، من بينها احتمال تأخير بدء الاستخراج من حقل «كاريش»، بالتزامن مع معلومات عن أن انشغال الإسرائيليين بالعدوان على غزة قد يؤخّر مهمة هوكشتين، علماً بأن الأخير حاول خلال زيارته لبيروت التقليل من أهمية تهديدات حزب الله، من زاوية أن «إسرائيل لا يمكنها الخضوع لابتزاز حزب الله لأن ذلك سيفتح الباب أمام ممارسة أطراف أخرى هذا النوع من الابتزاز»، بخلاف السفيرة الأميركية دوروثي شيا التي قالت لزوار لبنانيين ولمسؤولين في الإدارة الأميركية إنه ينبغي التعامل بجدية مع تهديدات الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله.

وسيط عربي
وعلمت «الأخبار» أن رسائل أميركية وصلت الى الجهات اللبنانية المعنية بالملف، ليس عبر القناة القطرية هذه المرة، بل عبر الكويت التي نقل مسؤول فيها أن الولايات المتحدة حصلت من إسرائيل على ضمانات بأنها ستعطي لبنان ما يريده في مسألة الترسيم، لكنها تميل إلى تأجيل الأمر الى ما بعد انتخابات الكنيست في إسرائيل. وبدا ناقل الرسالة مهتماً بمعرفة موقف المقاومة من هذا الطرح أكثر من أي أمر آخر.

وأفادت المعلومات بأن الوسيط الكويتي سمع كلاماً واضحاً بأن المقاومة غير معنية بالانتخابات في إسرائيل، وهي أساساً لا تميّز بين حكومة وأخرى وبين حزب حاكم وآخر، بل تعتبر الجميع مسؤولين عن كيان عنصري يحترف الحروب وسرقة موارد العرب وثرواتهم وحقوقهم. كما أن المقاومة تعمل وفق أجندتها وليس وفق الأجندة الإسرائيلية أو الأميركية، وهي غير معنية من قريب أو بعيد بالتفاوض القائم المتروك للدولة اللبنانية، لكنها معنية بحصول لبنان على كامل حقوقه من دون زيادة أو نقصان. كما أنها معنية أيضاً بأن يفهم الأميركيون قبل الإسرائيليين أن حقوق لبنان تعني سيادة كاملة على المناطق الاقتصادية الخاصة به، وحرية العمل فيها وفق ما يراه مناسباً، وبالتالي فإن رفع الفيتو الأميركي عن عمل الشركات العالمية في التنقيب والاستخراج في الجانب اللبناني مطلب أساسي.
وبحسب المعلومات، فقد أُبلغ الوسيط (لم يعرف ما إذا كان هناك لقاء مباشر بينه وبين المقاومة أو عبر وسيط) أن على العدو أن يتذكّر بأن المقاومة أعلنت أنها لن تنتظر طويلاً وأن المهلة الزمنية غير مفتوحة قبل أن توجّه ضربات مباشرة الى منصات العدو.
ورغم أن الأميركيين سبق أن أشاروا الى ضرورة إنجاز الملف من دون ربطه بالانتخابات الإسرائيلية، انتشرت تحليلات بأن حكومة يائير لابيد ستجد نفسها أقوى في حال خروجها من معركة غزة قوية، ما يمكّنها الذهاب نحو اتفاق يتضمّن «تنازلات» في ملف ترسيم الحدود البحرية.

شياطين التفاهمات
وسط هذه التطورات، قالت مصادر رفيعة المستوى إن «لبنان ينتظِر الرد الإسرائيلي المكتوب»، وإن «اجتماع بعبدا تولّدت عنه مقاربة جديدة لملف الترسيم، بيّنت أن العدو الإسرائيلي يريد أن ينُجز حلاً في المضمون، لكنه يبحث في الشكل عن مخارج له»، علماً بأن «كل ما حصل منذ الزيارة لم يصل إلى مرتبة الإجراءات العملية»، معتبرة أننا في حالة من «اللاسلبية واللاإيجابية في آن».
ولفتت المصادر إلى أنه في حال عودة هوكشتين حاملاً الجواب المكتوب «سيدعى الوفدان اللبناني والإسرائيلي إلى الناقورة مجدداً لتوقيع النصوص برعاية الأمم المتحدة».
وقالت مصادر سياسية إن «التفاهمات المفترضة حول ملف الترسيم لن تكون رهن توافق عام فقط»، لأن «ما طرحه الوسيط الأميركي كان على أساس أن يتولى هو مواصلة المفاوضات وصياغة التفاهم، وأن يصار الى عقد اجتماع واحد أو اجتماعين في الناقورة لأجل الإقرار». لكن رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري قال لزواره إن «العناوين العامة جرى النقاش حولها، وهو (هوكشتين) سمع منا وذهب الى الإسرائيليين ليعود بجواب، ونحن ننتظر. وفي حال حصول تقدم، سيحال الأمر الى مفاوضات غير مباشرة في الناقورة».
وبحسب المصادر، فإن «ما يهدف إليه الوسيط الأميركي ولو برعاية الأمم المتحدة هو توقيع اتفاق أو تفاهم بين لبنان والعدو برعاية دولية يشتمل على كل نقاط الخلاف». وبالتالي، يعتقد مطّلعون في بيروت أن مثل هذا الأمر «لا يقف عند حدود تفاهم عام، بل هو مرتبط بتفاهم مفصل». ما يعني أنه سيكون هناك جهد حثيث، له بعده القانوني والأمني والتقني، وهذا يتطلب فريقاً متخصصاً، ما يعيد الحديث عن تشكيل الوفد اللبناني الى جولات التفاوض غير المباشر في الناقورة.
ورأت المصادر نفسها أن كلام رئيس كتلة الوفاء للمقاومة النائب محمد رعد عن «أننا نريد أن نرى بأعيننا الاتفاق لا أن نسمعه مجرد أخبار»، يتضمن إشارة واضحة الى أن «المقاومة ملتزمة بموقفها منع العدو من أي عملية استخراج قبل الوصول الى تفاهم يحفظ كامل حقوق لبنان. وهو ما يعني ضمناً أن المقاومة التي تنسّق مع الرؤساء الثلاثة وتتواصل مع جهات دولية، لن تكون بعيدة عن تفاصيل الاتفاق، من دون أن تكون شريكة لا في التفاوض ولا في الصياغة».

اليونان تتراجع وتقرّ بملكية سفينة الاستخراج وتخشى على حياة العاملين على متنها


وكان لافتاً ما تمّت الإشارة إليه من أن لبنان لم يحصل بعد على إقرار إسرائيلي كامل بحقه في كل ما هو شمال الخط 23، بالإضافة الى بقية حقل قانا. إذ لفت مصدر مطّلع الى أن «نائب رئيس مجلس النواب إلياس بوصعب كان قد تهرّب من سؤال الصحافيين حول هذه النقطة بعد اجتماع بعبدا الأخير،. ليتبيّن أن الأميركيين يشيرون الى أن إسرائيل قد تقبل بأن يُصار الى التمييز بين الملكية والسيادة القانونية. بمعنى أن تحسب كامل حصة حقل قانا للبنان، على أن تحتفظ هي بحقها في جزء من الحقل عند الترسيم، وهو أمر يرفضه لبنان بصورة قاطعة».
ورغم انشغال قيادة العدو بالعدوان على قطاع غزة، إلا أن الدبلوماسية الأميركية تتحدث كما الجهات الأوروبية (التي يقول دبلوماسيوها بشكل صريح إن الملف كله في عهدة الأميركيين) عن استمرار المساعي والاتصالات لضمان حصول الوسيط الأميركي على موقف إسرائيلي يعود به الى بيروت لضمان الأجواء الإيجابية، وخصوصاً أن هوكشتين لم يتمكن من الحصول على أي وعد من أي جهة لبنانية بأن المقاومة ستقف مكتوفة الأيدي أمام المماطلة.

