Russia and the EU; The Ukraine Card

Russia and the EU; The Ukraine Card

April 08, 2021

by Ghassan and Intibah Kadi for the Saker Blog

A tug-of-war game in Europe has been a strong feature of dramatic events in the region and further afield ever since the Roman Empire plus the Church split up. Which was the cause and which was the effect is subject to debate, but the split was much deeper than one that was political; the spiritual aspect of it is not to be overlooked.

The authors are not experts on this aspect of history and will therefore not dwell too much, but it suffices to say that Catholic Easter can come before Passover, even though Jesus celebrated Passover before His Crucifixion. But this anomaly does not happen in the Julian Calendar that the Orthodox Church adheres to till today; and the Orthodox community doesn’t shy away from presenting this contradiction in the Georgian Calendar that Catholicism follows.

But this article is not about the over millennium-and-a-half-old disagreement between the Western and Eastern Churches. It is about the current rift between Russia and Western Europe.

But to what extent does much of the current rift find its roots in religion? No region in the world has in recent times experienced the repercussions of this ancient divide as much as the Balkans when the former federation of Yugoslavia split, on Catholic/Orthodox religious lines, that ironically bear a huge resemblance to the borders between those of the Roman and the Byzantine Empires. The exploitation of potential cracks in the two main spheres of Islam by the Western power-block, along with its useful non-Western allies, is not to be discounted. It is easy to apply a simplistic view of the divide of the East and West upon such criteria alone, but religious difference always plays an important role, albeit psychologically. In Europe, historical factors also include that of the influence of the Ottoman Empire, the conversion of many East Europeans to Islam, divisions within the Western Church resulting in drastic conflicts and, fast forward to the much later phenomenon of the Soviet era and the lasting implications of its legacy in neighbouring countries, then the picture becomes more complex.

No matter what is said by those countries that Russia had influence over in the post-World War II period, there is no excuse for their denial of the fact that that it was Russia, albeit under the banner of the Red Army, that liberated all of Eastern Europe, including former East Germany and all of Berlin from the Nazis. Among the allies in WWII, Russia made the biggest sacrifices, more sacrifices than all of those of the allies combined, losing tens of millions of its people, with estimates reaching up to forty million. No other nation came close to this calamitous human loss; not even Germany itself.

Yet, Russia is denied all of the accolade in winning the fight against Nazi Germany. Was it its communist USSR status that turned it into the underdog in Western written history or, was it its Orthodox heritage juxtaposed to that of a powerful-global reaching Vatican and also a ‘Christian West’, intent on subduing and dominating, all with the trappings of grabbing resources and spoils?

Clearly, Western Europe, no matter what facts on the ground exist, seems intent on expressing, in public at least, an incurable sense of apprehension, mythology and propagation of fiction when it comes to Russia. Add to this a European obedience to the dictates of America and its power-brokers in attempts to cripple Russia with sanctions, an obedience mostly gained through threats of negative consequences and blackmail if not adhered to. Not only is this broad-spectrum demonization, at least publicly, expressed by European politicians and its so-called ‘elites’, but also among most of the population of Western Europe.

One of the authors often uses popular songs of the West and their lyrics to express specific mental mindsets in certain blocks of time and space. In 1980, British musician, Sting, wrote a song titled Russians. It was meant to be a message of peace in which Sting wondered, with obvious sympathetic sarcasm, about the state of anti-Russia propaganda, and whether some people in the West regarded Russians as robotic communist mindless machines and questioned if they loved their children like all other humans. The lyrics exemplify the popular perceptions in the West of the people and nation of Russia, even to the extent that they would ask such a bizarre question about the love of children.

And, despite the changes in Russia since the dismantling of the Soviet Union which is what the West planned for, and the emergence during the Yeltsin period of ‘bandit capitalism’ – as if that doesn’t exist elsewhere- the negative perceptions persisted, and to add to that, a palpable sense of glee at the chaos and collapse occurring in Russia. Some say, Yeltsin was wracked with guilt later on and ensured a leader who could pull the country out of this disaster; Vladimir Putin, tripping up the West’s plan with many future surprises in store. To this day, the eyes of the Western public are re-directed from any ills that their own powers may be involved in and sharply turned towards this convenient ‘bogey-man’. There was no Hollywood spin to show a ‘rehabilitated’ Russia as Putin quickly turned things around after the Yeltsin period, restoring the nation and the Federation to one of healthy self-esteem, pride, strength and a resolve to regain its place in the world, gradually rendering what the West had seen as a great ‘coup’ over Russia, to a victory that backfired.

Those in the West are at a loss to accurately elaborate on the actual cause of the current escalation with Russia and, that is because the facts don’t stack up in their favour in the honesty box when it comes to manufacturing conflict. Their exploitation of any religious divide has to an extent been successful, but more so about ensuring the encircling of Russia with hostile nations or turning around some governments of traditional Orthodox allies. There is no racial based explanation to the escalation and history of it other than Russian culture being generally one of inclusiveness and diversity, something the West has failed in and in fact abused. Russia, an old culture with at least one thousand years of existence in a paradigm of interdependence with diverse cultures and ethnicities, spanning a massive section of the largest continent that reaches the Black, Caspian, Baltic, Bering Seas, those to the north and east, and all the way to the North Pacific Ocean; how can modern day Europe and the West compare to that?

For the old West, Europe, now mostly gathered into the entity known as the EU, their animosity cannot be explained by unresolved issues with the old Soviet Union. Nor can it be based on beliefs of clear and present dangers and threats posed by the existence of Russia. EU leaders are surely cognisant of the fact that it was NATO that broke the agreement between Gorbachev and the West and that NATO incrementally has been intimidating and threatening Russia’s security by positioning missiles in former Warsaw Pact nations, encircling Russia, and long before Russia made any attempts to counteract such measures. EU leaders, for various reasons, put aside reality and rationality and the known fact that peace and stability in Europe can only exist or have any potentiality if it is based on a mutual European understanding that Russia must be included. EU leaders clearly know, but never state it, that it is the USA that is coercing them to make a stand against their own regional and economic interests and to take actions against Russia; not the other way around as stipulated by their national interests as they claim.

When it comes to the crunch, it is the manipulation by America, a power that aimed and succeeded for some decades in creating itself as a unipolar, all-reaching, global power, one which called the shots on anything and everything and had under its control the vanquished nations that lost out in WWII. When Europe organized itself into a union, it became far easier for America to have almost the entire sub-continent under its boot. It could not have achieved this without the demonization of Russia and re-writing of history for the consumption of the West and all under its tutelage. Just like we have witnessed over time with the ‘Empire Wars’, the strategy of co-opting into a hybrid war format Hollywood and all media has played a crucial role in building a world-wide narrative of America as the ‘world policeman’, ‘saviour’ and ‘leader of the free-world’, when in reality it played the role of raider, pirate and predator, sharing spoils with some of its more powerful ‘allies’ who in effect were nations with little sovereignty or ability to make any crucial decisions of their own.

Last but not least, from the unpragmatic military position, EU leaders know, but under duress ignore the fact that Russia has recently developed state-of-the-art hypersonic weapons that their NATO status and alliance with the USA cannot protect them against. They know that should an escalation materialize between NATO and Russia; such weapons can be used and the outcome possibly devastating for the EU itself. EU nations and, NATO as a whole, know for a fact that a war on European soil with Russia is totally and utterly unwinnable by them. Even without deploying any of the many weapons President Putin announced to the world during his famous speech of March the 1st 2018, a conventional war between the two sides gives Russia the benefit of depth of field and number of troops. Such is the hold on these nations that they act as if in denial of the obvious. What do they stand to gain? Or, is it about harm minimization under the yoke of America? And, what does Europe in particular, expect to gain from provoking or partaking in the provoking of war over Ukraine?

Again, in the usual twisting of facts, the Western media busy themselves in the post-Trump era in portraying Russia as the culprit that is escalating the crisis in Ukraine. If Russia is left with no alternative to act, deciding it must engage militarily, it is not going to be either influenced or intimidated by Western ‘fake news’. It will act based on the facts on the ground, and whatever Russia decides to do or not do, the Western media and leading figures will portray Russia as the transgressor and aggressor, and as we have recently witnessed from Biden himself, ramp up the rhetoric such as calling the President of a world power, President Putin, ‘a killer’.

Without the benefit of a crystal ball, either the situation will escalate to a level that leaves Russia with no other alternative than taking measures similar to those it took in Chechnya and Georgia, or that Ukraine will back off. The former scenario seems more likely unless the superior style of Russian diplomacy that specializes in win-win deals can find a solution. However, the current threat regarding Ukraine surely is for Russia where the line in the sand is to be drawn. Should matters descend to the irreconcilable, even though Russia is certain to score military victory, it will most definitely be subjected to more Western sanctions than the ones it is already under. No doubt, in such an event of ever more imaginative and diabolic sanctions imposed, it will draw Russia ever closer to allies the West does not approve of and new systems which the West has monopolized, will be overridden and rendered ineffective in bringing Russia to its knees.

As for the ever creeping ‘naughty puppy’ syndrome of NATO pushing its presence in Eastern Europe one inch at a time after the breakup of the USSR, all the way from feigning reasons for missiles stationed in Eastern Europe as safeguarding the EU from Iranian missiles, to inciting and coercing former Warsaw Pact nation members to join NATO, deploying more troops in the EU, blatant support for the Ukrainian Nazis, Russia has reciprocated in measured ways. Yes, it did retake Crimea from Ukraine, but this was done within a referendum-based democratic process. Russia may have to bite the dangerous bullet and offer the persecuted regions of Ukraine the same option. Afterall, Russia’s stand in Syria in 2015 at the request of the Syrian government, has clearly signaled that the unipolar 1990’s style ‘New World Order’ is over and that there cannot be any turning back.

Russia’s patience, perseverance and confidence in superior, win-win diplomacy in time will be widely regarded with respect by the rest of the world, even quietly by the EU leaders. It is the EU leaders who will not come to the party because they are hostage to many traps and hence, it is extremely unlikely, if not impossible, given the bind they find themselves in, that they will respond to reason, diplomacy or act in their best interests. Unlike the decades America in particular has had to install or hijack institutions and conjure up scams to place ‘rules’ on the world, Russia is not yet in a strong enough financial position to implement some of its own ‘rules’ to protect her interests. No nations should be able to do this in a manner that adversely affects other nations, whether through ‘rules’, sanctions, scams or monopoly and other tools that kill without a bullet being fired or bombed dropped. These and other strategies and tactics have come predominately from a nation in a general decline; one that boasts a huge fleet of ten aircraft carriers, countless world-wide bases and almost a trillion-dollar annual war budget; the American war machine nonetheless is a technological dinosaur in comparison to the slick and advanced Russian counter-part.

On the big geo-political level; (1) what keeps America in a position of power today is its power of the petro-dollar based global economy and all that comes with it, including control of the SWIFT-based monetary international transactions without which goods cannot be bought, sold and paid for on the international market; (2) in realistic economic sense however, it is China that is approaching the global lead if it hasn’t already at least in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms, and (3) in terms of military hardware superiority, it is Russia that leads the world in this.

In regards to the current ‘crisis’ and a possible showdown over Ukraine, Russia surely cannot have concerns over its military capacity to deal with any action. However, unless Russia has been able to safe-guard its economy, quarantining it as much as possible from being affected by further Western sanctions, then any escalation should not leave Russia subject to any intimidatory Western repercussions. The further the West pushes, the closer Russia will co-operate with China, whether that is driven on a voluntary basis or has arisen out of necessity, and, in such a rapidly changing global environment, that decision of Russia is understandable and pragmatic, providing China stays solidly by the side of Russia.

Canadian Ties to U.S. Empire: Lester Pearson and the Myth of Canada as Peaceable Kingdom Part II

By Richard Sanders

Global Research, April 04, 2021

CovertAction Magazine 1 April 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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Read part I here:

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Pearson was central to the constitutional coup that propelled him into power by orchestrating the toppling of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker (1957-1963).

John F. Kennedy had no love for Canada’s Progressive Conservative leader. “My brother really hated only two men in all his presidency,” said Robert Kennedy. “One was Sukarno [Indonesia’s left-wing president] and the other was Diefenbaker.” The central focus of JFK’s hatred for Diefenbaker was his defiant refusal to allow the U.S. to arm Canadian missiles with American nuclear warheads.[1]

Diefenbaker’s demise was orchestrated by a bevy of highly skilled experts in covert action from the CIA, State Department, White House and Pentagon, plus two successive U.S. ambassadors to Canada, America’s leading pollster (aided by the world’s best computer technology), and the U.S. Air Force general who then led NATO.

McGeorge Bundy, then Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, even bragged that acting U.S. Secretary of State “George Ball and I knocked over the Diefenbaker government….”[2]

As usual, these American coup artists relied on local compradors to aid their efforts in replacing an uncooperative ally.

Diefenbaker had to go and who could be better than Pearson to replace him? For decades, Pearson had proven himself as a stalwart supporter of U.S. imperial interests. Canadian co-conspirators included an RCAF commander, the air marshal who chaired Canada’s military chiefs of staff, Liberal power brokers and top newsprint journalists.

Although Pearson was America’s man in Ottawa, U.S. power brokers knew that he sometimes had to pander to a large swath of the Canadian electorate which had anti-American feelings.

To retain support from these voters, Pearson had to appear to be more critical of the U.S. than he really was. This was revealed by Walton Butterworth, the JFK-appointed U.S. Ambassador to Canada (1962-1968), in a secret telegram at the climax of the U.S. coup in early February 1963.

His once-secret message, recalling that “Diefenbaker first came to power on wave of anti-U.S. jingoism,” scorned him as an “undependable, unscrupulous political animal” who U.S. authorities had just “boxed … in.”

Butterworth noted that when Diefenbaker cried foul regarding the U.S. forceful intrusion into Canadian politics which soon resulted in Dief’s demise, “Pearson and other party leaders could not permit him [to] pose as [the] sole spokesman for Canadian nationalism; hence they had to protect their flanks and join chorus of protest at our ‘intrusion.’”[3] Butterworth continued with the following assessment of the quickly unfolding situation and what lay ahead with Pearson’s anticipated ascension to power:

“[W]e are forcing Pearson to go faster and further than he desires in the direction we favor. … [W]e are entering new phase in U.S.-Canadian relations. … We look forward to … greater Canadian realization of their need to cultivate good relations with us…. [W]e think we will wish [to] take more coolly appraising look at concessions we offer in return for their readiness to accommodate themselves to us…. [W]e do not want to buy same asset time and again as is now the case. We have reached point where our relations must be based on something more solid than accommodation to neurotic Canadian view of us and world. We should be less the accoucheur [midwife] of Canada’s illusions.”[4]

U.S. ambassador to Canada Walton Butterworth with JFK in the White House. [Source: Jfklibrary.org]

Within a few months after assuming power, Pearson’s government not only allowed the U.S. to arm Canada’s ground-launched Bomarc missiles, it announced Canada’s acquisition of “nuclear weapons for the Honest John missiles and CF-104 fighter aircraft in Europe and … the CF-101 (Voodoo) fighter aircraft in Canada.”[5]

Canada’s Bomarc missiles. [Source: legionmagazine.com]

So blatant was Pearson’s duplicity, that future prime minister Pierre Trudeau denounced him in 1963 as “a defrocked priest of peace.”  Trudeau revealed that Pearson reversed Liberal Party policy on nuclear weapons without consulting the national council,… its executive committee, … the parliamentary caucus or even with his principal advisors. The ‘Pope’ had spoken. It was up to the faithful to believe … [T]he Pentagon … obliged Mr. Pearson to betray his party’s platform … Power presented itself to Mr. Pearson; he had nothing to lose except honour. He lost it. And his whole party lost it with him.[6]

Coup in Brazil, 1964

When Brazil elected a left-wing party by a huge margin in 1960, the U.S. began coordinating a coup that ushered in years of military dictatorship.

The coup was justified by wild claims that Brazil’s elected officials might turn into communists. It was supported by Brazilian Admiral Carlos P. Botto who, having backed fascism during WWII, went on to work closely with the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN), and its leader Yaroslav Stetsko,[7] in creating the pro-fascist World Anti-Communist League.

Canadian officials, both Liberal and Tory, shared their rabid phobia about the rising popularity of communism in Latin America. After a 1961 government mission to South America, Progressive Conservative MP Pierre Sevigny told parliament that in Brazil, Canada had allies who want to cooperate with us and to prevent … the birth of subversive movements in that country where huge illiterate populations are living, which, if they were to be subjected to communist influence, could easily cause a social and economic revolution.[8]

The Liberals shared this right-wing mindset. “Canadian reaction to the military coup,” said historian Rosana Barbosa, “was careful, polite and allied with American rhetoric.”

Barbosa, a Brazilian-Canadian, says Pearson, who became prime minister the year before the coup, “did not publicly criticize the new regime. Pearson’s foreign policy … was supportive of the United States.”[9]

Pearson’s pro-coup stance was good for business, especially the Brazilian Power and Light Co. (Brascan), one of Canada’s biggest profiteers in Latin America. As revealed in Let Us Prey (1974), there was a revolving door between Brascan and the Liberal cabinets of St. Laurent, Pearson and Trudeau.

For example, Robert Winters, who held two cabinet posts under St. Laurent and was Pearson’s trade minister, became Brascan’s president. Winters praised Brazil’s coup regime, saying it “was dedicated to the principles of private enterprise” and “create[d] a climate friendly to foreign capital.”

Jack Nicholson, Brascan’s CEO in Brazil in the 1950s, held three cabinet posts under Pearson. Mitchell Sharp, whose career began under St. Laurent in 1947, held the trade and finance posts in Pearson’s cabinet.

After a stint as Brascan’s vice president, Sharp returned to politics and was appointed Trudeau’s foreign minister.[10] Another Brascan executive in Trudeau’s cabinet was Anthony Abbott,[11] who held three finance-related posts in the late 1970s.

[Source: coat.ncf.ca]

Invasion in the Dominican Republic, 1965

In February 1963, the Dominican Republic elected a pro-Castro government led by Juan Bosch, which lasted only seven months.

When a military junta seized power in a coup that September, expelling the elected president, Bosch’s supporters fought to regain control, and in April, led by Colonel Francisco Caamaño retook the National Palace. To prevent Caamaño’s forces from restoring a revolutionary government, the U.S. invaded with 20,000 Marines.

U.S. Marines in the Dominican Republic in 1965. [Source: pinterest.com]

Two weeks after the U.S Marine invasion, Canadian government representatives were approached by Caamaño, who asked for recognition. Pearson declined.

New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Tommy Douglas, the father of Canada’s free health-care system, asked Pearson what evidence he had from the U.S. “that the forces of Colonel Caamaño, which are seeking to re-establish the elected government … are indeed communist controlled and communist dominated.”

When Pearson replied that they “[c]ertainly … have communists in their … controlling group,” Douglas asked again for proof and Pearson said he could not assess the degree of their communist “infiltration.”[12]

It did not seem to occur to either that the legitimacy of pro-Bosch forces was its overwhelming popular support and that, if people wanted a communist government, they should be allowed to have one.

Pearson revealed his total bias in support of the U.S. invasion by saying that the coup regime was a legitimate “government” that had to protect “law and order” by stopping an “insurrection” by dangerous pro-Bosch forces.

In 2000, Liberals institutionalized this Pearsonian tradition of justifying U.S. invasions with humanitarian-sounding narratives by helping to create a deceptive UN doctrine called the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P).

Chrétien’s foreign minister, Lloyd Axworthy, rallied support from mainstream peace, human rights and development activists for NATO’s illegal 1999 war against Yugoslavia.

In 2004, Prime Minister Paul Martin, Jr.’s, Liberal government used R2P memes to disguise Canadian ground troops used in the U.S.-led invasion, regime change and occupation of Haiti (the Dominican Republic’s neighbor), as if they were humanitarian “peacekeepers.”[13]

Supporting U.S. Nuclear War Policies

From the Cold War’s earliest days, Pearson was a strong voice for the idea that the moral forces of the “democratic West” had to amass a vast arsenal of weapons for a possible world war against “the totalitarian East.”

This, ironically, is why Pearson saw his key role in creating NATO as one of his most valuable gifts to global peace. From its inception in 1949, before the Soviets had tested a single atomic bomb, U.S. nuclear weapons have been a cornerstone of NATO’s “defense” policies. From the Soviet perspective, having been under attack by Western forces obsessed with its containment and annihilation since 1917, it responded to NATO’s creation by forming the Warsaw Pact in 1955.

By 1950, left-leaning peace groups around the world were busy supporting the Stockholm Peace Appeal. This petition campaign, promoted by the communist-led World Peace Congress, called for “the unconditional banning by all countries of the atomic weapon as an instrument of aggression and mass extermination of people.”

The appeal also asked governments to declare that they would “regard as a war criminal that government which first uses the atomic weapon against any country.” By February 1950, this “petition for peace,” bearing the signatures of 500,000 Canadians, was presented to government officials in Ottawa.

In a letter to a Vancouver newspaper to correct “a false report by an Ottawa reporter,” Rev. James Endicott, chairman of the Canadian Peace Congress, said “We are proud that this petition, which originated in Canada, was circulated to all countries in the world, gaining the endors[ment] of 450 million men and women.”[14]

Peace float built by Canadian Peace Congress in the 1950s. [Source: focusonsocialism.ca]

Not surprisingly, this successful campaign, which rallied widespread public opposition to NATO’s bellicose “first use,” nuclear-weapons policies, also enraged many Cold Warriors, including Lester Pearson.

In a March 1950 address to 500 civil servants about a week after Endicott’s letter was published, Pearson said Canada would “take every … measure to find and root out treason and sedition in our midst.”[15] (Sedition and treason carry penalties of 14 years and life imprisonment, respectively.)

Pearson’s speech, quoted in an Ottawa paper, singled out the Canadian Peace Congress for a moralizing rebuke:

“[B]e on guard against the more immediate menace of the individual who beneath the mask of loyal service to the country, or wearing the mantle of the Peace Congress has knowingly or unknowingly sold his soul to Moscow.”[16]

In response, Peace Congress activist Edith Holtom wrote to the paper, saying:

“If enough Canadians, including civil servants, would protest against selling the soul of Canada to American militarism, there would be no need for Mr. Pearson to refer to peacemakers as a menace…. [H]ow dare Mr. Pearson call a person a menace who joins … with thousands of others to warn our government of what might happen if changes are not made in policy-making?”[17]

Later, in a 1951 speech to the well-heeled Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club, Pearson branded the Canadian Peace Congress an agent of “foreign aggressive imperialism.”[18]

Besides the Liberals and Conservatives, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), forerunner of the NDP, also saw the Peace Congress as a menacing threat. The CCF executive forbade members from joining the Congress and threatened disciplinary action against CCFers who signed the Stockholm Appeal.[19]

Pearson had such contempt for the Congress that when 50 engineering students made a coup-like effort to destroy its University of Toronto chapter, he said in their support:

“If more Canadians were to show something of this high-spirited crusading zeal, we would very soon hear very little of the Canadian Peace Congress and its works. We would simply take it over.”[20]

Imperialist Pro-NATO Propaganda

Pearson was groomed for political power by another loyal Canadian servant of imperial interests—Mackenzie King, who had appointed him foreign minister in 1948.

King’s ascent to power had been aided by his work as “labor adviser” for billionaire John D. Rockefeller, Jr., America’s anti-union, robber baron who financed fascism and collaborated with the Nazis.[21]

From his unelected cabinet post, Pearson was well-placed to guide his gullible boss. An example of Pearson’s early, pro-U.S. advice occurred in 1946, when King was considering whether to take Canada along a middle path between the hardened Cold War extremes of the U.S. and the USSR. To convince King that he should hitch Canada securely to America’s anti-Soviet wagon, Pearson wrote a memo telling him that without some fundamental change in the Soviet state system and in the policies and views of its leaders, the USSR is bound to come into open conflict with western democracy.[22]

With this prediction, said historian Joe Levitt, “Pearson seemed to be asserting that a war with the Soviet Union was virtually inevitable.” Levitt noted that, “Pearson may have worded the memo … to play on … King’s fears of the Soviet Union” so that he would bow to U.S. demands for greater military access to Arctic regions claimed by Canada.[23]

[Source: coldwarteamprojectfall2014]

Pearson’s fear-mongering was clear from his very first speech to Parliament: “There is no doubt that fear has gripped the world again,” he said, “fear arising primarily out of … the brutal domination of revolutionary communism, based on the massive and expanding militarism of totalitarian Russia.”[24]

Pearson’s anti-Red hyperbole knew few bounds and smacked of ethnic hatred: “[T]he crusading and subversive power of communism,” he claimed, “has been harnessed by a cold-blooded, calculating, victoriously powerful Slav empire for its own political purposes.”[25] (Emphasis added.)

To Pearson and other Cold Warriors, the world was torn apart by a battle between pure good and utter evil. Describing these mortal foes in 1951, he said “there are two sides whose composition cuts across national and even community boundaries.” These forces, led by the U.S. and USSR, Pearson said, represented “freedom vs. slavery.”[26]

Anti-communist leaflet. [Source: pinbalking.blogspot.com]

Pearson also warned that a war between freedom and slavery would take place for one of only two reasons. World War III, he said, would result from an accident, or “a deliberate and controlled explosion brought about by the calculated policy of the hard-faced despots in the Kremlin, men hungry for power and world domination.”[27]

Hypocrisy and Doublethink: “Free Europe” vs. “Free Quebec”

Pearson’s bombast also exaggerated Soviet control over what he slurred as their “completely servile” “puppet regimes.”[28] When discussing nonaligned Yugoslavia, he referred to the “unquestioning and slavish obedience that the Kremlin demands.” With regard to Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland, and “the subjugation of states by soviet communism,” Pearson spoke of “communist pressure to liquidate every element of national independence and every trace of opinion or feeling which is not abjectly subordinate to Soviet Russia.”[29]

But Pearson was blind to the subservience of Canada and its NATO allies to the U.S. Pearson had such faith in Western morality that he declared in 1959 that “western democratic governments have no aggressive or imperialistic designs.” Similarly, he said “Americans … are perhaps the least imperialistically minded people that have ever achieved great power in the world.”[30]

As Canadian Dimension magazine founder, Cy Gonnick, explained in 1975, “Canada’s role, as devised by Pearson, was to assist the United States to achieve its goals, which were by definition the same as Canada’s.” Canadian servility to the U.S. was summed up by a top Pearson colleague: “We can tell our neighbour when we think he is wrong,” said John Holmes, Canada’s chargé d’affaires in Moscow in 1947-1948 and a top bureaucrat at external affairs (starting in 1953 into the 1960s), “but we know that in the end we will, in our own interest, side with our neighbour right or wrong.”[31]

In a speech in Vancouver in 1948, Pearson expressed faith that “democracy” in the U.S.-led “free world” had, by its treatment of the global poor, proven “its superiority as a form of government and a way of life.” Pearson then boiled everything down to the West’s existential struggle with evil. In one corner of the globe was America’s “free, expanding progressive democracy.” In the other, was the USSR’s “tyrannical and reactionary communism.”[32]

The so-called free world countries, said Pearson, being “strong, healthy and progressive,” had to “protect themselves from the threat of a sudden attack by an aggressor communist state.” Pearson also believed the U.S.-led free world must “remove the menace of aggressive communism, at home … [and] abroad.”[33]

To “remove” the Red Menace, Pearson said Canada and other “free” nations had to “pay tribute” to the U.S. by foregoing their own independent foreign policies. He outlined this strategy to the elitist Empire Club of Canada and Toronto’s equally affluent Canadian Club by saying:

“we must recognize and pay tribute to the leadership being given and the efforts being made by the United States in the conflict against Communist imperialism, and realize that if this leadership were not given we would have little chance of success in the common struggle. Secondly, we must never forget that our enemy gleefully welcomes every division in the free democratic ranks and that … there will be times when we should abandon our position if it is more important to maintain unity in the face of the common foe.”[34]

Vive le Ukraine Libre

The hypocrisy of Cold War “doublethink”[35] is illustrated by Pearson’s indignant reaction to Charles de Gaulle’s “Vive le Québec libre” speech in 1967. During his visit to Montréal for Canada’s centenary celebrations, the French president’s allusion to an independent Quebec outraged Prime Minister Pearson. De Gaulle’s reference to a “free Quebec” was nothing compared to the onslaught of “free Ukraine” propaganda that Canada had beamed at the USSR for the previous 15 years.

Under Pearson’s guidance, CBC International broadcasts had long provoked ethnonationalist schisms in the USSR. From its very first Ukrainian-language program, on Canada’s 85th birthday (July 1, 1952), the CBC’s Voice of Canada had collaborated with Canada’s far-right Ukrainian émigrés to drive a political wedge into the USSR.

Canada’s Cold War propaganda broadcasts were part of a U.S.-led political/psychological warfare campaign to exploit internal Soviet conflicts and to foment the break-up of that extremely multicultural country.

Canada’s mass media decried de Gaulle’s call for a free Quebec. In covering the French president’s speech, most newspapers across Canada quoted from Pearson’s speech at a huge July 31, 1967 rally of anti-Soviet Ukrainian youth on Parliament Hill.[36] (See photo.)

This rally of 1,500 uniformed, anti-communist Ukrainian youth marching in formation, was organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC).[37]

It had been created by King’s government in 1940 to unify Canada’s right-wing Ukrainian groups. While the UCC regularly meddled in Soviet politics by demanding a “free Ukraine,” it was happy to be used as a backdrop for Pearson to condemn de Gaulle’s meddling in Canadian politics.

In 1967, Pearson used 1,500 uniformed Ukrainian youth as a backdrop to decry de Gaulle’s “Vive le Québec libre” speech and to praise Canada’s “two founding races.”  Another speaker, Yuri Shymko, helped lead the Ukrainian youth movement which still glorifies Stepan Bandera as a hero. During WWII, Ukrainian scouting troops recruited for Bandera’s fascist army and for the Waffen SS Galicia. These formations took part in killing Poles and Jews, and collaborated in the Nazi invasion of the USSR which killed 27 million Soviet citizens. [Source – Ukraine: A Captive but Unconquerable Nation, Bulletin of the World AntiCommunist League, June 1969; diasporiana.org.au]

In Pearson’s speech, he acknowledged only “two founding races and languages and cultures in Canada, British and French.” Ignoring Canada’s genocide of First Nations, he also left out Britain’s conquest of New France in 1760. “In our country,” Pearson claimed, “we have required neither revolution nor civil war nor outside intervention to settle our differences.”[38]

These amnesic state myths were echoed by Yuri Shymko, who told the crowd:

“Canada is one of the few countries of the world that can proudly and justly say it has maintained throughout its young history the principle that men of all races and nationalities shall live and prosper in peace, liberty and equality.”[39]

Shymko was described in 1967 news stories as “a leader of the Ukrainian Youth Organization.” Then 26, he went on to become a member of parliament. Shymko continues to lead Ukrainian nationalists who glorify Stepan Bandera, a WWII fascist leader whose armed forces massacred Jews, Poles and communists.[40]

Pearson’s “Full-Spectrum” Anti-Red Crusade

Pearson believed that Western civilization’s global war against communism had to be fought on all fronts, using weapons from all fields of culture. To amass the arsenal needed for this full-spectrum war, Pearson tailored his rhetoric to suit his audience. To his allies in Canada’s old boys’ clubs, he said the anti-communist struggle has not yet become a shooting war, except in Korea, but … goes on in the field of economics, finance, and public opinion, and extends far beyond any military or even political operation.

“Strength,” he reminded this wealthy audience of corporate movers and shakers from the Empire Club of Canada and Toronto’s Canadian Club, should not “be interpreted in military terms alone, but has also its economic, financial and moral aspects.”[41]

In 1952, Pearson became chancellor of his alma mater, Victoria College. In his speech, he focused on the need to fight the Reds using “intellectual and spiritual weapons”:

“It would be a mistake to believe we can … defeat communism by force. Among other things, communism is an idea. No idea, however perilous or noxious, as communism is, can be killed by bayonets or even by an atomic bomb. As an idea, it must be resisted by intellectual and spiritual weapons….”[42]

To fight his Cold War crusade against communism, Pearson often wielded Christian rhetoric. For instance, when promoting the creation of NATO in early 1949, he said “Canada should not remain aloof” because aggressive forces outside Canada allied to subversive forces within it … [could] lead the world into war between totalitarian Communism and the Christian democratic way of life.[43]

Comic promoting alleged Soviet plot to take over Canada. [Source: pinbalking.blogspot.com]

Having absorbed a zeal for imperialism thanks to the influence of his family, church and literature, Pearson grew to equate anti-communism  with “spiritual faith” and “Christian morality.” These he saw as “the basis for the individual and for society.”[44]

Lester Pearson at a conference in San Francisco in 1945 held by what subsequently became the UN. [Source: thediscoverblog.com]

Within his black-and-white universe, the Cold War’s rivals were engaged in a mythic, existential battle between the evil darkness of totalitarian communism and the pure, radiance of civilized Western capitalism. This cartoon ethos left no room for grey areas in between. Canadians had to either embrace the enlightened “free world,” or be damned and condemned as diabolical Reds.

In one parliamentary polemic, Pearson contrasted the “dark practice of government through tyranny and ignorance” behind “the shadow of the iron curtain,” with the glowing “human spirit” that made Europe the “fountainhead of light and progress” for “a thousand years.” Pearson’s melodramatic tropes shone when he said Europe’s “light still burns, and that eventually it will help lift the darkness that now surrounds it.”[45]

Pearson and other Cold Warriors had zero-tolerance for communism. Their anti-Red phobia was akin to the “one-drop rule” that dominated the most racist societies. Apartheid regimes in South Africa and the U.S. institutionalized the hatred of their power elites in social systems that disempowered those alleged to have even a single drop of black African blood in their veins. Similarly, Cold Warriors like Pearson were intolerant of individuals, groups and foreign leaders said to be “tainted” by the dreaded “Red” political blood; “Pinkos” could not be tolerated. In the 1960s, it was known in Canada’s peace/anti-war movement that Pearson was a jingoistic Liberal war hawk, this is no longer the case. His image is now all but completely rehabilitated.

Despite his role in leading Canadian complicity in U.S./NATO-led wars and coups, Pearson is now heralded as an icon of peace by many Canadians who view themselves as progressives. This whitewashed invocation of Canada’s Pearsonian tradition is nowhere stronger than among the torchbearers of the Liberal Party.

For example, in 2017, when Canada’s current deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, was foreign minister, she called Pearson a “Canadian icon” who promoted “peace, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law around the world.”[46]

Her statement was made at a media event staged to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Pearson’s Nobel Peace Prize. This commemoration was co-sponsored by Canada’s Department of Global Affairs and Pearson College in British Columbia.

Pearson College is a private, government-funded[47] boarding school for teens that is part of the prestigious United World College (UWC) movement. Alumni from its eighteen colleges on four continents have included youth who ended up becoming heads of state, CEOs, venture capitalists, religious and military leaders, celebrity artists, actors, powerful members of the Fifth Estate and Cold War Liberal hawks like Freeland herself.

As a precocious teen, Freeland’s Russophobic, anti-communist ideologies were strengthened by her two-year attendance at the UWC’s Adriatic College in Italy. She had already been ingrained in these belief systems by powerful influencers in her anti-Soviet Ukrainian-Canadian community and her family.[48] These included Freeland’s maternal grandfather, Mikhailo Khomiak, who was given safe haven in Canada after working as Nazi Germany’s leading Ukrainian-language news propagandist in WWII.[49]

Mikhailo Khomiak (to the right of the man smoking and immediately behind woman in headdress) with Nazi press administrator Emil Gassner, who is on the right, looking away. [Source: peoplesvoice.ca]

Canada’s Pearson College was the second of eighteen elite, international schools in the UWC network that was established by anti-communist admirers and military leaders of NATO’s Defense College in Paris.[50]

Statue of Lester Pearson on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. [Source: waymarking.com]

But the exaltation of Pearson as Canada’s most noble peace hero is not limited to the halls of government power or such elitist, pro-NATO institutions as Pearson College.

