ثقافة الالتزام

بثينة شعبان 

المصدر: الميادين نت

11 كانون الثاني 00:01

أصبح الغرب يبحث عن مثقّفين يُعادون حكوماتهم التي تقف في وجه الأطماع الغربية، ويروّجون لأعمالهم، ويطلبون منهم الانشقاق واللجوء إلى الغرب لتصحيح مكانتهم ودورهم.

ثقافة الالتزام

حين كنّا طلاب جامعيين في سبعينيّات القرن الماضي، كان ينطبق علينا المثل القائل: “قل لي ماذا تقرأ أقل لك من أنت”. وكان أوّل سؤالٍ يسأله الطالب لزميله ما هي الكتب التي يقرؤها فيكون الجواب كافٍ ليصدر الحكم الفوري ما إذا كان هذا الطالب شيوعياً أم بعثياً أم رجعياً. 

كان الانقسام حاداً بين من يؤمن أنّ الأدب والفنّ والمسرح فنونٌ ملتزمة تعبّر عن وجدان وقضايا منتجيها، وبين من يؤمن أنّ الالتزام بالقضايا المحليّة والوطنية يحدّ من قيمة العمل الأدبي والفنيّ ويقف حائلاً بينه وبين وصوله إلى العالمية. 

مما لا شك فيه أنّ الاتحاد السوفياتي في ذلك الوقت، والأحزاب الوطنية الناشئة بعد فترات الاستقلال، كانت تؤيد الالتزام بالقضايا الوطنية في الأدب والفنّ، ولم ترَ أن هذا الالتزام يُضعف من ألق وتميّز العمل الأدبي المقدّم.

وبعد أن درسنا في الغرب واطّلعنا على ما تيسّر لنا من أدبه وتاريخه وفنونه، كما اطلعنا على ما أُتيح لنا معرفته من ثقافاتٍ وكتابات أدباء القارات الأخرى كأميركا اللاتينية وأفريقيا وآسيا، وجدنا أنّ المحليّة والالتزام قد شكّلا رافعةً لمعظم الأدباء والكتّاب الذين وصلوا بكتاباتهم إلى العالمية الحقيقية وليس العالمية التي تشير إلى الدول الغربية فقط.

واكتشفنا أنّ التّهم التي كانت تُوجَّه لكثيرٍ من الكتّاب وخاصةً النساء، بأنّهم يرتكزون في كتاباتهم على قصصهم الشخصية أو على معارفهم المحليّة، هي تُهمٌ تنطبق على كبار الكتّاب العالميين من تولستوي إلى تشيخوف وماركيز وبيرسي بيش شيلي وجون ستيوارت ميل وماري ولستون كرافت وغيرهم الكثير. بمعنى آخر، المحليّة والالتزام لم يكونا عائقاً أبداً في الوصول إلى العالمية بل كانا العاملين الأكثر أهميةً في اعتلاء سلّمها. 

وبعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي وسيطرة القطب الواحد على مقدّرات وإعلام وناصية الفنون الأدبية والسينمائية والمسرحية في الغرب، اختفى هذا الجدل ليحلّ مكانه جدلٌ أكثر خطورة، وهو أنّ التميّز والإبداع حكرٌ على المؤسسات الغربية؛ فهي التي تمنح جائزة نوبل وجوائز الأوسكار، وهي الوحيدة التي لها القول الفصل في تحديد من يحتلّ الصدارة في أعلى قائمة المبدعين من كل أنحاء العالم.

وكون الغرب بأجهزته السياسية والمخابراتية هو الذي يُنفق على هذه المؤسسات والجوائز، وهو الذي يشكّل لجان التحكيم، فقد أصبح له القول الفصل بغض النظر عن أيّ قرارٍ آخر في تحديد مستوى الإبداع وأسماء المبدعين.

 وصل هذا الأمر إلى مرحلةٍ خطيرة لأنّ عدداً من الكتّاب والفنّانين والمبدعين من أبناء الدول التي استعمرها هذا الغرب لعقودٍ طويلة، أخذوا يتنافسون بالكتابة وفق معايير وقيم الغرب، ناهيك بالكتابة بلغته، والتي هي أمرٌ مفهوم لإيصال الرسالة، ولكنّ فحوى الرسالة هو المهمّ، ومضمونها منوطٌ بالقيم الوطنية والحضارية للكاتب نفسه لا بتقمّصها لقيم المستعمر وأخلاقه أملاً في إرضائه والفوز بقبوله وتقييمه الإيجابي.

 ومن هذا المنطلق، أخذ بعض الكتّاب من المغرب العربي والمشرق يتنافسون على ودّ الغرب وقبوله والكتابة وفق ما يرضيه، من خلال تكريس كل الهنات والعيوب المجتمعية التي يتّهمنا الغرب بها وتضخيمها والتركيز عليها، وكأنّ الغرب لا شائبة فيه، بل والادّعاء بأنها هي علّة العلل في مجتمعاتنا كي تلقى أعمالهم الرّواج المطلوب في الغرب، وكي يتمّ تبنّيهم في المؤسسات الغربية واعتماد إنتاجهم الفكري. 

ويحضرني في هذا المضمار، رواية الطاهر بن جلون على سبيل المثال لا الحصر “ابنة الرمال”، والتي كُرّس فيها مفهوم توق العربي لأن يُرزق بالصبي بدلاً من البنت، والمدى الذي يمكن أن يذهب إليه كي يحقّق في عائلته الذّكورة، وهي حلمُ ورغبةُ كلّ رجلٍ عربيٍّ كما صوّرها. وطبعا،ً صدرت الرواية بالفرنسية ولاقت رواجاً هائلاً، ونال الطاهر بن جلون كلّ الأهمية التي يسعى إليها في أعين الفرنسيين، ومثلُه كُثُر طبعاً.

ومن هنا، أصبح الطريق إلى العالمية مشروطاً بتبنّي وجهة نظر الغرب عن أنفسنا والتركيز على عيوبنا كما يراها الغرب، والتشهير بمجتمعاتنا وتراثنا بما ينسجم مع آراء المستشرقين الذين شكّلوا الفكرة السلبية الأساسية للغرب عن العرب، وتناولوا مثالب تاريخهم وعيوب حضارتهم ومشاكل مجتمعاتهم.

 ومن هنا أيضاً، بدأ الغرب يحارب حكومات الدول المتحرّرة حديثاً، فيطلب أعمالاً أدبيةً تعكس الأوضاع السياسية وتضخّم فيه عيوب مجتمعه وأخطائه، كما عملت الصومالية المسلمة (أليفة علي) حين قدّمت صورةً مشوّهةً عن بلادها وشعبها ودينها كي يتمّ قبولها في المراكز البحثية الغربية.

 وفي المقابل، امتنع الغرب عن نشر المنتجات الفكرية التي تتحدث بواقعيةٍ وصدقٍ عن العرب، وإذا ما حصل وتمّ نشر بعضها في ساعة غفلةٍ منه، حرص على عدم الترويج لها أو حال دون وصولها إلى مراكز الشهرة التي تروّج للواقع الحقيقي لأخلاقيات هذه المجتمعات العربية.

 هي كتاباتٌ بعيدةٌ كلّ البعد عن التشويه المتعمّد الذي ألحقه الغرب بهذه المجتمعات بعد أن نهب ثرواتها واستعبد أهلها لعقودٍ من الزمن. وهكذا، أصبح الغرب يبحث عن مثقّفين يُعادون حكوماتهم التي تقف في وجه الأطماع الغربية، ويروّجون لأعمالهم، ويطلبون منهم الانشقاق واللجوء إلى الغرب لتصحيح مكانتهم ودورهم.

اليوم، نعلم علم اليقين أنّ الصراع على أرضنا وثرواتنا ومجتمعاتنا ما زال قائماً وأنّ تغيير شكل الحروب العسكرية إلى حروبٍ إرهابية وأدواتٍ من المرتزقة لم يغيّر من واقع الأمر شيئاً؛ فما زال الغرب يعمل جاهداً لإبقاء احتلاله لأرضنا وفكرنا وعقلنا ووجداننا والدعوات اللاوطنية التي تدعو إلى التحرّر من قضايانا الوطنية بحجج المعارضة السياسية وعدم الالتزام بقضايا الوطن والمجتمع. كلّ ذلك يصبّ في خانة خدمة من يريد إبقاءنا مادة طيّعة لمؤسساته وقيمه وأحكامه.

 في حمأة هذا الصراع غير المسبوق وبأدوات جديدة كلياً على أرضنا ومستقبلنا، تعود قضية الالتزام بقضايا الشعب والوطن لتحتلّ المرتبة الأولى، وخاصةً بعد أن أكّد كبار المبدعين في العالم أنّ المحليّة هي الشرط الأول للانطلاق إلى العالمية.

 لقد اعتمدت القوى الاستعمارية والصهيونية أسلوباً جديداً اليوم، وهو أنّ الإبداع يجب أن يكون حرّاً ومنفلتاً من أيّ قيمٍ سياسية أو مجتمعية أو أخلاقية أو وطنية، وهذا محض هراء، بل هذا أمرٌ خطير يُقصد به تجريد القضايا الوطنية من أهمّ الأقلام المدافعة عنها بحجّة أنّ الإبداع يجب أن يكون حراً وأنّ المبدع لا تنطبق عليه المعايير التي تنطبق على أبناء جلدته. 

والسؤال هو: هل يطبّق الغرب هذا المعيار على مبدعيه وفنانيه؟ أم أنّ كلّ ما ينشره وكلّ ما ينتجه من أدبٍ وأفلامٍ ومسرح وما يقدّمه من جوائز، يهدف إلى تكريس قيمه الاستعمارية والترويج لكلّ ما يؤمن به وتبرير ما ترتكبه حكوماته ضد الشعوب، ليس في أنظار شعبه فقط وإنما في أنظار العالم.

 ما نحتاجه اليوم نحن في سوريا والعالم العربي ومعظم البلدان المتحررة، هو أن نؤمن بقضايانا وقيمنا وأن نعلن التزامنا بمسار ومصير شعوبنا دون خجلٍ أو وجل، وألاّ ننتظر شهادة حسن سلوك من أعدائنا؛ فنحن نخوض معركة تحرير الإرادة اليوم، كما خاض أجدادنا وأبطالنا البارحة معركة تحرير الأرض وما زالوا. 

تحرير الإرادة والانعتاق من التبعيّة اللّيبرالية المزيفة والالتزام الجريء بالقضايا الوطنية الصافية والإنسانية الحقّة، هو المعيار المطلوب والضروري في هذه المرحلة من تاريخنا.

Russia vs a Biden Administration

THE SAKER • DECEMBER 29, 2020 

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, no and yes.

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

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

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

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

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

This won’t work.

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

Biden or Trump – no real difference for Russia.

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

Kim No-VAX does DARPA

Kim No-VAX does DARPA

December 20, 2020

A Back to the Future exercise: time-traveling to survey the sci-tech scene in the mid-1980s

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

HAL9000_I’m_Sorry_Dave, Motivational Poster. Wikimedia Commons

I have been going through my Asia Times archives selecting reports and columns for a new e-book on the Forever Wars – Afghanistan and Iraq. But then, out of the blue, I found this palimpsest, originally published by Asia Times in February 2014. It happened to be a Back to the Future exercise – traveling in time to survey the scene in the mid-1980s across Silicon Valley, MIT’s AI lab, DARPA and the NSA, weaving an intersection of themes, and a fabulous cast of characters, which prefigure the Brave New Techno World we’re now immersed in, especially concerning the role of artificial intelligence. So this might be read today as a sort of preamble, or a background companion piece, to No Escape from our Techno-Feudal World, published early this month. Incidentally, everything that takes place in this account was happening 18 years before the end of the Pentagon’s LifeLog project, run by DARPA, and the simultaneous launch of Facebook. Enjoy the time travel.

In the spring of 1986, Back to the Future, the Michael J Fox blockbuster featuring a time-traveling DeLorean car, was less than a year old. The Apple Macintosh, launched via a single, iconic ad directed by Ridley (Blade Runner) Scott, was less than two years old. Ronald Reagan, immortalized by Gore Vidal as “the acting president,” was hailing the mujahideen in Afghanistan as “freedom fighters.”

The world was mired in Cyber Cold War mode; the talk was all about electronic counter-measures, with American C3s (command, control, communications) programmed to destroy Soviet C3s, and both the US and the USSR under MAD (mutually assured destruction) nuclear policies being able to destroy the earth 100 times over. Edward Snowden was not yet a three-year-old.

It was in this context that I set out to do a special report for a now-defunct magazine about artificial intelligence (AI), roving from the Computer Museum in Boston to Apple in Cupertino and Pixar in San Rafael, and then to the campuses of Stanford, Berkeley and MIT.

AI had been “inaugurated” in 1956 by Stanford’s John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky, a future MIT professor who at the time had been a student at Harvard. The basic idea, according to Minsky, was that any intelligence trait could be described so precisely that a machine could be created to simulate it.

My trip inevitably involved meeting a fabulous cast of characters. At MIT’s AI lab, there was Minsky and also an inveterate iconoclast, Joseph Weizenbaum, who had coined the term “artificial intelligentsia” and believed computers could never “think” just like a human being.

Joseph Weizenbaum. Source: Chatbots

At Stanford, there was Edward Feigenbaum, absolutely paranoid about Japanese scientific progress; he believed that if the Japanese developed a fifth-generation computer, based on artificial intelligence, that could think, reason and speak even such a difficult language as Japanese “the US will be able to bill itself as the first great post-industrial agrarian society.”

And at Berkeley, still under the flame of hippie utopian populism, I found Robert Wilensky – Brooklyn accent, Yale gloss, California overtones; and philosopher Hubert Dreyfus, a tireless enemy of AI who got his kicks delivering lectures such as “Conventional AI as a Paradigm of Degenerated Research.”

Meet Kim No-VAX

Soon I was deep into Minsky’s “frames” – a basic concept to organize every subsequent AI program – and the Chomsky paradigm: the notion that language is at the root of knowledge, and that formal syntax is at the root of language. That was the Bible of cognitive science at MIT.

Marvin Minsky at MIT Lab. Photo: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

At the MIT cafeteria, Minsky delivered a futurist rap without in the least resembling Dr Emmett Brown in Back to the Future:

I believe that in less than five centuries we will be producing machines very similar to us, representing our thoughts and point of view. If we can build a miniaturized human brain weighing, let’s say, one gram, we can lodge it in a spaceship and make it travel at the speed of light. It would be very hard to build a spaceship to carry an astronaut and all his food for 10,000 years of travel …

With Professor Feigenbaum, in Stanford’s philosophical garden, the only space available was for the coming yellow apocalypse. But then one day I crossed Berkeley’s post-hippie Rubicon and opened the door of the fourth floor of Evans Hall, where I met none other than Kim No-VAX.

No, that was not the Hitchcock blonde and Vertigo icon; it was an altered hardware computer (No-VAX because it had moved beyond Digital Equpment Corporation’s VAX line of supercomputers), financed by the mellifluously acronymed Pentagon military agency DARPA, decorated with a photo of Kim Novak and humming with the sexy vibration of – at the time immense – 2,900 megabytes of electronic data spread over its body.

The US government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – or DARPA – was all about computer science. In the mid-1980s, DARPA was immersed in a very ambitious program linking microelectronics, computer architecture and AI way beyond a mere military program. That was comparable to the Japanese fifth generation computer program. At MIT, the overwhelming majority of scientists were huge DARPA cheerleaders, stressing how the agency was leading research. Yet Terry Winograd, a computer science professor at Stanford, warned that had DARPA been a civilian agency, “I believe we would have made much more progress”.

It was up to Professor Dreyfus to provide the voice of reason amidst so much cyber-euphoria: “Computers cannot think like human beings because there’s no way to represent all retrospective knowledge of an average human life – that is, ‘common sense’ – in a form that a computer may apprehend.” Dreyfus’s drift was that with the boom of computer science, philosophy was dead – and he was a philosopher: “Heidegger said that philosophy ended because it reached its apex in technology. Philosophy in fact reached its limit with AI. They, the scientists, inherited our questions. What is the mind? Now they have to answer for it. Philosophy is over.”

Hubert Dreyfus. Source: Berkeley Campus News

Yet Dreyfus was still teaching. Likewise at MIT, Weizenbaum was condemning AI as a racket for “lunatics and psychopaths” – but still continued to work at the AI lab.

NSA’s wet web dream

In no time, helped by these brilliant minds, I figured out that the AI “secret” would be a military affair, and that meant the National Security Agency – already in the mid-1980s vaguely known as “no such agency,” with double the CIA’s annual budget to pay for snooping on the whole planet. The mission back then was to penetrate and monitor the global electronic net – that was years before all the hype over the “information highway” – and at the same time reassure the Pentagon over the inviolability of its lines of communication. For those comrades – remember, the Cold War, even with Gorbachev in power in the USSR, was still on – AI was a gift from God (beating Pope Francis by almost three decades).

So what was the Pentagon/NSA up to, at the height of the star wars hype, and over a decade and a half before the revolution in military affairs and the full spectrum dominance doctrine?

They already wanted to control their ships and planes and heavy weapons with their voices, not their hands; voice command a la Hal, the star computer in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Still, that was a faraway dream. Minsky believed that “only in the next century” would we be able to talk to a computer. Others believed that would never happen. Anyway, IBM was already working on a system accepting dictation; and MIT on another system that identified words spoken by different people; while Intel was developing a special chip for all this.

Although, predictably, prevented from visiting the NSA, I soon learned that the Pentagon was expecting to possess “intelligent” computing systems by the 1990s; Hollywood, after all, already had unleashed the Terminator series. It was up to Professor Wilensky, in Berkeley, to sound the alarm bells:

Human beings don’t have the appropriate engineering for the society they developed. Over a million years of evolution, the instinct of getting together in small communities, belligerent and compact, turned out to be correct. But then, in the 20th century, man ceased to adapt. Technology overtook evolution. The brain of an ancestral creature, like a rat, which sees provocation in the face of every stranger, is the brain that now controls the earth’s destiny.

It was as if Wilensky was describing the NSA as it would be 28 years later. Some questions still remain unanswered; for instance, if our race does not fit anymore the society it built, who’d guarantee that its machines are properly engineered? Who’d guarantee that intelligent machines act in our interest?

What was already clear by then was that “intelligent” computers would not end a global arms race. And it would be a long time, up to the Snowden revelations in 2013, for most of the planet to have a clearer idea of how the NSA orchestrates the Orwellian-Panopticon complex. As for my back to the future trip, in the end I did not manage to uncover the “secret” of AI. But I’ll always remain very fond of Kim No-VAX.

The Google Archipelago

The Google Archipelago

November 20, 2020

By Jimmie Moglia for the Saker Blog

During the cold war the West called dissenters those Russians in the USSR who voiced their complaints against the system. A definition – ‘dissenter’ – which, processed through the lexical grinding machine of the CIA and associates, was actually stripped of its original meaning to become a weapon of trivial instrumental imperialist propaganda. Said it another way, it was the dissenters who gave the pigs of the animal farm the tools for the pigs’ full spectrum propaganda.

But none can halt the inaudible and noiseless foot of time. And with the fall of the Berlin Wall it has come to pass that Western propaganda itself has created the dissenters. Meaning people who have been persecuted or even tortured, as is the case of Julian Assange or Chelsea Manning. Plus a hefty list of others – uncomfortable men, daring an escape from the Twilight Zone, thus dangerous by definition, and therefore marginalized or branded as traitors, maladapted or plainly mad, for to define true madness what is it but to be nothing else but mad.

However, increasingly, such criminalizing or demonizing measures appear inadequate – notably in the current phase of the ‘great reset’, meaning a global theft of freedom in exchange of a pseudo-security or pseudo-salvation from system-fostered terrors, dangers and apocalyptic ills.

And yet it is not enough. Unlike with dictatorships, Western pseudo-democracies have established a soft and practically invisible censorship consisting of the concentration in a few power groups of all main sources of communication and information, so as to drown any dissenting voice into the bottomless ocean of silence.

It may help that our Zionist “elder brothers in the Abrahamic faith” (that’s how the current Vatican calls them, reversing 1000 years of Catholic theology and practice), own and control 90% or thereabouts of all communication media, printed, Hollywood, academia, radio-TV and Internet.

Still, he who does not submit is jailed, or simply marginalized, rendered irrelevant in the Google archipelago, a wondering atom among the million molecules of deplorables.

Yet the strategy is increasingly proving inadequate, while freedom is hijacked in exchange for a pseudo-security that is fake, proclaimed and accompanied by threats. Nevertheless it is a pseudo-security made inevitable, following the train of provoked and questionable epidemic threats, possibly set up by the very security-providing system. 9/11 may serve as the master key or copy.

Therefore sundry ‘free’ countries have passed or are passing legislation involving punishment for the crime of opinion. This is inevitable for the greater the enforcement of the official ministerial truth, the more likely are desertions of the ministry by the unbelievers. So far, desertions are limited and rendered noiseless by a thousand-eyed censorship. And yet they risk to garnish attention and rip the curtain cloth that shelters fiction from fact.

For example, Germany has pending laws to prevent the questioning of vaccine(s), a remarkable instance of a new medical theology. And with the spirit of rebellion growing at large, so grows the violence of repression, even though the ‘elder-brothers’ owned media waters down the reports to dampen or hide their impact.

Much as, in another continent and settings, the same media all but ignored Trump’s mass rallies, while extolling Biden’s, often attended by eight people and a dog.

Massive censorship is justified on the ground that social media companies are private, therefore entitled to establish what is and isn’t true. What more evidence is needed to demonstrate the ethical and intellectual rotting decline of the West.

Clearly the escalation of threats and repressions is a sign of weakness among the globalist masters. For to establish their own truth they need to cast off the mask of liberty. Though given the flow and development of pandemic-related events even that mask may be redundant.

The legitimation of what is but an influenza wave, branded as a bubonic plague, falsified in the numbers and yet lethal for the cure of other illnesses. The imposed obedience clearly inconsistent, contradictory, ridicule in scope and medieval in appearance, should open the eyes of those who like to use them.

That may not be the case. Hence the path is open for the cashiering of constitutions and the introduction of freedom-killing legislation.

It is questionable whether generations educated to passiveness and in love with the ephemeral, may attempt a defense. They have but a rudimental notion of liberty, mainly associated with the liberty to purchase and consume. It is equally questionable whether their defense may trespass the borders of disillusionment. And even disillusionment is uncertain, as for many belonging to the herd can overcome the fear of being led to slaughter.

Therefore it is not with a large mass of inert followers of the mainstream media from hell that the West can defend its position of some kind of leadership.

In my archive, there is a video snippet where the ‘spokesman’ for a band of Pakistani migrant hooligans in the North of England says, “In 20 years we will take over f—ing England.”

I know I am but one of many living in the Google archipelago, where the godfathers of globalism reign supreme.

It seems we cannot bring light to darkness or call forth the mutinous winds of rebellion. As rhetorical as it may sound, we may as well dispel the illusion of redemption, bury it in the earth and, deeper than did ever plummet sound, drown the book that extols the values and worth of European civilization.

PS. For this article I relied on material provided by an anonymous European writer whom I would gladly cite if only I knew his name.

Putin Expels the Families

November 19, 2020

Putin Expels the Families

by The Ister for The Saker Blog

The 1990s was a time of immense suffering for the Russian people. As the impending collapse of the USSR became discernable, insiders such as Nikolai Kruchina, Viktor Geraschenko, and Leonid Veselovsky created a planning group to ensure the continued influence of Soviet-era officials by transferring Russian state assets to offshore shell companies and thus stripping the country’s wealth. One such offshore company, FIMACO, was used to pilfer an estimated $50 billion from the nation. Viktor Gerashchenko, the head of the central bank of Russia, sent a memorandum demanding transfers from FIMACO be covered up. It was through this looting that liquid capital was generated and used by future oligarchs to build their fortunes. An early beneficiary of this arrangement was Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who had started his career as a minor Soviet official and whose Yukos oil conglomerate was tied to FIMACO. In return for his help Viktor Gerashchenko was later given a position as the chairman of Yukos by Khodorkovsky.

In 1991 the Soviet Union finally collapsed. That August, state treasurer Nikolai Kruchina, responsible for Russia’s gold reserves, died by falling from his window. He had been a member of the planning group which originated the plot to steal state assets. His successor Georgy Pavlov fell to his death from a window two months later: the oligarchs were cleaning house.

In September, the Russian central bank announced the Kremlin’s gold reserves had inexplicably dropped from the estimated 1000-1500 tons to a mere 240 tons. Two months later, Victor Gerashchenko announced Russia’s gold reserves had actually entirely vanished. While the Russian public was horrified at the revelation, European bankers were less surprised. It was whispered frequently among those circles that Soviet transport planes had been flying to and from Switzerland for months and selling off large amounts of gold. Boris Yeltsin announced his plans to privatize the nation’s assets and the real looting began.

During the privatization period, international capital wasted no time in opportunistically swooping in to take over Russian industries. The Clinton administration sought to redesign the economic policies of the nascent Russian Federation according to the Washington Consensus: privatization, deregulation, austerity, and the opening up of Russia’s companies to purchase by ultra-wealthy Americans. They gave the role of economic planning in Russia to the Harvard Institute for International Development, which sent Harvard economists to meet with Anatoly Chubais, Boris Yeltsin’s head of privatization. The close relationship with Anatoly Chubais allowed a select group of American investors to be on an inside track of financial dealings in the new Russia. One Harvard grad involved in this scheme was Jonathan Hay, convicted inside trader. He became senior advisor to the GKI, Russia’s new state privatization committee.

Certain members of this network, which included Harvard graduates Hay, Jeffrey Sachs, Andrei Shleifer, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, David Lipton, and others, misused funds from USAID that were intended for Russian economic development and rigged deals for privatization to gain control of key Russian industries in backroom negotiations. In one 1995 off market deal, Anatoly Chubais created a closed bidding process for prime national properties in which the only approved bidders were Harvard Management Company and George Soros. This resulted in the acquisition of major stakes in Sidanko Oil, Novolipetsk Steel, and Sviazinvest.

Foreign investors flocked in and the level of greed among this fifth column of new Muscovites was truly astonishing. The 1999 RICO suit Avisma Titano Magnes v. Dart Management is particularly enlightening. RICO allows victims of a racketeering conspiracy to sue conspirators for damages caused by their illegal conduct, and the following defendants were named in the action:

Kenneth Dart; Dart Management Inc, address unknown
Jonathan Hay; Dart Management Inc, address unknown
Michael Haywood; Dart Management Inc, address unknown
Michael Hunter; Dart Management Inc
Francis E. Baker; Andersen Group Inc
William Browder, Hermitage Fund
Barclays Bank, PLC

The complaint document alleges the following: the defendants and a cooperating bank called Bank Menatep, owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, had a controlling interest in titanium producer Avisma. They forced Avisma to sell its titanium below market price to offshore companies which they secretly controlled. Next, these offshore companies sold the titanium at a correct price on international markets for profit, which was then funneled back from the offshore companies to the defendants and Bank Menatep. Money that should have been booked as profits for Avisma was siphoned away, and the majority shareholders who were in on the scam benefitted at the expense of minority shareholders, the company, and Russian tax authorities.

Defendant Francis E. Baker described the actions in a private letter as, “An immense Russian bank money laundering scheme, clearly a criminal matter.” According to the complaint, the actions were discovered when defendants attempted to swap Avisma shares for shares of mining company VSMPO and replicate the same scam at VSMPO. Baker and other defendants later excused their actions by claiming the suit was Russian targeting. Sound familiar?

The criminality was not limited to foreign speculators. During the early period of privatization in the 90s a secret society of seven Russian oligarchs entirely controlled Boris Yeltsin’s administration. This group called itself Semibankirschina, named after the Seven Boyars who controlled Russia during the 17th centuryThe secret society included the following oligarchs: Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven, Vladimir Gusinsky, Vladimir Potanin, and Alexander Smolensky.

A Russian journalist named Andrey Fadin described their overwhelming power in an article, “they control the access to budget money and basically all investment opportunities inside the country. They own the gigantic information resource of the major TV channels. They form the President’s opinion. Those who didn’t want to walk along them were either strangled or left the circle.” Less than one year after publishing the article Andrey Fadin was killed. Through their front man Anatoly Chubais, Semibankirschina used control of television networks to prop up Boris Yeltsin’s low approval ratings. From the mid-90s to 1999 this clique had total authority over Russian policies and industries, judiciously using violence to enforce its monopoly. In one case Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his underling Leonid Nevzlin carried out the murder of the mayor Vladimir Petukhov, who was pursuing Yukos Oil Company’s evasion of taxes.

In late 1999, Vladimir Putin became president of Russia and the fortunes of these self-appointed rulers rapidly turned for the worse. A new group of Putin insiders such as Gennady Timchenko, Vladimir Yakunin, and Sergey Chemezov formed and began supplanting the previous access that the Semibankirschina had to the president. In 2001, a state takeover of media seized the television networks previously owned by oligarchs Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, and Badri Patarkatsishvili, prompting Patarkatsishvili to denounce Russia to the New York Times and flee the country. While exiled in the UK, Patarkatsishvili died suspiciously at the age of 48. The Georgian government has called his death an assassination. Boris Berezovsky also died suspiciously in the UK after having sold his Russian assets and denounced Putin. After his television networks were seized, Vladimir Gusinsky was criminally charged with money laundering and forced to flee the country as well.

The sweep continued as three other allies of the Semibankirschina were killed: Nikolai Glushkov, Alexander Litvinenko, and Boris Nemtsov. Bill Browder was deported in 2005, and later convicted in absentia for fraud. Fraudster Konstantin Ponomarev was also convicted, sentenced to 8 years in prison for crimes relating to his extortion of $1 billion from IKEA. Jamison Firestone, an associate of Ponomarev and Browder, was forced to flee Russia due to his involvement in the Magnitsky case, and his associate Alexander Peripilichny mysteriously died while jogging near London. George Soros was banned from Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.

Once the richest man in the country, Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s fortunes turned for the worse as well. In the early 2000s, Putin pushed through a number of populist reforms for criminal, tax, and land law, which the oligarchs of the 90s had strongly opposed. As the most blatantly criminal member of the original Semibankirschina, Khodorkovsky’s Bank Menatep had been founded with funds stolen as part of the looting of state assets. The bank operated as a hub of money laundering and engaged in countless financial scams, even delaying government funds to Chernobyl victims while using their money to financially speculate. It was Bank Menatep through which American fraudsters had allegedly ripped off Avisma shareholders with the titanium dumping scam.

In 2003, Khodorkovsky was criminally prosecuted by Putin for tax evasion and fraud for which he ended up serving 10 years in prison. His protege Leonid Nevzlin was convicted of ordering multiple contract murders on Khodorkovsky’s behalf, and sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia. Associate Platon Lebedev was also convicted and imprisoned. This wave of prosecution sent a message and gave Putin a strong position, which was used to negotiate a “grand bargain” with the remaining oligarchs: they retained most of their existing assets in return for alignment with Putin’s vertical rule of Russia. The era of financial gangsterism from the 1990s was over.

Stolen Russian gold reserves have now been restored and are at the highest levels in history. Because of the lack of collaboration with other central banks it is certain that Russian gold is present in Moscow’s vaults: there are none of the surreptitious leasing or swap agreements which call into question the claimed size of Western bank holdings. So instead of buying US treasuries or dollars for its reserves, the Bank of Russia can demand physical gold delivery into Moscow vaults. This will continually strain the fraudulent COMEX and London Bullion Market systems with the pressure of physical shipments and threaten the dollar. Unlike China, Russia is in the position to attack the dollar as a net commodity exporter, meaning when its gold purchases bid up the price of metals it is simply increasing the receipts of its own domestic commodity producing companies like Norilsk Nickel and VSMPO-AVISMA.

The economic crisis of 1998 has heavily influenced the Kremlin’s financial policy, and the last twenty years have been spent creating a resilient system. One of Putin’s first agenda items was to pay off all debt to the IMF and holdover loans from the Soviet era. Russia is now positioned to attack the dollar, as the only powerful state not operating on a debt-based system. A decade of economic warfare in the form of sanctions has cut off access to international capital: the result is one of the lowest levels of external debt of any country in the world, with cash reserves large enough to pay off all debt at once. These low debt levels have tangible benefits, primarily that Russia is now able to withstand large economic fluctuations without crumbling as a result of internal defaults. By comparison, the financial system of America would disintegrate if it attempted to sustain the decline in GDP Russia incurred from 2013-2016.

The Bank of Russia actively enforces stringent lending standards in order to prevent the emergence of consumer credit bubbles, and forces banks to hold extra cash on their balance sheets (as a result, most applications for personal credit are declined). So sanctions have actually made the country stronger, as hubris of the McCain class of American politicians has created a competitor state with no stake in the survival of the existing debt-based financial order. Russia’s mission to create resiliency and restore sovereignty foreshadows a tumultuous future, while America bets everything that the world will remain the same. The concerted plot to loot Russia has been foiled.

In December of 1999, Edmond Safra was murdered at his fabulous mansion, the Villa Leopolda in Monaco. The Safras are one of the oldest and most secretive of the banking families, with a fortune dating back to the gold trading caravans of the Ottoman Empire. Coincidentally, Safra means yellow, or gold, in Arabic. It was Edmond Safra who served as Bill Browder’s mentor in Russia, providing him with an initial seed funding of $25 million to start his Hermitage Fund. When Browder needed protection during a business dispute with an oligarch, Safra sent his emissary four armored vehicles and fifteen bodyguards led by a former Mossad agent. While Edmond Safra spent much of his later life defending himself from drug trafficking and money laundering allegations, he was accomplished, nonetheless. He founded his first bank at 23 years old and had dreamed of creating a banking dynasty that would last 10,000 years.

