A walk on the wild side as Trump meets Putin at Finland station

 

The Saker

July 17, 2018A walk on the wild side as Trump meets Putin at Finland station

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

US President stirs up a hornet’s nest with his press conference alongside his Russian counterpart, but it seems that no ‘grand bargain’ was struck on Syria, and on Iran they appear to strongly disagree.

“The Cold War is a thing of the past.” By the time President Putin said as much during preliminary remarks at his joint press conference with President Trump in Helsinki, it was clear this would not stand. Not after so much investment by American conservatives in Cold War 2.0.

Russophobia is a 24/7 industry, and all concerned, including its media vassals, remain absolutely livid with the “disgraceful” Trump-Putin presser. Trump has “colluded with Russia.” How could the President of the United States promote “moral equivalence” with a “world-class thug”?

Multiple opportunities for apoplectic outrage were in order.

Trump: “Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed. As of about four hours ago.”

Putin: “The United States could be more decisive in nudging Ukrainian leadership.”

Trump: “There was no collusion… I beat Hillary Clinton easily.”

Putin: “We should be guided by facts. Can you name a single fact that would definitively prove collusion? This is nonsense.”

Then, the clincher: the Russian president calls [Special Counsel] Robert Mueller’s ‘bluff’, offering to interrogate the Russians indicted for alleged election meddling in the US if Mueller makes an official request to Moscow. But in exchange, Russia would expect the US to question Americans on whether Moscow should face charges for illegal actions.

Trump hits it out of the park when asked whether he believes US intelligence, which concluded that Russia did meddle in the election, or Putin, who strongly denies it.

“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

As if this was not enough, Trump doubles down invoking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server. “I really do want to see the server. Where is the server? I want to know. Where is the server and what is the server saying?”

It was inevitable that a strategically crucial summit between the Russian and American presidencies would be hijacked by the dementia of the US news cycle.

Trump was unfazed. He knows that the DNC computer hard-drives – the source of an alleged “hacking” – simply “disappeared” while in the custody of US intel, FBI included. He knows the bandwidth necessary for file transfer was much larger than a hack might have managed in the time allowed. It was a leak, a download into a flash-drive.

Additionally, Putin knows that Mueller knows he will never be able to drag 12 Russian intelligence agents into a US courtroom. So the – debunked – indictment, announced only three days before Helsinki, was nothing more than a pre-emptive, judicial hand grenade.

No wonder John Brennan, a former CIA director under the Obama administration, is fuming.

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to exceed the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

How Syria and Ukraine are linked

However, there are reasons to expect at least minimal progress on three fronts in Helsinki: a solution for the Syria tragedy, an effort to limit nuclear weapons and save the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty signed in 1987 by Reagan and Gorbachev, and a positive drive to normalize US-Russia relations, away from Cold War 2.0.

Trump knew he had nothing to offer Putin to negotiate on Syria. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) now controls virtually 90% of national territory. Russia is firmly established in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially after signing a 49-year agreement with Damascus.

Even considering careful mentions of Israel on both sides, Putin certainly did not agree to force Iran out of Syria.

No “grand bargain” on Iran seems to be in the cards. The top adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, was in Moscow last week. The Moscow-Tehran entente cordiale seems unbreakable. In parallel, as Asia Times has learned, Bashar al-Assad has told Moscow he might even agree to Iran leaving Syria, but Israel would have to return the occupied Golan Heights. So, the status quo remains.

Putin did mention both presidents discussed the Iran nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action and essentially they, strongly, agree to disagree. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have written a letter formally rejecting an appeal for carve-outs in finance, energy and healthcare by Germany, France and the UK. A maximum economic blockade remains the name of the game. Putin may have impressed on Trump the possible dire consequences of a US oil embargo on Iran, and even the (far-fetched) scenario of Tehran blocking the Strait of Hormuz.

Judging by what both presidents said, and what has been leaked so far, Trump may not have offered an explicit US recognition of Crimea for Russia, or an easing of Ukraine-linked sanctions.

It’s reasonable to picture a very delicate ballet in terms of what they really discussed in relation to Ukraine. Once again, the only thing Trump could offer on Ukraine is an easing of sanctions. But for Russia the stakes are much higher.

Putin clearly sees Southwest Asia and Central and Eastern Europe as totally integrated. The Black Sea basin is where Russia intersects with Ukraine, Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Or, historically, where the former Russian, Ottoman and Habsburg empires converged.

A Greater Black Sea implies the geopolitical convergence of what’s happening in both Syria and Ukraine. That’s why for the Kremlin only an overall package matters. It’s not by accident that Washington identified these two nodes – destabilizing Damascus and turning the tables in Kiev – to cause problems for Moscow.

Putin sees a stable Syria and a stable Ukraine as essential to ease his burden in dealing with the Balkans and the Baltics. We’re back once again to that classic geopolitical staple, the Intermarium (“between the seas”). That’s the ultra-contested rimland from Estonia in the north to Bulgaria in the south – and to the Caucasus in the east. Once, that used to frame the clash between Germany and Russia. Now, that frames the clash between the US and Russia.

In a fascinating echo of the summit in Helsinki, Western strategists do lose their sleep gaming on Russia being able to “Finlandize” this whole rimland.

And that brings us, inevitably, to what could be termed The German Question. What is Putin’s ultimate goal: a quite close business and strategic relationship with Germany (German business is in favor)? Or some sort of entente cordiale with the US? EU diplomats in Brussels are openly discussing that underneath all the thunder and lightning, this is the holy of the holies.

Take a walk on the wild side

The now notorious key takeaway from a Trump interview at his golf club in Turnberry, Scotland, before Helsinki, may offer some clues.

“Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive.”

Putin certainly knows it. But even Trump, while not being a Clausewitzian strategist, may have had an intuition that the post-WWII liberal order, built by a hegemonic US and bent on permanent US military hegemony over the Eurasian landmass while subduing a vassal Europe, is waning.

While Trump firebombs this United States of Europe as an “unfair” competitor of the US, it’s essential to remember that it was the White House that asked for the Helsinki summit, not the Kremlin.

Trump treats the EU with undisguised disdain. He would love nothing better than for the EU to dissolve. His Arab “partners” can be easily controlled by fear. He has all but declared economic war on China and is on tariff overdrive – even as the IMF warns that the global economy runs the risk of losing around $500 billion in the process. And he faces the ultimate intractable, the China-Russia-Iran axis of Eurasian integration, which simply won’t go away.

So, talking to “world-class thug” Putin – in usual suspect terminology – is a must. A divide-and-rule here, a deal there – who knows what some hustling will bring? To paraphrase Lou Reed, New Trump City “is the place where they say “Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side.”

During the Helsinki presser, Putin, fresh from Russia’s spectacular World Cup soft power PR coup, passed a football to Trump. The US president said he would give it to his son, Barron, and passed the ball to First Lady Melania. Well, the ball is now in Melania’s court.

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Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu’s interview with Italy’s Il Giornale full version

The Saker

July 11, 2018

Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu’s interview with Italy’s Il Giornale full version

Translation by Scott Humor from Russian version found here

https://tvzvezda.ru/news/forces/content/201807111100-cg1g.htm

Original interview

http://www.ilgiornale.it/news/mondo/gelo-washington-colpa-delle-lites-americane-1551319.html

 

Q.: Mr. Minister, tensions between Russia and the United States are growing and raising concerns: are we on the threshold of a new Cold War?