قلق يوناني
إلى ذلك، طرأ تطور تمثّل في تبدّل الموقف اليوناني من مسألة ملكية سفينة الاستخراج «إنيرجيان». وقد طلبت سفيرة اليونان في لبنان كاثرين فونتولاكي موعداً للاجتماع اليوم مع وزير الخارجية عبد الله بوحبيب لمناقشة ملف ترسيم الحدود والسفينة.
وكان الوسيط الأميركي قد استغرب نفي اليونان علاقتها بالسفينة، مؤكداً أن اليونانيين يملكون الحصة الأكبر من الشركة وأن مديرها العام يوناني. وفي وقت لاحق من الأسبوع الماضي، سارع اليونانيون الى تبديل روايتهم الأولى، بعدما أبلغوا لبنان، بعد تهديدات الأمين العام لحزب الله، عبر رسالة رسمية أن اليونان تملك حصة تأسيسية في الشركة. قبل أن تعود أثينا، في الأيام القليلة الماضية، إلى إبلاغ لبنان رسمياً أن يونانيين يملكون أسهماً كبيرة في الشركة، وأن المدير التنفيذي يوناني الجنسية وأن معظم البحارة العاملين على السفينة يونانيون. ويعكس هذا التطور، بحسب مصدر معني، القلق اليوناني المتعاظم من احتمال ضرب السفينة. وبحسب معلومات، سمع اليونانيون الذين تواصلوا مع مسؤولين في حزب الله كلاماً واضحاً بضرورة سحب السفينة، وأن أثينا وأصحاب السفينة يتحمّلون المسؤولية عن أي ضرر مادي أو بشري يصيبها.

مقالات ذات صلة

Anatomy of the EU “gas crisis”

August 05, 2022

Source

by Jorge Vilches

Europe today does not have – or possibly never had – an effective vision of the no-nonsense existential strategy it required to subsist in peace. Furthermore, as if not aware of the coming debacle, EU leaders firmly insist on their failed policies. Now, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder proposes to solve the EU’s self-inflicted ´gas crisis´ by launching the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) gas pipeline… although German authorities have repeatedly rejected the idea.

Today the EU is governed by childish impulses necessarily leading to confusion and self-harm. First the EU imposes highly crippling sanctions on its Russian partner and then demands from her full natural gas delivery — even under the current most special situation — while flagrantly violating well-known contract clauses. Accordingly, it is obvious that the assumed European ´energy crisis´ does not really exist as such, be it for natural gas, oil, distillates, coal, uranium rods… or whatever others for that matter. Because if a genuine “energy crisis” truly existed, Europe would not have full access to tangible energy from Russia, which is not the case. Actually, Europe has an enviable, excellent access to high quality, decades-proven, swift, trouble-free, close-by, door-to-door delivery of truly cheap energy from fully-vetted Russian vendors willing and able to reliably deliver the goods as they always have since decades yonder.

contract violations

But besides being immature, the EU can also be highly creative. For instance, by playing games with sacrosanct contractual requirements for the famous peripatetic Siemens NS1 turbine # 073… now stranded at Mülheim an der Ruhr after a yet unfinished maintenance episode at very distant Siemens Canada facilities of all places. Accordingly, Russia´s Gazprom has now officially rejected to accept delivery of turbine # 073 on the basis that

The sanctions regimes of Canada, the EU, the UK and a mismatch of the current situation with the existing contractual obligations by the Siemens side make delivery of the 073 engine to the [ Russian ] Portovaya compressor station impossible”. Gazprom claims that essential documents have not been presented stating that turbine 073 is not under sanctions. “Words are not enough”.

Ref #1 https://www.rt.com/business/560216-kremlin-responds-german-turbine-accusation/

Furthermore, the Minister of Natural Resources of Canada Jonathan Wilkinson declared that “Canada grants a time-limited and revocable permit for Siemens Canada to allow the return of repaired Nordstream 1 turbines to Germany…” So, no direct return to Russia — which is a clear breach of contract — and also under time-limited and revocable conditions which is an additional contract violation simply because turbine # 073 is still not sanctions-free and thus uninsurable. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov made clear that the turbine had been sent to Germany without Russia’s consent and that in the current situation Moscow should now have to make sure that the turbine “cannot be stopped remotely”… Sabotage cannot be excluded while Germany is actively sending weapons to Ukraine to kill Russians.

Ref #2 https://nationworldnews.com/gazprom-repeats-west-bloks-nord-stream-turbine-shipments/

Ref #3 https://www.ft.com/content/d926a768-f976-4bee-823c-0f255afb7087

Ref #8 https://tass.com/economy/1477929

Ref #4 https://www.reuters.com/article/ukraine-crisis-gas-nordstream/update-1-russias-gazprom-sanctions-make-delivery-of-nord-stream-turbine-impossible-idUKL8N2ZF6SQ

Ref #5 https://news.yahoo.com/turbine-works-germanys-scholz-points-083241601.html

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what happened ?

EU sanctions have shut down several Russian pipelines thus completely tying down Gazprom´s hands. Ukraine and Poland effectively closed off the Yamal-Europe pipeline. Ukraine did it overtly for strictly political reasons while Poland by refusing to pay under the new gas-for-Roubles scheme. Also, the NS1 pipeline is still suffering the Siemens-Canada tumultuous service problems. Besides, Gazprom is unable to fully use another pipeline route as Ukraine has been rejecting its transit applications. In sum, Europe has pro-actively shut itself off from Russian gas. Go figure…

et tu Siemens ?

Siemens Energy is the NS1 turbine manufacturer squarely and contractually responsible for the regular maintenance and proper functioning of all NS1 turbines, property of Russia. Siemens has now officially declared what Gazprom has been saying all along, namely that only one of five NS1 turbines is truly operational and able to deliver gas. Of course, this means that Europe is able to receive only 20% of Russia´s badly-needed natural gas as the condition of the four other remaining NS1 turbines is still undefined. According to former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, the reduction in the NS1 flow rate capacity is entirely Siemens’ fault, not Gazprom´s. Sanctions obviously still apply to turbine # 073 and surely to any other Russian-related piece of equipment or produce or program or whatever Russian.

et tu Gazprom ?

Vitaly Markelov, deputy head of Gazprom, said that Siemens has not fulfilled its obligations to adequately maintain NS1 engine and thusly several pieces of equipment are currently idle. Besides, Gazprom claims it has not received from Siemens the required, well-known, complete package of documents allowing transportation, maintenance service and repairs of Russian-owned equipment. The EU keeps playing lots of childish games while winter gets ever closer. If Gazprom were to accept the turbine it would be liable for illegally breaking the EU sanctions regime plus other unfavorable complications. Lots of tricky lawfare involved while the EU can’t stop digging an ever deeper hole for itself. What´s bloody wrong with Europeans ? Why do they insist in choking down on their own vomit ? EU sanctions were rolled back regarding insurance on freight vessels with Russian oil, right ? So go for it you ignorant fools, now.

Gazprom says: “The current anti-Russian sanctions are hindering the successful resolution of the issue of the transportation and repair of Siemens gas turbine engines for the Portovaya compressor station, which supplies gas to European consumers through the Nord Stream pipeline.”

Ref #6 https://www.rt.com/business/560144-turbine-manufacturer-explains-gas-shortfall/

Ref #7 https://www.rfi.fr/en/business-and-tech/20220803-gazprom-says-gas-turbine-delivery-to-russia-impossible-due-to-sanctions

Ref #8 https://www.rt.com/business/560232-gazprom-explains-turbine-complications/

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the NS2 “solution”

In the whole history of worldwide warfare, no help was ever made readily available by any enemy. Let alone would such help ever include the life-blood of Europe´s economy, including vital products and energy. So Russia right now is not Europe´s “enemy”. Today European industry and households are simply undergoing a fake ´energy crisis´ (not) of their own making by decisions made by un-elected EU politicians who do not represent Europe´s best interests. Now, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder insists in a Stern Magazine interview the NS2 pipeline with Russian-made turbines would immediately solve Europe´s — possibly terminal — ´energy crisis´ come winter 2022 – 2023.