Just after Putin’s takeover as president, Villa Leopolda was broken into. Safra’s nurse, a former Green Beret named Ted Maher, was stabbed by two masked intruders who entered the premises, after which Safra was killed. Under pressure from Monacan authorities, Ted Maher was forced to sign a nonsensical confession in which he claimed that he stabbed himself and admitted to setting the fire in order to attempt to gain his employer’s adoration. He has since recanted this confession, saying that his defense attorneys coerced him into signing and threatened he would never see his family again otherwise. Jean-Christophe Hullin, the chief judge in the case, revealed in 2007 that the guilty conviction was a predetermined outcome which had been planned in a secret meeting with himself, Maher’s attorneys, and the chief prosecutor of Monaco: in short, Ted Maher was a fall guy for the real murderers of Edmond Safra. Now free, he believes Safra was ordered killed by Putin, “in retaliation for a plot orchestrated by Safra and Russian oligarchs to take control of all of Russia’s assets.”

It was during the purge of oligarchs and vulture capitalists that the true power behind Mikhail Khodorkovsky emerged. When it became likely he would be arrested, he arranged to have all his shares from the Yukos Oil Company transferred to the ownership of Jacob Rothschild. The transfer took place in November of 2003, giving Lord Rothschild control of shares estimated by the Sunday Times to be worth $13.5 billion. Putin subsequently liquidated and nationalized Yukos by seizing and selling off its shares to state oil companies at much below market value.

So Putin has declared war on the most powerful people on the planet.

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

The Secret Agenda of the World Bank and IMF

The Secret Agenda of the World Bank and IMF
Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.Peter is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals such as Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO) and more. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.
Peter is also co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020) Peter

November 17, 2020

by Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) work hand in glove – smoothly. Not only are they regularly lending huge sums of money to horror regimes around the world, but they blackmail poor nations into accepting draconian conditions imposed by the west.

In other words, the WB and the IMF are guilty of the most atrocious human rights abuses.

You couldn’t tell, when you read above the entrance of the World Bank the noble phrase, “Our Dream is World Free of Poverty”.

To this hypocrisy I can only add, ”…And we make sure it will just remain a dream.” This says both, the lie and the criminal nature of the two International Financial Institutions, created under the Charter of the United Nations, but instigated by the United States.

The front of these institutions is brilliant. What meets the eye, are investments in social infrastructure, in schools, health systems, basic needs like drinking water, sanitation – even environmental protection – over all “Poverty Alleviation”, i.e. A World Free of Poverty. But how fake this is today and was already in the 1970’s and 1980’s is astounding. Gradually people are opening their eyes to an abject reality, of exploitation and coercion and outright blackmail. And that, under the auspices of the United Nations. What does it tell you about the UN system? In what hands are the UN? – The world organization was created in San Francisco, California, on 24 October 1945, just after WWII, by 51 nations, committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.

The UN replaced the League of Nations which was part of the Peace Agreement after WWI, the Treaty of Versailles. It became effective on 10 January 1920, was headquartered in Geneva Switzerland, with the purpose of disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries, through negotiation diplomacy and improving global welfare. In hindsight it is easy to see that the entire UN system was set up as a hypocritical farce, making people believe that their mighty leaders only wanted peace. These might leaders were all westerners; the same that less than 20 years after the creation of the noble League of Nations, started World War II.

——-
This little introduction provides the context for what was eventually to become the UN-backed outgrowth for global theft, for impoverishing nations, around the world, for exploitation of people, for human rights abuses and for shoveling huge amounts of assets from the bottom, from the people, to the oligarchy, the ever-smaller corporate elite – the so-called Bretton Woods Institutions.

In July 1944 more than 700 delegates of 44 Allied Nations (allied with the winners of WWII) met at the Mount Washington Hotel, situated in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, to regulate the international monetary and financial order after WWII. Let’s be sure, this conference was carried out under the auspices of the United States, the self-declared winner of WWII, and from now on forward the master over the financial order of the world – which was not immediately visible, an agenda hidden in plain sight.

The IMF was officially created to ‘regulate’ the wester, so-called convertible currencies, those that subscribed to apply the rules of the new gold standard, i.e. US$ 35 / Troy Ounce (about 31.1 grams). Note that the gold standard, although applicable equally to 44 allied nations was linked to the price of gold nominated in US dollars, not based on a basket of the value of the 44 national currencies. This already was enough reason to question the future system. And how it will play out. But nobody questioned the arrangement. Hard to believe though that of all these national economists, none dared question the treacherous nature of the gold-standard set-up.

The World Bank, or the Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), was officially set up to administer the Marshall Plan for the Reconstruction of war-destroyed Europe. The Marshall Plan was a donation by the United Stated and was named for U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall, who proposed it in 1947. The plan gave $13.2 billion in foreign aid to European countries that had been devastated physically and economically by World War II. It was to be implemented from 1948 to 1952 which of course was much too short a time, and stretched into the early 1960s. In today’s terms the Marshall plan would be worth about 10 time more, or some US$ 135 billion.

The Marshall Plan was and still is a Revolving Fund, paid back by the countries in question, so that it could be relent. The Marshall Plan money was lent out multiple times and was therefore very effective. The European counterpart to the World Bank-administered Marshall Fund was a newly to be created bank set up under the German Ministry of Finance, The German Bank for Reconstruction and Development (KfW – German acronym for Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau”).

KfW, as the World Bank’s European counterpart still exists and dedicates itself mostly to development projects in the Global South, often in cooperation with the World Bank. Today there is still a special Department within KfW that deals exclusively with Marshall Plan Fund money. These funds are used for lending to poor southern regions in Europe, and also to prop up Eastern European economies, and they were used especially to integrate former East-Germany into today’s “Grand Germany”.

Two elements of the Marshall Plan are particularly striking and noteworthy. First, the reconstruction plan created a bind, a dependence between the US and Europe, the very Europe that was largely destroyed by the western allied forces, while basically WWII was largely won by the Soviet Union, the huge sacrifices of the USSR – with an estimated 25 to 30 million deaths. So, the Marshall Plan was also designed as a shield against communist Russia, i.e. the USSR.

While officially the Soviet Union was an ally of the western powers, US, UK, and France, in reality the communist USSR was an arch-enemy of the west, especially the United States. With the Marshall Plan money, the US bought Europe’s alliance, a dependence that has not ended to this day. The ensuing Cold War against the Soviet Union – also all based on flagrant lies, was direct testimony for another western propaganda farce – which to this day, most Europeans haven’t grasped yet.

Second, The US imposition of a US-dollar based reconstruction fund, was not only creating a European dollar dependence, but was also laying the ground work for a singular currency, eventually to invade Europe – what we know today, has become the Euro. The Euro is nothing but the foster child of the dollar, as it was created under the same image as the US-dollar – it is a fiat currency, backed by nothing. The United Europe, or now called the European Union – was never really a union. It was never a European idea, but put forward by US Secret Services in disguise of a few treacherous European honchos. And every attempt to create a United Europe, a European Federation, with a European Constitution, similar to the United States, was bitterly sabotaged by the US, mostly through the US mole in the EU, namely the UK.

The US didn’t want a strong Europe, both economically and possibly over time also militarily (pop. EU 450 million, vs US pop. 330 million; 2019 EU GDP US$ 20.3 trillion equivalent, vs US GDP US$ 21.4 trillion. Most economists would agree that a common currency for a loose group of countries has no future, is not sustainable. In comes the European Central Bank (ECB), also a creation inspired by the FED. The ECB has really no Central Bank function. It is rater a watch dog. Because each EU member country has still her own Central Bank, though with a drastically reduced sovereignty.

Out of the currently 27 EU members only 19 are part of the Euro-zone. Those countries not part of the Eurozone, i.e. Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Sweden – and more, have preserved their sovereign financial policy and do not depend on the ECB. This means, had Greece opted out of the Eurozone when they were hit with the 2008 / 2009 manufactured “crisis”, Greece would now be well on her way to full recovery. They would not have been subject to the whims and dictate of the IMF, the infamous troika, European Commission (EC), ECB and IMF, but could have chosen to arrange their debt internally, as most debt was internal debt, no need to borrow from abroad.

In a 2015 bailout referendum, the Greek population voted overwhelmingly against the bailout, meaning against the new gigantic debt. However, the then Greek President Tsipras, went ahead as if the referendum had never taken place and approved the huge bailout despite almost 70% of the popular vote against it.

This is a clear indication of fraud, that no fair play was going on. Tsipras and / or his families may have been coerced to accept the bailout – or else. We may never know, the true reason why Tsipras sold his people, the wellbeing of the Greek people to the oligarchs behind the IMF and World Bank – and put them into abject misery, with the highest unemployment in Europe, rampant poverty and skyrocketing suicide rates.

Greece may serve as an example on how other EU countries may fare if they don’t “behave” – meaning adhere to the unwritten golden rules of obedience to the international money masters.

This is scary.

——-
And now, in these times of covid, it is relatively easy. Poor countries, particularly in the Global South, already indebted by the plandemic, are increasing their foreign debt in order to provide their populations with basic needs. Or so they make you believe. Much of the debt accumulated by developing countries is domestic or internal debt, like the debt of the Global North. It doesn’t really need foreign lending institutions to wipe out local debt. Or have you seen one of the rich Global North countries borrowing from the IMF or the World Bank to master their debt? – Hardly.

So why would the Global South fall for it? Part corruption, part coercion, and partly direct blackmail. – Yes, blackmail, one of the international biggest crimes imaginable, being committed by the foremost international UN-chartered financial institutions, the WB and the IMF.

For example, the whole world is wondering how come that an invisible enemy, a corona virus hit all 193 UN member countries at once, so that Dr. Tedros, Director General of WHO, declares on 11 March a pandemic – no reason whatsoever since there were only 4,617 cases globally – but the planned result was a total worldwide lockdown on 16 March 2020. No exceptions. There were some countries who didn’t take it so seriously, like Brazil, Sweden, Belarus, some African countries, like Madagascar and Tanzania – developed their own rules and realized that wearing masks did more harm than good, and social distancing would destroy the social fabric of their cultures and future generations.

But the satanic deep dark state didn’t want anything to do with “independent” countries. They all had to follow the dictate from way above, from the Gates, Rockefellers, Soroses, et al elite, soon to be reinforced by Klaus Schwab, serving as the chief henchman of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Suddenly, you see in Brazil, a drastic surge in new “cases”, no questions asked, massive testing, no matter that the infamous PCR tests are worthless according to most serious scientists (only sold and corrupted scientists, those paid by the national authorities, would still insist on the RT-PCR tests). Bolsonaro gets sick with the virus and the death count increases exponentially – as the Brazilian economy falls apart.

Coincidence?

In comes the World Bank and / or the IMF, offering massive help mostly debt relief, either as grant or as low interest loans. But with massive strings attached: you must follow the rules laid out by WHO, you must follow the rules on testing on vaccination, mandatary vaccination – if you conform to these and other country-specific rules, like letting western corporations tap your natural resources – you may receive, WB and IMF assistance.

Already in May 2020 the World Bank Group announced its emergency operations to fight COVID-19 had already reached 100 developing countries – home to 70% of the world’s population with lending of US$ 160 billion-plus. This means, by today, 6 months later and in the midst of the “Second Wave” the number of countries and the number of loans or “relief’ grants must have increased exponentially, having reached close to the 193 UN member countries. Which explains how all, literally all countries, even the most objecting African countries, like Madagascar and Tanzania, among the poorest of the poor, have succumbed to the coercion or blackmail of the infamous Bretton Woods Institutions.

These institutions have no quarrels in generating dollars, as the dollar is fiat money, not backed by any economy – but can be produced literally from hot air and lent to poor countries, either as debt or as grant. These countries, henceforth and for pressure of the international financial institutions will forever become dependent on the western masters of salvation. Covid-19 is the perfect tool for the financial markets to shovel assets from the bottom to the top.

In order to maximize the concentration of the riches on top, maybe one or two or even three new covid waves may be necessary. That’s all planned, The WEF has already foreseen the coming scenarios, by its tyrannical book “Covid-19 – The Great Reset”. It’s all laid out. And our western intellectuals read it, analyze it, criticize it, but we do not shred it apart – we let it stand, and watch how the word moves in the Reset direction. And the plan is dutifully executed by the World Bank and the IMF – all under the guise of doing good for the world.

What’s different from the World Bank and IMF’s role before the covid plandemic? – Nothing. Just the cause for exploitation, indebtment, enslavement. When covid came along it became easy. Before then and up to the end of 2019, developing countries, mostly rich in natural resources of the kind the west covets, oil, gold, copper and other minerals, such as rare earths, would be approached by the WB, the IMF or both.

They could receive debt relief, so-called structural adjustment loans, no matter whether or not they really needed such debt. Today these loans come in all forms, shapes and colors, literally like color-revolutions, for instance, often as budget support operations – I simply call then blank checks – nobody controls what’s happening with the money. However, the countries have to restructure their economies, rationalizing their public services, privatizing water, education, health services, electricity, highways, railroads – and granting foreign concessions for the exploitation of natural resources.

Most of this fraud – fraud on “robbing” national resources, passes unseen by the public at large, but countries become increasingly dependent on the western paymasters – peoples’ and institutional sovereignty is gone. There is always a corrupter and a corruptee. Unfortunately, they are still omni-present in the Global South. Often, for a chunk of money, the countries are forced to vote with the US for or against certain UN resolutions which are of interest to the US. Here we go – the corrupt system of the UN.

And of course, when the two Bretton Woods organizations were created in 1944, the voting system decided is not one country, one vote as in theory it is in the UN, but the US has an absolute veto right in both organizations. Their voting rights are calculated in function of their capital contribution which derives from a complex formula, based on GDP and other economic indicators. In both institutions the US voting right and also veto right is about 17%. Both institutions have 189 member countries.
—–

Covid has laid bare, if it wasn’t already before, how these “official” international, UN-chartered Bretton Woods financial institutions are fully integrated in the UN system – in which most of the countries still trust, maybe for lack of anything better.

Question, however: What is better, a hypocritical corrupt system that provides the “appearance”, or the abolition of a dystopian system and the courage to create a new one, under new democratic circumstances and with sovereign rights by each participating country?

Nuking Itself… How Russophobia Led the U.S. to Bomb its Own Citizens

Finian Cunningham October 26, 2020

Generations of countless Americans have been contaminated and sickened by the first-ever atomic bomb test. The Trinity explosion on July 16, 1945, was carried out in the New Mexico desert. Three weeks later, two A-bombs were dropped on Japan, killing up to 200,000 people.

But the number of American victims caused by radiation fallout from the Trinity test is reckoned to be also imponderably high. The American government conducted the explosion in secret, unbeknownst to the population of New Mexico. That was in spite of warnings from Manhattan Project scientists of a high risk to public health from the extreme radiation. Without a warning to the public and because of a cover-up about the event, countless Americans were exposed to carcinogenic radiation.

In a recent interview with Karl Grossman, New Mexican resident Tina Cordova tells how her community has been campaigning for decades to find out the truth behind the Trinity test and to seek reparations from the federal government. Incredibly, there has never been a federal investigation into establishing the human health impact from that atomic test explosion. But Cordova and her community estimate that the number is huge. She is the fourth generation in her family to have suffered from cancer. Countless others tell of high numbers of infant mortality over the decades and other morbidities that stretch across the entire state of New Mexico.

A combination of factors conspired to wreak a heavy toll on the people of New Mexico. It is one of the poorest states in the U.S., with large numbers of native Americans and Latinos. In selecting the test site for the A-bomb, there was a tacit racism among planners in Washington who viewed the area and its population as expendable. By not warning the people of the explosion, local populations were given no chance to take protective measures such as evacuation or avoiding consumption of contaminated water and food produced from the soil. The people were deceived into continuing their livelihoods as normal following the explosion, drinking contaminated water and breathing radioactive air. The New York Times was instrumental in the cover-up, issuing reports that the explosion was due to a conventional munitions incident. It was only after the horrific bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 an 9 that the people of New Mexico realized what had really happened at the Trinity site. Even then they were kept in the dark by Washington stonewalling about the event for decades to come.

Still another factor that maximized the damage on public health was the rush by the American government to weaponize the A-bomb technology. As Karl Grossman points out, the rationale behind the Manhattan Project was said to be to preempt Nazi Germany. But by July 1945, Nazi Germany was defeated and imperial Japan was on its knees. The inescapable implication is that President Harry Truman and the Pentagon wanted to display the new awesome weapon of mass destruction to the Soviet Union in what would be a chilling demarcation of the postwar globe according to American power.

Truman eagerly awaited the news of the Trinity test while attending the Potsdam allies’ conference in Germany along with Britain’s Winston Churchill and the Soviet Union’s Josef Stalin. On receiving news of the successful explosion, Truman immediately adopted a more strident attitude towards Stalin. In that moment, a new Cold War was born.

Thus, it was Russophobia among the American ruling class that rushed the Trinity A-bomb explosion, even though that event would lead to generations of American citizens stricken with fatal diseases from the fallout. In a very real and frightening way, the U.S. rulers took a decision to “nuke” their own people such was their obsession with confronting the Soviet Union.

Subsequent U.S. nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s was conducted in remote areas of Nevada and in the Pacific Ocean. Those tests also took a deadly toll on the environment and local populations on Pacific islands.

But the recklessness and callous conditions of the New Mexico test is unparalleled in the toxic exposure it imposed on unsuspecting populations.

The stone-cold willingness to, in effect, bomb its own citizens by the federal government is a shuddering testimony as to the nefarious lengths the planners in Washington were prepared to go in their obsessive Russophobia.

When we survey the relentless fixation today in Washington and the U.S. political class with blaming Russia for all sorts of alleged malign intent, one can easily discern that this endemic Russophobia among America’s rulers has not waned.

The barbarity of what happened in New Mexico 75 years ago is alive and well. If it can be inflicted without apology on American citizens, then what does that say about the danger to the rest of the world?

Russian President Putin Delivers Speech at Valdai Discussion Club -2020 – Update

Source

The Transcript follows.

Update : October 24th

The formal transcript is now complete

Update : October 23rd

Note that it is not quite complete and we are waiting for the Kremlin resources to complete (as usual correct and accurate) the complete transcript.  Yet, most of it is here, and the most interesting details are in the Questions and Answers.  (Settle in, it was a 3 hour session and nobody wanted to let Mr Putin go, even after 3 hours!)

Fyodor Lukyanov: Friends,

Guests of the Valdai Club,

I am delighted to welcome you to the final session of the 17th annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club. It is my special honour and pleasure to welcome our traditional guest for our final meetings, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, friends,

Participants of the 17th plenary meeting of the Valdai Club,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to welcome you all to our traditional annual meeting. We are meeting in an unusual format this time; we are videoconferencing. But I can see there are also people in the room. Not as many as usual of course, but nevertheless there are people present, and, apparently, you have had an in-person discussion, and I am delighted that you have.

We are certainly aware, we can see that the coronavirus epidemic has seriously affected public, business, and international affairs. More than that – it has affected everyone’s routine rhythm of life.

Almost all countries had to impose various restrictions, and large public gatherings have been largely cancelled. This year has been challenging for your Club as well. Most importantly, though, you continue to work. With the help of remote technology, you conduct heated and meaningful debates, discuss things, and bring in new experts who share their opinions and present interesting outside-the-box, sometimes even opposing, views on current developments. Such an exchange is, of course, very important and useful now that the world is facing so many challenges that need to be resolved.

Thus, we still have to understand how the epidemic affected and will continue to affect the present and future of humanity. As it confronts this dangerous threat, the international community is trying to take certain actions and to mobilize itself. Some things are already being done as collaborative efforts, but I want to note straight away that this is only a fraction of what needs to be done in the face of this formidable common challenge. These missed opportunities are also a subject for a candid international discussion.

From the onset of the pandemic in Russia, we have focused on preserving lives and ensuring safety of our people as our key values. This was an informed choice dictated by our culture and spiritual traditions, and our complex, sometimes dramatic, history. If we think back to the great demographic losses we suffered in the 20th century, we had no other choice but to fight for every person and the future of every Russian family.

So, we did our best to preserve the health and the lives of our people, to help parents and children, as well as senior citizens and those who lost their jobs, to maintain employment as much as possible, to minimise damage to the economy, to support millions of entrepreneurs who run small or family businesses.

Perhaps, like everyone else, you are closely following daily updates on the pandemic around the world. Unfortunately, the coronavirus has not retreated and still poses a major threat. Probably, this unsettling background intensifies the sense, like many people feel, that a whole new era is about to begin and that we are not just on the verge of dramatic changes, but an era of tectonic shifts in all areas of life.

We see the rapidly, exponential development of the processes that we have repeatedly discussed at the Valdai Club before. Thus, six years ago, in 2014, we spoke about this issue when we discussed the theme The World Order: New Rules or a Game Without Rules. So, what is happening now? Regrettably, the game without rules is becoming increasingly horrifying and sometimes seems to be a fait accompli.

The pandemic has reminded us of how fragile human life is. It was hard to imagine that in our technologically advanced 21st century, even in the most prosperous and wealthy countries people could find themselves defenceless in front of what would seem to be not such a fatal infection, and not such a horrible threat. But life has shown that not everything boils down to the level of medical science with some of its fantastic achievements. It transpired that the organisation and accessibility of the public healthcare system are no less, and probably much more important in this situation.

The values of mutual assistance, service and self-sacrifice proved to be most important. This also applies to the responsibility, composure and honesty of the authorities, their readiness to meet the demand of society and at the same time provide a clear-cut and well-substantiated explanation of the logic and consistency of the adopted measures so as not to allow fear to subdue and divide society but, on the contrary, to imbue it with confidence that together we will overcome all trials no matter how difficult they may be.

The struggle against the coronavirus threat has shown that only a viable state can act effectively in a crisis – contrary to the reasoning of those who claim that the role of the state in the global world is decreasing and that in the future it will be altogether replaced with some other forms of social organisation. Yes, this is possible. Everything may change in the distant future. Change is all around us, but today the role and importance of the state do matter.

We have always considered a strong state a basic condition for Russia’s development. And we have seen again that we were right by meticulously restoring and strengthening state institutions after their decline, and sometimes complete destruction in the 1990s.

Then, the question is: what is a strong state? What are its strengths? Definitely, not total control or harsh law enforcement. Not thwarted private initiative or civic engagement. Not even the might of its armed forces or its high defence potential. Although, I think you realise how important this particular component is for Russia, given its geography and the range of geopolitical challenges. And there is also our historical responsibility as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to ensure global stability.

Nevertheless, I am confident that what makes a state strong, primarily, is the confidence its citizens have in it. That is the strength of a state. People are the source of power, we all know that. And this recipe doesn’t just involve going to the polling station and voting, it implies people’s willingness to delegate broad authority to their elected government, to see the state, its bodies, civil servants, as their representatives – those who are entrusted to make decisions, but who also bear full responsibility for the performance of their duties.

This kind of state can be set up any way you like. When I say “any way,” I mean that what you call your political system is immaterial. Each country has its own political culture, traditions, and its own vision of their development. Trying to blindly imitate someone else’s agenda is pointless and harmful. The main thing is for the state and society to be in harmony.

And of course, confidence is the most solid foundation for the creative work of the state and society. Only together will they be able to find an optimal balance of freedom and security guarantees.

Once again, in the most difficult moments of the pandemic, I felt pride and, to be honest, I am proud of Russia, of our citizens, of their willingness to have each other’s backs. And of course, first of all, I am proud of our doctors, nurses, and ambulance workers – everyone, without exception, on whom the national healthcare system relies.

I believe that civil society will play a key role in Russia’s future. So, we want the voice of our citizens to be decisive and to see constructive proposals and requests from different social forces get implemented.

This begs the question: how is this request for action being formed? Whose voice should the state be heeding? How does it know if it is really the voice of the people and not some behind-the-scenes messages or even someone’s vocal yelling that has nothing to do whatsoever with our people and that at times becomes hysterical?

Occasionally, someone is trying to substitute self-serving interests of a small social group or even external forces for a genuine public request.

Genuine democracy and civil society cannot be “imported.” I have said so many times. They cannot be a product of the activities of foreign “well-wishers,” even if they “want the best for us.” In theory, this is probably possible. But, frankly, I have not yet seen such a thing and do not believe much in it. We see how such imported democracy models function. They are nothing more than a shell or a front with nothing behind them, even a semblance of sovereignty. People in the countries where such schemes have been implemented were never asked for their opinion, and their respective leaders are mere vassals. As is known, the overlord decides everything for the vassal. To reiterate, only the citizens of a particular country can determine their public interest.

We, in Russia, went through a fairly long period where foreign funds were very much the main source for creating and financing non-governmental organisations. Of course, not all of them pursued self-serving or bad goals, or wanted to destabilise the situation in our country, interfere in our domestic affairs, or influence Russia’s domestic and, sometimes, foreign policy in their own interests. Of course not.

There were sincere enthusiasts among independent civic organisations (they do exist), to whom we are undoubtedly grateful. But even so, they mostly remained strangers and ultimately reflected the views and interests of their foreign trustees rather than the Russian citizens. In a word, they were a tool with all the ensuing consequences.

A strong, free and independent civil society is nationally oriented and sovereign by definition. It grows from the depth of people’s lives and can take different forms and directions. But it is a cultural phenomenon, a tradition of a particular country, not the product of some abstract “transnational mind” with other people’s interests behind it.

The duty of the state is to support public initiatives and open up new opportunities for them. This is exactly what we do. I consider this matter to be the most important for the government’s agenda in the coming decades – regardless of who exactly will hold positions in that government. This is the guarantee of Russia’s sovereign, progressive development, of genuine continuity in its forward movement, and of our ability to respond to global challenges.

Colleagues, you are well aware of the many acute problems and controversies that have accumulated in modern international affairs, even too many. Ever since the Cold War model of international relations, which was stable and predictable in its own way, began to change (I am not saying I miss it, I most certainly do not), the world has changed several times. Things in fact happened so quickly that those usually referred to as political elites simply did not have the time, or maybe a strong interest or ability to analyse what was really going on.

Some countries hastily ran to divide the cake, mostly to grab a bigger piece, to take advantage of the benefits the end of the cold confrontation brought. Others were frantically looking for ways to adapt to the changes at any cost. And some countries – recall our own sad experience, frankly – just fought for survival, to survive as a single country, and as a subject of global politics, too.

Meanwhile, time increasingly and insistently makes us question what lies ahead for humanity, what the new world order should be like, or at least a semblance of one, and whether we will take informed steps forward, coordinating our moves, or we will stumble blindly, each of us just relying on ourselves.

The recent report of the Valdai Club, your club, reads: “…in a fundamentally changed international setting, the institutions themselves have become an obstacle to building a system of relations corresponding to the new era rather than a guarantee of global stability and manageability.” The authors believe that we are in for a world where individual states or groups of states will act much more independently while traditional international organisations will lose their importance.

This is what I would like to say in this respect. Of course, it is clear what underlies this position. In effect, the post-war world order was established by three victorious countries: the Soviet Union, the United States and Great Britain. The role of Britain has changed since then; the Soviet Union no longer exists, while some try to dismiss Russia altogether.

Let me assure you, dear friends, that we are objectively assessing our potentialities: our intellectual, territorial, economic and military potential. I am referring to our current options, our overall potential. Consolidating this country and looking at what is happening in the world, in other countries I would like to tell those who are still waiting for Russia’s strength to gradually wane, the only thing we are worried about is catching a cold at your funeral.

As a head of state who works directly in an environment that you and your colleagues describe from a position of expertise, I cannot agree with the assumption that existing international structures must be completely rebuilt, if not dismissed as obsolete and altogether dismantled. On the contrary, it is important to preserve the basic mechanisms of maintaining international security, which have proved to be effective. This is the UN, the Security Council and the permanent members’ right to veto. I recently spoke about this at the anniversary UN General Assembly. As far as I know, this position – the preservation of the fundamentals of the international order established after World War II – enjoys broad support in the world.

However, I believe that the idea of adjusting the institutional arrangement of world politics is at least worthy of discussion, if only because the correlation of forces, potentialities and positions of states has seriously changed, as I said, especially in the past 30 to 40 years.

Indeed, like I said, the Soviet Union is no longer there. But there is Russia. In terms of its economic weight and political influence, China is moving quickly towards superpower status. Germany is moving in the same direction, and the Federal Republic of Germany has become an important player in international cooperation. At the same time, the roles of Great Britain and France in international affairs has undergone significant changes. The United States, which at some point absolutely dominated the international stage, can hardly claim exceptionality any longer. Generally speaking, does the United States need this exceptionalism? Of course, powerhouses such as Brazil, South Africa and some other countries have become much more influential.

Indeed, by far not all international organisations are effectively carrying out their missions and tasks. Called to be impartial arbiters, they often act based on ideological prejudices, fall under the strong influence of other states, and become tools in their hands. Juggling procedures, manipulating prerogatives and authority, biased approaches, especially when it comes to conflicts involving rival powers or groups of states, have unfortunately become common practice.

The fact that authoritative international organisations following in the wake of someone’s selfish interests are drawn into politicised campaigns against specific leaders and countries is saddening. This approach does nothing but discredit these institutions, and leads them towards decline and exacerbates the world order crisis.

On the other hand, there are positive developments when a group of interested states joins forces to resolve specific issues, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which for almost 20 years now has been contributing to the settlement of territorial disputes and strengthening stability in Central Eurasia, and is shaping a unique spirit of partnership in this part of the world.

Or, for example, the Astana format, which was instrumental in taking the political and diplomatic process regarding Syria out of a deep impasse. The same goes for OPEC Plus which is an effective, albeit very complex, tool for stabilising global oil markets.

In a fragmented world, this approach is often more productive. But what matters here is that, along with resolving specific problems, this approach can also breathe new life into multilateral diplomacy. This is important. But it is also obvious that we cannot do without a common, universal framework for international affairs. Whatever interest groups, associations, or ad-hoc alliances we form now or in the future – we cannot do without a common framework.

Multilateralism should be understood not as total inclusivity, but as the need to involve the parties that are truly interested in solving a problem. And of course, when outside forces crudely and shamelessly intervene in a process that affects a group of actors perfectly capable of agreeing among themselves – nothing good can come of that. And they do this solely for the purpose of flaunting their ambition, power and influence. They do it to put a stake in the ground, to outplay everyone, but not to make a positive contribution or help resolve the situation.

Again, even amid the current fragmentation of international affairs, there are challenges that require more than just the combined capacity of a few states, even very influential ones. Problems of this magnitude, which do exist, require global attention.

International stability, security, fighting terrorism and solving urgent regional conflicts are certainly among them; as are promoting global economic development, combatting poverty, and expanding cooperation in healthcare. That last one is especially relevant today.

I spoke in detail about these challenges at the UN General Assembly last month. Meeting them will require working together in a long-term, systematic way.

However, there are considerations of a more general nature that affect literally everyone, and I would like to discuss them in more detail.

Many of us read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when we were children and remember what the main character said: “It’s a question of discipline. When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet. … It’s very tedious work, but very easy.”

I am sure that we must keep doing this “tedious work” if we want to preserve our common home for future generations. We must tend our planet.

The subject of environmental protection has long become a fixture on the global agenda. But I would address it more broadly to discuss also an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

We often say that nature is extremely vulnerable to human activity. Especially when the use of natural resources is growing to a global dimension. However, humanity is not safe from natural disasters, many of which are the result of anthropogenic interference. By the way, some scientists believe that the recent outbreaks of dangerous diseases are a response to this interference. This is why it is so important to develop harmonious relations between Man and Nature.

Tensions have reached a critical point. We can see this in climate change. This problem calls for practical action and much more attention on our part. It has long stopped being the domain of abstract scientific interests but now concerns nearly every inhabitant of the planet Earth. The polar ice caps and permafrost are melting because of global warming. According to expert estimates, the speed and scale of this process will be increasing in the next few decades.

It is a huge challenge to the world, to the whole of humanity, including to us, to Russia, where permafrost occupies 65 percent of our national territory. Such changes can do irreparable damage to biological diversity, have an extremely adverse effect on the economy and infrastructure and pose a direct threat to people.

You may be aware that this is very important to us. It affects pipeline systems, residential districts built on permafrost, and so on. If as much as 25 percent of the near-surface layers of permafrost, which is about three or four metres, melt by 2100, we will feel the effect very strongly. Moreover, the problem could snowball into a crisis very quickly. A kind of chain reaction is possible, because permafrost melting will stimulate methane emissions, which can produce a greenhouse effect that will be 28 times (sic!) larger than in the case of carbon dioxide. In other words, the temperature will continue rising on the planet, permafrost will continue melting, and methane emissions will further increase. The situation will spiral. Do we want the Earth to become like Venus, a hot, dry and lifeless planet? I would like to remind you that the Earth has an average surface temperature of 14°C while on Venus it’s 462°C.

Another subject, completely different. I would like to say a few words on a different subject. Let us not forget that there are no longer just geographical continents on Earth. An almost endless digital space is taking shape on the planet, and people are mastering it with increasing speed every year.

The restrictions forced by the coronavirus have only encouraged the development of remote e-technology. Today, communications based on the internet have become a universal asset. It is necessary to see that this infrastructure and all cyberspace operates without fail and securely.

Thus, remote, distance work is not just a forced precaution during a pandemic. This will become a new form of organising labour, employment, social cooperation and simply human communication. These changes are inevitable with the development of technological progress. This recent turn of events has merely precipitated these processes. Everyone appreciates the opportunities and conveniences provided by new technology.

But, of course, there is a reverse side as well – a growing threat to all digital systems. Yes, cyberspace is a fundamentally new environment where, basically, universally recognised rules have never existed. Technology has simply moved ahead of legislation and thus, judicial oversight. At the same time, this is a very specific area where the issue of trust is particularly urgent.

I think that at this point we must return to our historical experience. What do I mean? Let me recall that the established notion of “confidence-building measures” existed during the Cold War. It applied to relations between the USSR and the US, and between the Warsaw Pact and NATO, that is, military-political relations.

That said, let me emphasise that now, competition is usually “hybrid” in character. It concerns all areas, including those that are just taking shape. This is why it is necessary to build confidence in many areas.

In this sense, cyberspace can serve as a venue for testing these measures, like at one time, arms control paved the way for higher trust in the world as a whole.