Shoigu: We often hear from the US that the crisis in bilateral relations has been provoked by Russia’s alleged aggressive actions on the international arena. However, we are firmly convinced that tensions in our relations have been artificially fueled all this time by those American elites, who believe that the world is divided into the “American” part and the “wrong” part.

it was the United States that in recent years had unilaterally broke key agreements, which formed the backbone of the global security. Despite the promises that were given to the Soviet leadership during Germany’s reunification, Washington initiated eastward NATO expansion towards our borders.

For over 25 years they tried to fool us claiming that there have been no promises, until recently the National Security Agency declassified archives with the documents of that period, in which it has been set out literally and in personalities.

Because of NATO expansion to the East and accession to NATO countries of Eastern Europe: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania, an agreement signed in 1990 between the Warsaw Treaty Organization and NATO called the Treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe, providing for the limitation of armaments in areas of contact between two blocks, de facto lost its meaning for Russia.

In 2002, under a pretext of a fictitious “danger” of a missile attack by Iran or North Korea, Washington unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty and began deployment its radars and anti-missiles in the vicinity of our borders.

I, as president of the Russian Geographical Society, have for a long time wanted to present the US colleagues with a globe so that they would look at it and explain to us, why the ‘US adversaries’ designated by them are located in the Middle East and East Asia, while all their military bases and troops are scooched along Russia’s borders? Do they expect us to defend them?

The US party is currently preparing its withdrawal from the INF treaty. The reason for such step is alleged violations of the treaty by Russia.

 

Q: What kind of violations?

Shoigu: All we hear are some mumbles and baseless accusations directed at us. But there are no facts, only statements.

We have repeatedly and publicly made it clear in all major international fora that it is the United States that is directly violating the INF Treaty, having installed, during the deployment of a missile shield in Europe, its MK-41 vertical launching systems, which might be used to launch of Tomahawk cruise missiles. The destructive radius of these missiles covers almost all the European part of Russia’s territory.

In 2007 at the Munich Security Conference Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the leadership of the United States and other Western countries to respect Russia’s national interests and to build open and equal relationships. Unfortunately, very few in the West wanted to hear this call.

 

Q: In your opinion why is this happening?

Shoigu: Today recovering Russia is being viewed not as an ally but as a threat to the US dominance. We are being accused of some aggressive plans towards the West, which, in turn, continues to deploy new forces on our borders.

Among multiple examples of such unfriendly steps there is a decision made in June by NATO to establish two new commands, responsible for the protection of maritime communication and the operative deployment of the US troops to Europe. It’s also an increase of the alliance’s contingent troops in the Baltic states, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland from 2,000 to 15,000 troops with the possibility of rapid build-up of the group to 60,000 soldiers with armored vehicles. Starting with 2020, NATO intends to maintain 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 warships to be in constant readiness for use at the borders of Russia in 30 days.

All of these takes place directly at Russia’s Western borders. At the same time, the Americans are constantly violating international law, using military force in various regions of the world under the pretext of protecting their own interests.

This happened in April of this year in Syria, when on the territory of the sovereign and independent state, (the US) with the support of Britain and France carried out a massive missile attack. What took place was a gross violation of international law by three permanent members of the UN Security Council under fictitious pretext. And this is not an only example, but a trend.

 

Q: A trend?

Shoigu: Yes, we are talking about the neocolonial strategy, which has already been tested by the United States in Iraq and Libya and which consists in supporting any, even the most barbaric ideologies, in order to weaken legitimate governments. After that the United States stages attacks with the use of weapons of mass destruction or organizing humanitarian disasters and, at the final stages, uses military force to create “manageable chaos,” which enables the transnational corporations freely extract the existing assets and to funnel them into the US economy.

Russia, which advocates the equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with all the countries within the concept of the multipolar world, will always be an obstacle for such “strategies to be implemented.

 

Q.: Are there any red lines that cannot be crossed?

Shoigu: In this sense, our military doctrine is very clear, and its essence in prevention of any conflicts. Our official approaches to the use of military force are quite clear and fully disclosed.

Despite of my post, I am convinced that any issues can and should be settled without the use of military force.

I have repeatedly extended invitations to the Pentagon’s head to discuss the existing problems of the global and regional security, including the fight against terrorism. But the Americans are not ready for such dialogue, although, I am certain, that it’s in the best interest not only people in Russia and in the USA, but also in the rest of the world.

Right now, there is only one communication channel between our general staffs now, which is used in negotiations, including at the level of the chiefs of general staff, aimed, first of all, at preventing the military activities of Russia and the United States from turning into a military conflict between our nuclear powers.

 

Q.: But your country is being accused in carrying out the “hybrid wars” against the West.

Shoigu: In Russia we say that it’s a thief himself who screams the loudest “Hold the thief!” The term “hybrid actions” refers to various forms of pressure used by one state against another, but without an open use of military force. Such “wars” are known since ancient times, and they allowed the UK to prevail over the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the last century. Who doesn’t know about the adventures of Lawrence of Arabia?

Today “hybrid wars” include control of media, economic sanctions, hacking activities in cyberspace, backing of internal unrests, finally, deployment of special units and specialists to carry out terror attacks, sabotage and diversion.

This list, perhaps, can be continued further, but there is one important detail. For its successful implementation this century, it is necessary to have global and all-pervasive media, possession of superiority in information and telecommunication technologies, a hold on global financial systems, as well as experience in the deployment and use of special forces in other countries.

 

Q.: What countries, other than the United States and the United Kingdom, have this kind of potential?

Shoigu: These methods were successfully tested by London and Washington during the invasion of Iraq in 1991 immediately after the end of the “cold war.”

This is an important detail, because these technologies existed when the Soviet Union and a bipolar world existed, but there were no opportune conditions. And, by the way, the US president at the time [of the Gulf War] was none other than George H. W. Bush, former director of the CIA.

Since the 1990s, these methods have been actively used by the United States in former Yugoslavia, Libya, [Russia’s] Chechen Republic and, most recently, in Syria. All the signs of the “hybrid war” were apparent in Ukraine ahead of the armed rebellion in February 2014, with the European countries’ passive participation in these “hybrid actions.”

Today, everyone pretends to forget how on the eve of the coup (in Kiev) three foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland personally guaranteed to the legitimate President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych a peaceful settlement of the political crisis, if he does not impose a state of emergency and withdraws all units of the security forces from Kiev. But immediately after the implementation of these obligations, nationalist militants, armed and trained with American and European money, staged a coup, and Europe immediately recognized them as legitimate power.

Accusations of Russia (in hybrid actions) began to appear in the American and British media after an unsuccessful attempt to stage this scenario in Crimea.

 

Q.: Really?

Shoigu: We simply did not give to our overseas colleagues an opportunity to put these measures into practice in Crimea, where, on the contrary, a referendum was held, during which residents freely and, by the way, in the presence of hundreds of representatives of the same American media, voted to withdraw from Ukraine and reunite with Russia. In comparison, after the dismemberment of the former Yugoslavia because of the NATO intervention, Kosovo did not hold any general referendums, but achieved immediate recognition of independence by Washington and Europe after the routine parliamentary vote. It was done absolutely ignoring opinion of the Serbs living in Kosovo and the Yugoslavia’s Constitution.

 

Q.: The issue of Syria will be central during the meeting of presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. What’s your idea of the US strategy in the Syrian conflict?

Shoigu: Since US lawmakers and experts have been calling on the US government to clarify its strategy for Syria, our country is not the only one who does not get it.