Ref #9 https://www.rt.com/business/560125-gerhard-schroeder-nord-stream-gas/

three NS2 problems

But there are three major “problems” to be solved. Number one problem is the absurdly required US political approval of the idea as broadly explained below. Problem number two is time is up as the NS2 certification and commissioning process would have to start right now — meaning yesterday – in order to possibly make it soon enough as neither problem #1 or #2 are simple nor quick to solve. Why so ? Well, one reason the dependency on US authorization of anything meaningful for Europe which is now clearly exposed for all to see. This also includes among other things any European trade and investment decisions with Russia. Furthermore, due to serious and most valid technical reasons, several weeks are required before any natural gas can flow from Russia to Germany through the NS2. Otherwise, the risks of serious accidents and/or malfunctioning could mean the sudden end to any possible successful solution of the problem at hand. People at large – and even top ranking specialized politicians – many times think that oil & gas feedstock flows can be turned on and off with the flip of a switch (not). Of course, all of the above furthermore requires German cooperation and correct decisions such as not using NS2 terminal facilities for any other purposes than those originally intended with specific design criteria and construction technology in mind. This is of utmost importance because German officials have already announced their idea of ´speeding up´ and supplementing the installation of LNG terminals with available NS2 hub-heads to support non-Russian LNG gas imports.

And problem number three is that at this very late stage of the game Gazprom could only deliver 25% of its nominal design capacity. In May, Russia´s President Putin specifically advised German Chancellor Scholz that Gazprom had contractually reserved the NS2 delivery capacity which needed to be effectively purchased as it could not remain suspended in mid-air indefinitely. Thus, President Putin then also warned Chancellor Scholz that Russia was forced to soon redirect half of the NS2 volume for domestic consumption and processing. Therefore, even if Gazprom were to be duly authorized to launch NS2 tomorrow morning, it would pump only 50% of its original nominal design capacity. And given that we are already more than halfway through 2022, that would be just be 20-25%…or less.

Ref # 10 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/energy/general/germany-unable-to-use-second-nord-stream-2-line-before-2028-gazprom/35291

US interference

The US does not leave Europe free to make rational decisions, simply because Europe constitutes a heterogeneous group of vassal states still under US military occupation. The NS2 natural gas pipeline runs under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany right besides the currently problematic NS1. Its construction was recently completed but the pipeline was denied certification and commissioning by German authorities prior to the crisis in Ukraine. Despite former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder´s insistence, the German government has repeatedly said that launching NS2 now is absolutely out of the question. It is impossible to make this stuff up…

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the EU perfect storm

Europe is facing a perfect storm: energy prices are up, economic growth is down and winter is coming ” officially stated by Mr. Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Add to that the ever-lower Rhine River water levels – almost impassable by barges of any draft — and you get the idea. This ultra-low Rhine level tremendously restricts – and may possibly cut-off altogether – the very badly-needed coal shipments to the now absurdly RE-commissioned coal-fueled power stations. Of course, also this impacts the physical delivery of everything – not just fuels and inputs thereof — with necessarily much higher costs requiring non-available trucking freight. “The risk here is the trade of huge quantities of commodities that would otherwise be used to stave off an economic crisis become logjammed on the Rhine as low water levels make certain parts impassible. Shipment costs for coal are therefore increasing, which in turn inflates the costs of operating coal plants.”

The low water levels are already forcing “irregular operation” at a Uniper 510-megawatt Staudinger-5 coal-fired power plant through the first half of September because fewer and fewer barges have been able to deliver coal as stockpiles dwindle. Rhine water levels below 40 centimeters at Kaub would halt shipments via inland waterways to the power plant, forcing highly expensive and inefficient shipments by land. Many other key industries are seriously affected.

Gazprom explains complications in turbine row

The Rhine River directly affects trade and industrial logistics of several key European countries namely, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, and the Netherlands while indirectly affecting many others or, in some cases, all the others. In particular, the über-important German inland transportation system – and therefore its entire supply chains network – depends upon normal levels of Rhine River waters. Because it´s not only a matter of sourcing the right quality, quantity and price of any produce. It is just as important to receive it Just-In-Time at process destinations such as refineries or power plants as explained later. Simultaneously, all European stakeholders are competing with each other tooth and nail struggling to find, contract and retain exactly the same resources in order to solve the same unexpected problems all at once and by the same date.

Ref #11 https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/europe%E2%80%99s-energy-balancing-act_en

Ref #12 https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/german-barge-traffic-shrinks-rhine-water-levels-fall

Ref #13 https://thesaker.is/europe-hypnotized-into-war-economy/

Ref #14 https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/germanys-uniper-warns-irregular-operation-power-plant-rhine-river-dries

Gallup’s Latest Poll Shows That Those Americans Obsessing Over Russia Are A Fringe Minority

Aug 4 2022

Source

By Andrew Korybko

The fact that only 1% of Americans regard Russia as the US’ “most important problem” shows just how out of touch the Mainstream Media is with their targeted audience’s interests. That in turn adds credence to the speculation that they’re being ordered by their government to wage this unprecedented information warfare campaign against Russia despite it only being popular with a fringe minority.

The Mainstream Media (MSM) has been waging an unprecedented information warfare campaign against Russia for nearly half a year already, yet Gallup’s latest poll shows that literally only 1% of Americans consider it to be the US’ “most important problem” despite their government already sending Kiev tens of billions of dollars in their name as part of its proxy war against that Eurasian Great Power. This confirms that those Americans who obsess over Russia are a fringe minority.

The polling company also noted in their report that the 1% of those who consider Russia to be their country’s “most important problem” is a steep drop from March when 9% of them shared that opinion. This suggests that Americans were most powerfully influenced at the onset of the MSM’s anti-Russian information warfare campaign but have since grown numb to it, with domestic issues like inflation, dysfunctional leadership, and abortion being regarded as much more important by them nowadays.

That’s bad news for the warmongers in Washington who wrongly assumed that their targeted audience could continue seeing Russia as their country’s “most important problem” well into the summer. What seems to have happened is that their MSM proxies overplayed their hand and have thus dealt irreparable damage to their information warfare operations after 99% of Americans no longer really care all that much about the Ukrainian Conflict.

Absent a major provocation aimed at artificially manufacturing another false narrative fearmongering about Russia, it might very well end up being the case that this trend is irreversible. Simply put, the MSM shared too many claims about Russia too fast to the point that most people started tuning out after realizing that everything they were being told about what a threat it supposedly was to their country never ended up panning out.

Russia never attacked NATO, World War III didn’t break out, and no fearmongered nuclear apocalypse ever happened unlike what the MSM warned was about to happen. The Ukrainian Conflict remains contained and Americans quickly realized that they have much more important things to worry about like inflation, which nobody seriously blames Russia for. “Putin’s price hike” that Biden never tires of talking about hasn’t caught on and is widely mocked as intellectually insulting propaganda.

There’s probably nothing that the US Government can do to make its people care anymore since most probably wouldn’t bite the bait even if their intelligence services engineered a major provocation like was earlier predicted. This suggests that the Democrats can’t realistically campaign on the Biden Administration’s support of Kiev since 99% of voters don’t think that it addressed their country’s “most important problem”. To the contrary, a growing number consider it to be a money laundering operation.

The fact that only 1% of Americans regard Russia as the US’ “most important problem” also shows just how out of touch the MSM is with their targeted audience’s interests. That in turn adds credence to the speculation that they’re being ordered by their government to wage this unprecedented information warfare campaign against Russia despite it only being popular with a fringe minority. Building upon this observation, it can be concluded that American media isn’t as “independent” as it claims to be.

With a view to the future, it’s unlikely that the MSM’s obsessive smears against Russia will end anytime soon even though 99% of Americans don’t consider it their country’s “most important problem”. That’s because the US Government wants to falsely signal to its transatlantic vassals that their own people supposedly haven’t lost interest in this proxy war in the hopes that this lie will convince their leaders not to waver in their support of Kiev like American officials worry is already in the process of happening.