Remarkably, Pearson is now regarded with tremendous respect even by leading forces in Canada’s mainstream peace movement. For example, Canada’s largest and best-known peace organization, Project Ploughshares, has effectively buried Pearson’s role as a vociferous Cold War-monger and helped to construct the mythology that now surrounds and protects his name.

Although Ploughshares has for 45 years done much exemplary work, including the documentation of Canada’s military exports, it has also helped to reverse the much-deserved, negative reputation that Pearson once had in the peace movement.

Mandated by, and accountable to, the Canadian Council of Churches, Ploughshares has received considerable financial support from this country’s largest religious bodies and from Canadian governments, both Liberal and Conservative alike. (Since 1999, Ploughshares has received at least $2.4 million in grants and contracts from the federal government.[51])

Ploughshares’ obfuscation of Pearson’s imperialist, pro-war record is expressed in its internet presence. Of the 40 articles that reference Pearson within Ploughshares’ website,[52] none mention his promotion of U.S. coups and wars. Instead, the majority invoke his name in a positive light by mentioning the government-established Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, which trained military personnel from 1994 to 2013.

Only one article contains even a passing critique of Pearson’s prowar legacy by briefly mentioning his role in arming Canadian missiles with U.S. nuclear warheads.[53]

This 2009 article was written by then-retired Ploughshares co-founder Ernie Regehr who, two years later, accepted the UN Association of Canada’s “Pearson Peace Medal.” This award is given annually to a Canadian who has contributed to those causes to which Lester B. Pearson devoted his distinguished career: aid to the developing world; mediation between those confronting one another with arms; succour to refugees and others in need; equal rights and justice for all humanity; and peaceful change through world law and world organization.[54]

The Ploughshares website highlights Regehr’s receipt of this medal at the very top of a special webpage called “Milestones,” which lists the group’s greatest achievements. The only photo on this page shows Regehr receiving the medal from Canada’s Governor General during a pomp-filled ceremony at his palace-like mansion in Ottawa.[55] It also notes that the Pearson Peace Medal had been received by Ploughshares’ other co-founder, Murray Thomson, 21 years earlier from another governor general.

Ploughshares’ “Milestones” page also notes that Regehr accepted the World Peace Award from the World Federalists of Canada.[56] The first recipient of this award was Lester Pearson himself in 1972.

The World Peace Award (in 2001) and the Pearson Peace Medal (in 2017) were bestowed upon Lloyd Axworthy,[57] who was the Liberal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade during Canada’s active participation in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Axworthy, who—like Freeland—carries on the Pearsonian war-hawk tradition, oversaw the export of billions of dollars’ worth of Canadian weapons systems to the U.S. and dozens of other countries. He, like Pearson, has received considerable praise in the pages of Ploughshares’ website.

Despite Pearson’s long career of promoting the multifarious crimes of empire, his status as a Canadian peace-cult hero seems unlikely to be revoked anytime soon. Still glorified by the corporate media, politicians of all stripes, and even the peace movement, Pearson remains a seemingly irremovable fixture in the mythology of Canada, “the peaceable kingdom.”

However, as the foreign affairs bureaucrat, diplomat and political leader who spearheaded the warmongering, social phobia of extreme anti-communism in post-war Canada, Pearson will eventually be widely recognized as a godfather of the Cold War and an ideological patriarch of its hate-filled propaganda.

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Richard Sanders is an anti-war activist and writer in Canada. In 1984, he received an MA in cultural anthropology and began working to expose Canada’s complicity in U.S.-led wars. In 1989, he founded the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT), which led to a 20-year municipal ban on Ottawa’s arms bazaars.

Notes

[1] Richard Sanders, “A Plot ‘Made in the U.S.,’” Press for Conversion! Issue 43, January 2001, pp. 23-25. http://bit.ly/Cda-Coup ; Richard Sanders, “1962-1963, Canada: ‘Knocking Over’ Dief the Chief”
https://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/issue43/articles/1962_1963_canada.htm; CIA Fingerprints: The Americans behind the Plot to Oust John Diefenbaker
https://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/issue43/articles/cia_fingerprints.htm; Key Quotations on the events of January 1963
https://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/issue43/articles/key_quotations_on_the_events.htm

[2] Ibid.

[3] Telegram from the Embassy in Canada to the Department of State, Ottawa, Feb. 3, 1963, 3 p.m., Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Volume XIII, Western Europe and Canada.
https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v13/d445

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ernie Regehr, “Canada and the nuclear arsenal,” in Canada and the Nuclear Arms Race, 1983, p. 109.

[6] Pierre Trudeau, Cité Libre, April 1963, cited by Walter Gordon, “Liberal leadership and nuclear weapons,” in Regehr 1983, ibid.

[7] Richard Sanders, “Yaroslav Stetsko: Leader of pro-Nazi Ukraine, 1941,” Cold War Canada, op. cit., p. 49. https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/70/70_49.htm

[8] Pierre Sevigny, Hansard, Sept. 7, 1961, p. 8083. http://bit.ly/Sevigny64

[9] Rosana Barbosa, Brazil and Canada: Economic, Political, and Migratory Ties, 1820s to 1970s, 2017, pp. 8-9. http://bit.ly/Cda-Brazil

[10] Robert Chodos (ed.), Let Us Prey, 1974, pp. 14-17. http://bit.ly/Brascan

[11] Barry Buys, Canadians in Brazil, Brascan and Brazilian Development, 1996, p. 67. http://bit.ly/BuysBrascan

[12] Hansard, May 11, 1965, p. 1152. https://parl.canadiana.ca/view/oop.debates_HOC2603_02/75?r=0&s=3

[13] Richard Sanders, “R2P: Typecasting Canada as Hero in Theatres of War,” Press for Conversion!, Mar. 2007, pp. 11-12. http://bit.ly/RS-r2p

[14] James G Endicott, “That Peace Appeal,” letter, Vancouver News-Herald, Mar. 21, 1951, p. 4. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/72058532/the-vancouver-news-herald/

[15] “Our Duty to Root Out Treason, L.B. Pearson tells CS Group,” Ottawa Journal, Mar. 27, 1950, p. 8. http://bit.ly/Pearson-CPC

[16] Ibid.

[17] Edith Holtom, “A Peace Congress View,” Ottawa Citizen, Apr. 4, 1950, p. 32. http://bit.ly/Holtom

[18] Lester Pearson, “Communism and the Peace Campaign,” April 20, 1951, in John Price, Orienting Canada: Race, Empire, and the Transpacific, 2011, p. 230. http://bit.ly/antiCPC

[19] Anthony Mardiros, William Irvine: Life of a Prairie Radical, 1979, p. 229. http://bit.ly/BanNukes

[20] Reginald Whitaker and Gary Marcuse, Cold War Canada: The Making of a National Insecurity State, 1945-1957, 1996, p. 375.

[21] Richard Sanders, “Rockefeller Assoc,” Press for Conversion! Mar. 2004. http://bit.ly/JDR-2

[22] Joseph Levitt, Pearson and Canada’s Role in Nuclear Disarmament & Arms Control Negotiations, 1945-1957, 1993, p. 46. http://bit.ly/Levitt

[23] Ibid.

[24] Lester Pearson, Words and Occasions: An Anthology of Speeches and Articles Selected from his Papers, 1970, p. 82. http://bit.ly/LBP-70

[25] Ibid., p. 70.

[26] Lester Pearson, “Canadian Foreign Policy in a Two Power World,” Apr. 10, 1951. http://bit.ly/lp51

[27] Ibid.

[28] Lester Pearson, Hansard, Nov. 16, 1949.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Lester Pearson, Diplomacy in a Nuclear Age, 1959, p. 53.

[31] Cy Gonick, Inflation or Depression, 1975, p.87.

[32] Pearson 1970, op. cit., p. 75.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Pearson, Apr. 10, 1951, op. cit.

[35] “The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both…. To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.” George Orwell, 1984, 1949, p. 220. http://bit.ly/1984-DT

[36] Author’s collection of news articles, Jul. 31-Aug. 3, 1967. http://bit.ly/freeQuebec

[37] Aya Fujiwara, Ethnic Elites and Canadian Identity: Japanese, Ukrainians, and Scots, 1919-1971, 2012. http://bit.ly/UCC1967

[38] Gordon Pape, “Full Acceptance of French a Requirement says Pearson,” Montreal Gazette, Aug. 1, 1967, p. 2. http://bit.ly/Aug1-1967

[39] “PM Stresses Political Unity to Ukrainians,” Calgary Herald, Jul. 31, 1967, p. 9. http://bit.ly/ch-67

[40] Richard Sanders, “Yuri Shymko: From Bandera youth leader, MPP and MP, to elder statesman,” Cold War Canada, op. cit., pp. 60-61.
https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/70/70_60-61.htm

[41] Pearson, Apr. 10, 1951, op. cit.

[42] Pearson 1970, op. cit., p. 112.

[43] “Pearson Hits Progressive Conservatives,” Winnipeg Free Press, Feb. 5, 1949, p. 6. http://bit.ly/Christ-vs-Reds

[44] Pearson 1970, op. cit., p. 113.

[45] Lester Pearson, cited by B.T.R., “Need We Fight the Russians?” Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 16, 1949, p. 30. http://bit.ly/OC11-16-49

[46] Chrystia Freeland statement on the 60th anniversary of Pearson receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace, Dec. 10, 2017. http://bit.ly/Pearson-Icon

[47] Pearson College has received at least $14.18 million in government grants since 1995. (This figure, adjusted for inflation, is the value of these grants in 2021 dollars.)

Public Accounts of Canada, https://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/201/301/public_accounts_can/pdf/index.html

$100,000 (2006-07) ($126,325 in 2021 dollars)

$4 million (1997-98) ($6.08 in 2021 dollars)

$5 million (1994-95) ($7.98 in 2021 dollars)

[48] Richard Sanders, “Getting them young: Instilling Ukrainian patriotism in children and youth,” Cold War Canada, op. cit., pp. 52-54. https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/70/70_52-54.htm

[49] Richard Sanders, The Chomiak-Freeland Connection, March 2017.
https://coat.ncf.ca/research/Chomiak-Freeland/C-F1.htm

[50] Richard Sanders, “Pearson College and NATO’s United World Colleges,” Cold War Canadaop. cit., p. 8.  https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/70/70_8.htm

[51] Richard Sanders, “Project Ploughshares and the myth of Canada’s noninvolvement in the Iraq War,” 2013. https://coat.ncf.ca/articles/Ploughshares-IraqMyth_Funding.htm

Richard Sanders, “Additional data on government funding of Project Ploughshares,” complied March 8, 2021. https://coat.ncf.ca/articles/Ploughshares-AddedFundingNotes.htm

[52] Google search of the Ploughshares website for the word “Pearson,” retrieved Mar. 6, 2021. https://www.google.com/search?q=site:https://ploughshares.ca+pearson

[53] Ernie Regehr, “Our Nuclear Ambivalence Must End,” Waterloo Region Record, 2009. https://ploughshares.ca/pl_publications/our-nuclear-ambivalence-must-end/

[54] Governor General David Johnston, “Presentation of the Pearson Peace Medal to the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy,” May 19, 2017. https://www.gg.ca/en/media/news/2017/pearson-peace-medal

[55] Milestones. https://ploughshares.ca/about-us/milestones/

[56] Murray Thomson, The Pearson Peace Medal Recipients http://www.unac.org/copy-6-of-new-page

[57] Lloyd Axworthy, The Pearson Peace Medal Recipients http://www.unac.org/copy-22-of-new-page

Featured image: Lester B. Pearson with John F. Kennedy. Pearson played a founding role in NATO (1949) and was former Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs from 1948 to 1957. As leader of Canada’s Liberal Party from 1958 to 1968, he was Prime Minister from 1963 to 1968. [Source: natoassociation.ca]

Canada Ties to the U.S. Empire: Lester Pearson and the Myth of Canada as “Peaceable Kingdom” Part I

By Richard Sanders

Global Research, March 31, 2021

CovertAction Magazine 30 March 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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[T]here are two sides whose composition cuts across national and even community boundaries. The issues … can be described as freedom vs. slavery…. [T]wo powerful leaders of these opposed sides have emerged—the United States of America and the USSR.

We are faced now with a situation similar in some respects to that which confronted our forefathers in early colonial days when they ploughed the land with a rifle slung on the shoulder. If they stuck to the plough and left the rifle at home, they would have been easy victims for any savages lurking in the woods. ”

As Canada’s Minister of External Affairs, Lester Pearson delivered the above statements in his speech entitled “Canadian Foreign Policy in a Two Power World” to a joint meeting of the Empire Club of Canada and Canadian Club of Toronto. (April 10, 1951)

*

For centuries, self-righteous state myths have depicted the imperial Canadian project as a victory for democracy and human rights. Despite Canada’s long record of genocide, land plunder, and war profiteering, official narratives about noble “Canadian values” still reign in this imagined “peaceable kingdom.”

Canada’s ethnonationalist propaganda demonized First Nations as hostile sub-humans to be enslaved, imprisoned on reservations and made Christian in residential schools. This White-Power racism served imperialist containment policies designed to turn “Red Indian” enemies into captive nations.

By the early 1950s, then-external affairs minister Lester Pearson was pioneering a new containment policy. During the transition to the new world order of the Cold War, he rallied his powerful allies in Canada’s racist old-boys’ clubs.

Pearson’s status as a national hero was consolidated when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his role in helping to establish a UN peacekeeping force.

But Pearson was far from a progressive. In 1951, he compared the new Red Menace of communism to what he called “savages lurking in the woods.” These “savages,” he declared, had violently threatened the peaceful lives of innocent white Europeans whom he lovingly called “our forefathers.”

By conjuring unsettling images of a Red-Indian bogeyman, Pearson helped manufacture consent for a new, politically Red enemy to meet the needs of NATO’s capitalist powers.

On the home front, Pearson’s fierce anticommunism justified Canada’s systematic abuses of civil rights. As Ian MacKay and Jamie Swift note in Warrior Nation: “Pearson enthusiastically supported a Cold War against any Canadians suspected of viewing the world outside the newly hegemonic framework of the American imperium.”[1]

Headline in Toronto newspaper pointing to repressive political environment in the early Cold War. [Source: opentext.bc.ca]

Targeted for abuse by Canada’s Cold War elites were “peaceniks,” radical unionists and anyone branded as too leftwing. “Pearson had become an ever-more-aggressive accomplice,” said MacKay and Swift, “in government attacks on dissidents.”[2]

To Pearson and other Cold Warriors, the world was torn. As chief architect of Canada’s postwar anti-Red foreign policy, Pearson demonized the Soviet Union as the epicenter of evil. The USSR was still reeling after 27 million of its citizens had been killed by Hitler’s anti-communist crusade.

This is the cover of the Canadian edition (1947) of a U.S. comic by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society. [Source: coat.ncf.ca]

Anti-communist propaganda which Pearson echoed. [Source: coat.ncf.ca]

After the Red Army liberated Eastern Europe and led Germany’s defeat, the U.S. replaced the Nazis as global leaders in the war on communism. NATO efforts to destroy the USSR used Cold-War “containment” strategies: surrounding the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons, isolating it with political and economic sanctions, and vilifying it with propaganda. Pearson had a central role in this new phase of the West’s war on communism.

Lester Pearson, far right, with Halvard Lange of Norway and Gaetano Martino of Italy. They were known as the “Three Wise Men” who were ardent in supporting NATO. [Source: nato.int]

The Red Scare had been going on for decades. In Pearson’s youth during WWI and the First Red Scare (1914-20), Canada ran slave-labor, concentration camps that interned thousands of single immigrant men, mostly Ukrainians, who had been laid off from rural work camps. Elites feared their growing protests in urban centers might spark a socialist revolution.[3]

Ukrainians interned during World War I and the First Red Scare. [Source: infoukes]

And, in 1919, Canada was among thirteen countries that invaded newborn Soviet Russia with 150,000 troops to intervene in its civil war and reverse its revolution. Canada’s allies in the war, led by Admiral Alexander Vasilevich Kolchak, killed at least 100 civilians for every one killed by the Bolshevik Red Army, according to General William S. Graves, who headed the U.S. contingent.[4]

Members of the Canadian Army’s 67th Battery pose for a photo following the Battle of Tulgas, Russia, on November 11, 1918. [Source: ipolitics.ca]

During the Depression, when Pearson was a bureaucrat working closely with Canada’s prime minister, some 170,000 single, unemployed men were forced into remote work camps to prevent a potential revolution.[5]

One means of dismantling Canada’s prevailing peace mythology is to examine this country’s support for U.S. militarism throughout the Cold War. This study leads to the conclusion that little if anything has changed.

Plaque commemorating Pearson and Truman and signing of original NATO treaty in 1949. [Source: tcdb.com]

Always a stalwart NATO warrior giving solid allegiance to U.S.-led military, political, economic and propaganda warfare, Canada has taken leading roles in a new Cold War being waged by the American empire.

Lester Pearson at West Germany’s accession to NATO in 1955. [Source: nato.int]

Facing Canada’s history of duplicity is especially difficult because it means challenging the villainous hypocrisy of some of this nation’s most-beloved leaders. It also means confronting the powerful, political descendants of Canada’s much-glorified peace cult heroes, and debunking pernicious narratives that are still perpetuated, even by many mainstream progressives.

Pearson As Peace-Cult Hero and Cold-War Hatemonger

While state-sponsored myths have helped to create an institutionalized cult around Pearson, Canada’s beloved Nobel Peace Prize winner was actually a vociferous Cold Warrior. Besides using hateful anti-Red rhetoric to whitewash U.S.-backed wars, Pearson rallied support for various covert actions that squashed anti-colonial struggles in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Canada’s largest political, corporate, religious and media institutions shared with their Western allies a fierce loathing for anyone who could be labelled communist. Their global crusade maligned all individuals, groups, parties, movements and governments that dared to threaten the freewheeling reign of predatory corporations. In Lester Pearson, these fear-mongering elites found a believable voice whose skilful devotion to Cold War tropes served their shared, vested interests.

Pearson was useful to British and American power elites because he leveraged Canada’s well-crafted reputation as a neutral “middle power” to cheerlead their neocolonial adventures. This included lending Canada’s respected voice to the ousting of elected, socialist-friendly governments that tried to limit the exploits of foreign corporations.

As Canada’s most influential confidence man, Pearson exuded faith in America’s supposed devotion to peace. “It is inconceivable to me that the United States would ever initiate an aggressive war,” said Pearson in 1955, and “it is also inconceivable that Canada would ever take part in such a war.”[6]

Captivated by the era’s extreme anti-communism, Pearson ignored Western war crimes. In fact, he artfully glorified these crimes with phobic narratives that painted assaults on democracy as if they were part of a noble, god-inspired plan to wipe communist evil off the face of the earth.

Before examining Pearson’s key role in leading Canada’s support for these American adventures, it is worth examining the cultural influences in his early life that helped create his pious devotion to Cold War causes.

The Early Origins of Pearson’s “Muscular Christianity”

That Pearson slipped so easily into sermonizing about the Red Menace can be explained largely by his ultrareligious upbringing. His father, and both grandfathers, were Methodist ministers. [NOTE: Not sure what a “staunch” Methodist minister is.]

Methodism, which was then Canada’s largest Protestant denomination, was central to the imperial project of spreading “Christian values” at home and abroad.

This religious exercise, to build the moral muscles of a global Anglo-based civilization, fixated on the Social Gospel movement. Its mission was to take up the “white man’s burden” and uplift atheist heathens and inferior races through such genocidal institutions as Indian Residential Schools.[7]

Pearson describes his maternal grandfather, Rev. Thomas Bowles, as “a pillar of the church and the Liberal party.” He had been elected county warden three times, township reeve (mayor) ten times, and was appointed first sheriff of Dufferin County, Ontario. Pearson notes that his paternal grandfather Rev. Marmaduke L. Pearson, one of the Methodist “church’s most distinguished divines,” was a devoted Tory who seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about and playing baseball, lawn-bowling and cricket.

This obsession was passed on to his sons, including Lester’s father, Rev. Edwin A. Pearson. He was described by historian John English, as “a strong imperialist” whose “three boys shared his enthusiasm for sports and the empire.”[8]

Lester Pearson (bottom left), at home in Hamilton, 1913, with brothers, parents and grandfather. His father and grandfather were both Methodist ministers who zealously supported British imperialism. [Source: coat.ncf.ca]

Pearson’s memoir also reveals the great influence of certain novels he found in his Sunday School library. “From its shelves I learned of life and adventure,” said Pearson, “through Horatio Alger, G.A. Henty and similar heroic books.”[9] Alger, a disgraced Unitarian minister who became one of the most popular novelists of the late 1800s, is best known for perpetuating the American dream’s “rags-to-riches” myth.

George A. Henty though, revealed Pearson, was “the author whom I knew the best among all English writers before I went to college.” [10] As a British war correspondent, Henty’s travels across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, were always sure to promote British imperialism. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, his work epitomized that blatantly jingoistic literary genre known as “imperial adventure fiction.”Canada’s Secret War: IRAQ – Ten Years After “Shock and Awe”

Henty’s books embodied the spirit of so-called “Muscular Christianity.” This Victorian movement glorified the pious athleticism and virile masculinity of tough, white saviors who would happily knock heads together (and kill if need be) for the glory of god, king, country and empire.

Always ready to save the brutish, lower-class savages from themselves, Henty’s heroes enthralled impressionable juveniles, like Pearson, who lapped up this macho vision of a missionizing, tough-love fundamentalism that was hopped up on just wars and imperial steroids.[11]  “To be a true hero,” explained Henty when interviewed, “you must be a true Christian.”[12]

Henty’s 122 novels were riddled with white supremacist heroes who spouted the era’s outrageously popular racist, sexist and anti-semitic beliefs. His books also targeted left-wing, cartoon villains from the ruthless labour leaders of striking English coal miners[13] to the eroticized socialist women who ran loose in the 1871 “Paris Commune.”[14]

Considering his class and the strong religious leanings of his family and community, it is not surprising that Pearson would be so captivated by Henty’s writings. While Pearson’s 1972 memoir offers no critique of Henty, it praises the author’s historical fiction for having provided a knowledge of the world that informed and inspired him throughout his political career:

“His exciting stories based on history’s more romantic episodes stirred my imagination mightily and, I suspect, had much to do with my liking for and concentration on history in my educational progress. When years later I traveled extensively abroad as Canada’s Secretary of State for External Affairs, there was hardly a place I visited which I had not known through that prolific but now almost forgotten writer of adventure stories for boys.”[15]

Pearson’s exceedingly sheltered childhood kept him cozy in the warmth of positive feelings for imperialism. “[T]he parish was my world,” he confessed. “As for the rest of the world, I thought about it … largely in terms of the British Empire which was looking after the ‘lesser breeds’ and keeping the French and Germans under control.”[16]

Admitting that his was “an absorbing mind rather than a questioning mind,” Pearson also disclosed that he had “a rather superficial approach to life.” His “limited” world, Pearson says, “did not broaden much” until 1913 when, at age 16, he entered Toronto’s Victoria College.[17]

Named for Queen Victoria, and founded by the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1836, this was no breeding ground for radical thought; it was a hotbed of imperialist education.

Rather than freeing Pearson’s mind from its fetters, college life further narrowed Pearson’s “limited” worldview. And, it was here that Pearson first made contact with influential men who led him along the political path to power.

Victoria College was where he began what he called his “long and … rewarding association”[18] with Vincent Massey, a history lecturer and dean of the residence building which his family had built and furnished. Massey’s Methodist father, owning one of Toronto’s biggest industrial concerns, had close links to the highest echelons of the Liberal Party. Massey was already a good friend of Mackenzie King, who became Canada’s longest-standing prime minister.

Massey became one of Pearson’s most important Methodist mentors. His deeds included being a leader of Toronto’s Cecil Rhodes-inspired Round Table Society (1911-18); marrying Alice Parkin, daughter of Sir George Parkin, secretary of The Rhodes Trust (1915); being appointed to Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s cabinet war committee (1918) and to the Liberal cabinet (1925); being appointed Canada’s first envoy to the U.S. (1926-30) and its high commissioner to Britain (1930, 1935-46); being president of England and Wales’ National Liberal Federation (1932-35); being made Canada’s delegate to the League of Nations (1936) and being appointed to represent the Queen as Canada’s governor general (1952-59).[19]

Massey, who Pearson notes was “personal friends of the Royal Family, and … seemed to know every duke by his first name,”[20] was able to open doors for Pearson throughout his career. This included funding Pearson’s BA and MA studies at Oxford (1923-25).[21]

Pearson’s subservience to the moneyed interests of empire helped ensure his rise through the Department of External Affairs. He joined that bureaucracy in 1928, during the King government, but when Conservative Prime Minister Richard “Iron Heel” Bennett took power in 1930, “Pearson was a beneficiary.”[22]

Bennett, who was also a devout Methodist, earned his nickname after an inflammatory 1932 speech in which he said:

“What do these so-called groups of Socialists and Communists offer you? They are sowing their seeds everywhere…. [T]hroughout Canada this propaganda is being put forward by organizations from foreign lands that seek to destroy our institutions. And we ask that every man and woman put the iron heel of ruthlessness against a thing of that kind.”[23]

Crushing communism was clearly the order of the day, and Pearson was ambitious and eager to comply.

Talent-spotted by Bennett, Pearson was soon appointed to two royal commissions on economic issues. As journalism professor Andrew Cohen noted: “Pearson liked Bennett who treated him as a protegé.”

In early 1935, Pearson accompanied Bennett to London where they took part in the Jubilee to celebrate King George V’s 25-year reign. During their lavish sea voyage with its sumptuous cuisine, Pearson learned he would receive the Order of the British Empire and asked Bennett for a raise of $25 per week.[24]

This increase boosted Pearson’s salary by an extra $25,000 per year in today’s dollars. This was distasteful considering all those who were hungry for food and justice during the Great Depression.

Unmentioned by Cohen or Pearson is that, between 1932 and 1935, Bennett’s government rounded up 170,000 single, unemployed, urban men and forced them into slavery in army-run “Relief Camps.”

Army-run relief camp during Great Depression, designed to remove “red” agitators from the cities. [Source: sutori.com]

General Andrew McNaughton’s internment plan makes it clear why. “In their ragged platoons,” he explained to the cabinet, “here are the prospective members of what Marx called the ‘industrial reserve army, the storm troopers of the revolution.’”[25]

General McNaughton further told Bennett that “[b]y taking the men out … of the cities” and forcing them into remote work camps, “we were removing the active elements on which the ‘red’ agitators could play.”[26]

In 1935, Bennett approved Pearson’s posting to Canada’s High Commission in London. When Bennett was replaced by King, Pearson’s move was confirmed and he continued his climb, becoming second in command under High Commissioner Vincent Massey (1939-42).

In 1940, Pearson was recruited by Sir William Stephenson to be a “King’s messenger” carrying secret documents to Europe. Nicknamed “the Quiet Canadian,” Stephenson was the Canadian intelligence agent, codenamed “Intrepid,”[27] who inspired Ian Fleming’s fictional, anti-communist superspy, 007.[28]

James Bond was also the violently racist and sexist Cold War equivalent of the Victorian era’s manly, white, imperial adventure heroes, so admired by Pearson.

From London, Pearson was transferred to Washington, D.C., where he was Canada’s ambassador and envoy extraordinaire to the U.S. (1942-46).

After returning to Ottawa, he was appointed foreign minister for the last few months of Prime Minister King’s time in office (1948). When King’s protégé, Louis St. Laurent, took over, he retained Pearson as foreign minister (1948-57).

Pearson’s early decades of pliable innocence were over. Having been moulded and mentored into form by family, church, schools and government, he had thoroughly internalized the deceitful scripts of elite institutions.

But though he became a manager and manipulator in his own right, Pearson’s role on the global stage was still directed by external forces in Washington and London. While just following his social orders, Pearson’s acts of complicity in Cold War coups, wars, invasions and occupations cannot be excused. He was culpable for the criminality in which he willfully engaged. Let’s look at a few examples.

The Korean War and Its Planning, 1947-1953

Pearson was a strong supporter of the Korean War (1950-1953), which devastated the Korean peninsula and left a legacy of conflict and division that persists to this day.

Pearson considered the war part of a moral crusade against communism.

His understanding overlooked the fact that the northern communist regime, led by Kim Il-Sung, had led the fight against Japanese colonialism. By contrast, the southern regime, led by Syngman Rhee and dominated by Japanese colonial collaborators, killed over 100,000 of its own citizens and launched raids into the north, all of which provoked the onset of the war.

Image from Pyongyang museum of American war crimes depicting U.S. soldiers brutalizing North Koreans. [Source: peacehistory-usfp.org]

Pearson’s hawkish position contrasted with Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s, who said that “Canada should not automatically support the United States in all its endeavors.”[29]

Pearson also clashed with Defense Minister Brooke Claxton who opposed sending Canadian troops to Korea presciently because the U.S. was “getting [Canada] into something to which there is really no end.”[30]

When Pearson was dispatched to Washington to meet with President Harry S. Truman in 1948, he conspired behind the scenes with Truman to undermine King’s direct orders regarding the pursuit of an independent Canadian foreign policy, and assisted U.S. State Department officials in crafting a letter that urged King to support the Korean War.[31]

King’s successor, Louis St. Laurent, assisted the war effort by deploying a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) squadron of transport planes to airlift U.S. troops, weapons and other materiel across the Pacific.

Canadian soldiers playing ice hockey, the national sport, on a rink they built in South Korea. [Source: bardown.com]

Military historian David Bercusson,[32] who continues to spread official narratives promoting this and other wars, wrote:

“Pearson was correct about what the Korean War meant in the global confrontation between Soviet Communism and the Western democratic powers and correct too in believing that Canada could not sit out the war if the Americans insisted that Canadian troops were needed. He was far wiser than Claxton in knowing this. With Pearson leading the way, Claxton came on board.”[33]

Pearson told St. Laurent that he supported troop deployments based on his anti-communist views about “the menace which faces us, … the expression of that menace in Korea, and the necessity of defeating it there by United Nations action.” Pearson’s efforts paid off. “St. Laurent came around,” said Bercusson, because “he and the nation really had little choice.”[34]

The speech St. Laurent gave over the radio announcing Canada’s commitment to the war was probably crafted in part by Pearson. It was deep in Orwellian newspeak:

“The action of the United Nations in Korea,” St. Laurent intoned, “is not war; it is police action intended to prevent war by discouraging aggression.” Since “the war to end all wars” had already come and gone 30 years hence, the Korean War was framed as “important to all of us who want to avoid another world war.” The need to “defeat the Communist aggressors in Korea,” said St. Laurent, was like fighting “fascist aggression” in WWII. He concluded his deceit with “We owe it to to ourselves, to each other, to our children, and each other’s children … to prevent the disasters of a third world war.”[35]

This launched Canada’s four-year collaboration—under the UN’s respectable cover—in a barrage of napalm-saturated bombings that slaughtered some three or four million Koreans.

This supposed non-war, also caused “six to seven million” more to be “rendered refugees,” says historian Jeremy Kuzmarov, who also notes that the onslaught destroyed “8,500 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, and 600,000 homes.”[36]

Canadian troops marching in North Korea during a brutal 40-day U.S.-UN occupation. [Source: thecanadianencyclopedia.ca]

To aid and abet this mayhem, Canada supplied its good name, plus more than 20,000 troops (516 of whom died), numerous war planes, eight destroyers and a wealth of strategic minerals and military hardware.

Canadian troops after the Battle of Kapyong in April 1951. [Source: veterans.gc.ca]

In return, the St. Laurent government exploited the war as an excuse to vastly expand Canada’s army, navy and air force and to accelerate the production of jet fighters, jet engines, naval vessels, weapons, ammunition, radar and more.

“We are working in the closest co-operation with the United States,” said St. Laurent, so “that our joint resources and facilities are put to the most effective use in the common defence [sic] effort.” The government, he went on, was also “looking forward confidently to an acceleration and an intensification of our joint [military] production efforts” through the “U.S.-Canada industrial mobilization planning committee.”[37]

While devastating Korea itself, the Korean War sparked the blossoming of Canada’s military-industrial complex, which fueled its complicity in Cold War adventures for decades to come.

Similarly, anti-communism was harnessed by Western governments to repress the civil liberties of anti-war activists. Quebec’s “Padlock Law” (1937-57) made it illegal to copy, publish or distribute anything deemed pro-communist. Although the King and St. Laurent governments could have struck down this law, they didn’t. It was used against peace activists opposing the Korean War.

In May 1951, an “anti-subversion squad” raided a Montreal home where about thirty labor and civil rights activists were meeting with James Endicott, president of the Canadian Peace Congress. Literature was seized and male police invasively searched activists, including the women, who lodged a complaint to Pearson’s office, which did nothing.[38]

In January 1952, Endicott denounced the “Padlock Law” at a meeting in London, England. “Under American pressure,” he reported, Canada’s treason act had been amended “so that a cabinet committee can order secret arrests and hold people indefinitely and incommunicado without trial. They are doing that against peace workers.”[39]

Coup in Iran, 1953

Pearson’s foreign ministry supported the coup that installed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as Iran’s dictator in 1953.

This CIA/MI5-led coup ousted Mohammad Mosaddegh’s elected government after it dared to nationalize Iran’s UK-owned oil industry in March 1951. Although not a socialist, Mosaddegh worked with Iran’s communist party, Tudeh, which had played a key role in Iran’s struggle to gain control of its own oil resources.

As revealed by anti-war writer Yves Engler, Pearson “was not happy with the Iranian’s move”:

In May 1951 External Minister Lester Pearson told the House of Commons the “problem can be settled” only if the Iranians keep in mind the “legitimate interests of other people who have ministered to the well-being of Iran in administering the oil industry of that country which they have been instrumental in developing.”[40]

Mossadegh’s duly-elected government also angered Pearson. “In their anxiety to gain full control of their affairs by the elimination of foreign influence,” he told parliament, Iran had exposed itself “to the menace of communist penetration and absorption—absorption into the Soviet sphere.”[41]

As Engler notes, “Pearson did not protest the overthrow of Iran’s first elected prime minister” and three days after the coup, Canada’s ambassador expressed concern with what he called the “disturbing factor” of “the continued strength of the Tudeh party.”[42]

In response, the Shah’s CIA-trained secret police (SAVAK) quickly began arresting thousands of Tudeh members. By 1958, SAVAK torture and assassination campaigns had decimated Tudeh and other popular, democratic forces.[43] This “progress” allowed Canada to begin diplomatic relations with Iran in 1955.

By May 1965, when deposed Prime Minister Mossadegh was still under arrest, Pearson was prime minister and hosted the Shah’s state visit to Canada.

Upon his arrival in Ottawa, aboard a Canadian military plane, the Shah was greeted by Pearson, Foreign Minister Paul Martin, Sr., and Governor General George Vanier, who literally gave him the red-carpet treatment.