In recent years during the continuation of this war, illegal from the point of international law, and even according to the US constitution, the official explanations for the presence of the US military contingent in Syria have been constantly changing.

I would like to recall that initially it was about defeating the ISIL, then about preventing re-emergence of the ISIL and now statements are being made about need to preserve military presence in Syria in order to deter alleged influence of Iran.

Therefore, it is hard to shake off the impression that the United States’ chief objective in Syria is to prevent the situation from stabilizing, to prolong the conflict and undermine the country’s territorial integrity by creating enclaves not controlled by the government on Syria’s borders.

In the areas controlled by the United States for years they have been training militants, who are actively fighting with the Syrian government army and receiving supplies of weapons and ammunition.

In addition, it’s not superfluous to recall that during the struggle of the US-led international coalition against ISIS, the territory controlled by terrorists only increased. Civilization and secular governance persisted only in a few pockets: in Damascus, the province of Latakia and partly in Deir ez-Zor.

At the same time, while declaring its ‘noble’ objectives and ‘good’ will in recent years, the United States has not allocated one cent of aid to provide real assistance to Syrian civilians devastated by long years of war. This applies even to the liberated by the United States and the coalition former capital of ISIS Raqqa, where munition and mortars left after massive bombardments by the “international coalition” still kill local residents. Every week, dozens of people are being killed, including children.

On the other hand, not a single incident involving civilians has been recorded after the Syrian troops’ operations to liberate various regions and localities. Demining activities took place there, people received food and construction materials they needed to resume a peaceful life as soon as possible.

If there is some basis for our American counterparts’ actions in Syria, it is too contradictory to be called a “strategy.”

Q.: Another obstacle to the stabilization of Syria is the rivalry between Iran and Israel…

Shoigu: Iran, like Turkey, historically has been one of the main actors in the region and plays a key role in stabilization of the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic.

As you know, Iran, together with Russia and Turkey, is one of the guarantors of the Astana process aimed at finding an agreement for the final settlement of Syrian conflict.

Regarding the tensions between Iran and Israel or other countries, our position is that we are committed to resolving possible differences and contradictions through dialogue, not through military force and violation of international law.

Use of military force by any of these parties in Syria would inevitably lead to an escalation of tension throughout the Middle East. In that regard, we are committed to the peaceful and diplomatic settlement of any differences and we hope that both sides will be able to show restraint.

 

Q.: Don’t you think that a possibility of supplying S-300 systems to Damascus represents an additional risk factor?

Shoigu: I would like to note that the S-300 system is a complex of purely defensive weapons. Therefore, it cannot pose a direct threat to anyone’s national security.

This anti-aircraft missile system can only be a threat to air attack vehicles. Besides, the decision to supply this model of arms to the army of any foreign state is made based on the appropriate request, which has not been made, yet.

Thus, it is premature to talk about this specifically. At the request of some of our Western partners, as well as Israel, a few years ago, we refrained from delivering these complexes to Syria. Today, after the aggression of the United States, Britain and France against Syria, which has demonstrated the need for the Syrians to have modern air defense, we are ready to revisit this issue.

Q.: From the war in Syria to the trade war. If the level of relations with Washington has reached a historical minimum, the relations with China are increasingly strengthening…

Shoigu: Of course, the tension in international relations has contributed to the strengthening of Russian-Chinese relations, which are based on mutual respect and trust. Russia and China have long-term friendly and strategic relations, and cooperation is developing in many areas, including through military agencies, which is in the interests of both states.

Examples of our cooperation include conducted on a bilateral basis joint operational training of the armed forces of our states, including the annual naval drill Sea Cooperation, and a large-scale joint Russian-Chinese naval and an annual series of joint anti-ballistic missile air defense exercises called Aerospace Security.

We conduct multinational military exercises of armies and fleets of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) the military exercise the Peace Mission. In addition, the Chinese representatives participate in annual competition of the Russia’s Defense Ministry called the International Army Games. Today, about 12% of Russian weapons are exported to China.

At the same time, our joint activities in this area, in contrast to the exercises conducted by NATO and the EU in Europe, are exclusively defensive in nature. Our military partnerships are not directed against any other countries or blocs and serve exclusively to strengthen global and regional security.

Q.: What do you think about the development of the situation in North Korea?

Shoigu: Russia and North Korea have signed a number of agreements in the field of military-technical cooperation, the implementation of which is currently suspended in the framework of the Russian Federation’s implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874.

We are now witnessing a significant reduction in tensions between the North and the South of the Korean Peninsula. We believe that this positive trend is stable and irreversible.

Q.: If we return to Ukraine: do you think it will be possible to find a solution to the current conflict in the South-East of the country?

Shoigu: Only unconditional implementation by Kiev of the Minsk Agreements will allow to exclude emergence of the situation capable to lead to genocide of the Russian population. Unfortunately, Kiev is stubbornly refuses to comply with the agreement, finding various flimsy excuses and making unfounded accusatory statements against Russia.

At the same time, Kiev has been rejecting the very possibility of dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk, without which the settlement of this crisis is simply impossible. Of course, our country responds to these developments, constantly calling on Kiev to implement the package of measures that was agreed in Minsk

We hope that the European countries, first and foremost, members of the “Normandy” format, [which includes Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine] will be able to use all their influence on the Ukrainian authorities to reach a peaceful settlement of this internal conflict in southeastern Ukraine.

I believe that a direct confrontation between Ukraine and Russia is impossible. We have common roots, for centuries we have been enduring hardships together and we fought side by side for our freedom and independence during the Second World War. My mother’s family members used to live in Ukraine, I was baptized in a small church in Stakhanov, a town located in Ukraine’s Lugansk region. I am confident that there will never be a place for confrontation or hostility between us, given our common history.

 

————–

Scott Humor,

the Director of Research and Development

My research of the war on Donbass is available at the saker.community book store

The War on Donbass, which is called by the Western politicians and media the “Russian aggression in Ukraine” was a staged psyop.

My illustrated investigation titled Pokémon in Ukraine reveals how this psyop was staged, by whom and why.

RUSSIAN NAVY LAUNCHES LIVE-FIRE EXERCISES OFF SYRIAN COAST AMID EXPECTED US STRIKES

South Front

11.04.2018

Russian Navy Launches Live-Fire Exercises Off Syrian Coast Amid Expected US Strikes

Russian navy ships fire off missiles at a parade. Stringer/REUTERS

Russia has scheduled a missile-firing exercise in the eastern Mediterranean as US President Donald Trump have threatened Syia and Russian forces deployed in the country with “smart” missiles.

The Russian military exercises, including missile-firing, will be held from April 11 to April 26 around Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean.

A similar warning was earlier issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which had recommended all aircraft to supervise over their flights in the eastern Mediterranean region within the next 72 hours. The warning appeared due to possible airstrikes on Syria involving cruise missiles or air-to-surface missiles.

Meanwhile, the US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol plane, known as a “submarine killer”, was observed by the flying to south of Cyprus, having likely departed from Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy, and headed eastward toward Syria.

Strategic Sentinel

@StratSentinel

U.S Navy P8 Poseidon south of travelling eastwards towards .

According to the satellite images, eleven Russian battleships have already left the port of Tartus for the exercise.
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

imagesatintl@imagesatint
 ISI reveals: Disappearance of most of the Forces from Port, .
Those missing naval vessels have now been deployed at sea due to possible near-future . Only one class submarine remained.
 The Russian military exercises off Syria’s coast is another signal showing the developing escalation scennario in the region. Some media activists already described the exercises as an answer to President Trump’s threats.
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THE SAKER: HOW THE EAST CAN SAVE THE WEST

shutterstock_1041209524

30.03.2018

Written by The Saker; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

Europe: My honor is solidarity!