Like the author noted last week, “The Zelenskys’ Vogue Photoshoot Exposed What A Charade The Ukrainian Conflict Has Become” while Gallup’s latest poll just confirmed that observation with statistical facts that nobody can deny since that company is regarded as the world’s most reputable in its field. This “politically inconvenient” development proves what a failure the MSM’s US Government-managed information warfare campaign against Russia has been.

The Saker interviews Michael Hudson

August 02, 2022

Dear friends

Today I had the honor and immense pleasure to spend one hour talking to my friend Michael Hudson and I am happy to share this video with you.  I have immense respect for Michael, both as an economist and as a friend, and want to clarify this because some trolls have viciously attacked Michael in the comments section and I want to make something abundantly clear: any rude comment addressed to Michael will be sent to trash and its author banned forever.  You are totally welcome to disagree with the substance of Michael’s (or my) arguments, but I shall tolerate no ad hominems or snarky comments of any kind.

It is sad that I would have to make such points, but past experience taught me, the hard way, that trolls always pounce on those whose ideas they fear and hate the most.

One more thing: both Michael and myself would REALLY be grateful if somebody could make a transcript of our conversation.  If you can help with that, we would both be immensely grateful to you!

That being said, I now leave you to watch the conversation,

Andrei

***

First, here is the YouTube video of our discussion:

and, second, since we never can tell what the woke freaks who run YouTube might decide to do with this video, here is the exact same one on BitChute, just in case…

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/6a5zhT5ROp2U

How a missile in Kabul connects to a Speaker in Taipei

August 03 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Source

By Pepe Escobar

This is the way the “Global War on Terror” (GWOT) ends, over and over again: not with a bang, but a whimper.

Two Hellfire R9-X missiles launched from a MQ9 Reaper drone on the balcony of a house in Kabul. The target was Ayman Al-Zawahiri with a $25 million bounty on his head. The once invisible leader of ‘historic’ Al-Qaeda since 2011, is finally terminated.

All of us who spent years of our lives, especially throughout the 2000s, writing about and tracking Al-Zawahiri know how US ‘intel’ played every trick in the book – and outside the book – to find him. Well, he never exposed himself on the balcony of a house, much less in Kabul.

Another disposable asset

Why now? Simple. Not useful anymore – and way past his expiration date. His fate was sealed as a tawdry foreign policy ‘victory’ – the remixed Obama ‘Osama bin Laden moment’ that won’t even register across most of the Global South. After all, a perception reigns that George W. Bush’s GWOT has long metastasized into the “rules-based,” actually “economic sanctions-based” international order.

Cue to 48 hours later, when hundreds of thousands across the west were glued to the screen of flighradar24.com (until the website was hacked), tracking “SPAR19” – the US Air Force jet carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – as it slowly crossed Kalimantan from east to west, the Celebes Sea, went northward parallel to the eastern Philippines, and then made a sharp swing westwards towards Taiwan, in a spectacular waste of jet fuel to evade the South China Sea.

No “Pearl Harbor moment”

Now compare it with hundreds of millions of Chinese who are not on Twitter but on Weibo, and a leadership in Beijing that is impervious to western-manufactured pre-war, post-modern hysteria.

Anyone who understands Chinese culture knew there would never be a “missile on a Kabul balcony” moment over Taiwanese airspace. There would never be a replay of the perennial neocon wet dream: a “Pearl Harbor moment.” That’s simply not the Chinese way.

The day after, as the narcissist Speaker, so proud of accomplishing her stunt, was awarded the Order of Auspicious Clouds for her promotion of bilateral US-Taiwan relations, the Chinese Foreign Minister issued a sobering comment: the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland is a historical inevitability.

That’s how you focus, strategically, in the long game.

What happens next had already been telegraphed, somewhat hidden in a Global Times report. Here are the two key points:

Point 1: “China will see it as a provocative action permitted by the Biden administration rather than a personal decision made by Pelosi.”

That’s exactly what President Xi Jinping had personally told the teleprompt-reading White House tenant during a tense phone call last week. And that concerns the ultimate red line.

Xi is now reaching the exact same conclusion reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year: the United States is “non-agreement capable,” and there’s no point in expecting it to respect diplomacy and/or rule of law in international relations.

Point 2 concerns the consequences, reflecting a consensus among top Chinese analysts that mirrors the consensus at the Politburo: “The Russia-Ukraine crisis has just let the world see the consequence of pushing a major power into a corner… China will steadily speed up its process of reunification and declare the end of US domination of the world order.”

Chess, not checkers

The Sinophobic matrix predictably dismissed Xi’s reaction to the fact on the ground – and in the skies – in Taiwan, complete with rhetoric exposing the “provocation by American reactionaries” and the “uncivilized campaign of the imperialists.”

This may be seen as Xi playing Chairman Mao. He may have a point, but the rhetoric is pro forma. The crucial fact is that Xi was personally humiliated by Washington and so was the Communist Party of China (CPC), a major loss of face – something that in Chinese culture is unforgivable. And all that compounded with a US tactical victory.

So the response will be inevitable, and it will be classic Sun Tzu: calculated, precise, tough, long-term and strategic – not tactical. That takes time because Beijing is not ready yet in an array of mostly technological domains. Putin had to wait years for Russia to act decisively. China’s time will come.

For now, what’s clear is that as much as with Russia-US relations last February, the Rubicon has been crossed in the US-China sphere.

The price of collateral damage

The Central Bank of Afghanistan bagged a paltry $40 million in cash as ‘humanitarian aid’ soon after that missile on a balcony in Kabul.

So that was the price of the Al-Zawahiri operation, intermediated by the currently US-aligned Pakistani intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). So cheap.

The MQ-9 Reaper drone carrying the two Hellfire R9X that killed Al-Zawahiri had to fly over Pakistani airspace – taking off from a US base in the Persian Gulf, traversing the Arabian Sea, and flying over Balochistan to enter Afghanistan from the south. The Americans may have also got human intelligence as a bonus.

A 2003 deal, according to which Islamabad facilitates air corridors for US military flights, may have expired with the American withdrawal debacle last August, but could always be revived.

No one should expect a deep dive investigation on what exactly the ISI – historically very close to the Taliban – gave to Washington on a silver platter.

Dodgy dealings

Cue to an intriguing phone call last week between the all-powerful Chief of Staff of the Pakistani Army, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, and US deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. Bajwa was lobbying for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release a crucial loan at the soonest, otherwise Pakistan will default on its foreign debt.

Were deposed former Prime Minister Imran Khan still in power, he would never have allowed that phone call.

The plot thickens, as Al-Zawahiri’s Kabul digs in a posh neighborhood is owned by a close advisor to Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the “terrorist” (US-defined) Haqqani network and currently Taliban Interior Minister. The Haqqani network, needless to add, was always very cozy with the ISI.

And then, three months ago, we had the head of ISI, Lieutenant General Nadeem Anjum, meeting with Biden’s National Security Advisor  Jake Sullivan in Washington – allegedly to get their former, joint, covert, counter-terrorism machinery back on track.

Once again, the only question revolves around the terms of the “offer you can’t refuse” – and that may be connected to IMF relief. Under these circumstances, Al-Zawahiri was just paltry collateral damage.

Sun Tzu deploys his six blades

Following Speaker Pelosi’s caper in Taiwan, collateral damage is bound to multiply like the blades of a R9-X missile.

The first stage is the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) already having engaged in live fire drills, with massive shelling in the direction of the Taiwan Strait out of Fujian province.

The first sanctions are on too, against two Taiwanese funds. Export of sable to Taiwan is forbidden; sable is an essential commodity for the electronics industry – so that will ratchet up the pain dial in high-tech sectors of the global economy.

Chinese CATL, the world’s largest fuel cell and lithium-ion battery maker, is indefinitely postponing the building of a massive $5 billion, 10,000-employee factory that would manufacture batteries for electric vehicles across North America, supplying Tesla and Ford among others.

So the Sun Tzu maneuvering ahead will essentially concentrate on a progressive economic blockade of Taiwan, the imposition of a partial no-fly zone, severe restrictions of maritime traffic, cyber warfare, and the Big Prize: inflicting pain on the US economy.