Vanier intoned “I greet Your Imperial Majesty as an able and valiant head of state and as a great leader with progressive policies,”[44] while Pearson said the Shah “had given outstanding leadership in bringing his country forward into the modern world.”[45]

During his eight-day visit to five cities, the Shah attended top-government meetings, inspected an honor guard, waved to the public, laid a wreath, spoke at press conferences and elite clubs, was feted at gala luncheons and black-tie dinners, dined privately at Pearson’s home, was honored at a state banquet and reception by Vanier in his palatial mansion, and was regaled by Canada’s mass media. Pahlavi and his Empress were a hit.[46]

Special police precautions were taken for fear of Iranian student protests, which the Shah “dismissed …  as the work of communists.”[47]

Summing up the visit, Pearson said it had “brought our two countries even closer together in our approach to problems of peace and the United Nations.”[48]

Coup in Guatemala, 1954

A CIA-led coup toppled Guatemala’s elected government and ushered in decades of dictatorships that killed about 200,000 people.

Diego Rivera painting, Glorious Victory, which depicts Secretary of State John Foster Dulles shaking hands over a pile of dead corpses with Castillo Armas who deposed Guatemala’s left-leaning president Jacobo Arbenz. CIA Director Allen Dulles stands next to the pair, his satchel full of cash, while Dwight Eisenhower’s face is pictured in a bomb. [Source: wikipedia.org]

As a U.S. State Department official said, Guatemala’s elected President Jacobo Arbenz—the target of the coup—had a “broad social program” to aid “workers and peasants in a victorious struggle against the upper classes and large foreign enterprises.”

This, he admitted, had “strong appeal to the populations of Central America.”[49] Arbenz was not allowed to pose the threat of a good example.

Even before Arbenz’s 1950 election, Ottawa’s trade commissioner in Guatemala had characterized him as “unscrupulous, daring and ruthless, and not one to be allayed in his aims by bloodshed or killing.”[50]

Prior to the coup, Arbenz’s Foreign Minister Guillermo Toriello asked Canada to allow embassies to open in their two countries.

Pearson’s department refused. “At external affairs and in Canadian board rooms,” said reporter Peter McFarlane, “the coup was chalked up as another victory of the Free World against the [Red] Menace.”[51]

Afterwards, U.S.-led counter-insurgency operations directed against left-wing rebels who sought to restore Arbenz’s political program benefited from the use of Canadian military hardware. The key U.S. warplanes used in this CIA operation were P-47 and F-47N fighter planes and C-47 and C-54 cargo planes. Owned and operated by the CIA, they were flown by American pilots.[52]

These aircraft in the CIA’s “Liberation Air Force” were powered by Wasp-series engines built in Montreal, Quebec, by Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC).[53]

Throughout the 1980s, when the Guatemalan air force attacked villages, they employed U.S. Bell 212 and 412 helicopters—made famous in the Vietnam War—that were powered by PWC’s PT6T engines.[54]

PWC has long been one of the highest government-subsidized war industries in Canada. For example, between 1982 and 2006 it was Canada’s top corporate welfare recipient, raking in about $1.5 billion.[55]

Vietnam War, 1952-1974

From the beginning, Pearson was a gung-ho supporter of the Vietnam War. When France initiated the first Indochina War (1946-1954) in an attempt to reclaim its former colony, Pearson led Canadian efforts to supply weapons for use by French forces in Indochina (now Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia).[56]

This was done under the radar through NATO’s Mutual Aid Program. Between 1950 and 1954 alone, about $650 million (in 2021 dollars) worth of Canadian “armaments, ammunition, aircraft, and engines were transferred … to the Indochina war theatre.”[57]

In 1952, Pearson “okayed the deal” to allow Canadian arms, sold to France for use in Europe only, to be diverted to Indochina. This materiel included “antitank and anti-aircraft guns, ammunition, rangefinders and telescopic sights.” Behind the cabinet’s back, Pearson decided that arming France’s Indochina War was lawful because it “help[ed] assure the preservation of peace.”[58]

In one of Pearson’s many 1951 tirades affirming his support for that war, he suggested that if the independence of Indochina were to fail, “all of South-East Asia, including Burma, Malaya and Indonesia, with their important resources of rubber, rice and tin, might well come under communist control.”[59]

Pearson at the same time was claiming in the early 1950s that the “‘Soviet colonial authority in Indochina’ appeared to be stronger than that of France.” Considering that there was “not a Russian anywhere in the neighborhood,” Noam Chomsky wrote, “[o]ne has to search pretty far to find more fervent devotion to imperial crimes than Pearson’s declarations.”[60]

Pearson’s collaboration in the Vietnam War included his backing of Canadian government collaboration in “spying, weapons sales, and complicity in the bombing of the North.”[61]

Many Canadians believe the myth today that Pearson helped keep Canada out of the Vietnam War. However, 40,000 Canadians joined the U.S. armed forces during the war.[62] This was 50% more than the 26,000 Canadian soldiers who had served in Korea.

In 1954, when Pearson was minister of external affairs, he helped gain American backing for Canada’s bid for a seat on the International Control Commission (ICC)—whose purpose was to enforce the 1954 Geneva accords.

Pearson served as the handler of Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., Arnold Heeney, who forged an agreement with U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of State Robert Murphy, that Canada would illegally supply the U.S. with secret intelligence obtained through its involvement in the ICC mission.[63]

Canada’s best-known ICC spy was Blair Seaborn, a long-time friend of America’s ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. In late April 1964, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk met Prime Minister Pearson and External Affairs Minister Paul Martin, Sr., to discuss the “Seaborn Mission.” A month later Pearson conveyed to Johnson his “willingness to lend Canadian good offices to this endeavour.”

The Pentagon Papers later revealed that Pearson told Johnson at this meeting that, although he “would have great reservations about the use of nuclear weapons,” in Vietnam, America’s “punitive striking” with “iron bomb attacks” (i.e., unguided, air-dropped conventional munitions) was fine.[64]

Seaborn conveyed U.S. threats to the North Vietnamese that, unless they surrendered, the U.S. would unleash massive military attacks.

Seaborn also “gathered intelligence for U.S. authorities” on many strategic issues that aided and abetted America’s war. The Pentagon Papers showed that the U.S. informed Canada, seven months in advance, of closely guarded U.S. plans for a major bombing campaign against the north in December 1964.[65]

Victor Levant’s groundbreaking book, Quiet ComplicityCanadian Involvement in the Vietnam War (1986), reveals that Pearson’s government (he was prime minister from 1963 to 1968) was aiding and abetting domestic war industries to cash in on the bonanza.

This was despite the fact that, as a member of the ICC, one of Canada’s duties was “to restrict the entry of arms into Vietnam from anywhere.”[66] But, said Levant, “[f]ar from trying to curtail U.S. purchases of Canadian military equipment, the government in Ottawa actively encouraged the process” with grants to so-called “defense industries” between 1964 and 1968, that were worth just over $1 billion in 2021 dollars.[67]

This investment of taxpayers’ money paid off, at least for Canadian corporations that received over $2.16 billion (in 2021 dollars) “in 1965 [alone] by making military equipment, ranging from green berets to airplanes, for the U.S. war effort in Vietnam.”[68]

Prime Minister Pearson tried to absolve himself and the government of complicity in this war profiteering by claiming in 1967 that Canada could not determine the whereabouts of military equipment purchased in Canada by the U.S., though he conceded that a “small percentage of Canadian arms could be reaching the battlefield in Vietnam.” [69]

While cheered by virulently anti-communist groups, Pearson became a main target of the anti-war protesters who carried banners that read “End Canadian complicity in Viet Nam War,” “Pearson accomplice in genocide” and “Accomplice in mass murder.” A chant that was familiar in those days,was “Pearson, Martin, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”[70]

On the nation’s 100th anniversary (July 1, 1967) in Montreal, when thousands marched to protest Canada’s role in the Vietnam War, French chants included “Johnson assassin. Pearson Complice.”[71]  The fact that Pearson was an accomplice to mass murder in Vietnam was then well known to the peace movement. This institutional memory has now been all but erased.

*

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Richard Sanders is an anti-war activist and writer in Canada. In 1984, he received an MA in cultural anthropology and began working to expose Canada’s complicity in U.S.-led wars. In 1989, he founded the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT), which led to a 20-year municipal ban on Ottawa’s arms bazaars. Richard can be reached at overcoat@rogers.com

Notes

[1] Ian MacKay and Jamie Swift, Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety, 2012, p. 128.

[2] Ibid., p. 118.

[3] Richard Sanders, “War Mania, Mass Hysteria and Moral Panics,” Captive CanadaPress for Conversion!, March 2016, pp. 5-14. http://bit.ly/RedScare-1

[4] See Jeremy Kuzmarov and John Marciano, The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2018).

[5] Richard Sanders, “Left-Right Camps: A Century of Ukrainian Canadian Internment,” Captive Canadaop. cit., pp. 40-55. https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/68/68_40-55.htm

[6] Lester Pearson, Statements and Speeches, 55/10, March 24, 1955, cited by Levant, op. cit., pp. 12-13.

[7] Richard Sanders, “The Occupation(al) Psychosis of Empire-Building Missionaries,” Captive Canadaop. cit., pp. 18-19.https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/68/68_18-19.htm

[8] John English, “Pearson, Lester Bowles,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 2003- http://bit.ly/EdwinP

[9] Lester Pearson, Mike: The Memoirs of the Rt. Hon. Lester B. Pearson, Vol.1, 1972, p. 10.

[10] Ibid.

[11] For more on this genre and its Canadian exemplar, Charles Gordon, see Richard Sanders, “Religious Guardians of the Peaceable Kingdom: Winnipeg’s Key Social-Gospel Gatekeepers of Canada West,” Captive Canada op. cit., pp. 22-29. https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/68/68_22-29.htm

[12] Ray Van Neste, Review of The Boy’s Guide to the Historical Adventures of G. A. Henty, March 3, 2006. http://rayvanneste.com/?p=686

[13] G.A. Henty, Facing Death: A Tale of the Coal Mines, 1883. https://books.google.ca/books?id=rRcCAAAAQAAJ

[14] Matthew Beaumont, “Anti-Communism and the Cacotopia,” Utopia Ltd.: Ideologies of Social Dreaming in England 1870-1900, 2005, pp. 152-154. https://brill.com/view/book/9789047407096/BP000006.xml

G.A. Henty, Woman of the Commune: A Tale of Two Sieges of Paris, 1895. https://books.google.ca/books?id=9mZWAAAAMAAJ

[15] Pearson 1972, op. cit., p. 10.

[16] Ibid., p. 15

[17] Ibid., pp. 14-15.

[18] Ibid., p. 15.

[19] Claude Bissell, The Young Vincent Massey, 1981, passim.

[20] Pearson 1972, op. cit., p. 105.

[21] Ibid., p. 45.

[22] Andrew Cohen, Lester B. Pearson, 2008.

[23] Thomas Green, “Bennett Raps Socialism, Communism,” Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Nov. 10, 1932, p. 5. https://www.newspapers.com/image/508724453

[24] Cohen 2008, op. cit.

[25] Canada: A People’s History, Vol. 2http://books.google.ca/books?id=2fcXAAAAYAAJ

[26] In Jean Barman, The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia, 1991. http://books.google.ca/books?id=JbYe6fCOSTAC

[27] A Man Called Intrepid: The Incredible True Story of the Master Spy Who Helped Win WWII, 1976, pp. 191, 216.

[28] Guy F. Burnett, “Ian Fleming’s Coldest Warrior: The Anticommunist Origins of James Bond,” Dissident, Nov. 17, 2015. http://bit.ly/antiRedBond

(The above archived article, from the anti-communist, “Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation” website, celebrates both Fleming and his Bond character as those “who fought to save the world from tyranny and oppression.”

[29] Pearson 1972, p. 139.

[30] David Jay Bercuson, Blood on the Hills: The Canadian Army in the Korean War, 1999, pp. 31-32. https://books.google.ca/books?id=eCizi80V1M0C

[31] Pearson 1972, op. cit., pp. 140-141. https://books.google.ca/books?id=nXM2CwAAQBAJ&pg=PA140

[32] Bercuson is a director of two right-wing, Calgary-based think tanks, the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies (funded by the Canadian war department’s “Security and Defence Forum”), and the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (which has accepted funding from General Dynamics and publicly promoted the company’s exports of major Canadian-made weapons systems, such as LAVs, to Saudi Arabia.

[33] Ibid., p. 33.

[34] Ibid.

[35] “St. Laurent Text on Resisting Reds,” Windsor Daily Star, August 8, 1950, p. 14.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/72910987/the-windsor-star/

[36] Jeremy Kuzmarov, “The Korean War: Barbarism Unleashed,” United States Foreign Policy, History and Resource Guide website, 2016. http://peacehistory-usfp.org/korean-war/

[37] Windsor Daily Starop. cit.

[38] See author’s collection of seven newsclips, May 25-28, 1951.

[39] “Says working for peace in America hard,” Ottawa Citizen, Jan. 10, 1952, p. 10.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73516103/the-ottawa-citizen/

[40] Engler 2012, citing Pearson, Hansard, May 14, 1951, 3002.

[41] Lester Pearson, Hansard, Oct. 22, 1951, p. 253, cited by Engler, op. cit., pp. 75.

[42] Engle, ibid., p. 76.

[43] Ervand Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions: Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran, 1999, pp. 89-101. http://bit.ly/SAVAK-Tudeh

[44] “Shah, Empress in Ottawa,” Ottawa Journal, May 19, 1965, p. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73543166/the-ottawa-journal/

[45] “Shah starts visit,” Ottawa Citizen, May 19, 1965, p. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73528451/the-ottawa-citizen/

“Shah in Canada,” Ottawa Citizenibid., p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73534362/the-ottawa-citizen/

[46] “Shah has busy schedule here,” Ottawa Citizen, May 17, 1965, p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73524704/the-ottawa-citizen/

“Shah of Persia in Canada, 1965.” https://www.britishpathe.com/video/shah-of-persia-in-canada

(Note: These film clips from the Shah’s visit include footage of the state dinner with Governor General Vanier at Rideau Hall.)

[47] “Shah in capital,” Ottawa Citizen, May 19, 1965, p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73534362/the-ottawa-citizen/

[48] “Royal Visits Top News Events,” Brandon Sun, May 31, 1965, p. 12. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73525463/the-brandon-sun/

[49] Cited by Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy, 1991, p. 419. http://bit.ly/Chomsky1991

[50] James Rochlin, Discovering the Americas: Evolution of Canadian Foreign Policy towards Latin America, 1994, p. 35. http://bit.ly/Roch94

[51] Peter McFarlane, Northern Shadows: Canadians in Central America, 1989, pp. 98, 100, cited by Engler op. cit., p. 79.

[52] Guatemala: Air Force History

http://www.aeroflight.co.uk/waf/americas/guatemala/Guatemala-af-history.htm

[53] Pratt & Whitney Canada ; http://bit.ly/PWC-WASP; Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_P-47_Thunderbolt; Douglas C-47 Skytrain [Dakota]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_C-47_Skytrain#Postwar_era; Douglas C-54 Skymaster

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_C-54_Skymaster

[54] Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26_Whitney_Canada_PT6T

Bell 212 in Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca (Guatemalan Air Force) 1980 to present https://www.helis.com/database/modelorg/Guatemala-Bell-212/

Bell 412 in Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca (Guatemalan Air Force) 1982 to present https://www.helis.com/database/modelorg/Guatemala-Bell-412/

[55] Mark Milke, Corporate Welfare: A $144 billion addiction, Nov. 2007. https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/corporate-welfare-a-144-billion-addiction.pdf

[56] Levant, op. cit., p. 42

[57] Ibid., p. 43

[58] Levant, op. cit., p. 43 [NOTE: I believe “Idem.” in italics would be appropriate here.]

[59] Chomsky 2012, op. cit., p. 9.

[60] Noam Chomsky, “Imperial Presidency,” Canadian Dimension, Jan/Feb 2005. http://bit.ly/CDchom

[61] Noam Chomsky, Foreword, in Yves Engler, Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt, 2012, p. 8.

[62] Ryan Goldsworthy, “The Canadian Way: The Case of Canadian Vietnam War Veterans,”  http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/vol15/no3/page48-eng.asp

[63] James Eayrs, In Defence of Canada: Indochina – Roots of Complicity, 1983, pp. 242-243, cited in Levant, op. cit., p. 193.

[64] Levant, op. cit., pp. 178-79.

[65] Ibid., p. 178

[66] Harry Trimborn, “Canada-US Tieup? Some Other Time!” Los Angeles Times, Aug. 23, 1966, p. 82.  https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73697853/the-los-angeles-times/

[67] Levant, op. cit., p. 57.

[68] Trimborn, op. cit.

(Note: The article noted a figure of $260 million, which the Bank of Canada, when corrected for inflation, says is worth $2,164,578,313.25 in 2021 dollars.)

[69] Lester Pearson, Statements and Speeches, March 10, 1967, Levant, ibid.

[70] Alex Young, “Heavy guard for PM: ‘Vietniks’ at airport, club,” Province, Mar. 31, 1967, p. 1 https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73069053/the-province

Peter Loudon, “Like French Revolution Some Feast Others Chant,” Times Colonist, Apr. 1, 1967, p. 2. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73616904/times-colonist/

(Note: This article, covering a protest the next day outside a gala banquet attended by Pearson, notes the same “Pearson, Martin, LBJ…” chant.  The reporter mocked the protesters’ appearance, and said they were “denouncing Canada’s alleged support of the US in Vietnam.” Emphasis added.)

[71] Nick Auf der Maur, “Vietnam Protesters March Through City, Montreal Gazette, July 3, 1967, p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73067312/the-gazette/

Featured image: Former Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs (1948-1957), Lester B. Pearson, at his desk in Ottawa. As leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, he served from 1958 to 1968. [Source: journal.forces.gc.ca]

Crucial interview of Foreign Minister Lavrov (MUST READ!)

Crucial interview of Foreign Minister Lavrov (MUST READ!)

Source

April 02, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview given to Channel One’s Bolshaya Igra (Great Game) talk show, Moscow, April 1, 2021

Vyacheslav Nikonov: The word “war” has been heard increasingly more often lately. US and NATO politicians, even more so the Ukrainian military, have no trouble saying it. Do you have more reasons to be concerned now than ever before?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes and no. On the one hand, the confrontation has hit bottom. On the other, deep down, there’s still hope that we are adults and understand the risks associated with escalating tensions further. However, our Western colleagues introduced the word “war” into the diplomatic and international usage. “The hybrid war unleashed by Russia” is a very popular description of what the West perceives as the main event in international life. I still believe that good judgment will prevail.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Recently, the United States has ratcheted the degree of confrontation up to never-before-seen proportions. President Joe Biden said President Vladimir Putin is a “killer.” We have recalled Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov.

Sergey Lavrov: He was invited for consultations.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Hence, the question: How do we go about our relations now? How long will this pause last? When will Mr Antonov return to Washington?

Sergey Lavrov: What we heard President Biden say in his interview with ABC is outrageous and unprecedented. However, one should always see the real actions behind the rhetoric, and they began long before this interview back during the Barack Obama administration. They continued under the Trump administration, despite the fact that the 45th US President publicly spoke in favour of maintaining good relations with Russia, with which he was willing to “get along,” but was not allowed to do so. I’m talking about the consistent degradation of the deterrent infrastructure in the military-political and strategic spheres.

The ABM Treaty has long since been dropped. President Putin has more than once mentioned how, in response to his remark that George W. Bush was making a mistake and there was no need to aggravate relations, the then US President said that it was not directed against Russia. Allegedly, we can take any steps that we deem necessary in response to the US withdrawing from the ABM Treaty. Allegedly, the Americans will not take these actions as directed against them, either. But then they started establishing anti-missile systems in Europe which is the third missile defence position area. It was announced that it was built exclusively with Iran in mind. Our attempts to agree on a transparency format received support during the visit to Moscow by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, but were later rejected. We now have a missile defence area in Europe. Nobody is saying that this is against Iran now. This is clearly being positioned as a global project designed to contain Russia and China. The same processes are underway in the Asia-Pacific region. No one is trying to pretend that this is being done against North Korea.

This is a global system designed to back US claims to absolute dominance, including in the military-strategic and nuclear spheres.

Dimitri Simes can also share his assessment of what is said and written in the United States on that account. A steadfast course has now been taken towards deploying intermediate and shorter-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region.

The INF Treaty was discarded by the Americans on far-fetched pretexts. This was not our choice. In his special messages, President Vladimir Putin suggested agreeing, on a voluntary basis and even in the absence of the INF Treaty, on a mutual moratorium with corresponding verification measures in the Kaliningrad Region, where the Americans suspected our Iskander missiles of violating restrictions imposed by the now defunct treaty, and at US bases in Poland and Romania, where the MK-41 units are promoted by the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, as dual-purpose equipment.

To reiterate, this rhetoric is outrageous and unacceptable. However, President Putin has reacted to it diplomatically and politely. Unfortunately, there was no response to our offer to talk live and to dot the dottable letters in the Russian and English alphabets. All of that has long since gone hand-in-hand with a material build-up in the confrontational infrastructure, which also includes the reckless eastward advance of NATO military facilities, the transformation of a rotational presence into a permanent presence on our borders, in the Baltic States, in Norway, and Poland. So everything is much more serious than mere rhetoric.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: When will Ambassador Antonov return to Washington?

Sergey Lavrov: It’s up to President Putin to decide. Ambassador Antonov is currently holding consultations at the Foreign Ministry. He has met with the members of the committees on international affairs at the State Duma and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly. He has had conversations at the Presidential Executive Office as well.

It is important for us to analyse the current state of our relations, which did not get to this point overnight, and are not just because of this interview, but have been going this way for years now. The fact that inappropriate language was used during President Biden’s interview with ABC shows the urgency of conducting a comprehensive analysis. This does not mean that we have just been observers and have not drawn any conclusions over the past years. But now the time has come for generalisations.

Dimitri Simes: Now that I am in Moscow, after a year in Washington, I see a striking contrast between statements by the leaders of the two countries. I think you will agree that when officials in Washington talk about relations with Russia, their pattern is simple and understandable: “Russia is an opponent.” Sometimes, Congressmen are more abrupt and call it “an enemy.” However, political leaders from the administration still call it “an opponent.” They allow cooperation with Russia on some issues that are important to the US, but generally it is emphasised that militarily Russia is “the number one opponent,” while politically it is not just a country with objectionable views but a state that “tries to spread authoritarian regimes throughout the world,” that “opposes democracy” and “undermines the foundations of the US as such.”

When I listen to you and President of Russia Vladimir Putin, I have the impression that in Moscow the picture is more complicated and has more nuances. Do you think the US is Russia’s opponent today?

Sergey Lavrov: I will not go into analysing the lexicon of “opponent,” “enemy,” “competitor” or “rival.” All these words are juggled in both official and unofficial statements. I read the other day that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that for all the differences with Russia and China, the US does not have anything against these countries. As for what the US is doing, it is simply “promoting democracy” and “upholding human rights.” I don’t know how seriously one can take this description of US policy towards Moscow and Beijing. However, if they are promoting democracy, practice must justify theory.

George W. Bush announced that democracy was established in Iraq in May 2003. Aboard an aircraft carrier, he declared that Iraq’s liberation from its totalitarian regime was completed and democracy was established in the country. There is no point in elaborating. It is enough to mention the toll of the US-unleashed war – hundreds of thousands of people. We should also remember that the “rule” of the notorious Paul Bremer resulted in the birth of ISIS, which was rapidly joined by members of the Baath Party, employees of Saddam Hussein’s secret services, who had lost their jobs. They simply needed to provide for their families. ISIS emerged not because of ideological differences. Relying on US mistakes, the radicals actively used this fact. This is what democracy in Iraq is all about.

“Democracy” in Libya was established by bombs, strikes and the murder of Muammar Gaddafi which was accompanied by Hillary Clinton’s cry of admiration. This is the result: Libya is a black hole; refugee flows bound for the north are creating problems for the EU that does not know what to do about them; illegal arms and terrorists are being smuggled through Libya to the south, bringing suffering to the Sahara-Sahel Region.

I do not wish to describe what the Americans feel towards the Russian Federation. If their statements about us being their “opponent,” “enemy,” “rival” or “competitor” are based on the desire to accuse us of the consequences of their reckless policy, we can hardly have a serious conversation with them.

Dmitri Simes: When officials in Washington, the Joseph Biden administration or Congress, call Russia an opponent and emphasise this, I think they would not agree that it is simply rhetoric. Nor would they agree that it is designed solely for domestic consumption. The Biden administration is saying that the US did not have a consistent policy towards Russia and that former US President Donald Trump let Russia “do everything the Russian Government of Vladimir Putin wanted.” Now a new sheriff has come in and is willing to talk in a way he sees fit without paying much attention to how Moscow will interpret it; and if Moscow doesn’t like it, this is good. This is being done not to evoke discontent, of course, but to show that Russia is finally realising that it cannot behave like this anymore. Is there any chance that this new Biden administration policy will compel Russia to show some new flexibility?

Sergey Lavrov: The policy you mentioned, which is promoted in the forms we are now seeing, has no chance to succeed. This is nothing new: Joseph Biden has come in, started using sanctions against Russia, toughening rhetoric and in general exerting pressure all along the line. This has been going on for many years. The sanctions started with the Barack Obama administration and, historically, even earlier. Like many other restrictions, they have simply become hypertrophied and ideology-based starting in 2013, before the events in Ukraine.

Dimitri Simes: They will tell you, and you know this better than I do, that this policy has not been pursued sufficiently consistently, that it was not energetic enough, and that now they and their NATO allies will get down to dealing with Russia seriously so as to show us that we must change our behaviour fundamentally not just when it comes to foreign policy but also our domestic policy.

Sergey Lavrov: Dimitri, you are an experienced person, you know the United States better than Vyacheslav Nikonov or I do. What else can they do to us? Which of the analysts has decided to prove the practicability of any further pressure on Russia? How well do they know history? This question is for you.

Dimitri Simes: Mr Minister, you probably know that I am not a fervent supporter of the policy of the Biden administration.

Sergey Lavrov: I am asking you as an observer and an independent expert.

Dimitri Simes: In my opinion, the Biden administration still has a sufficient set of tools it can apply against Russia, including new sanctions, the promotion of NATO infrastructure in Europe, a more “harmonised” pressure on Russia together with its allies, the advance of the US policy not closer to the traditional Old Europe (I am referring to Britain and especially to France and Germany) but to Poland, and lastly, the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine. It is now believed in Washington that it is very important to show Russia that its current policy in Ukraine has no future and that unless Russia changes its behaviour it “will pay a price.”

Sergey Lavrov: My views on the current developments range from an exercise in absurdity to a dangerous play with matches. You may know that it has become trendy to use examples from ordinary life to describe current developments. All of us played outdoors when we were children. Kids of different ages and with different kinds of family upbringing played in the same places. In fact, we all lived as one big family then. There were two or three bad boys on every street; they humiliated other kids, disciplined them, forced them to clean their boots and took their money, the few kopecks our mothers gave us to buy a pie or breakfast at school. Two, three or four years later, these small kids grew up and could fight back. We don’t even have to grow up. We do not want confrontation.

President Putin has said more than once, including after President Biden’s infamous interview with ABC that we are ready to work with the United States in the interests of our people and the interests of international security. If the United States is willing to endanger the interests of global stability and global – and so far peaceful – coexistence, I don’t think it will find many allies for this endeavour. It is true that the EU has quickly towed the line and pledged allegiance. I regard the statements made during the virtual EU summit with Joe Biden as unprecedented. I don’t remember ever hearing such oaths of allegiance before. The things they said publicly revealed their absolute ignorance of the history of the creation of the UN and many other events. I am sure that serious politicians – there are still some left in the United States – can see not just futility but also the absurdity of this policy. As far as I know, the other day 27 political organisations in the United States publicly urged the Biden administration to change the rhetoric and the essence of the US approach to relations with Russia.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: This is unlikely to happen. I believe that your example with “tough guys” on every street is too mild. The United States has gone beyond the pale, let alone the street ethics, which have always been respected. We can see this happening in Ukraine. President Biden is one of those who created modern Ukraine, the Ukrainian policy and the war in Donbass. As I see it, he takes the situation very personally, and he will try to keep it in its current tense state. How dangerous is the situation in Ukraine in light of the ongoing US arms deliveries, the decisions adopted in the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday, and the statements made by the Ukrainian military, who are openly speaking about a war?  Where do we stand on the Ukrainian front?

Sergey Lavrov: There is much speculation about the documents that the Rada passed and that President Zelensky signed. To what extent does this reflect real politics? Is it consistent with the objective of resolving President Zelensky’s domestic problem of declining ratings? I’m not sure what this is: a bluff or concrete plans. According to the information published in the media, the military, for the most part, is aware of the damage that any action to unleash a hot conflict might bring.

I very much hope this will not be fomented by the politicians, who, in turn, will be fomented by the US-led West. Once again, we see the truth as stated by many analysts and political scientists, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, being reaffirmed. They look at Ukraine from a geopolitical perspective: as a country that is close to Russia, Ukraine makes Russia a great state; without Ukraine, Russia does not have global significance. I leave this on the conscience of those who profess these ideas, their fairness and ability to appreciate modern Russia. Like President Vladimir Putin said not long ago; but these words are still relevant, – those who try to unleash a new war in Donbass will destroy Ukraine.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: The US and Western diplomacy have definitely accomplished one thing: they put Russia and China in one boat. Indeed, we have already become strategic partners in deeds not just in words. You have just come back from China. You go there more often than once a year, for sure. During this trip, was there anything new that you sensed from Chinese leadership, which has recently come under unprecedented and rude attacks from the Americans? How strong are the bonds that are being established between Russia and China? How high is the bar that we can or have already reached in our relationship?

Sergey Lavrov: Like Russians, the Chinese are a proud nation. They may be more patient historically. The Chinese nation’s national and genetic code is all about being focused on a historical future. They are never limited to 4 or 5- year electoral cycles. They look further: “a big journey begins with a small step” and many other maxims coined by Chinese leaders go to show that they appreciate a goal that is not just on the horizon, but beyond the horizon. This also applies to reunifying Chinese lands – incrementally and without haste, but purposefully and persistently. Those who are talking with China and Russia without due respect or look down on us, or insult us are worthless politicians and strategists. If they do this to show how tough they are for the next parliamentary election in a couple of years, so be it.

Winston Churchill famously said that “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” A big debate is underway about which one is more effective. The coronavirus infection has taken the debate up a notch. To what extent the Western democracies have shown themselves capable of opposing this absolute evil and to what extent countries with a centralised, strong and “authoritarian” government have been successful. History will be the judge. We should wait to see the results.

We want to cooperate; we have never accused anyone of anything, or mounted a media campaign against anyone, even though we are being accused of doing this. As soon as President Putin announced the creation of a vaccine, he proposed establishing international cooperation. You do remember what was being said about Sputnik V. At first, they said that it was not true, and then that this was propaganda and the only purpose was to promote Russia’s political interests in the world. We can see the ripple effect of this. On March 30, Vladimir Putin held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. We sensed a more realistic commitment to cooperate rather than try to engage in “vaccine discrimination” or “vaccine propaganda.”

Getting back to the heart of the matter, by and large, no one should be rude to other people. But what we see instead is a dialogue with a condescending tone towards great civilisations like Russia and China. We are being told what to do. If we want to say something, we are asked to “leave them alone.” This was the case in Anchorage when the discussion came to human rights. Antony Blinken said that there were many violations in the United States, but the undercurrent was clear – they would sort it out themselves and are already doing so. However, in Xinjiang Uygur, Hong Kong and Tibet, to name a few, things should be approached differently. It’s not just about a lack of diplomatic skills. It runs much deeper. In China, I sensed that this patient nation, which always upholds its interests and shows a willingness to find a compromise, was put in a stalemate. The other day, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson made a relevant comment. I don’t remember that ever happening before.

With regard to whether we are being pushed into the arms of China or China is being pushed into our arms, everyone remembers Henry Kissinger’s words that the United States should have relations with China which are better than relations between China and Russia, and vice versa. He saw this historical process and knew which way it could go. Many are writing now that the United States is committing a huge strategic mistake making efforts against Russia and China at a time, thereby catalysing our rapprochement. Moscow and Beijing are not allying against anyone. During my visit to China, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and I adopted a Joint Statement on Certain Issues of Global Governance in Modern Conditions, where we emphasised the unacceptability of violating international law or substituting it by some secretly drafted rules, of interference in other countries’ internal affairs and, overall, everything that contradicts the UN Charter. There are no threats there. The documents signed by the leaders of Russia and China always emphasise the fact that bilateral strategic interaction and multifaceted partnership are not directed against anyone, but focus exclusively on the interests of our peoples and countries. They build on a clear-cut and objective foundation of overlapping interests. We look for a balance of interests, and there are many areas where it has been achieved and is being used for the benefit of all of us.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Have you noticed any change in China’s position? It is clear that Beijing is in a very tight situation. How far is China willing to go in its confrontation with the United States? It is obvious that they are now responding harshly. Sanctions are being introduced against Beijing, so it responds with tough counter-sanctions, and not only against the United States, but also against its allies, who are also joining the sanctions. Europe has joined this confrontation. Are we prepared to synchronise our policies with China, for example, our counter-sanctions, as we did with Belarus? Do we have a common strategy to counter the increasing pressure from the so-called alliance of democracies?

Sergey Lavrov: There is a general strategy, and I just mentioned it. Along with the Statement signed during my visit to China, a comprehensive Leaders’ Statement was adopted last year. Now we are preparing the next document, which will be signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation. Our strategic treaty will be renewed.

These documents spell out our line of conduct. We are not planning, and will not plan, any schemes to retaliate for what they are doing to us. I do not think that we will synchronise our responses to any new sanction acts against China and Russia.

Our level of cooperation continues to grow qualitatively.

You mentioned military alliances. There is popular speculation out there that Russia and China might conclude a military alliance. First, one of the documents signed at the highest level underscored that our relations are not a military alliance, and we are not pursuing this goal. We regard NATO as an example of a military alliance in the traditional sense, and we know that we do not need such an alliance. NATO clearly breathed a sigh of relief after the Biden administration replaced Donald Trump. Everyone was happy to again have someone to tell them what to do. Emmanuel Macron still occasionally tries to vainly mention the EU’s strategic autonomy initiative, but no one else in Europe even wants to discuss it. It’s over, the boss is here.

That kind of alliance is a Cold War alliance. I would prefer thinking in terms of the modern era where multi-polarity is growing. In this sense, our relationship with China is completely different from that of a traditional military alliance. Maybe in a certain sense, it is an even closer bond.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: The “alliance of democracies” will be created. This is obvious although fewer people in Russia still believe that it’s about democracy. In its election, its attitude towards freedom of the media and opportunities to express opposing views, the US has made it very clear that it has big problems with democracy. Europe also gives examples that compel us to doubt its efforts to promote a strong democratic project. After all, it still holds a position as a player under a big boss.

Vladimir Putin had a conversation with Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel via videoconference on March 30 of this year. Without Vladimir Zelensky, by the way. This is the Normandy format minus Ukraine, which resulted in a bitter response from Kiev.

They discussed a broad range of issues. Meanwhile, you have said more than once that our relations with the EU are frozen or absent altogether. Do you mean that we stay in contact or that contact is possible with individual EU members but not with the EU as a whole?

Sergey Lavrov: This is exactly the case, and this was also mentioned during the March 30 talks, and during Vladimir Putin’s conversation with President of the European Council Charles Michel. We are surprised that this assessment offends the EU. This is simply an objective fact.

It took years to develop relations between Moscow and the EU. By the time the state coup in Ukraine took place these relations included: summits twice a year; annual meetings of all members of the Russian Government with all members of the European Commission; about 17 sectoral dialogues on different issues, from energy to human rights; and four common spaces based on Russia-EU summit resolutions, each of which had its own roadmap.