“That tells you all you need to know about the difference between modern Britain and the government of Vladimir Putin. They make Novichok, we make light sabers. One a hideous weapon that is specifically intended for assassination. The other an implausible theatrical prop with a mysterious buzz. But which of those two weapons is really more effective in the world of today?”.

(Boris Johnson)

Let’s begin this discussion with a few, basic questions.

Question one: does anybody sincerely believe that “Putin” (the collective name for the Russian Mordor) really attempted to kill a man which “Putin” himself had released in the past, who presented no interest for Russia whatsoever who, like Berezovskywanted to return back to Russia, and that to do the deed “Putin” used a binary nerve agent?

Question two: does anybody sincerely believe that the British have presented their “allies” (I will be polite here and use that euphemism) with incontrovertible or, at least, very strong evidence that “Putin” indeed did such a thing?

Question three: does anybody sincerely believe that the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats will somehow make Russia more compliant to western demands (for our purposes, it does not matter what demands we are talking about)?

Question four: does anybody sincerely believe that after this latest episode, the tensions will somehow abate or even diminish and that things will get better?

Question five: does anybody sincerely believe that the current sharp rise in tensions between the AngloZionist Empire (aka the “West”) does not place the Empire and Russia on collision course which could result in war, probably/possibly nuclear war, maybe not deliberately, but as the result of an escalation of incidents?

If in the zombified world of the ideological drones who actually remain in the dull trance induced by the corporate media there are most definitely those who answer “yes” to some or even all of the questions above, I submit that not a single major western decision maker sincerely believes any of that nonsense. In reality, everybody who matters knows that the Russians had nothing to do with the Skripal incident, that the Brits have shown no evidence, that the expulsion of Russian diplomats will only harden the Russian resolve, that all this anti-Russian hysteria will only get worse and that this all puts at least Europe and the USA, if not the entire planet, in great danger.

And yet what just happened is absolutely amazing: instead of using fundamental principles of western law (innocent until proven guilty by at least a preponderance of evidence or even beyond reasonable doubt), basic rules of civilized behavior (do not attack somebody you know is innocent), universally accepted ethical norms (the truth of the matter is more important than political expediency) or even primordial self-preservation instincts (I don’t want to die for your cause), the vast majority of western leaders chose a new decision-making paradigm which can be summarized in two words:

  • “highly likely”
  • “solidarity”

This is truly absolutely crucial and marks a fundamental change in the way the AngloZionist Empire will act from now on. Let’s look at the assumptions and implications of these two concepts.

First, “highly likely”. While “highly likely” does sound like a simplified version of “preponderance of evidence” what it really means is something very different and circular: “Putin” is bad, poisoning is bad, therefore it is “highly likely” that “Putin” did it. How do we know that the premise “Putin is bad” is true? Well – he does poison people, does he not?

You think I am joking?

Check out this wonderful chart presented to the public by “Her Majesty’s government” entitled “A long pattern of Russian malign activity”:

The Saker: How the East can save the West

In the 12 events listed as evidence of a “pattern of Russian malign activity” one is demonstratively false (2008 invasion of Georgia), one conflates two different accusations (occupation of Crimea and destabilization of the Ukraine), one is circular (assassination of Skripal) and all others are completely unproven accusations. All that is missing here is the mass rape of baby penguins by drunken Russian sailors in the south pole or the use of a secret “weather weapon” to send hurricanes towards the USA. You don’t need a law degree to see that, all you need is an IQ above room temperature and a basic understanding of logic. For all my contempt for western leaders, even I wouldn’t make the claim that they all lack these. So here is where “solidarity” kicks-in:

“Solidarity” in this context is simply a “conceptual placeholder” for Stephen Decatur‘s famous “my country, right or wrong” applied to the entire Empire. The precedent of Meine Ehre heißt Treue just slightly rephrased into Meine Ehre heißt Solidarität also comes to mind.

Solidarity simply means that the comprador ruling elites of the West will say and do whatever the hell the AngloZionist tell them to. If tomorrow the UK or US leaders proclaim that Putin eats babies for breakfast or that the West needs to send a strong message to “Putin” that a Russian invasion of Vanuatu shall not be tolerated, then so be it: the entire AngloZionist nomenklatura will sing the song in full unison and to hell with facts, logic or even decency!

Solemnly proclaiming lies is hardly something new in politics, there is nothing new here. What is new are two far more recent developments: first, now everybody knows that these are lies and, second, nobody challenges or debunks them. Welcome to the AngloZionist New World Order indeed!

The Empire: by way of deception thou shalt do war

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it.

(John 8:44)

Over the past weeks I have observed something which I find quite interesting: both on Russian TV channels and in the English speaking media there is a specific type of anti-Putin individual who actually takes a great deal of pride in the fact that the Empire has embarked on a truly unprecedented campaign of lies against Russia. These people view lies as just another tool in a type of “political toolkit” which can be used like any other political technique. As I have mentioned in the past, the western indifference to the truth is something very ancient coming, as it does, from the Middle-Ages: roughly when the spiritual successors of the Franks in Rome decided that their own, original, brand of “Christianity” had no use for 1000 years of Consensus Patrum. Scholasticism and an insatiable thrust for worldly, secular, power produced both moral relativism and colonialism (with the Pope’s imprimatur in the form of the Treaty of Tordesillas). The Reformation (with its very pronounced Judaic influence) produced the bases of modern capitalism which, as Lenin correctly diagnosed, has imperialism as its highest stage. Now that the West is losing its grip on the planet (imagine that, some SOB nations dare resist!), all of the ideological justifications have been tossed away and we are left with the true, honest, barebones impulses of the leaders of the Empire: messianic hubris (essentially self-worship), violence and, above all, a massive reliance on deception and lies on every single level of society, from the commercial advertisements targeted at children to Colin Powell shaking some laundry detergent at the UNSC to justify yet another war of aggression.

Self-worship and a total reliance on brute force and falsehoods – these are the real “Western values” today. Not the rule of law, not the scientific method, not critical thought, not pluralism and most definitely not freedom. We are back, full circle, to the kind of illiterate thuggery the Franks so perfectly embodied and which made them so infamous in the (then) civilized world (the south and eastern Mediterranean). The agenda, by the way, is also the same one as the Franks had 1000 years ago: either submit to us and accept our dominion, or die, and the way to accept our dominion is to let us plunder all your riches. Again, not much difference here between the sack of the First Rome in 410, the sack of the Second Rome in 1204 and the sack of the Third Rome in 1991. As psychologists well know, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

Interestingly, the Chinese saw straight through this strategic psyop and they are now sounding the alarm in their very official Global Times: (emphasis added)

The accusations that Western countries have hurled at Russia are based on ulterior motives, similar to how the Chinese use the expression “perhaps it’s true” to seize upon the desired opportunity. From a third-person perspective, the principles and diplomatic logic behind such drastic efforts are flawed, not to mention that expelling Russian diplomats almost simultaneously is a crude form of behavior. Such actions make little impact other than increasing hostility and hatred between Russia and their Western counterparts (…) The fact that major Western powers can gang up and “sentence” a foreign country without following the same procedures other countries abide by and according to the basic tenets of international law is chilling. During the Cold War, not one Western nation would have dared to make such a provocation and yet today it is carried out with unrestrained ease. Such actions are nothing more than a form of Western bullying that threatens global peace and justice. (…) It is beyond outrageous how the US and Europe have treated Russia. Their actions represent a frivolity and recklessness that has grown to characterize Western hegemony that only knows how to contaminate international relations. Right now is the perfect time for non-Western nations to strengthen unity and collaborative efforts among one another. These nations need to establish a level of independence outside the reach of Western influence while breaking the chains of monopolization declarations, predetermined adjudications and come to value their own judgment abilities. (…) The West is only a small fraction of the world and is nowhere near the global representative it once thought it was. The silenced minorities within the international community need to realize this and prove just how deep their understanding is of such a realization by proving it to the world through action.