The War on Eurasia

For Beijing, playing the long game means the acceleration of the process involving an array of nations across Eurasia and beyond, trading in commodities and manufactured products in their own currencies. They will be progressively testing a new system that will see the advent of a BRICS+/SCO/Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) basket of currencies, and in the near future, a new reserve currency.

The Speaker’s escapade was concomitant to the definitive burial of the “war on terror” cycle and its metastasis into the “war on Eurasia” era.

It may have unwittingly provided the last missing cog to turbo-charge the complex machinery of the Russia-China strategic partnership. That’s all there is to know about the ‘strategic’ capability of the US political ruling class. And this time no missile on a balcony will be able to erase the new era.

US Approves Massive Weapons Sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE

August 3, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The United States has approved massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates worth more than $5 billion, amid criticism of their ongoing military aggression in Yemen which has inflicted heavy civilian casualties.

The notice of approval came on Tuesday, two weeks after US President Joe Biden made a controversial trip to Saudi Arabia and met with Saudi leaders in an effort to reset strained relations with Riyadh.

The State Department said Saudi Arabia would buy 300 Patriot MIM-104E missile systems and related equipment for an estimated $3.05 billion. The missile systems can be used to shoot long-range incoming ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as fighter jets.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a partner country that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Gulf region,” the State Department said in a statement.

“The proposed sale will improve the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s capability to meet current and future threats by replenishing its dwindling stock of PATRIOT GEM-T missiles,” it added.

Separately, the United States will sell Terminal High Altitude Area Defense [THAAD] System Missiles and related equipment to the UAE for $2.25 billion.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of an important regional partner. The UAE is a vital US partner for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East,” the State Department said.

Although Tuesday’s approvals are for defensive weapons, they may still draw opposition in Congress, where lawmakers backed the Biden administration’s decision last year to ban US sales of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE because of their actions in Yemen.

The Biden administration is also considering lifting its ban on US sales of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Since the beginning of the war in 2015, the use of US weapons by the Saudi-led coalition in airstrikes on civilian targets in Yemen has been well documented.

As a candidate, Biden had vowed to make the Saudi kingdom a “pariah” on the global stage over the war in Yemen as well as the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist and political dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

Soon after taking office, Biden appeared to be delivering on the promise, when he declared in February 2021 a halt to US support for the Saudi military operations in Yemen, including “relevant arms sales.”

His administration also released US intelligence findings that concluded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] personally approved the operation targeting Khashoggi.

Biden, however, has softened his approach in recent months, moving to improve US relations with Saudi Arabia in the hope of getting the world’s top oil exporter to increase oil production in order to offset loss of Russian supplies to the global market and drive down gasoline prices at home.

American Diplomacy as a Tragic Drama

July 29, 2022

By Michael Hudson and posted with the author’s permission

As in a Greek tragedy whose protagonist brings about precisely the fate that he has sought to avoid, the US/NATO confrontation with Russia in Ukraine is achieving just the opposite of America’s aim of preventing China, Russia and their allies from acting independently of U.S. control over their trade and investment policy. Naming China as America’s main long-term adversary, the Biden Administration’s plan was to split Russia away from China and then cripple China’s own military and economic viability. But the effect of American diplomacy has been to drive Russia and China together, joining with Iran, India and other allies. For the first time since the Bandung Conference of Non-Aligned Nations in 1955, a critical mass is able to be mutually self-sufficient to start the process of achieving independence from Dollar Diplomacy.

Confronted with China’s industrial prosperity based on self-financed public investment in socialized markets, U.S. officials acknowledge that resolving this fight will take a number of decades to play out. Arming a proxy Ukrainian regime is merely an opening move in turning Cold War 2 (and potentially/or indeed World War III) into a fight to divide the world into allies and enemies with regard to whether governments or the financial sector will plan the world economy and society.

What is euphemized as U.S.-style democracy is a financial oligarchy privatizing basic infrastructure, health and education. The alternative is what President Biden calls autocracy, a hostile label for governments strong enough to block a global rent-seeking oligarchy from taking control. China is deemed autocratic for providing basic needs at subsidized prices instead of charging whatever the market can bear. Making its mixed economy lower-cost is called “market manipulation,” as if that is a bad thing that was not done by the United States, Germany and every other industrial nation during their economic takeoff in the 19th and early 20th century.

Clausewitz popularized the axiom that war is an extension of national interests – mainly economic. The United States views its economic interest to lie in seeking to spread its neoliberal ideology globally. The evangelistic aim is to financialize and privatize economies by shifting planning away from national governments to a cosmopolitan financial sector. There would be little need for politics in such a world. Economic planning would shift from political capitals to financial centers, from Washington to Wall Street, with satellites in the City of London, the Paris Bourse, Frankfurt and Tokyo. Board meetings for the new oligarchy would be held at Davos’s World Economic Forum. Hitherto public infrastructure services would be privatized and priced high enough to include profits (and indeed, monopoly rents), debt financing and management fees rather than being publicly subsidized. Debt service and rent would become the major overhead costs for families, industry and governments.

The U.S. drive to retain its unipolar power to impose “America First” financial, trade and military policies on the world involves an inherent hostility toward all countries seeking to follow their own national interests. Having less and less to offer in the form of mutual economic gains, U.S. policy makes threats of sanctions and covert meddling in foreign politics. The U.S. dream envisions a Chinese version of Boris Yeltsin replacing the nation’s Communist Party leadership and selling off its public domain to the highest bidder – presumably after a monetary crisis wipes out domestic purchasing power much as occurred in post-Soviet Russia, leaving the international financial community as buyers.

Russia and President Putin cannot be forgiven for having fought back against the Harvard Boys’ “reforms.” That is why U.S. officials planned how to create Russian economic disruption to (they hope) orchestrate a “color revolution” to recapture Russia for the world’s neoliberal camp. That is the character of the “democracy” and “free markets” being juxtaposed to the “autocracy” of state-subsidized growth. As Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov explained in a press conference on July 20, 2022 regarding Ukraine’s violent coup in 2014, U.S. and other Western officials define military coups as democratic if they are sponsored by the United States in the hope of promoting neoliberal policies.

Do you remember how events developed after the coup? The putschists spat in the face of Germany, France and Poland that were the guarantors of the agreement with Viktor Yanukovych. It was trampled underfoot the next morning. These European countries didn’t make a peep – they reconciled themselves to this. A couple of years ago I asked the Germans and French what they thought about the coup. What was it all about if they didn’t demand that the putschists fulfil the agreements? They replied: “This is the cost of the democratic process.” I am not kidding. Amazing – these were adults holding the post of foreign ministers.[1]

This Doublethink vocabulary reflects how far mainstream ideology has evolved from Rosa Luxemburg’s description a century ago of the civilizational choice being posed: barbarism or socialism.

The contradictory U.S. and European interests and burdens of the war in Ukraine

To return to Clausewitz’s view of war as an extension of national policy, U.S. national interests are diverging sharply from those of its NATO satellites. America’s military-industrial complex, oil and agriculture sectors are benefiting, while European industrial interests are suffering. That is especially the case in Germany and Italy as a result of their governments blocking North Stream 2 gas imports and other Russian raw materials.

The interruption of world energy, food and minerals supply chains and the resulting price inflation (providing an umbrella for monopoly rents by non-Russian suppliers) has imposed enormous economic strains on U.S. allies in Europe and the Global South. Yet the U.S. economy is benefiting from this, or at least specific sectors of the U.S. economy are benefiting. As Sergey Lavrov, pointed out in his above-cited press conference: “The European economy is impacted more than anything else. The stats show that 40 percent of the damage caused by sanctions is borne by the EU whereas the damage to the United States is less than 1 percent.” The dollar’s exchange rate has soared against the euro, which has plunged to parity with the dollar and looks set to fall further down toward the $0.80 that it was a generation ago. U.S. dominance over Europe is further strengthened by the trade sanctions against Russian oil and gas. The U.S. is an LNG exporter, U.S. companies control the world oil trade, and U.S. firms are the world’s major grain marketers and exporters now that Russia is excluded from many foreign markets.