We were holding talks on visa-free travel. It is indicative that the EU broke them off back in 2013, long before the crisis in Ukraine. As some of our colleagues told us, when it came to a decision on signing the proposed agreement, the aggressive Russophobic minority adamantly opposed it: Russia cannot receive visa-free travel status with the EU before Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova do. This is the entire background. What the EU did after that, braking all channels of systematic dialogue was a burst of emotion. They took it out on us because the putschists insulted the West by throwing out the document signed by Yanukovich and the opposition the day before, this despite the fact that Germany, France and Poland had endorsed this document. The first actions of the new authorities were to remove the Russian language from daily life and to expel Russians from Crimea. When Russian-speakers and Russians in Ukraine opposed this and asked to be left alone, a so-called “anti-terrorist operation” was launched against them.

In effect, the EU imposed sanctions on us and broke off all communication channels because we raised our voice in defence of Russian citizens and ethnic Russians in Ukraine, Donbass and Crimea. We try to discuss issues with them when they start making claims against us. They probably understand this; I hope they are still seasoned politicians. But if they understand this but don’t want to consider it in their practical policy, it means that they are being charged with Russophobia or cannot do anything about the aggressive Russophobic minority in the EU.

Dimitri Simes: I believe when we talk about the EU, it’s important to look at what the EU is and to what extent it has changed compared to what it used to be and what it was supposed to be when it was founded. The EU was primarily designed as an organisation for economic cooperation.

No political component was even envisioned at the start. It was about the EU contributing to European economic integration. The possibility was even mentioned of Russia playing some associated role in that process. But then they said the EU should also have some common values. At first, the idea was that those common values were the cement of the EU itself. Then a new idea emerged in Warsaw that it would be nice for those European values ​​(since they are actually universal) to spread to other regions, as well as for Russia to respect them, or even to obey them. When I look at the EU’s approach to Ukraine, the conflict in Donbass and the demands to return Crimea to Kiev, it seems to me that the EU is becoming a missionary organisation. When you deal with crusaders, trying to reckon with them or appealing to their logic and conscience is probably useless. Do you not think that the EU has journeyed to a place where there are limited opportunities for partnership and great potential for confrontation? Or am I being too pessimistic?

Sergey Lavrov: No, I agree with you, absolutely. This is a missionary style – lecturing others while projecting superiority. It is important to see this tendency, as it has repeatedly brought Europe to trouble.

This is actually the case. Established as the Coal and Steel Community, then the European Economic Community – if you look at the EU now, look at their values, they are already attacking their own members like Poland and Hungary, just because these countries have somewhat different cultural and religious traditions. You said it originated in Poland. I actually forget who started this…

Dimitri Simes: I first heard it from Polish delegates at a conference.

Sergey Lavrov: Now Poland itself is facing the consequences of its ideas, only not outside the EU, but within the organisation.

When anyone tries to impose any values on Russia, ​​related, as they believe, to democracy and human rights, we have this very specific response: all universal values ​​are contained in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights that everyone signed. Any values invented now, which they try to impose on us or other countries, are not universal. They have not been agreed upon by the entire international community. Even inside the EU, look at those street protests! A couple of years ago, they had protests in France in defence of the traditional family, the concepts of “mother,” “father,” and “children.” This lies deep. Playing with traditional values ​​is dangerous.

As to the EU once inviting Russia as an associate member, we never agreed to sign an association document. Now the same is being done with regard to the Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Ukraine, and Moldova. As for Russia’s relations with the EU, which Brussels destroyed, only one thing remained – the basic document on the terms of trade and investment. It was indeed the subject of negotiation between the Brussels Commission and the Russian Federation. This is a document that remains valid. We cooperate with individual countries, but not with the EU, because those were the terms agreed upon, and their practical implementation is going through bilateral channels. The only thing the EU is doing in this respect now is imposing sanctions and banning its members from fulfilling some parts of this agreement because they want to “punish Russia.” That’s it, there are no other ties.

We are being told that we are deliberately derailing our relations (although the facts are simply outrageous), trying to shift our ties with Europe to bilateral channels, wanting to “split up” the European Union. We don’t want to split anyone up. We always say that we are interested in a strong and independent European Union. But if the EU chooses a non-independent position in the international arena, as we just discussed, this is their right. We cannot do anything about it. We have always supported its independence and unity. But in the current situation, where Brussels broke off all relations, when certain European countries reach out to us (we have not tried to lure anyone) with proposals to talk, to visit any of the sides and discuss some promising projects in bilateral relations, how can we refuse our partners? It is quite unfair (even a shame) to try to present such meetings as part of a strategy to split up the EU. They have enough problems of their own that split them up.

Dimitri Simes: This is a philosophical issue in Russia’s relations with the EU. When the EU has imposed anti-China sanctions, China made a tough response. This was an unpleasant surprise for the EU and caused indignation. Meanwhile, Brussels does not expect such a response from Russia in the firm belief that Russia has no economic levers to oppose the EU. To my knowledge, Russia has not imposed any serious sanctions on the EU.

This is an interesting situation. Russia supplies Europe with 33 percent of its gas. The figures for oil are about the same. I think during all this time Russia has proved convincingly that it won’t use energy for political leverage in Europe. Understandably, Russia has been interested in this, especially when it comes to the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. It seems to me that certain people in Europe have forgotten that if Russia does not do something, it doesn’t mean that it cannot do it, or won’t be compelled to do it if the EU’s pressure on Russia crosses a line. Do you think this is possible in theory? Or does Russia completely rule out such actions?

Sergey Lavrov: You are saying (metaphorically) that they either have not read (which is most likely) or have forgotten the epic about Ilya Muromets who slept on the stove while nobody paid attention? This is not a threat. We will never use energy supplies or our oil and gas routes in Europe to this end. This is a position of principle regardless of anything else.

Dimitri Simes: Even of you are disconnected from SWIFT and everything else?

Sergey Lavrov: We will not do that. This is a position of principle for President of Russia Vladimir Putin. We will not create a situation where we force EU citizens “freeze.” We will never do this. We have nothing in common with Kiev that shut down water supplies to Crimea and takes delight in it. This is a disgraceful position in the world arena. Frequently accusing us of using energy as an instrument of influence, as a weapon, the West keeps silence on what Kiev is doing with water supplies to Crimea. I believe the provision of basic needs on which the daily life of common citizens depends, should never be an object of sanctions.

Dimitri Simes: In this case, what do you mean by referring to “the phenomenon” of Ilya Muromets?

Sergey Lavrov: It is possible to respond in different ways. We have always warned that we will be ready to respond. We will respond to any malicious actions against us but not necessarily in a symmetric manner. By the way, speaking about the impact of the sanctions on civilians, look what is taking place in Syria under the Caesar Act. My colleagues in Europe and, incidentally, in the region, whisper that they are horrified by the way this act has eliminated any opportunity to do business with Syria. The goal is clear – to stifle the Syrians to make them revolt and overthrow Bashar al-Assad.

Now a few words about our and China’s responses to the European sanctions. After all, China also avoided suspending economic activity. It simply imposed sanctions on a number of individuals and companies that held certain anti-China positions. We are doing basically the same.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: As we know, Ilya Muromets did not shut down oil and gas supplies. He used other methods that were often symmetrical. I think we also have a solid set of instruments.

Don’t we exaggerate the importance of the EU in the modern world? It has an identity and there are European values. I know this since I have dealt with European MPs and experts for many years.

However, I have the impression that there are two main values: the first one is the euro and the second is LGBT and 60 more letters that describe this notion linked with sexual identity, their presence, absence, or mix.

The EU is undergoing a crisis – Brexit. Britain has left the EU. The economic crisis is very bad. Probably, in Europe it is worse than elsewhere. The economy has dropped by up to 10 percent in many countries. The vaccine-related crisis has shown that Europe cannot counter the virus and adopt a common policy. These problems are emerging at all levels. It cannot draft a common economic policy, migration rules, and so on. Maybe, we are really paying too much attention to Europe? Maybe we can act without looking back at this “falling” structure?

Sergey Lavrov: But where are we paying too much attention to Europe? We have a very simple position that President of Russia Vladimir Putin has set forth many times: we do not feel hurt. As we know, hurt people get the short end of the stick, or as we say in Russia, hurt people are made to carry water, something we are short of in Crimea. We will always be willing to revive our relations, practically to raise them from the ashes, but to do this we must know what the EU is interested in. We will not knock on a locked door. They are well aware of our proposals, just as the Americans know our proposals on strategic stability, cyber security and many other things. We have said to all of them: “Our friends and colleagues, we are ready for this. We understand that you will have some reciprocal ideas but we have not yet heard them. As soon as you are ready, let’s sit down and discuss them, seeking a balance of interests.” Meanwhile, now we are being accused of neglecting policy on the EU, so I don’t think we are courting this alliance or exaggerating its importance. It determines its place in the world itself. We have already talked about this today.

As for European values, we have many ongoing debates. Some people need European price tags more than European values. They want to travel there for shopping, recreation, buy some property and return home. As I said, our common values lie in our history, the mutual influence of our cultures, literature, art and music. They are great.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: As for modern European culture and art, have they really…

Sergey Lavrov: I am referring to our historical roots.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Because I think today’s Europe is pretty empty in terms of culture.

Sergey Lavrov: There are some funny songs; we can listen to them in the car sometimes.

Dimitri Simes: Speaking of relations with the United States, I would like to ask you a personal question because you lived and worked there for a long time when you were Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Of course, you have also been dealing with the US as the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation. I lived in the US for almost 50 years.

Sergey Lavrov: Why past tense?

Dimitri Simes: I am now in Moscow. When I look at the United States today, I have the impression that it is undergoing a cultural revolution. I think that if many people in the Joseph Biden administration or the Democrats in Congress are told this, they would not feel offended in any way. They will say that a cultural revolution is long overdue, that it is finally necessary to eradicate racism, give equal and not-so-equal prevailing opportunities to sexual orientation minorities because they were also discriminated against and to develop a true democracy that requires that all those who want to vote can vote. In practice, this means that millions of people will have an opportunity to vote without necessarily being US citizens at all. This is why the Democrats emphatically oppose a ban on voting on Sundays. As you know, there was never any voting in the US on Sundays. Sunday is called God’s day. The Democrats wanted Sunday elections so that buses could go to Afro-American churches and take people to the polling stations.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Why take them by bus? They can vote by mail.

Dimitri Simes: Both options are available.

Sergey Lavrov: Why not put a ballot box right in a church?

Dimitri Simes: Exactly. Do you believe the United States is, in many respects, evolving into a different country and that this is not necessarily an irreversible process, though a momentous one? Also, would you agree that this process is not a purely American internal matter because it goes hand in hand with the emergence of a new revolutionary ideology that requires that American values spread around the world and that these American models should not be resisted as they are now in Russia and China? Can this lead to an existential conflict?

Sergey Lavrov: We will talk about this but, first, let me finish what I was saying about European culture. Here is, in my view, a telling illustration of the state of European culture today. If we talk about revolutions, including a cultural revolution, the Eurovision  contest speaks volumes.  What they are doing now to the Belarusians is repulsive. This is sheer censorship that goes like this: since we – nobody knows who exactly, some anonymous individuals – fancy that we heard some innuendoes in your song, we will not allow you to take part in the contest unless you have another song. But then the same fate befalls another Belarusian song. What does this have in common with art, culture or democracy?

As for a cultural revolution in the United States, I do feel that processes which deserve to be described like this are unfolding there. Everyone probably wants to eradicate racism and, as for us, we have never had any doubt regarding this. We were trailblazers behind the movement to secure equal rights for all people, regardless of the colour of their skin. However, we should beware that we do not slip into another extreme, the one we have observed during the Black Lives Matter events, and into aggression against white people, white US citizens.

The other day we marked an international day designated to increase awareness of this issue and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, speaking at a General Assembly meeting, said that the previous year had been a year of the most serious and numerous manifestations of white supremacy. I have asked to be given the full text of his speech, as I want to understand what specifically he had in mind. If this is about having a sense of a trend you talked about and the willingness to follow this trend, it is lamentable. This is still the United Nations Organisation and not a venue for promoting US concepts, some US trends.

As for why they need this, yes, they want to spread this to the rest of the world. They have a huge potential to achieve this goal. Hollywood has also started to change its rules, so that everything reflects the diversity of contemporary society, which is also a form of censorship, art control and the way of imposing some artificial restrictions and requirements on others. I have seen black actors perform in Shakespeare’s comedies. The only thing I do not know is when a white actor will play Othello. You see, this is nothing less than absurdity. Political correctness reduced to absurdity will lead to no good.

The other tool is social networks and internet platforms, as well as servers located in the United States. The US flatly refuses to discuss ways of either making internet governance more democratic or establishing common rules regulating social networks for the sake of avoiding the recurrence of the situation with TikTok and other social networks we encountered during the recent events in Russia, including the spread of abominable information, like personal abuse, pedophilia and many other things. We have already approached TikTok and other social networks about the need to establish elementary rules of respect and propriety but the Americans are unwilling to make these types of rules universal.

In Anchorage, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken lectured the Chinese on human rights, ethnic minorities and democracy in China. Indeed, Mr Blinken said they [in the US] also had to address certain issues in this field but they would do it on their own. During talks with the Americans – the same goes for the Europeans – as soon as you start offering to discuss ways of democratising international relations or the supremacy of law on an international scale, they invariably get away from the subject. They want to replace international law with their own rules, which have nothing in common with the supremacy of law globally, on a universal scale. I already talked about large-scale rallies in France in defence of traditional family values. It appears that to secure the rights of one group of people, the rights of another group have to be infringed upon. That is, promoting these values around the world is not an end in itself, but rather a tool for ensuring their dominance.

Dimitri Simes: Richard Nixon once told Nikita Khrushchev that there would be no true harmony or true partnership between the Soviet Union and America unless the Soviet Union stops spreading its ideology. And that was a big problem in the Brezhnev era, I must say, because they discussed a détente while at the same time supporting a continued international class struggle. As I see it, Leonid Brezhnev was doing it without much conviction. But now, things have turned the other way around. Now the collective West is eager to proliferate its ideology and values. And they seem to be doing so with far greater conviction and perseverance than the Soviet Union under Leonid Brezhnev ever tried. Does this pose a risk of collision?

Sergey Lavrov: Under Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet Union saw no threat to its existence. One can argue whether that stance was far-sighted enough, but that is how it was. Today’s West senses a threat to its dominance. It is a fact. So all those wiggling moves, including the invention of some ‘rules’ – as in the rules-based international order, something the West has come up with to replace the UN Charter – they reflect precisely this tendency.

I agree that we have swapped positions, or rather the Soviet Union and the modern West have. I don’t think this will offend anyone since this is not a big secret. I spoke with Rex Tillerson when he was US Secretary of State. He is a thoughtful and experienced politician and diplomat. It was good to work with him. We disagreed on most things, but we always wanted to continue the dialogue to bring our positions just a little bit closer at least. When he first told me they were concerned about Russia’s interference in some elections, I said they had not proved anything to us yet, and all we heard was accusations. When they began to accuse us of interfering in their elections, we repeatedly proposed using the special channel we had for exchanging information about threats to information networks and organisations. They refused. We had repeatedly offered dialogue even before that, when Barack Obama was president, from October 2016 until Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. They always refused.

I pointed out to Tillerson that they had in fact directly stipulated in legislation that the US State Department should spend $20 million a year to support Russian civil society and promote democracy. That was not even a suspicion on our part as they did it openly (for example, the Ukraine Support Act). There was nothing to prove – they just announced that they would interfere. He told me that was totally different. I asked him why, and he said because we promoted authoritarianism, and they spread democracy. That was it.

Dimitri Simes: And he said it with sincere conviction, didn’t he?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Mr Lavrov, naturally, this policy leads to a drastic polarisation. The polarisation of international relations is a dangerous thing. We remember the early 19th century, and the early 20th century. It always ended in wars. The Americans, losing their global dominance, will create (they have already announced this) a new ‘alliance of democracies.’ I mean create American and pro-American alliances, compelling everyone else to make their choice. This polarisation will increase. What will this mean for the world and for the alliances where Russia is a member? I mean BRICS (which I think they will try to split up), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). How far can this go? How dangerous is it?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a deliberate policy and an extension of the agenda we are talking about – about the United States promoting democracy and spreading benefit. The Americans and Europe are very active (but the Americans are especially active) in Central Asia. They are trying to create their own formats such as C5+1. Russia is also part of a 5+1 format in Central Asia, in addition to the SCO, CIS, EAEU and CSTO – one that involves the foreign ministers of five Central Asian countries and your humble servant. That format is useful. True, the volume of economic ties that the US and the EU are now building with Central Asia is still incomparable with our economic interpenetration, but they are pursuing an unambiguous goal to weaken our ties with our allies and strategic partners in every possible way.

The numerous initiatives around the Afghan reconciliation and around the Indo-Pacific region envision Central Asia’s reorientation from its current vector to the South – to help rebuild Afghanistan and at the same time weaken its ties with the Russian Federation.

I could talk for a long time about the Indo-Pacific region and the Indo-Pacific concept. That multi-layered initiative is aimed at hindering China’s Belt and Road Initiative and limiting the Chinese influence in the region, creating constant irritants for that country. There have been some slips about creating an ‘Asian NATO.’ Although in the US interpretation the Indo-Pacific region is described as ‘free and open,’ the chances that positions will be worked out through an equal or open process there are slim. It is already obvious that it isn’t ‘open’. China has not been invited; rather, that country is declared a target for containment. We have not been invited either, which means the attitude to Russia is similar. I would say those are long-term trends. We are talking about this frankly with our neighbours and closest allies. I am confident that they understand all these threats. None of them even considers the possibility of anyone telling them who to talk or not talk to. It is their sovereign right to choose their partners.

The term ‘multi-vector’ has become semi-abusive, but we are not giving up the multi-vector approach. We are open to cooperation and friendship with everyone who is ready for relations based on equality, mutual respect, compromise and balance of interests. That our Western colleagues are clearly abusing this approach, especially in post-Soviet countries, is an obvious fact.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Is it possible to avoid the actual military scenario in these circumstances? Isn’t it time to create an alliance of free countries given the role reversal that has taken place in the modern world? An alliance, perhaps, of genuine democracies that will oppose the ongoing all-out attack?

Sergey Lavrov: We will not get involved in this kind of political engineering. Russia is committed to the United Nations. When France and Germany put forward the effective multilateralism concept, we asked them what it meant. There was silence followed by joint articles written by the foreign ministers of France and Germany stating that the European Union is an example of effective multilateralism, and everyone needs to adapt to the European processes. Our question why the readily available and universal UN multilateral platform is not a good option remained unanswered. However, the answer is there, and we mentioned it more than once today. They are making up the rules that the international order is supposed to be based on.

Dimitri Simes: Mr Minister, we have taken up much of your time and we appreciate it. But we cannot let you go without asking you one more personal question. What is it like to be Russia’s Foreign Minister in this rapidly changing world?

You have worked in several completely different eras. When you were Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, it was a period of Russia’s “romantic infatuation” with the United States, though perhaps not quite on the terms that were beneficial for Russia. In the early 21st century, Russia was in search of partnerships. Well, then we got what we are witnessing now. How do you, a person who, in many ways, is the architect of this era, a witness and a participant of this process, find your work in this very complex role?

Sergey Lavrov: To put it short, I never get bored. That is if we are talking about the different eras in my career. We all lived in these eras, and we have seen these transitions. You asked me earlier whether the United States has changed. It has. A lot.

Dimitri Simes: Have you changed?

Sergey Lavrov: Probably. It’s not for me to say. A person perceives the environment as a constantly evolving process. People grow up, get smarter or dumber, but they have no way of seeing it.

Dimitri Simes: Do you think we have all become disappointed in many ways, but we have grown, too, as a result of these experiences, and, of course, in the first place, a person holding such positions as yours?

Sergey Lavrov: This is true, of course. How can this not influence the formation of a person? The personality never stops to evolve. It is something that lasts until the end of our lives. Those revolutionary developments had a strong influence on me. I believe the 9/11 attacks were the turning point in the American life. I was in Manhattan, in New York, at the time, and I felt that odour. I was having a hard time trying to make a phone call, because the phones went dead. Since then, New York has become a different city. This free city, living its own life around the clock and enjoying it, became wary and started looking over its shoulder to see if there was someone around who could hurt it.

This suspicion then spread deeply into American society. There were probably serious reasons for that. I have to commend the US intelligence services, because since then, apart from the Boston Marathon, which we had warned them about, there have been no other terrorist attacks. However, wariness and aloofness can still be felt. Perhaps, there are people who want to take advantage of this in order to do things that you just mentioned. If 11 million Americans become eligible to vote, welcome to the one-party system, Back in the USSR.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Mr Lavrov, thank you very much for the interview. Now that we are within the historic walls of the Foreign Ministry’s Mansion on Spiridonovka, a place where history and great diplomacy were made, including the diplomacy of the great powers, I would like to wish us all the return of diplomacy. If it comes back, as President Vladimir Putin is conveying to President Joe Biden, in the form of a live-stream dialogue, then The Great Game will be at your service and at the service of the two presidents.

Sergey Lavrov: Thank you. President Biden has already said that diplomacy has returned to US foreign policy. Your dream has come true.

source: https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4662534

Understanding anti-Putin PSYOPs: Preparing for war

THE SAKER • MARCH 31, 2021 

Intro: cause vs pretext

It is not an exaggeration to say that in the mythology of the AngloZionist Empire Putin is something akin to Satan or, at least, that he is a kind of “Sauron” who is the epitome of evil. And, we all heard that recently, Biden, in a recorded interview, declared that Putin is “a killer”. When given a chance to soften this statement Jen Psaki did no such thing. We can, therefore, conclude that this was an official, deliberately planned, characterization of the Russian leader.

This kind of language was never used by western officials during the Cold War, at least not on the top levels. So why this seething hatred for Putin?

It is not because he is ex-GPU KGB SSSR. Yuri Andropov was a former KGB Chairman, and he did a lot to strengthen the KGB, its personnel and operations. Yet nobody called him a killer. Neither is this because of Crimea or the Donbass, at least not directly, because when the USSR invaded Czechoslovakia and, before that, Hungary, western politicians did not call Khrushchev or Brezhnev “killers”. It is not because of the shooting down of MH-17 (western leaders all know that these are lies created by western special services), because there have been quite a few civilian airliners shot down by various states, but that did not result in the kind of total demonization of the leaders of these states. I could go on and on, but you get the point: even if we carefully parse all the accusations against Putin, we find out that the kind of total demonization he has been the subject of is quite unique in its intensity and scope.

There is a huge difference between the concepts of “cause” and “pretext”, and all the examples I have given are nothing but pretexts. We need to look at the real causes of such a blind hatred for Putin.

Here we come across another list of possible reasons: first, it is undeniable that while Eltsin almost destroyed Russia as a country, Putin single-handedly “resurrected” Russia in an amazingly short time. From a country which was in tatters and a population which wanted nothing more than to become the next Germany or, failing that, at least the next Poland, Putin turned Russia into the strongest military power on the planet and he completely reshaped the Russian perception of themselves and of Russia. Not only that, but Putin used every single move by the West (like, say, sanctions, boycotts or threats) to further strengthen Russia (by means such as import substitutions, international conferences and military maneuvers). Most importantly, Putin de-coupled Russia from a lot of US controlled institutions or mechanisms, a move which also immensely served Russia.

US politicians spoke of a country with an “economy in tatters” and of a “gas station masquerading as a country”. But in the real world (Zone B), the Russia economy did much better than the western ones and, as for the “energy war” between the US, the KSA and Russia, it ended in a catastrophic defeat for the USA and a triumph for Russia and, to a lesser degree, the KSA.

Then came COVID and the truly epic disaster of the West’s total mismanagement of this crisis. Not only that, but the contrast of how Russia (and China!) handled the crisis and what the West did could not have been bigger. As for Russia being the first country to create a vaccine (by now, no less than three of them actually; now Russia is about to release yet another vaccine, this time protecting animals from COVID) and, worse, the country which created the best vaccine on the planet – this is a PR disaster for the West and there is nothing the West can do to soften the blow. If anything, things are only getting worse as shown by all the coming lockdowns in Europe – contrast that with this photo of happy Lavrov in China wearing a mask with “FCKNG QRNTN” written on it!

But that is not the real reason either, as shown by the fact that the West already hated Putin long before COVID.

The “stolen” Cold War victory

In truth, the West has a very long list of reasons for which to hate Putin and everything Russian, but I believe that there is one reason which trumps them all: the western leaders sincerely believed that they had defeated the USSR in the Cold War (even medals were made to commemorate this event) and following the collapse of the former superpower and the coming to power of a clueless, alcoholic puppet, the triumph of the West was total. At least in appearance. The reality, as always, was much more complicated.

The causes and mechanisms of the collapse of the Soviet Union are not our topic today, so I will just indicate that I believe that the USSR never “collapsed” but that it was deliberately destroyed by the CPSU apparatus which decided to break up the country in order for the Party and Nomenklatura to remain in power, not at the helm of the USSR, but at the helm of the various ex-Soviet republics. Weak leaders and ideologies which nobody really believes in do not inspire people to fight for their rulers. This is why the Russian monarchy collapsed, this is why the masonic democracy of Kerenskii collapsed and this is why the Soviet Union collapsed (this is also one of the most likely reasons for the final collapse of the US as a state).

Putin, who was not very well known in the West or, for that matter, in Russia, came to power and immediately reversed Russia’s course towards the abyss. First, he dealt with the two most urgent threats, the oligarchs and the Wahabi insurrection in the Caucasus. Many Russians, including myself, were absolutely amazed at the speed and determination of his actions. As a result, Putin suddenly found himself one of the most popular leaders in Russian history. Initially, the West went into a kind of shock, then through a process reminiscent of the so-called “Kübler-Ross model” and, finally, the West settled into a russophobic frenzy not seen since the Nazi regime in Germany during WWII.

To understand why Putin is the Devil incarnate, we have to understand that the leaders of the collective West really thought that this time around, after a millennium of failures and embarrassing defeats, the West has finally “defeated” Russia which would now become a leaderless, culture-less, spiritual-less and, of course, history-less territory whose sole purpose would be to provide resources for the “Triumphant West”. Not only that, but the AngloZionist leaders of the Empire executed the 9/11 false flag operation which gave them the pretext needed for the GWOT, but which completely distracted the West from its previous focus on the so-called “Russian threat” simply because by 2001 there was no Russian threat. So there was a certain logic behind these moves. And then, “suddenly” (at least for western leaders) Russia was “back”: in 2013 Russia stopped the planned US/NATO attack on Syria (the pretext here was Syrian chemical weapons). In 2014 Russia gave her support to the Novorussian uprising against the Ukronazi regime in Kiev and, in the same year, Russia also used her military to make it possible for the local population to vote on a referendum to join Russia. Finally, in 2015, Russia stunned the West with an extremely effective military intervention in Syria.

In this sequence, Russia committed two very different types of “crimes” (from the AngloZionist point of view, of course):

  • The minor crime of doing what Russia actually did and
  • The much bigger crime of never asking the Empire for the permission to do so

The West likes to treat the rest of the planet like some kind of junior partner, with very limited autonomy and almost no real agency (the best example is what the USA did to countries like Poland or Bulgaria). If and when any such “junior” country wants to do something in its foreign policy, it absolutely has to ask for permission from its AngloZionist Big Brother. Not doing so is something akin to sedition and revolt. In the past, many countries were “punished” for daring to have an opinion or, even more so, for daring to act on it.

It would not be inaccurate to summarize it all by saying that Putin flipped his finger to the Empire and its leaders. That “crime of crimes” was what really triggered the current anti-Russian hysteria. Soon, however, the (mostly clueless) leaders of the Empire ran into an extremely frustrating problem: while the russophobic hysteria did get a lot of traction in the West, in Russia it created a very powerful blowback because of a typical Putin “judo” move: far from trying to suppress the anti-Russian propaganda of the West, the Kremlin used its power to make it widely available (in Russian!) through the Russian media (I wrote about this in some detail here and here). The direct result of this was two fold: first, the CIA/MI6 run “opposition” began to be strongly associated with the russophobic enemies of Russia and, second, the Russian general public further rallied around Putin and his unyielding stance. In other words, calling Putin a dictator and, of course, a “new Hitler”, the western PSYOPs gained some limited advantage in the western public opinion, but totally shot itself in the leg with the Russian public.

I refer to this stage as the “phase one anti-Putin strategic PSYOP”. As for the outcome of this PSYOP, I would not only say that it almost completely failed, but I think that it had the exact opposite intended effect inside Russia.

A change of course was urgently needed.

The redirection of US PSYOPs against Putin and Russia

I have to admit that I have a very low opinion of the US intelligence community, including its analysts. But even the rather dull US “Russia area specialist” eventually figured out that telling the Russian public opinion that Putin was a “dictator” or a “killer of dissidents” or a “chemical poisoner of exiles” resulted in a typically Russian mix of laughter and support for the Kremlin. Something had to be done.

So some smart ass somewhere in some basement came up with the following idea: it makes no sense to accuse Putin of things which make him popular at home, so let’s come up with a new list of accusations carefully tailored to the Russian public.

Let’s call this a “phase two anti-Putin PSYOP operation”.

And this is how the “Putin is in cahoots with” thing began. Specifically, these accusations were deployed by the US PSYOPs and those in its pay:

  • Putin is disarming Syria
  • Putin will sell out the Donbass
  • Putin is a puppet of Israel and, specifically, Netanyahu
  • Putin is a corrupt traitor to the Russian national interests
  • Putin is allowing Israel to bomb Syria (see here)
  • Putin is selling the Siberian riches to China and/or Putin is subjugating Russia to China
  • Putin is corrupt, weak and even cowardly
  • Putin was defeated by Erdogan in the Nagorno-Karabakh war

The above are the main talking points immediately endorsed and executed by the US strategic PSYOPs against Russia.

Was it effective?

Yes, to some degree. For one thing, these “anti-Russian PSYOPS reloaded” were immediately picked up by at least part of what one could call the “internal patriotic opposition” (much of it very sincerely and without any awareness of being skillfully manipulated). Even more toxic was the emergence of a rather loud neo-Communist (or, as Ruslan Ostashko often calls them “emo-Marxist”) movement (I personally refer to as a sixth column) which began an internal anti-Kremlin propaganda campaign centered on the following themes:

  • “All is lost” (всепропальщики): that is thesis which says that nothing in Russia is right, everything is either wrong or evil, the country is collapsing, so is its economy, its science, its military, etc. etc. etc. This is just a garden variety of defeatism, nothing more.
  • “Nothing was achieved since Putin came to power”: this is a weird one, since it takes an absolutely spectacular amount of mental gymnastics to not see that Putin literally saved Russia from total destruction. This stance also completely fails to explain why Putin is so hated by the Empire (if Putin did everything wrong, like, say Eltsin did, he would be adored in the West, not hated!).
  • All the elections in Russia were stolen. Here the 5th (CIA/MI6 run) column and 6th column have to agree: according to both of them, there is absolutely no way most Russians supported Putin for so many years and there is no way they support him now. And nevermind the fact that the vast majority of polls show that Putin was, and still is, the most popular political figure in Russia.

Finally, the big SNAFU with the pension reform definitely did not help Putin’s ratings, so he had to take action: he “softened” some of the worst provisions of this reform and, eventually, he successfully sidelined some of the worst Atlantic Integrationists, including Medvedev himself.

Sadly, some putatively pro-Russian websites, blogs and individuals showed their true face when they jumped on the bandwagon of this 2nd strategic PSYOP campaign, probably with the hope to either become more noticed, or get some funding, or both. Hence, all the nonsense about Russia and Israel working together or Putin “selling out” we have seen so many times recently. The worst thing here is that these websites, blogs and individuals have seriously misled and distressed some of the best real friends of Russia in the West.

None of these guys ever address a very simple question: if Putin is such a sellout, and if all is lost, why does the AngloZionist Empire hate Putin so much? In almost 1000 years of warfare (spiritual, cultural, political, economic and military) against Russia, the leaders of the West have always hated real Russian patriots and they have always loved the (alas, many) traitors to Russia. And now, they hate Putin because he is such a terrible leader?

This makes absolutely no sense.

Conclusion: is a war inevitable now?

The US/NATO don’t engage in strategic PYSOPs just because they like or dislike somebody. The main purpose of such PSYOPs is to break the other side’s will to resist. This was also the main objective of both (phase one and phase two) anti-Putin PSYOPs. I am happy to report that both phases of these PYSOPs failed. The danger here is that these failures have failed to convince the leaders of the Empire of the need to urgently change course and accept the “Russian reality”, even if they don’t like it.

Ever since “Biden” (the “collective Biden”, of course, not the potted plant) Administration (illegally) seized power, what we saw was a sharp escalation of anti-Russian statements. Hence, the latest “uhu, he is a killer” – this was no mistake by a senile mind, this was a carefully prepared declaration. Even worse, the Empire has not limited itself to just words, it also did some important “body moves” to signal its determination to seek even further confrontation with Russia:

  • There has been a lot of sabre-rattling coming from the West, mostly some rather ill-advsied (or even outright stupid) military maneuvers near/along the Russian border. As I have explained it a billion times, these maneuvers are self-defeating from a military point of view (the closer to the Russian border, the more dangerous for the western military force). Politically, however, they are extremely provocative and, therefore, dangerous.
  • The vast majority of Russian analysts do not believe that the US/NATO will openly attack Russia, if only because that would be suicidal (the current military balance in Europe is strongly in Russia’s favor, even without using hypersonic weapons). What many of them now fear is that “Biden” will unleash the Ukronazi forces against the Donbass, thereby “punishing” both the Ukraine and Russia (the former for its role in the US presidential campaign). I tend to agree with both of these statements.

At the end of the day, the AngloZionist Empire was always racist at its core, and that empire is still racist: for its leaders, the Ukrainian people are just cannon fodder, an irrelevant third rate nation with no agency which has outlived its utility (US analysts do understand that the US plan for the Ukraine has ended in yet another spectacular faceplant such delusional plans always end up with, even if they don’t say so publicly). So why not launch these people into a suicidal war against not only the LDNR but also Russia herself? Sure, Russia will quickly and decisively win the military war, but politically it will be a PR disaster for Russia as the “democratic West” will always blame Russia, even when she clearly did not attack first (as was the case in 08.08.08, most recently).

I have already written about the absolutely disastrous situation of the Ukraine three weeks ago so I won’t repeat it all here, I will just say that since that day things have gotten even much worse: suffice to say that the Ukraine has moved a lot of heavy armor to the line of contact while the regime in Kiev has now banned the import of Russian toilet paper (which tells you what the ruling gang thinks of as important and much needed measures). While it is true that the Ukraine has become a totally failed state since the Neo-Nazi coup, there is now a clear acceleration of the collapse of not only the regime or state, but of the country as a whole. Ukraine is falling apart so fast that one could start an entire website tracking only all this developing horror, not day by day, but, hour by hour. Suffice to say that “Ze” has turned out to be even worse than Poroshenko. The only thing Poroshenko did which “Ze” has not (yet!) is to start a war. Other than that, the rest of what he did (by action or inaction) can only be qualified as “more of the same, only worse”.

Can a war be prevented?

I don’t know. Putin gave the Ukronazis a very stern warning (“grave consequences for Ukraine’s statehood as such“). I don’t believe for one second that anybody in power in Kiev gives a damn about the Ukraine or the Ukrainian statehood, but they are smart enough to realize that a Russian counter-attack in defense of the LDNR and, even more so, Crimea, might include precision “counter-leadership” strikes with advanced missiles. The Ukronazi leaders would be well-advised to realize that they all have a crosshair painted on their heads. They might also think about this: what happened to every single Wahabi gang leader in Chechnya since the end of the 2nd Chechen war? (hint: they were all found and executed). Will that be enough to stop them?