As the French say “à bon entendeur, salut!”: the Chinese position is crystal clear, as is the warning. I would summarize it as so: if the West is an AngloZionist doormat, then the East is most definitely not.

[Sidebar: I know that there are some countries in Europe who have, so far, shown the courage to resist the AngloZionist Diktat. Good for them. I will wait to see how long they can resist the pressure before giving them a standing ovation]

The modern Ahnenerbe Generalplan Ost

The decision, therefore, lies here in the East; here must the Russian enemy, this people numbering two hundred million Russians, be destroyed on the battlefield and person by person, and made to bleed to death

(Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler)

Still, none of that explain why the leaders of the Empire have decided to engage in a desperate game of “nuclear chicken” to try to, yet again, force Russia to comply with its demands to “go away and shut up”. This is counter-intuitive and I get several emails each week telling me that there is absolutely no way the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire would want a war with Russia, especially not a nuclear-armed one. The truth is that while western leaders are most definitely psychopaths, they are neither stupid nor suicidal, but neither were Napoleon or Hitler! And, yes, they probably don’t really want a full-scale war with Russia. The problem is that these rulers are also desperate, and for good cause.

Let’s look at the situation just a few months ago. The US was defeated in Syria, ridiculed in the DPRK, Trump was hated in Europe, the Russians and the Germans were working on North Stream, the British leaders forced to at least pretend to work on Brexit, the entire “Ukrainian” project had faceplanted, the sanctions against Russia had failed, Putin was more popular than ever and the hysterical anti-Trump campaign was still in full swing inside the USA. The next move by the AngloZionist elites was nothing short of brilliant: by organizing a really crude false flag in the UK the Empire achieved the following results:

  • The Europeans have been forced right back into the Anglosphere’s fold (“solidarity”, remember?)
  • The Brexiting Brits are now something like the (im-)moral leaders of Europe again.
  • The Russians are now demonized to such a degree that any accusation, no matter how stupid, will stick.
  • In the Middle-East, the US and Israel now have free reign to start any war they want because the (purely theoretical) European capability to object to anything the Anglos want has now evaporated, especially now that the Russians have become “known chemical-criminals” from Ghouta to Salisbury
  • At the very least, the World Cup in Russia will be sabotaged by a massive anti-Russian campaign. If that campaign is really successful, there is still the hope that the Germans will finally cave in and, if maybe not outright cancel, then vat least ery much delay North Stream thereby forcing the Europeans to accept, what else, US gas.

This is an ambitious plan and, barring an unexpected development, it sure looks like it might work. The problem with this strategy is that it falls short of getting Russia to truly “go away and shut up”. Neocons are particularly fond of humiliating their enemies (look at how they are still gunning for Trump even though by now the poor man has become their most subservient servant) and there is a lot of prestige at stake here. Russia, therefore, must be humiliated, trulyhumiliated, not just by sabotaging her participation in Olympic games or by expelling Russian diplomats, but by something far more tangible like, say, an attack on the very small and vulnerable Russian task force in Syria. Herein lies the biggest risk.

The Russian task force in Syria is tiny, at least compared to the immense capabilities of CENTCOM+NATO. The Russians have warned that if they are attacked, they will shoot down not only the attacking missiles but also their launchers. Since the Americans are not dumb enough to expose their aircraft to Russian air defenses, they will use air power only outside the range of Russian air defenses and they will use only cruise missiles to strike targets inside the “protection cone” of the Russians air defenses. The truth is that I doubt that the Russians will have the opportunity to shoot down many US aircraft, at least not with their long-range S-300/S-400 SAMs. Their ubiquitous and formidable combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system, the Pantsir, might have a better chance simply because it’s location is impossible to predict. But the real question is this: will the Russians shoot back at the USN ships if they launch cruise missiles at Syria?

My strictly personal guess is that they won’t unless Khmeimim, Tartus or another large Russian objective (official Russian compounds in Damascus) are hit. Striking a USN ship would be tantamount to an act of war and that is just not something the Russians will do if they can avoid it. The problem with that is this restraint will, yet again, be interpreted as a sign of weakness, not civilization, by the “modern Franks” (visualize a Neanderthal with a nuclear club in his fist). Should the Russians decide to act à la American and use violence to “send a message”, the Empire will immediately perceive that as a loss of face and a reason to immediately escalate further to reestablish the “appropriate” hierarchy between the “indispensable nation” and the “gas station masquerading as a country”. So here is the dynamic at work

Russia limits herself to words of protests ==>> the Empire sees that as a sign of weakness and escalates
Russia responds in kind with real actions ==>> The Empire feels humiliated and escalates

Now look at this from a Russian point of view for a second and ask yourself what you would do in this situation?

The answer, I think, is obvious: you try to win as much time as possible and you prepare for war. The Russians have been doing exactly that since at least early 2015.

For Russia this is really nothing new: been there, done that, and remember it very, very well, by the way. The “western project” for Russia has always been the same since the Middle-Ages, the only difference today is the consequences of war. With each passing century the human cost of the various western crusades against Russia got worse and worse and now we are not only looking at the very real possibility of another Borodino or Kursk, and not even at another Hiroshima, but at something which we can’t even really imagine: hundreds of millions of people die in the course of just a few hours.

How do we stop that?

Is the West even capable of acting in a different way?

I very much doubt it.

The one actor who can stop the upcoming war: China

There is one actor which might, maybe, stop the current skidding towards Armageddon: China. Right now, the Chinese have officially declared that they have what they call a “comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation” later shortened to “strategic partnership”. This is a very apt expression as it does not speak of an “alliance”: two countries of the size of Russia and China cannot have an alliance in the traditional sense – they are too big and different for that. They are, however, in a symbiotic relationship, that both sides understand perfectly (see this White Paper for details). What this means in very simple terms is this: the Chinese cannot let Russia be defeated by the Empire because once Russia is gone, they will be left one on one with a united, triumphal and infinitely arrogant West (likewise I would argue that Russia cannot afford to have Iran defeated by the Empire for exactly the same reasons, and neither can Iran let the Israelis destroy Hezbollah). Of course, in terms of military power, China is a dwarf compared to Russia, but in terms of economic power Russia is the dwarf when compared to China in this “strategic community of interests”. Thus, China cannot assist Russia militarily. But remember that Russia does not need this if only because military assistance is what you need to win a war. Russia does not want to win a war, Russia desperately needs to avoid a war! And here is where China can make a huge difference: psychologically.