Obviously, it is very difficult to draft a required “package of measures” in this area, cyberspace. However, it is necessary to start on it. This must be done now.

As you may be aware, Russia is actively promoting bilateral and multilateral cyber security agreements. We submitted two draft conventions on this subject at the UN and established a corresponding open-ended working group.

Recently, I proposed starting a comprehensive discussion of international cybersecurity issues with the United States. We are aware that politicians in the United States have other things to focus on now because of the election campaign. However, we hope that the next administration, whatever it may be, will respond to our invitation to start a discussion of this subject just like other items on the Russia-US agenda such as global security, the future of the strategic arms reduction treaty and a number of other issues.

As you are aware, many important matters have reached the point that they require candid talks, and we are ready for a constructive discussion on an equal footing.

Of course, the times when all important international matters were discussed and resolved by essentially just Moscow and Washington are long gone, lost to the ages. However, we see the establishment of a bilateral dialogue, in this case on cyber security, as an important step towards a much broader discussion involving many other countries and organisations. Should the United States choose not to take part in this work, which would be regrettable, we will still be willing to work with all interested partners, which I hope will not be lacking.

I would like to point out another important aspect. We live in an era of palpable international shocks and crises. Of course, we are used to them, especially the generations which lived during the Cold War, let alone World War II, for whom it is not just a memory, but a part of their lives.

It is interesting that humanity has reached a very high level of technological and socioeconomic development, while at the same time facing the loss or erosion of moral values and reference points, a sense that existence no longer has meaning and, if you will, that the mission of humankind on planet Earth has been lost.

This crisis cannot be settled through diplomatic negotiations or even a large international conference. It calls for revising our priorities and rethinking our goals. And everyone must begin at home, every individual, community and state, and only then work toward a global configuration.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which we have all been dealing with this year, can serve as a point of departure for such a transformation. We will have to reassess our priorities anyway. Trust me, we really will have to do it, sooner or later. All of us are aware of this. Therefore, I fully agree with those who say that it would be better to start this process now.

I mentioned history and the older generations who went through all the trials of last century for a reason. Everything we are discussing today will soon become the responsibility of young people. Young people will have to deal with all of the problems which I mentioned and you discussed today. Speaking about Russia, its young citizens, who are still growing up and gaining experience, will have to do this as soon as in the 21st century. They are the ones who will have to confront new and probably even more difficult challenges.

They have their own views on the past, present and future. But I believe that our people will always retain their best qualities: patriotism, fortitude, creativity, hard work, team spirit and the capacity to surprise the world by finding solutions to the most difficult and even seemingly insoluble problems.

Friends, colleagues,

I touched on a wide range of different issues today. Of course, I would like to believe that despite all the current difficulties the international community will be able to join forces to combat not imaginary but very real problems, and that we will eventually succeed. After all, it is within our power to stop being egoistical, greedy, mindless and wasteful consumers. Some may wonder if this is utopia, a pipe dream.

To be sure, it is easy to wonder if this is even possible considering what some individuals are doing and saying. However, I believe in reason and mutual understanding, or at least I strongly hope that they will prevail. We just need to open our eyes, look around us and see that the land, air and water are our common inheritance from above, and we must learn to cherish them, just as we must cherish every human life, which is precious. This is the only way forward in this complicated and beautiful world. I do not want to see the mistakes of the past repeated.

Thank you very much.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Mr President, thank you for this detailed statement. You have said that COVID-19 can serve as a point of departure for a reassessment. I can see that you are indeed reassessing things, because it is not everyone who speaks now about trust, harmony, the meaning of life and our mission on the planet Earth, and it was rarely so in the past as well.

I would like to say a few things in follow-up to what you have said. Of course, such a rethinking is ongoing, and we are trying to contribute to this process at the Valdai Club. However, the shocking spring developments, when we thought that the world would never be the same again, were followed by a degree of stabilisation. When global politics awoke from the mental torpor, it turned out that the agenda has hardly changed at all: we are facing the same problems, the conflicts are back and their number has even increased. But you continue with your active work despite the strained situation in global politics. Do you think that this shock had any effect on us? Do you feel any change in the sentiments of your counterparts at the top level?

Vladimir Putin: You said that the conflicts resumed when the situation improved a bit. In fact, they never abated. There is much talk about a second wave, and that the situation is back to where we were in the spring. But just look at what is happening in Nagorno-Karabakh: the conflict is still with us. And it is not just the conflicts that matter. I believe that no matter how the necessity to combat the pandemic can rally the international community, we still need to take systemic measures to settle recurring problems. This concerns the Middle East, the Syrian crisis, Libya and a great number of other problems, including terrorism and the environment. In other words, the pandemic will not help us to deal with them.

However, the pandemic is playing into our hands when it comes to raising our awareness of the importance of joining forces against severe global crises. Unfortunately, it has not yet taught humanity to come together completely, as we must do in such situations. Just look at the crises I have mentioned. We have already proposed, at the UN, among other places, that all economic and cultural restrictions be lifted for humanitarian reasons, at least temporarily.

I am not referring now to all these sanctions against Russia; forget about that, we will get over it. But many other countries that have suffered and are still suffering from the coronavirus do not even need any help that may come from outside, they just need the restrictions lifted, at least in the humanitarian sphere, I repeat, concerning the supply of medicines, equipment, credit resources, and the exchange of technologies. These are humanitarian things in their purest form. But no, they have not abolished any restrictions, citing some considerations that have nothing to do with the humanitarian component – but at the same time, everyone is talking about humanism.

I would say we need to be more honest with each other and abandon double standards. I am sure that if people hear me now on the media, they are probably finding it difficult to disagree with what I have just said, difficult to deny it. Deep down in their hearts, in their minds, everyone is probably thinking, “Yes, right, of course.” However, for political reasons, publicly, they will still say, “No, we must keep restrictions on Iran, Venezuela, against Assad.” What does Assad even have to do with this when it is ordinary people who suffer? At least, give them medicines, give them technology, at least a small, targeted loan for medicine. No.

Therefore, on the one hand, it seems like there is a tendency to unite, but, frankly speaking, by and large, I do not see any practical steps to bring it to reality. Although this trend does exist.

As for technology, it is another side of the matter. As for technology, of course, online education, telemedicine and other advanced solutions – all the modern digital technologies that had been increasingly penetrating all spheres, of course, with the pandemic have made a breach in the existing regulatory systems. They are forcing politicians, legal professionals, and administrative regulators, to move towards decision-making at a faster pace than they used to. And this is certainly, definitely changing the world.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you.

Here is one more question related to what you have said.

Speaking about the strategy of combating the epidemic, you clearly and unequivocally stated that people’s life and safety are the main values. This strategy is understandable, but tactics differ. Last spring, the countries that chose a different path were sharply criticised.

For example, Sweden and Belarus did not introduce an economic lockdown or a tight quarantine. There were many pro and contra arguments. Six months later, we can see that the world is largely following in the footsteps of these countries instead of doing what we did in spring. I believe that you also said yesterday that there would not be any economic lockdown.

Does this mean that the balance is changing and that the balance should sometimes change in favour of the economy?

Vladimir Putin: I would say that nothing is changing in our country. I do not know about Sweden. On the other hand, I do know some things, and I will say a few words about them. The same is true about Belarus and other countries, where the decisions are made by their leadership. As for us, nothing has changed: people’s lives and health remain our priorities, without a doubt.

On the other hand, life and health are directly connected to healthcare, which must receive serious support from the federal and other budgets. For these budgets to be replenished, we need a working economy. Everything is closely interconnected. One needs to find a balance. I believe that we found this balance at the very beginning. We took a number of serious steps to support the economy. This support amounted to 4.5 percent of the GDP. Some other countries allocated even more funds for this purpose.

The point is actually not so much the amount of allocated funds but their effective use. I believe (we discussed several related issues with the Government today) that we disposed of these funds quite effectively, in a selective way and using the considerable resources we accumulated in the past years, as well as relying on the macroeconomic health of our economy, macroeconomic indicators and all the other positive achievements of the past years, to support our people, families with children, small and medium-sized businesses, and even large companies and whole industries.

Overall, there is no need in the current situation, at least in Russia, to reintroduce such restrictions as we had in spring, when we sent our people on paid leave and closed down whole enterprises. There is no need for this also because our healthcare system performed quite efficiently. We have also built up reserves, including a reserve of hospital beds, created new medicines and developed treatment guidelines. Our medics have learned how to deal with this disease, they know what and when needs to be done. In other words, we have become confident that we can deal with these problems. This is the first thing I wanted to say.

The second thing. We said from the beginning – I would just like to remind you, keeping in mind the vastness of our territory – that we were handing down a considerable part of authority for decision-making to the level of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. Incidentally, all major countries, have, in fact, followed this path somewhat later. This has proven to be the right approach.

There is no such need today. The economy is recovering. The processing industry is recovering, the agro-industrial sector is performing quite well and is even growing, exports are recovering… Yes, we have issues that we should target. But look, we have basically acceptable macroeconomic indicators. Russia’s second-quarter economic contraction was 8 percent, and, say, the US economy, declined by 9 [percent], and the Euro zone, if I am not mistaken, by 14.5 – 14.7 [percent].

You have mentioned Sweden that imposed no restrictions, but they also happened to face an economic downturn. At first, they went public with the figure of 8.3 [percent], which was later adjusted to less than 8 [percent] – 7.7 [percent], if my memory serves me correctly. Here we go: they have introduced no restrictions, nor have they done what we have in supporting people and the economy, but their result is the same as ours. The modern world is extremely interconnected. But an economic decline is inevitable, the first thing to do is to take care of the people. This logic is immaculate. I am certain that you will agree on this point.

Now, regarding Belarus. President Lukashenko – I had many conversations with him – is fully aware of the COVID-19 threat. But Belarus has no comparable gold and currency reserves, nor such a diverse economic landscape, and he, as he says, simply had to keep the economy viable. But on the whole, the situation there is not worse, in fact, than in many other countries.

Therefore we face – and faced – no choice of this sort; our priorities are people, health, and life. We are not going to impose tough restrictions, there is no such need. There is no need to close businesses. What is needed is to adjust support for certain sectors, for example, for small and medium-sized businesses. Certain parts of this work require additional support, maybe the extension of tax benefits and some other measures that are due to expire shortly. It is necessary to take a closer look at transportation, the transport sector, and the services. We are aware of all this, we see this, and we will continue to work in these areas, no matter how difficult this might be. As I have repeatedly said, we will get through this difficult period together, with the people’s support and trust.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Colleagues, we are moving on to our traditional conversation. This time the setup of this discussion will be quite complex, since we have people sitting in the audience here, and I am also receiving questions from those who are watching online, and some of our colleagues will be able to ask their questions in person. Therefore, I will try to act as an impartial moderator and manage this conversation, and I apologise for any possible hiccups.

Let us begin. Timofei Bordachev, our colleague from the Valdai Club.

Timofei Bordachev: Good evening, and thank you for this unique opportunity.

Mr President, there has been much talk and debate, in the context of the global economic upheavals, about the fact that the liberal market economy has ceased to be a reliable tool for the survival of states, their preservation, and for their people.

Pope Francis said recently that capitalism has run its course. Russia has been living under capitalism for 30 years. Is it time to search for an alternative? Is there an alternative? Could it be the revival of the left-wing idea or something radically new? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Lenin spoke about the birthmarks of capitalism, and so on. It cannot be said that we have lived these past 30 years in a full-fledged market economy. In fact, we are only gradually building it, and its institutions. Russia had to do it from the ground up, starting from a clean slate. Of course, we are doing this taking into consideration developments around the world. After all, after almost one hundred years of a state-planned economy, transitioning to a market economy is not easy.

You know, capitalism, the way you have described it, existed in a more or less pure form at the beginning of the previous century. But everything changed after what happened in the global economy and in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s, after World War I. We have already discussed this on a number of occasions. I do not remember if I have mentioned this at Valdai Club meetings, but experts who know this subject better than I do and with whom I regularly communicate, they are saying obvious and well-known things.

When everything is fine, and the macro economic indicators are stable, various funds are building up their assets, consumption is on the rise and so on. In such times, you hear more and more that the state only stands in the way, and that a pure market economy would be more effective. But as soon as crises and challenges arise, everyone turns to the state, calling for the reinforcement of its supervisory functions. This goes on and on, like a sinusoidal curve. This is what happened during the preceding crises, including the recent ones, like in 2008.

I remember very well how the key shareholders of Russia’s largest corporations that are also major European and global players came to me proposing that the state buy their assets for one dollar or one ruble. They were afraid of assuming responsibility for their employees, pressured by margin calls, and the like. This time, our businesses have acted differently. No one is seeking to evade responsibility. On the contrary, they are even using their own funds, and are quite generous in doing so. The responses may differ, but overall, businesses have been really committed to social responsibility, for which I am grateful to these people, and I want them to know this.

Therefore, at present, we cannot really find a fully planned economy, can we? Take China. Is it a purely planned economy? No. And there is not a single purely market economy either. Nevertheless, the government’s regulatory functions are certainly important. For example, consider major industries such as aircraft construction. Without some regulatory function from the top – or from the left, right, bottom, for that matter, whether this regulatory function is visible or not – without it, it is impossible to operate in this market. And we can see that all the countries that claim respect as aircraft-building powers (contextually, I would say), their governments provide assistance to their aircraft manufacturers, all of them. And there are plenty of support methods.

By the way, the situation is much the same in the automotive industry, and in other industries. We just need to determine for ourselves the reasonable level of the state’s involvement in the economy; how quickly that involvement needs to be reduced, if at all, and where exactly. I often hear that Russia’s economy is overregulated. But during crises like this current pandemic, when we are forced to restrict business activity, and cargo traffic shrinks, and not only cargo traffic, but passenger traffic as well, we have to ask ourselves – what do we do with aviation now that passengers avoid flying or fly rarely, what do we do? Well, the state is a necessary fixture, there is no way they could do without state support.

So, again, no model is pure or rigid, neither the market economy nor the command economy today, but we simply have to determine the level of the state’s involvement in the economy. What do we use as a baseline for this decision? Expediency. We need to avoid using any templates, and so far, we have successfully avoided that. As I have said, the so-called developed economies, in Europe, have seen their GDP plummet by more than 14 percent. How high has unemployment grown in the eurozone? As far as I know, by over 10 percent. Ours has grown, too, but only by 6.3 percent. This is the result of government regulation. Or take inflation. We have been fighting it desperately. Is this not a regulatory function of the state?

Of course, the Central Bank and the Government are among the most important state institutions. Therefore, it was in fact through the joint efforts of the Central Bank and the Government that inflation was reduced to 4 percent, because the Government invests substantial resources through its social programmes and national projects and has an impact on our monetary policy. It went down to 3.9 percent, and the Governor of the Central Bank has told me that we will most likely keep it around the estimated target of around 4 percent. This is the regulating function of the state; there is no way around it. However, stifling development through an excessive presence of the state in the economy or through excessive regulation would be fatal as well. You know, this is a form of art, which the Government has been applying skilfully, at least for now.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Mr President, since you mentioned greed, I have to ask you the following. A lively discussion began the other day on the Finance Ministry’s proposal to reduce the staff at security-related agencies and to adjust their salaries and pensions. Is this a good time for this proposal? Or is it that the crisis is forcing us to cut expenses?

Vladimir Putin: The Finance Ministry regularly makes such proposals, crisis or no crisis. It is always in favour of reducing expenditure. In general, nearly all finance ministries in other countries do this as well. There is nothing unique in the proposal of the Russian Finance Ministry.

We do not envisage making any decisions yet. We have no term reduction or extension plans. It was just one of the Finance Ministry’s proposals. It has not even been reported to me yet. It is still at the level of discussion among Government agencies. When we need to make a final decision, I will take into account the economic realities and the real situation regarding people’s incomes, including in the security and military spheres, and a comparison of the levels of income in the country’s military and civilian sectors. There are many factors we need to take into account to prevent an imbalance on the labour market, and so on. I would like to repeat that these issues have not been discussed on the practical level. These discussions are ongoing within the framework of the Government.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Great. Our meeting has produced at least one result: the military can breathe out.

I would like to give the floor to our long-time friend who has been helping the Valdai Club a lot. Please meet Sam Charap from Washington, D.C. Usually, we had him here, but now he is at his workplace. We can get him on air now.

Sam, please.

Sam Charap: Hello, Mr. President,

I would like to return to your initiative to restore trust in cyberspace, which you mentioned in your remarks. Many argue whether there is trust in the outcome of the talks or the premises for holding them. It is not only about the election campaign, but the firm belief of many in Washington (and outside of it) that Russia is actively interfering in this area, and so on.

Can we ponder some kind of truce in this sphere in order to create proper grounds for talks and a minimum level of trust as a prerequisite for achieving more during ensuing talks? How do you think such a digital truce, so to say, may look like?

Vladimir Putin: Listen, as far as cybercrime is concerned, it always went hand in hand with digital technology and will probably always be there just like other offences. However, when we talk about relations between states, it is no coincidence that in my opening remarks I mentioned the dialogue on limiting offensive arms between the Soviet Union and the United States.

We agreed among ourselves to keep these weapons at a certain level. We propose reaching agreements in the sphere that is taking shape now right before our eyes and which is extremely important for the entire world and our countries. We need to discuss these matters in a broad context and come up with solutions.

I am not quite sure what kind of truce you are talking about. I believe it is already in place. You said that Russia is actively interfering. But I say: “We are not interfering in anything.” Moreover, the official probes conducted in the United States, including with the involvement of a special counsel, did not bring any results. They led to admitting the fact that there was no evidence of Russia’s interference. Therefore, I believe there is no need to set any preliminary conditions for us to start this dialogue. We must immediately sit down and talk. What is wrong with that approach? We are not proposing anything that does not meet our partners’ interests. If someone thinks that someone else is interfering in their affairs, well, let us come up with some general rules and develop verification tools to monitor compliance. Frankly, I do not understand where this persistence is coming from.

During the last months of President Obama’s presidency, his administration sent us a message to the effect that, indeed, it had taken them a while to review this matter, but they are now ready for a dialogue. Unfortunately, this ended quickly, and another president came to office. We started from centre-field with the new administration. Again, almost four years later now, we have not accomplished much.

I strongly hope that when the elections are over, our partners will return to this issue and respond positively to our proposals.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you.

Fyodor Voitolovsky, Director of IMEMO, our flagship institute of international relations. Please.

Fyodor Voitolovsky: Mr President, in your statement today you mentioned one of the most burning issues of global politics, arms control. During the Cold War and especially at its final stage, the Soviet Union and the United States both applied a huge amount of efforts to create a network of treaties and a system of confidence-building measures, which limited the quantitative growth of their arsenals and reduced the risk of a conflict. Over the past 20 years, our American partners have consistently and very easily dismantled this system: first the ABM Treaty, and then the INF and Open Skies treaties. As of now, there are problems with extending the New START Treaty. Hence my question. Do you think the arms control system has a future? What new moves can be taken in this sphere?

Thank you.

Fyodor Lukyanov: I would like to add that we have a great number of questions about strategic offensive arms and especially the latest initiative advanced two days ago, and also a great deal of bewilderment over what this may mean and whether Russia has made excessive concessions.

Vladimir Putin: You asked if such arms control treaties have a future. I think that the world will have no future unless limits are put on the arms race. This is what all of us should think about, and this is what we are urging all of our partners to think about.

All of us are well aware of the problem, and you have mentioned this just now: withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, the INF Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty (the United States has not officially pulled out of it yet, but it has stated that it had launched the withdrawal process). Why? What is the reason for this decision? They do not even try to explain. They simply do not explain. Our European colleagues tell us, “Let them withdraw, but you should not do the same.” I reply, “All of you are NATO members, and so you will make flights and forward the data you collect to the Americans, while we will be unable to do this because we will remain committed to the Treaty. Let us not play dumb. Let us be honest with each other.” In fact, as far as I am aware, the United States’ European partners would like it to remain a member of the Open Skies Treaty, to keep it intact.

With regard to the INF Treaty, we have spoken about it many times, and I do not want to go over it again. When withdrawing from the ABM Treaty, the United States acted openly, directly and bluntly, but honestly. Here, though, they came up with an excuse and accused Russia of some violations, and then withdrew from the Treaty. If this were the case, if everything were just like our American partners are saying, they could also go ahead and violate it without much ado. Who was stopping them? Instead, they took this step publicly for everyone to see.

Just do not tell me that they are white and fluffy goody two-shoes who are not into underhand dealings. We are aware of what is happening with verification, in the sphere of nuclear weapons among other thing, where they weld the lids or tamper with the aircraft. They get away with it and do not let us in there. Okay, we keep quiet, but the experts know what I am talking about. They just made it a point to take these steps, and to do so publicly, with broad coverage. Clearly, they are pursuing a political goal. I just do not see any military purpose here. But the best solution is for the verification and monitoring to be implemented by all contracting parties, so that our agreements are reliably protected by these monitoring systems.

Now, START-3.We took account of all the problems when we were negotiating these issues. Only one thing was left out. It is what Russia acquired in response to the United States withdrawing from the ABM Treaty. Precisely in response to the withdrawal. I am referring to our innovative high-precision hypersonic weapons. Indeed, neither the United States nor other countries have access to such weapons, although they are working on it, and someday they will have them as well. They are telling us, “You have it, we do not, so we must take this into account.” Well, we do not mind, let us take it into account. Both regarding the number of carriers and the number of warheads. We do not mind.

There are other issues that we can discuss. But what choice do we have? The treaty expires in February. After all, my proposal is very straightforward. It lies on the surface. Nothing will happen if we extend this agreement, without any preconditions, for one year and persistently work on all the issues of concern both to us and the Americans. We will work on it together and look for solutions.

After all, the trick is that we have had hardly any constructive discussions about this so far. Our partners, to put it bluntly, shied away from a direct and substantive professional discussion. The treaty will expire in February 2020, and that is all we have left now.

Question: What is better: to preserve the current treaty as it is, to start discussing it in detail and try to find some compromise during the year or to lose it altogether and leave us, the US and Russia, and the entire world practically without any legal foundation that limits the arms race? I believe the second option is much worse than the first.

I think it is simply unacceptable but I have said, and I want to emphasise it once again, that we are not holding on to this treaty. If our partners decide it is not necessary – all right, let it be, there is nothing we can do to prevent them. Our security, Russia’s security will not be damaged by this, especially because we have the latest weapons systems. This is the first part.

The second part boils down to making these agreements multilateral by including our Chinese friends in them. But are we against this? Russia is not against this but just do not shift on us the responsibility of making this treaty multilateral. If someone wants to do this, it is fine to try to achieve this. We do not object to this. Are we an obstacle on this road? No.

But the arguments quoted by our Chinese friends are very simple. China is an enormous country, a great power with an enormous economy and 1.5 billion people. But the level of its nuclear potential is almost twice, if not more lower than that of Russia and the US. They are asking a lawful question, “What will we limit? Or will we freeze our inequality in this area?” What can you reply to this? It is the sovereign right of a 1.5 billion strong nation to decide on the best way of building its policy on ensuring its own security.

Of course, it is possible to turn this into a subject of an argument or discussion and simply block any agreement. But may I ask why would only China be pressed to be involved in this process and in signing this treaty? Where are the other nuclear powers? Where is France that, as the press reports, has just tested another submarine-launched cruise missile? Great Britain is also a nuclear power. There are other nuclear states that are not officially recognised as such, as it were, but the whole world knows that they have nuclear arms. So, are we going to behave like ostriches? Hide our heads in the sand and pretend that we do not understand what is going on? What we need is not a checkerboard pattern on our car. We need to drive it, therefore we need to ensure security. So, let us get them involved as well. Let us do it. We are not against this. The only question is whether there is any reason for this, a goal to strive for, whether there is any positive example to follow such as the agreements between the US and Russia? Or is there nothing at all?

We are ready to work from scratch, from centre-field, fine. If you ask about our position, I believe it is better not to lose what was achieved before, to move forward from the positions that have already been reached by previous generations, by the leaders of our countries. However, if our partners decide on something different, we are willing to work in any format and on any of these tracks.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you.

Anatol Lieven, another one of our veterans, who could not come to this meeting but is taking part in it via videoconference. Please.

Anatol Lieven: Thank you very much, Mr President, for speaking to us. And I would also like to thank you personally for your very strong statement on climate change and the environment.

My question, however, relates to the new outbreak of conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia, like other members of the international community, has been trying very hard to bring about a peaceful solution to this conflict, but so far these efforts have failed. If they continue to fail, given Russia’s old historic links and given Russia’s military alliance with Armenia, will it be necessary in the end for Russia to take sides against Azerbaijan and Turkey?

On the other hand, could this perhaps provide a positive opportunity for Russia, given the increasing confrontation which we see between France and Turkey over Turkey’s claims in the Eastern Mediterranean? Could this perhaps be an opportunity for a rapprochement between Russia and France and other West European countries? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: I did not quite understand the last part of the question. What does the [Nagorno-Karabakh] conflict have to do with this?

Fyodor Lukyanov: Maybe he meant the possibility of rapprochement with France and Europe, since Turkey is now opposed to both them and, to a degree, to us?

Vladimir Putin: I see.

Let us begin at the beginning, with Nagorno-Karabakh and who to support in this conflict. You said that Russia has always had special relations with Armenia. But we have also always had special ties with Azerbaijan as well. There are over 2 million Armenians and some 2 million Azerbaijanis living in Russia, both those who have come to Russia in search of jobs and those who live here permanently. They send billions of dollars to their families back home. All these people have stable and close ties with Russia at the humanitarian level, person-to-person, business, humanitarian and family ties. Therefore, Armenia and Azerbaijan are both equal partners for us. And it is a great tragedy for us when people die there. We would like to develop full-scale relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Yes, there are some individual elements in each case, and some things in our relations with one partner differ from our relations with the other partner. In the case of Armenia, it is Christianity. But we also have very close ties with Azerbaijan in other spheres.

Speaking about religion, I would like to point out that nearly 15 percent of Russian citizens are Muslims. Therefore, Azerbaijan is not an alien country to us in this sense either.

But what we certainly cannot forget is what happened in the destiny of the Armenian people, the Armenian nation during World War I. This is an enormous tragedy for the Armenian people, This is the second part.

The third part is based on the fact that this conflict broke out not just as an interstate conflict or struggle for territories. It started with ethnic confrontation. Regrettably, it is also a fact that violent crimes against the Armenian people were also committed in Sumgait and later in Nagorno-Karabakh. We must consider all this in a package.

At the same time, we understand that a situation where Azerbaijan has lost a substantial part of its territory cannot continue. Over the years, we have suggested many diverse options for settling this crisis with a view to stabilising the situation in the long-term historical perspective.

I will not go into detail at this point but believe me, this was intensive work on bringing the positions of the parties closer. Sometimes it seemed like a bit more effort, another small step and we would find the solution. Regrettably, it did not happen, and today we are seeing the worst-case scenario in this conflict. The death of people is a tragedy. There are heavy losses on both sides. According to our information, there are over 2,000 dead on either side. The total number of victims is already approaching 5,000.

Let me emphasise that the Soviet Union, the Soviet army lost 13,000 people during the ten years of war in Afghanistan. Now the toll is almost 5,000 in such a short span of time. And how many are wounded? How many people, how many children are suffering? This is why it is a special situation for us.

Yes, the Minsk Group was established, I believe, in 1992. As its co-chairs, Russia, France and the US are responsible for organising the negotiating process. It is clear, and I am 100 percent confident of this, that all participants in the process are sincerely striving to settle the situation. That said, nobody is interested in this as much as Russia is, because this is a very sensitive issue for us. This is not just happening before our eyes, but in a broad sense, it is happening with our people, our friends and our relatives. This is why we are in a position that allows us to be trusted by both sides and play a substantial role as a mediator on the rapprochement of positions in settling this conflict. I would very much like to find a compromise here.

As you may be aware, I maintain close contacts with both President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan. I speak to them on the phone several times a day. Our respective foreign ministers, defence ministers and heads of special services are constantly in contact. Foreign ministers of both countries came to us again. Today, or rather on October 23, they will have a meeting in Washington. I strongly hope that our American partners will act in unison with us and promote a settlement. Let us hope for the best. This covers the first part.

The second part concerns disputes within NATO between Turkey and France. We never take advantage of frictions between other states. We have good and stable relations with France. I would not say they are full-fledged, but they hold a lot of promise and, in any case, have a good track record.

Our cooperation with Turkey is expanding. Turkey is our neighbour, and I can tell you in more detail how important interaction between our states is for both Turkey and Russia.

I do not think anyone needs our mediation. Turkey and France are perfectly capable of regulating relations between themselves. No matter how tough President Erdogan’s stance may look, I know that he is a flexible person, and finding a common language with him is possible. Therefore, I hope the situation will get back to normal here as well.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Mr President, a follow-up if I may, since it is a hot topic.

Still, Turkey’s much more active role than ever before is what makes the current crisis in the South Caucasus different. You said President Erdogan is flexible. That may well be the case as you spent a lot of time with him. However, many experts believe that Erdogan’s policy is actually about expanding his zone of influence to the borders of the former Ottoman Empire. These borders stretched far and wide, as we know, and they enclosed a lot of territory, including Crimea, which was part of it at some point. It was a long time ago, but nonetheless.

Should we not fear that if this becomes a consistent policy, we would have certain differences with Ankara?

Vladimir Putin: Russia is not afraid of anything. Thank goodness, we are not in a position where we should be afraid of anything.

I do not know about President Erdogan’s plans or his attitude towards the Ottoman legacy. You should ask him about it. But I know that our bilateral trade exceeds $20 billion. I know that Turkey is really interested in continuing this cooperation. I know that President Erdogan is pursuing an independent foreign policy. Despite a lot of pressure, we implemented the TurkStream project together rather quickly. We cannot do the same with Europe; we have been discussing this issue for years, but Europe seems unable to show enough basic independence or sovereignty to implement the Nord Stream 2 project, which would be advantageous to it in every respect.

As for Turkey, we implemented our project quite quickly, despite any threats. Erdogan, who was aware of his national interests, said that we would do it, and we did it. The same is true of our ties in other areas, for example, our military-technical cooperation. Turkey decided it needed a modern air defence system, and the world’s best is the S-400, a triumph of Russian industry. He said he would do it, and he bought it. Working with such a partner is not only pleasant but also safe.

As for aspirations, regarding Crimea or anything else, I know nothing about them, and I do not care about them because the interests of Russia are reliably protected, take my word for it. I am sure that our other partners are fully aware of this.

Regarding Turkey’s refusal to recognise Crimea as part of Russia, well, we do not see eye to eye on all subjects. For example, we are not always on the same page regarding the situation in the South Caucasus. But we also know about the positions of Europe and the United States. They claim to be true dyed-in-the-wool democrats, but they do not even want to hear about the people of Crimea voting for their future in a referendum, which is the highest form of direct democracy.

As I said, they adopted sanctions against the Crimean people. If Crimea was annexed, then they are the victims. Why are sanctions adopted against the victims? But if they voted freely, it was democracy in action, so why are they being punished for democracy? This is all rubbish and nonsense, but it is also a fact of life. So why point the finger at Erdogan? Just take a look at what is happening in other countries.

This is a consistent stand: he does not recognise Crimea, and he does not recognise Nagorno-Karabakh. What should we do? We must continue working with everyone and remain calm. This is exactly what we have been doing: trying to prove that our position is correct, and we will continue to uphold it, and when positions diverge, we look for compromise.

For example, as far as I know, our views on the developments in the South Caucasus do not coincide, because we believe that conflicts should be settled diplomatically at the negotiating table rather than with the use of armed force. Of course, one could say that talks have been ongoing there for 30 years, but to no avail. Well, I do not see this as a reason to start shooting.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you very much.

Of course, Mr Erdogan has been consistent. For example, he recognises Northern Cyprus. But this is perhaps part of the flexibility that you were talking about.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, you are right. I agree. I was supposed to say this but it slipped my mind. But you are correct. Northern Cyprus, yes. However, as far as I know, Turkey does not object to the country finally being unified. The principles of this unification are the problem. But, overall, you are right.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you.

Anatoly Torkunov, President of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Anatoly Torkunov: Mr President,

Although there are still more than two months left in 2020, I think all of us see this year as one of very dramatic and unpredictable events. So of course, there is a joke that goes, if by the end of the year we encounter aliens, nobody will be surprised.

Never mind the aliens, we will see how it goes. My question is, of course, not about them. It is related to the developments around our borders. Thank you for such a detailed and interesting account. As an expert, I was very curious to hear your remarks on the South Caucasus.

But in general, developments around our borders seem to be rather dramatic. Let us take the events in Kyrgyzstan. The elections in that country have always prompted some kind of turbulence, although this year the civil disturbances have been particularly rough. The situation in Belarus is somewhat complicated. There is also the problem of Donbass. I understand that you must be tired of talking about this. We know your firm and consistent stance on this issue.

My question is what are Russia’s current fundamental foreign policy goals in the post-Soviet space, considering that it directly concerns our security and humanitarian links? Today you have stressed several times that these people are not foreigners to us – meaning the Caucasus but also our friends in Central Asia and our friends in Belarus and Ukraine.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: You know this better than anyone else, you are a very experienced person and a professional with a capital “P”. Our policy in the post-Soviet space within the CIS framework is the main component of our overall foreign policy. This is obvious because all the countries you listed and every other country with which we have good, very good multilateral relations, as well as those with whom our ties seem to be in a stalemate in some cases – they are not foreign countries to us all the same. These are not remote countries somewhere overseas about which we know little.

It is obvious that we lived in a single country, and not just for many years but for centuries, We have strong ties and very deep cooperation in the economy, humanitarian ties. We all speak a common language. In a sense, to a greater or lesser degree, we are essentially people of the same cultural space, not to mention our history. We have a common history and a common victory over Nazism. Our predecessors – our fathers and grandfathers – validated our special relations with their blood.