Maybe. Let’s hope so.

But we must now keep in mind that for the foreseeable future there are only two options left for the Ukraine: “a horrible ending or a horror without end” (Russian expression).

  1. The best scenario for the people of the Ukraine would be a (hopefully relatively peaceful) breakup of the country into manageable parts.
  2. The worst option would definitely be a full-scale war against Russia.

Judging by the rhetoric coming out of Kiev these days, most Ukrainian politicians are firmly behind option #2, especially since that is also the only option acceptable to their overseas masters. The Ukrainians have also adopted a new military doctrine (they call it a “military security strategy of Ukraine”) which declares Russia the aggressor state and military adversary of the Ukraine (see here for a machine translation of the official text).

This might be the reason why Merkel and Macron recently had a videoconference with Putin (“Ze” was not invited): Putin might be trying to convince Merkel and Macron that such a war would be a disaster for Europe. In the meantime, Russia is rapidly reinforcing her forces along the Ukrainian border, including in Crimea.

But all these measures can only deter a regime which has no agency. The outcome shall be decided in Washington DC, not Kiev. I am afraid that the traditional sense of total impunity of US political leaders will, once again, give them a sense of very little risk (for them personally or for the USA) in triggering a war in the Ukraine. The latest news on the US-Ukrainian front is the delivery by the USN of 350 tonnes of military equipment in Odessa. Not enough to be militarily significant, but more than enough to further egg on the regime in Kiev to an attack on the Donbass and/or Crimea.

In fact, I would not even put it past “Biden” to launch an attack on Iran while the world watches the Ukraine and Russia go to war. After all, the other country whose geostrategic position has been severely degraded since Russia moved her forces to Syria is Israel, the one country which all US politicians will serve faithfully and irrespective of any costs (including human costs for the USA). The Israelis have been demanding a war on Iran since at least 2007, and it would be very naive to hope that they won’t eventually get their way. Last, but not least, there is the crisis which Blinken’s condescending chutzpah triggered with China which, so far, has resulted in an economic war only, but which might also escalate at any moment, especially considering all the many recent anti-Chinese provocations by the US Navy.

Right now the weather in the eastern Ukraine is not conducive to offensive military operations. The snow is still melting, creating very difficult and muddy road conditions (called “rasputitsa” in Russian) which greatly inhibit the movement of forces and troops. These conditions will, however, change with the warmer season coming, at which point the Ukronazi forces will be ideally poised for an attack.

In other words, barring some major development, we might be only weeks away from a major war.← Uncle Shmuel Is Truly Brain Dead…

الدور الروسيّ العائم…ورمال المنطقة المتحرّكة!

محمد صادق الحسينيّ

يذهب الكثيرون بعيداً في تصنيف القوة الروسيّة الصاعدة بأنها حليف استراتيجيّ لمحور المقاومة ولديهم الكثير مما يخدم تصنيفهم هذا.

فيما يذهب آخرون وهم ليسوا قلة، بتصنيف الروس بأنهم بقايا سياسة قيصريّة تبحث عن مصالح تاريخيّة في منطقتنا من المياه الدافئة، الى مصادر الطاقة الواعدة، وهؤلاء أيضاً لديهم الكثير مما قد يؤكد تصنيفهم هذا.

غير أنّ الجغرافيا السياسية وموازين القوى المتحركة على أرضنا والتحوّلات الدولية المحيطة ببلادنا العربية والإسلامية والتحوّلات الروسية الداخلية ما بعد الحرب الباردة قد تعزز تصنيفاً آخر، فلنرَ ماذا تقول تلك الوقائع:

أولاً: إنّ صعود فلاديمير بوتين لسدة الحكم في موسكو على أنقاض البيروسترويكا والحرب الباردة جعل روسيا الحديثة تظهر بمثابة خليط من القيصرية والسوفياتيّة، ذلك انّ حاكم روسيا الجديد قام ببناء سياسته الخارجية الجديدة على 3 أركان هي:

1

ـ إحياء القومية الروسية.

2

ـ إحياء الكنيسة الأرثوذكسية.

3

ـ إحياء سياسة الاتحاد السوفياتيّ الخارجية تجاه الحلفاء التقليديين (أو ما يسمّونها في موسكو بمحاسن الاتحاد السوفياتي).

وقد شكلت هذه في ما بات يُعرَف بعقيدة بوتين.

ثانياً: برز نجم بوتين ودور روسيا الجديد بالترافق مع تحوّلات دوليّة مهمّة يمكن تلخيصها بأنها نهاية «حرب عالمية» ضدّ الإرهاب كان بطلها محور المقاومة بقيادة الجمهورية الإسلامية ما جعل الحاكم الروسي الجديد الباحث عن إحياء دور بلاده السوفياتية القديمة بحاجة ماسة ليكون المظلة الحامية لهذا النصر التاريخيّ حتى يتمكّن من اقتطاف كلّ ثمار النصر هذا لصالح بلاده مرة واحدة.

ثالثاً: ولأنّ زعيم روسيا القومية الصاعدة يعرف تماماً أنّ بلاده «القارية» في جغرافيّتها السياسية ستكون بحاجة للخروج إلى أعالي البحار إذا ما أرادت أن تلعب دور المنافس الجديد للقوى البحرية الكبرى، لذلك رأى انّ تحقيق حلم استعادة الدور الروسي العالمي يتطلب منه أن يحيي السلوك القيصري التاريخي في التعامل مع كلّ اللاعبين الصغار كما الكبار على حدّ سواء، المنتصرين منهم كما المهزومين في الحرب على الإرهاب.

وهنا تماماً يمكن فهم سلوك موسكو البراغماتي والنفعي المحض تجاه تركيا وأخيراً السعودية والإمارات وقطر، ما جعلها (أيّ موسكو) تظهر على غير توافق مع قوى محور المقاومة وأحياناً على تضادّ، ولو في الشكل.

رابعاً: ثمة عامل رابع شديد التعقيد يدخل في تحديد السياسة الروسية البوتينية إذا جاز التعبير وهو:

علاقة الروس باليهود تاريخياً وحاضراً والتي يمكن تلخيصها كما يلي:

١– كانت روسيا القيصريّة أول مَن شنّت الحملة المناهضة لليهود في ثمانينيات القرن التاسع عشر، فيما عرف بسياسة «البوغروم» باعتبارهم المافيا أو القوة الخفية المسيطرة على المال والاقتصاد الروسي والتي اعتبرت بمثابة التهديد للأمن القومي الروسي القيصري آنذاك.

٢– كانت روسيا أول دولة أو من بين أولى الدول التي اعترفت بالكيان الصهيوني بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية مباشرة.

٣– لدى روسيا نحو مليون ونصف مليون مواطن روسي داخل الكيان يحملون الجنسيّة المزدوجة، يقضي الدستور الروسي بواجب الدفاع عن أمنهم كمواطنين مثلهم مثل المواطنين داخل الاتحاد الروسي.

ولما كان الرئيس فلاديمير بوتين قومياً وقيصرياً في عقله الباطني السياسي، فهو مرة كان مضطراً لمهاجمة المافيا الماليّة اليهودية الموجودة في تلابيب الاتحاد الروسي وقمعها بشدّة وهو في حال صعود وتعزيز موقع قيادته الجديد تحت عنوان الدفاع عن أمن الدولة، فيما هو الآن مضطر كثيراً وكثيراً جداً، لمداراة من تبقى من هذه المافيا التي لا تزال متحكّمة في كثير من دوائر الاقتصاد والإعلام الروسيّين، من أجل توظيف ذلك في سياسته الخارجية التي باتت تتطلب كسب جميع من في الداخل ومن في الخارج من قوى مؤثرة، في إطار مواجهة سياسة الحصار والبطش الأميركي ضدّه.

عقيدة بوتين المشار إليها آنفاً ومجموعة العوامل المؤثرة التي لعبت دوراً في تسلّمه مقاليد الاتحاد الروسي أولاً ومن ثم الجغرافيا السياسية المتغيرة التي رفعته من مجرد حاكم روسيّ قويّ الى لاعب دولي كبير، هي التي تفسّر اليوم وجهَي التناقض في الظاهرة البوتينية تجاه بلادنا العربية والإسلامية، بين مَن يعتبره مقاولاً شريفاً مدافعاً عن حقوقنا في المعركة المناهضة للإرهاب وللامبريالية، وبين من يضعه في صف المقاول المتعارضة مصالحه مع سياساتنا المقاومة ضدّ الامبريالية والصهيونية.

خلاصة القول، فإنه وفي ظلّ التحوّلات الاقليمية والدولية المتسارعة فإنّ موسكو بقيادة بوتين قوة صديقة لنا بقدر ما نحن أقوياء وثابتون ونعرف ماذا نريد وقادرين على توظيف قوّتها باتجاه ما نريد، تماماً كما فعلت ايران وسورية حتى الآن.

وفي غير ذلك فقد لا نستطيع الاستفادة منها، بل وربما خسرانها، في حال فكرنا بطريقة المقاول بدلاً من المقاوم.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

Washington Has Resurrected the Specter of Nuclear Armageddon

Paul Craig Roberts - Official Homepage

March 17, 2021

Truth Is An Endangered Species:  Support It

Washington Has Resurrected the Specter of Nuclear Armageddon

Paul Craig Roberts

During the 20th century Cold War with the Soviet Union, there were US Soviet experts who were concerned that the Cold War was partly contrived and, therefore, needlessly dangerous. Stephen Cohn at Princeton University, for example, believed that exaggerating the threat was as dangerous as underestimating it.  On the other hand, Richard Pipes at Harvard believed that the CIA dangerously underestimated Soviet military power and failed to grasp Soviet strategic intentions.

In 1976 President Gerald Ford and CIA Director George H.W. Bush commissioned an outside panel of experts to evaluate the CIA’s National Intelligence Estimates. This group was known as Team B.  Under Pipes’ leadership Team B created the perception that the US faced a dangerous “window of vulnerability.”

In conventional wisdom, in order to close this window of vulnerability President Reagan began an American arms buildup.  On this point conventional wisdom is wrong. The Reagan military buildup was as much hype as reality.  Its purpose was to bring the Soviets to the negotiating table and end the Cold War in order to remove the threat of nuclear war.  Reagan’s supply-side policy had fixed the problem of worsening trade-offs between employment and inflation, thus making an arms buildup possible.  In contrast, Reagan regarded the Soviet economy as broken and unfixable.  He reasoned that a new arms race was more than the Soviets could afford, and that the threat of one would bring the Soviets to the table to negotiate the end of the Cold War.

The Soviet Union collapsed when hardline communists, convinced that Gorbachev was endangering the Soviet Union by giving up too much too quickly before American intentions were known, placed President Gorbachev under house arrest.  The Yeltsin years (1991-1999) brought the dismemberment of the Soviet Empire and was a decade of Russian subservience to the United States.  

Putin came to power as the American neoconservatives were girding up to establish US and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. As General Wesley Clark told us, seven countries were to be overthrown in 5 years. The American preoccupation with the Middle East permitted Putin to throw off American overlordship and reestablish Russian sovereignty.  Once Washington realized this, the American establishment turned on Putin with a vengence.  

Stephen Cohen, Jack Matlock (Reagan’s ambassador to the Soviet Union), myself and a few others warned that Washington’s refusal to accept Russian independence would reignite the Cold War, thus erasing the accomplishment of ending it and resurrecting the specter of nuclear war. But Washington didn’t listen.  Instead, Cohen and I were put on a list of “Russian agents/dupes,” and the process of trying to destabalize Putin began.  In other words, once an American colony always an American colony, and Putin became the most demonized person on earth.

Today (March 17) we had the extraordinary spectacle of President Biden saying on ABC News that President Putin is a killer, and “he will pay a price.”  This is a new low point in diplomacy.  It does not serve American interests or peace.  

Yesterday a CIA-Homeland Security report was declassified. The “report” is blatant propaganda. It alleges that Russia interfered in the 2020 election with the purposes of “denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US.” “Russiagate” is still with us despite the failure of the three-year Mueller investigation to find a scrap of evidence.

We desperately need a new Team B like the one the CIA commissioned in 1976 to check on itself.  But in those days discussion and debate was possible.  Today they are not.  We live in a world in which only propaganda is permitted.  There is an agenda. The agenda is regime change in Russia.  No facts are relevant.  There will be no Team B to evaluate whether the Putin threat is exaggerated.

The anti-Russian craze that has been orchestrated in the US and throughout the Western world leaves the US in an extremely dangerous situation.  Americans and Europeans perceive reality only through the light of American propaganda.  American diplomacy, military policy, news reporting, and public undersranding are the fantasy creations of propaganda.

The Kremlin has shown amazing forbearance of Washington’s inanities and insults.  It was the Democrat Hillary Clinton who called President Putin the “new Hitler,”  and now Democrat Biden calls Putin “a killer.”  American presidents and presidential candidates did not speak of Soviet leaders in these terms. They would have been regarded by the American population as far too deranged to have access to the nuclear button.

Sooner or later the Kremlin will understand that it is pointless to respond to demonization with denials.  Yes, the Russians are correct. The accusations are groundless, and no facts or evidence is ever provided in support of the accusations.  Sooner or later the Kremlin will realize that the purpose of demonizing a country is to prepare one’s people and allies for war against it.

Washington pays no attention to Maria Zakharova and Dmitry Peskov’s objections to unsubstaniated accusations.

When “sooner or later” is, I do not know, but the Russians haven’t reached that point.  The Kremlin reads the latest allegations as an excuse for more sanctions against Russian companies and individuals. This reading is mistaken.  Washington’s purpose is to demonize Russia and its leadership in order to set Russia up for regime change and, failing that, for military attack.

In the United States Russian Studies has degenerated into propaganda.  Recently, two members of the Atlantic Council think tank, Emma Ashford and Matthew Burrows, suggested that American foreign policy could benefit from a less hostile approach to Russia. Instantly, 22 members of the think tank denounced the article by Ashford and Burrows.

This response is far outside the boundaries of the 20th century Cold War.  It precludes any rational or intelligent approach to American foreign policy.  Sooner or later the Kremlin will comprehend that it is confronted by a gangster outfit of the criminally insane.  Then what happens?

Trade-Off looming on Syria and Yemen:

Trade-Off looming on Syria and Yemen:

March 16, 2021

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

In the past few weeks much has happened in the area of diplomacy on the part of Russia. Russia is forging ahead after stepping up its presence in the Middle East in the past decade, taking a strong pro-active political role. Moscow during this period has been intent on consolidating its efforts in re-establishing itself as the key player in any political settlements in the Middle East. Ever since Kissinger in the late 1970’s pulled the rug out from underneath the feet of the USSR, striking a deal between Israel and Egypt, excluding the USSR and the rest of the Arab World, the political influence of Russia in the Middle East significantly waned until it came back with deciding force when Russia responded to the Syrian Government’s request for help in September 2015.

Lately, the economic crisis has deepened in Syria following the drastic Western sanctions. And specifically after the implementation of the Caesar’s Act, the Syrian currency took a huge tumble and the cost of living has soared to unprecedented levels. This left many cynics wondering and pondering what was Russia going to do in the face of the collapsed Syrian economy after having achieved an impressive military victory, taking its troops outside its former USSR borders for the first time and heralding the end of the single super power status of the USA.

To this effect, and on the diplomatic side, Russian FM Lavrov has recently visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE for talks pertaining to an array of issues. The agenda issues that transpired to the media include trade, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, as well as issues of global and regional security, albeit vague in details as what ‘security issues’ mean.

It appears that in these meetings, discussions included the return of Syria to the Arab League and the cost of reconstruction of Syria after ten years of war, a bill touted to exceed $Bn200. Expectations have existed for some time that the Arab Gulf states will fork out a huge chunk of this cost. As mentioned above, the bottom line here is that Russia’s military success in its operation in Syria needs to be followed by political success. Partly, this is achieved within the Astana talks which include Turkey and Iran. However, the very same Arab States instrumental in the ‘War on Syria’ are also instrumental in facilitating the return of Syria to the Arab League, the reconstruction efforts in Syria and the easing of sanctions. The Gulf states have always reiterated that there will no return of Syria to the Arab League for as long as Iranian forces remain on the ground. The UAE seemed more open than Saudi Arabia to the prospects of Syria’s return to the Arab League and financing the reconstruction process.

But why would the Gulf States, the same states that spent tens of billions of dollars in order to destroy Syria, be suddenly now interested in the reversal of the process? This is a fair question to ask.

Quite unexpectantly, and almost immediately after the return of Lavrov to Moscow, a top delegation of Hezbollah, headed by Mohamad Raad, was invited to Moscow for talks. Apparently, the visit was cloaked in a veil of secrecy in Russia and was not at all covered in Western media, even though it made news in Arabic mainstream media. It would be politically naïve to imagine that Lavrov’s visit to the Gulf has no relation to this. All issues in the Middle East are related to each other, including the war in Yemen.

To put it succinctly, the UAE had already stepped away from the Yemen war. However, Saudi Arabia remains bogged down in this travesty and seven years on, must have come to the humiliating and painful realization that it is a war it cannot win. This is where Iran and Hezbollah can have leverage in any direct or indirect negotiations with the Saudis, and Russia is the only arbitrator who is able to communicate with all parties involved.

All parties in the Middle East are looking for face-saving tradeoffs; at least partial and interim ones. The Saudis in particular are tired and exhausted,

In an interview given to Sputnik Arabic, one not widely reported in other media, not even Sputnik English, Raad praised the cooperation between Hezbollah and Russia, stating that ‘the invitation we received aims to reopen the dialogue about the next phase after having reached the achievements that serve the interests of the people of the region in the recent past’ .

This is Raad’s first visit to Moscow since 2011. Of that visit, I am not trying to speculate in hindsight of the purpose of it and the achievements of it. Furthermore, Hezbollah has not ever been party to any international dis-engagement or peace negotiations in the past, except for ones relating to exchange of prisoners. The economic demise of Syria and Lebanon, as well as the Saudi-Yemeni impasse, may well have placed Hezbollah in a position of participating in peace-deals negotiations this time.

I am neither referring to peace deals with Israel here, nor any deal involving disarmament. Hezbollah will not be prepared to negotiate disarming itself under any political settlement either today or in the foreseeable future, and Moscow is totally aware of this.

According to my analysis, the deal that Moscow is most likely to suggest is a mutual withdrawal of Iran and Hezbollah from Syria on one hand, and an end of the Saudi war on Yemen. It is simple, Saudi Arabia to leave Yemen and Iran/Hezbollah to leave Syria. I believe that Lavrov has already secured the Saudi acceptance of those terms, terms that will not only end the war in Yemen, but also the return of Syria to the Arab League and a possible easing of the Western economic sanctions on Syria. Had Lavrov not secured the Saudi assurance, he would not have invited Hezbollah for talks.

A deal of this nature can potentially end the criminal human tragedy in Yemen in a manner that will portray the Saudis as the real losers in the war, and this is where they need a face-saving trade-off in Syria. In Syria, they will be perceived as winners by securing an Iranian/Hezbollah exit. But most importantly perhaps for the Saudis, this will put an end to a very costly and humiliating war in Yemen, one which is beginning to draw criticism from some quarters of the international community, including alleged talk of America considering placing arms deal embargos on Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, if Iran and Hezbollah end their presence in Syria, many sanctions are likely to be lifted and the severe economic pressure in Syria will be eased. Such a deal will be a humanitarian win for Syria and Yemen, a strategic win for Saudi Arabia and Iran, and a diplomatic win for Russia.

What will be in it for Hezbollah will largely depend on what Lavrov has put on the table, and it seems obvious that it is Hezbollah that will need more convincing than Iran, and this is why the talks are now with Hezbollah; not with Iranian officials. Perhaps the deal already has the tacit approval of Iranian officials.

It goes without saying; Israel will be watching these developments with keen interest. Israel wants Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria. But the trade-off deal I am talking about is not one in which Israel is a direct party.

What is known at this stage is that a meeting has already taken place between the Hezbollah delegation and Russian officials. As I write this, I am not aware if other meetings are to follow and or whether or not the Hezbollah delegation is back in Lebanon.

Was the 2011 Moscow visit of Raad a prelude for Hezbollah to enter Syria? Will the 2021 visit be prelude for Hezbollah to leave Syria? We don’t know. We may never find out the actual detailed outcome of the mysterious-but-not-so-mysterious current Hezbollah visit. It may not even end up with a press release, but in the next coming days, we will find out if a Syria-Yemen trade-off is indeed looming.

The Bamiyan Buddhas: an Afghan tale

The Bamiyan Buddhas: an Afghan tale

March 03, 2021

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

In the beginning, they were the Bamiyan Buddhas: the Western Buddha statue, 55 meters high, and the Eastern, 38 meters high, carved for decades since 550 A.D. from porous sandstone cliffs, the intricate details modeled in clay mixed with straw and coated with stucco.

Xuanzang, the legendary traveling monk of the early Tang dynasty who journeyed to India in search of Buddhist manuscripts, saw them in all their – colored – glory in the 7th century.

Then, with Islam taking over these high central lands of Afghanistan, local Hazara folklore slowly turned them into the Romeo and Juliet of the Hindu Kush.

They became “Solsol” (“year after year”, or, more colloquially, the prince of Bamiyan) and “Shahmana” (“the king’s Mother”, or colloquially a princess from a remote kingdom). As lovers, they could not be united as a couple in this world; so they chose to turn into statues and stand close to each other forever.

And then, twenty years ago, after a millennium and a half of living history, the Taliban blew them up.

Killing Romeo and Juliet

Solsol and Shahmana lived since their inception among the Hazaras, who speak Dari, a Persian dialect with numerous words of Mongol and Turk origin. The Hazaras are partly descendants of Genghis Khan’s troops who infiltrated these mountains in the 13th century. Hazaras – who I had the pleasure to meet mostly in Kabul in the early 2000s – remain essentially Mongols, but linguistically Persianized, having adopted the old agricultural tradition of the Iranian mountains.

The Hazaras are diametrically opposed by the Pashtuns – who had an extremely complex ethno-genesis before the early 18th century, when they coalesced into great federations of nomad tribes. Their code of conduct – the Pashtunwali – is straightforward, regulating most of all a mechanism of sanctions.

The number one sanction is death: this is a poor society, where sanctions are physical, not material. Islam added moral elements to pashtunwali. And then there are juridical norms imposed by hereditary noblemen – which function like the carpet tying the room together: these come from the Turk-Mongols.

The modern Afghan state was created in the late 19th century by Abd-ur-Rahman, the “Iron Emir”. He pulled that off via a “Pashtunization” of the region that was locally known as the north of Turkestan. Then he integrated the Hazaras in the central mountains via bloody military campaigns.

Hazara lands were opened to Pashtun nomad tribes – who featured not only shepherds but also merchants and caravan entrepreneurs. Increasingly plunged into debt, the Hazaras ended up becoming economic hostages of the Pashtuns. Their way out was to emigrate to Kabul – where they hold mostly menial jobs.

And that brings us to the heart of the problem. Hazaras are Shi’ites. Pashtuns are Sunni. Pashtuns consider themselves the owners of Afghanistan – even as there’s persistent, major infighting among Pashtun groups. Pashtuns simply detest the Westphalian concept of the nation-state: most of all they see themselves as an empire within an empire.

This implies that ethnic minorities are marginalized – if they can’t find some sort of accommodation. Hazaras, because they are Shi’ites, were extremely marginalized during Taliban rule, from 1996 to 2001.

The Taliban rolled out en masse from Pakistani madrassas in 1994: the overwhelming majority were Pashtuns from rural areas between Kandahar and Paktiya. They had spent many years in camps scattered along the Pakistani tribal areas and Balochistan.

The Taliban became instantly successful for three reasons:

1 – Implementation of Sharia law.

2 – Their fight against the lack of security after the 1980s jihad instrumentalized by the Americans to give the USSR its “own Vietnam” (Brzezinski’s definition), and the subsequent warlord anarchy.

3 – Because they incarnated the return of the Pashtuns as the leading Afghan force.

No reincarnation?

All of the above supplies the context for the inevitable destruction of Solsol and Shahmana in March 2001. They were the symbols of an “infidel” religion. And they were situated in Shi’ite Hazara land.

Months later, after 9/11, I would learn from Taliban officials close to ambassador Abdul Salam Zaeef in Islamabad that first they blew up “the little one, which was a woman” then “her husband”; that implies the Taliban were very much aware of local folklore.

The destruction process started with the legs of the Great Buddha: one of them was already cut at the knee and the other at the femur. It took them four days – using mines, explosives and even artillery. The Taliban forced local Hazara youth to drill holes in the statues: those who refused were shot dead.

Yet that was not enough to kill oral tradition. Even the young Hazara generation, born after the smashing of the Buddhas, still delights in the tale of Solsol and Shahmana.

But will they ever reincarnate as living statues? Enter the usually messy “international community”. In 2003, Unesco declared the site of the Bamiyan Buddhas and the surrounding caves a “World Heritage Site in Danger.”

Still, Kabul and Unesco can’t seem to agree on a final decision. As it stands, Solsol will not be rebuilt; Shahmana, maybe. On and off, they resurrect as 3-D holograms.

What happened so far is “consolidation work at the Eastern Buddha niche”, finished in 2015. Work at the Western Buddha niche started in 2016. A Bamiyan Expert Working Group gets together every year, featuring the administration in Kabul, Unesco experts and donors, mostly German and Japanese.co

Ishaq Mawhidi, the head of the Culture and Information Department of Bamiyan, is sure that “90 percent of the statues can be rebuilt with the debris”, plus fragments of smaller statues currently preserved in two large warehouses on site.

The Afghan Ministry of Culture correctly argues that reconstruction work will require a formidable team, including Buddhism scholars, archeologists specialized in Gandhara art, historians, ethnographers, historiographers specialized in the first centuries of the first millennium in Afghanistan.

It will have to be eventually up to wealthy donors such as Berlin and Tokyo to willingly finance all this – and justify the costs, considering Hazara lands barely have been granted with working roads and electricity by the Kabul central government.

It’s always crucial to remember that the Bamiyan Buddhas blow up is a crucial case of deliberate destruction of world cultural heritage – alongside appalling instances in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Mali. They all connect, directly and indirectly, to the causes and consequences of imperial Forever Wars and their spin-offs (never forget that the Taliban initially were fully courted by the Clinton administration).

The Buddha of Dushanbe

In the end, I never managed to see Solsol and Shahmana. The Taliban would not issue a travel permit for foreigners under any circumstances. After 9/11 and the expulsion of the Taliban from Kabul, I was negotiating a safe passage with Hazara fighters, but then something bigger came up: bribing a Pashtun commander to take a small group of us to Tora Bora to see the Empire B-52 Show against Osama bin Laden.

Instead of Solsol and Shahmana – either standing up in their niches, or blown up to smithereens – I finally managed to see the next best option: the reclining Buddha of Dushanbe.

Afghanistan may be the “graveyard of empires” – the last act being enacted as we speak. And, to a certain extent, a graveyard of Buddhas. But not neighboring Tajikistan.

The original Buddha of Dushanbe saga was published by Asia Times in those heady 9/11 days. It happened as my photographer Jason Florio and myself were waiting for days for a helicopter to take us to the Panjshir valley in Afghanistan.

Eighteen years later, like a Jorge Luis Borges short story, it all came down full circle before I traveled the Pamir highway in late 2019. I went to the same museum in Dushanbe and there he was: the 13 meter-long “sleeping lion”, found in the Buddhist monastery of Ajinateppa, resting on pillows, in glorious parinirvana, and fully restored, with help from an expert from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Somewhere in unknown spheres beyond space and time, Solsol and Shahmana will be benevolently smiling.


Recommended to open this Wikipedia page for existent photography of Pepe’s tale.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhas_of_Bamiyanbrz

Book review: “Disintegration” by Andrei Martyanov

Indicators of the Coming American Collapse

Book review: “Disintegration” by Andrei Martyanov

THE SAKER • MARCH 1, 2021

This is the third book by Andrei Martyanov that I am reviewing, the first one was “Book Review – Losing Military Supremacy: the Myopia of American Strategic Planning by Andrei Martyanov”, while the second one was “Book Review: Andrei Martyanov’s The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs”. I also interviewed Andrei about this second volume here. The book I am reviewing today, “Disintegration: Indicators of the Coming American Collapse” can be pre-ordered from Clarity Press here and from Amazon here.

If the first two volumes mostly focused on issues of force planning and military power, this third volume addresses the wider context and shows example after example that the United States is not only failing at its attempts to remain a world hegemon, but the US is, in fact, in a process we could call “full-spectrum collapse” or, like Martyanov, simply “disintegration”. Specifically, the book looks into the manifestation of disintegration in the following spheres:

  1. Consumption
  2. Affluenza
  3. Geoeconomics
  4. Energy
  5. Making Things
  6. Western Elites
  7. Losing the Arms Race
  8. Empire Über Alles – Including Americans
  9. To Be or Not To Be
  10. Conclusion: Not Exceptional, Not Free, Not Prosperous – Not America?

These are tantalizing subject headings which I will not further describe because I really want to really encourage as many people as possible to read this book. Why?

Mainly because while Martyanov’s first two books were dealing primarily with military and geostrategic issues, this one goes much wider and looks at the wider socio-cultural reasons which create the context for such a dramatic lack of real military capabilities.

A month ago I wrote an article I called “Zone B Exists, Thus There Is Hope, I Promise You!” in which I tried to show that the pseudo “reality” in which most people in the West are artificially kept in by the most effective (and insidious) propaganda machine in history is not the “real reality” at all! Not only that, but that most of the planet has been living in “Zone B” for quite a while. In fact, this “Zone B” has already moved on, even if the legacy ziomedia never reports about this.

Well, you can think of Martyanov’s books like the perfect example of a “Zone B book”: not only does Martyanov debunk most of the myths of the US propaganda machine, he contrasts these delusions with examples from the real world.

You could buy only one or two of Martyanov’s books, and each of them stands on its own, but I really think of them as a trilogy which should be read and discussed by as many people in the West as possible. In fact, you could think of them as each a kind of “crash course on debunking delusions and returning to reality”. The overarching message of all three volumes is this: “People of the United States, your ruling elites are lying to you just like the chamber orchestra on the Titanic that was playing music while the supposedly “unsinkable” Titanic was sinking!”.

Interestingly, Martyanov adds that, of all nations, Russians understand these processes better than anybody else because they they too suffered the same fate during the “democratic nightmare of the 1990s” (I would add that descendents of White Russians like myself also remember the “democratic nightmare” under Kerenskii in 1917). Martyanov writes:

“The collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic catastrophe which followed taught Russians a lot, and also left an aftertaste of the humiliation of losing power – a process the United States is going through right now”

Truth be told, Martyanov is hardly the first person to have mentioned the uncanny similarities between the Soviet Union of the late 80s, or the Russia of the 90s, with the US of the last two decades (or more). For example, Martyanov mentions Dmitry Orlov whose many books have looked into what he calls the “stages of collapse” (financial, economic, political, social, cultural and, later, he added ecological) and have became a precious analytical tool for many researchers. Many decades earlier, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whom Martyanov intensely dislikes, also often mentioned that the West of the 80s reminded him of the Russia of the early 20th century. This is just to illustrate Martyanov’s point that,

“Speaking in layman’s terms, the Russians get it. They, unlike any other people in the world, can relate to what the United States is going through right now. Russians can read the signs extremely well, while the U.S. elite not only has no experience with it, but is completely insulated from understanding it. This is America’s tragedy unfolding before our very eyes. Not only is America’s crisis systemic, but its elites are uncultured, badly educated and mesmerized by decades of their own propaganda, which in the end, they accept as a reality”

I couldn’t agree more. I would also add that those Russians who write books and articles desperately trying to warn the people of the US of real catastrophe taking place do that not because they are hostile to the United States, but precisely because they are sympathetic to the people of the US. The flag-waving pseudo-patriots who accuse these Russians of being “anti-American” simply don’t understand the “evil Russians” they hate so much (mostly because modern Russia under Putin has been fantastically successful, in spite of sanctions, threats, subversion, etc., while the US is in agony – that is why these folks are willing to believe anything bad, no matter how self-evidently stupid, about Russia and/or Putin).

Yes, of course, Russians hate and despise the US ruling Nomenklatura, just as they despised their own, Soviet, Nomenklatura. But that in no way implies what many mistake for “anti-American” hostility.

In my almost 58 years of life I have been blessed with the chance to travel a lot and speak six or so languages, yet I have never come across what I would call “anti-Americanism”. Even in countries supposedly hostile to the US the actual focus of the anger and disgust of people are the actions of the AngloZionist Empire, the ugly parasite feeding off its US host. Take a country like, say, Brazil. Anti “yankee” feelings have always been strong there, yet Brazilian musicians are known to beautifully fuse US and Brazilian music (see this superb example). The same is true elsewhere: people hate US policies, but very rarely the people of the US. Right now, judging by the Runet and emails from friends, Russians mostly feel pity for the people of the US, not hate, and this is so because they “get it” as Martuyanov correctly states. Of course, there are stupid and/or bigoted people in all countries and I am sure that there are those who hate the United States as a country, but I am confident that this is a small minority. There is one interesting category left: those who become critical of the US society after having lived in the US; a famous example of that would be Sayyid Qutb

None of that is meant to whitewash all the violence and ugliness of the short but extremely violent US history. But violence and ugliness exist in the history of probably every country on the planet (there sure was plenty of violence and ugliness in the history of Russia!). True, the US was probably one of the most bloody and violent regimes in history, but that violence ought to be attributed to imperialism and capitalism and not to something unique to the US (the British Empire was possibly the most criminally violent in history). Even more important to the understanding of US history is that most of its violence had its roots not in national or racial causes, but in the many social or, better, class struggles which peppered the history of the US. Again, discussions of class issues have been comprehensively blotted out from all the school books in Zone A, depriving those who had the misfortune to be educated in the West from one of the most important tools of political and economic analysis.

The importance of the above cannot be overstated and this is why Martyanov comes back to the topic of the education of the western ruling classes over and over again. In the last pages of Disintegration Martyanov writes:

Thus, no viable ideas or solutions to the current unfolding economic, social and cultural catastrophe can originate within these elites, who see the world only through the Wall Street and New York Times lenses. Real intellect, courage and integrity are simply not there: they all have been traded for the perks and sinecures of what many correctly describe as the Washington D.C. blob, whose only purpose for existence is self-perpetuation.

I would only add that there is a karmic irony in the fact that it is precisely because these ruling classes have no other purpose in life than self-perpetuation (and consumption, I would add) that they are driving themselves, and the country which they exploit, into extinction.

Conclusion: these are “must read” books for all of Zone A! (and even Zone B!)

Finally, it is precisely because Martyanov’s books are like “messages from Zone B” that I urge every person living in the US or in the EU to read them. As I said, each of these books stands on its own, but together they reach a kind of intellectual critical mass which makes them truly “must read” books, especially for those who hate their ruling regime but love their country.

These books are all pretty short, very well written, they have decent (but not perfect) indexes and are an easy read. If you want to get a superb summation of what is really going on in the United States (as opposed to the frankly laughable AngloZionist propaganda or the inchoate and outright childish slogans of the flag-waving “Trump patriots”) – read these books. If you have brainwashed friends, give them any (or, better, all of) these books: they are like a “crash course in reality studies”. If you have family members who still believe all the nonsense about “American exceptionalism”, challenge them to read these books.