A revival of European military spending – for offense, not defense

U.S. arms-makers are looking forward to making profits off arms sales to Western Europe, which has almost literally disarmed itself by sending its tanks and howitzers, ammunition and missiles to Ukraine. U.S. politicians support a bellicose foreign policy to promote arms factories that employ labor in their voting districts. And the neocons who dominate the State Department and CIA see the war as a means of asserting American dominance over the world economy, starting with its own NATO partners.

The problem with this view is that although America’s military-industrial, oil and agricultural monopolies are benefitting, the rest of the U.S. economy is being squeezed by the inflationary pressures resulting from boycotting Russian gas, grain and other raw-materials exports, and the enormous rise in the military budget will be used as an excuse to cut back social spending programs. That also is a problem for Eurozone members. They have promised NATO to raise their military spending to the stipulated 2 percent of their GDP, and the Americans are urging much higher levels to upgrade to the most recent array of weaponry. All but forgotten is the Peace Dividend that was promised in 1991 when the Soviet Union dissolved the Warsaw Pact alliance, expecting that NATO likewise would have little reason to exist.

Russia has no discernable economic interest in mounting a new occupation of Central Europe. That would offer no gain to Russia, as its leaders realized when they dissolved the old Soviet Union. In fact, no industrial country in today’s world can afford to field an infantry to occupy an enemy. All that NATO can do is bomb from a distance. It can destroy, but not occupy. The United States found that out in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. And just as the assassination Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo (now Bosnia-Herzegovina) triggered World War I in 1914, NATO’s bombing of adjoining Serbia may be viewed as throwing down the gauntlet to turn Cold War 2 into a veritable World War III. That marked the point at which NATO became an offensive alliance, not a defensive one.

How does this reflect European interests? Why should Europe re-arm, if the only effect is to make it a target of retaliation in the event of further attacks on Russia? What does Europe have to gain in becoming a larger customer for America’s military-industrial complex? Diverting spending to rebuild an offensive army – that can never be used without triggering an atomic response that would wipe out Europe – will limit the social spending needed to cope with today’s Covid problems and economic recession.

The only lasting leverage a nation can offer in today’s world is trade and technology transfer. Europe has more of this to offer than the United States. Yet the only opposition to renewed military spending is coming from right-wing parties and the German Linke party. Europe’s Social Democratic, Socialist and Labour parties share American neoliberal ideology.

Sanctions against Russian gas makes coal “the fuel of the future”

The carbon footprint of bombing, arms manufacturing and military bases is strikingly absent from today’s discussion about global warming and the need to cut back on carbon emissions. The German party that calls itself Green is leading the campaign for sanctions against importing Russian oil and gas, which electric utilities are replacing with Polish coal and even German lignite. Coal is becoming the “fuel of the future.” Its price also is soaring in the United States, benefitting American coal companies.

In contrast to the Paris Club agreements to reduce carbon emissions, the United States has neither the political capability nor the intention to join the conservation effort. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the Executive Branch has no authority to issue nation-wide energy rules; only individual states can do that, unless Congress passes a national law to cut back on fossil fuels.

That seems unlikely in view of the fact that becoming head of a Democratic Senate and Congressional committee requires being a leader in raising campaign contributions for the party. Joe Manchin, a coal-company billionaire, leads all senators in campaign support from the oil and coal industries, enabling him to win his party’s auction for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee chairmanship and block any seriously restrictive environmental legislation.

Next to oil, agriculture is a major contributor to the U.S. balance of payments. Blocking Russian grain and fertilizer shipping threatens to create a Global South food crisis as well as a European crisis as gas is unavailable to make domestic fertilizer. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of grain and also of fertilizer, and its exports of these products have been exempted from NATO sanctions. But Russian shipping was blocked by Ukraine placing mines in the sea lanes through the Black Sea to close off access to Odessa’s harbor, hoping that the world would blame the world’s imminent grain and energy crisis on Russia instead of the US/NATO trade sanctions imposed on Russia.[2] At his July 20, 2022 press conference Sergey Lavrov showed the hypocrisy of the public relations attempt to distort matters:

For many months, they told us that Russia was to blame for the food crisis because the sanctions don’t cover food and fertiliser. Therefore, Russia doesn’t need to find ways to avoid the sanctions and so it should trade because nobody stands in its way. It took us a lot of time to explain to them that, although food and fertiliser are not subject to sanctions, the first and second packages of Western restrictions affected freight costs, insurance premiums, permissions for Russian ships carrying these goods to dock at foreign ports and those for foreign ships taking on the same consignments at Russian harbours. They are openly lying to us that this is not true, and that it is up to Russia alone. This is foul play.

Black Sea grain transport has begun to resume, but NATO countries have blocked payments to Russia in dollars, euros or currencies of other countries in the U.S. orbit. Food-deficit countries that cannot afford to pay distress-level food prices face drastic shortages, which will be exacerbated when they are compelled to pay their foreign debts denominated in the appreciating U.S. dollar. The looming fuel and food crisis promises to drive a new wave of immigrants to Europe seeking survival. Europe already has been flooded with refugees from NATO’s bombing and backing of jihadist attacks on Libya and Near Eastern oil-producing countries. This year’s proxy war in Ukraine and imposition of anti-Russian sanctions is a perfect illustration of Henry Kissinger’s quip: “It may be dangerous to be America’s enemy, but to be America’s friend is fatal.”

Blowback from the US/NATO miscalculations

America’s international diplomacy aims to dictate financial, trade and military policies that will lock other countries into dollar debt and trade dependency by preventing them from developing alternatives. If this fails, America seeks to isolate the recalcitrants from the U.S.-centered Western sphere.

America’s foreign diplomacy no longer is based on offering mutual gain. Such could be claimed in the aftermath of World War II when the United States was in a position to offer loans, foreign-aid and military protection against occupation – as well as manufactures to rebuild war-torn economies – to governments in exchange for their accepting trade and monetary policies favorable to American exporters and investors. But today there is only the belligerent diplomacy of threatening to hurt nations whose socialist governments reject America’s neoliberal drive to privatize and sell off their natural resources and public infrastructure.

The first aim is to prevent Russia and China from helping each other. This is the old imperial divide-and-conquer strategy. Minimizing Russia’s ability to support China would pave the way for the United States and NATO Europe to impose new trade sanctions on China, and to send jihadists to its western Xinjiang Uighur region. The aim is to bleed Russia’s armaments inventory, kill enough of its soldiers, and create enough Russian shortages and suffering to not only weaken its ability to help China, but to spur its population to support a regime change, an American-sponsored “color revolution.” The dream is to promote a Yeltsin-like leader friendly to the neoliberal “therapy” that dismantled Russia’s economy in the 1990s.

Amazing as it may seem, U.S. strategists did not anticipate the obvious response by countries finding themselves together in the crosshairs of US/NATO military and economic threats. On July 19, 2022, the presidents of Russia and Iran met to announce their cooperation in the face of the sanctions war against them. That followed Russia’s earlier meeting with India’s Prime Minister Modi. In what has been characterized as “shooting itself in its own foot,” U.S. diplomacy is driving Russia, China, India and Iran together, and indeed to reach out to Argentina and other countries to join the BRICS-plus bank to protect themselves.

The U.S. itself is ending the Dollar Standard of international finance

The Trump Administration took a major step to drive countries out of the dollar orbit in November 2018, by confiscating nearly $2 billion of Venezuela’s official gold stock held in London. The Bank of England put these reserves at the disposal of Juan Guaidó, the marginal right-wing politician selected by the United States to replace Venezuela’s elected president as head of state. This was defined as being democratic, because the regime change promised to introduce the neoliberal “free market” that is deemed to be the essence of America’s definition of democracy for today’s world.