Regardless of the current events and today’s political environment, I am sure that this community of interests will eventually pave the way to the restoration of our ties with all these countries, no matter how difficult our ties with them are.

At the same time, and this is also an obvious fact, when our common state, the USSR began disintegrating, the people who dealt with this did not think about the consequences this would lead to, something they should have thought about. But it was clear that our neighbours did not always have identical interests. Sometimes their interests diverged and rope pulling was always possible. I believe we must and will find solutions to complicated issues in any way we can, but we need to avoid fueling or exaggerating anything or emphasising disputed issues. On the contrary, we must look at what can and must unite us and what does unite us. What is this? Our common interests.

Look, with respect to economic integration, who is not interested in this? Only our competitors. And the post-Soviet countries are bound to understand, at least smart people are bound to understand that a concerted effort, considering we have a common infrastructure, common transport and energy system and a common language that unites rather than divides us, etc., is our distinct competitive advantage in achieving the things for which some economic associations and structures have been fighting for decades, while we have received all this from our predecessors. We must use this, and this brings benefits to all of us. It is absolutely obvious that this is simply beneficial.

Look, Ukraine saw a revolution in 2004, and then in 2014 another revolution, a state coup. What happened as a result? Read the statistics published by the Ukrainian statistical services: shrinking production, as if they had more than one pandemic. Some of the local industries, ones the entire Soviet Union and Ukraine itself were proud of – the aircraft industry, shipbuilding, rocket building – developed by generations of Soviet people, from all Soviet republics, a legacy Ukraine, too, could and should be proud of – are almost gone. Ukraine is being de-industrialised. It was perhaps the most industrialised Soviet republic, not just one of them. There was of course the Russian Federation, Moscow, St Petersburg, Siberia, the Urals – all right, but Ukraine still was one of the most industrialised republics. Where is all this now and why is it lost?

It was just the stupidity of those who did it, just stupidity, that is all. But I hope that these common interests will still pave the way for common sense.

You just mentioned Belarus – indeed, we have witnessed these turbulent processes there. But there is something I would like to highlight As you may have noticed, Russia did not interfere in what was happening there. And we expect no one else to interfere either. No one should be stirring up this conflict to promote their own interests and impose any decisions on the Belarusian people. I already said in my opening remarks that nothing introduced from the outside without taking into account the peculiarities, culture and history of the people will ever work for that culture, those people.

The Belarusians themselves should be given the opportunity to calmly handle their situation and make appropriate decisions. The decisions they will make could pave the way for amending the country’s Constitution or adopting a new Constitution. President Lukashenko said this publicly. True, people can say, well, he will just write something for his own benefit, this kind of constitution will have nothing to do with democracy. But, you know, it is possible to slander just about anything, and there are always sceptics. But I already said this, so I will not go into more detail.

But what happened in Belarus compares favourably with what happened on the streets of some big cities in developed democracies, do you see that? There has been some harsh action indeed, I give you that, and maybe even unjustified, but then, those who allowed it should be made responsible. But in general, if you compare and look at the pictures – in Belarus, no one shot an unarmed person in the back, that is what I mean. So let us just calmly deal with this.

The same goes for Kyrgyzstan. I think current developments there are a disaster for Kyrgyzstan and its people. Every time they have an election, they practically have a coup. What does this mean? This is not funny. It means that many of these countries are taking the first steps towards their own statehood and the culture of state development.

I have told my colleagues many times that the post-Soviet countries should be treated with special attention, and we must carefully support these new sprouts of statehood. In no case should we be pressing advice or recommendations on them, and even more so, avoid any interference, because this will destroy the fragile, nascent institutions of sovereignty and statehood in those countries. It is necessary to give these nations the opportunity to carefully build these relations within society leading by example, but not acting like an elephant in a china shop with advice and piles of money to support one or the other side.

I strongly hope that we have helped Kyrgyzstan, as a member of the CSTO and the EAEU, to get on its feet, invested hundreds of millions of dollars to support the Kyrgyz economy and various industries and to help Kyrgyzstan adapt so it can join the EAEU. This also goes for phytosanitary services, customs systems, individual sectors of the economy and enterprises. We have recently implemented projects valued at up to $500 million. I am not even talking about grants that we provide annually in the amount of tens of millions of dollars.

Of course, we cannot look at what is happening there without pity and concern. Please note that we are not pressing our advice or instructions on them. We are not supporting any particular political forces there. I strongly hope that things in Kyrgyzstan will get back to normal, and that Kyrgyzstan will get on the path to progress and we will maintain excellent relations with them.

The same goes for Moldova. We can see the developments related to Moldova, and we know the Moldovan people’s needs for promoting democracy and economy. But who is buying Moldovan wine? Will France buy Moldovan wine? Who needs it in the European markets? They have more than enough of their own. When they ship wine from country to country, even within the European Union, the farmers dump it into ditches just to get rid of the cargo.

This is not just about wine. Other sectors of the economy are so closely tied to Russia that they simply cannot exist without it, at least for now. They can only sell their products in Russia. This is exactly what happened to Ukraine. Therefore, we hope that during the next election in Moldova, the Moldovan people will appreciate the efforts that the current President of the republic is undertaking to build good relations with Russia.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you very much.

Hans-Joachim Spanger has joined us from Frankfurt.

Hans-Joachim Spanger: Mr President,

Allow me to turn to an issue which is connected with a person whose name reportedly is not really used in the Kremlin, at least not in public – Alexei Navalny.

A renowned Russian scholar, Dmitry Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, recently stated, let me quote: “The poisoning of the opposition activist Alexei Navalny has become a turning point in Russo-German relations.” And this, according to him, essentially means that, another quote, “this special role performed by Germany and its Chancellor in recent years is now a thing of the past. From now on, Germany will have the same attitude to Russia as all the other countries in Western Europe.”

My question is whether you share this view that a) there was such a special role of Germany in bilateral German-Russian relations, and b) whether you also detect such a turning point now, and if so, what Russia can do to avoid it happening, or, conversely, to turn the turning point around again? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: I will start with the first part of your question, about the poisonings. First, we have heard about poisonings here and there many times. It is not the first time.

Second, if the authorities had wanted to poison the person you mentioned or to poison anybody, it is very unlikely they would have sent him for medical treatment to Germany. Don’t you think so? As soon as this person’s wife contacted me, I immediately instructed the Prosecutor General’s Office to see if it was possible to allow him to travel abroad for medical treatment. They could have prohibited it because he was under restrictions due to an investigation and a criminal case. He was under travel restrictions. I immediately asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to allow that. And he was taken to Germany.

Then we were told that they found traces of this infamous Novichok that is known around the world. I said, “Please give us the materials.” Primarily, the biological material and the official report so that we can do more research that can give us official and formal legal grounds for initiating criminal proceedings. What was unusual about this request? Our Prosecutor General’s Office, in keeping with the agreements we have with Germany, has repeatedly forwarded official requests for these materials. Is this unusual? In addition, in a conversation with a European leader, I suggested that our specialists go to Germany and together with French, German and Swedish experts work on site to obtain the necessary materials, which we could use to initiate criminal proceedings and, should this incident prove to be a crime, investigate it. But they would not give us anything. How can you explain why? There is no explanation, there is just no explanation. This all looks strange.

Well, they said that they had found traces of Novichok. Later they passed whatever they had on to the OPCW – the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Then quite unexpectedly, they said, it is not Novichok – it is something else. So, is it Novichok or not? This has cast doubt on what was said before. Well, let us investigate the incident together. I say, as I have said several times, that if this is really true, we will definitely conduct an investigation. Unfortunately, there have been attempts on the lives of public figures and businessmen in our country. These cases were investigated in Russia, the culprits were found and punished and, what is important, all of them were punished. We are prepared to spare no effort in this case as well.

As for specific individuals, we have quite a few people like Saakashvili, but I do not think that currently these people have influence to speak of… They may also change, why not? They may undergo some transformation – which, in principle, is not bad – and will also get involved in realpolitik instead of making noise in the street. Take Occupy Wall Street – where is it? Where? Where is all the informal opposition in many European countries or the United States, for that matter? There are many parties there. Where are they? Two parties dominate the political stage and that is it. However, look what is going on in the streets.

This is why we are developing the Russian political system and will continue to do so, offering all political forces – seriously-minded, sincere and patriotic ones – the opportunity to work in compliance with the law.

Now, regarding Germany’s role. We have had very good relations with Germany in the post-war years. I think this was largely due to the German Democratic Republic, the GDR, which was the Soviet Union’s key and main ally in Europe, at least during the time that state existed. We have developed very good relations at the personal and political levels, and in the economic sphere. I know there are still a lot of people there now who sympathise with Russia. And we appreciate that.

Incidentally, the Soviet Union did play a decisive role in the reunification of Germany. It was indeed a decisive role. Some of your current allies, allies of Germany, in fact, objected to the unification of Germany, no matter what they said. We know this; we still have it in our archives. While the Soviet Union played this role. I personally believe that it was the right thing to do, because it was wrong to break a single whole into parts, and if the people there really want something, in Germany’s case they wanted unity, reunification, their pursuit should not be contained by force, as it will not do anyone any good. As for building relations between East and West Germany – this should be up to the Germans, of course. Has Germany played any special role, say, as a mediator between Russia and the rest of the world or Russia and the rest of Europe? I do not think so. Russia is a country that does not need intermediaries.

At the same time, we have always had very special economic, and even humanitarian ties with Germany. Why? Because Germany wanted to play a special role? Well, no, I think it had more to do with Germany’s own interests. Even now, Germany is Russia’s second largest trade partner, in gross volume. It used to be the first, by the way, but it is second to China now, as our trade with China is twice the volume it is with Germany. Nevertheless, there are more than 2,000 companies with German capital in our market. We have a fairly large volume of German investment and German businesses are interested in working in Russia. We are happy about this, because we know these are sincere people interested in expanding ties with our country. I regularly meet with representatives of German business; they are all our friends, or I would like to think so, anyway. This cooperation provides millions of jobs in the Federal Republic of Germany as well, because goods produced by German enterprises go to the Russian market; they enjoy demand here, which means jobs there.

Incidentally, many industries have been seeing a high level of cooperation in recent years. All the above are manifestations of the special nature of our relations, of a mutual interest, I would say. Mutual interest is at the heart of this relationship – not an ambition to play some special role. And this mutual interest will not go away, regardless of the current political situation, and we will maintain such relations, no matter what anyone does.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you very much.

We will stay in Europe for now.

Nathalie Tocci from Rome has joined us. Nathalie, please go ahead.

Nathalie Tocci: Thank you, Mr President, for your extremely candid remarks.

You spoke very eloquently about the importance and centrality of the state, but at the same time the importance of international cooperation, and, in particular, highlighted areas like security as well as climate, which I would associate also with energy transition.

Now, when it comes to security, perhaps a follow-up question on the Caucasus and the resumption of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. At some point, hopefully very soon, there will be a new ceasefire. At the same time, the conflict itself won’t be resolved. Given that the current configuration of the three Minsk Group co-chairs has been unable to deliver a settlement in all these 26 years, does Russia think that this is the setup that should be reconsidered?

And then, perhaps, if I may, a question on climate change and, in particular, energy transition. Now, energy transition requires funding. The European Union, for instance, will dedicate approximately 40 percent of its next-generation new fund to the Green Deal. Now, when it comes to Russia, it is clear that, being a country that has depended quite importantly on its fossil fuel exports, stabilising energy markets is obviously going to be key for Russia in order to obtain the funds to move forward.

In your speech you highlighted the importance OPEC Plus had in that stabilisation of the market, and I think Russia itself played an extremely important role in ensuring that supplies were cut so as to stabilise prices. But at the same time, we are now in a second wave of the pandemic, and we are likely to see demand continuing to be rather sluggish. Would you expect, or would you like to see in 2021, a further cut in supplies to ensure a further stabilisation of prices?

Vladimir Putin: I will start with the first part of your question regarding the Minsk Group negotiation format and whether it should be changed. Unfortunately, Nathalie, I cannot answer your question. This is for a number of objective reasons, not because I want to emphasise Russia’s role, we all understand that Russia is where it is, nearby. These are our neighbours, and we have special relations with these countries and these peoples. The influences are very strong. I have already said that 2.4 million Armenians and about 2 million Azerbaijanis live in Russia. They wire tens of billions of dollars to support their families. But this is just one factor. I am not even mentioning many others, including the use of markets, cultural ties, and so on. That is, in our case, the situation is very different from relations between the United States and Armenia, or the United States and Azerbaijan, or even Turkey and Azerbaijan. Therefore, of course, we bear special responsibility and must be very careful in what we do.

In this context, the support of the United States, France and other members of the Minsk Group – 10 or 12 countries – matters a lot to us. There are European countries there, and Turkey as well. Do we need to change anything in this regard? I am not sure. Maybe the format could be tweaked a little, but it is imperative to find constructive and acceptable compromises for both sides.

To reiterate, for many years we have been looking for these compromises. We have proposed, believe me, very persistently, a variety of compromises, down to minute details and kilometres, to tell you the truth. All sorts of “corridors” were suggested, as well as an exchange of territories. All the things that were suggested… Unfortunately, we were unable to identify a solution, which eventually led to this tragedy. I hope these hostilities will come to an end soon. I agree with those who believe, including you, that the first thing is to immediately stop the hostilities. We, in fact, agreed to this during the meeting in Moscow. Unfortunately, we were unable to avoid this situation. We will continue to strive for this.

Now I would like to say a few words about oil and everything connected with it, the demand for oil and so on. We are working on alternative energy sources ourselves. We are one of the richest countries in hydrocarbons, oil and gas, but this does not mean at all that we should not think about the future. We are thinking about it and about solar energy and hydrogen energy. We are working on this. Moreover, we are working on this with a view to improving the current situation.

You know for sure that we have adopted a decision in line with which in 2022 we must make our 300 largest contaminators, that is, 300 major companies that are the biggest emitters of these gases, switch to the most accessible, latest technology that would minimise emissions into the atmosphere and into the environment in general of any pollutants, and reduce these emissions by 20 percent by 2024. But we understand that by dealing with these 300 companies and 12 cities where most of them are located, we will not drastically improve the situation. Our strategy in this respect is aimed at halving all anthropogenic emissions by 2030. We must move towards this goal. We have set it for ourselves and will pursue it consistently. We will work on it.

That said, I do not think it will be realistic, provided every country wants to be competitive, to abandon hydrocarbons in the near future. I believe the near future embraces several decades: 30, 40 and 50 years from now. This is simply unrealistic.

Therefore, when we hear about European novelties on hydrocarbons and relevant restrictions, I do not know on what basis these proposals, conclusions and decisions are made. Are they explained by domestic political struggle? Later they are followed by restrictions in international trade and cooperation, right? I do not think this will lead to anything good. It is necessary to achieve a result in this respect not through restrictions but through cooperation and a striving to reach common goals.

We have done what we ought to do under the Kyoto agreement. We have fulfilled everything we did. We are active participants in the Paris agreement and intend to do all this. We are not shutting down from it. On the contrary, we think this is the way to go.

I spoke in my opening remarks about the speed at which permafrost is disappearing and the consequences this may have for all humankind. And what about us? We have a lot of transport systems in this zone: oil and gas pipelines and railways. Our residential districts and whole cities are located on this territory. This is a huge problem for us, and that is why we are willing to work and will work, both ourselves and at the international level, for a clean environment and a reduction in anthropogenic emissions. That said, it is impossible to do without hydrocarbons.

But there is also natural gas as a hydrocarbon source. It is actually the cleanest of hydrocarbons. And what about nuclear energy? Despite what anyone says or the scare tactics around nuclear power and nuclear power stations, it is one of the cleanest kinds of energy. So what are we talking about? Take automobiles, what is the primary energy source there? Even now, Europe and the entire world still use coal to produce electricity. Yes, coal’s share is falling but it is still used.

Why should any fiscal constraints be placed on using natural gas and even diesel fuel? By the way, it can be made to be extremely clean with modern purification and usage standards. So what is the point? To give competitive advantages to certain sectors of the economy in this or that country, with politicians standing behind it. That is the only way I can explain it, not as a simple desire to improve the environment. Nevertheless, I hope sound decisions will be taken here and we will be able to find a proper balance between environmental and economic interests.

As for the demand for oil and work within OPEC+, we maintain contacts with all our partners – both the Americans and the Saudis. We do so regularly at the ministerial level. Literally just the other day I spoke to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, we consult with one another. We believe there is no need to change anything in our agreements as of yet. We will be closely tracking the recovery of the market. You said it was sluggish. It was but is recovering, I will note, it is growing.

The world economy did indeed contract due to the pandemic but consumption is on the rise. That has something to do with our decisions as part of OPEC+. We are of the opinion that nothing needs to change right now. However, we are not ruling out either maintaining existing production limits or not lifting them as soon as we had intended earlier. And if necessary, we will make further reductions. But currently we do not see the need. We have agreed with all our partners that we will closely monitor the situation.

Russia is not interested in higher or lower prices necessarily. Here, our interests overlap with those of our US partners, perhaps primarily with them, because if oil prices drop significantly, shale production will experience great difficulties, to put it mildly. However, although it did not join the OPEC+ deal in a meaningful way, the United States has, in fact, reduced output.

So, almost all market participants, all players have close or overlapping interests, as diplomats say. We will proceed based on the actual situation so as not to make a negative impact on the market. As you are aware, it is important not to impact geological exploration and the preparation of new wells. If we treat the energy sector like a stepchild and keep saying it is not good enough and does nothing but pollute, investment will dry up, and prices will skyrocket.

That is why it is necessary to act responsibly and not politicise this issue or chatter idly, especially for those who know nothing about it, but to act based on the interests of the global economy and their own countries’ interests and find a compromise between protecting nature and growing the economy, so our people can earn enough to support themselves and their families. We will succeed only if we manage to balance these interests. Anything less will lead to ruin.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Mr President, we at the Valdai Club have the pleasure to meet with you regularly and so we have a basis for comparison. If I may say so, I think you have learned something from the pandemic. You sound at peace when you talk about it. I have to ask. You speak so well of Europe, but does it bother you that you are considered almost a murderer there, that those closest to you in government are sanctioned and you are always called on to justify something? And yet I can hear absolution in what you say.

Vladimir Putin: You know, there is little that bothers me, because to a certain extent, when I carry out my official duties, I become the function of protecting the interests of the Russian people and the Russian state. Everything else I try to shut out, so that it does not interfere with the performance of this function. I have had a long time to get used to these attacks, since 2000, when we fought international terrorists in the Caucasus. I heard and saw everything. They portrayed me with fangs and in every other way imaginable. So, it has no effect on me.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you.

Let us jump to the other side. Zhao Huasheng, Shanghai.

Zhao Huasheng: Good afternoon, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.

Zhao Huasheng: Thank you very much for this great opportunity.

This year’s theme at this Valdai Club session is The Lessons of the Pandemic and the New Agenda: How to Turn a World Crisis into an Opportunity for the World. I will paraphrase this: how can we turn a world crisis into an opportunity for Sino-Russian relations?

The world is rapidly changing now. Given these conditions, how do you think Sino-Russian relations should develop? I am referring to political and economic ties and regional and international cooperation. What new approaches can be expected? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: I would give a very brief answer to the question on how to further develop Sino-Russian relations: the same way we have been doing it and are doing it now. Russian-Chinese relations have reached an unprecedented level.

I am not even mentioning the term “specially privileged” relations, etc. What matters is not the name but the quality of these ties. As for the quality, we treat each other with deep trust; we have established durable, stable, and most importantly, effective ties across the board.

My friend – and I have every reason to call him a friend –President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping and I continuously consult each other on what and how things need to be done based on what has already been achieved, but we always find a way to move forward.

You know that we are working together in aviation and nuclear power engineering, as I have just mentioned, and further developing trade ties. Last year, our trade was over 111 billion. This is far from the highest figure that we can achieve. We will certainly achieve more.

We are developing infrastructure, building bridges that unite us in the literal meaning of the word. We are developing humanitarian ties and seeking implementation rather than simply planning large projects in the areas where we supplement each other effectively, including energy.

China is a big shareholder in a number of large Russian projects on gas production, and later, on liquefaction (LNG). Where are these projects carried out? Not on the border with China but in the north of the Russian Federation. We work together in a variety of other areas. And, as we have said many times, there is no doubt that international cooperation is a very important factor in stabilising world affairs; this is absolutely obvious.

To say nothing of our military and defence industry cooperation. We have traditionally maintained relations in this area on a significant scale. I am not only talking about buying and selling, I also mean the sharing of technologies. We hope to maintain this working relationship with our Chinese friends – a friendly relationship based on mutual respect, oriented toward achieving the best results for the people of both China and Russia.

As for Shanghai, it happens to be a sister city of St Petersburg, where I am from. I have been to Shanghai on more than one occasion. It is a magnificent and beautiful city, and I wish the people of Shanghai all the best.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you.

Here is a follow-up question from China to clarify a bit what you just said. Professor Yan Xuetong wants to ask you a very simple and straightforward question: Is it possible to conceive of a military alliance between China and Russia?

Vladimir Putin: It is possible to imagine anything. We have always believed that our relations have reached such a level of cooperation and trust that it is not necessary, but it is certainly imaginable, in theory.

We hold regular joint military exercises – at sea and on land in both China and the Russian Federation – and we share best practices in the build-up of the armed forces. We have achieved a high level of cooperation in the defence industry – I am not only talking about the exchange or the purchase and sale of military products, but the sharing of technologies, which is perhaps most important.

There are also very sensitive issues here. I will not speak publicly about them now, but our Chinese friends are aware of them. Undoubtedly, cooperation between Russia and China is boosting the defence potential of the Chinese People’s Army, which is in the interests of Russia as well as China. Time will tell how it will progress from here. So far, we have not set that goal for ourselves. But, in principle, we are not going to rule it out, either. So, we will see.

Anyway, we are satisfied with the current state of relations between Russia and China in this area. Unfortunately, we have to confront new threats. For example, the intention stated by our American partners to possibly deploy medium- and short-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific Region, of course, raises alarm, and we undoubtedly will have to take reciprocal steps – this fact is self-evident.

Of course, before it comes to that, we have to see what if anything is going to happen, what threats it will pose to us, and, depending on that, we will take reciprocal measures to ensure our security.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you.

Piotr Dutkiewicz from Canada, please.

Piotr Dutkiewicz: Mr President, thank you so much for this unique opportunity to talk to you.

You mentioned in your speech that the youth will have to push the future of Russia, the development of Russia forward. But young people are very unhappy with the world. Look at what is happening in the US, France and Israel. They are saying we have shut the door to a good future for them. According to international opinion polls, over half of young people think they will live worse than their parents do. But they are not impressed by any of this. So, I would like to ask you as the President of the Russian Federation, what you can advise and offer to Russian youth?

Vladimir Putin: I touched on this in my opening remarks, but I can say it again. Of course, the future belongs to the youth, This is the first thing.

Second, young people are usually discontent not with what is happening but with what they have achieved for today, and they want more. And this is right, this is what underlies progress. This is a foundation for the young people to create a better future than the one we have built. And there is nothing surprising or new in this idea. We can understand this from classic Russian literature. Read Fathers and Sons, it is all there.

But what can we offer? We believe we will give young people more opportunities for professional growth and create more social lifts for them. We are building up these instruments and creating conditions for people to receive a good education, make a career, start a family and receive enough income for a young family.

We are drafting an increasing number of measures to support young families. Let me emphasise that even during the pandemic, most of our support measures were designed for families with children. What are these families? They are young people for the most part.

We will continue doing this in the hope that young people will use their best traits – their daring striving to move ahead without looking back at formalities that probably make older generations more reserved – for positive, creative endeavours. Eventually, the younger generation will take the baton from the older generation and continue this relay race, and make Russia stronger.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you.

We have an unusual connection with Australia today. I do not remember anything like this before.

Anton Roux, Please, go ahead.

Anton Roux: Thank you, Mr President, for the opportunity to ask you a question. I really appreciated your insightful, heartfelt and considered remarks during your speech; and I come to you from our second state lockdown in Melbourne, Australia, which is also a sister city to St Petersburg. I embrace also your urging to cast aside silo mentalities.

My question is the following: How do you want to be remembered? What do you want your legacy to be as a world leader and the President of the Russian Federation during the first half of the 21st century? How would you like international historians across the world to write about you and your legacy as a leader, a man and a human being at the end of the 21st century? And how might you shape this any differently during the next phase of your leadership as President of the Russian Federation?

Vladimir Putin: If the translation is correct, you said “who lived in the 21st century.” But, thank God, we are alive and keep living in the 21st century. To be honest, I never think in terms of the areas you mentioned. I do not think about my role in history; those who are interested can decide. I never read a single book about myself.

I just keep working day in, day out, trying to resolve current issues and looking into the future so that these current issues do not stand in the way of achieving our strategic goals. It is, in fact, routine work. I proceed from what I must accomplish today, tomorrow, this year, or in three years given that we plan the budget of the Russian Federation three years in advance.

Of course, as I have said, we do consider strategic goals; this is why we have drafted and continue pursuing national development plans and national projects. But this totally unrelated to any desire to mark my place in history in some way. It is related to something completely different – ensuring the interests of the Russian people, the Russian state, strengthening Russia.

How I will be seen by future generations, I would rather leave to them and their judgment. But then, I do not think I would be interested in these judgments when they are made. In this sense I am a pragmatic person, and I am trying to work not for my image as a world leader, and I do not think I am one (I do not think I am any different from my colleagues – the heads of other states), I work to strengthen my country. This my priority and the meaning of my life.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you. I remember your interview a few months ago, ahead of the constitution referendum, when you openly said that an opportunity to remain in office after 24 years is a guarantee against bureaucratic intrigue, the people around you, so they would not look around in search of a successor.

But if this is true, it is an endless circle; they will always be searching, even while you remain in office.

Vladimir Putin: No, it must definitely end one day, I am perfectly aware of that. And the changes in the Constitution you mentioned are aimed not only at granting the incumbent head of state the right to be elected in 2024 and later, but these amendments are basically aimed at reinforcing the sovereignty of the Russian Federation, outlining our development prospects and building up the fundamental constitutional foundation for progress in the economy, the social sphere and enhancing our sovereignty.

I expect it will all work.

As to what will happen in 2024 or later – we will see when the times comes. Now we all just have to work hard like St Francis, everyone at his or her place.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you.

Alexander Rahr, please.

Alexander Rahr: Mr President, my question is about nostalgia as well. I remember your historical speech at the German Bundestag 20 years ago, where you actually proposed building a common space from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Do you regret that?

Here is my point. The French and the Germans supported the idea. The Eastern Europeans did not. America will not, either. Actually, that keeps us from building our relations with Russia, which, I think, many Europeans would like.

If you had the opportunity to address the Bundestag again, would you also propose working together in the digital sphere or, perhaps, the environment, which would unite Europe and Russia in terms of energy? I think this is a promising idea for the future.

Vladimir Putin: Regarding what I would say if I were speaking there now, here is what happened back then.

At that time (it was 2007, correct?), many of my colleagues told me it was a bit harsh and it was not very good.

What did I actually say? I will refresh your memory. I said it is unacceptable for one country to extend its law beyond its national borders and try to subject other states to its regulations. Something along these lines.

What is happening now? Is it not Western European leaders who are saying that secondary sanctions and extending US jurisdiction to European companies are unacceptable?

If only they had enough guts to listen to what I said back then and to try to at least change the situation, do it carefully, without destroying Atlantic solidarity or the structural arrangement in NATO or elsewhere. I was not talking about that, but about the fact that it is unacceptable and bad for everyone, including those who do this.

Back then, our European partners seemed not to care and everyone looked the other way. Here again, what happened then is happening now. I am saying that this is still bad for everyone, including those who are pursuing or trying to pursue a policy of exceptionalism, because this actually destroys relations and interaction between Europe and the United States, and ultimately causes damage to the United States itself. Why do this?

This fleeting tactical gain that the United States is seeking may lead to negative strategic consequences and the destruction of trust. This is not my business, but since we are having an exchange at the discussion club, I will go ahead and philosophise. This is an absolutely obvious thing.

So, I did not say anything unusual, harmful or aggressive in Munich in 2007. But if I were to speak there now, I would not, of course, say I told you so. I would not do that just out of respect for my colleagues. I am fully aware of the realities back then and today. We do not live in a vacuum, but in real life conditions, our relationships are real and our interdependence is strong.

We understand everything perfectly well, but we need to change things. We are talking about a new world order, so these realities must be taken into account when building modern international relations, which must, of course, be based on consideration for each other’s interests and mutual respect, and respect for sovereignty.

I hope we can build our relations carefully and calmly, without destroying what has been created over previous decades, but while taking into account today’s needs. These relations will meet present requirements and the interests of all participants in international communication.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Alexei Yekaikin. Since we have talked a lot about ecology today, we cannot go without this.

Vladimir Putin: What time is it?

Fyodor Lukyanov: Yes, we are finishing up, Mr President. We feel we have already exceeded our time, but we cannot do without ecology in the end.

Vladimir Putin: No, we cannot. I agree.

Alexei Yekaikin: Thank you, Fyodor.

Good evening, Mr President.

Maybe, this question will seem a bit surprising to you although we have met several times over the years and talked about this. I would like to raise it again. It is about the Antarctic. We spoke about this at the climate session and, in general, this is an anniversary year for us – 200 years since the discovery of the Antarctic.

This is what my question is about. Russia has adopted or is adopting a strategy for developing activities in the Antarctic. A new Vostok station is under construction in the Central Antarctic as part of this strategy. You know this.

It would seem that everything is fine, investment in the infrastructure and the like. So, you may get the impression that we are doing well in the Antarctic. Alas, this is not the case, because the policy is about infrastructure but does not say a word about science. This is a fairly paradoxical situation. I would call it strange because we invest in the infrastructure whereas the main goal for which we need it, that is, science, remains somewhere backstage.

At our Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, we have prepared a draft federal programme for studying the area around the Vostok station for the next 15 years. It has been drafted in detail. It consists of two main themes. The first is the study of the past climate based on ice core data, and this study is very closely connected with the climate theme. Yes, this is drilling the ice, that is right.

The second theme concerns the subglacial lake Vostok. You also know about this. It is one of the most unique phenomena on the planet.

These are two subjects in which we, Russian scientists, are generally strong; we are not trying catch up with anyone in this respect. We are at the proper level and even ahead of some of our colleagues. Nonetheless, there is no government support for research in the Antarctic. I find this strange.

We sent this draft programme to the Ministry of Natural Resources, our relevant ministry. I do not know where exactly it is now. We do not know what happened to it. My question is very simple: does the Russian Government have the opportunity to support our efforts to study the Antarctic or will this topic go down the drain?

After all, it would be a pity to lose our priority in this area.

Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: Alexei, first of all, the fact that your colleagues and you made it to Lake Vostok and made this discovery, got to this water that is thousands of years old and that was not connected in any way with the world, remaining under the ice, this, of course, is of great interest to people like you, researchers, who study what eventually became the Earth and how the climate was changing.

I saw this; they brought me the core samples and the water. It is exciting. However, the fact that the infrastructure is being created means that preparations for research are underway. I do not know the plans regarding the allocation of funds for these purposes. You said that money was allocated for the infrastructure, but not scientific research. I doubt this is a lot of money. If the Ministry of Natural Resources …unfortunately, budget cuts are underway, which are caused by certain economic difficulties.

I am not sure if it was necessary to cut the already small expenses associated with Antarctic research. I promise I will look into it. We will punish anyone who made a mistake.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Mr President, you mentioned in your speech that you do not miss the Cold War. Do you miss anything at all?

Vladimir Putin: My children, I rarely see them.

Fyodor Lukyanov: We at the Valdai Club miss the opportunity to get together in person. With all the great advances in technology that allow us to hold almost complete meetings, we would still very much like to talk in person to you and each other next year.

We have not broken the record; there was a forum where the President spent more time with us, but we are close. We talked with the President of the Russian Federation for almost three hours, for which we are sincerely grateful.

Thank you very much. We will try to quickly get back to our normal schedule, and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much for hosting this.

I want to address all members of the Valdai Club, the analysts, politicians and journalists who work with this entity. It is an entity, because it has been operational for many years now. I hope you find it interesting and useful.

I am grateful to you for showing interest in Russia, in our development plans, in us today and in our history. This means that you are engaged, and it is important for us to know your opinion.

I am saying this sincerely, because by comparing what we are doing, by comparing our own assessments of our progress and our economic and political plans, comparing them with your ideas about what is good and what is bad, we find the best solutions and can adjust our plans.

I want to thank you for this and to wish you every success. I also hope for a personal meeting next time.

Good luck to you. Thank you very much.

Fyodor Lukyanov: Thank you very much. Good-bye.

Vladimir Putin: Good-bye.

The Great Reset. Our way.

The Great Reset. Our way.

October 19, 2020

By Katerina for the Saker Blog

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s move on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But let’s continue.

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

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

But things were happening, the mood was changing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SUNNIS AND SHIITES AGREE IN LEBANON

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

Source

BY GABRIEL ROCKHILL

“The U.S. has established itself as the mortal enemy of all people’s government, all scientific-socialist mobilization of consciousness everywhere on the globe, all anti-imperialist activity on earth.”

– George Jackson

One of the founding myths of the contemporary Western European and American world is that fascism was defeated in WWII by liberal democracies, and particularly by the United States. With the subsequent Nuremburg trials and the patient construction of a liberal world order, a bulwark was erected—in fits and starts, and with the constant threat of regression—against fascism and its evil twin in the East. American culture industries have rehearsed this narrative ad nauseum, brewing it into a saccharine ideological Kool-Aid and piping it into every household, shack and street corner with a TV or smartphone, tirelessly juxtaposing the supreme evil of Nazism to the freedom and prosperity of liberal democracy.