Folks living in Zone B would also immensely benefit from reading Martyanov’s books. Not because these books will tell them much they weren’t already at least vaguely aware of, but because these books are also a very truthful “state of the United States” kind of SITREP. In my experience, while most folks (at least the well-read ones) in Zone B do mostly understand that the Empire is dead (or very close to death) and while they also feel the US are undergoing a massive internal catastrophe, most of these folks in Zone B do not fully appreciate the magnitude and severity of these crises. For them too Martyanov’s books will be an eye opener. This is also why I hope that all three of Martyanov’s books will be quickly translated into Russian: they will become instant blockbusters and, what is even more important, they will be read in Russian academies and universities. French and Spanish are another two languages I hope that these books will be translated into.

But, most of all, I hope (against any common sense or logic) that these books will be read by truly patriotic US officers, force planners, analysts, political decision-makers, etc. Right now, there is a real threat of these folks stumbling into a shooting war with Russia which the US will never survive (nor would Russia or much of the rest of the world, of course). But even if by some miracle this potential war remains non-nuclear, the US will still be destroyed, at least as a functioning country, by Russian conventional capabilities. This is the single biggest danger and possible disaster authors like Myartyanov are so desperately trying to prevent: a major war caused by a clueless ruling Nomenklatura involving a country (the US) which has never fought a defensive war in its history and which has never experienced real warfare, especially not against a competent adversary. I can only add that in case of a conventional war, Russia now has the means to defend not only her airspace, but a conceptual “Russian border proximity zone” of roughly 800km-1000km (and this range is steadily increasing). The US cannot. Neither can the EU or NATO. And for all the silly MIC+Pentagon promises of super-duper missiles, this is not something which will change in the short to medium time frame.

The more people in the US realize this, the better the chances avoid a terrible catastrophe. Hence the timely importance of Andrei Martyanov’s books.

Biden’s accounts with Russia. What will Erdogan do? حسابات بايدن مع روسيا.. ماذا سيفعل إردوغان؟

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

Biden’s accounts with Russia. What will Erdogan do?

حسابات بايدن مع روسيا.. ماذا سيفعل إردوغان؟
Biden’s accounts with Russia. What will Erdogan do?
حسني محلي

Husni Mahali 

Al-Mayadeen Net

1 March

Georgia is gaining additional importance in Washington’s calculations, and soon President Biden, because it challenges Russia’s nine autonomous republics — most of whose population is Muslim — including Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.

Since joining NATO in the early 1950s, Ankara has played a key role in opposing the Western camp, led by America, to the Soviet Union, which was then adjacent to Turkey through Georgia and Armenia in the south. Through dozens of Atlantic and U.S. bases in its territory (12 of which remain), Turkey was also an advanced outpost to defend Western interests and prevent the Communist Soviet Union from expanding south toward the Arab and Muslim world.

The fall of the Soviet Union after the Afghan war and the resulting birth of The Islamic Republics of Turkish origin gave Ankara more power in regional and international calculations, especially after the late President Turgut Ozal’s talks on “the unity of the Turkish nation, from the Adriatic Sea (Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia) to the China Dam, through Bulgaria and Greece, where Muslim minorities of Turkish origin are.

Ozal’s words were welcomed and encouraged by Washington, the traditional enemy of the Soviet Union, and then Russia, which the West wanted to surround from its southern flank, where the Islamic republics, and from the West, where the countries that nato embraced in 2004, namely Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and southern Bulgaria and Romania, which overlook the Black Sea, which Turkey controls, control its only Bosphorus Strait.

This came at a time when Ukraine and Georgia paid dearly for their adventures during their velvet revolutions in which Western institutions played a major role, with Abkhazia and South Ossetia declaring independence with the support of Moscow, and separated from Georgia, while the civil war in Ukraine was a reason for the partition of the country, after the citizens of the eastern regions voted for secession, prompting Russia to “annex” Crimea in 2014.

As was the case in the 1950s and beyond, Ankara has played, and continues to play, some role in all of these developments that President Erdogan wanted to help him to support his projects and plans, which appear to have been influenced by Ozal’s slogans, and Ankara has had, and continues to be, directly and indirectly linked to the developments of its neighbor Georgia, whose tens of thousands of its citizens work in Turkey.

Georgia is gaining additional importance in washington’s calculations, and soon President Biden, because it challenges russia’s nine self-governing republics — mostof whose population is Muslim — including Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.

Thousands of citizens of these and other Central Asian republics have joined Al-Nusra and ISIS, while Washington wants to help it in the future in its plans to tighten the blockade on Russia, and the factions of “Afghan jihadists” helped America achieve its first goal, which is to overthrow and tear the Soviet Union, according to the green belt theory, it became clear that Washington is planning to return to this belt, and wants Turkey to play a key role in activating it, but after agreeing with Erdogan on a comprehensive deal to achieve both sides the biggest direct and indirect gains, which Presidents Biden and Erdogan are preparing on the eve of the phone call between the two parties, which seem to have been delayed by the many topics that will be in front of them, difficult and intertwined, and they need each other.

In exchange for the financial and political support of Erdogan, which seems to be in dire need, President Biden wants Turkey to go back to the 1950s and prove its absolute loyalty to Washington and NATO, which is clearly preparing for a new phase of psychological, economic and political war against Russia, this time through its back gardens to the south and west, which means that it needs to support President Erdogan because of his ties and role in the Central Asian Islamic Republics (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan), as in the Caucasus, where Azerbaijan is linked to Azerbaijan. Georgia has privileged relations, and Washington seeks to annex it to NATO, along with Ukraine.

The events in Armenia at this time are of added importance, having become a direct arena for U.S. and French intervention against the traditional Russian role. Ankara is watching all these interventions closely, firstly because Armenia is a neighboring country, and secondly because of information about the possibility that President Biden will recognize the Armenian genocide of the Ottoman era during World War I, without neglecting Washington’s privileged relationship between Ankara and Kiev, and at the expense of The Russian plans in Ukraine, Erdogan has repeatedly rejected Putin’s decision to “annex” Crimea to Russia, while information speaks of very broad cooperation between Turkey and Ukraine in all fields, especially military industries, including drones, tanks and missiles, with significant Turkish support for the Muslim minority in Crimea.

Ankara has also succeeded in establishing privileged relations with most of the former Soviet Republics and Eastern European countries that have bad memories with Moscow, which President Biden may need in his future calculations to tighten the blockade on Russia within its borders or elsewhere, particularly Latin America, where Erdogan has succeeded in establishing privileged relations with its most prominent head of state, Nicolas Maduro, despite all the personal, ideological and political contradictions between them.

President Biden may need Turkish support for his plans and projects in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, which has turned into a front alcove to defend Russian interests in the region, and across it in many regional and international arenas in which Washington, some Western capitals, and sometimes Ankara, are competing, despite the contradiction of interests among all of these capitals.

In all cases, it seems clear that we will not wait long to see what Biden will ask of Erdogan, and how the latter will respond to these demands, the most important of which is undoubtedly a return to Turkey’s nationalist, religious and historical behavior against Russia. For the past five years, after Erdogan’s apology following the downing of the Russian plane, President Putin has sought to block this possibility through a combination of interlocking economic, political and military relations with Ankara and its implications for coordination, cooperation and joint action in Syria.

With the information that president Biden expects to clear all his accounts with Ankara, whether negative or positive, President Erdogan finds himself in a situation that is never enviable, having become clear that his options are limited, either continue the current situation in the relationship with Moscow and Washington, which Biden will not accept, or continue his cooperation with Russia and its allies, which is completely impossible.

In this case, in his very difficult situation internally, he has no choice but to agree with President Biden on the axes of the next phase, and to minimize the losses in his relations with Russia that he does not want to repeat, as Biden, who knows he has a lot of serious papers against him personally and officially, wishes.

The most important question remains: Will Biden put these papers on the table and ask for them to be resolved, or will he ask Erdogan to use his own papers in Russia’s backyards, in exchange for absolute support in the gardens of others!?

حسابات بايدن مع روسيا.. ماذا سيفعل إردوغان؟

تكتسب جورجيا أهمية إضافية في حسابات واشنطن، وقريباً الرئيس بايدن، لأنها تحدّ جمهوريات الحكم الذاتي الروسية – معظم سكّانها مسلمون – وعددها تسعة، ومنها الشيشان وأنغوشيا وداغستان.

حسابات بايدن مع روسيا.. ماذا سيفعل إردوغان؟
حسابات بايدن مع روسيا.. ماذا سيفعل إردوغان؟

أدَّت أنقرة منذ انضمامها إلى الحلف الأطلسي في بداية الخمسينيات من القرن الماضي دوراً أساسياً في معاداة المعسكر الغربي، بزعامة أميركا، للاتحاد السوفياتي، الذي كان آنذاك مجاوراً لتركيا من خلال جورجيا وأرمينيا في الجنوب. كما كانت تركيا، من خلال عشرات القواعد الأطلسية والأميركية الموجودة في أراضيها (ما زال هناك 12 قاعدة منها)، مخفراً متقدماً للدفاع عن المصالح الغربية ومنع الاتحاد السوفياتي الشيوعي من التمدد جنوباً باتجاه العالم العربي والإسلامي.

وجاء سقوط الاتحاد السّوفياتيّ بعد الحرب الأفغانيّة وما نتج منه من ولادة الجمهوريات الإسلاميّة ذات الأصل التركي، ليمنح أنقرة المزيد من عناصر القوة في الحسابات الإقليمية والدولية، وخصوصاً بعد أحاديث الرئيس الراحل تورغوت أوزال عن “وحدة الأمة التركية، من البحر الأدرياتيكي (البوسنة وكوسوفو ومقدونيا) إلى سد الصين الحصين، مروراً ببلغاريا واليونان، حيث الأقليات المسلمة ذات الأصل التركي.

وقد حظيت مقولات أوزال بترحيب وتشجيع من واشنطن؛ العدو التقليدي للاتحاد السوفياتي، ومن بعده روسيا، التي أراد الغرب أن يحاصرها من خاصرتها الجنوبية، حيث الجمهوريات الإسلامية، ومن الغرب، حيث الدول التي احتضنها الحلف الأطلسي في العام 2004، وهي أستونيا ولاتفيا وليتوانيا، وجنوبا بلغاريا ورومانيا اللتين تطلان على البحر الأسود، الذي تسيطر تركيا على مضيقه الوحيد البوسفور.

أتى ذلك في الوقت الذي دفعت أوكرانيا وجورجيا ثمن مغامراتهما غالياً خلال ثوراتهما المخملية التي أدت فيها مؤسسات غربية دوراً رئيسياً، فقد أعلنت أبخازيا وأوسيتيا الجنوبية استقلالهما بدعم من موسكو، وانفصلتا عن جورجيا، فيما كانت الحرب الأهلية في أوكرانيا سبباً لتقسيم البلاد، بعد أن صوّت مواطنو المناطق الشرقية من أجل الانفصال، ودفع ذلك روسيا إلى “ضم” شبه جزيرة القرم إليها في العام 2014.

وكما كان الوضع في الخمسينيات وما بعدها، فقد أدت أنقرة، وما تزال، دوراً ما في مجمل هذه التطورات التي أراد لها الرئيس إردوغان أن تساعده لدعم مشاريعه ومخططاته التي يبدو أنها تأثرت بالشعارات التي رفعها أوزال، فقد كان لأنقرة، وما يزال، علاقة مباشرة وغير مباشرة بمجمل تطورات جارتها جورجيا، التي يعمل عشرات الآلاف من مواطنيها في تركيا.

وتكتسب جورجيا أهمية إضافية في حسابات واشنطن، وقريباً الرئيس بايدن، لأنها تحدّ جمهوريات الحكم الذاتي الروسية – معظم سكّانها مسلمون – وعددها تسعة، ومنها الشيشان وأنغوشيا وداغستان. 

وقد انضمّ الآلاف من مواطني هذه الجمهوريات وغيرها في آسيا الوسطى إلى “النصرة” و”داعش”، في الوقت الذي تريد واشنطن لها أن تساعدها مستقبلاً في مخطّطاتها لتضييق الحصار على روسيا، كما ساعدت فصائل “الجهاديين الأفغان” أميركا في تحقيق هدفها الأول، وهو إسقاط الاتحاد السوفياتي وتمزيقه، وفق نظرية الحزام الأخضر، فقد بات واضحاً أن واشنطن تخطط للعودة إلى هذا الحزام، وتريد لتركيا أن يكون لها دور أساسي في تفعيله، ولكن بعد الاتفاق مع إردوغان على صفقة شاملة تحقّق للطرفين الحد الأكبر من المكاسب المباشرة وغير المباشرة، وهو ما يستعدّ له الرئيسان بايدن وإردوغان عشية المكالمة الهاتفية بين الطرفين، والتي يبدو أنها تأخّرت بسبب كثرة المواضيع التي ستكون أمامهما وصعوبتها وتشابكها، وهما يحتاجان إلى بعضهما البعض.

ومقابل الدعم المالي والسياسي لإردوغان، الذي يبدو أنه في أمس الحاجة إليه، يريد الرئيس بايدن لتركيا أن تعود إلى خمسينيات القرن الماضي، وتثبت ولاءها المطلق لواشنطن والحلف الأطلسي، الذي يبدو واضحاً أنه يستعد لمرحلة جديدة من الحرب النفسية والاقتصادية والسياسية ضد روسيا، وهذه المرة عبر حدائقها الخلفية جنوباً وغرباً، وهو ما يعني حاجتها إلى دعم الرئيس إردوغان بسبب علاقاته ودوره في جمهوريات آسيا الوسطى الإسلامية (كازاخستان وتركمنستان وقرغيزيا وأوزبكستان)، كما هو الحال في القوقاز، حيث ترتبط تركيا مع أذربيجان وجورجيا بعلاقات مميزة، وتسعى واشنطن لضمّها إلى الحلف الأطلسي، ومعها أوكرانيا.

وتكتسب أحداث أرمينيا في هذا التوقيت أهمية إضافية، بعد أن تحوّلت إلى ساحة مباشرة للتدخل الأميركي والفرنسي ضد الدور الروسي التقليدي. وتراقب أنقرة كل هذه التدخلات عن كثب؛ أولاً لأنّ أرمينيا دولة مجاورة لها، وثانياً بسبب المعلومات التي تتحدث عن احتمالات أن يعترف الرئيس بايدن في 24 نيسان/أبريل القادم بالإبادة الأرمنية في العهد العثماني إبان الحرب العالمية الأولى وخلالها، من دون أن تهمل واشنطن العلاقة المميزة بين أنقرة وكييف، وعلى حساب المخططات الروسية في أوكرانيا، إذ أعلن إردوغان أكثر من مرة رفضه قرار بوتين “ضم” شبه جزيرة القرم إلى روسيا، في الوقت الذي تتحدّث المعلومات عن تعاون واسع جداً بين تركيا وأوكرانيا في جميع المجالات، وخصوصاً الصناعات العسكرية، ومنها الطائرات المسيّرة والدبابات والصواريخ، مع دعم تركي كبير للأقليّة المسلمة في القرم.

كما نجحت أنقرة في إقامة علاقات مميزة مع معظم جمهوريات الاتحاد السوفياتي السابق ودول أوروبا الشرقية التي لها ذكريات سيئة مع موسكو، وهو ما قد يحتاجه الرئيس بايدن في حساباته المستقبلية لتضييق الحصار على روسيا داخل حدودها أو في أي مكان آخر، وبشكل خاص أميركا اللاتينية، التي نجح إردوغان في إقامة علاقات مميّزة مع أبرز رئيس دولة فيها، نيكولاس مادورو، رغم كلّ التناقضات الشخصية والعقائدية والسياسية بينهما.

وقد يحتاج الرئيس بايدن إلى دعم تركي لمخططاته ومشاريعه في الشرق الأوسط، وخصوصاً في سوريا، التي تحولت إلى خندق أمامي للدفاع عن المصالح الروسية في المنطقة، وعبرها في العديد من الساحات الإقليمية والدولية التي تنافسها فيها واشنطن وبعض العواصم الغربية، وأحياناً أنقرة، على الرغم من تناقض المصالح بين جميع هذه العواصم.

وفي جميع الحالات، يبدو واضحاً أننا لن ننتظر طويلاً حتى نرى ما سيطلبه بايدن من إردوغان، وكيف سيرد الأخير على هذه المطالب، وأهمها من دون شك العودة إلى السلوك القومي والديني والتاريخي التركي ضد روسيا. وقد سعى الرئيس بوتين طيلة السنوات الخمس الأخيرة، وبعد اعتذار إردوغان منه إثر إسقاط الطائرة الروسية، لسد الطريق على هذا الاحتمال، من خلال مجموعة من العلاقات الاقتصادية والسياسية والعسكرية المتشابكة مع أنقرة وانعكاساتها على التنسيق والتعاون والعمل المشترك في سوريا.

ومع المعلومات التي تتوقع للرئيس بايدن أن يصفي كل حساباته مع أنقرة، سواء كان سلباً أو إيجاباً، يجد الرئيس إردوغان نفسه في وضع لا يحسد عليه أبداً، بعد أن بات واضحاً أن خياراته محدودة، فإما يستمر في الوضع الحالي في العلاقة مع موسكو وواشنطن، وهو ما لن يقبل به بايدن، وإما يتمادى في تعاونه مع روسيا وحليفاتها، وهو مستحيل تماماً.

وفي هذه الحالة، لا يبقى أمامه، في ظلّ وضعه الصعب جداً داخلياً، إلا الاتفاق مع الرئيس بايدن على محاور المرحلة القادمة، وبالحد الأدنى من الخسائر في علاقاته مع روسيا التي لا يريد أن يعاديها، كما يرغب بايدن، الذي يعرف الجميع أنه يملك الكثير من الأوراق الخطيرة ضده شخصياً ورسمياً.

ويبقى السؤال الأهم: هل سيضع بايدن هذه الأوراق على الطاولة ويطلب حسمها أم سيطلب من إردوغان أن يستخدم ما يملكه من الأوراق في حدائق روسيا الخلفية، مقابل تقديم دعم مطلق له في حدائق الآخرين!؟

Do these countries really want to be respected?

February 28, 2021

Do these countries really want to be respected?

Did they expect us to treat them with any respect?
Roger Waters (The Final Cut)

Long ago, I learned the hard way that what I call “professional ideologues” count every damn penny and I sure do NOT want you to post a full article of theirs, lest they threaten me with lawsuits (already happened twice): to them, money is far, far, more important than propagating any truths, believe me.  So I won’t post the full thing here, just a link to it.  You can read it there:

https://www.politico.eu/article/nord-stream-2-pipeline-has-damaged-the-west-enough-time-to-put-an-end-to-it/

What I do want to ask you, dear readers, do you think that these two clowns want their country to be treated with respect, or do they simply don’t care at all about things like dignity, respect, or honor?  How about the people who voted for these kind of governments?  Can’t they see how utterly pathetic it makes them look?

I met a lot of Poles and Ukrainians in my life and, if anything, I tend to find them mostly completely irrational about things pertaining to their national pride.  The Ukies, apparently, even rather die than accept a Russian-made vaccine (ask yourself, in the Soviet era, how many bad vaccines did the USSR export to eastern European countries?  The answer? Zero).  As for the Poles, they fancy themselves as the future “Intermarium superpower”!  And then they ask Trump to build them a US base for which they are even willing to pay for the military presence from a country which tries hard to blackmail Poland into paying for “Holocaust reparations”!

Dignity anybody?

And now this: their foreign ministers get together to beg Uncle Shmuel to protect them from North Stream 2.  Just look at this great quote from the said article:

We call on U.S. President Joe Biden to use all means at his disposal to prevent the project from completion“. (but do read the full thing, it is quite amazing).

Also, notice a typical “Polish wisdom”: seek out the protection of a (already agonizing) “ally” located thousands of miles away overseas, but do go directly against your two most powerful neighbors.  Genius!  Pure Polish genius!

To be fair, this could be seen as “progress”.  After all, the biggest Polish hero, Jozef Pilsudski, was hoping to occupy Moscow with Nazi Germany.  Asking Joe Biden for help against the accursed Russians is probably a tad smarter than asking Adolf Hitler.  But not by much, not by much…  (the outcome will be the same though).

The Polish and Ukrainian government have tried to turn total prostitution into a form of “resistance” against a “resurgent Russia”.  Don’t they know how that makes them look in the eyes of the Russian people (most of whom don’t even want to use the Russian military to liberate Novorussia, nevermind “invading” 3B+PU!)?

To be honest, this further convinces me that Russia should simply forget about both these countries and deal with the many mentally sane countries on this planet (I explained that in some details here).  On a personal level, I find most Poles very nice people, and I still do wish them (and the non-Nazi Ukrainians) well, but I also want my country to stop wasting *any* time, effort, energy, resources or patience with these countries.  They want to be left alone?  Great!  I agree.

The Ukraine is a different problem: most Ukrainians are, basically southern Russians, and it is pretty clear that those in the East and the South will have to, sooner or later, liberate themselves from the (truly) Nazi Banderastan which came to power in 2014.  I do believe, firmly, that Russia owes the Russian people of the Ukraine protection.  But once the East and the South are free again, Russia should simply reduce her diplomatic presence in the Ukraine and Poland and bring to the absolute minimum, or even terminate, all deals, agreements, treaties, etc.

Oh sure, Russia will loose some markets and some money.  Not that much though, not compared with the riches Russia has found in the South, the East and the North.  Furthermore, if you look at the benefit/liability ratio from a Russian point of view, it is the entire “West” which is not worth the effort, especially the spineless and clueless EU.  The USA, being a nuclear superpower, will remain an important interlocutor for Russia, agreed.  But the rest of them?  The UK?  Canada?

I say, let Russia begin with the 3B+PU, sever ties with them first.  Then, if Germany caves in and blocks the completion of NS2, I would server ties between Russia and Germany too.  I would keep ties with southern European countries like Italy, Spain, Serbia, but even those really ought to be conditional on some kind two-way mutually beneficial outcome for both parties.

Bottom line: Russia owes nothing to her neighbors or, for that matter, to any country on the planet.  She needs to always remember that.

I realize that the above might seem excessive to some, but judging by this interview of Lavrov (see below), I am inclined to think that even the most moderates of moderates are getting mighty fed up with the Europe, old and new.

The Saker

 ***

source

Vladimir Solovyov: Good afternoon, Mr Lavrov. Why was the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell “buried?”

Sergey Lavrov: Nobody “buried” Mr Borrell. He carried out the will of the EU member states. They determine EU policy. This is a lengthy and controversial process. On several occasions, some EU member states have told us in private that they are against sanctions and that they do not believe that Russia should be “punished” with sanctions. They know this is futile, but they act out of “solidarity,” or the consensus principle. I have said several times that as far as I understand it, the principle of consensus means that if someone disagrees, that means there’s no consensus. So far, I haven’t received an answer to this question.

Back to Mr Borrell, he was visiting us mindful of the complex environment surrounding his plans. Many were against his visit and publicly stated that he should not be going to Russia unless we “put right the wrongs.” In the end, they agreed upon the approaches that Mr Borrell was supposed to make known to us.

This is not the first time – and this applies not only to Mr Borrell, but to his predecessors as well (before him there was Federica Mogherini, and before her there was Catherine Ashton), they were unable to discuss things. When Mr Borrell read out the position regarding Mr Navalny, I put forward our counterarguments. The EU’s position is that we have made him a political prisoner, and this is unrelated to accusations against him. And that all of that constitutes a violation of human rights and Russia, as a party to numerous conventions on human rights, including the European Convention on Human Rights, must release him and respect his rights. But Russia has laws that must be respected. By the way, I notified the High Representative that if he presents this matter from this angle during a news conference, I will respond by mentioning the Catalans sentenced to 12 years or more in prison for organising the referendum on Catalonia’s independence. We were accused of organising this referendum, but no one presented a single piece of evidence, nothing even remotely close to the facts. So it happened.

With regard to human rights, I reminded Mr Borrell that we expressed our willingness to conduct a substantive dialogue on this matter a long time ago. However, first, it must be based on facts and, second, it needs to be a two-way street. If human rights are a recognised topic without borders, and states cannot hide behind their borders when discussing human rights, let’s agree on what human rights are. There’s a list of these rights, which are primarily socioeconomic rights. The right to life is the most important one. But the West strongly opposes the idea of discussing socioeconomic rights.

Vladimir Solovyov: Why do you deny Navalny and his brother the right to rip off the French company Yves Rocher?

Sergey Lavrov: This is what I told High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. I said that we did not pledge to protect those who did commercial damage to an EU company, Yves Rocher. There is factual information about this, about how the French company was lured to accept transportation and logistics services at 30 percent above the prices it had paid before, and how this was done by a one-man firm, which hired a subcontractor and transferred the money to the accounts of another company whose stakeholders are well known.

Vladimir Solovyov: And he did not give any response to that? Was he pretending not to understand you?

Sergey Lavrov: Mr Josep Borrell definitely has a clear understanding of the matter. But I would like to repeat that the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, however serious his title may sound, has no room for manoeuvre. He is acting within very tight limits.

Vladimir Solovyov: Did he make any positive suggestion, or was it just a call for surrender?

Sergey Lavrov: We ultimately found a constructive agenda. The High Representative himself proposed focusing on the subjects where we can help each other and find a balance of interests. These subjects are climate change, protecting the interests, economies and population of our countries to the best of our ability in the context of this natural hazard, as well as the issues of healthcare, science and technology. I believe that this is enough to make headway. I reminded him that we have been marking time for over two years on the extension of the Russian-EU intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in science and technology. The problem is that the EU wants the agreement to mention that Crimea is not part of the Russian Federation. The choice is between addressing the current aspects of our economic relations and promoting cutting-edge technology, and being stuck on this problem.

Vladimir Solovyov: Why has Europe decided that it can pose as a moral leader with a right to lecture us? Have they forgotten about the tragedy of Yugoslavia? And, speaking about Navalny, we can remind them about Julian Assange whom nobody is discussing any longer. You mentioned the three political prisoners in Spain, to which they have replied arrogantly that there are no political prisoners, only imprisoned politicians in Spain. Immediately after that, Carles Puigdemont remarked that there are not three but nine of them in Spain.

Sergey Lavrov: Incidentally, when all this happened, Carles Puigdemont and his associates were in Belgium, and several others were in Germany. The Belgian and German law authorities said the charges brought against them were politically motivated, but the Spanish authorities replied that they have their own laws, which must be respected. When I cited this argument during the meeting with High Representative Borrell, adding that we have our own laws as well, he started saying again that Navalny had been sentenced illegally, for political reasons, and that his rights had been infringed upon. We also talked about the rallies which Navalny and his team members, who are currently living abroad, organised actively and with provocative goals. Mr Borrell complained that a thousand people have been detained and many of them have been prosecuted, and that the right to peaceful protest is being rudely trampled on in Russia. He was especially concerned about the three expelled diplomats. His team told him about them while we were having lunch.

Vladimir Solovyov: He didn’t express his concern immediately, did he?

Sergey Lavrov: He told me when we were leaving the room that he was seriously concerned.

Vladimir Solovyov: Did you know that the diplomats were being expelled?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, we knew this.

Vladimir Solovyov: It was not timed for Mr Borrell’s visit?

Sergey Lavrov: No, of course not. The decision was made when the identities of the diplomats who took part in protest rallies were established. And then they started wailing that the diplomats, who were just doing their job and carrying out their professional duty, had been detailed illegally and accused of what they did not do, that is, that they did not take part in the illegal rallies. We reminded them that the rally was not just unapproved and uncoordinated, but that its organisers did not even plan to request permission for it. Moreover, Leonid Volkov said publicly many times that they would not request permission but would simply take to the streets. In itself, this is more than just a breach of the law; it is an action designed to humiliate the state. If you believe that taking to the streets in this situation is your professional duty, you are not diplomats but provocateurs.

Vladimir Solovyov: Plus, no one has canceled the pandemic restrictions yet.

Sergey Lavrov: International conventions, including Vienna conventions of 1961 and 1963 on diplomatic and consular relations, bilateral conventions and, by all means, our conventions with Estonia and Sweden, firmly stipulate the fundamental truth that diplomats enjoy immunity and privileges, but must respect the host country’s laws and rules. The law was violated in the first place when the permit to hold a rally was not requested. The rules were violated as well since there is a presidential executive order and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin’s order on epidemiological restrictions that remain in effect. The same restrictions apply in St Petersburg and other cities. That is, both laws and rules have been violated.

Vladimir Solovyov: You also gave them a USB flash drive to keep them in the loop of what’s happening in Europe, didn’t you?

Sergey Lavrov: This flash drive can be updated literally daily. There’s a wave of protests in Poland now that are being brutally suppressed with batons and water cannons. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said that he did not have the chance to watch the contents of the flash drive before his talks in Moscow, but promised to do so afterwards.

Vladimir Solovyov: Did you send it to him before the talks?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, a couple of days in advance. I’m sure they watched it. The fact that he declined to discuss it saying he didn’t watch it goes to show that they realised they didn’t stand a chance in a candid dialogue with us. This awkward narrative from an arrogant standpoint, which was imposed on Mr Borrell in order for him to let it be known here, is being put into a certain philosophical and political context of the same geopolitical dimension. This is what happened when Josep Borrell was reporting back to the European Parliament and came up with the statements that Russia failed to live up to the expectations, a modern democratic society failed, economic ties with the EU collapsed, and we do not respect human rights and the like.

Vladimir Solovyov: Well, they are demanding that sanctions be imposed on us, aren’t they?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, they are.

Vladimir Solovyov: I’m one of those who they want to see included on the sanctions list.

Sergey Lavrov: You are in good company.

Vladimir Solovyov: A good company, indeed. I will be the first journalist in history to be sanctioned against.

Sergey Lavrov: Not necessarily. That depends on what you call sanctions. RT and Sputnik correspondents cannot get an accreditation in Paris. I found out recently that one of our media outlets filed a lawsuit against the state for not being allowed to attend a news conference by President Vladimir Putin. Their argument was that, according to the law, if all the requirements are met, the accreditation must be provided. I’m not aware of these subtleties, but I know that this year’s news conference is being held in compliance with the pandemic requirements. It’s a fact that, without any coronavirus, RT and Sputnik, despite direct requests to the French government, were denied access to the Elysee Palace. Of course, we should also bear in mind the situation with Sputnik in Estonia, where criminal cases were opened against the journalists.

Vladimir Solovyov: Yes, our guys find it hard to work in the United States as well. Recently, White House press secretary Jennifer Psaki came up with a boatload of god-knows-what…

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, but getting back to the allegation that we disappointed the EU, failed to live up to their expectations and are moving away from Europe, having adopted a deliberate course on self-isolation… Well, this is some kind of a kingdom of crooked mirrors.

The problems between us and the EU began a long time ago. They were testing our patience and good will. When the Baltic states and other East European countries were admitted to the EU in 2004, we asked them if they were sure those countries were mature enough to be admitted as responsible members of this progressive association. We were told that, of course, they still have some holdover phobias from their past in the Soviet Union, but rest assured that as soon as they become EU and NATO members, they will calm down and no longer have reasons for these phobias. Nothing of the kind. The exact opposite happened and they became the most zealous Russophobes and are pushing the EU to adopt Russophobic positions. On many issues, the EU position dictated by solidarity is determined by an aggressive Russophobic minority.

Vladimir Solovyov: Why did they choose Germany and why Navalny?

Sergey Lavrov: I think he just came their way. It if was not Navalny, it would be something else. Clearly, he was being prepared for that quite seriously, if you think about preparations for the notorious film, which wouldn’t have been possible without the German authorities’ consent.

Vladimir Solovyov: Are you talking about personal data from the Stasi archives and Vladimir Putin’s photograph?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, that too.

Vladimir Solovyov: But Maria Pevchikh, who had come from London to Moscow to accompany Navalny on his trip, during which she gave him his shirts, as Navalny said, and who allegedly brought back a certain water bottle, later disappeared.

Sergey Lavrov: She brought back more than one water bottle.

Vladimir Solovyov: In the process, they have either forgotten about the bottle or it has grown to the size of a whole water tank. She has openly accused you, saying that even the foreign minister doesn’t know that these documents are available in open access, that it is enough to write a letter.

Sergey Lavrov: She has even said, if I remember correctly, that she has filed such a request.

Vladimir Solovyov: Not so simple. She said that only a German citizen can do this. This makes one wonder who Maria Pevchikh is.

Sergey Lavrov: I have heard debates on this issue on the Rossiya channel.

Vladimir Solovyov: Thanks for watching us.

Sergey Lavrov: I can’t go to sleep otherwise.

Vladimir Solovyov: So much for the secret of ratings: dropping off with your TV set on.

Sergey Lavrov: To begin with, Maria Pevchikh has surrounded herself with mystery. Our German colleagues are helping her to keep up that mystery. First of all, nobody has seen her after she left on board that plane. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has bombarded its German colleagues with requests to honour their commitments under the agreements on assistance in legal matters. In particular, we also requested a meeting with Maria Pevchikh, to which our German colleagues replied that they don’t know her whereabouts. However, she wrote herself in social media that she had met with Navalny in Germany.

Vladimir Solovyov: She gave interviews.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, she did. Navalny had several German security agents with him round the clock. We told the Germans about this, that she had been among the people at Berlin airport who came to see Navalny off before his flight to Moscow on January 17, 2021. But they don’t even allow us to talk with the doctors who provided medical treatment to Navalny and found traces of toxic agents in his samples.

Vladimir Solovyov: But the doctors didn’t find anything.

Sergey Lavrov: No, I mean the Bundeswehr doctors. They are doctors as well. We have pointed out on numerous occasions that if the Omsk doctors did not find anything, and the Charité doctors didn’t either, then the Charité doctors can also be accused of concealing evidence of Navalny’s poisoning.

A great deal has been said about the Bundeswehr. This does no credit to Germany as a country with a responsible attitude to its international commitments. First, they said there was one water bottle, and the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office mentioned it. Suddenly, they forgot about the bottle and started talking about clothing. Then they brought up the bottles again, this time three of them, claiming that traces of a toxic agent had been found on two of them. But the Germans, just as the French and Swedish experts who were allegedly asked to double check the results of German tests, and the Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have not provided any information to us. They have refused to do this.

Vladimir Solovyov: I have read the OPCW’s report. It said plainly that they did not find any traces of a toxic agent but only “biomarkers of the cholinesterase inhibitor” in Navalny’s samples, which are not identical but “have similar structural characteristics” with certain toxic chemicals. And the report further says that this cholinesterase inhibitor is not on the list of toxic agents. Why do they keep saying “Novichok” and “toxic agent” then? The OPCW report doesn’t say so.

Sergey Lavrov: We have been told since the Skripal case that only the Soviet Union, and hence Russia, has the Novichok production technology. They completely disregard the facts which we provide and which are available in open access to the effect that over a hundred inventions related to the so-called Novichok formula have been registered in the United States.

Vladimir Solovyov: If I remember correctly, Hillary Clinton has confirmed this.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, of course.

Vladimir Solovyov: This has also been confirmed by the Czech President.

Sergey Lavrov: True. Moreover, during the story with the Skripals’ poisoning, Germany was one of those who pointed the finger at us, saying that no other country could have the Novichok production technology. When the Bundeswehr found the traces of a substance similar to Novichok in Navalny’s samples, we asked them how they had been able to determine this if they told us themselves that they had never conducted such research. No reply.

Just note that the point at issue is not Navalny. This is not just a coordinated Western campaign of deterring Russia, but a campaign of aggressive deterrence.

Vladimir Solovyov: Why?

Sergey Lavrov: Because they don’t like it that we have our own views on global developments and that we openly express them and take practical actions to uphold them, unlike a huge number of other countries who have their own views as well but keep mum. I have talked with many ministers and other officials, as well as with members of civil society, who say that they don’t like what the West is doing.