Yes, the Empire is currently taking on both Russia and China, but everybody, from its leaders to its zombified population, seems to think that these are two, different and separate foes. [We can use this opportunity to most sincerely thank Donald Trump for so “perfectly” timing his trade war with China.] They are not: not only are Russia and China symbionts who share the same vision of a prosperous and peaceful Eurasia united by a common future centered around the OBOR and, crucially, free from the US dollar or, for that matter, from any type of major US role, but Russia and China also stand for exactly the same notion of a post-hegemonic world order: a multi-polar world of different and truly sovereign nations living together under the rules of international law. If the AngloZionists have their way, this will never happen. Instead, we will have the New World Order promised by Bush, dominated by the Anglosphere countries (basically the ECHELON members, aka the “Five Eyes”) and, on top of that pyramid, the global Zionist overlord. This is something China cannot, and will not allow. Neither can China allow a US-Russian war, especially not a nuclear one because China, like Russia, also needs peace.

Conclusion

I don’t see what Russia could do to convince the Empire to change its current course: the US leaders are delusional and the Europeans are their silent, submissive servants. As shown above, whatever Russia does it always invites further escalation from the Empire. Of course, Russia can turn the West into a pile of smoldering radioactive ashes. This is hardly a solution since, in the inevitable exchange, Russia herself will also be turned into a similar pile of smoldering radioactive ashes by the Empire. In spite of that, the Russian people have most clearly indicated by their recent vote that they have absolutely no intention of caving in to the latest western crusade against them. As for the Empire, it will never accept the fact that Russia refuses to submit. It therefore seems to me that the only thing which can stop Armageddon would be for the Chinese to ceaselessly continue to repeat to the rulers of the Empire and the people of the West what the wrote in the article quoted above: that “The West is only a small fraction of the world and is nowhere near the global representative it once thought it was” and “the silenced minorities within the international community need to realize this and prove just how deep their understanding is of such a realization by proving it to the world through action.”

History teaches us that the West only strikes against those opponents it sees as defenseless or, at least, weaker. The fact that the Popes, Napoleon or Hitler were wrong in their evaluation of the strength of Russia does not change this truism. In fact, the Neocons today are making exactly the same mistake. So telling them about the fact that Russia is much stronger than what the western propaganda says and which, apparently, many western rulers believe (you always end up believing your own propaganda), does not help. Russian “reminders of reality” will do no good simply because the West is out of touch with reality and lacks the ability to understand its own limitations and weaknesses. But if China stepped in and conveyed that crucial message “The West is only a small fraction of the world” and that the rest of the world will prove this “through action” then other countries will step in and a war can be averted because even the current delusion-based “solidarity” will collapse in the face of a united Eurasia.

Russia alone cannot continue to carry the burden of stopping the messianic psychopaths ruling the Empire.

The rest of the world, led by China, now needs to step in to avert the war.

 

بوتين واليوم الأول بعد الانتخابات

 

مارس 20, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– غالباً ما تبرز مواقف الأطراف الدولية الفاعلة من نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية في دولة محورية موازية، طبيعة وعناوين المواجهة الآتية. ومن نوعية المواقف الأميركية والأوروبية التي كان يمكن توقّعها لمواكبة مناخ المواجهة مع نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية الروسية والفوز الباهر للرئيس فلاديمير بوتين، كلام أميركي أوروبي يشكّك في الطابع الديمقراطي للانتخابات ويتّهم الحكومة الروسية بالتضييق على المنافسة الانتخابية ويتحدّث عن مخالفات جسيمة جرى تسجيلها ويصل للقول إنّ الروس اتخذوا الخيار الخاطئ بالتجديد لخيار التوتر بين روسيا والغرب، وأنّ نتيجة هذا التصويت ستنعكس سلباً على حياتهم، سواء بسبب العقوبات أو الأزمات التي تتّهم الرئيس بويتن بالتسبّب بها، وكان يمكن أن نتوقع تجاهلاً للجدل حول صدقية الانتخابات والاكتفاء بالقول إنّ التجديد لبوتين هو تجديد للحرب الباردة وسباق التسلّح والمزيد من الأزمات الدولية.

– جاءت المواقف الأميركية والغربية متجاهلة كلّ الكلام عن اعتبار المواجهة مع روسيا عنوان السياسة الدولية، وحلّ مكانها التبشير بالتعاون البناء مع الرئيس المنتخب بصورة وصفها الرئيسان الأميركي والفرنسي بغير المفاجئة. فقد كانت النتائج العالية للرئيس بوتين متوقعة، والتطلعات هي نحو تعاون مثمر لتحقيق المزيد من الإيجابيات على الساحة الدولية وساحة العلاقات الثنائية، حتى بيان مفوضية الاتحاد الأوروبي الخاص بتقييم الانتخابات الذي تحدّث عن مخالفات سجلها مراقبون أوروبيون، لكنه دعا السلطات الروسية للانتباه لها والعمل على تلافيها لاحقاً، بينما كانت دعوات الرئيس بوتين للتعاون في التحقيق في قضية مقتل المواطن الروسي سيرغي سكريبال في لندن، تلقى التجاوب من محاوريه الغربيّين تعبيراً عن نية بطيّ ملف القضية إيجاباً، خصوصاً ما تضمّنته من اتهامات لروسيا وللرئيس بوتين شخصياً.

– كلّ هذه الإيجابية لا تعني أنّ العلاقات الغربية الروسية ذاهبة للتعاون، ولا تعني نهاية ملفات الخصومة، بل تعني أنّ الكثير من التوتر التصعيدي الذي شهدناه خلال الشهر الأخير، كان مفتعَلاً لتخديم اللعبة الغربية تجاه الانتخابات الرئاسية الروسية وما عادت ذات جدوى بعد نهاية الانتخابات. والنتائج العكسية التي ترتبت عليها في صناديق الاقتراع، فقد كان هدف حملة الشيطنة والتصعيد والتهديد، التأثير على عنوانين حاسمين في الانتخابات، الأول هو نسبة المشاركة في الاقتراع التي كانت تأمل الجهات الغربية بأن تنخفض لما دون الـ 50 في المئة بعدما كانت 57 في المئة في الجولة السابقة، لترتفع رداً على اللعبة الغربية ومناخ التحدّي الذي صوّت خلاله الروس دعماً لرئيسهم، إلى 68 في المئة بزيادة نوعية مفاجئة وغير متوقّعة. أما الأمر الثاني الذي استهدفته الحملة الغربية فهو دفع المصوّتين نحو خيارات انتخابية أخرى ترفع نسبة ما يناله المنافس الأول للرئيس بوتين فيتقلّص الفارق بينهما، بحيث ينخفض التصويت للرئيس بوتين من 60 في المئة، كما كان متوقعاً إلى 55 في المئة وينال منافسه الأول 40 في المئة ليتأسّس على هذه الحصيلة، مشاركة بـ45 في المئة ونيل بوتين 55 في المئة منها وخصمه 40 في المئة تصوّراً لمواجهة مفتوحة بعناوين متعدّدة لما بعد الانتخابات. أما وقد جاءت النتائج عكسية فمع 68 في المئة من التصويت نال بوتين 77 في المئة من المصوّتين مقابل 12 في المئة لمنافسه الأول فصار كلّ استثمار في ما بعد الانتخابات هدراً بلا جدوى.

– ستهتمّ القوى المعنية بالانتخابات في لبنان والعراق بالمعاني التي قالتها الانتخابات الروسية وسيكون على جمهور المقاومة في البلدين رفع المشاركة الانتخابية إلى مستويات قياسية وإقفال فرص الخصوم بتحقيق نتائج تتيح التشكيك في حجم الغطاء الشعبي لخيار المقاومة. فهذه هي الأولوية الراهنة والمستمرّة.