The material record suggests, however, that this narrative is actually based on a false antagonism, and that a paradigm shift is necessary in order to understand the history of actually existing liberalism and fascism. The latter, as we shall see, far from being eradicated at the end of WWII, was actually repurposed, or rather redeployed, to serve its primary historical function: to destroy godless communism and its threat to the capitalist civilizing mission. Since the colonial projects of Hitler and Mussolini had become so brazen and erratic, as they shifted from playing more or less by the liberal rules of the game to openly breaking them and then running amok, it was understood that the best way to construct the fascist international was to do so under liberal cover, meaning through clandestine operations that maintained a liberal façade. While this probably sounds like hyperbole to those whose understanding of history has been formatted by bourgeois social science, which focuses almost exclusively on visible government and the aforementioned liberal cover, the history of the invisible government of the national security apparatus suggests that fascism, far from being defeated in WWII, was successfully internationalized.

The Architects of the Fascist International

When the United States entered WWII, the future head of the CIA, Allen Dulles, bemoaned that his country was fighting the wrong enemy. The Nazis, as he explained, were pro-capitalist Aryan Christians, whereas the true enemy was godless communism and its resolute anti-capitalism. After all, the U.S. had, only some 20 years prior, been part of a massive military intervention in the U.S.S.R., when fourteen capitalist countries sought—in the words of Winston Churchill—to “strangle the Bolshevik baby in its crib.” Dulles understood, like many of his colleagues in the U.S. government, that what would later become known as the Cold War was actually the old war, as Michael Parenti has convincingly argued: the one they had been fighting against communism since its inception.

Towards the end of WWII, General Karl Wolff, formerly Himmler’s right-hand man, went to see Allen Dulles in Zurich, where he was working for the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor organization to the CIA. Wolff knew that the war was lost, and he wanted to avoid being brought to justice. Dulles, for his part, wanted the Nazis in Italy under Wolff’s command to lay down their arms against the allies and help the Americans in their fight against communism. Wolff, who was the highest-ranking SS officer to survive the war, offered Dulles the promise of developing, with his Nazi team, an intelligence network against Stalin. It was agreed that the general who had played a central role in overseeing the Nazi’s genocidal machine, and who expressed his “special joy” when he secured freight trains to send 5,000 Jews a day to Treblinka, would be protected by the future director of the CIA, who helped him avoid the Nuremberg trials.

Wolff was very far from being the only senior Nazi official protected and rehabilitated by the OSS-CIA. The case of Reinhard Gehlen is particularly telling. This general in the Third Reich had been in charge of Fremde Heere Ost, the Nazi intelligence service directed against the Soviets. After the war, he was recruited by the OSS-CIA and met with all of the major architects of the postwar National Security State: Allen Dulles, William Donovan, Frank Wisner, President Truman. He was then appointed to head the first German intelligence service after the war, and he proceeded to employ many of his Nazi collaborators. The Gehlen Organization, as it was known, would become the nucleus of the German intelligence service. It is unclear how many war criminals this decorated Nazi hired, but Eric Lichtblau estimates that some four thousand Nazi agents were integrated into the network overseen by the American spy agency. With an annual funding of half a million dollars from the CIA in the early years after the war, Gehlen and his strong men were able to act with impunity. Yvonnick Denoël explained this turnaround with remarkable clarity: “It is hard to understand that, as early as 1945, the army and the US intelligence services recruited without qualms former Nazi criminals. The equation was, however, very simple at the time: the United States had just defeated the Nazis with the help of the Soviets. They henceforth planned to defeat the Soviets with the help of former Nazis.”

The situation was similar in Italy because Dulles’ agreement with Wolff was part of a larger undertaking, called Operation Sunrise, which mobilized Nazis and fascists to end the Second World War in Italy (and begin the Third World War across the globe). Dulles worked hand in hand with the Agency’s future chief counterintelligence officer, James Angleton, who was then stationed by the OSS in Italy. These two men, who would become two of the most powerful political actors of the twentieth century, showed what they were capable of in this close collaboration between the American intelligence services, the Nazis and the fascists. Angleton, on his end, recruited fascists to end the war in Italy so as to minimize the power of the communists. Valerio Borghese was one of his key contacts because this hardline fascist in Mussolini’s regime was ready to serve the Americans in the anti-communist struggle, and he became one of the international figureheads for postwar fascism. Angleton had directly saved him from the hands of the communists, and the man known as the Black Prince was given the opportunity to continue the war against the radical Left under a new boss: the CIA.

Once the war was over, Senior U.S. intelligence officials, including Dulles, Wisner and Carmel Offie, “worked to ensure that denazification only had a limited scope,” according to Frédéric Charpier: “Generals, senior officials, policemen, industrialists, lawyers, economists, diplomats, scholars and real war criminals were spared and put back in their positions.” The man in charge of the Marshall Plan in Germany, for instance, was a former adviser to Hermann Göring, the commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe (air force). Dulles drafted a list of high functionaries of the Nazi state to be protected and passed off as opponents to Hitler. The OSS-CIA proceeded to rebuild the administrative states in Germany and Italy with their anti-communist allies.

Eric Lichtblau estimates that more than 10,000 Nazis were able to immigrate to the United States in the post-war period (at least 700 official members of the Nazi party had been allowed into the U.S. in the 1930s, while Jewish refugees were being turned away). In addition to a few hundred German spies and thousands of SS personnel, Operation Paperclip, which began in May 1945, brought at least 1,600 Nazi scientists to the U.S. with their families. This undertaking was aimed at recovering the great minds of the Nazi war machine and putting their research on rockets, aviation, biological and chemical weapons, and so forth, in the service of the American empire. The Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was set up specifically to recruit Nazis and find them positions in research centers, the government, the army, the intelligence services or universities (at least 14 universities participated, including Cornell, Yale and MIT).

Although the program officially excluded ardent Nazis, at least at the beginning, in actual fact it allowed for the immigration of chemists from IG Farben (which had supplied the deadly gases used in mass exterminations), scientists who had used slaves in concentration camps to make weapons, and doctors who had participated in hideous experiments on Jews, Roma, communists, homosexuals and other prisoners of war. These scientists, who were described by an official in the State Department opposed to Paperclip as “Hitler’s angels of death,” were received with open arms in the land of the free. They were given comfortable accommodations, a laboratory with assistants and the promise of citizenship if their work bore fruit. They went on to conduct research that has been used in the manufacturing of ballistic missiles, sarin gas cluster bombs, and the weaponization of the bubonic plague.

The CIA also collaborated with MI6 to set up secret anti-communist armies in every country in Western Europe. On the pretext of a potential invasion by the Red Army, the idea was to train and equip networks of illegal stay-behind soldiers, who would remain behind enemy lines if the Russians moved westward. They would thus be activated in the newly occupied territory and charged with missions of exfiltration, espionage, sabotage, propaganda, subversion and combat. The two agencies worked with NATO and the intelligence services of many Western European countries to build this vast sub-rosa organization, establish numerous weapons and ammunition caches, and equip their soldiers of the shadows with everything they needed. To do this, they recruited Nazis, fascists, collaborationists and other anti-communist members of the extreme Right. The numbers vary according to the country, but they are estimated between a few dozen and several hundred, or even a few thousand, per country. According to a report from the television program Retour aux sources, there were 50 stay-behind network units in Norway, 150 in Germany, more than 600 in Italy and 3,000 in France.

These trained militants would later be mobilized to commit or coordinate terrorist attacks against the civilian population, which were then blamed on the communists in order to justify ‘law and order’ crackdowns. According to the official numbers in Italy, where this strategy of tension was particularly intense, there were 14,591 politically motivated acts of violence between 1969 and 1987, which killed 491 people and injured 1,181. Vincenzo Vinciguerra, a member of the far-right group Ordine Nuovo and the perpetrator of the bombing near Peteano in 1972, explained that the fascist “Avanguardia Nazionale, like Ordine Nuovo, were being mobilized into the battle as part of an anti-Communist strategy originating not with organizations deviant from the institutions of power, but from the state itself, and specifically from within the ambit of the state’s relations within the Atlantic Alliance.” An Italian parliamentary commission that undertook an investigation of the stay-behind armies in Italy, reached the following conclusion in 2000: “Those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organized or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as has been discovered more recently, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence.”

The U.S. National Security State was also involved in overseeing ratlines that exfiltrated fascists from Europe and allowed them to resettle in safe havens around the world, in exchange for doing its dirty work. The case of Klaus Barbie is but one among thousands, but it speaks volumes regarding the internal functioning of this process. Known in France as ‘the butcher of Lyon,’ he was head of the Gestapo office there for two years, including the time when Himmler gave the order to deport at least 22,000 Jews from France. This specialist in ‘enhanced interrogation tactics,’ known for torturing to death the coordinator of the French Resistance, Jean Moulin, organized the first roundup of the General Union of Jews in France in February 1943 and the massacre of 41 Jewish refugee children in Izieu in April 1944. Before arriving in Lyon, he had led savage death squads, which had killed more than a million people on the Eastern Front according to Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. But after the war, the man whom these same authors describe as third on the most-wanted list of SS criminals was working for the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) of the U.S. Army. He was hired to help build the stay-behind armies by recruiting other Nazis, and to spy on French intelligence services in the French and American controlled regions in Germany.

When France learned what was happening and demanded Barbie’s extradition, John McCloy, the U.S. High Commissioner of Germany, refused by claiming that the allegations were based on hearsay. Nevertheless, it ultimately proved too expensive, symbolically, to keep a butcher like Barbie in Europe, so he was sent to Latin America in 1951, where he was able to continue his illustrious career. Settling in Bolivia, he worked for the security forces of the military dictatorship of General René Barrientos and for the Ministry of the Interior and the counter-insurgency wing of the Bolivian Army under the dictatorship of Hugo Banzer, before actively participating in the Cocaine Coup in 1980 and becoming the director of security forces under General Meza. Throughout his career, he maintained close relationships with his saviors in the U.S. National Security State, playing a central role in Operation Condor, the counter-insurgency project that brought together Latin American dictatorships, with the support of the United States, to violently crush any attempt at egalitarian uprisings from below. He also helped develop the drug empire in Bolivia, including organizing gangs of narco-mercenaries whom he named Los novios de la muerte, whose uniforms resembled those of the SS. He traveled freely in the 1960s and 1970s, visiting the U.S. at least seven times, and he most likely played a role in the manhunt organized by the Agency to kill Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

The same basic pattern of integrating fascists into the global war against communism is readily identifiable in Japan, whose system of government prior to and during the war has been described by Herbert P. Bix as “Emperor-system fascism.” Tessa Morris-Suzuki has convincingly demonstrated the continuity of intelligence services by detailing how the U.S. National Security State oversaw and managed the KATO organization. This private intelligence network, very much like the Gehlen organization, was stocked with former leading members of the military and intelligence services, including the Imperial Army’s Chief of Intelligence (Arisue Seizō), who shared with his American handler (Charles Willoughby) a deep admiration for Mussolini. The U.S. occupation forces also cultivated tight relationships with senior officials in Japan’s wartime civilian intelligence community (most notably Ogata Taketora). This remarkable continuity between prewar and postwar Japan has led Morris-Suzuki and other scholars to map Japanese history in terms of a transwar regime, meaning one that continued from before to after the war. This concept also allows us to make sense of what was happening above ground in the realm of the visible government. For the sake of concision, suffice it to cite the remarkable case of the man known as the “Devil of Shōwa” for his brutal rule of Manchukuo (the Japanese colony in Northeast China): Nobusuke Kishi. A great admirer of Nazi Germany, Kishi was appointed Minister of Munitions by Prime Minister Hideki Tojo in 1941, in order to prepare Japan for a total war against the U.S., and he was the one who signed the official declaration of war against America. After serving a brief prison term as a war criminal in the postwar era, he was rehabilitated by the CIA, along with his cell mate, the kingpin of organized crime Yoshio Kodama. Kishi, with the support and generous financial backing of his handlers, took over the Liberal Party, made it into a rightwing club of former leaders of imperial Japan, and rose to become Prime Minister. “The [CIA] money flowed for at least fifteen years, under four American presidents,” writes Tim Wiener, “and it helped consolidate one-party rule in Japan for the rest of the cold war.”

U.S. national security services have also established a global educational network to train pro-capitalist combatants—sometimes under the leadership of experienced Nazis and fascists—in the tried-and-true techniques of repression, torture and destabilization, as well as propaganda and psychological warfare. The famous School of the Americas was established in 1946 with the explicit goal of training a new generation of anti-communist warriors worldwide. According to some, this school has the distinction of having educated the greatest number of dictators in world history. Whatever the case may be, it is part of a much larger institutional network. It is worth mentioning, for example, the educational contributions of the Public Safety Program: “For about twenty-five years,” writes former CIA officer John Stockwell, “the CIA, […] trained and organized police and paramilitary officers from around the world in techniques of population control, repression, and torture. Schools were set up in the United States, Panama, and Asia, from which tens of thousands graduated. In some cases, former Nazi officers from Hitler’s Third Reich were used as instructors.”

Fascism Goes Global under Liberal Cover

The American imperium has thus played a central role in the construction of a fascist international by protecting right-wing militants and enlisting them in the Third World War against ‘communism,’ an elastic label extended to any political orientation that entered into conflict with the interests of the capitalist ruling class. This international expansion of fascist modes of governance has led to a proliferation of concentration camps, terrorist and torture campaigns, dirty wars, dictatorial regimes, vigilante groups and organized crime networks around the world. The examples could be enumerated ad nauseum, but I will curtail them in the interests of space and simply invoke the testimony of Victor Marchetti, who was a senior CIA official from 1955 to 1969: “We were supporting every half-assed dictator, military junta, oligarchy that existed in the Third World, as long as they promised to somehow maintain the status quo, which would of course be beneficial to U.S. geopolitical interests, military interests, big business interests, and other special interests.”

The record of U.S. foreign policy since WWII is probably the best measure of its unique contribution to the internationalization of fascism. Under the banner of democracy and freedom, the United States has, according to William Blum:

+ Endeavored to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments.

+ Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.

+ Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.

+ Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.

+ Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.

The Association for Responsible Dissent, composed of 14 former CIA officers, calculated that their agency was responsible for killing a minimum of 6 million people in 3,000 major operations and 10,000 minor operations between 1947 and 1987. These are direct murders, so the numbers do not account for premature deaths under the fascist-backed capitalist world system due to mass incarceration, torture, malnutrition, lack of drinkable water, exploitation, oppression, social degradation, ecological illness or curable disease (in 2017, according to the U.N., 6.3 million children and young adolescents died from avoidable causes linked to the socio-economic and ecological inequalities of the Capitalocene, which amounts to one child dying every 5 seconds).

To establish itself as the global military hegemon and international guard dog of capitalism, the U.S. government and National Security State have relied on the help of the significant number of Nazis and fascists it integrated into its global network of repression, including the 1,600 Nazis brought into the U.S. through Operation Paperclip, the 4,000 or so integrated into the Gehlen organization, the tens or even hundreds of thousands that were reintegrated into the ‘postwar’—or rather transwar—regimes in fascist countries, the large number who were given free passage to Empire’s backyard—Latin America—and elsewhere, as well as the thousands or tens of thousands integrated into NATO’s secret stay-behind armies. This global network of seasoned anti-communist assassins has also been used to train armies of terrorists around the world to participate in dirty wars, coups d’état, destabilization efforts, sabotage, and terror campaigns.

All of this has been done under the cover of a liberal democracy, and with the assistance of its powerful culture industries. The true legacy of WWII, far from being that of a liberal world order that had defeated fascism, is that of a veritable fascist international developed under liberal cover in order to try and destroy those who had actually fought and won the war against fascism: the communists.

Gabriel Rockhill is a Franco-American philosopher, cultural critic and activist. He the founding Director of the Critical Theory Workshop and Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University. His books include Counter-History of the Present: Untimely Interrogations into Globalization, Technology, Democracy (2017), Interventions in Contemporary Thought: History, Politics, Aesthetics (2016), Radical History & the Politics of Art (2014) and Logique de l’histoire (2010). In addition to his scholarly work, he has been actively engaged in extra-academic activities in the art and activist worlds, as well as a regular contributor to public intellectual debate. Follow on twitter: @GabrielRockhill

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Palestine and the Other Philby

By Jeremy Salt

Source

Philby of Arabia 518d9

This reading of history is substantially but not wholly based on Elizabeth Monroe’s book Philby of Arabia (London: Quartet Books, 1973). With the exception of Kim Philby’s references to his wife, his father, and his once best friend, Nicholas Elliott, all the quoted material is taken from the book.

The young generation may never have heard of Kim Philby, so a few words by way of introduction are necessary. Philby was at Cambridge University in 1934 when he was recruited as a Soviet agent. He went to Spain to report the civil war before being recruited by M16 in 1940, rising to senior positions, including control of the Soviet desk, even as he handed Britain’s secrets to his Soviet controller. By 1949 he was head of intelligence at the British embassy in Washington, which, through his close friendship with James Jesus Angleton, the head of the CIA’s special operations section, gave him insights into American secrets as well, and perhaps the secrets themselves.

In 1951, Guy Burgess and Donald McLean, both friends of Philby and his colleagues in the British intelligence community in the US, and both Soviet agents, defected. Philby also came under suspicion and was compelled to resign, before being cleared of any wrongdoing by Prime Minister Harold MacMillan in 1955.

In 1956 Philby moved to Beirut as a correspondent for the London Observer. A Soviet defector having pointed the finger at him again, MI6 sent another old friend and colleague, Nicholas Elliott, to Lebanon in 1963 to question him. They had one meeting, during which Philby verbally confessed but refused to put anything down in writing. Before their planned second meeting, Philby made his way at night to the docks where a Soviet freighter took him to Odessa. Honored by the Soviet government, he lived in Moscow until his death in 1988.

Philby is ranked as the most successful of all cold war agents. The information he passed on led to the death of hundreds of people, including armed men sent into Albania to overthrow the Stalinist government of Enver Hoxha and a defector who tipped off the British consulate in Istanbul. Soviet agents got to him and once back in Moscow, he and his family disappeared forever.

Philby expressed no regret for any of this, on the basis that these victims of the spy game knew, like him, what they were letting themselves in for. He even provided information to the Soviet Union on his wife Aileen (“bourgeois and philistine”), his old friend Nicholas Elliott (“ugly and rather pig-like”) and even on his father, Harold St John Philby, which is where the central point of this article begins.

If Philby made his way into the intelligence community and then journalism with such ease it was because he was ‘one of us,’ the privileged elite which ran Britain. His father was also ‘one of us,’ even if generally out of tune with what his government was doing. Whereas Kim concealed who he really was, Harold spoke openly, critically and often angrily, irrespective of the effect on his listeners. He would never have been a good choice for the intelligence community, but he did serve the government after 1918, holding down numerous positions in Iraq, Transjordan (as it then was) and Saudi Arabia.

If he irritated senior figures wherever he went he was always respected for his knowledge, his explorations and his close and useful personal connection with the Saudi monarch, Abd al Aziz ibn Saud.

Even when serving the government Philby used his spare time to explore Arabia. He crossed the fearsome desert expanse known as the ‘empty quarter (ruba’ al khali), he looked for (and found) evidence of ancient cities and culture. He also amassed collections of rare specimens of butterflies and birdlife, many ending up in British museums.

Privately, Philby ran two families, one in England and one in Riyadh. At the age of 60, having become a Muslim, he accepted the ‘gift’ of a girl of 16 from the Saudi king and went on to have several children with her. He was still running his other home and wife, Dora, in England,   seeing her only when he visited or she visited him. As illegal and as abhorrent as it would be in England for a man of Philby’s age to take as a wife a girl of 16, it was probably unremarkable in Saudi culture.

His Cambridge background, his butterfly and bird collecting and his life-long love of cricket established Philby as a conventional upper-middle-class Englishman but there was this other maverick side, often intemperate and deeply critical of imperialism, in particular Britain’s policies in the Middle East, establishing him as another kind of conventional Englishman, strongly individual and eccentric by the standards of others. The two sides lived somewhat awkwardly with each other throughout his life.

Philby was immediately hostile to the post-1918 mandates system, which he regarded as a “fig leaf” for French and British imperialism. In Iraq and Syria, it was clear to him that both Britain and France had betrayed their promises of national governments to be established on the basis of the free choice of the indigenous people. The exception in this stream of thinking was Palestine.

Charged with going to the Hijaz to smooth over differences with the Sharif Husain of Mecca – now self-proclaimed king of the Hijaz as well – over British policy on Palestine and the rising power of Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, Philby got somewhere on the first issue, Husain seeming to understand “that the British wished to settle some Jews in Palestine,” but he was immovable on the second. Abdul Aziz ibn Saud was preparing to pounce on the Hijaz, driving Husain and his family into exile, and forbade Philby from making a side trip to the Saudi kingdom in Najd (central Arabia) before returning to Cairo.

On Palestine, Philby was inconsistent. If the Iraqi and Syrian people were to be given the right to their own government through the free choice of their people, why not the people of Palestine? From official quarters the answer was clear if usually muffled: because we intend to give Palestine to zionist settlers and until they reach a majority, independence has to be withheld.

In Britain Philby sat on a League of Nations Union committee alongside academics, politicians, and zionists charged with coming up with a model mandate for Palestine. Although the British government and the Zionist movement knew what they wanted in Palestine, a Jewish state at the expense of the Palestinians (as Balfour had made clear in public statements),   the Zionist intention from the start to get rid of the Palestinians through ‘transfer’ was concealed by the zionists and bypassed as a subject for polite conversation by the British government.

Far from speaking against the zionist colonization of Palestine, Philby and T.E. Lawrence, forever linked in British minds with the struggle for Arab independence, believed, as Elizabeth Monroe has written, that “an injection of Jewish brains and money into the Arab world would improve Arab chances of successful independence.”

Thus swayed by zionist thinking, Philby was supported by Chaim Weizmann, whom he later took tea with in London, when he applied for a position in Palestine, only to be turned down because of advice to the High Commissioner that he was argumentative and would prove to be a nuisance.

Philby’s views on Palestine were nothing if not inconsistent with each other and with his general support for Arab independence. He regarded the Balfour Declaration as “an act of betrayal for whose parallel, the shekels and the kiss and all the rest of it, we have to go back to the Garden of Gethsemane.”

At the same time, he thought British governments should reaffirm the declaration because Jews had a “perfect right” to settle in Palestine on “a basis of equality with the existing population.”   Transjordan, he thought, would only be too happy to accept Jewish investment and immigration into a territory that should never have been separated in the first place. He never budged from his belief that the Jews had it in them to benefit the Arab world as long as – the critical qualification – they dropped any wish to dominate. Of course, Weizmann and others in the Zionist leadership gave endless assurances that this was the last thing they had in mind.

Philby frequently tried to bring Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud around to his way of thinking on Palestine. The king shared the general Arab view that to take land from the indigenous population of Palestine and give it to Zionist settlers was unjust. He opposed partition when it was proposed in 1937 (the Peel plan) and said that even if all other Arab states recognized a Jewish state he never would, a statement of contemporary relevance given the recognition of Israel by the UAE and Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s scarcely concealed dealings with Israel.

In 1939 Philby showed how poorly he understood Abdul Aziz ibn Saud on the question of Palestine. During a meeting in London with Professor Lewis Namier, Jewish, and a zionist, he said the king would come on board with British policies in the Middle East (as against the growing influence of Germany and Italy) if he were given money and weapons.

Namier suggested a meeting with Weizmann to see what might be arranged. When Namier, Philby and Moshe Shertok (later Sharett), political secretary of the Jewish Agency, met Weizmann on October 8, Philby proposed that if the zionists could come up with a 20 million pound ‘subsidy’ for the king, they could be given western Palestine, with the exception of the ‘Vatican City’ in east Jerusalem. At the same time, they should commit themselves to help secure Arab unity and independence (outside Palestine of course), which in Philby’s view was only attainable under Abdul Aziz’s leadership.

According to Weizmann, the conversation included references to “considerable transfers of the Arab population”: hedging his position, he said there was not much the zionists could do to advance the situation politically, apart from which they were bound by their “loyalties” to Britain and France.

Forever chasing money, Philby no doubt saw some coming to him if this scheme could be pulled off. He presented it to Abdul Aziz on January 8, 1940, when, in his own understanding, the king did not turn it down, saying only that he would give an answer at the appropriate time. In truth, the king was probably taken by surprise and did not like what he was hearing. Philby misconstrued silence as consent, wrote to his wife about the king agreeing and was sufficiently indiscreet to mention it to Syrians in the king’s entourage.

In February 1940, Weizmann contacted him from Washington to see how things we going. “Slowly,” Philby had to respond, while remaining confident that the king was “quite favorably inclined towards the proposal and is just thinking about how it can be worked out without producing howls of anger among certain Arab elements.” While Weizmann worked on the Americans, the plan would have to wait for the king to work out how to overcome Arab objections.

In 1940 and 1942 Weizmann saw President Roosevelt and, in the second of these years, Churchill as well. In Weizmann’s account, Churchill talked of wanting to make Abdul Aziz the “boss of bosses” in the Middle East “provided he settles with you.” This was an opportunity for Weizmann to try and dovetail the Zionist-Philby plan with what the Americans and British were both thinking.

In August 1942, Roosevelt sent Colonel Harold B. Hoskins to the Middle East as the head of a mission to engender goodwill. At a time the Middle East was unanimously hostile to the zionist presence in Palestine, not much goodwill was going to be generated by the plan which came out of the Hoskins mission, which was to admit 500,000 Jews into Palestine and set up a binational state as part of a Levant Federation that would include all of historic Syria.

In 1943 Roosevelt sent a message to the Saudi king that both “Arabs and Jews” would be consulted over the future of Palestine.   In August Hoskins was sent to Saudi Arabia to see if the king would agree to meet Weizmann. When he made the suggestion the king blew up. In Elizabeth Monroe’s summary of the occasion, “he hated Weizmann personally because the latter had impugned his character by offering a bribe of 20 million pounds if he would accept Arab settlers from Palestine.”

Furthermore, the king had been told the payment would be guaranteed by Roosevelt, which was certainly due to Weizmann’s campaigning. The king was so incensed at the offer and the involvement of the US president “in such a shameful manner” that he never brought it up again in his discussions with Hoskins.   Hoskins went to London, where he “disabused” Weizmann and Namier of the idea that Philby’s views represented the Saudi king’s. Philby persisted in believing that if Hoskins had approached the king with a firm offer on behalf of the US and British governments it would have been accepted. Of course, with oil being drilled in commercial quantities since 1938, the money on offer would soon be eclipsed by the vast sums flowing into the kingdom.

With partition passed by the UN General Assembly and the situation in Palestine worsening, the king could not bring himself to listen to the radio. Tears would come to his eyes. He agreed to meet members of an Anglo-American Commission bent on linking “Jewish victims of Nazi persecution everywhere” to the zionist colonization of Palestine. The king distrusted Philby when it came to Palestine so he was not at the meeting, at which Abdul Aziz told his visitors that “if the immigration of Jews continues and their possessions in Palestine increase, they will become one of the most powerful governments, equipped with arms and wealth and everything else. They will be against the Arabs and at the same time [will be] difficult for them.”

With the British leaving Palestine, he said a continued British mandate would be better than a triumph for the Jews or an enlarged kingdom for King Abdullah of Jordan, then conspiring with the Zionist leadership.

With the Arab states under foreign domination, and the Arab League newly formed and ineffectual, Philby came to admire “the courage and fanaticism of the Jews as much as I deplore the futility of the Arabs.” It was no wonder that many in Saudi court circles regarded him as a zionist spy, a British intelligence agent or a communist. As Philby’s son Kim was a committed communist and at the time was handing secrets from inside MI6 to the Soviet Union, there was certainly irony in their suspicions.

Philby needed to be in Saudi Arabia for further desert explorations and to make money from his various commercial ventures. He must have known that if he pushed the king any further on the question of Palestine he would he putting his own interests at risk. He continued to argue for the right of the Arabs to run their own affairs, all the Arabs, that is, except the Palestinians.

– Jeremy Salt taught at the University of Melbourne, at Bosporus University in Istanbul and Bilkent University in Ankara for many years, specializing in the modern history of the Middle East. Among his recent publications is his 2008 book, The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands (University of California Press). He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Former USSR Republics Are Going Crazy. Russia Doesn’t Stop Them. (Ruslan Ostashko)

Source

October 12, 2020

Former USSR Republics Are Going Crazy. Russia Doesn’t Stop Them. (Ruslan Ostashko)

Translated by Sasha and subtitled by Leo.

Note for video: If the subtitles are off compared to the text below, it’s because YouTube has changed their captioning system and it is a worse update than usual. This time it doesn’t allow me to update the saves from the original translation file. Next time I will try a different method.

Apparently Azerbaijan’s war against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, which filled the news reels will have to make room now. The Kyrgyz who freed their ex-president Almazbek Atambayev from prison swept into the news agenda. Russia is observing the madness on the post-Soviet territory without interfering.

The member of the Union State, Belorussia remains the only republic of the former USSR where Moscow has drawn an unambiguous line of its interests. (Titlecard of previous video – Ruslan Ostashko: “TU-160 Drew the Borders of Belorussia.”) Let me remind you that its borders were circumnavigated by the Russian TU-160s. As for the other ex-brothers from the common Soviet home, our country lets them lose their minds at a pace chosen voluntarily by these ‘independents’. Some subscribers ask why neither of our channels have shown any of my personal material on Azero-Armenian war. Here’s my answer: in fact they have, only the video was not published on YouTube but in the Club of Experimental History which has a limited membership. Those who didn’t join never saw it. As for the open platforms, I prefer to refrain from commenting. The reason for it is more or less the same as the one brought forward by the sarcastic authors of a well-known patriotic Telegram channel.

Source – Telegram channel ‘Horde’: “For the past thirty years we have divorced quite alright, dear citizens of the post-Soviet states. The strengthening of all sorts of ties, agreements, and what not – all of that is there, but. You have insisted for all these thirty years that you are on your own. Behold the result: now the youngest Russians who could recall how they got drunk in Baku or Yerevan as students are well over fifty, including, by the way, hundreds of thousands of the dear Russians with surnames ending with ‘ian’ [Armenian] and ‘ev’ [Azeri]. You kept building your own, separate from the metropolis life. And finally you have built it. As a result your merry but in reality not merry at all showdowns, during which you began to kill each other by the hundreds, are your sovereign showdowns.”

It is exactly how it is. The Russian state of course takes an interest in all this madness as far as it concerns her security in the geopolitical sense, undertaking actions it deems necessary. But our civic society, whose interests I see myself a representative of, have grown tired of being interested in the ex-brothers who for thirty years have been applying the de-Russification policies and other aspects of independent nationalist awareness. This is why I can say with clear conscience I don’t care how many Azeris and Armenians will kill of each other. It is their sovereign right they tore away with their teeth, no matter what they squeal at us.

Source – Telegram channel ‘Horde’: “Come tell us what Russia will ‘lose’ if it doesn’t support your side. ‘Well OK,’ any person who is an atom in big Russia will say, but what exactly will we lose? Your constant complaints about the evil empire? Your wee tears about how you were persecuted by the tsars and the Soviet Union? Perhaps you support us in the international arena all the time? Did you at least recognise the Crimea? Ah, you vote for the Russian performers at the Eurovision contest. We deeply bow to the ground to you for that… You can count on the full moral support by the respective music establishment. Only don’t ask how many divisions Allegrova or Galkin, or Gotseriyev have. Russia stands for peace. And the Russians observe with a great humanitarian grief how two ancient peoples with unique cultures shed blood over a forester’s lodge. But we are strangers over there at your place.”

The same goes to the events in Kyrgyzstan. What do we care if one Central Asian bey will replace another with the help of the local basmachi? Both Atanbayev and Jeenbekov cooperated with Russia. Who else would they cooperate with? Who needs them except Russia by any standards? Any serious regional player will eat them up without choking. Because the Krygyz haven’t been able to put the life in their republic in order for thirty years of their independence. And instead of building the bright Western democracy standard, they turned back to the Middle Ages.

Well, let them. The main thing is to keep the Russian borders closed when the ‘Gastarbeiter’ crowds, escaping all this and barely understanding the Russian language, will try to force their way in here. The newest history of the post-Soviet republics clearly demonstrates who exactly brought civilization and higher culture there and what the so-called Russian and Soviet occupation, which they have been squealing about for thirty years, really was like. It was their only chance for a path into the civilized future. And by rushing to grab a full bosom of independence they blew that chance.

Source – Telegram channel ‘Horde’: “When thirty years ago they took as much independence as the alconaut Boris Nikolayevich [Yeltsin] was happy to spare, each of the former sister-republics dreamed of becoming something like Switzerland or Singapore, whom everybody likes and where everyone goes for a holiday to praise the national folklore, nature and embroidered shirts, where the rich people want to keep their money. But let’s say it honestly, the sister-republics have grown quite beastly since then, deprived of the ‘Prison of Nations’. They are just smart enough for making revolutions, intrigues and territorial claims against the neighbours. Our perimeter, deprived of the USSR, reverted to the Middle Ages wherein the Lithuanians squabble with the Belorussians, the Azerbaijanis with the Armenians, the Georgians with the Ossetians, the Kyrgyz with the Uzbeks. Freedom does not bring good to some peoples, dear friends.”

The wealthier and culturally richer Russia, where we live and work, becomes, the greater the contrast between our reality of the 21st century and the observed medieval madness that is raging on the post-Soviet territories will be. So I can only say to those citizens of the former USSR republics who don’t wish a dark fate for their children: learn the Russian language diligently as well as the Russian laws. All this will be useful to you when you try to register a patent or a limited stay permission in our country. We’ve had enough of your ancient unique culture’s whose representatives are merely able to slaughter their neighbours. I am only for hardcore Russification. Those who don’t want to want to Russify should stay in their Middle Ages, with all the consequences resulting from it.

Can and should Russia stop the war in the Caucasus?