Vladimir Solovyov: Are they afraid to say so?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, they are. They are tied to the dollar, investments, and the children whose studies abroad are paid for with the money they keep there. It is a major damper on the elite’s ability to speak their minds. But we have no right to remain silent. Our history, our ancestors and our genetic blueprint do not allow us to stomach insults or unilateral attempts to dominate all and everything.

Vladimir Solovyov: I’m aware of what you personally think about this, so I can imagine your indignation caused by Navalny’s behaviour in court with regard to the veteran and this act of bullying … But the West turned a blind eye to this, too. After all, their emissaries were sitting in the courtroom and watching their underling do his thing.

Sergey Lavrov: Representatives of the embassies of Great Britain and France attended this particular court session. They were our allies during World War II. I will not even comment on this. Any decent person can clearly see what is going on. Returning to why it’s Navalny and not anything else, this “case,” in today’s parlance, is a deliberate act. The date of his return and the date of releasing the film make it all too obvious. But, look, now that there’s a wave of attacks on Russia, no one is talking about the “poisoning.” What they are saying is that Navalny has been illegally convicted and must be set free.

Vladimir Solovyov: This has already become imprinted in the public consciousness. This is a lie that has already taken root, same as with the Skripals.

Sergey Lavrov: That is why we will keep asking them questions. Recently, I received an open letter from Mr Kozak, a researcher, a biologist who lives in Switzerland. I answered him.

Literally today, we will be sending an official inquiry to the OPCW, Germany, France and Sweden with a request for them to comment on his findings made on the basis of the publications substantiating and analysing what happened to Navalny, the biomaterials that were obtained from him and tested in the West. From a purely scientific standpoint, he raises a number of questions related to biological and chemical science.

Vladimir Solovyov: I have read Mr Kozak’s papers and your answer. Interestingly, the Lancet documents show a blood test with lithium in it. I started looking closely at various papers on lithium and talked with the professionals. Interestingly, there have been several studies reporting the effect of excess lithium intake on cholinesterase inhibitors. It’s complicated. I’m not even talking about the diseases that are treated with lithium. Clearly, we need to consult psychiatrists about this. However, the complete silence from the other side is surprising. I don’t think Germany is a random choice. At one time, George Friedman from Stratfor wrote that the alliance between Russia and Germany represented an existential threat to the United States. The goal is to prevent an improvement in relations between our two countries. No one expected Germany to be part of this direct attack on Russia. After all, Navalny wasn’t taken to Porton Down in the UK. Germany was their first choice.

Surprisingly, this film, if we are talking about Gelendzhik, managed not to tell a single word of truth. Everything is 3D imagery. But the West got infected with this lie. They are doing their best not to see this debunked.

Sergey Lavrov: I’m sure that the United States does not need us to have good relations with Germany. The same goes for European countries. Britain doesn’t need this either. Just like the West didn’t need a united Germany at one time. The Soviet Union was the main proponent of a unified Germany.

Vladimir Solovyov: First, the preservation of Germany.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes. I’m already talking about modern times. The West was very worried back then and reluctantly agreed on reunifying Germany. We operated on the belief that the German people have the right to be one nation which is its historical destiny as a nation. Here’s something (which is funny) about double standards. When I mentioned this at the Munich Security Conference in 2015 and said that we were doing it then deliberately, understanding the German people’s aspirations, and stressed that it would be important for other countries to treat Crimea’s reunification with Russia in about the same vein – as a manifestation of the people’s will. There was a referendum in Crimea, but there was no referendum in Germany. The audience had a fit of hysterics. The German deputies yelled things like “How dare you compare these things!?” I can see this arrogance on the part of the Germans in recent years. You know, there is such a subtext. They are not saying it out loud, but the message is clear: “Dear friends, we have paid our bills, and we owe nothing to anyone anymore.”

Vladimir Solovyov: Hence, the revision of WWII outcomes and the attempt to equate the Soviet Union to Nazi Germany.

Sergey Lavrov: That’s true. A fairly large portion of their elite is pursuing this policy. There are people who want Germany to lose its every chance to enjoy normal cooperation with us. At the same time, there are still voices of sanity there. Recently, President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it was always better to discuss things, to be mindful of the future and to operate based on national interests when tackling the most challenging issues. So far, he has been the only foreign politician to mention our past. He said that 2021 marked 80 years since Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union. This is nothing short of political courage in modern Germany.

There are a number of public organisations, such as Potsdam Meetings, or the St Petersburg Dialogue forum. This date cannot go unnoticed. When Vladimir Putin was elected President for the first time, we declared the historic reconciliation of our nations. Now, when they are trying to pit us against each other (there are people who want to do so within Germany and outside it), this date could serve as an important psychological message to the effect that confrontational logic must be abandoned and everything should not be seen as an opportunity to impose more sanctions on Russia.

Speaking in the Bundestag, my German colleague Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Nord Stream 2 must be preserved, but only in order to have a lever to control Russia. Here again comes the logic of “who has an influence on whom.” It seems to me that the Soviet and Russian energy projects in Europe have always been a material foundation for positive interdependence. It’s always good when the countries depend on each other in terms of the economy. It makes overcoming many other issues easier. Mr Maas then said that Germany should consider sanctions against Russia over the case of Navalny, and “it’s okay” that they failed to achieve their goal earlier. Most importantly, a signal would be given that Moscow’s actions would not go unnoticed. Sanctions are imposed in order to feel satisfaction from the act of meting out “punishment.” But sanctions lead nowhere and cannot result in a change in our course on upholding our national interests.

Vladimir Solovyov: They lead to consolidation of our society.

Sergey Lavrov: What I’m saying is that they are not conducive to achieving the goals that the West has set for us.

Vladimir Solovyov: They do not understand our logic, our society. For example, Yulia Navalnaya suddenly flies to Germany, despite the coronavirus restrictions.

Sergey Lavrov: I’ve read about it. We could ask the Germans if they know anything about the special rules created for her. But they won’t answer. I think there is no need to ask until this story acquires a dimension that affects our legitimate requirement of the Germans to explain what exactly they found in Alexey Navalny’s tests.

Vladimir Solovyov: They do not even bother to enter into a dialogue with us.

Sergey Lavrov: They have no arguments, but we will not leave it at this.

Vladimir Solovyov: In this whole situation, I am most concerned about Donbass. Russia, as one of the guarantors of the Minsk Agreements, has no other choice but to maintain dialogue with our German and French colleagues. Apparently, they have lost sight of their role in this dialogue, and no longer know why they are even there. The war in Donbass has been going on for seven years. This is not a direct function of the Russian Foreign Ministry, but it’s a tragedy for those people. And you have to look your colleagues in the eye all this time. They don’t seem to want anything there, just waiting for a change of government in Russia. They think we are oblivious to it, and will play their game.

Sergey Lavrov: This is a sad story, and every day it is taking on a more and more perverse nature. Paris and Berlin now almost unquestioningly demand that issues be resolved in the Normandy format only, which means without Donbass. We argue that the Minsk agreements say that the Contact Group formed under those agreements should resolve issues directly between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk. They tell us no, the Contact Group plays a supporting role, while everything will be decided in the Normandy format, and Donetsk and Lugansk will be given ready-made solutions. It is a lousy position with regard to the people who were declared terrorists, although they never attacked anyone. They are still considered terrorists only because they have expressed dissatisfaction with what was happening in Kiev, and declared its moves unconstitutional, and asked to be left alone. They were actually attacked by the illegal regime that came to power as a result of a coup d’etat.

The West stomached it all: the coup itself, and its instigators’ new Russophobic approach to the Russian language in Ukraine, or their banish-everything-Russian-from-Crimea rhetoric. In response to this, the people revolted, on a political plane. Donbass said it wanted to be independent, and later agreed to negotiations, and Crimea voted for reunification with Russia. The Russophobic wave that brought with it the geopolitical changes in Ukraine and Crimea had been approved by the West, or at least the West did not object to it and even encouraged it to a certain extent. But Russia has been punished for it.

Vladimir Solovyov: But we put up with this for some reason. For some reason, we cannot just tell them that if they are not going to fulfil the Minsk agreements, then we will decide the fate of the Russian people there. It is our legitimate right to protect the interests of our compatriots.

Sergey Lavrov: We are protecting them. Not only in Ukraine, but also in the Baltics, and in other countries. This is not even helplessness on the part of the EU. I think it is a conscious policy of turning a blind eye to Russians being persecuted, be it the media or the Russian-speaking population. In the Baltics, they are denied access to information in their native language, contrary to what is guaranteed under the local laws and international conventions. This attitude to the Russian language problems in the European Union, as well as their stories that they have their own mechanisms and will use them to influence the situation, it is all lies. They will not do anything, will not lift a finger to bring the Baltics to their senses and make them stop their Russophobic hysteria. I could not even imagine this.

But let’s go back to Ukraine. We are interested in keeping the Minsk agreements on the table. They were approved by the UN Security Council and contain arrangements that are very difficult to abandon.

Vladimir Solovyov: They are not complying.

Sergey Lavrov: They are not. This means that Donbass is living the way it does now. As you may recall, with regard to the Minsk agreements and the compliance mechanism in the Contact Group and the Normandy format, we have repeatedly accepted a compromise, such as the Steinmeier formula. Originally, the Minsk agreements required that Donbass be given a special status and then the election be held. The Steinmeier formula stipulates gradual provision of this status.

Vladimir Solovyov: Why go meet them halfway if they take it for granted and never reciprocate? I know you are a diplomat, and I’m a proponent of forceful solutions.

Sergey Lavrov: I’ll give you an example. Take, for instance, the repeated and gross violation of the UN Charter by the United States and its allies. However, no one is suggesting that we leave the UN and tear up our signature under the UN Charter. If there’s a completely “unkillable” document and someone is trying to justify their non-compliance with ludicrous assurances, we benefit from it diplomatically.

Vladimir Solovyov: We can stay. But maybe we need to act in a completely different way.

Sergey Lavrov: How? Life takes its own course. Donbass has learned to live in a situation of illegitimate blockade, which the French and the Germans “refuse to see.” Instead, they pester us with a demand to open two more checkpoints. But this is not about lifting the blockade. The Minsk agreements are not talking about the checkpoints, but complete unblocking of economic ties.

Vladimir Solovyov: Why talk to them at all? They themselves do not decide anything. We need to talk directly with the Americans.

Sergey Lavrov: I think it would be the wrong thing to do. We exchanged views with the Americans on Ukraine when they had a special representative for this conflict. I don’t think we should call on the United States to influence their “underlings” and say that we have no use for the Minsk agreements.

Vladimir Solovyov: They themselves do not decide anything. There’s even no point in memorising the name of yet another of their foreign ministers.

Sergey Lavrov: The process that we are now observing with it being mandatory that the Minsk agreements are kept on the table means that the discrediting of the Ukrainian leadership is in full swing.

Vladimir Solovyov: You are playing chess with them, and they are playing checkers with you.

Sergey Lavrov: We are not playing chess with them. We are not talking to them altogether. Here are the Minsk agreements. Go ahead and comply with them. Period.

Vladimir Solovyov: I like that. No extra motions. What if they don’t comply?

Sergey Lavrov: Let them explain to their own public why they are not doing so.

Vladimir Solovyov: In their own country, they explain that it is normal to close three channels, with sanctions imposed on one of their own citizens, a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada.

Sergey Lavrov: The Americans said that this was the right thing to do. Europe mumbled something (sorry for this non-diplomatic term) to the effect that they will look into it. What is there to look into? Freedom of speech is either there or it is not.

Vladimir Solovyov: There is no freedom of speech.

Sergey Lavrov: Ukraine wants the Minsk agreements to cease to exist. Let them say so themselves. President Zelensky says that the Minsk agreements are bad, but they help keep sanctions on Russia in place. We are telling the Germans and the French: you wrote down that you would resume normal communication with Russia once it fulfilled the Minsk agreements, even though there’s no mention of us there. They talk only about Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk. So, if they keep intact their five principles requiring Moscow to fulfil the Minsk agreements, President Zelensky will respond that way. He is not doing anything. They say Russia must comply, but the sanctions remain in place which makes him happy.

Frankly, I’m even happy with that sanctions situation. Not fully yet, but we have realised that we must rely only on ourselves. No, we do not want to self-isolate. We want to take advantage of the international division of labour, but if someone is saying that there will be competition, but we will be “cut off” here, here and also there… As Minister Maas put it, they will impose sanctions just to make sure our actions don’t go unnoticed. What kind of a reliable partner are you then?

Vladimir Solovyov: This phrase hurt their feelings.

Sergey Lavrov: First, we said this not one year ago, but a couple of years ago, when the sanctions were being imposed and import substitution was discussed. Then, they began to wail about why we were responding to the sanctions, meaning that they had good reasons to impose them, while we didn’t. It was stunning to see them act like schoolchildren rather than politicians.

I read excerpts from the foreign press. The German Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote a couple of days ago that it is necessary to think twice before acting emotionally and imposing “sanctions for the sake of sanctions,” because the punishing side must understand that they also pose a threat to it, as it ceases to be a reliable partner. So, we are not alone in drawing such conclusions, which I put my name down for.

Vladimir Solovyov: Are we heading for a breach with the EU?

Sergey Lavrov: We believe we would be ready for this. We are neighbours. Speaking collectively, they are our largest trade and investment partner. Many EU companies operate here; there are hundreds or even thousands of joint ventures. When a business benefits both sides, we will continue. I am sure that we have become fully self-sufficient in the defence sphere. We must also attain the same position in the economy to be able to act accordingly if we see again (we have seen this more than once) that sanctions are imposed in a sphere where they can create risks for our economy, including in the most sensitive areas such as the supply of component parts. We don’t want to be isolated from the world, but we must be prepared for this. If you want peace, prepare for war.

Vladimir Solovyov: It should be said that our coronavirus vaccine has come as a blow to them. They never expected this to happen. It turns out that they don’t know anything about Russia and don’t understand it. They are shocked to see that our economy is not in tatters, and that we have [advanced] research and scientists.

Sergey Lavrov: It was Barack Obama who said that Russia’s economy was in tatters. They haven’t learned from others’ mistakes. And it appears that they are unable to learn from their own mistakes either.

Vladimir Solovyov: Will you miss President Donald Trump?

Sergey Lavrov: He is an outstanding person. I remember my two meetings with him, once when I was on a visit to Washington, and also the talks he had with President Vladimir Putin, which I attended.

Donald Trump is a remarkable politician acting from his own experience. Where there is benefit, everything must be done to maximise it; where there is no benefit, let things take their course.

As for respect for our, Spanish or American laws, I am shocked by the impeachment proceedings. The charges brought against him… You can watch and listen to Trump’s video addresses again and again…

Vladimir Solovyov: And find nothing criminal in them?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes. Just compare them to what Leonid Volkov or Vladimir Ashurkov are saying. As many people say, have they ever urged young people and children to take to the streets? No, they have not. But I have heard them say, “What’s wrong with this?”

Vladimir Solovyov: Right. This is exactly what Volkov said.

Sergey Lavrov: They believe that if children want to join a protest rally, there is nothing wrong with it. This means that they are becoming part of civil society.

Vladimir Solovyov: During his meetings with foreign secret agents, Vladimir Ashurkov asked for $10-$20 million and offered to share information about a Russian bank [allegedly involved in corruption].

Sergey Lavrov: We have exposed this. But it’s like talking to a brick wall. The West doesn’t see this, just as it pays no attention to our arguments on the alleged poisoning at this point. They just want our repentance.

Vladimir Solovyov: But we have changed as well, haven’t we? We no longer react as nervously as we did before. I am concerned about you. The newly appointed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is the ninth US Secretary of State you will be working with. You said that you have to recite the history of Russian-US relations to every new appointee.

Sergey Lavrov: This reminds me of an old phrase, “You are my first.” I have had a conversation with Antony Blinken. I believe it was a normal conversation. We agreed that there are many problems between us.

Vladimir Solovyov: Have you agreed not to agree?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, we can hardly agree on the majority of these problems. But it is clearly inevitable that we must continue our dialogue on strategic stability and try to mend the damage done by the “disarmament experts” of the previous US administration. An agreement has been reached on extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

Vladimir Solovyov: But our position remained unchanged, didn’t it? It was the Americans who hesitated, not us?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, it is unchanged.

As to how our foreign policy activities are being covered by some media, a few neoliberal journalists wrote that as soon as US President Joe Biden snapped his fingers, Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately signed a deal to extend the New START Treaty. The problem was resolved that same day, although before that, the Russian Foreign Ministry had said that it required a lengthy procedure under our laws (several weeks). So it was all a lie, they concluded.

I will not reveal any big secrets. I will just say we hoped common sense would prevail with the President of the United States Joe Biden. A few weeks before his inauguration, we made all the preparations required under our legislation to conclude an agreement to extend the New START Treaty.

Vladimir Solovyov: Joe Biden said last summer that this was one of his top priorities.

Sergey Lavrov: It was not 100 percent guaranteed.

Vladimir Solovyov: But he talked about it.

Sergey Lavrov: In other words, we simply prepared beforehand for an optimistic scenario to avoid time trouble. It is just that sometimes our commitment to extension of the Treaty is shown in a perverse way – like they say, Joe Biden proposed it, and Vladimir Putin agreed.

Vladimir Solovyov: Care for a conspiracy theory?

Sergey Lavrov: Go on.

Vladimir Solovyov: How about Vladimir Putin helped replace Donald Trump with Joe Biden because Trump did not agree to extend the New START?

Sergey Lavrov: Possibly. I am sure this is what happened. I can say just one thing to all those who are looking for an intrigue in who is more important, or whether Russia is doing America’s or someone else’s bidding. In fact, Russian President Vladimir Putin does not really care who will take all the credit later. If we reach an agreement that will be good, useful, and important for us and for the whole world – be it on disarmament or on something else – it’s our pleasure.

Vladimir Solovyov: Mr Lavrov, where does your freedom end? And where does it begin? The Constitution says that the President determines the country’s foreign policy.

Sergey Lavrov: My freedom ends where another’s begins. This is not from the Constitution, though.

Vladimir Solovyov: How free are you in foreign policy matters?

Sergey Lavrov: There’s the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation which was updated several years ago. It was approved by the President. We have doctrinal documents covering regional geographic areas. They are classified, just like in any other country, but are based on the publicly available Foreign Policy Concept.

In addition to geographical areas, whose doctrinal documents are also approved by the President, there are areas such as strategic stability, arms control, etc. This is also reported to the President collectively by all departments involved, such as security services, the Defence Ministry and the Security Council. Once a common policy is coordinated, that’s what guides action.

Vladimir Solovyov: Your every step isn’t supervised?

Sergey Lavrov: No. The President trusts me. If we have a directive that he approved, be it in foreign policy or elsewhere, you must act independently to achieve the goals it sets. Whether you succeed or not is a separate matter.

In case of unconventional situations that are not covered by the established approaches, we have weekly, or more frequent, meetings of the Security Council permanent members where we openly discuss these matters. It is always a collegial decision.

Vladimir Solovyov: Is there enough time for FC Spartak?

Sergey Lavrov: The winter pause is about to come to an end… I miss it.

Vladimir Solovyov: Do you still play football?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, on Sundays. Last Sunday, we played outdoors despite the fact that it was 15 degrees below zero.

Vladimir Solovyov: Did you score?

Sergey Lavrov: I’m embarrassed to say … yes! But I like assists better.

Vladimir Solovyov: Like Lionel Messi?

Sergey Lavrov: Messi is a great scorer too.

Vladimir Solovyov: Yes, but he also likes to pass the ball.

Sergey Lavrov: True.

Vladimir Solovyov: Rafts? Rafting?

Sergey Lavrov: Well, not in winter… In summer, yes.

Vladimir Solovyov: Poetry?

Sergey Lavrov: Honestly, no real poetry for a very long time now. For now, I make do with epigrams for my friends’ birthdays. The elevated stuff isn’t coming as easily.

Vladimir Solovyov: The current Russian Government has a quite a few talented writers.

Sergey Lavrov: Do they write poetry? Or…

Vladimir Solovyov: Poetry. Not writing each other up.

Sergey Lavrov: I didn’t know that. I know that Arkady Dvorkovich wrote poetry when he worked in the Government, and he continues to write, probably. Prime Minister Mishustin wrote lyrics for many popular pieces of music. It’s a romantic way to escape. However, it shouldn’t create the impression that we are romantics in practical matters. We are realists.

Vladimir Solovyov: Hard-nosed?

Sergey Lavrov: You could say that. A healthy dose of cynicism has never been a bad thing in politics.

Vladimir Solovyov: Do you prepare your memorable quips in advance? Or do they just come out on their own and “kill” on the spot? Some have become legendary, although you deny authorship.

Sergey Lavrov: The words were accurate but a different order. If you are thinking what I’m thinking.

Vladimir Solovyov: You said to former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband: “Who are you to lecture me?”

Sergey Lavrov: Well, how do you prepare jokes in advance? I’m not saying that I take after Viktor Chernomyrdin, who never prepared his jokes in advance. With him it was like a force of nature. No, I do not prepare my jokes in advance.

Vladimir Solovyov: Do you ever make friends with your international colleagues when you feel like you get each other?

Sergey Lavrov: There are quite a few of them. I am afraid to list them.

Vladimir Solovyov: So they won’t be hounded?

Sergey Lavrov: Many of them hold very high posts in the European Union. They are good guys. I don’t want to give them up.

Vladimir Solovyov: Has it really become that bad?

Sergey Lavrov: I think so. We are “toxic” after all. I mean for them.

Vladimir Solovyov: Us? I think it’s the other way round: we are the only ones who follow their principles.

Sergey Lavrov: They think we are “toxic” but we don’t care. If they want cordial working relationships (President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the Foreign Ministry have said this many times), the foundation has to be mutual respect, not interfering in each other’s internal affairs, and cooperating on issues of mutual interest. Striking a balance between our interests is the only possible outcome of such talks, not merely our consent to their proposals.

Vladimir Solovyov: Do the personal attacks, insults and attempts to smear your family members get to you?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t read about it myself. Sometimes, a well-meaning person will draw my attention to it. For example, six or seven months ago I was shown a report (anonymously sourced as always) about an illegitimate son of mine who works in the Foreign Ministry’s facilities department.

Vladimir Solovyov: What a pleasant surprise!

Sergey Lavrov: But he doesn’t come to see his dad. Apparently, he makes good money.

Vladimir Solovyov: You are really fortunate to be able to take such a light and ironic attitude to it all. So, they don’t succeed because you don’t let it get to you?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think any member of the Government, not to mention the Foreign Minister, should let themselves get rattled. To be honest, I find it easy to deal with. But those who take it harder must keep their perfectly justified feelings to themselves.

As the old Hollywood saying goes, “Never let them see you sweat.”

Vladimir Solovyov: Thank you, Mr Lavrov.

Sergey Lavrov: Thank you for a very interesting conversation.

The art of being a spectacularly misguided oracle

February 22, 2021

The art of being a spectacularly misguided oracle

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

The late Dr. Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski for some time dispensed wisdom as an oracle of US foreign policy, side by side with the perennial Henry Kissinger – who, in vast swathes of the Global South, is regarded as nothing but a war criminal.

Brzezinski never achieved the same notoriety. At best he claimed bragging rights for giving the USSR its own Vietnam in Afghanistan – by facilitating the internationalization of Jihad Inc., with all its dire, subsequent consequences.

Over the years, it was always amusing to follow the heights Dr. Zbig would reach with his Russophobia. But then, slowly but surely, he was forced to revise his great expectations. And finally he must have been truly horrified that his perennial Mackinder-style geopolitical fears came to pass – beyond the wildest nightmares.

Not only Washington had prevented the emergence of a “peer competitor” in Eurasia, but the competitor is now configured as a strategic partnership between Russia and China.

Dr. Zbig was not exactly versed in Chinese matters. His misreading of China may be found in his classic A Geostrategy for Eurasia published in – where else – Foreign Affairs in 1997:

Building in Beijing

Although China is emerging as a regionally dominant power, it is not likely to become a global one for a long time. The conventional wisdom that China will be the next global power is breeding paranoia outside China while fostering megalomania in China. It is far from certain that China’s explosive growth rates can be maintained for the next two decades. In fact, continued long-term growth at the current rates would require an unusually felicitous mix of national leadership, political tranquility, social discipline, high savings, massive inflows of foreign investment, and regional stability. A prolonged combination of all of these factors is unlikely.

Dr. Zbig added,

Even if China avoids serious political disruptions and sustains its economic growth for a quarter of a century — both rather big ifs — China would still be a relatively poor country. A tripling of GDP would leave China below most nations in per capita income, and a significant portion of its people would remain poor. Its standing in access to telephones, cars, computers, let alone consumer goods, would be very low.

Oh dear. Not only Beijing hit all the targets Dr. Zbig proclaimed were off limits, but the central government also eliminated poverty by the end of 2020.

The Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping once observed, “at present, we are still a relatively poor nation. It is impossible for us to undertake many international proletarian obligations, so our contributions remain small. However, once we have accomplished the four modernizations and the national economy has expanded, our contributions to mankind, and especially to the Third World, will be greater. As a socialist country, China will always belong to the Third World and shall never seek hegemony.”

What Deng described then as the Third World – a Cold War-era derogatory terminology – is now the Global South. And the Global South is essentially the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on steroids, as in the Spirit of Bandung in 1955 remixed to the Eurasian Century.

Cold Warrior Dr. Zbig was obviously not a Daoist monk – so he could never abandon the self to enter the Dao, the most secret of all mysteries.

Had he been alive to witness the dawn of the Year of the Metal Ox, he might have noticed how China, expanding on Deng’s insights, is de facto applying practical lessons derived from Daoist correlative cosmology: life as a system of interacting opposites, engaging with each other in constant change and evolution, moving in cycles and feedback loops, always mathematically hard to predict with exactitude.

A practical example of simultaneously opening and closing is the dialectical approach of Beijing’s new “dual circulation” development strategy. It’s quite dynamic, relying on checks and balances between increase of domestic consumption and external trade/investments (the New Silk Roads).

Peace is Forever War

Now let’s move to another oracle, a self-described expert of what in the Beltway is known as the “Greater Middle East”: Robert Kagan, co-founder of PNAC, certified warmongering neo-con, and one-half of the famous Kaganate of Nulands – as the joke went across Eurasia – side by side with his wife, notorious Maidan cookie distributor Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland, who’s about to re-enter government as part of the Biden-Harris administration.

Kagan is back pontificating in – where else – Foreign Affairs, which published his latest superpower manifesto. That’s where we find this absolute pearl:

That Americans refer to the relatively low-cost military involvements in Afghanistan and Iraq as “forever wars” is just the latest example of their intolerance for the messy and unending business of preserving a general peace and acting to forestall threats. In both cases, Americans had one foot out the door the moment they entered, which hampered their ability to gain control of difficult situations.

So let’s get this straight. The multi-trillion dollar Forever Wars are “relatively low-cost”; tell that to the multitudes suffering the Via Crucis of US crumbling infrastructure and appalling standards in health and education. If you don’t support the Forever Wars – absolutely necessary to preserve the “liberal world order” – you are “intolerant”.

“Preserving a general peace” does not even qualify as a joke, coming from someone absolutely clueless about realities on the ground. As for what the Beltway defines as “vibrant civil society” in Afghanistan, that in reality revolves around millennia-old tribal custom codes: it has nothing to do with some neocon/woke crossover. Moreover, Afghanistan’s GDP – after so much American “help” – remains even lower than Saudi-bombed Yemen’s.

Exceptionalistan will not leave Afghanistan. A deadline of May 1st was negotiated in Doha last year for the US/NATO to remove all troops. That’s not gonna happen.

The spin is already turbocharged: the Deep State handlers of Joe “Crash Test Dummy” Biden will not respect the deadline. Everyone familiar with the New Great Game on steroids across Eurasia knows why: a strategic lily pad must be maintained at the intersection of Central and South Asia to help closely monitor – what else – Brzezinski’s worst nightmare: the Russia-China strategic partnership.

As it stands we have 2,500 Pentagon + 7,000 NATO troops + a whole lot of “contractors” in Afghanistan. The spin is that they can’t leave because the Taliban – which de facto control from 52% to as much as 70% of the whole tribal territory – will take over.

To see, in detail, how this whole sorry saga started, non-oracle skeptics could do worse than check Volume 3 of my Asia Times archives: Forever Wars: Afghanistan-Iraq, part 1 (2001-2004) . Part 2 will be out soon. Here they will find how the multi-trillion dollar Forever Wars – so essential to “preserve the peace” – actually developed on the ground, in total contrast to the official imperial narrative influenced, and defended, by Kagan.

With oracles like these, the US definitely does not need enemies.

Why Russia is driving the West crazy

Why Russia is driving the West crazy

February 10, 2021

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted on Asia Times

Future historians may register it as the day when usually unflappable Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov decided he had had enough:

We are getting used to the fact that the European Union are trying to impose unilateral restrictions, illegitimate restrictions and we proceed from the assumption at this stage that the European Union is an unreliable partner.

Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, on an official visit to Moscow, had to take it on the chin.

Lavrov, always the perfect gentleman, added, “I hope that the strategic review that will take place soon will focus on the key interests of the European Union and that these talks will help to make our contacts more constructive.”

He was referring to the EU heads of state and government’s summit at the European Council next month, where they will discuss Russia. Lavrov harbors no illusions the “unreliable partners” will behave like adults.

Yet something immensely intriguing can be found in Lavrov’s opening remarks in his meeting with Borrell: “The main problem we all face is the lack of normalcy in relations between Russia and the European Union – the two largest players in the Eurasian space. It is an unhealthy situation, which does not benefit anyone.”

The two largest players in the Eurasian space (italics mine). Let that sink in. We’ll be back to it in a moment.

As it stands, the EU seems irretrievably addicted to worsening the “unhealthy situation”. European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen memorably botched the Brussels vaccine game. Essentially, she sent Borrell to Moscow to ask for licensing rights for European firms to produce the Sputnik V vaccine – which will soon be approved by the EU.

And yet Eurocrats prefer to dabble in hysteria, promoting the antics of NATO asset and convicted fraudster Navalny – the Russian Guaido.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, under the cover of “strategic deterrence”, the head of the US STRATCOM, Admiral Charles Richard, casually let it slip that “there is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state.”

So the blame for the next – and final – war is already apportioned to the “destabilizing” behavior of Russia and China. It’s assumed they will be “losing” – and then, in a fit of rage, will go nuclear. The Pentagon will be no more than a victim; after all, claims Mr. STRATCOM, we are not “stuck in the Cold War”.

STRATCOM planners could do worse than read crack military analyst Andrei Martyanov, who for years has been on the forefront detailing how the new hypersonic paradigm – and not nuclear weapons – has changed the nature of warfare.

After a detailed technical discussion, Martyanov shows how “the United States simply has no good options currently. None. The less bad option, however, is to talk to Russians and not in terms of geopolitical BS and wet dreams that the United States, somehow, can convince Russia “to abandon” China – US has nothing, zero, to offer Russia to do so. But at least Russians and Americans may finally settle peacefully this “hegemony” BS between themselves and then convince China to finally sit as a Big Three at the table and finally decide how to run the world. This is the only chance for the US to stay relevant in the new world.”

The Golden Horde imprint

As much as the chances are negligible of the EU getting a grip on the “unhealthy situation” with Russia, there’s no evidence what Martyanov outlined will be contemplated by the US Deep State.

The path ahead seems ineluctable: perpetual sanctions; perpetual NATO expansion alongside Russia’s borders; the build up of a ring of hostile states around Russia; perpetual US interference on Russian internal affairs – complete with an army of fifth columnists; perpetual, full spectrum information war.

Lavrov is increasingly making it crystal clear that Moscow expects nothing else. Facts on the ground, though, will keep accumulating.

Nordstream 2 will be finished – sanctions or no sanctions – and will supply much needed natural gas to Germany and the EU. Convicted fraudster Navalny – 1% of real “popularity” in Russia – will remain in jail. Citizens across the EU will get Sputnik V. The Russia-China strategic partnership will continue to solidify.

To understand how we have come to this unholy Russophobic mess, an essential road map is provided by Russian Conservatism , an exciting, new political philosophy study by Glenn Diesen, associate professor at University of Southeastern Norway, lecturer at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, and one of my distinguished interlocutors in Moscow.

Diesen starts focusing on the essentials: geography, topography and history. Russia is a vast land power without enough access to the seas. Geography, he argues, conditions the foundations of “conservative policies defined by autocracy, an ambiguous and complex concept of nationalism, and the enduring role of the Orthodox Church” – something that implies resistance to “radical secularism”.

It’s always crucial to remember that Russia has no natural defensible borders; it has been invaded or occupied by Swedes, Poles, Lithuanians, the Mongol Golden Horde, Crimean Tatars and Napoleon. Not to mention the immensely bloody Nazi invasion.

What’s in a word? Everything: “security”, in Russian, is byezopasnost. That happens to be a negative, as byez means “without” and opasnost means “danger”.

Russia’s complex, unique historical make-up always presented serious problems. Yes, there was close affinity with the Byzantine empire. But if Russia “claimed transfer of imperial authority from Constantinople it would be forced to conquer it.” And to claim the successor, role and heritage of the Golden Horde would relegate Russia to the status of an Asiatic power only.

On the Russian path to modernization, the Mongol invasion provoked not only a geographical schism, but left its imprint on politics: “Autocracy became a necessity following the Mongol legacy and the establishment of Russia as an Eurasian empire with a vast and poorly connected geographical expanse”.

“A colossal East West”

Russia is all about East meets West. Diesen reminds us how Nikolai Berdyaev, one of the leading 20th century conservatives, already nailed it in 1947: “The inconsistency and complexity of the Russian soul may be due to the fact that in Russia two streams of world history – East and West – jostle and influence one another (…) Russia is a complete section of the world – a colossal East West.”

The Trans-Siberian railroad, built to solidify the internal cohesion of the Russian empire and to project power in Asia, was a major game-changer: “With Russian agricultural settlements expanding to the east, Russia was increasingly replacing the ancient roads who had previously controlled and connected Eurasia.”

It’s fascinating to watch how the development of Russian economics ended up on Mackinder’s Heartland theory – according to which control of the world required control of the Eurasian supercontinent. What terrified Mackinder is that Russian railways connecting Eurasia would undermine the whole power structure of Britain as a maritime empire.

Diesen also shows how Eurasianism – emerging in the 1920s among émigrés in response to 1917 – was in fact an evolution of Russian conservatism.

Eurasianism, for a number of reasons, never became a unified political movement. The core of Eurasianism is the notion that Russia was not a mere Eastern European state. After the 13th century Mongol invasion and the 16th century conquest of Tatar kingdoms, Russia’s history and geography could not be only European. The future would require a more balanced approach – and engagement with Asia.

Dostoyevsky had brilliantly framed it ahead of anyone, in 1881:

Russians are as much Asiatics as European. The mistake of our policy for the past two centuries has been to make the people of Europe believe that we are true Europeans. We have served Europe too well, we have taken too great a part in her domestic quarrels (…) We have bowed ourselves like slaves before the Europeans and have only gained their hatred and contempt. It is time to turn away from ungrateful Europe. Our future is in Asia.

Lev Gumilev was arguably the superstar among a new generation of Eurasianists. He argued that Russia had been founded on a natural coalition between Slavs, Mongols and Turks. The Ancient Rus and the Great Steppe, published in 1989, had an immense impact in Russia after the fall of the USSR – as I learned first hand from my Russian hosts when I arrived in Moscow via the Trans-Siberian in the winter of 1992.

As Diesen frames it, Gumilev was offering a sort of third way, beyond European nationalism and utopian internationalism. A Lev Gumilev University has been established in Kazakhstan. Putin has referred to Gumilev as “the great Eurasian of our time”.