This gold theft actually was not the first such confiscation. On November 14, 1979, the Carter Administration paralyzed Iran’s bank deposits in New York after the Shah was overthrown. This act blocked Iran from paying its scheduled foreign debt service, forcing it into default. That was viewed as an exceptional one-time action as far as all other financial markets were concerned. But now that the United States is the self-proclaimed “exceptional nation,” such confiscations are becoming a new norm in U.S. diplomacy. Nobody yet knows what happened to Libya’s gold reserves that Muammar Gadafi had intended to be used to back an African alternative to the dollar. And Afghanistan’s gold and other reserves were simply taken by Washington as payment for the cost of “freeing” that country from Russian control by backing the Taliban. But when the Biden Administration and its NATO allies made a much larger asset grab of some $300 billion of Russia’s foreign bank reserves and currency holdings in March 2022, it made official a radical new epoch in Dollar Diplomacy. Any nation that follows policies not deemed to be in the interests of the U.S. Government runs the risk of U.S. authorities confiscating its holdings of foreign reserves in U.S. banks or securities.

This was a red flag leading countries to fear denominating their trade, savings and foreign debt in dollars, and to avoid using dollar or euro bank deposits and securities as a means of payment. By prompting other countries to think about how to free themselves from the U.S.-centered world trade and monetary system that was established in 1945 with the IMF, World Bank and subsequently the World Trade Organization, the U.S. confiscations have accelerated the end of the U.S. Treasury-bill standard that has governed world finance since the United States went off gold in 1971.[3]

Since dollar convertibility into gold ended in August 1971, dollarization of the world’s trade and investment has created a need for other countries to hold most of their new international monetary reserves in U.S. Treasury securities and bank deposits. As already noted, that enables the United States to seize foreign bank deposits and bonds denominated in U.S. dollars.

Most important, the United States can create and spend dollar IOUs into the world economy at will, without limit. It doesn’t have to earn international spending power by running a trade surplus, as other countries have to do. The U.S. Treasury can simply print dollars electronically to finance its foreign military spending and purchases of foreign resources and companies. And being the “exceptional country,” it doesn’t have to pay these debts – which are recognized as being far too large to be paid. Foreign dollar holdings are free U.S. credit to the Unites States, not requiring repayment any more than the paper dollars in our wallets are expected to be paid off (by retiring them from circulation). What seems to be so self-destructive about America’s economic sanctions and confiscations of Russian and other foreign reserves is that they are accelerating the demise of this free ride.

Blowback resulting from US/NATO isolating their economic and monetary systems

It is hard to see how driving countries out of the U.S. economic orbit serves long-term U.S. national interests. Dividing the world into two monetary blocs will limit Dollar Diplomacy to its NATO allies and satellites.

The blowback now unfolding in the wake of U.S. diplomacy begins with its anti-Russia policy. Imposing trade and monetary sanctions was expected to block Russian consumers and businesses from buying the US/NATO imports to which they had become accustomed. Confiscating Russia’s foreign currency reserves was supposed to crash the ruble, “turning it into rubble,” as President Biden promised. Imposing sanctions against importing Russian oil and gas to Europe was supposed to deprive Russia of export earnings, causing the ruble to collapse and raising import prices (and hence, living costs) for the Russian public. Instead, blocking Russian exports has created a worldwide price inflation for oil and gas, sharply increasing Russian export earnings. It exported less gas but earned more – and with dollars and euros blocked, Russia demanded payment for its exports in rubles. Its exchange rate soared instead of collapsing, enabling Russia to reduce its interest rates.

Goading Russia to send its soldiers to eastern Ukraine to defend Russian speakers under attack in Luhansk and Donetsk, along with the expected impact of the ensuing Western sanctions, was supposed to make Russian voters press for regime change. But as almost always happens when a country or ethnicity is attacked, Russians were appalled at the Ukrainian hatred of Russian-language speakers and Russian culture, and at the Russophobia of the West. The effect of Western countries banning music by Russian composers and Russian novels from libraries – capped by England banning Russian tennis players from the Wimbledon tournament – was to make Russians feel under attack simply for being Russian. They rallied around President Putin.

NATO’s trade sanctions have catalyzed helped Russian agriculture and industry to become more self-sufficient by obliging Russia to invest in import substitution. One well-publicized farming success was to develop its own cheese production to replace that of Lithuania and other European suppliers. Its automotive and other industrial production is being forced to shift away from German and other European brands to its own and Chinese producers. The result is a loss of markets for Western exporters.

In the field of financial services, NATO’s exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT bank-clearing system failed to create the anticipated payments chaos. The threat had been so loudly for so long that Russia and China had plenty of time to develop their own payments system. This provided them with one of the preconditions for their plans to split their economies away from those of the US/NATO West.

As matters have turned out, the trade and monetary sanctions against Russia are imposing the heaviest costs on Western Europe, and are likely to spread to the Global South, driving them to think about whether their economic interests lie in joining U.S. confrontational Dollar Diplomacy. The disruption is being felt most seriously in Germany, causing many companies to close down as a result of gas and other raw-materials shortages. Germany’s refusal to authorize the North Stream 2 pipeline has pushed its energy crisis to a head. This has raised the question of how long Germany’s political parties can remain subordinate to NATO’s Cold War policies at the cost of German industry and households facing sharp rises in heating and electricity costs.

The longer it takes to restore trade with Russia, the more European economies will suffer, along with the citizenry at large, and the further the euro’s exchange rate will fall, spurring inflation throughout its member countries. European NATO countries are losing not only their export markets but their investment opportunities to gain from the much more rapid growth of Eurasian countries whose government planning and resistance to financialization has proved much more productive than the US/NATO neoliberal model.

It is difficult to see how any diplomatic strategy can do more than play for time. That involves living in the short run, not the long run. Time seems to be on the side of Russia, China and the trade and investment alliances that they are negotiating to replace the neoliberal Western economic order.

America’s ultimate problem is its neoliberal post-industrial economy

The failure and blowbacks of U.S. diplomacy are the result of problems that go beyond diplomacy itself. The underlying problem is the West’s commitment to neoliberalism, financialization and privatization. Instead of government subsidy of basic living costs needed by labor, all social life is being made part of “the market” – a uniquely Thatcherite deregulated “Chicago Boys” market in which industry, agriculture, housing and financing are deregulated and increasingly predatory, while heavily subsidizing the valuation of financial and rent-seeking assets – mainly the wealth of the richest One Percent. Income is obtained increasingly by financial and monopoly rent-seeking, and fortunes are made by debt-leveraged “capital” gains for stocks, bonds and real estate.

U.S. industrial companies have aimed more at “creating wealth” by increasing the price of their stocks by using over 90 percent of their profits for stock buybacks and dividend payouts instead of investing in new production facilities and hiring more labor. The result of slower capital investment is to dismantle and financially cannibalize corporate industry in order to produce financial gains. And to the extent that companies do employ labor and set up new production, it is done abroad where labor is cheaper.

Most Asian labor can afford to work for lower wages because it has much lower housing costs and does not have to pay education debt. Health care is a public right, not a financialized market transaction, and pensions are not paid for in advance by wage-earners and employers but are public. The aim in China in particular is to prevent the rentier Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector from becoming a burdensome overhead whose economic interests differ from those of a socialist government.

China treats money and banking as a public utility, to be created, spent and lent for purposes that help increase productivity and living standards (and increasingly to preserve the environment). It rejects the U.S.-sponsored neoliberal model imposed by the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organization.

The global economic fracturing goes far beyond NATO’s conflict with Russia in Ukraine. By the time the Biden administration took office at the start of 2021, Russia and China already had been discussing the need to de-dollarize their foreign trade and investment, using their own currencies.[4] That involves the quantum leap of organizing a new payments-clearing institution. Planning had not progressed beyond broad outlines of how such a system would work, but the U.S. confiscation of Russia’s foreign reserves made such planning urgent, starting with a BRICS-plus bank. A Eurasian alternative to the IMF will remove its ability to impose neoliberal austerity “conditionalities” to force countries to lower payments to labor and give priority to paying their foreign creditors above feeding themselves and developing their own economies. Instead of new international credit being extended mainly to pay dollar debts, it will be part of a process of new mutual investment in basic infrastructure designed to accelerate economic growth and living standards. Other institutions are being designed as China, Russia, Iran, India and their prospective allies represent a large enough critical mass to “go it alone,” based on their own mineral wealth and manufacturing power.