October 09, 2020

THE SAKER • OCTOBER 10, 2020 

This war is officially a war between Azerbaijan and the (unrecognized) Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (RNK) aka “Republic of Artsakh” (ROA) which I shall refer to simply as Nagorno Karabakh or “NK”. As is often the case, the reality is much more complicated. For one thing, Erdogan’s Turkey has been deeply involved since Day 1 (and, really, even much before that) while Armenia has been backing NK to the hilt since the breakup of the Soviet Union. It is even worse: Turkey is a member of NATO while Armenia is a member of the CSTO. Thus a war started over a relatively small and remote area could, in theory, trigger an international nuclear war. The good news here is that nobody in NATO or the CSTO wants such a war, especially since technically speaking the NK is not part of Armenia (Armenia has not even recognized this republic so far!) and, therefore, not under the protection of the CSTO. And since there have been no attacks on Turkey proper, at least so far, NATO also has no reason to get involved.

I should mention here that in terms of international law, NK is an integral part of Azerbaijan. Still, almost everybody agrees that there is a difference between NK proper and the kind of security zone the army of NK created around NK (see map)

Can and should Russia stop the war in the Caucasus?

(note: the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic is part of Azerbaijan)

The reality on the ground, however, is very different, so let’s look at the position of each actor in turn, beginning with the party which started the war: Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan has been reforming and rearming its military since the Azeri forces got comprehensively defeated in the 1988-1994 war. Furthermore, for President Aliev this war represents what might well be the best and last chance to defeat the NK and Armenian forces. Most observers agree that should Aliev fail to achieve at least an appearance of victory he will lose power.

Armenia would have been quite happy to keep the status quo and continue to form one country with the NK de facto while remaining two countries de jure. Still, living in the tough and even dangerous “neighborhood” of the Caucasus, the Armenians never forgot that they are surrounded by more or less hostile countries just like they also remained acutely aware of Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman ideology which, sooner or later, would make war inevitable.

Iran, which is often forgotten, is not directly involved in the conflict, at least so far, but has been generally sympathetic to Armenia, primarily because Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman ideology represents a danger for the entire region, including Iran.

Turkey has played a crucial behind the scenes role in the rearmament and reorganization of Azeri forces. Just as was the case in Libya, Turkish attack drones have been used with formidable effectiveness against NK forces, in spite of the fact that the Armenians have some very decent air defenses. As for Erdogan himself, this war is his latest attempt to paint himself as some kind of neo-Ottoman sultan which will reunite all the Turkic people under his rule.

One of the major misconceptions about this conflict is the assumption that Russia has always been, and will always be, on the side of Armenia and the NK, but while this was definitely true for pre-1917 Russia, this is not the case today at all. Why?

Let’s examine the Russian position in this conflict.

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: Armenia (proper, as opposed to NK) is a member of the CSTO and should anybody (including Azerbaijan and/or Turkey) attack Armenia, Russia would most definitely intervene and stop the attack, either by political or even by military means. Considering what Turkey has done to the Armenian people during the infamous Armenian Genocide of 1914-1923 this makes perfectly good sense: at least now the Armenian people know that Russia will never allow another genocide to take place. And the Turks know that too.

And yet, things are not quite that simple either.

For example, Russia did sell a lot of advanced weapon systems to Azerbaijan (see herefor one good example). In fact, relations between Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev are famously very warm. And while it is true that Azerbaijan left the CSTO in 1999, Russia and Azerbaijan have retained a very good relationship which some even characterize as a partnership or even an alliance.

Furthermore, Azerbaijan has been a much better partner to Russia than Armenia, especially since the Soros-financed “color revolution” of 2018 which put Nikol Pashinian in power. Ever since Pashinian got to power, Armenia has been following the same kind of “multi-vector” policy which saw Belarus’ Lukashenko try to ditch Russia and integrate into the EU/NATO/US area of dominance. The two biggest differences between Belarus and Armenia are a) Belarusians and Russians are the same people and b) Russia cannot afford to lose Belarus whereas Russia has really zero need for Armenia.

On the negative side, not only has Azerbaijan left the CSTO in 1999, but Azerbaijan has also joined the openly anti-Russian GUAM Organization (which is headquartered in Kiev).

Next, there is the Turkey-Erdogan factor as seen from Russia. Simply put, the Russians will never trust any Turk who shares Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman worldview and ideology. Russia has already fought twelve full-scale wars against the Ottomans and she has no desire to let the Turks trigger another one (which they almost did when they shot down a Russian Su-24M over northern Syria). Of course, Russia is much more powerful than Turkey, at least in military terms, but in political terms an open war against Turkey could be disastrous for Russian foreign and internal policy objectives. And, of course, the best way for Russia to avoid such a war in the future is to make absolutely sure that the Turks realize that should they attack they will be suffering a crushing defeat in a very short time. So far, this has worked pretty well, especially after Russia saved Erdogan from the US-backed coup against him.

Some observers have suggested that Russia and Armenia being Christian, the former has some kind of moral obligation towards the latter. I categorically disagree. My main reason to disagree here is that Russians now are acutely aware of the disgusting lack of gratitude of our (supposed) “brothers” and (supposed) “fellow Christians” have shown as soon as Russia was in need.

Most Armenians are not Orthodox Christians, but members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which are miaphysites/monophysites. They are also not Slavs.

The ONLY slavic or Orthodox people who did show real gratitude for Russia have been the Serbs. All the rest of them have immediately rushed to prostitute themselves before Uncle Shmuel and have competed with each other for the “honor” of deploying US weapons systems targeted at Russia. The truth is that like every superpower, Russia is too big and too powerful to have real “friends” (Serbia being a quite beautiful exception to this rule). The Russian Czar Alexander III famously said that “Russia only has two true allies: her army and her navy”. Well, today the list is longer (now we could add the Aerospace forces, the FSB, etc.), but in terms of external allies or friends, the Serbian people (as opposed to some of the Serbian leaders) are the only ones out there which are true friends of Russia (and that, in spite of the fact that under Elstin and his “democratic oligarchs” Russia shamefully betrayed a long list of countries and political leaders, including Serbia).

Then there is the religious factor which, while crucial in the past, really plays no role whatsoever in this conflict. Oh sure, political leaders on both sides like to portray themselves as religious, but this is just PR. The reality is that both the Azeris and the Armenians place ethnic considerations far above any religious ones, if only because, courtesy of the militant atheism of the former USSR, many, if not most, people in Armenia, Azerbaijan and even Russia nowadays are agnostic secularists with no more than a passing interest for the “spiritual values which shaped their national identity” (or something along these lines).

One major concern for Russia is the movement of Turkish-run Takfiris from Syria to Azerbaijan. The Russians have already confirmed that this has taken place (the French also reported this) and, if true, that would give Russia the right to strike these Takfiris on Azeri soil. So far, this threat is minor, but if it becomes real, we can expect Russian cruise missiles to enter the scene.

Finally, there are major Azeri and Armenian communities in Russia, which means two things: first, Russia cannot allow this conflict to sneak across the borders and infect Russia and, second, there are millions of Russians who will have ties, often strong ones, to both of these countries.

Though they are not currently officially involved, we still need to look, at least superficially, at the Empire’s view of this conflict. To summarize it I would say that the Empire is absolutely delighted with this crisis which is the third one blowing up on Russia’s doorstep (the other two being the Ukraine and Belarus). There is really very little the Empire can do against Russia: the economic blockade and sanctions totally failed, and in purely military terms Russia is far more powerful than the Empire. Simply put: the Empire simply does not have what it takes to take on Russia directly, but setting off conflicts around the Russia periphery is really easy.

For one thing, the internal administrative borders of the USSR bear absolutely no resemblance to the places of residence of the various ethnicities of the former Soviet Union. Looking at them one would be excused for thinking that they were drawn precisely to generate the maximal amount of tension between the many ethnic groups that were cut into separate pieces. There is also no logic in accepting the right of the former Soviet Republics to secede from the Soviet Union, but then denying the same right to those local administrative entities which now would want to separate from a newly created republic which they don’t want to be part of.

Second, many, if not most, of the so-called “countries” and “nations” which suddenly appeared following the collapse of the Soviet Union have no historical reality whatsoever. As a direct result, these newborn “nations” had no historical basis to root themselves in, and no idea what independence really means. Some nations, like the Armenians, have deep roots as far back as antiquity, but their current borders are truly based on nothing at all. Whatever may be the case, it has been extremely easy for Uncle Shmuel to move into these newly independent states, especially since many (or even most) of these states saw Russia as the enemy (courtesy of the predominant ideology of the Empire which was imposed upon the mostly clueless people of the ex-Soviet periphery). The result? Violence, or even war, all around that periphery (which the Russians think of as their “near abroad”).

I think that most Russian people are aware that while there has been a major price to pay for this, the cutting away of the ex-Soviet periphery from Russia has been a blessing in disguise. This is confirmed by innumerable polls which show that the Russian people are generally very suspicious of any plans involving the use of the Russian Armed Forces outside Russia (for example, it took all of Putin’s “street cred” to convince the Russian people that the Russian military intervention in Syria was a good idea).

There is also one more thing which we must always remember: for all the stupid US and western propaganda about Russia and, later, the USSR being the “prison of the people” (small nations survived way better in this “prison” than they did under the “democratic” rule of European colonists worldwide!), the truth is that because of the rabidly russophobic views of Soviet Communists (at least until Stalin – he reversed this trend) the Soviet “peripheral” Republics all lived much better than the “leftover Russia” which the Soviets called the RSFSR. In fact, the Soviet period was a blessing in many ways for all the non-Russian republics of the Soviet Union and only now, under Putin, has this trend finally been reversed. Today Russia is much richer than the countries around her periphery and she has no desire to squander that wealth on a hostile and always ungrateful periphery. The bottom line is this: Russia owes countries such as Armenia or Azerbaijan absolutely nothing and they have no right whatsoever to expect Russia to come to their aid: this won’t happen, at least not unless Russia achieves a measurable positive result from this intervention.

Still, let’s now look at the reasons why Russia might want to intervene.

First, this is, yet again, a case of Erdogan’s megalomania and malevolence resulting in a very dangerous situation for Russia. After all, all the Azeris need to do to secure an overt Turkish intervention is to either attack Armenia proper, which might force a Russian intervention or, alternatively, be so severely beaten by the Armenians that Turkey might have to intervene to avoid a historical loss of face for both Aliev and Erdogan.

Second, it is crucial for Russia to prove that the CSTO matters and is effective in protecting CSTO member states. In other words, if Russia lets Turkey attack Armenia directly the CSTO would lose all credibility, something which Russia cannot allow.

Third, it is crucial for Russia to prove to both Azerbaijan and Armenia that the US is long on hot air and empty promises, but can’t get anything done in the Caucasus. In other words, the solution to this war has to be a Russian one, not a US/NATO/EU one. Once it becomes clear in the Caucasus that, like in the Middle-East, Russia has now become the next “kingmaker” then the entire region will finally return to peace and a slow return to prosperity.

So far the Russians have been extremely careful in their statements. They mostly said that Russian peacekeepers could only be deployed after all the parties to this conflict agree to their deployment. Right now, we are still very far away from this.

Here is what happened so far: the Azeris clearly hoped for a short and triumphant war, but in spite of very real advances in training, equipment, etc the Azeri Blitzkrieg has clearly failed in spite of the fact that the Azeri military is more powerful than the NK+Armenian one. True, the Azeris did have some initial successes, but they all happened in small towns mostly located in the plain. But take a look at this topographic map of the area of operations and see for yourself what the biggest problem for the Azeris is:

Almost all of NK is located in the mountains (hence the prefix “nagorno” which means “mountainous”) and offensive military operations in the mountains are truly a nightmare, even for very well prepared and equipped forces (especially in the winter season, which is fast approaching). There are very few countries out there who could successfully conduct offensive operations in mountains, Russia is one of them, and Azerbaijan clearly is not.

Right now both sides agree on one thing only: only total victory can stop this war. While politically that kind of language makes sense, everybody knows that this war will not end up in some kind of total victory for one side and total defeat of the other side. The simple fact is that the Azeris can’t overrun all of NK while the Armenians (in Armenia proper and in the NK) cannot counter-attack and defeat the Azeri military in the plains.

Right now, and for as long as the Azeris and the Armenians agree that they won’t stop at anything short of a total victory, Russia simply cannot intervene. While she has the military power to force both sides to a total standstill, she has no legal right to do so and please remember that, unlike the US, Russia does respect international law (if only because she has no plans to become the “next US” or some kind of world hegemon in charge of maintaining the peace worldwide). So there are only two possible options for a Russian military intervention:

  1. A direct (and confirmed by hard evidence) attack on the territory of Armenia
  2. Both the Azeris and the Armenians agree that Russia ought to intervene.

I strongly believe that Erdogan and Aliev will do whatever it takes to prevent option one from happening (while they will do everything in their power short of an overt attack on Armenia to prevail). Accidents, however, do happen, so the risk of a quick and dramatic escalation of the conflict will remain until both sides agree to stop.

Right now, neither side has a clear victory and, as sad as I am to write these words, both sides have enough reserves (not only military, but also political and economic) to keep at it for a while longer. However, neither side has what it would take to wage a long and bloody positional war of attrition, especially in the mountain ranges. Thus both sides probably already realize that this one will have to stop, sooner rather than later (according to some Russian experts, we are only talking weeks here).

Furthermore, there are a lot of very dangerous escalations taking place, including artillery and missile strikes on cities and infrastructure objects. If the Armenians are really pushed against a wall, they could both recognize NK and hit the Azeri energy and oil/gas infrastructure with their formidable Iskander tactical ballistic missiles. Should that happen, then we can be almost certain that both the Azeris and the Turks will try to attack Armenia, with dramatic and most dangerous consequences.

This conflict can get much, much more bloody and much more dangerous. It is thus in the interests of the entire region (but not the US) to stop it. Will the Armenian lobby be powerful enough to pressure the US into a more helpful stance? So far, the US is, at least officially, calling all sides for a ceasefire (along with France and Russia), but we all know how much Uncle Shmuel’s word can be trusted. At least there is no public evidence that the US is pushing for war behind the scenes (the absence of such evidence does, of course, not imply the evidence of the absence of such actions!).

At the time of writing this (Oct. 9th) Russia has to wait for the parties to come back to reality and accept a negotiated solution. If and when that happens, there are options out there, including making NK a special region of Azerbaijan which would be placed under the direct protection of Russia and/or the CSTO with Russian forces deployed inside the NK region. It would even be possible to have a Turkish military presence all around the NK (and even some monitors inside!) to reassure the Azeris that Armenian forces have left the region and are staying out. The Azeris already know that they cannot defeat Armenia proper without risking a Russian response and they are probably going to realize that they cannot overrun NK. As for the Armenians, it is all nice and fun to play the “multi-vector” card, but Russia won’t play by these rules anymore. Her message here is simple: if you are Uncle Shmuels’s bitch, then let Uncle Shmuel save you; if you want us to help, then give us a really good reason why: we are listening”.

This seems to me an eminently reasonable position to take and I hope and believe that Russia will stick to it.

PS: the latest news is that Putin invited the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia to Moscow for “consultations” (not “negotiations”, at least not yet) with Sergei Lavrov as a mediator. Good. Maybe this can save lives since a bad peace will always be better than a good war.

PPS: the latest news (Oct 9th 0110 UTC) is that the Russians have forced Armenia and Azerbaijan to negotiate for over thirteen hours, but at the end of the day, both sides agreed to an immediate ceasefire and for substantive negotiations to begin. Frankly, considering the extreme hostility of the parties towards each other, I consider this outcome almost miraculous. Lavrov truly earned his keep today! Still, we now have to see if Russia can convince both sides to actually abide by this agreement. Here is a machine translation of the first Russian report about this outcome:

Statement by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia

In response to the appeal of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin and in accordance with the agreements of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan I.G. Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia N.V. Pashinyan, the parties agreed on the following steps :

1. A ceasefire is declared from 12:00 pm on October 10, 2020 for humanitarian purposes for the exchange of prisoners of war and other detained persons and bodies of the dead, mediated and in accordance with the criteria of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

2. The specific parameters of the ceasefire regime will be agreed upon additionally.

3. The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, on the basis of the basic principles of the settlement, begin substantive negotiations with the aim of reaching a peaceful settlement as soon as possible.

4. The parties confirm the invariability of the format of the negotiation process.

الأطلسي في القوقاز بعد خسارته المتوسط والخليج…!

محمد صادق الحسيني

يحاول الأميركي الذي تهشمت صورته الدولية وانكسرت كلّ موجاته المتتالية على بوابات الشام وتخوم بغداد وأسوار صنعاء… بعد أن عجز في شرق المتوسط، وفشل في هرمز، فضلاّ عن باب المندب في تحقيق اختراق مهمّ ضدّ محور المقاومة وتحالف القوى المناهضة للأحادية الأميركية…

نقل مسرح عملياته إلى القوقاز عبر مخلبه العثماني لتحقيق الأهداف التالية:

١ – تحويل القوقاز إلى جسر عبور لقوات الناتو من البحر الأسود الى بحر الخزر لإعاقة دفاعات القوات الروسية عبر نهر الفولغا (خط الدفاع الأول في صدّ أيّ حرب عالمية)

٢ – محاولة ربط أربيل المتحالفة مع تل أبيب بباكو المتحالفة هي الأخرى مع الكيان الصهيوني عبر الحاضنة التركية الأردوغانية لوضع إيران (شمال غرب) في وضع قوس او هلال يُطبق على القوة الإيرانية الصاعدة حاملة مشروع العبور الى فلسطين لتحريرها.

٣ – حماية خطوط نقل الغاز الأذربيجانية والطرق السريعة التي تنطلق من باكو عبر جورجيا وصولاً الى تركيا.

واليكم تفاصيل الأهداف المباشرة والبعيدة المدى للعدوان الأميركي الاطلسي (العثماني) الإسرائيلي على القوقاز:

ليست هي المرة الأولى، التي تحاول فيها قوى الاستعمار الغربية السيطرة على منطقة القوقاز، لأسباب استراتيجية واقتصادية، بسبب امتلاكها كميات كبيرة من النفط، في اربعينيات القرن الماضي، مضافاً اليها الغاز في القرن الحالي.

اذ انّ زعيم الرايخ الثالث، ادولف هتلر، قد وقع أمراً عسكرياً، بشنّ حملة عسكرية لاحتلال منطقة القوقاز كاملة، وذلك بتاريخ ٢٨ / ٦ /١٩٤٢، أسماها: الحملة الزرقاء او المهمة الزرقاء بلغة هتلر الالمانية.

وقد جرّد هتلر لهذه الحملة القوات التالية:

– مليون جندي ألماني.

– ألف ومائتين وثلاثة وستين دبابة.

– سبعة عشر ألفاً وخمسة وثلاثين مدفع ميدان.

– ألف وستمائة وأربعين قاذفة قنابل ومقاتلة اعتراضية.

ولكن كلّ هذه القوات عجزت عن تحقيق ايّ تقدم، في المعركة التي استمرت من ٢٨/٦/١٩٤٢ وانتهت بتاريخ ١٩/١١/١٩٤٢، عندما نجحت الجيوش السوفياتية بتدمير كلّ القوات المُشار إليها أعلاه وفرض الحصار الشامل على الجيش السادس الألماني، في منطقة ستالينغراد، ذلك الحصار الذي انتهى بتدمير الجيش الألماني السادس (بقيادة مارشال الدبابات الالماني باولوس) وإبادته بالكامل وتحرير منطقة ستالينغراد.

ان ما يجري حالياً، من عدوان أميركي أطلسي، عبر مشاركة تركيا المباشرة فيه، إسرائيلي سعودي خليجي، ليس سوى نسخة عن حملة هتلر الزرقاء، ذات الأهداف القريبة جداً من أهداف النازية الالمانية، لا بل هي اكثر شموليةً من اهداف المانيا النازية.

نقول ذلك لانّ ما يجري حالياً، من عدوان شامل على جمهورية أرمينيا، عبر الرئيس الأذري، إلهام علييڤ وزوجته مِهربان التي عيّنها نائبةً له، وهما الأكثر فساداً في العالم، لا يمكن وصفه (العدوان) بحربٍ او نزاعٍ بين أرمينيا وأذربيجان وإنما هو عدوان شامل، على منطقة القوقاز وما بعد بعد القوقاز.

اذ انّ هذا العدوان، حسب ما أفادت مصادر استخبارية مختصة ومتخصصة بشؤون القوقاز ومستندة الى معلومات دقيقةٍ، ميدانيةً والكترونية، يستهدف المحاور التالية:

أولاً: إيران.

انّ أهمّ الأهداف الفورية، التي تطمح قوى العدوان الأميركي الأطلسي الإسرائيلي الى تحقيقها، هي جرّ إيران الى حرب إقليمية في منطقة القوقاز وشمال غرب إيران على وجه الخصوص، وذلك لاستنزافها في حرب لا ناقة لها فيها ولا جمل. فالقصف المدفعي الذي تعرّضت له بلدة محمد صالح، في محافظة، خدا آفارين الحدودية الإيرانية أكثر من مرة، منذ بدأ العمليات العسكرية في منطقة ناغورنو كاراباخ، لم يكن قصفاً عن طريق الخطأ، سواء البشري او الحسابي، بل انه كان عملية قصف مدفعي مبرمج نفذتها بطارية مدافع هاون يديرها ضباط مدفعية «إسرائيليون»، في داخل الأراضي الأذرية، بهدف استدراج ردّ مدفعي إيراني توريطاً للأخيرة. وما التسريبات التي تنشرها المصادر الاستخبارية «الإسرائيلية» والخليجية/ السعودية، حول استنفار الحرس الثوري الإيراني، وتجهيزه لكتيبة مدفعية ميدان وكتيبة دبابات للردّ على مصادر النيران، إلا دليلاً اضافياً على أهداف العدوان.

ثانياً: روسيا.

انّ روسيا اليوم مستهدفةً، تماماً كما كان الاتحاد السوفياتي مستهدفاً آنذاك، خاصة اذا ما اخذنا بعين الاعتبار قيام الولايات المتحدة وحلف شمال الاطلسي، بضخ آلاف من عناصر داعش المسلحين، عبر تركيا الى أذربيجان، وتسريبها من هناك الى كافة مناطق القوقاز وما بعد القوقاز، ايّ شرقاً باتجاه اوزبكستان وتركمانستان وقرغيزيا وطاجيكستان قرب الحدود الصينيه، ثم شمالاً، باتجاه الجمهوريات الاتحادية الروسية، مثل جمهورية داغستان والشيشان وإنغوشيا وجمهورية شمال أوسيتيا وجمهورية كاباردينو / بالكاريا / وجمهورية الشركس، وكلها جمهوريات من جمهوريات الاتحاد الروسي. الامر الذي يجعل من خلق حالة عدم استقرار دائمة على حدود روسيا الجنوبية، وربما حتى داخل حدودها الجنوبية، أمراً في غاية الخطورة الاستراتيجية، اذ انّ هذا التهديد قد يصل الى دعم المعسكر الأطلسي الأميركي لمحاولات انفصالية في هذه الجمهوريات، كما حدث في بداية تسعينيات القرن الماضي في جمهورية الشيشان، التي شهدت حربين دمويتين فشلت خلالهما المخططات الاميركية في تحقيق أهدافها. وهو ما يعتبر تهديداً استراتيجياً مباشراً لروسيا لا يمكنها السكوت عليه.

اذن، ها نحن نرى أهداف هذا العدوان تصل الى ما وراء القوقاز، ايّ الى هدف تفتيت الاتحاد الروسي وإخضاع جمهورياته للهيمنة الأميركية الأوروبية، حيث لا بدّ ان نرى هذه المخططات مقترنة مع الجهود الأطلسية الأميركية المتواصلة، لضم أوكرانيا وجورجيا الى عضوية حلف شمال الاطلسي، احكاماً لتطويق روسيا الاستراتيحي، نظراً لما تقوم به دول هذا الحلف، من استفزازات مستمرة ضدّ روسيا، من البحر الأسود جنوباً (محاولات طائرات الاستطلاع والقاذفات الاستراتيجية الأميركية اختراق الأجواء الروسية باستمرار انطلاقاً من قواعدها في تركيا ورومانيا وبلغاريا)، وصولاً الى نفس هذا النمط من الاستفزازات، عبر الأجواء الأوكرانية والبولندية واللتوانية وأجواء لاتفيا واستونيا في الغرب، وصولاً الى مدينة لينينغراد، على بحر البلطيق، شمال غرب روسيا.

ايّ انّ كلّ ما ذكر أعلاه يؤكد انّ الهدف، مما يجري في منطقة كاراباخ، هو تحويل القوقاز الى منطقة عدم استقرار دائم، مما يستنزف طاقات روسيا المالية والعسكرية، في ما لو نجحت قوى العدوان، في التمكن من إقامة وتثبيت بنى تحتية قادرة، لداعش وغيرها من المسمّيات الإرهابية، في أذربيجان بدايةً ليتوسع هذا الوجود الى مناطق أخرى في الخاصرة الجنوبية لروسيا.

ولكن ما فشل في تحقيقه الزعيم النازي الألماني عام ١٩٤٢ لن ينجح في تحقيقه أحفاده الأطلسيين وأتباعهم، من صهاينة وأعراب، لا من خلال هذا العدوان الممنهج ولا من خلال التآمر المساند لهذا العدوان، الذي تمثل في مسرحية «تسميم» المعارض الروسي نافالين، التي تتواصل فصولها حالياً، كما تتواصل مؤامرات نفس غرف العمليات السوداء، في إعداد مؤامرة «تسميم» جديدة في سورية، ليس ضدّ معارض سوري بل ضدّ الشعب السوري في محافظة إدلب بهدف اتهام الجيشين الروسي والسوري بتنفيذ الجريمة التي يخططون لها.

ثالثاً: الصين.

وفي إطار ما تقدّم، من معلومات، مقترنةً بقراءةٍ موضوعيةٍ لهذه المعلومات، لا بدّ لنا أن نؤكد على أنّ جزءاً أساسياً من الجهود التخريبية، التي يجري تنفيذها في جنوب القوقاز، عبر إشعال فتيل الحرب في منطقة كاراباخ، موجه ضدّ جمهورية الصين الشعبية بشكل مباشر أيضاً، وذلك للأسباب التالية:

1 ـ عجز الولايات المتحده ودول حلف شمال الأطلسي معاً، ليس فقط عن مواجهة الصين عسكرياً فحسب، وإنما عجز واشنطن وحلفائها في الاتحاد الأوروبي حتى عن منافسة الصين اقتصادياً، الأمر الذي سيؤدي بالضرورة وبصورة مجردة تماماً الى تربّع الصين على عرش العالم خلال سنوات قليلة. وهو ما يعني إنهاء الهيمنة الاستعمارية الأميركية الأوروبية في العالم أجمع والى غير رجعة.

وبالنظر الى انّ مشروع طريق الحرير الصيني هو أحد أهمّ ركائز سياسة الصين الدولية، على الصعيد الاقتصادي وبالتالي السياسي والعسكري مستقبلاً، وهي السياسة المبنية على المنافسة الاقتصادية الشريفة والابتعاد عن سياسات العدوان وإشعال الحروب، تلافياً لنشأة أوضاع غير مستقرّة لا تساعد على تنمية التعاون الاقتصادي بين الدول، فإنّ الولايات المتحدة قد لجأت الى إشعال فتيل الحروب المتدحرجة في منطقة القوقاز، التي شكلت عقدة أساسية واستراتيجية هامة على الصعيد التجاري والسياسي والعسكري وحتى الديني، في حقبة طريق الحرير الصينية القديمة، التي كانت قائمة منذ سنة ١١٥ قبل الميلاد وحتى بداية القرن الثالث عشر الميلادي، والتي كانت تتمّ عبرها التبادلات التجارية بين الصين وجنوب أوروبا على وجه الخصوص، مارةً بمنطقة القوقاز الشمالي والجنوبي. وهي المناطق التي تحاول واشنطن وأدواتها السيطرة عليها حالياً لعرقلة تنفيذ مشاريع البنى التحتية الضرورية للحركة التجارية، التي هي قيد التبلور على قاعدة مشروع طريق واحد وحزام واحد الصيني العملاق.

وهذا يعني ان الولايات المتحدة، ومن خلال أدواتها الاقليمية، الصهيونية والعثمانية والرجعية العربية تسعى الى السيطرة على كامل منطقة القوقاز الاستراتيجية، وليس فقط إلحاق إقليم ناغورنو كاراباخ بأذربيجان كما يدّعي أردوغان.

من هنا فإنّ من الضروري فهم طبيعة هذا المخطط العدواني على حقيقته، ايّ على انه حلقة مكملة لتطويق الصين الشعبية استراتيجياً. فبالاضافة الى التحرشات والاستفزازات المتواصلة، التي تقوم بها الأساطيل البحرية الأميركية والأوروبية، كالقوة المسماة «قوة حماية التجارة الدولية» وغيرها، في بحر الصين الجنوبي، وبحار الصين الأخرى، وشرق المحيط الهندي وغرب المحيط الهادئ (الممتدة من جزيرة غوام حتى بحر الفلبين وجزيرة تايوان الصينية المنشقة)، بالاضافة الى هذه التحرشات ومثيلاتها الجوية، المنطلقة من القواعد الأميركية في اليابان وكوريا الجنوبية وقواعد المحيط الهندي، نجد ان الخبراء الاستراتيجيين الأميركيين، وفي ظل عجزهم عن المواجهة العسكرية المباشرة، في جنوب شرق آسيا، يلجأون الى خلق المصاعب الاستراتيجية للصين، على صعيد التجارة الاستراتيجية، أملاً منهم في إضعافها اقتصادياً، وبالتالي عسكرياً، كي يتمكنوا من تحقيق أهدافهم، في تكريس الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم من جديد.

لكن ما يغيب عن بال هؤلاء المخططين هو حقيقة انّ المصالح المشتركة، بين الصين الشعبية وروسيا وإيران، وعلاقات التنسيق الوثيق، التي تربط الدول الثلاث، على مختلف الأصعدة، كفيلة بإفشال كلّ هذه الأوهام، وانّ أتباع واشنطن في أنقره وتل أبيب وأعراب النفط لن يكونوا قادرين على تغيير موازين القوى الاستراتيجية، لا على صعيد منطقة القوقاز وآسيا الوسطى، ولا على صعيد موازين القوى في جنوب شرق آسيا وغرب المحيط الهادئ. وهي بالتالي مشاريع محكومة بالفشل، كسابقاتها من المشاريع الاميركية، التي انطلقت من احتلال أفغانستان، ثم العراق ومن بعدها محاولة ضرب حزب الله في لبنان سنة ٢٠٠٦، تعزيزاً لاحتلال العراق وتمهيداً للسيطرة على «الشرق الأوسط» بأكمله، وصولاً الى الفتن والحروب التي أشعلتها الولايات المتحدة في الدول العربية، تحت مسمّى الربيع العربي، منذ عام ٢٠١١، وانتهاءً بالعدوان الأميركي «الإسرائيلي» السعودي على اليمن، الذي فشل تماماً في تحقيق أيّ من أهدافه.

2 ـ التمهيد لتوسيع دائرة الحروب والفتن الطائفية والعرقية، في عموم منطقة آسيا الوسطى، وليس فقط في منطقة شمال وجنوب القوقاز، وذلك عبر تكليف مخلب الناتو، تركيا أردوغان، وتحت إشراف غرفة العمليات الأميركية التركية الإسرائيلية المشتركة، وبتمويل سعودي، بنقل الآلاف من مسلحي داعش، الموجودين في سورية حالياً، والذين تمّ نشرهم على محاور: فضولي وجبرائيل، جنوب منطقة ناغورنو كاراباخ، على الحدود الإيرانيه الاذرية، لاستخدامهم ضمن الأهداف المذكورة أعلاه، إلى جانب إنشاء معسكرات تدريب مخصصة لإعادة تدريب هذه العناصر، وتسريبها الى دول وسط آسيا السوفياتية السابقة، وصولاً الى الصين، ظناً منهم انّ بمقدورهم تغيير موازين القوى الاستراتيجية، أو خلق مناطق عدم استقرار دائمة، على حدود الصين الغربية وحدود روسيا الجنوبية والجنوبية الغربية وحدود إيران الشمالية الغربية.

بائسون هؤلاء الاطلسيون من واشنطن حتى أنقرة…

لم يقرأوا التاريخ جيداً ولا استوعبوا بعد السنن الكونية الحاكمة في كلّ تحوّلات الدنيا…

وما يمكرون إلا بأنفسهم ولا يشعرون

سأريكم آياتي فلا تستعجلون

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

Turkey’s Destabilizing Role

Source

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 10:22

With the current problems between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the continuous meddling of Turkey stirring trouble where it can-one cannot help but remember Cyprus and the way that beautiful Island was divided (1974) due to Turkish greed and a long time wish to reestablish the Ottoman Empire with a new face.

Cyprus pre-1974 was an island with a rising economy and status amongst world countries. Under the wise leadership of President Makarious it was navigating its way upwards.

Sadly the coup by the Greek Junta on President Makarious presented Turkey with an excuse to invade the Island-one that it had been searching for, for some time.

Syriatimes had the opportunity to interview Marinos Sizopoulos President of EDEK (a socialist Cyprus political Party).

EDEK party shrinks as turmoil escalates over ousted MEP, KNEWS

1- Can you give us a brief overview of the Cypriot problem-maybe going back to the British occupation of the island of Cyprus

After the occupation of Cyprus by the British, the Greek Cypriots of the island, in their very first official welcoming speech to the British in July 1878, asked for enosis (union) with Greece. The enosis was the main and constant demand of the Cypriots, expressed in every official memorandum to the British, in articles in the newspapers and speeches in the Legislative Council. 

The main turning points in the history of the movement for union with Greece was the 1931 revolt known as «Oktovriana», the referendum of 1950 and the EOKA struggle of 1955-1959. Specifically, the demand of Cypriots for Enosis urged them to an impulsive and not organized public revolt in 1931. The aftermath of the 1931 revolt was that the Governor’s House, symbolizing the colonial rule, was set on fire and an autocratic rule was imposed immediately afterwards.