Diesen reminds us that even George Kennan, in 1994, recognized the conservative struggle for “this tragically injured and spiritually diminished country”. Putin, in 2005, was way sharper. He stressed,

the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. And for the Russian people, it was a real drama (…) The old ideals were destroyed. Many institutions were disbanded or simply hastily reformed…With unrestricted control over information flows, groups of oligarchs served exclusively their own corporate interests. Mass poverty started to be accepted as the norm. All this evolved against a background of the most severe economic recession, unstable finances and paralysis in the social sphere.

Applying “sovereign democracy”

And so we reach the crucial European question.

In the 1990s, led by Atlanticists, Russian foreign policy was focused on Greater Europe, a concept based on Gorbachev’s Common European Home.

And yet post-Cold War Europe, in practice, ended up configured as the non-stop expansion of NATO and the birth – and expansion – of the EU. All sorts of liberal contortionisms were deployed to include all of Europe while excluding Russia.

Diesen has the merit of summarizing the whole process in a single sentence: “The new liberal Europe represented a British-American continuity in terms of the rule of maritime powers, and Mackinder’s objective to organize the German-Russian relationship in a zero-sum format to prevent the alignment of interests”.

No wonder Putin, subsequently, had to be erected as the Supreme Scarecrow, or “the new Hitler”. Putin rejected outright the role for Russia of mere apprentice to Western civilization – and its corollary, (neo) liberal hegemony.

Still, he remained quite accommodating. In 2005, Putin stressed, “above all else Russia was, is and will, of course, be a major European power”. What he wanted was to decouple liberalism from power politics – by rejecting the fundamentals of liberal hegemony.

Putin was saying there’s no single democratic model. That was eventually conceptualized as “sovereign democracy”. Democracy cannot exist without sovereignty; so that discards Western “supervision” to make it work.

Diesen sharply observes that if the USSR was a “radical, left-wing Eurasianism, some of its Eurasian characteristics could be transferred to conservative Eurasianism.” Diesen notes how Sergey Karaganov, sometimes referred to as the “Russian Kissinger”, has shown “that the Soviet Union was central to decolonization and it mid-wifed the rise of Asia by depriving the West of the ability to impose its will on the world through military force, which the West had done from the 16th century until the 1940s”.

This is largely acknowledged across vast stretches of the Global South – from Latin America and Africa to Southeast Asia.

Eurasia’s western peninsula

So after the end of the Cold War and the failure of Greater Europe, Moscow’s pivot to Asia to build Greater Eurasia could not but have an air of historical inevitability.

The logic is impeccable. The two geoeconomic hubs of Eurasia are Europe and East Asia. Moscow wants to connect them economically into a supercontinent: that’s where Greater Eurasia joins China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But then there’s the extra Russian dimension, as Diesen notes: the “transition away from the usual periphery of these centers of power and towards the center of a new regional construct”.

From a conservative perspective, emphasizes Diesen, “the political economy of Greater Eurasia enables Russia to overcome its historical obsession with the West and establish an organic Russian path to modernization”.

That implies the development of strategic industries; connectivity corridors; financial instruments; infrastructure projects to connect European Russia with Siberia and Pacific Russia. All that under a new concept: an industrialized, conservative political economy.

The Russia-China strategic partnership happens to be active in all these three geoeconomic sectors: strategic industries/techno platforms, connectivity corridors and financial instruments.

That propels the discussion, once again, to the supreme categorical imperative: the confrontation between the Heartland and a maritime power.

The three great Eurasian powers, historically, were the Scythians, the Huns and the Mongols. The key reason for their fragmentation and decadence is that they were not able to reach – and control – Eurasia’s maritime borders.

The fourth great Eurasian power was the Russian empire – and its successor, the USSR. A key reason the USSR collapsed is because, once gain, it was not able to reach – and control – Eurasia’s maritime borders.

The US prevented it by applying a composite of Mackinder, Mahan and Spykman. The US strategy even became known as the Spykman-Kennan containment mechanism – all these “forward deployments” in the maritime periphery of Eurasia, in Western Europe, East Asia and the Middle East.

We all know by now how the overall US offshore strategy – as well as the primary reason for the US to enter both WWI and WWII – was to prevent the emergence of a Eurasian hegemon by all means necessary.

As for the US as hegemon, that would be crudely conceptualized – with requisite imperial arrogance – by Dr. Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski in 1997: “To prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and keep the barbarians from coming together”. Good old Divide and Rule, applied via “system-dominance”.

It’s this system that is now tumbling down – much to the despair of the usual suspects. Diesen notes how, “in the past, pushing Russia into Asia would relegate Russia to economic obscurity and eliminate its status as a European power.” But now, with the center of geoeconomic gravity shifting to China and East Asia, it’s a whole new ball game.

The 24/7 US demonization of Russia-China, coupled with the “unhealthy situation” mentality of the EU minions, only helps to drive Russia closer and closer to China exactly at the juncture where the West’s two centuries-only world dominance, as Andre Gunder Frank conclusively proved , is coming to an end.

Diesen, perhaps too diplomatically, expects that “relations between Russia and the West will also ultimately change with the rise of Eurasia. The West’s hostile strategy to Russia is conditioned on the idea that Russia has nowhere else to go, and must accept whatever the West offers in terms of “partnership”. The rise of the East fundamentally alters Moscow’s relationship with the West by enabling Russia to diversify its partnerships”.

We may be fast approaching the point where Great Eurasia’s Russia will present Germany with a take it or leave it offer. Either we build the Heartland together, or we will build it with China – and you will be just a historical bystander. Of course there’s always the inter-galaxy distant possibility of a Berlin-Moscow-Beijing axis. Stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile, Diesen is confident that “the Eurasian land powers will eventually incorporate Europe and other states on the inner periphery of Eurasia. Political loyalties will incrementally shift as economic interests turn to the East, and Europe is gradually becoming the western peninsula of Greater Eurasia”.

Talk about food for thought for the peninsular peddlers of the “unhealthy situation”.

Democrats wage ‘World Anti-Fascist War I’, don’t know it’d be ‘WAFW II’

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)
Donald Trump (L) and Joe Biden meet for the last presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. (File photo)

Saturday, 06 February 2021 7:06 PM  [ Last Update: Tuesday, 09 February 2021 4:47 AM ]

Democrats wage ‘World Anti-Fascist War I’, don’t know it’d be ‘WAFW II’
Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2) is currently covering the US election. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea, and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China,’ which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with The Saker

For four years American Democrats have taken hugely brave stances on places like Facebook, Reddit and Twitter. What enormous personal risks they took.

What fortitude they showed when they sat on couches and cheered the marches on the other side of town.
Galvanized by these victories in solitary living rooms across the country, Democrats were absolutely certain of a “Blue Wave” from the county seat to the very top.

The Blue Wave shockingly failed at every local level, and when protesters’ civil disobedience turned violent (by conservatives, this time) at Capitol Hill on behalf of a vote genuinely disputed by 40% of the country… this means war!

“Yes to war!” In America this is a “progressive” slogan, somehow?

The past month has seen so very, very much of what the American context suggests we label as “reverse neo-McCarthyism” – yes, America is so twisted up right now, on the eve of a useless 2nd impeachment trial of Donald Trump, that we can’t think of a label which is less contortionist than that. Those who voted conservative must be “reprogrammed” and “cleansed”. 

It’s the final solution.

And history will show that this was how World Anti-Fascist War II was declared – by people who almost certainly have no idea that there already was a World Anti-Fascist War I.

‘American exceptionalism’ means history not only doesn’t apply, it doesn’t even exist.

The World Anti-Fascist War is what the Chinese call World War II, and I don’t blame them – they were the first country to suffer from and fight fascist invasion, in 1931.

It’s interesting that in the US not only is there a perception that they defeated the fascist Germans mostly all alone, but that they definitely defeated the fascist Japanese entirely alone – one cannot find here one iota of the sense that Chinese and Americans fought against a common enemy 75 years ago? The West gives at least grudging – if only occasional – admission of the Soviet role in defeating the Germans, but there is zero acknowledgement of the 20 million Chinese martyrs who stopped the fascist war machine on the Eastern end of Eurasia. 

The phrase is credited to Mao Zedong, who adopted the phrase “World Anti-Fascist War” to signal the obvious, undeniable, natural and openly-declared alliance between the socialist USSR and socialist China against its hardline conservative & anti-socialist enemy aggressors.

“World Anti-Fascist War” was an amazing bit of political intelligence from China – it shows exactly the intellectual and physical scope of the war, no? “World War II” implies only physical scope – should aliens find a ruined planet with a trinket containing that phrase the aliens would know absolutely nothing about what the war was actually fought over. “World Anti-Fascist War? Ah, now I know what the war was about.” 

Clearly, the phrase did not stick in the West because their fascist forces – forced back into the rabbit holes of their own nations, where they switched party affiliations and allied with the US occupiers – did not want it to stick. They liked fascism… and Jim Crow, and Apartheid, and ethnically cleansing Palestine, and dictatorial Arab monarchs, etc. & etc.

The Chinese clearly saw the scope in its fullest range, and they also wanted to publicly ally with those who were as anti-fascist as they were in order to create the greatest amount of solidarity – it’s amazing craftwork in the craft of politics, indubitably. “World War II” is more… meh. Too apocalyptic; too vague.

But, as we were just reminded, the West doesn’t want to ally with China in Beijing’s still-reigning anti-fascism ideology – look at what new US president Joe Biden just said in his first speech on foreign policy:

“American leadership must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing determination of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage our democracy,” he said.

It’s as if Biden has either idiots or fascists writing his speeches – China’s biggest fault is that it wants to be a “rival” to the United States? What kind of competition-loving capitalist is this? Answer: in his pinstripe suits Biden is not promoting capitalism, but fascism. It’s fascistic when you can’t even permit a rival; when the Chinese babe must be smothered in the cradle, lest it achieve even mere rival status.

All this helps explain why the problem in America which I have is: I can’t tell which party is the fascist one anymore?

Will the Trump trial accomplish anything but more hysterical ‘enthusiasm’?

How leftist or righteous or non-fascist can Democrats be when since the 1960s they have morphed into being pro-war, pro-FBI, pro-conformity, pro-censorship and many other “pro-“ things which are historically and rightly associated with fascists? Democrats want me to believe that Republicans are the fascists because they are all racists, but the November 4th realization that 26% of Trump’s voters cannot be non-White White Supremacists should have ended this gross exaggeration and obvious diversion.

But in the US my journalism and my personal discussions simply go nowhere with many Biden supporters.

The ardent Bidenites don’t just want to not discuss politics in a friendly, tolerant, exchanging manner with me – they don’t want to talk with me at all. Even about the weather.

It makes sense: everyone has heard how civilities, friendships and families have been ruined over a widespread inability to discuss important things in a friendly manner. It reminds me of how France may be full of sad people, but at least they can talk to each other – America is full of very angry people. Of course, I am too polite to mention to these Americans that I must not be losing out on very much insight, given their rather fascist-like desire for my total conformity to their personal moral and political beliefs.

America in February 2021 is not at all a pleasant place. It surely wasn’t in February 2020, either, and yet they seem to be able to keep this up endlessly? It reminds me of a question raised 90 years ago by the classic movie King Kong: Somebody asked if the person with the idea to go capture a giant monkey was insane, or if he was just displaying that quintessential American “enthusiasm”? It’s often very difficult to tell the two apart, no?

Democrats have “enthusiastically” whipped themselves up into a frenzy that they are – to use that dusty Reagan Republican phrase (the public discrediting of which helped get Trump elected in 2016) – “the leader of the free world”, but not only do Democrats seem so very unfree to me but they also aren’t allowing others to be free. What else can we call this current “reverse neo-McCarthyism”? It’s a phrase which I can’t find anywhere, yet, but it is applicable given American history and the ongoing demonization and/or criminalization campaign of those who voting for the losing candidate.

Many disagree with me on this point, but I believe that people do change – political parties change, too. I’m truly not sure which party exhibits the greater amount of fascist policies – Trumpers or Democrats? I’d truly have to sit down and figure that out that math problem.

But I’m not about to waste my time – I know what the World Anti-Fascist War was, so I’ll know a genuine WAFWII when I see it.

What Democrats are saying – and it’s all the same here, whether you tune into ABC, NBC, CNN, National Public Radio, The New York Times, “The Tonight Show”, “The View” – must be waged inside America against Trumpism: this ain’t it.

America has totally distinctive American problems – this is normal and not exceptional.

As usual, they try to export their problems to other countries and foreign minds by saying that these problems are actually caused by the suppression of “universal values” which only they have fully comprehended and codified; that everyone is secretly like Americans at heart; that everyone desires to be exactly like Americans – and while I certainly understand and can discuss America, the reality is that with the ascension of Biden they are suddenly returned to being totally uninteresting.

I wish the (faux-) anti-fascist forces in the US good luck on galvanizing support for WAFWII, but this post-Trump “reckoning” will be and should be a totally domestic affair.

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


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Report Finds “Israel” Unprepared to Fight Hezbollah

Report Finds “Israel” Unprepared to Fight Hezbollah

By Staff, The National Interest

Ironically, the “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF] – which prides itself on flexibility to rapidly adapt to the chaos of battle – bases its approach on the mission-oriented tactics of the World War II German army. Yet despite being a virtuoso on the battlefield, the Wehrmacht’s logistics skills were often lacking: German troops constantly ran out of fuel, ammunition and food during Operation Barbarossa, the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union.

If the “Israeli” entity has to go to war tomorrow against Iran or the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, there’s a problem.

The “Israeli” mechanized division that would defend the entity’s northern border, or enter Syria or Lebanon to eject Iranian and Iranian allied forces, are in bad shape.

The 319th Division, stationed in northern “Israeli” entity, is short of equipment such as tanks, and the equipment it does have is in poor condition, according to IOF audit cited by “Israeli” news site Ynet.

“According to the audit’s findings, 52 percent of combat vehicles are unfit for use and there is a 20 percent shortage of weapons and night-vision equipment for soldiers,” Ynet said.

“The auditors found that many armored vehicles were lacking during proper maintenance checks, with 68 of them sitting uncovered and unprotected against the elements. Dozens of other vehicles were found unusable due to faulty tires and broken engines, and only 34 percent of oil tankers and more than 33 percent of cranes were also found to be unusable.

The Ynet article was accompanied by photographs that showed vehicles in a dilapidated condition or unprotected by tarps against the elements.

Auditors found that the problem extended to the 319th Division’s support units, as well. “The Northern Command’s logistics unit, upon which the 319th Division relies in times of war, has a shortage in communications equipment and vehicles for medical evacuation, and the division’s medical unit hasn’t had a commanding officer or lieutenant for almost a year.”

One reason for the 319th Division’s woes is that there isn’t enough equipment to meet both operational and training needs. “The audit found that about half of the 319th Division’s Mark 4 Merkava tanks and almost 100 communication devices have been lent to the Armored Corps training unit, located more than 350 kilometers [217 miles] from their main storage and maintenance areas in the north,” Ynet said.

That peacetime military units are short of equipment and personnel isn’t exactly unique to the “Israeli” entity. A recent audit found that US Army brigade combat teams lack sufficient vehicles and equipment,  while the US Navy doesn’t have enough spare parts to keep all its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets flying.

Yet the 319th Division’s woes reflect a larger pattern in the IOF. In the 2006 “Israel”-Hezbollah War, “Israeli” troops suffered from shortages of basic items, from food and water to ammunition, as well as poorly trained logistics personnel.

But as this writer learned while observing an “Israeli” armored brigade on maneuvers along the occupied Golan Heights in February 2019, the IOF may have only hours to prepare for battle along the entity’s northern border.

Time to fix mistakes is a luxury the “Israeli” entity does not have.

Why Russia & Belarus Are Not Irrational to Fear Another ‘Operation Barbarossa’

Why Russia & Belarus Are Not Irrational to Fear Another 'Operation  Barbarossa' — Strategic Culture
American writer and investigative historian

Eric Zuesse

January 21, 2021

The U.S. government’s plan to conquer Russia is based upon a belief in, and the fundamental plan to establish, “Nuclear Primacy” against Russia — an American ability to win a nuclear war against, and so conquer, Russia, Eric Zuesse writes.

Russia and Belarus fear another blitz invasion — a modernized version of Germany’s infamous Operation Barbarossa — but this time coming from NATO (instead of only from Germany, as in 1940), and they are preparing their forces for it.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published a study, on 1 March 2017, which opened:

The US nuclear forces modernization program has been portrayed to the public as an effort to ensure the reliability and safety of warheads in the US nuclear arsenal, rather than to enhance their military capabilities. In reality, however, that program has implemented revolutionary new technologies that will vastly increase the targeting capability of the US ballistic missile arsenal. This increase in capability is astonishing — boosting the overall killing power of existing US ballistic missile forces by a factor of roughly three — and it creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.

Furthermore, the U.S. government’s plan to conquer Russia is based upon a belief in, and the fundamental plan to establish, “Nuclear Primacy” against Russia — an American ability to win a nuclear war against, and so conquer, Russia.

This concept became respectable in U.S. academic and governmental policymaking circles when virtually simultaneously in 2006 a short-form and a long-form version of an article endorsing the concept of a nuclear-blitz first strike, which the article’s two co-authors there named “nuclear primacy,” were published respectively in the world’s two most influential journals of international affairs, Foreign Affairs from the Council on Foreign Relations, and International Security from Harvard. (CFR got the more popular short version, titled “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy”, and Harvard got the more scholarly long version, which was titled “The End of MAD?”.)

This article claimed that the central geostrategic concept during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Mutually Assured Destruction or “MAD” — in which there is no such thing as the U.S. or the U.S.S.R. conquering the other, because the first of the two to attack will itself also be destroyed by the surviving nuclear forces of the one responding to that attack — will soon be merely past history (like the Soviet Union itself already is); and, so, as the short form of the article said, “nuclear primacy remains a goal of the United States” (implying that it already was); and, as the long form said, “the United States now stands on the cusp of nuclear primacy.” In other words: arms-control or no, the U.S. should, and soon will, be able to grab Russia (the largest land-mass of any country in the world, and also the one richest in natural resources).

Neither version of this article mentioned the key reason why nuclear victory is exceedingly dangerous even under the most favorable conditions, which reason is the concept (and the likely reality in the event of nuclear war between the two superpowers) “nuclear winter” — the scientific studies showing that a resulting sudden sharp cooling of the atmosphere after all those enormous explosions darkening the global skies would produce a global die-off. America’s aristocracy and its vassal-aristocracies controlling the U.S.-allied nations (billionaires, centi-millionaires, and their top agents in both the public and private sectors) are buying and building deep-underground nuclear shelters for themselves, but they wouldn’t be able to stay underground and survive on stored feedstuffs forever. (As for everybody else, those other people are not involved in U.S. geostrategic decision-making, and so are being ignored by the U.S. Government.) Many of America’s (and associated) elite are paying those bomb-shelter expenses, but none of the West’s elite are condemning the path toward nuclear war that their governments are on. Their Government represents them — not the public. So: buying or building nuclear-war shelters is more acceptable to them than is stopping America’s planned conquest of Russia. The higher priority for them is to conquer Russia.

A far less influential scholarly journal, China Policy, published later in 2006 a critical article arguing against nuclear supremacy, but that article has had no impact upon policymaking. Its title was “The Fallacy of Nuclear Primacy” and it argued that, “American nuclear supremacy removes the root source of stability from the nuclear equation: mutual vulnerability.” It presented a moral argument: “U.S. leaders might try to exploit its nuclear superiority … by actually launching a cold-blooded nuclear attack against its nuclear rival in the midst of an intense crisis. The professors discount significantly the power of the nuclear taboo to restrain U.S. leaders from crossing the fateful threshold. If crisis circumstances grow dire enough, the temptation to try to disarm their nuclear adversaries through a nuclear first-strike may be too strong to resist, they argue.” The concept of “nuclear winter” wasn’t even so much as just mentioned (much less dealt with) in this article, just as it was ignored in the two that it was arguing against. (Nuclear winter is virtually prohibited from being discussed in leading academic journals in the social sciences; but one article, in the 2 September 2019 Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis“Nuclear War as a Global Catastrophic Risk” was published because it simply ignored the key question of who gets the benefits and who suffers the costs of America’s current meta-strategy, Nuclear Primacy.)

The co-authors of (both versions of) the article that had proposed and endorsed nuclear primacy, then published in 2007 (this one also in International Security), a response to that critical article, which had attacked theirs. This reply’s title was “U.S. Nuclear Primacy and the Future of the Chinese Deterrent”. But it made no more impact than did the obscure article it was arguing against. In the circles of power within the U.S., the matter was already settled.

Thus, Nuclear Primacy has tacitly become U.S. policy, and MAD no longer is U.S. policy (though it remains Russian policy). The U.S. government is planning to take over Russia (basically, to install a puppet-regime there). That’s the reality.

Starting by no later than 2011, the Administration of U.S. President Barack Obama was planning two operations in order to move forward especially against Russia, but also against all countries that were not hostile toward Russia (such as China, Russia, Venezuela, Syria, and Iran), and this included especially Ukraine, which has a 1,600-mile border with Russia, and also Syria, which ever since 1949 the U.S. CIA has been trying for the U.S. Government to take over so as to advance oil pipeline projects that the Sauds wanted to be built through Syria into Europe. (The Sauds are key allies of the U.S. Government.)

In a moment of extraordinary candor, George Friedman, the founder and CEO of the ‘private CIA’ consulting firm Stratfor, once called the overthrow of the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, which had occurred in February 2014, “the most blatant coup in history”, and this was because it was the first coup ever to have been captured live on cellphone videos and uploaded to the internet as it happened, and it was afterward documented by interviewing some of the participants, in detailed accounts which fit perfectly with similar confessions from other participants (such as this, from one who didn’t even know about those other participants, but they all were carrying out the same plan, which they didn’t know about and which came from above — the U.S. regime — they all were only following the orders that they had been given by agents of the U.S.).

These realities were able to be reported outside the United States but not inside the United States. The top EU officials didn’t become so much as even aware that it had been a coup instead of an authentic revolution, until it was already finished, on 26 February 2014. By our own time, there is no longer any reasonable doubt that it had been led by the U.S. regime, and that Barack Obama’s Administration had started planning the operation by no later than 2011, and the implementation-phase started by no later than 1 March 2013 inside the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine — well before the fairy-tale ‘explanation’ of the coup (‘the Maidan Revolution’) started on 21 November 2013. Famously, after that ‘democratic revolution’ (which was instead a fascist coup that was hidden behind popular anti-corruption demonstrations), came the breakaway of Crimea (which had voted over 75% for Yanukovych) and of Donbass (which had voted over 90% for him). And then came the Obama-installed regime’s ethnic cleansing Anti Terrorist Operation’ to eliminate as many of the voters in Donbass as possible, because if they stayed in Ukraine, then the newly installed regime in Kiev would soon be elected out-of-office. Hatred was needed in order for that Anti Terrorist Operation’ or ATO’ (the ethnic-cleansing operation) to be able to achieve its purpose (of eliminating those voters but keeping the land), and this hatred was funded and promoted by American billionaires and the American Government — and American-and-allied media.

The big ‘justification’ for economic sanctions against Russia was Putin’s ‘seizure’ of Crimea, which was anything but a seizure and was actually protection not only of a part of Ukraine which had been part of Russia from 1783 to 1954 when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea to Ukraine, but Putin’s action regarding Crimea was also protection of the residents there who were clamoring for Crimea to rejoin Russia when Obama’s Ukrainian fascists made clear their hatred of Crimeans and their aim to destroy Crimeans. As became ultimately revealed, the Obama Administration had a plan in place by no later than June of 2013 not only to expel from Crimea Russia’s largest naval base, which was located there, but to replace it by a U.S. naval base on Crimea.

So, there can be no reasonable doubt that the actual aggressor regarding Crimea was Obama and his regime, who seized Ukraine, and not really Putin and his government. However, the anti-Russian sanctions nonetheless remain in place to this day, and the actual history regarding the matter of Crimea, Donbass, and Ukraine, remains covered-up by the U.S. regime and its allied regimes and their propaganda or ‘news’ media.

Furthermore, the Obama regime had had Gallup survey Crimeans both in 2013 before the coup, and in 2014 right after the coup, and found that, in both polls, far more Crimeans wanted Crimea to be again a part of Russia than wanted it to be a part of Ukraine as the Soviet dictator had ruled it to become in 1954. The 2014 poll found that only 2.8% of Crimeans viewed the U.S. favorably, while more than 97% did not, and that by a margin of 71.3% to 8.8%, which is 89%, Crimeans were pro-Russia. Furthermore, the 2014 survey covered not only Crimea but all parts of what had been Ukraine, and it also found that only in Ukraine’s far northwest (near or adjoining Poland) were Ukrainians favorable either to America or to NATO. (The U.S. regime wants Ukraine to become a member of NATO — so as to place U.S. missiles only 5 minutes flight-time to Moscow, a super-blitz away — but in almost all parts of the former Ukraine, that was not wanted.)

On 16 January 2021, four days before Joe Biden became U.S. President, Russia’s RT headlined “‘America is back’: Biden fills State Department slots with more Obama vets, including Ukraine ‘coup plotter’ Victoria Nuland”, and noted that “President-elect Joe Biden is getting the old interventionist-foreign-policy team back together, including Ukraine coup engineer Victoria Nuland, signaling a hardline Russia stance as he fills out top posts in the State Department. … Nuland, who studied Russian literature at Brown University, wrote last summer in Foreign Affairs of how ‘a confident America should deal with Russia’ with a more ‘activist’ policy, including ‘speaking directly to the Russian people about the benefits of working together and the price they have paid for (President Vladimir) Putin’s hard turn away from liberalism.’ … Nuland, a neoconservative who was named undersecretary for political affairs, goes all the way back to former President Ronald Reagan’s administration and was a foreign policy adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney. … Cato Institute senior fellow Doug Bandow said … ‘She’ll be back overthrowing governments in the Biden administration, so it remains a valid standard.’” And Nuland was part of a solidly neoconservative (i.e., U.S. imperialist) team leading both diplomatic and military policies in the new Administration.

Nuland was the person who had led the Obama Administration’s coup against Ukraine — she gave the orders, which came from Obama himself. Trump continued Obama’s neoconservative foreign policies and intensified them against Iran, but Biden is expected to intensify them against Russia, and maybe also against China. Ever since at least George W. Bush, the U.S. Government has been 100% neoconservative. Of course, Nuclear Primacy is neoconservatism regarding nuclear-weapons strategy.

Nuclear Primacy is neoconservatism in the Atomic Age. That’s what the termination of MAD is, in America. It’s super-aggression. Neoconservatism German-style was Nazism. But when the concept of neoconservatism is applied to any country other than the U.S. and its allies, it is instead called by the more general term, “imperialism.” There is nothing really new about it.

Operation Barbarossa was Germany’s version of what today is America’s Nuclear Primacy; and, of course, it preceded the era of nuclear weapons, but it produced the vast majority of the deaths and destructions in World War II — even without nuclear weapons. Because of that Nazi Operation, Russia lost 13,950,000, or exactly 12.7% of its population. Another part of the Soviet Union, Belarus, lost 2.29 million, or exactly 25.3% of its population to Hitler. Another part of the U.S.S.R., Ukraine, lost 6.85 million, or 16.3%. The entire Soviet Union lost 26.6 million, exactly 13.7% of its population to Hitler. The U.S. lost only 419,400, or 0.32% of its population.

Furthermore, immediately after FDR died and Harry S. Truman became President, the U.S. CIA (then as its predecessor organization the OSS) provided protection and employment in Germany for top members of Hitler’s equivalent to the CIA, the Gehlen Organization. (America’s CIA continues flagrantly to violate the law and hide from Congress and the American people crucial details of its relationship with the Gehlen Organization.)

By contrast, the Soviet Union was unremitting in killing Nazis whom it captured. So: while the U.S.S.R. was killing any ‘ex’-Nazis it could find, the U.S.A. was hiring them either in West Germany or else into the U.S. itself. It brought them to America whenever the U.S. regime needed the person’s assistance in designing weapons to use against the U.S.S.R.

Right away, the U.S. was looking for ‘ex’-Nazis who could help the U.S. conquer the Soviet Union. The Cold War secretly started in the U.S. as soon as WW II was over (the OSS-CIA’s “Operation Paperclip”). (There was no equivalent to “Operation Paperclip” in the U.S.S.R.)

Then, when the U.S.S.R., in 1991, ended its communism, and ended its Warsaw Pact military alliance which it had created in 1955 after America had created its NATO military alliance in 1949, and dissolved altogether, the U.S. regime secretly continued, on its side, the Cold War, but this time against Russia instead of against the Soviet Union. It was and is a U.S. war of imperialism, not a war against communism. The U.S. regime (including its allies) constantly lies about Russia, (and also about the Soviet Union, rewriting history) in order to ‘justify’ this imperialism by the U.S.

Last year, the U.S. regime (and its allies) tried to generate a coup overthrowing Belarus’s Government, which wasn’t being sufficiently hostile toward its next-door-neighbor, Russia. As a result, Belarus is now closer than ever to buying from Russia S-400 anti-missile systems, just in case the U.S. regime tries to pull its own Operation Barbarossa (of the nuclear-blitz type, instead of by three million German soldiers).

JOE BIDEN’S WAR

South Front

Joe Biden’s War

Writtne by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

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

The Indirect Road to China

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

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

The Russian Bear Refuses to Play

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

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

Escalation or a Two-Front War?

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

Joe Biden’s War

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

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

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

Oceania vs. Eurasia

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

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

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

The Plan for Cold War II

Source

NIT

12.01.2021 

Author: Phil Butler

It’s a new year. It’s a time for a change. We need to look at geopolitics differently. That is if we are ever going to have peace and prosperity that is sustainable, and for all. This is why I have decided to take a new approach to political analysis.Today, we must shine the course light of reality on the shadowy agencies of propaganda and manipulation. My first subject will be the Ford Foundation.

Before I get into the reasons for this supposedly altruistic organization’s skullduggery, I should point the reader to a former Ford Foundation beneficiary named Arthur Cyr, and is the report “On Russia’s Putin, Biden must be sharper than his predecessors”. Cyr is a Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) Senior Fellow and a key executive with the aforementioned foundation.

The Ford Foundation is supposed to be on a mission of advancing human welfare. The endowment created by Edsel Ford, of Ford Motor Company fame, now has more than $13 billion in assets and makes grants for over half a billion dollars every year. The foundation supposedly strives for things like world peace, but in reality, the charade of maintaining diversity in higher education, the subterfuge of furthering the arts, it’s about control, lasting control of the “system” of democracy in the west. Digging into the shady history of the foundation immediately brings to light people like Horace Rowan Gaither, who besides being an investment banker, was also the administrator of the Ford Foundation, and one of the founders of Rand Corporation.

Some readers will be familiar with the Gaither Report, which influenced US policy toward Russia like no other. Gaither’s committee’s recommendations to then-President Dwight Eisenhower shaped the arms race and the Cold War that bled both countries dry by feeding the military-industrial complex. Without going into an in-depth history lesson, it was the Gaither Report that ended up being the operational guidebook for the Kennedy/Johnson administration in 1960. The Strategic Air Command (SAC), America’s strategic missile command, and conventional warfare priorities were reshaped in line with what Gaither and his colleagues proposed. Key committee people were brought into JFK’s inner circle, and they would later advise LBJ on carrying out Vietnam and the Cold War. This is all outlined in “The Gaither Committee, Eisenhower, and the Cold War”, by David L. Snead.

Gaither and men like Bernard Brodie, Henry Kissinger, Robert Osgood, Paul Nitze, and William Kaufman made sure that the United States developed a military that was capable of conducting what would later be termed “limited wars”, and President Eisenhower left office announcing the danger of the so-called “military-industrial complex” to the American people. The general who commanded all allied forces in World War II, called out the warmongers in public, just before Kennedy took office. And the Ford Foundation was a key partner in this “deep state” network. Later, when Kennedy balked at escalating Vietnam, and when relations with the Soviet Union warmed up after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the “network” turned on the new president. JFK was assassinated, LBJ immediately escalated Vietnam, and a generation of Americans died while the coffers of corporations filled with gold.

No one can say whether or not Ford Foundation actors had any part in the Kennedy assassination, but the record of the foundation is stained with blood from a dozen wars. It should be no surprise, that much of what went on in the Gaither Committee remains classified. What we do know is that the committee was packed with generals and those vested in a huge military buildup aimed at real or imagined enemies of America. One time US Steel CEO Benjamine Fairless was on the committee, and so were Edward Ryerson (Inland Steel), and Robert Lovett (Sec. Defense who directed the Korean War). I’ll spare the reader the full list of warmongers who designed US military strategies from World War II until the present. It’s only important that I show the meaningful contributions to world peace that the Ford Foundation has made these last 84 years. Today, the Ford Foundation supports scholars at universities like Johns Hopkins, where the foundation’s president Darren Walker gave the commencement speech for the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in 2017. I mention this speech because of the darkly poetic symbolism it represents.

Paul H. Nitze was a key member of the Gaither Committee and the architect of Cold War policy development for several presidential administrations. The scholar Ernest R. May once said that Nitze’s notorious NSC 68 “provided the blueprint for the militarization of the Cold War from 1950 to the collapse of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990s.” The NSC 68, for those unfamiliar, was initiated during the Truman administration and rejected any notion that alternative policies of friendly détente and containment of the Soviet Union. Both Lovett and Nitze were instrumental in creating these policies. The policies of unceasing war, untolled death and destruction, and hundreds of trillions wasted on militarism can all be traced directly or indirectly to our idealistic, wonderful, philanthropic Ford Foundation. The industrialists, the legendary figures that shaped the current world order, they are all tied to the current insanity and Russophobia aimed at the figurehead of Russia. From Forrestal in World War II to Ford, Rockefeller, the SALT treaties, to the survival of civilization as these people view it, the titanium threads that bind these people and their ideas enslave us all. Terms like “monumental” are overused, but in the case of the Ford Foundation, the word is appropriate.

I am not the first researcher to accuse the Ford Foundation of international skullduggery. Activist Arundhati Roy connected the foundation, along with the Rockefeller Foundation, with supporting imperialist efforts by the US government during the Cold War, as well. More recently, Ford Foundation’s president was caught reaching out to the notorious Hillary Clinton friend John Podesta who worked for Chief of Staff for Obama, for trying to coerce India’s Narendra Modi into backing off on accusations the foundation was interfering in Indian politics. But coercion like this is nothing compared with how Ford Foundation and other such institutions have altered the fabric of America and the world. It’s fair to say these NGOs have been the instrument by which the liberal world order has manipulated everything from education to human rights, health, and welfare to warfare. If monumental is a word for Ford Foundation, a synonym is “catastrophic” if we ever hoped for peace and prosperity in our time. And Vladimir Putin is the villain for dragging his country out from underneath all this?

If you were looking for the reason society in the west seems to be breaking down, don’t look at COVID-19 or vaccines. Look at how the Ford Foundation and other fat-cat organizations are helping to deconstruct the world to rebuild it in the image of the liberal elites. Don’t look at Donald Trump as a crazy conservative big mouth, look at the outgoing president as a means to an end. Look at what is happening without rose-colored glasses, and with the full knowledge that multibillion-dollar organizations cannot be philanthropic. Read “The Billions of Dollars That Made Things Worse”, and then consider. Should the new president be sharper than the old ones? No, it’s not necessary. All Joe Biden has to do is listen to the Ford Foundation and its backroom elites, and Cold War II can go on as planned.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

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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.

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