The basic U.S. policy has been to threaten to destabilize countries and perhaps bomb them until they agree to adopt neoliberal policies and privatize their public domain. But taking on Russia, China and Iran is a much higher order of magnitude. NATO has disarmed itself of the ability to wage conventional warfare by handing over its supply of weaponry – admittedly largely outdated – to be devoured in Ukraine. In any case, no democracy in today’s world can impose a military draft to wage a conventional land warfare against a significant/major adversary. The protests against the Vietnam War in the late 1960s ended the U.S. military draft, and the only way to really conquer a country is to occupy it in land warfare. This logic also implies that Russia is no more in a position to invade Western Europe than NATO countries are to send conscripts to fight Russia.

That leaves Western democracies with the ability to fight only one kind of war: atomic war – or at least, bombing at a distance, as was done in Afghanistan and the Near East, without requiring Western manpower. This is not diplomacy at all. It is merely acting the role of wrecker. But that is the only tactic that remains available to the United States and NATO Europe. It is strikingly like the dynamic of Greek tragedy, where power leads to hubris that is injurious to others and therefore ultimately anti-social – and self-destructive in the end.

How then can the United States maintain its world dominance? It has deindustrialized and run up foreign official debt far beyond any foreseeable way to be paid. Meanwhile, its banks and bondholders are demanding that the Global South and other countries pay foreign dollar bondholders in the face of their own trade crisis resulting from the soaring energy and food prices caused by America’s anti-Russian and anti-China belligerence. This double standard is a basic internal contradiction that goes to the core of today’s neoliberal Western worldview.

I have described the possible scenarios to resolve this conflict in my recent book The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism. It has now also been issued in e-book form by Counterpunch Books.

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  1. “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RT television, Sputnik agency and Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency, Moscow, July 20, 2022,” Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry, July 20, 2022. https://mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1822901/. From Johnson’s Russia List, July 21, 2022, #5. 
  2. International Maritime Organization, “Maritime Security and Safety in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov,” https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/HotTopics/Pages/MaritimeSecurityandSafetyintheBlackSeaandSeaofAzov.aspx. See Yves Smith, Some Implications of the UN’s Ukraine Grain and Russia Fertilizer/Food Agreements,” Naked Capitalism, July 25, 2022, and Lavrov’s July 24 speech to the Arab League. 
  3. My Super ImperialismThe Economic Strategy of American Empire (3rd ed., 2021) describes how the Treasury-bill standard has provided America with a free ride and enabled it to run balance-of-payments deficits without constraint, including the costs of its overseas military spending. 
  4. Radhika Desai and Michael Hudson (2021), “Beyond Dollar Creditocracy: A Geopolitical Economy,” Valdai Club Paper No. 116. Moscow: Valdai Club, 7 July, reprinted in Real World Economic Review (97), https://rwer.wordpress.com/2021/09/23. 

Nancy braves the Chinese dragon and wins?

August 02, 2022

Source

So, it appears that Pelosi landed in Taiwan. This is a HUGE victory for the invincible USA and China with all its hollow threats has now lost face.  That is how those evil commies are – they only understand the language of force, and when faced with the united forces of democracy they cave.

Right?

Right?!

Well……

Yes, if your expertise in international relation, military matters and China (or Russia) come from reading Tom Clancy’s books, then yes.

But there is another way to look at this:

First, in objective terms, this visit is a pure provocation with no practical effects whatsoever.  Pelosi is as much a old teleprompter reading hag as President Brandon.  Whatever real dealings the USA and Taiwan had to discuss, they would have done that either remotely or by arranging a meeting between people capable of thinking.

Second, just like Russia many times in the past, the Chinese drew a red line and then let the US cross it.  Being the narcissistic civilization that it is, the West only saw this as a sign of “weakness”, “indecisiveness” or even “naivete”.  What these folks fail to even think about is this: how do you feel most Chinese will react both to the visit and to the lack of Chinese reaction (so far!)?  They will get mad and express their frustrations.  Now look at it from the Chinese government’s point of view, rather then spending billions on anti-US propaganda they, instead, let the US humiliate China and thereby solidifying the Chinese population for the day when the real confrontation will take place.

[Sidebar: there is a direct connection between years of Kremlin’s rather weak and mostly verbal protests and the “sudden” appearance of the Russian ultimatum to the West followed by the SMO: the Kremlin literally “cooked” its own public opinion to the point were IT *demanded* strong action.  Far from alienating or frightening most Russians, the SMO came as a huge relief to them: “we are FINALLY putting the foot down and taking real action”.  That would not have been possible before 2018.  Those in the West who saw Putin’s “indecisiveness” simply don’t understand the Russian mindset anymore than they understand the Chinese one.  Simply put: you cannot prepare for war without preparing your own population for it! That is what Tom Clancy does to the brains of those reading him]

Third, let me ask you a simple question: who decided on the timing of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan?  The answer is obvious, it was the leaders of the USA.  And you can bet that they had everything carefully lined up to make that visit happen in the best of possible circumstances.  Now, a BASIC principle of warfare is that you do NOT let your enemy chose the time and place of the battle. Yes, yes, yes, in the western culture any “affront” (real or perceived) demands an immediate reaction.  But the Chinese have been at this for many millennia, not just 200 years, and they know better and you can be sure that THEY, not the USA, will chose the time, place and mode of retaliation.

In sum, the woke-soaking narcissists who run the USA can celebrate how they chose to show “them Chinese commies” who is boss.  Just like they did with Russia between 1991 and 2021.  And then, when the Russians decided to act, Uncle Shmuel was caught totally off-guard and clueless as to who to deal with this sudden and direct threat.

Last but not least.  That kind of imperial arrogance is something which not only impact (the already pretty angry Chinese population), it also infuriates all of Zone B, thereby creating the conditions for more defeats for the USA in Asia, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Central Asia and Latin America.

Most US Americans have absolutely no idea how offensive their condescending arrogance, constant flag waving, talks about their messianic mission for mankind and general narcissism is offensive to the rest of the planet.  But when you look objectively at the endless list of US failures pretty much anywhere on the planet, you can tell that there is something deep going on here.  For some reason, the “Yankees go home” thing seems to be very contagious.

I think that Nancy Pelosi deserves our profound gratitude.  She should get at least two medals:

  • One from the CP of China in gratitude for her endless efforts to rally the people of China around their government and
  • One from Russia, for her endless efforts into solidifying the Russian-Chinese alliance.

Truth be told, between Bliken and Pelosi the national security interests of China and Russia are in good hands 🙂

Andrei

China Slams Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit As ‘Extremely Dangerous’

 August 1, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

China slammed the visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan as “extremely dangerous,” warning that the trip was a threat to stability in the region.

Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late on Tuesday on a trip she claimed demonstrated the United States’ solidarity with the self-governed island, which China claims as its own.

Washington does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state.

Pelosi explained her reasons for visiting Taiwan in an editorial published in the Washington Post minutes after she arrived on the island.

“We cannot stand by as the CCP [the Chinese Communist Party] proceeds to threaten Taiwan – and democracy itself,” she claimed in the opinion piece.

Pelosi – the highest-ranking US official to travel to Taiwan in 25 years – arrived at Songshan Airport in downtown Taipei on a flight from Malaysia to begin a visit that risks pushing US-Chinese relations to a new low.

Her delegation was greeted by Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, and Sandra Oudkirk, the top US representative in Taiwan.

China immediately condemned Pelosi’s visit, with the foreign ministry saying it seriously damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

The visit “has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it said in a statement.

“These moves, like playing with fire, are extremely dangerous. Those who play with fire will perish by it,” the statement read.

Chinese warplanes buzzed the line dividing the Taiwan Strait before Pelosi’s arrival. The Chinese military has been put on high alert and will launch “targeted military operations” in response to her visit, the defense ministry said.

The People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theatre Command announced that it will conduct joint air and sea drills near Taiwan starting on Tuesday night, and test-launch conventional missiles in the sea east of Taiwan.

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