In 1950 the results of the referendum for union (“enotiko dimopsifisma” as it is called) was that 96% of the Cypriots demanded the union of the island with Greece. Five years later, the EOKA struggle began which demanded the unification of the island with Greece. The struggle was ended with the Zurich and London Agreements in 1959. Following the Agreements, Cyprus was recognized as an independent state, the union could no longer be promoted and Turkey, Great Britain and Greece were imposed as the guaranteeing powers of the Republic of Cyprus. 

Few years later, in 1963, the military coup of Turkey against the Republic of Cyprus emerged. The coup was the first attempt of Turkey to put in action its plan for reoccupying Cyprus. This plan was designed in 1956 and it aimed to overthrow the legitimate government of the island by military force and integrate Cyprus to the Turkish regime.    Almost ten years later, in 1974, the military coup of the Greek military Junta allowed Turkey to invade and illegally capture 37% of the island. 

Since then, EDEK, the Socialist Party of Cyprus, has been struggling to set Cyprus free from the Turkish army. We demand all refugees be allowed to return to their home land, all settlers that illegally have been transferred by Turkey in the occupied areas, and all Turkish troops leave the island immediately. 

2- Archbishop Makarious the third was a well known leader of Cyprus-what was his role exactly?

Makarios was a charismatic leader. The people who met him, in Cyprus and abroad, admired him for his personality and knowledge. This can be confirmed by the thousands of letters that he received by his fans and followers from all over the word. Even in the reports of the foreign diplomats held in the historic archives we read how clever he was and how he fought for the justice of his people.   

Makarios succeeded to give prestige to both the office of Archbishop and that of the President of the Republic of Cyprus. He spent his life doing charity and missionary work in Cyprus and abroad. He was struggling for the establishment and strengthening of the Republic of Cyprus. By calling the name Makarios, we refer to the person whose work reflects our flag, our land, our struggles for freedom, national dignity and survival as Greek Cypriots.

His role after the Agreements in Zurich and London was focused on his initiatives for strengthening the Republic of Cyprus as an independent state. He worked hard for strengthening the role of Cyprus in the international community and especially into the Non-Aligned Movement. He systematically tried to give Cyprus an important and significant role in this Movement. As it is very well known he developed some really strong and sincere friendships with the Arab countries of the region, and specifically with Syria and Egypt. 

3- How many political parties are there in Cyprus?

There are four parliamentary parties in Cyprus which have been active for a few decades now. Randomly a few more parties, movements or combinations are popping up, but their existence is just for a short period of time. EDEK, of which I am President since 2015, was established in 1969. It is the socialist party of Cyprus, the fourth political power in the Cyprus Parliament.

4- In your opinion what was the reason for the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey and did Greece play a detrimental role in this invasion?

Turkey’s main goal, set since the 1950s, was to integrate Cyprus into Turkish territory in order to gain a dominant role in controlling the Middle East.

Britain sought to maintain its military presence and influence in Cyprus, in order to continue to exploit the island’s geostrategic position to the benefit of its interests in the region.

The United States, which was acting within the context of the Cold War (as it was at its peak at the time), sought to avoid the internationalization of the Cyprus problem and, above all, the involvement of the Soviets in the island’s affairs.

The junta of Athens, subservient to American politics, contributed with various illegal political and military means to carry out the coup against Makarios and to enable Turkey to invade and occupy the 37%.

For the United States and Britain, the Turkish invasion was a way of resolving a chronic problem. A “resolution” which runs counter to international law and the UN Charter. 

5- What were the policies of the USA and Europe towards Cyprus after the invasion?

The main goal of the US and the European Union is not to clash with Turkey, with which their geo-strategic interests are particularly important. Thus, in violation of international law, European principles, resolutions and provisions of the UN Charter, they either maintain an equal distance, or push Turkey towards the realization of its goals. The United States does that by strengthening Turkey with military equipment, and the European Union by enhancing its trade relations and economic agreements with Turkey.

Editor-in-Chief Reem Haddad

Basma Qaddour

Russia vs. US Imperial Aims in Syria

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, October 01, 2020

Former NATO commander General Wesley Clark earlier explained that the US underwent a post-9/11 transformation. A “policy coup” occurred. 

With no public debate or acknowledgement, hardliners in Washington usurped power.

Days after 9/11, Clark learned from Pentagon commanders that plans were made to “destroy the governments in seven countries.”

Besides Afghanistan, Yemen, and partnering with Israeli wars on Palestinians, they include Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

The plan follows the 1990s Paul Wolfowitz doctrine, stating the following:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere…”

“This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

Adopted by both right wings of the US war party, his doctrine is all about waging endless wars by hot and other means for unchallenged control over all other nations, their resources and populations — what the scourge of imperialism is all about.

The Obama regime’s preemptive war on nonbelligerent Syria over nine years ago was and remains part of Washington’s aim for controlling the Middle East and its vast hydrocarbon resources — in cahoots with junior partner Israel and key NATO countries.

Russia’s legitimate involvement from September 30, 2015 to the present day — at the request of Syria’s government — turned the tide of battle from defeat of its forces to liberation of most of the country.

Illegal occupation of northern Syria by US and Turkish forces, along with Pentagon troops in the country’s south, prevent conflict resolution.

On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu explained the game-changing effectiveness  of Moscow’s Syrian operations, saying the following:

“A total of 865 gang leaders and more than 133,000 militants, including 4,500 militants from the Russian Federation and the CIS countries (US supported jihadists) have been eliminated,” adding:

“The operation in Syria has demonstrated the fundamentally increased capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces, the ability to successfully defend national interests in any part of the world, as well as the readiness to provide military assistance to its allies and partners.”

“A total of 98% of military police units’ personnel, 90% of Russian pilots, and 60% of sailors gained real combat experience” in Syria.

The most active phase of Russia’s military operations in the country was from September 30, 2015 – December 11, 2017.

Over 44,000 sorties were conducted to the present day. Long-range cruise missiles were used against high-priority targets.

Surface and sub-service vessels carried out around 100 strategic strikes against ISIS and other US supported jihadists — dozens more by long-range bombers to destroy their infrastructure.

Shoigu believes that the threat posed by ISIS in Syria is neutralized.

By invitation from Damascus, Russia established two military bases in Syria.

Its Khmeimim airbase facilities are suitable for all its combat and support aircraft.

Its Tartus naval base can accommodate numerous ships. Its state-of-the-art facilities include vessel servicing, maintenance and repair capabilities.

Russian operations prevented the Syrian Arab Republic from becoming a US vassal state.

Its involvement also helps maintain a regional balance of power.

Despite important strategic accomplishments in the past five years, war in the country continues because of foreign occupation.

A potentially important development occurred on Tuesday.

According to Southfront, “Russian troops broke through a US blockade and entered eastern Syria, erecting a checkpoint along a road in Hasaka,” adding:

“The Russian military convoy, despite the opposition of the Americans, managed to break through into the eastern part of northern Syria.”

Russia’s new military checkpoint blocks movement of US troops, weapons and equipment from Iraq into Syria.

It also blocks transport of stolen Syrian oil by the US into Turkey.

Separately on Thursday, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported the following:

“In cooperation and coordination with Turkish regime-backed terrorists, the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) started to loot the wheat and barley crops which are stolen from (Syrian) farmers” — citing local sources, adding:

The Erdogan regime “opened…storehouses for this purpose after forcing farmers…to hand over their crops to centers run by terrorists and Turkish brokers in Ras al-Ayn area in Hasaka northern countryside…”

They’re smuggling them cross-border into Turkey.

Its occupation forces and terrorist proxies threatened to burn Syrian crops if farmers don’t comply with Ankara’s demands.

Shoigu’s claim about the elimination of ISIS in Syria was somewhat exaggerated.

According to AMN News on Wednesday, Syrian and Russian warplanes struck Daesh positions in Raqqa and Homs provinces to “weaken…the terrorist group’s resolve and…eliminate their remaining sleeper cells.”

A Final Comment

US sanctions war on Syria is all about wanting its people starved into submission — notably by last June’s so-called Caesar Syria Civilian Protection legislation (Caesar Act) that has nothing to do with protecting its people.

The measure threatens sanctions on nations, entities and individuals that maintain legitimate economic, financial, military, and intelligence relations with Damascus — their legal right under international law.

On Wednesday, the Trump regime imposed new sanctions on Syria.

According to a Treasury Department statement, 13 Syrian entities and individuals were blacklisted.

Targeted individuals include Syrian Central Bank governor Hazem Younes Karfoul and General Intelligence Directorate head Husam Muhammad Louka.

Targeted entities include  telecommunications, tourism, and technology firms.

US war by hot and other means on the Syrian Arab Republic aims to eliminate its sovereign independence.

Russia’s involvement in the country is a powerful counterforce against US imperial objectives.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.US Syria Pullout? A Saigon Moment?The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

The censored reason why the US would torpedo the UN over Iran: Iranian strength

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 7:19 PM  [ Last Update: Tuesday, 22 September 2020 7:23 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference to announce the Trump administration’s restoration of sanctions on Iran, on September 21, 2020, at the US State Department in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)
Why would the US blow up the UN over little old Iran?

By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with Press-TV

Washington has illegally snapped back illegal sanctions on Iran. No one in the world cares, but all this illegality has not gone unnoticed: The US is gutting both its international reputation and that of the United Nations all over Iran.

Risking the international order, which Washington partially controls, over China – Ok, they could be viewed as a serious enough threat by the realpolitik fanatics in the Pentagon. Over the former USSR? Ok, that unsubmissive bloc also threatened total US control.

But over Iran?

We must remind ourselves that the question seems strange only because in all the Western coverage of Iran-US relations what is never broached is the merest notion of Iranian strength.

But if Iran is so powerless then why is the US going to such unprecedented lengths? Why did the warmongering New York Times take a pause from their yellow journalism to concede that, yes, the absurd sanctions move means, “the United States has largely isolated itself from the world order”.

But they didn’t genuinely explain, much less even ask: “Why risk so much over Iran?”

Here is the never-stated reality: the US has made this desperate, sure-to-fail gambit because US policy has been defeated by superior Iranian strength.

This is not jingoistic propaganda on my part: The New York Times conceded that, “The act was born of frustration”. Iran is not some behemoth ready to steamroll the entire world, nor is it a media darling welcomed by foreign masses with strewn flowers – so how can it frustrate the superpower so very much, even as so many other countries fear to engage in the smallest acts of independence or defiance?

It can’t merely be the morally-bankrupt answer so popular in the US, “It’s the economy, stupid,” – i.e, that Iran has a lot of oil. 

No, Iranian strength rests upon the fundamental success of Iran’s unique combination of post-1917 socioeconomic political structures adapted under a genuine and modern interpretation of Islam.

This strength has even another strength on top of it – what a tremendous appeal this combination has for the huge portion of the globe known as the Muslim world.

Iran calls US attempt to ‘snapback’ sanctions ‘null and void’, urges UN to block it
Iran calls US attempt to ‘snapback’ sanctions ‘null and void’, urges UN to block it

Iran says the US’ claim about the return of the UN Security Council’s sanctions against Tehran as per the so-called “snapback” mechanism is “null and void”, calling on the UN and its Security Council to block any attempt to reinstate the bans.

The idea that the Iranian Islamic Revolution could be universally exported is an absurdity – forced conversion to Islam is proscribed in the Qur’an, for starters, and Islamic culture does not seem readily compatible with that of Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro or Tokyo any more than the culture of Tokyo, Rio and Amsterdam are readily compatible with that of Iran’s. But the idea that a post-1917, Islamically-based government can not just exist but thrive – even in total and open opposition to Western imperialism – is most definitely exportable to the Muslim World.

But even allowing this option to be democratically presented within Muslim countries is something which imperialists – from any region or culture – cannot risk.

Iran’s frightening strength, and its massive threat, is thus this: it keeps democratically presenting this option. That is the true reason why the US is so very deranged over Iran that they would topple the world order just to keep Iran from succeeding.

In a sense they are right: Iran’s success really does challenge the world order, after all, given the modern importance of oil – a Muslim world not chained by arrogant imperialists would force the West to finally cooperate and not dominate, and also free up trillions of petrodollars for local use.

Washington demands that 80 million Iranians must be viciously sanctioned because they keep selecting this option; keep getting out to vote; keep democratically participating; and – in 2020 – keep on respecting the national democratic will no matter how many sanctions get levied in an effort to, as former US Secretary of State John Kerry once said by accident in Paris, “implode” Iran.

(In 2020 in the US, however, it seems like neither side will honor the national democratic will if their own candidate doesn’t win – more proof that the US is not a very democratic culture, perhaps.)

UN chief says will take no action on US 'snapback' push against Iran
UN chief says will take no action on US ‘snapback’ push against Iran

The UN chief says “uncertainty” prevents him from considering Washington

Savvy commentators know that Trump’s sanctions may have increased economic difficulties but they also know that they have only increased domestic patriotism: a country which fought for eight years to preserve 5 centimetres of Iranian land from Iraqi & Western aggressors cannot be easily cowed, nor have they come this far to stop now.

Increasing this sense of patriotism is the reality that Iranians truly feel that they deserve international respect precisely because the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 has created a novel system so very strong and egalitarian that it can face endless sanctions and still win.

These post-1917 and Islamic-inspired creations, solutions and levers are what are so treasured domestically; are what explain the success for Iran’s resistance; cannot even be objectively described, much less openly admired, in the West, which is why the West doesn’t even want to inquire about possible Iranian strengths.

It also these systems – their very success, support and how they increase sovereign Iranian strength – which explain why it is China which courted Iran for the Belt and Road Initiative and not the other way around. For over five years Iran rather rejected Beijing’s overtures, in order to give the JCPOA a chance.

The most lenient analysis in 2020 would be that the JCPOA is at least a partial failure, and it seems very historically logical to predict that even a victory by Joe Biden would not lead to the US actually honoring the treaty.

But as the JCPOA’s promises continued to go unfulfilled Iranian diplomats were also laying the groundwork for the $400 billion, 25-year strategic partnership with China that now seems certain to be finalized.

None of it adds up over Iran, to the US elite:

Why would the US blow up the UN over little old Iran? Why is China making Iran (and not, say, Russia) their make-or-break node in their Belt and Road Initiative? Why is the world standing with Iran against almighty Washington?

But it’s not possible to intelligently answer such questions if the idea of Iranian strength cannot even be openly discussed.

Fortunately for the average Iranian: strength means having the ability to disregard the ignorance, collusion and duplicity of those weaker than yourself.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

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

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Hyperinflation, Fascism and War: How the New World Order May Be Defeated Once More

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Hyperinflation, Fascism and War: How the New World Order May Be Defeated Once More

September 19, 2020

By Matthew Ehret for the Saker Blog

While the world’s attention is absorbed by tectonic shifts unfolding across America as “a perfect storm of civil war, and military coup threatens to undo both the elections and the very foundations of the republic itself, something very ominous has appeared “off of the radar” of most onlookers. This something is a financial collapse of the trans-Atlantic banks that threatens to unleash chaos upon the world. It is this collapse that underlies the desperate efforts being made by the neo-con drive for total war with Russia, China and other members of the growing Mutlipolar Alliance today.

In recent articles, I have mentioned that the Bank of England-led “solution” to this oncoming financial blowout of the $1.5 quadrillion derivatives bubble is being pushed under the cover of a “Great Global Reset” which is an ugly and desperate effort to use COVID-19 as a cover for the imposition of a new post-covid world order operating system. Since the new “rules” of this new system are very similar to the 1923 Bank of England “solution” to Germany’s economic chaos which eventually required a fascist governance mechanism to impose it onto the masses, I wish to take a deeper look at the causes and effects of Weimar Germany’s completely un-necessary collapse into hyperinflation and chaos during the period of 1919-1923.

In this essay, I will go further to examine how those same architects of hyperfinflation came close to establishing a global bankers’ dictatorship in 1933 and how that early attempt at a New World Order was fortunately derailed through a bold fight which has been written out of popular history books.

We will investigate in depth how a major war broke out within America led by anti-imperial patriots in opposition to the forces of Wall Street and London’s Deep State and we will examine how this clash of paradigms came to a head in 1943-1945.

This historical study is not being conducted for entertainment, nor should this be seen as a purely academic exercise, but is being created for the simple fact that the world is coming to a total systemic meltdown and unless certain suppressed facts of 20th century history are brought to light, then those forces who have destroyed our collective memory of what we once were will remain in the drivers seat as society is carried into a new age of fascism and world war.

Versailles and the Destruction of Germany

Britain had been the leading hand behind the orchestration of WWI and the destruction of the potential German-Russian-American-Ottoman alliance that had begun to take form by the late 19th century as foolish Kaiser Wilhelm discovered (though sadly too late) when he said: “the world will be engulfed in the most terrible of wars, the ultimate aim of which is the ruin of Germany. England, France and Russia have conspired for our annihilation… that is the naked truth of the situation which was slowly but surely created by Edward VII”.

Just as the British oligarchy managed the war, so too did they organize the reparations conference in France which, among other things, imposed impossible debt repayments upon a defeated Germany and created the League of Nations which was meant to become the instrument for a “post-nation state world order”. Lloyd George led the British delegation alongside his assistant Philip Kerr (Lord Lothian), Leo Amery, Lord Robert Cecil and Lord John Maynard Keynes who have a long term agenda to bring about a global dictatorship. All of these figures were members of the newly emerging Round Table Movement, that had taken full control of Britain by ousting Asquith in 1916, and which is at the heart of today’s “deep state”.

After the 1918 Armistice dismantled Germany’s army and navy, the once powerful nation was now forced to pay the impossible sum of 132 billion gold marks to the victors and had to give up territories representing 10% of its population (Alsace-Loraine, Ruhr, and North Silesia) which made up 15% of its arable land, 12% of its livestock, 74% of its iron ore, 63% of its zinc production, and 26% of its coal. Germany also had to give up 8000 locomotives, 225 000 railcars and all of its colonies. It was a field day of modern pillage.

Germany was left with very few options. Taxes were increased and imports were cut entirely while exports were increased. This policy (reminiscent of the IMF austerity techniques in use today) failed entirely as both fell 60%. Germany gave up half of its gold supply and still barely a dent was made in the debt payments. By June 1920 the decision was made to begin a new strategy: increase the printing press. Rather than the “miracle cure” which desperate monetarists foolishly believed it would be, this solution resulted in an asymptotic devaluation of the currency into hyperinflation. From June 1920 to October 1923 the money supply in circulation skyrocketed from 68.1 gold marks to 496.6 quintillion gold marks. In June 1922, 300 marks exchanged $1 US and in November 1923, it took 42 trillion marks to get $1 US! Images are still available of Germans pushing wheelbarrows of cash down the street, just to buy a stick of butter and bread (1Kg of Bread sold for $428 billion marks in 1923).

With the currency’s loss of value, industrial output fell by 50%, unemployment rose to over 30% and food intake collapsed by over half of pre-war levels. German director Fritz Lang’s 1922 film Dr. Mabuse (The Gambler) exposed the insanity of German population’s collapse into speculative insanity as those who had the means began betting against the German mark in order to protect themselves thus only helping to collapse the mark from within. This is very reminiscent of those Americans today short selling the US dollar rather than fighting for a systemic solution.

There was resistance.

The dark effects of Versailles were not unknown and Germany’s Nazi-stained destiny was anything but pre-determined. It is a provable fact often left out of history books that patriotic forces from Russia, America and Germany attempted courageously to change the tragic trajectory of hyperinflation and fascism which WOULD HAVE prevented the rise of Hitler and WWII had their efforts not been sabotaged.

From America itself, a new Presidential team under the leadership of William Harding quickly reversed the pro-League of Nations agenda of the rabidly anglophile President Woodrow Wilson. A leading US industrialist named Washington Baker Vanderclip who had led in the world’s largest trade agreement in history with Russia to the tune of $3 billion in 1920 had called Wilson “an autocrat at the inspiration of the British government.” Unlike Wilson, President Harding both supported the US-Russia trade deal and undermined the League of Nations by re-enforcing America’s sovereignty, declaring bi-lateral treaties with Russia, Hungary and Austria outside of the league’s control in 1921. The newly-formed British Roundtable Movement in America (set up as the Council on Foreign Relations) were not pleased.

Just as Harding was maneuvering to recognize the Soviet Union and establish an entente with Lenin, the great president ate some “bad oysters” and died on August 2, 1923. While no autopsy was ever conducted, his death brought a decade of Anglophile Wall Street control into America and ended all opposition to World Government from the Presidency. This period resulted in the speculation-driven bubble of the roaring 20s whose crash on black Friday in 1929 nearly unleashed a fascist hell in America.

The Russia-Germany Rapallo Treaty is De-Railed

After months of organizing, leading representatives of Russia and Germany agreed to an alternative solution to the Versailles Treaty which would have given new life to Germany’s patriots and established a powerful Russia-German friendship in Europe that would have upset other nefarious agendas.

Under the leadership of German Industrialist and Foreign Minster Walter Rathenau, and his counterpart Russian Foreign Minister Georgi Chicherin, the treaty was signed in Rapallo, Italy on April 16, 1922 premised upon the forgiveness of all war debts and a renouncement of all territorial claims from either side. The treaty said Russia and Germany would “co-operate in a spirit of mutual goodwill in meeting the economic needs of both countries.”

When Rathenau was assassinated by a terrorist cell called the Organization Consul on June 24, 1922 the success of the Rapallo Treaty lost its steam and the nation fell into a deeper wave of chaos and money printing. The Organization Consul had taken the lead in the murder of over 354 German political figures between 1919-1923, and when they were banned in 1922, the group merely changed its name and morphed into other German paramilitary groups (such as the Freikorps) becoming the military arm of the new National Socialist Party.

1923: City of London’s Solution is imposed

When the hyperinflationary blowout of Germany resulted in total un-governability of the state, a solution took the form of the Wall Street authored “Dawes Plan” which necessitated the use of a London-trained golem by the name of Hjalmar Schacht. First introduced as Currency Commissioner in November 1923 and soon President of the Reichsbank, Schacht’s first act was to visit Bank of England’s governor Montagu Norman in London who provided Schacht a blueprint for proceeding with Germany’s restructuring. Schacht returned to “solve” the crisis with the very same poison that caused it.

First announcing a new currency called the “rentenmark” set on a fixed value exchanging 1 trillion reichsmarks for 1 new rentenmark, Germans were robbed yet again. This new currency would operate under “new rules” never before seen in Germany’s history: Mass privatizations resulted in Anglo-American conglomerates purchasing state enterprises. IG Farben, Thyssen, Union Banking, Brown Brothers Harriman, Standard Oil, JP Morgan and Union Banking took control Germany’s finances, mining and industrial interests under the supervision of John Foster Dulles, Montagu Norman, Averill Harriman and other deep state actors. This was famously exposed in the 1961 film Judgement at Nuremburg by Stanley Kramer.

Schacht next cut credit to industries, raised taxes and imposed mass austerity on “useless spending”. 390 000 civil servants were fired, unions and collective bargaining was destroyed and wages were slashed by 15%.

As one can imagine, this destruction of life after the hell of Versailles was intolerable and civil unrest began to boil over in ways that even the powerful London-Wall Street bankers (and their mercenaries) couldn’t control. An enforcer was needed unhindered by the republic’s democratic institutions to force Schacht’s economics onto the people. An up-and-coming rabble rousing failed painter who had made waves in a Beerhall Putsch on November 8, 1923 was perfect.

One Last Attempt to Save Germany

Though Hitler grew in power over the coming decade of Schachtian economics, one last republican effort was made to prevent Germany from plunging into a fascist hell in the form of the November 1932 election victory of General Kurt von Schleicher as Chancellor of Germany. Schleicher had been a co-architect of Rapallo alongside Rathenau a decade earlier and was a strong proponent of the Friedrich List Society’s program of public works and internal improvements promoted by industrialist Wilhelm Lautenbach. The Nazi party’s public support collapsed and it found itself bankrupt. Hitler had fallen into depression and was even contemplating suicide when “a legal coup” was unleashed by the Anglo-American elite resulting in Wall Street funds pouring into Nazi coffers.

By January 30, 1933 Hitler gained Chancellorship where he quickly took dictatorial powers under the “state of emergency” caused by the burning of the Reichstag in March 1933. By 1934 the Night of the Long Knives saw General Schleicher and hundreds of other German patriots assassinated and it was only a few years until the City of London-Wall Street Frankenstein monster stormed across the world.

How the 1929 Crash was Manufactured

While everyone knows that the 1929 market crash unleashed four years of hell in America which quickly spread across Europe under the great depression, not many people have realized that this was not inevitable, but rather a controlled blowout.

The bubbles of the 1920s were unleashed with the early death of President William Harding in 1923 and grew under the careful guidance of JP Morgan’s President Coolidge and financier Andrew Mellon (Treasury Secretary) who de-regulated the banks, imposed austerity onto the country, and cooked up a scheme for Broker loans allowing speculators to borrow 90% on their stock. Wall Street was deregulated, investments into the real economy were halted during the 1920s and insanity became the norm. In 1925 broker loans totalled $1.5 billion and grew to $2.6 billion in 1926 and hit $5.7 billion by the end of 1927. By 1928, the stock market was overvalued fourfold!

When the bubble was sufficiently inflated, a moment was decided upon to coordinate a mass “calling in” of the broker loans. Predictably, no one could pay them resulting in a collapse of the markets. Those “in the know” cleaned up with JP Morgan’s “preferred clients”, and other financial behemoths selling before the crash and then buying up the physical assets of America for pennies on the dollar. One notable person who made his fortune in this manner was Prescott Bush of Brown Brothers Harriman, who went onto bailout a bankrupt Nazi party in 1932. These financiers had a tight allegiance with the City of London and coordinated their operations through the private central banking system of America’s Federal Reserve and Bank of International Settlements.

The Living Hell that was the Great Depression

Throughout the Great depression, the population was pushed to its limits making America highly susceptible to fascism as unemployment skyrocketed to 25%, industrial capacity collapsed by 70%, and agricultural prices collapsed far below the cost of production accelerating foreclosures and suicide. Life savings were lost as 4000 banks failed.

This despair was replicated across Europe and Canada with eugenics-loving fascists gaining popularity across the board. England saw the rise of Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists in 1932, English Canada had its own fascist solution with the Rhodes Scholar “Fabian Society” League of Social Reconstruction (which later took over the Liberal Party) calling for the “scientific management of society”. Time magazine had featured Il Duce over 6 times by 1932 and people were being told by that corporate fascism was the economic solution to all of America’s economic woes.

In the midst of the crisis, the City of London removed itself from the gold standard in 1931 which was a crippling blow to the USA, as it resulted in a flight of gold from America causing a deeper contraction of the money supply and thus inability to respond to the depression. British goods simultaneously swamped the USA crushing what little production was left.

It was in this atmosphere that one of the least understood battles unfolded in 1933.

1932: A Bankers’ Dictatorship is Attempted

In Germany, a surprise victory of Gen. Kurt Schleicher caused the defeat of the London-directed Nazi party in December 1932 threatening to break Germany free of Central Bank tyranny. A few weeks before Schleicher’s victory, Franklin Roosevelt won the presidency in America threatening to regulate the private banks and assert national sovereignty over finance.

Seeing their plans for global fascism slipping away, the City of London announced that a new global system controlled by Central Banks had to be created post haste. Their objective was to use the economic crisis as an excuse to remove from nation states any power over monetary policy, while enhancing the power of Independent Central Banks as enforcers of “balanced global budgets”. elaborate

In December 1932, an economic conference “to stabilize the world economy” was organized by the League of Nations under the guidance of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and Bank of England. The BIS was set up as “the Central Bank of Central Banks” in 1930 in order to facilitate WWI debt repayments and was a vital instrument for funding Nazi Germany- long after WWII began. The London Economic Conference brought together 64 nations of the world under a controlled environment chaired by the British Prime Minister and opened by the King himself.

A resolution passed by the Conference’s Monetary Committee stated:

“The conference considers it to be essential, in order to provide an international gold standard with the necessary mechanism for satisfactory working, that independent Central Banks, with requisite powers and freedom to carry out an appropriate currency and credit policy, should be created in such developed countries as have not at present an adequate central banking institution” and that “the conference wish to reaffirm the great utility of close and continuous cooperation between Central Banks. The Bank of International Settlements should play an increasingly important part not only by improving contact, but also as an instrument for common action.”

Echoing the Bank of England’s modern fixation with “mathematical equilibrium”, the resolutions stated that the new global gold standard controlled by central banks was needed “to maintain a fundamental equilibrium in the balance of payments” of countries. The idea was to deprive nation states of their power to generate and direct credit for their own development.

FDR Torpedoes the London Conference

Chancellor Schleicher’s resistance to a bankers’ dictatorship was resolved by a “soft coup” ousting the patriotic leader in favor of Adolph Hitler (under the control of a Bank of England toy named Hjalmar Schacht) in January 1933 with Schleicher assassinated the following year. In America, an assassination attempt on Roosevelt was thwarted on February 15, 1933 when a woman knocked the gun out of the hand of an anarchist-freemason in Miami resulting in the death of Chicago’s Mayor Cermak.

Without FDR’s dead body, the London conference met an insurmountable barrier, as FDR refused to permit any American cooperation. Roosevelt recognized the necessity for a new international system, but he also knew that it had to be organized by sovereign nation states subservient to the general welfare of the people and not central banks dedicated to the welfare of the oligarchy. Before any international changes could occur, nation states castrated from the effects of the depression had to first recover economically in order to stay above the power of the financiers.

By May 1933, the London Conference crumbled when FDR complained that the conference’s inability to address the real issues of the crisis is “a catastrophe amounting to a world tragedy” and that fixation with short term stability were “old fetishes of so-called international bankers”. FDR continued “The United States seeks the kind of dollar which a generation hence will have the same purchasing and debt paying power as the dollar value we hope to attain in the near future. That objective means more to the good of other nations than a fixed ratio for a month or two. Exchange rate fixing is not the true answer.”

The British drafted an official statement saying “the American statement on stabilization rendered it entirely useless to continue the conference.”

FDR’s War on Wall Street

The new president laid down the gauntlet in his inaugural speech on March 4th saying: “The money-changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit”.

FDR declared a war on Wall Street on several levels, beginning with his support of the Pecorra Commission which sent thousands of bankers to prison, and exposed the criminal activities of the top tier of Wall Street’s power structure who manipulated the depression, buying political offices and pushing fascism. Ferdinand Pecorra who ran the commission called out the deep state when he said “this small group of highly placed financiers, controlling the very springs of economic activity, holds more real power than any similar group in the United States.”

Pecorra’s highly publicized success empowered FDR to impose sweeping regulation in the form of 1) Glass-Steagall bank separation, 2) bankruptcy re-organization and 3) the creation of the Security Exchange Commission to oversee Wall Street. Most importantly, FDR disempowered the London-controlled Federal Reserve by installing his own man as Chair (Industrialist Mariner Eccles) who forced it to obey national commands for the first time since 1913, while creating an “alternative” lending mechanism outside of Fed control called the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) which became the number one lender to infrastructure in America throughout the 1930s.

One of the most controversial policies for which FDR is demonized today was his abolishment of the gold standard. The gold standard itself constricted the money supply to a strict exchange of gold per paper dollar, thus preventing the construction of internal improvements needed to revive industrial capacity and put the millions of unemployed back to work for which no financial resources existed. It’s manipulation by international financiers made it a weapon of destruction rather than creation at this time. Since commodity prices had fallen lower than the costs of production, it was vital to increase the price of goods under a form of “controlled inflation” so that factories and farms could become solvent and unfortunately the gold standard held that back. FDR imposed protective tariffs to favor agro-industrial recovery on all fronts ending years of rapacious free trade.

FDR stated his political-economic philosophy in 1934: “the old fallacious notion of the bankers on the one side and the government on the other side, as being more or less equal and independent units, has passed away. Government by the necessity of things must be the leader, must be the judge, of the conflicting interests of all groups in the community, including bankers.”

The Real New Deal

Once liberated from the shackles of the central banks, FDR and his allies were able to start a genuine recovery by restoring confidence in banking. Within 31 days of his bank holiday, 75% of banks were operational and the FDIC was created to insure deposits. Four million people were given immediate work, and hundreds of libraries, schools and hospitals were built and staffed- All funded through the RFC. FDR’s first fireside chat was vital in rebuilding confidence in the government and banks, serving even today as a strong lesson in banking which central bankers don’t want you to learn about.

From 1933-1939, 45 000 infrastructure projects were built. The many “local” projects were governed, like China’s Belt and Road Initiative today, under a “grand design” which FDR termed the “Four Quarters” featuring zones of megaprojects such as the Tennessee Valley Authority area in the south east, the Columbia River Treaty zone on the northwest, the St Laurence Seaway zone on the North east, and Hoover Dam/Colorado zone on the Southwest. These projects were transformative in ways money could never measure as the Tennessee area’s literacy rose from 20% in 1932 to 80% in 1950, and racist backwater holes of the south became the bedrock for America’s aerospace industry due to the abundant and cheap hydropower. As I had already reported on the Saker, FDR was not a Keynesian (although it cannot be argued that hives of Rhodes Scholars and Fabians penetrating his administration certainly were).

Wall Street Sabotages the New Deal

Those who criticize the New Deal today ignore the fact that its failures have more to do with Wall Street sabotage than anything intrinsic to the program. For example, JP Morgan tool Lewis Douglass (U.S. Budget Director) forced the closure of the Civil Works Administration in 1934 resulting in the firing of all 4 million workers.

Wall Street did everything it could to choke the economy at every turn. In 1931, NY banks loans to the real economy amounted to $38.1 billion which dropped to only $20.3 billion by 1935. Where NY banks had 29% of their funds in US bonds and securities in 1929, this had risen to 58% which cut off the government from being able to issue productive credit to the real economy.