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SouthFront & The Saker video

February 02, 2018

Original video: https://southfront.org/end-wars-cheap-us/
Original article: http://thesaker.is/the-end-of-the-wars-on-the-cheap-for-the-united-states/
Many thanks to “RS” for redacting the original article for this video!

Now that the Neocons have hamstrung Trump, and with Trump’s planned impeachment and removal from office still in the future, the world must deal with the dangerous decline of the USA-led power bloc, because the Neocons are back in power and will do anything to reverse this trend. It is obvious that the only “solution” that the Neocons see is to trigger another war. So the question is: “Whom will they  strike?”

If the Neocons are out of touch with reality, then everything is possible, even nuking Russia and China. While not dismissing the Neocons’ capacity for violence, it is equally pointless to analyze clearly irrational scenarios, given that modern deterrence theories assume “rational actors” and not madmen running amok.

Assuming a modicum of rational thinking remains in Washington, DC, if the Neocons launch some extreme operation, somebody in the corridors of power will find the courage to prevent it, as Admiral Fallon did with his “Not on my watch!” comment which possibly prevented an attack on Iran in 2007. But the question remains: where could the USA-led power bloc strike next?

The Usual Scenario

The habitual modus operandi is: subvert a weak country, accuse it of human rights violations, impose economic sanctions, trigger riots and militarily intervene to defend “democracy”, “freedom” and “self-determination.” That’s the political recipe. Then there is “the American way of war,” i.e., the way US commanders fight.

During the Cold War, the Pentagon focused on fighting a large conventional war against the Soviet Union that could escalate into nuclear war. Nuclear aspects aside, such a war’s conventional dimension is “heavy”: large formations, lots of armor and artillery. Immense logistical efforts on both sides are required, which would consequently engender deep-strikes on second echelon forces, supply dumps and strategic infrastructure, and a defense in depth in key sectors. The battlefield would be hundreds of kilometers deep on both sides of the front line. Military defenses would be prepared in two, possibly three, echelons. In the Cold War, the Soviet 2nd strategic echelon in Europe was in the Ukraine! — which  inherited huge ammo dumps from Soviet times, so there has been no shortage of weapons on either side to wage the Ukrainian civil war. With the Soviet Union’s collapse, this threat rapidly disappeared. Ultimately, the Gulf War provided the US military and NATO one last, big, conventional war, but it soon became clear to US strategists that the “heavy war” era was over and that armored brigades weren’t the Pentagon’s most useful tool.

So US strategists, mostly from Special Operation Forces, developed “war on the cheap.” First, the CIA funds, arms and trains local insurgents; next, US Special Forces embed with the insurgents as front line soldiers who direct close support aircraft to strike enemy forces; finally, enough aircraft are deployed in and around the combat zone to support 24 hour combat operations. The objective is to provide overwhelming firepower advantage to friendly insurgents.

US and “coalition” forces then advance until they come under fire and, unless they rapidly prevail, they call in airstrikes which result in a huge BOOM!!! – followed by the enemy’s annihilation. The process repeats as necessary for easy, cheap victories over outgunned enemies. The strategy is enhanced by providing the insurgents with better gear (anti-tank weapons, night vision, communications, etc.) and bringing in Pentagon or allied forces, or mercenaries, to defeat really tough targets.

While many in the US military were deeply skeptical, Special Forces dominance and the temporary success of “war on the cheap” in Afghanistan made it immensely popular with US politicians and policy advocates. Moreover, this “cheap” warfare resulted in very few American casualties, with a high degree of “plausible deniability” should something go wrong. The alphabet soup agencies loved it.

But the early euphoria about US invincibility overlooked three very risky assumptions about “war on the cheap”:

First, it required a deeply demoralized enemy who felt that resistance to the USA was futile, because even if the US forces were initially limited in size and capabilities, the Americans could always bring in more forces.

Second, it assumed total battlefield air superiority by the US, since Americans prefer not to provide close air support when they can be shot down by enemy forces.

Third, it required local insurgents who physically occupy and control territory.

But none of these assumptions are necessarily true, and even better said, the USA-led power bloc has  run out of countries in which these assumptions still apply.

Let’s take a closer look.

Hezbollah, Lebanon 2006

This war involved Israel, not the USA, but it nicely illustrates the principle. While superior Hezbollah tactics and battlefield preparation played important roles, and Russian anti-tank weapons permitted Hezbollah to destroy the most advanced Israeli tanks, the most important result was that a small, weak Arab force showed no fear whatsoever against the supposedly invincible Israeli military.

British reporter, Robert Fisk, was the first person to detect the implications of this change. Fisk observed that in the past Arabs were intimidated by Israeli military power, that if the IDF crossed the Lebanese border, for instance, that Palestinians fled to Beirut. However, beginning with the 2006 Israeli assault on southern Lebanon all of that changed. A small, “outgunned” Arab force was not afraid to stand its ground and fight back against the IDF.

It was a huge change. What Hezbollah achieved in 2006 is now repeated in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere. The fear of the “sole superpower” is gone, replaced by a burning desire to settle the score with the USA-led power bloc and its occupation forces.

Hezbollah also proved another very important thing: the winning strategy against a superior enemy is not to protect yourself against his attacks, but to deny him a lucrative target. Put simply: “a cammo tent is better than a bunker.” The more academic way to put it is: “don’t contest your enemy’s superiority – make it irrelevant.”

In retrospect, the most formidable weapon of the USA-led power bloc was not the nuclear bomb or the aircraft carrier, but a huge public relations machine which for decades convinced the world of US invincibility, superior weapons, better trained soldiers, more advanced tactics, etc. But this is total nonsense – the US military is nothing like the glorified image projected to the world! When did the US last win a war against a capable adversary? The Japanese in WWII?

Russian Operation, Syria 2015

The Russian operation in Syria was neither a case of “the Russians are coming” nor “the war is over.” The Russians sent a very small force, This force did not so much defeat Daesh as change the war’s political context. The Russians made American intervention much harder politically, and also kept them from waging “war on the cheap” in Syria.

The Russians deployed to Syria without the capabilities which could deny American use of Syrian air space. Even after the Turks shot down the Russian SU-24, the Russians only deployed enough air-defenses and air superiority fighters to protect themselves from a similar Turkish attack. Even today, if the Pentagon decided to take control of Syrian airspace, the Russians don’t have enough air defenses or combat aircraft to deny Syrian airspace to the Americans. Such an attack would come with very real American political and military costs, true enough, but the realities of modern warfare are such that the tiny Russian air contingent of 33 combat aircraft (of which only 19 can actually contest the Syrian airspace: 4 SU-30s, 6 SU-34s, 9 Su-27s) and an unknown number of S-300/S-400/S-1 Pantsir batteries cannot defeat the combined air power of CENTCOM and NATO.

The problem for the Americans is a matrix of risks, including Russian military capabilities, but also  the political risks of establishing a no-fly zone over Syria. Not only would that further escalate the totally illegal US intervention, it would require a sustained effort to suppress Syrian, and potentially Russian, air defenses; that is something the White House will not do right now, especially when the results of such a risky operation remain unclear. Consequently, the Americans only struck sporadically, with minimal results.

Even worse, the Russians are turning the tables on the Americans and providing the Syrians with close air support, artillery controllers and heavy artillery systems, including multiple-rocket launchers and heavy flamethrowers, all of which are giving the firepower advantage to the Syrians. Paradoxically, the Russians are now fighting a “war on the cheap” while denying this option to the Americans and their allies.