When, in 1937, FDR’s Treasury Secretary persuaded him to cancel public works to see if the economy “could stand on its own two feet”, Wall Street pulled credit out of the economy collapsing the Industrial production index from 110 to 85 erasing seven years’ worth of gain, while steel fell from 80% capacity back to depression levels of 19%. Two million jobs were lost and the Dow Jones lost 39% of its value. This was no different from kicking the crutches out from a patient in rehabilitation and it was not lost on anyone that those doing the kicking were openly supporting Fascism in Europe. Bush patriarch Prescott Bush, then representing Brown Brothers Harriman was found guilty for trading with the enemy in 1942!

Coup Attempt in America Thwarted

The bankers didn’t limit themselves to financial sabotage during this time, but also attempted a fascist military coup which was exposed by Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler in his congressional testimony of November 20, 1934. Butler had testified that the plan was begun in the Summer of 1933 and organized by Wall Street financiers who tried to use him as a puppet dictator leading 500 000 American Legion members to storm the White House. As Butler spoke, those same financiers had just set up an anti-New Deal organization called the American Liberty League which fought to keep America out of the war in defense of an Anglo-Nazi fascist global government which they wished to partner with.

The American Liberty league only changed tune when it became evident that Hitler had become a disobedient Frankenstein monster who wasn’t content in a subservient position to Britain’s idea of a New World Order. In response to the Liberty League’s agenda, FDR said “some speak of a New World Order, but it is not new and it is not order”.

FDR’s Anti-Colonial Post-War Vision

One of the greatest living testimonies to FDR’s anti-colonial vision is contained in a little known 1946 book authored by his son Elliot Roosevelt who, as his father’s confidante and aide, was privy to some of the most sensitive meetings his father participated in throughout the war. Seeing the collapse of the post-war vision upon FDR’s April 12, 1945 death and the emergence of a pro-Churchill presidency under Harry Truman, who lost no time in dropping nuclear bombs on a defeated Japan, ushering in a Soviet witch hunt at home and launching a Cold War abroad, Elliot authored ‘As He Saw It’ (1946) in order to create a living testimony to the potential that was lost upon his father’s passing.

As Elliot said of his motive to write his book:

“The decision to write this book was taken more recently and impelled by urgent events. Winston Churchill’s speech at Fulton, Missouri, had a hand in this decision,… the growing stockpile of American atom bombs is a compelling factor; all the signs of growing disunity among the leading nations of the world, all the broken promises, all the renascent power politics of greedy and desperate imperialism were my spurs in this undertaking… And I have seen the promises violated, and the conditions summarily and cynically disregarded, and the structure of peace disavowed… I am writing this, then, to you who agree with me that… the path he charted has been most grievously—and deliberately—forsaken.”

The Four Freedoms

Even before America had entered the war, the principles of international harmony which FDR enunciated in his January 6, 1941 Four Freedoms speech to the U.S. Congress served as the guiding light through every battle for the next 4.5 years. In this speech FDR said:

“In future days, which we seek to secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

“The first is the freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world.

“The second is the freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.

“The third is the freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants–everywhere in the world.

“The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a worldwide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.

“That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

“To that new order, we oppose the greater conception–the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.

“Since the beginning of American history, we have been engaged in change–in a perpetual peaceful revolution–a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting itself to changing conditions–without the concentration camp or the quicklime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.

“This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or to keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose.”

Upon hearing these Freedoms outlined, American painter Norman Rockwell was inspired to paint four masterpieces that were displayed across America and conveyed the beauty of FDR’s spirit to all citizens.

FDR’s patriotic Vice President (and the man who SHOULD have been president in 1948) Henry Wallace outlined FDR’s vision in a passionate video address to the people in 1942 which should also be watched by all world citizens today:

Churchill vs FDR: The Clash of Two Paradigms

Elliot’s account of the 1941-1945 clash of paradigms between his father and Churchill are invaluable both for their ability to shed light into the true noble constitutional character of America personified in the person of Roosevelt but also in demonstrating the beautiful potential of a world that SHOULD HAVE BEEN had certain unnatural events not intervened to derail the evolution of our species into an age of win-win cooperation, creative reason and harmony.

In As He Saw It, Elliot documents a conversation he had with his father at the beginning of America’s entry into WWII, who made his anti-colonial intentions clear as day saying:

“I’m talking about another war, Elliott. I’m talking about what will happen to our world, if after this war we allow millions of people to slide back into the same semi-slavery!

“Don’t think for a moment, Elliott, that Americans would be dying in the Pacific tonight, if it hadn’t been for the shortsighted greed of the French and the British and the Dutch. Shall we allow them to do it all, all over again? Your son will be about the right age, fifteen or twenty years from now.

“One sentence, Elliott. Then I’m going to kick you out of here. I’m tired. This is the sentence: When we’ve won the war, I will work with all my might and main to see to it that the United States is not wheedled into the position of accepting any plan that will further France’s imperialistic ambitions, or that will aid or abet the British Empire in its imperial ambitions.”

This clash came to a head during a major confrontation between FDR and Churchill during the January 24, 1943 Casablanca Conference in Morocco. At this event, Elliot documents how his father first confronted Churchill’s belief in the maintenance of the British Empire’s preferential trade agreements upon which it’s looting system was founded:

“Of course,” he [FDR] remarked, with a sly sort of assurance, “of course, after the war, one of the preconditions of any lasting peace will have to be the greatest possible freedom of trade.”

He paused. The P.M.’s head was lowered; he was watching Father steadily, from under one eyebrow.

“No artificial barriers,” Father pursued. “As few favored economic agreements as possible. Opportunities for expansion. Markets open for healthy competition.” His eye wandered innocently around the room.

Churchill shifted in his armchair. “The British Empire trade agreements” he began heavily, “are—”

Father broke in. “Yes. Those Empire trade agreements are a case in point. It’s because of them that the people of India and Africa, of all the colonial Near East and Far East, are still as backward as they are.”

Churchill’s neck reddened and he crouched forward. “Mr. President, England does not propose for a moment to lose its favored position among the British Dominions. The trade that has made England great shall continue, and under conditions prescribed by England’s ministers.”

“You see,” said Father slowly, “it is along in here somewhere that there is likely to be some disagreement between you, Winston, and me.

“I am firmly of the belief that if we are to arrive at a stable peace it must involve the development of backward countries. Backward peoples. How can this be done? It can’t be done, obviously, by eighteenth-century methods. Now—”

“Who’s talking eighteenth-century methods?”

“Whichever of your ministers recommends a policy which takes wealth in raw materials out of a colonial country, but which returns nothing to the people of that country in consideration. Twentieth-century methods involve bringing industry to these colonies. Twentieth-century methods include increasing the wealth of a people by increasing their standard of living, by educating them, by bringing them sanitation—by making sure that they get a return for the raw wealth of their community.”

Around the room, all of us were leaning forward attentively. Hopkins was grinning. Commander Thompson, Churchill’s aide, was looking glum and alarmed. The P.M. himself was beginning to look apoplectic.

“You mentioned India,” he growled.

“Yes. I can’t believe that we can fight a war against fascist slavery, and at the same time not work to free people all over the world from a backward colonial policy.”

“What about the Philippines?”

“I’m glad you mentioned them. They get their independence, you know, in 1946. And they’ve gotten modern sanitation, modern education; their rate of illiteracy has gone steadily down…”

“There can be no tampering with the Empire’s economic agreements.”

“They’re artificial…”

“They’re the foundation of our greatness.”

“The peace,” said Father firmly, “cannot include any continued despotism. The structure of the peace demands and will get equality of peoples. Equality of peoples involves the utmost freedom of competitive trade. Will anyone suggest that Germany’s attempt to dominate trade in central Europe was not a major contributing factor to war?”

A vintage photo of a group of people sitting posing for the camera Description automatically generated

It was an argument that could have no resolution between these two men…

The following day, Elliot describes how the conversation continued between the two men with Churchill stating:

“Mr. President,” he cried, “I believe you are trying to do away with the British Empire. Every idea you entertain about the structure of the postwar world demonstrates it. But in spite of that”—and his forefinger waved—”in spite of that, we know that you constitute our only hope. And”—his voice sank dramatically—”you know that we know it. You know that we know that without America, the Empire won’t stand.”

Churchill admitted, in that moment, that he knew the peace could only be won according to precepts which the United States of America would lay down. And in saying what he did, he was acknowledging that British colonial policy would be a dead duck, and British attempts to dominate world trade would be a dead duck, and British ambitions to play off the U.S.S.R. against the U.S.A. would be a dead duck. Or would have been, if Father had lived.”

This story was delivered in full during an August 15 lecture by the author:

FDR’s Post-War Vision Destroyed

While FDR’s struggle did change the course of history, his early death during the first months of his fourth term resulted in a fascist perversion of his post-war vision.

Rather than see the IMF, World Bank or UN used as instruments for the internationalization of the New Deal principles to promote long term, low interest loans for the industrial development of former colonies, FDR’s allies were ousted from power over his dead body, and they were recaptured by the same forces who attempted to steer the world towards a Central Banking Dictatorship in 1933.

The American Liberty League spawned into various “patriotic” anti-communist organizations which took power with the FBI and McCarthyism under the fog of the Cold War. This is the structure that Eisenhower warned about when he called out “the Military Industrial Complex” in 1960 and which John Kennedy did battle with during his 900 days as president.

This is the structure which is out to destroy President Donald Trump and undo the November elections under a military coup and Civil War out of fear that a new FDR impulse is beginning to be revived in America which may align with the 21st Century international New Deal emerging from China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Eurasian alliance. French Finance Minister Bruno LeMaire and Marc Carney have stated their fear that if the Green New Deal isn’t imposed by the west, then the New Silk Road and yuan will become the basis for the new world system.

The Bank of England-authored Green New Deal being pushed under the fog of COVID-19’s Great Green Global Reset which promise to impose draconian constraints on humanity’s carrying capacity in defense of saving nature from humanity have nothing to do with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and they have less to do with the Bretton Woods conference of 1944. These are merely central bankers’ wet dreams for depopulation and fascism “with a democratic face” which their 1923 and 1933 efforts failed to achieve and can only be imposed if people remain blind to their own recent history.


Matthew Ehret is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Patriot Review , a BRI Expert on Tactical talk, and has authored 3 volumes of ‘Untold History of Canada’ book series. In 2019 he co-founded the Montreal-based Rising Tide Foundation

Presidents that play chess

Presidents that play chess

September 15, 2020

by Katerina for the Saker Blog

This is a follow-up to my previous contribution, the “Relentless March” and I have to warn you, this one will be much harsher as it will be highlighting some home truths for east Europeans. If you are not ready or simply do not want to face those, I suggest you stop reading now.

In this essay, among other things, I will also try to provide some explanations as to why Russian President (VVP as he is widely known) does not respond to western provocations the way some people would like him to and it seems to bother them, especially those who see the perceived lack of response on his part as an indication of some weakness and indecisiveness..

He is none of that.

Although I have to admit that once I was one of these people. When ukro-nazis embarked on their killing spree in Donbass (historically part of Russia) and started killing Russian population there, I was absolutely enraged that the Russian Government has allowed for this horror to take place.

Looking back at it in a much calmer light I eventually realised that THAT was, without doubt, the right response on the part of Russia. If it got itself involved in that provocation, the body count would have been much, much higher.. besides, Donbass was helped in other ways.

What is a provocation? It is something that your enemy sets up, expecting you to react to it the way they were hoping you would react. So, what you do not do is GIVE them what they expected.

I will also admit that my understanding of this and other things to do with the actions of the Russian President are entirely due to my very calm, collected and analytical husband of Scottish ancestry, who would very patiently explain to me as to why VVP is doing what he does. Although, he had to calm me down first! He understood much better the Russian President’s thinking and actions, better than his Russian born wife! Must be the man thing. : )

I will also touch upon the attitudes towards Russia by former Eastern Bloc allies – former Warsaw Pact members and the reasons for their disturbing Russophobia that is being displayed towards Russia in the last couple of decades.

First on VVP.

President Putin is an exceptional strategist, not to mention, analyst and he sees all of this as a long engagement, very much the same as Chinese in that respect. The short- lived satisfaction of hitting back at every provocation thrown at him is definitely not the way he operates. He will respond only when that response is absolutely required, as in retaliatory sanctions on EU, which apparently now costing them BILLIONS, and his response will be selective and painful. He has also very adequately retaliated for the expulsion of Russian Diplomats after the made-up by UK Skripal nonsense.

He looks far ahead and plans accordingly. Crimea is a very good example of that. He knew what was brewing up in Ukraine for much longer than anyone of us, the Russian intelligence service is second to none, and he was absolutely prepared for that. The speed of his counter-actions there was breath-taking.

And here I will describe the sheer imbecility and stunning ignorance of some morons (no other way to describe them) in the USA administration. Did you know that one of their main objectives in meddling in Ukraine was to remove the Russian Naval Base from Crimea and replace it with their own? They even made plans for the adaptation of the barracks there! Talk about absolute insanity and DELUSION. They actually thought that they could pull that off!! Beyond belief.. But that’s the mentality of the people Russians are dealing with here. The sheer ignorance of not only a country’s history but also it’s sacrifices is incredible! Russian Crimea has always been an extremely important asset to Russia, hence the several and very bloody wars it had to fight with the Ottoman Empire to wrench it back from them. Since then it has always been the home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet- it is a highly strategic naval base, which also of course, gives Russia an access to the Mediterranean and beyond.

Those imbecilic morons, who planned such idiocy actually thought that they could just cruise in there!! Oh my God… what passes for brains among that lot?!

Their sanctions, which were wheeled out almost immediately when their plan did not succeed, was the result of what can only be described as “sour grapes”. Their Euro “allies” were rather reluctant to join them in those sanctions as most Europeans know very well that Crimea has always been Russian, for more than two centuries, and were fearing the reciprocal sanctions from Russia.

To force their Euro vassals to join them in imposing the sanctions, the imbeciles decided that something needed to be done to make that happen. And so, together with their ukie flunkies that is exactly what they have carried out – an unbelievably evil and shocking crime of shooting down a passenger airliner. The screaming headlines that Russia did it and not only that, Putin himself was responsible, were all over their Western media even before “the wreckage hit the ground”. Their Euro “allies’ had no choice now but to go along with the sanctions. Cui bono? I will repeat again – this is the psychopathic mentality Russia and her President are dealing with.

As for those sanctions – here is a good example of when you “get lemons you turn them into lemonade”. Again, things were anticipated and everything was in place. Since Russian retaliatory sanctions, which were imposed on EU immediately, were to do with banning food imports from Europe, Russia had to become much more self-sufficient in providing for itself what was needed, also including substitutions. In fact, having more adequate self-sufficiency was something that the Russian President had been advocating for years prior – all of this totally played into his hands.

Donbass also wanted to re-join Mother Russia, same as Crimea, but VVP sees it as a very useful buffer and wants to keep it that way. Donbass is protected and now it is de-facto Russian, with same currency, pensions (Kiev “government” stopped paying those when the conflict started), same education programmes as in Russia and of course Russian passports. Russia has got back most of what for centuries belonged to it. Two more regions of what used to be called Ukraine – the south east of it, Mariupol and Odessa in the south (as Russian as it gets!) will eventually follow Donbass, and the rest, as far as Russia is concerned, can go to hell. The western part of so-called Ukraine is former Galicia, the ukro-nazis breeding ground that Russia wouldn’t want to touch with a barge pole, Poland can have it back. In fact, welcome to it!

“Ukraine” as most people know by now, is an artificial construct, (same as EU by the way and as such, will also have no longevity), was created by the Bolsheviks – some territory was added by Lenin (Novorussia), later, the Western parts, by Stalin after WWII and in 1954 Khruschev has “gifted” them Crimea, probably after having one too many one evening. Even under the Soviet Constitution at the time, that was ILLEGAL, as such a move required a Referendum, but being one big USSR with no borders between Republics it did not matter that much at the time. After the break-up of the Soviet Union all historically Russian parts of it should have been returned back to Russia. Ukraine hung on to these for one simple reason – money. Novorussia, which includes Donbass, was the most industrialised part of that country, as for Crimea, well, they were getting paid by Russia for the base.

As for the rest of the former USSR – the cheap little Baltic prostitutes – well, those three have already paid a very heavy price for prostituting themselves to the West. Their economies are routed, population drastically shrunk. Once the supply of money from EU dries out, they will be thrown to the kerb. What’s called “used and abused” and it will be richly deserved. Under no circumstances Russia would want those back.

Georgia is facing a similar fate – the country which owes its very existence to the protection by Imperial Russia at the time, from the total annihilation by Ottomans, and of course with loss of Russian lives.. Rings the bell, doesn’t it? What some of these former Soviet republics have discovered, is that without Russia they are rather nothing, non-entities. The West is simply using them and the very thing that they all had eagerly engaged in, meaning Russophobia – as was demanded and expected by their new, western Master, is now coming back at them with a vengeance. Most of them are broke, depopulated, despised, with no future prospects. That is the price you pay for Russophobia. I believe other countries in Eastern Europe should take some serious notice here as they are pretty much in the same boat, whether they would want to admit that to themselves or not.

After the collapse of the USSR the former Warsaw Pact members, comprising of Eastern Europe states became immediately “invaded” – by various western NGOs, “experts”, “advisors” and what not. Same was happening in Russia – the goal there of course, was looting and pillage, in Eastern block the goal was also plain and simple – to convert them all into one Russophobic entity. And once these countries became members of EU and NATO, well.. what can one say.

It usually starts with the re-writing of one’s history and inventing lies to fit that, and then the insidious, constant and pervasive brainwashing that the Soviet Union (and by extension, Russia) was bad, was an invader and aggressor, no better than the Nazis and Stalin was just as bad as Hitler, etc and so on, was unleashed and has never stopped..

Ironically, these East European nations that have suddenly achieved their long-cherished dream of becoming a part of this “EUROPE”, did not realise at the time that to this “EUROPE” they were nothing more than holops, good old-fashioned Russian word for lowly servant. As they were gleefully giving a middle finger to their Slavic brothers in the East, their new Western Master fully expected them to polish his boots, muck out the stables and fetch and carry. Pathetic is not even a good enough word to describe it. The day might come when you would NEED that Russia, but by then you would have burned all your bridges..

Now, what we have there is at least two generations of these east Europeans that are totally brainwashed, indoctrinated and absolutely ignorant of their ACTUAL history.

Their grandparents and even parents perhaps could tell them that life as they knew it, wasn’t that bad being part of the Eastern Block alliance with the Soviet Union. There was no “ghastly tyranny”, “oppressions” or “massacres” – it was in fact a peaceful and friendly cooperation. In case of the “INVASIONS” of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, well, at the time, the usual EXTERNAL players were trying to foment there the early versions of what is now called “colour revolutions” – obviously those two had to be brought back in line. It was an alliance after all.

One would think that in today’s world where you can get any information you need, there would be at least some attempt to get a true picture of your own history and not become victims of this despicable indoctrination and the vile, “in your face” propaganda. Critical thinking is obviously no longer taught in the class, let alone the ability to have an INFORMED opinion as compared to an acquired attitude. As a result, most of them now have a firm belief that Russia was and is some “enemy” – EXACTLY what your NATO masters want you to believe. The “West” has done it’s job rather well with you – producing generations of dumb-downed, ignorant and brainwashed, and to that lot we can add the sold-out, totally self-serving and west-worshipping “elites” and the rest is just a silent mass.

This is what most East European countries have become. Only Serbia so far has not sold itself out, but her government, unfortunately has, as was amply demonstrated by the latest developments, which I am sure made most Serbs cringe. This, your sad quisling “government” needs to be replaced, and fast. There are, no doubt, lots of great people in Serbia who love their country. Vote for these.

As for the rest of Eastern Europe, I will say this – re-writing your history is never a good move and neither is inventing lies to suit. Pulling down statues of Soviet heroes that liberated your countries from the Nazi scourge is just as bad. And shameful.

I will repeat – the EU is an artificial construct and as such will have no longevity and THEN where would you be?

Unfortunately, Russia also has few of those brainwashed morons as well. This rather useless idiot, Navalny, whom the West has been lovingly grooming to be a “face of Russian opposition” and who is a long-time recipient of Soros’s grants, even he has some following. Not large but none the less showing the exact same mentality shaped by some delusional beliefs picked up from so-called “social media” and in a very much the same age group. They don’t even realise that what they are displaying is a dumb, sheeple mentality and of course, ignorance. It is truly sad to see. I wonder how many of them will believe another made up garbage with another alleged “Novichok poisoning”, now of this twat. By the way, these politicians in Germany that are actually promoting this, do they comprehend as to how utterly stupid they come across with this idiotic accusation? Feel like saying to them – for crying out loud, give it a rest!

Just to note, according to Lavrov, UK still has not produced ANY evidence to support THEIR accusations of the totally made-up and “highly likely” Scripal “poisoning” tale. Well, how can one? But never mind, meanwhile the Russian Diplomats were expelled, en-masse, and some diplomatic properties illegally seized. Mission accomplished.

Sometimes I feel really sorry for both Putin and Lavrov as to what kind of people they have to deal with..

As for the Russian President, it has been often said that he is a very good chess player, and for a chess player to be that good he needs to anticipate his opponent’s every move, well in advance. Besides, he is playing that chess not on just one chessboard, but several at once and dealing with SUCH people it becomes quite a challenge to anticipate every deranged MENDACITY as being displayed by them.

What makes the Russian President stand head and shoulders above those Western politicians is not only his strategic thinking, but his morals and also his unshakable belief in a lawful approach in everything that matters. If you have signed some agreement you absolutely keep to it, if you have given your word you honour it.

In addition, he is also of course a judo master and for these who are not familiar with this particular form of martial art, the objective is to defeat your opponent by using THEIR OWN bulk and strength against them to get them off balance and then throw them on the floor. Hmm..

This is what THE WEST is dealing with when it comes to the President of Russia. There will be some detractors here, sadly without much ability for an astute analysis, who would immediately label me as being Putin’s fan, but we will ignore them. The man is formidable, in every respect.

What most Russians want from their President now is to show a much harder edge, and THAT is actually happening. Lavrov, being a Diplomat Supreme, has been showing this lately, quite noticeably, in his responses, which are now much more pointed, direct and blunt. Still, caution is required.

The hegemon is collapsing in front of our eyes and this is one of the most dangerous moments, but as I have pointed out in one of my previous comments, there is a very wise saying, I believe by SUN TZU – why disturb your enemy when it’s self- destructing. The only question is how much destruction can it wreak on the rest of us in its death throes. A very careful approach is absolutely essential now – the aim is to make this collapse more of a “controlled demolition” than to have it as a very destructive explosion in which many could be very badly hurt as a result, especially with regard to their economies, already rather shaky amid this “scamdemic”.

That is what, I believe, VVP and Xi are now working on, very carefully. Hence the very calculated responses to numerous stupid and nasty provocations. And lots of patience.

We are indeed living in very interesting times.

The Quiet Imperialism

The Quiet Imperialism

September 05, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

Many if not most Americans have always been in denial about the imperial ambitions and practices of US foreign policy. There are honourable exceptions – Noam Chomsky, Tulsi Gabbard come immediately to mind. But on the whole the direction of US geopolitical strategy has been guided and implemented by a small cabal of geopolitical fanatics; these are ensconced in various state and non-state organizations such as the media and various think-tanks and have had a wholly negative effect on US foreign policy, both in practise and theory. The US’s global adventurism has been regarded by the US public, insofar that it concerns itself with such matters, as being conceived in good faith and benign in intent. Unfortunately, the facts don’t conform to the popular trust that American citizens put in their government, particularly the Deep State, National Security Agencies, the political elites, and the Military Industrial Complex, not to mention the mainstream media.

This popular narrative of America qua global good-guy was very beautifully illustrated in a novel by the British author Graham Greene. The novel The Quiet American was set against the background of the first Indo-China war, with one of the central characters, Alden Pyle, an ostensibly idealistic young American Aid worker, who presented himself as a proto third-way reformist opposed both to the excesses of French colonialism on the one hand, and Chinese Communism on the other. But in fact he was nothing of the sort, and his baleful motives are soon uncovered by the cynical, world-weary British journalist, Thomas Fowler. As it turned out Pyle had been working for the CIA all along. The novel itself has been made into two motion pictures. Both are well worth watching and instructive. The novel was of course an allegory on what was happening and what has always been happening in geopolitical national rivalries and machtpolitik.

Thus US imperialism is the theory and practise which dare not speak its name. In the third world, however, and increasingly in the developed world, the facts are plain to see for all but the ideologically purblind. The US, particularly since the neo-conservative ascendancy, is a rampaging imperial juggernaut, with a blatant empire-building agenda. The US imperial project was from 1945 onwards held in check by social democratic obstacles in western Europe, the existence of the Soviet and East Asian Communist bloc and national anti-colonialist movements in the south. But with the collapse of communism, the ongoing enervation and retreat of social democracy, and the stalling of the anti-colonial struggle in the south, the rapacious beast of American imperialism was off the leash.

Moreover, the US has made it perfectly clear that it will not tolerate the reconstitution of any economic or military power capable of challenging its global domination. (see The Wolfowitz Doctrine.) To this end it has arrogated to itself the right to wage ‘preventive wars’ against those who may sometime in the future threaten its global ambitions. The global system has been unipolar but now its dominance is being challenged by new adversaries, particularly Russia, China, and perhaps Iran and the Americans are determined to contain what they regard as a strategic challenge.

This project is assuredly not lacking in ambition. It aims at extending the ‘Monroe Doctrine’ to the whole planet; the establishment of a sort of US global suzerainty. This would be difficult for the US to accomplish alone – it therefore has to form alliances and spheres of influence with other (subaltern) partners in the developed world. Roughly speaking the geopolitical configuration for America’s global project is as follows.

The phase of the (present) global development of capitalism is characterised by the emergence of a collective imperialism. The entirety of the Americas, Europe west of the Polish frontier and Japan, to which we should add Australia and New Zealand, defines the area of this collective imperialism. It ‘’manages’’ the economic dimension of capitalist globalization and the political military dimension through NATO, whose responsibilities have been redefined so that in effect it can substitute itself for the United Nations.

This requires some skilful diplomatic balancing between the US and its junior partners – particularly within the EU, where conflict between certain European states and the US is always a possibility. This is clearly evident in the spat between Germany and the US with the contretemps over Nordstream-2 and the stationing of US troops in Germany. To this end the mobilization of various euro-quisling elites – the UK, Poland, and according to Donald Rumsfeld the ‘new’ (Eastern) Europe – are vital for America’s policy of divide and rule in this area. Moreover the globalization agenda (the economic prong in the US global offensive) has become the received wisdom in the EU. As for the Euro it has become a satellite currency of the dollar, although it is in fact a stronger currency since it is based upon a euro economy which runs persistent trade surpluses with the United States (as does most everybody else).

Thus the EU – with the possible exception of France – has tended to meekly follow in the wake of the US hegemon ensnared in an Atlanticist doctrine for which the raison d’etre – if there ever was one – definitively ended with the cold war. And the world pays a heavy price for this.

According to Samir Amin:

‘‘The US economy lives as a parasite off its partners in the global system, with virtually no national savings of its own. The world produces while North America consumes … The fact is that the bulk of the American deficit (on Federal and Current Account) is covered by capital inputs from Europe and Japan, China and the South, rich oil-producing and comprador classes from all regions in the Third World – to which should be added the debt service levy that is imposed on nearly every country in the periphery of the global system. The American superpower depends day to day on the flow of capital that sustains the parasitism of its economy and society.’’ (1)

This was written by Amin back in 2006, but the US’s drive has not really altered that much in the interim. If anything it has become even more bellicose in pursuit of its quest for world hegemony. However, today, we not only have a clash of interests with the Germans and the US over the above issues. And despite the nominally peaceful intentions between the US and its allies (vassals) eventually the rising nations find that pursuing their own interests hits the barriers of the prevailing international order. And the further the old powers try to sustain their outdated settlement, the more the ascending powers – both within Europe and without – are frustrated. The entire post-war system itself becomes a source of international tension.

NATO exemplifies this. Established as we saw in a different era to coordinate western military power since the Cold War 1, after the end of that war NATO has turned into a disruptive force. Pursuing an ‘open-ended and ill-conceived eastern expansion’ the EU has rekindled inter-state tensions instead of assuaging them. (2) This illustrates a broader trend; that conflicting attitudes to the entrenched institutional structures generate dissension triggered by outdated economic and strategic pressures. National differences are expressed and often inflamed through opposing or supporting the existing and outdated systems and rules.

It could be said that NATO is a locus classicus of a dysfunctional bureaucracy. It exists ‘in order to solve the problems which it created.’ Or as Schumpeter first noticed, that ‘’ … in Egypt a class of professional soldiers formed during the war against the Hyskos persisted even when those wars were over along with its warlike instincts and interests … ‘‘ He noted with a pithy summary of his viewpoint that ‘’Created by wars that required it, the machine now created the wars which were required.’’ NATO anyone!?

With regard to International Political Economy, It is not generally understood that the US with its chronic federal and trade deficits is actually on the brink of technical bankruptcy, particularly when long term commitments on Medicaid, Medicare and Pensions, and Social Security payments are factored into the calculations. According to research carried out by Professor Laurence Kotlikoff for the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, a leading constituent of the US Federal Reserve, Fed liabilities come to a staggering $70 trillion – this is roughly 5 times the size of the US GDP. However these figures are now out of date. Given the fact that sovereign (or government) debt currently stands at $24 trillion which in terms of DEBT-to-GDP ratio of 107% is bad enough. Then comes private DEBT-to-GDP which stands at 220% minus unfunded future liabilities. (See below).

Figure 1. Sovereign debt to GDP 107%

Figure 2. Private debt to GDP 220%

The TOTAL DEBT i.e. municipal, household, financial, corporate, cars and student fees/debts AND, unfunded future liabilities, social security, Medicare, and pensions, are pushing on to a figure of total debt of 2000% in the not too distant future. This according to a CNBC report by Jeff Cox, September 09, 2019. This whole process has more or less been on track since the demise of the Bretton Woods system in 1971. The date was significant since this was when the US defaulted on its gold IOUs handing its trading partners paper dollars, or near dollars such as US Treasuries (Bonds) which it insisted were as good as gold. As a result the holders of this US government paper have been subsidizing the US and its economy ever since. The ability to palm off its trading partners with green paper meant that the US has been able to buy stuff from the western world without actually paying for any of it. It gets better. The US has been able to buy foreign made goods with monies loaned to them by foreign governments! The ultimate free lunch! See below. Only one way up apparently! Bear in mind also that the figures shown only go up to 2014. It’s odds on that the debt has grown further in the ensuing time span.

Against this backdrop the foreign policy of the US becomes clear. Its purpose is loot pure and simple. The south must continue to be plundered for cheap inputs and raw materials and in order to do this comprador elites must be promoted who are friendly to US interests. Economic development of course cannot take place in this context as there will be an outflow of capital from South to North. Markets must be opened up to the rapacious incursions of US and other western capitals. Possible rivals – Russia, China – must be regarded as long-term enemies and will be divided and marginalised or possibly in 1970s geopolitical jargon ‘Finlandised’. And uppity allies in Europe – like France – must be slapped down and brought to heel.

Whether the Americans can pull this off is a moot point. It rather depends on whether and how the rest of the world will continue to take the green paper from the Fed/US-Treasury (they are now conjoint BTW similar to a pantomime horse).

When other countries and other private lenders borrow, in this instance from the US, they must consider the economic and financial strength and resilience of that economy. Let’s put ourselves into the position of a creditor. As follows.

  • US sovereign debt is greater than national GDP and is only going to get worse. That puts the US economy in what historically has been the danger zone for ruinous trouble of one kind or another: economic stagnation, default, or runaway inflation. As we have seen however it’s the TOTAL DEBT. Which makes the situation dramatically worse.
  • Manufacturing industry has been hollowed out by a strong dollar policy which makes US export costs rise leading to deindustrialisation.
  • The Economy has been left with little capacity for recovering from shocks – both internal and external. Despite the unprecedented money printing and deficit spending evoked by past – 2008 – and presently – 2020 – even greater and further shocks will arise which will only be comparable to the 1930s.
  • Zero or negative interest rates, courtesy of the Fed, which have resulted in a bonanza for corporations to juice up their stock-market capitalisation. Essentially by stealing money off of savers.
  • Investment markets can’t go anywhere without creating bubbles that eventually burst. 1. Dot.com bubble, 2000, 2. Property bubble, 2008, 3. Everything bubble 2020.

This seems to be the story of the 20/21 centuries with each crisis being bigger and deeper as the one before. Does this look like the picture of a healthy super-power? Or is it the picture of a vulnerable giant close to its historical inflexion point? I know where I would put my money.

But given the tsunami of dollar bills flooding the markets an engineered inflation or a Volcker style 20% hike in interest rates seems likely; my own view is that there will be an engineered inflation; in fact, it’s happening already. This means any persons, corporations or states holding US$s or dollar denominated assets, e.g. Treasury Bills is going to take a big hit.

Of course this US offensive, both political and economic, has and will continue to be met with stiff resistance. Most of this has been spontaneous and centered around the crisis in the Middle East, South East Asia, with the growing opposition to the reputedly Promethean gifts of globalisation.

Samir Amin identifies 4 aspects of a political programme which would give organizational coherence to this opposition. ‘’(i) A campaign against all American ‘preventive’ wars and for the closure of all foreign US bases, (ii) A campaign of right to access to the land, which is of crucial importance to the world’s 3 billion peasants, (iii) A campaign for the regulation of industrial outsourcing, and (iv) A cancellation of third world external debts.(v)’’ (3)

One could of course add more to this – capital controls, global minimum wage and labour standards … and so forth. This would only be a beginning, however. Amin himself looks forward to the reconstitution of the UN as a forum where the third world and smaller countries could find legitimate voice, as opposed to the dominant – i.e., US controlled – institutions of the present – the IMF, WTO, WORLD BANK, and NATO which are frankly little more than instruments of US/EU/NATO Triad collective imperialism.

Get ready for a long period of Sturm Und Drang.

(1) Beyond US Hegemony – Samir Amin – 2006

(2) Stephen Walt – 2018

(3) Amin Op.cit. 2006

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