Good Terrorists, aka “FSA”, Syria 2017

The Free Syrian Army’s main weakness is that it doesn’t physically exist! Sure, there are plenty of FSA Syrian exiles in Turkey and elsewhere; there are also many Daesh/al-Qaeda types who try hard to look like FSA; and there are scattered armed groups in Syria who would like to be “the FSA.” But the FSA was always a purely political abstraction. This virtual FSA provided many useful things to the Americans: a propaganda narrative, a pious pretext to send in the CIA, a fig leaf to conceal that Uncle Sam was militarily allied with al-Qaeda and Daesh, and a political ideal to try to unify the world against Assad’s government. But the FSA never provided “boots on the ground” like everybody else: Daesh and al-Qaeda, the Syrians, the Iranians, Hezbollah, the Turks and the Kurds. But since the Takfiris were “officially” the USA’s enemy, the US was limited in the support given to these Wahabi forces. The Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah were demonized, so it was impossible to work with them. That left the Turks, who had terrible relations with the USA after the US-backed coup against Erdogan, and the Kurds, who were not eager to fight and die deep inside Syria and who were regarded with great hostility by Ankara. As the war progressed the terrible reality hit the Americans: they had no “boots on the ground” with which to embed their Special Ops or to support.

A case in point is the American failure in the al-Tanf region near the Jordanian border. The Americans and Jordanians invaded this desert region hoping to sever the lines of communications between the Syrians and Iraqis. Instead, the Syrians cut the Americans off and reached the border first, rendering the American presence useless. It appears that the Americans have given up on al-Tanf, and will withdraw and redeploy elsewhere in Syria.

So Who Is Next – Venezuela?

History shows that the Americans have always had problem with their local “allies”. Some were pretty good (South Koreans), others less so (Contras), but US use of local forces always has a risk: the locals often have their own agenda and soon realize that if they depend on the Americans, the Americans also depend on them. Additionally, Americans are not well known for having good “multi-cultural sensitivity and expertise.” They are typically not very knowledgeable about their operating environment, meaning that US intelligence usually becomes aware of problems way too late to fix them (fancy technology can’t substitute for solid, expert human intelligence). The US failure in Syria is an excellent example of this.

Having identified some of the weaknesses of the US “war on the cheap” approach, let’s examine a vulnerability matrix for potential target countries:

Notes: “demoralized enemy” and “air superiority” are guesstimates; “boots on the ground” means an indigenous, combat force in-country (not foreign troops) capable of seizing and holding ground, and not just small insurgent groups or political opposition.

By these criteria, the only candidate for US intervention is Venezuela, where successful US intervention would require a realistic exit strategy. But the US is already overextended and cannot afford to bog down in an unwinnable war. While the Venezuelan opposition could provide “boots on the ground,” the Venezuelan pro-American forces lack the capabilities of the regular armed forces or the Leftist guerrilla groups who tolerated the Chavez-Maduro rule, but who retained their weapons “just in case.” As for terrain, while Caracas might appear relatively “easy” to seize, the rest of the country is more difficult and dangerous. As regards staying power, while Americans like quick victories, Latin American guerrillas have repeatedly proven that they can fight for decades. Therefore, while the USA is probably capable of invading and ravaging Venezuela, it is likely incapable of imposing a new regime and controlling the country.

Conclusion – Afghanistan 2001-2017

Afghanistan is often called the “graveyard of empires,” and Afghanistan may well become the graveyard of the “war on the cheap” doctrine, which is paradoxical since this doctrine was initially applied in Afghanistan with apparent success. Remember the US Special Forces on horseback, directing B-52 airstrikes against retreating Afghan forces? Sixteen years later, the Afghan war has dramatically changed and 90% of US casualties come from IEDs, all the efforts at a political settlement have failed, and victory and withdrawal appear completely impossible. The fact that the USA has now accused Russia of “arming the Taliban” is a powerful indicator of the USA-led power bloc’s desperation. Eventually, the Americans will leave, totally defeated, but for the time being all they will admit to is: “not winning.”

Here’s the dilemma: with the end of the Cold War and Post Cold War, complete US military reform is long overdue, but also politically impossible. The present US armed forces are the bizarre result of the Cold War, the “war on the cheap” years and failed military interventions. In theory, the US should adopt a new national security strategy and a military strategy that supports the national security strategy, and then develop a military doctrine which would produce a force modernization plan incorporating all aspects of military reform, from training to force planning to deployment. It took the Russians over a decade to do this. It will take the Americans at least as long. Right now, such far reaching reform seems years away. Garden variety jingoism (“We’re number one!!”) and deep denial rule the day. As in Russia, it will probably take a truly catastrophic embarrassment (like the first Russian war in Chechnya) to force the Pentagon to face reality. Until then, the ability of US forces to impose their domination on countries which refuse to surrender to threats and sanctions will continue to degrade.

So is Venezuela next? Hopefully not. But if so, it will be one very big mess with much destroyed and little achieved. The USA-led power bloc has long been punching above its weight. Prevailing against Iran or North Korea is clearly beyond current US military capabilities. Attacking Russia or China would be suicidal. Which leaves the Ukraine. The US might possibly send some weapons to the junta in Kiev and organize training camps in the western Ukraine. But that’s about it. None of that will make any real difference anyway, except further aggravate the Russians.

The Russians have succeeded in turning the course of the civil war in Syria with what was an extremely small, if highly skilled, task force.  Now, for the 2nd time, President Putin has announced a major withdrawal of Russian forces.  In contrast, the thoroughly defeated US has not only claimed the credit for defeating ISIS for itself, but has ostentatiously failed to make any announcement about a withdrawal of its own, completely illegal and mostly useless, forces from Syria.  Will they ever learn from their own mistakes?

The era of “wars on the cheap” is over. The world is a different place than it was. The USA has to adapt to this reality, if it wants to retain some level of credibility; but right now it does not appear anybody in Washington, DC is willing to admit this. As a result, the era of major US military interventions might well be coming to an end, even if there will always be some small country to “triumphantly” beat up.

‘Israeli’ Company Head To Head with Hezbollah in Social Media Wars

Fearing the list of advised equipments Hezbollah supporters suggested the ‘Israelis’ will need in the next war, an ‘Israeli’ web-design company involved itself in a social media war against the resistance movement.

The company, based in Kiryat Shmona, to the north of occupied Palestine, launched an online campaign against Hezbollah resistance movement after social media activists threatened ‘Israel’ that “the next war is approaching.”

Social Media War

‘Your ships will be attacked with rockets’

Social Media War

Sneakers ‘for a quick escape’

Last week, Hezbollah supporters mounted on social media a campaign entitled ‘Time for the Victory’ in which ‘Israelis’ are cynically advised about “equipment you should have for the next war.”

Social Media War

‘To keep your composure’

Social Media War

‘Ammonia plants are attacked with rockets’

The pictures of the equipment include, inter alia, relaxation pills “in order to keep your composure”, sneakers “for a quick escape”, gas masks for when “ammonia plants are attacked with rockets” and a torch for when “electricity plants are attacked with rockets.”

Social Media War

‘For when electricity plants are attacked with rockets’

The campaign sparked responses in the Zionist entity, including one from the company Web Yourself, which responded with its own Hebrew and Arabic offensive entitled: “What awaits Hezbollah in the next war.”

Social Media War

‘Our rockets will teach you that no dome will rise above Palestine, only the Dome of the Rock’

Social Media War

‘Our rockets will destroy your ships. The sea will bear witness to that’

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

18-08-2017 | 13:28

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