‘Samarkand Spirit’ to be driven by ‘responsible powers’ Russia and China

The SCO summit of Asian power players delineated a road map for strengthening the multipolar world

September 16 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

Amidst serious tremors in the world of geopolitics, it is so fitting that this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads of state summit should have taken place in Samarkand – the ultimate Silk Road crossroads for 2,500 years.

When in 329 BC Alexander the Great reached the then Sogdian city of Marakanda, part of the Achaemenid empire, he was stunned: “Everything I have heard about Samarkand it’s true, except it is even more beautiful than I had imagined.”

Fast forward to an Op-Ed by Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev published ahead of the SCO summit, where he stresses how Samarkand now “can become a platform that is able to unite and reconcile states with various foreign policy priorities.”

After all, historically, the world from the point of view of the Silk Road landmark has always been “perceived as one and indivisible, not divided. This is the essence of a unique phenomenon – the ‘Samarkand spirit’.”

And here Mirziyoyev ties the “Samarkand Spirit” to the original SCO “Shanghai Spirit” established in early 2001, a few months before the events of September 11, when the world was forced into strife and endless war, almost overnight.

All these years, the culture of the SCO has been evolving in a distinctive Chinese way. Initially, the Shanghai Five were focused on fighting terrorism – months before the US war of terror (italics mine) metastasized from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond.

Over the years, the initial “three no’s” – no alliance, no confrontation, no targeting any third party – ended up equipping a fast, hybrid vehicle whose ‘four wheels’ are ‘politics, security, economy, and humanities,’ complete with a Global Development Initiative, all of which contrast sharply with the priorities of a hegemonic, confrontational west.

Arguably the biggest takeaway of this week’s Samarkand summit is that Chinese President Xi Jinping presented China and Russia, together, as “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity, and refusing the arbitrary “order” imposed by the United States and its unipolar worldview.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pronounced Xi’s bilateral conversation with President Vladimir Putin as “excellent.” Xi Jinping, previous to their meeting, and addressing Putin directly, had already stressed the common Russia-China objectives:

“In the face of the colossal changes of our time on a global scale, unprecedented in history, we are ready with our Russian colleagues to set an example of a responsible world power and play a leading role in order to put such a rapidly changing world on the trajectory of sustainable and positive development.”

Later, in the preamble to the heads of state meeting, Xi went straight to the point: it is important to “prevent attempts by external forces to organize ‘color revolutions’ in the SCO countries.” Well, Europe wouldn’t be able to tell, because it has been color-revolutionized non-stop since 1945.

Putin, for his part, sent a message that will be ringing all across the Global South: “Fundamental transformations have been outlined in world politics and economics, and they are irreversible.” (italics mine)

Iran: it’s showtime

Iran was the guest star of the Samarkand show, officially embraced as the 9th member of the SCO. President Ebrahim Raisi, significantly, stressed before meeting Putin that “Iran does not recognize sanctions against Russia.” Their strategic partnership will be enhanced. On the business front, a hefty delegation comprising leaders of 80 large Russian companies will be visiting Tehran next week.

The increasing Russia-China-Iran interpolation – the three top drivers of Eurasia integration – scares the hell out of the usual suspects, who may be starting to grasp how the SCO represents, in the long run, a serious challenge to their geoeconomic game. So, as every grain of sand in every Heartland desert is already aware, the geopolitical pressure against the trio will increase exponentially.

And then there was the mega-crucial Samarkand trilateral: Russia-China-Mongolia. There were no official leaks, but this trio arguably discussed the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline – the interconnector to be built across Mongolia; and Mongolia’s enhanced role in a crucial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connectivity corridor, now that China is not using the Trans-Siberian route for exports to Europe because of sanctions.

Putin briefed Xi on all aspects of Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, and arguably answered some really tough questions, many of them circulating wildly on the Chinese web for months now.

Which brings us to Putin’s presser at the end of the summit – with virtually all questions predictably revolving around the military theater in Ukraine.

The key takeaway from the Russian president: “There are no changes on the SMO plan. The main tasks are being implemented.” On peace prospects, it is Ukraine that “is not ready to talk to Russia.” And overall, “it is regrettable that the west had the idea to use Ukraine to try to collapse Russia.”

On the fertilizer soap opera, Putin remarked, “food supply, energy supply, they (the west) created these problems, and now are trying to resolve them at the expense of someone else” – meaning the poorest nations. “European countries are former colonial powers and they still have this paradigm of colonial philosophy. The time has come to change their behavior, to become more civilized.”

On his meeting with Xi Jinping: “It was just a regular meeting, it’s been quite some time we haven’t had a meeting face to face.” They talked about how to “expand trade turnover” and circumvent the “trade wars caused by our so-called partners,” with “expansion of settlements in national currencies not progressing as fast as we want.”

Strenghtening multipolarity

Putin’s bilateral with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not have been more cordial – on a “very special friendship” register – with Modi calling for serious solutions to the food and fuel crises, actually addressing the west. Meanwhile, the State Bank of India will be opening special rupee accounts to handle Russia-related trade.

This is Xi’s first foreign trip since the Covid pandemic. He could do it because he’s totally confident of being awarded a third term during the Communist Party Congress next month in Beijing. Xi now controls and/or has allies placed in at least 90 percent of the Politburo.

The other serious reason was to recharge the appeal of BRI in close connection to the SCO. China’s ambitious BRI project was officially launched by Xi in Astana (now Nur-Sultan) nine years ago. It will remain the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept for decades ahead.

BRI’s emphasis on trade and connectivity ties in with the SCO’s evolving multilateral cooperation mechanisms, congregating nations focusing on economic development independent from the hazy, hegemonic “rules-based order.” Even India under Modi is having second thoughts about relying on western blocs, where New Delhi is at best a neo-colonized “partner.”

So Xi and Putin, in Samarkand, for all practical purposes delineated a road map for strengthening multipolarity – as stressed by the final  Samarkand declaration  signed by all SCO members.

The Kazakh puzzle 

There will be bumps on the road aplenty. It’s no accident that Xi started his trip in Kazakhstan – China’s mega-strategic western rear, sharing a very long border with Xinjiang. The tri-border at the dry port of Khorgos – for lorries, buses and trains, separately – is quite something, an absolutely key BRI node.

The administration of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Nur-Sultan (soon to be re-named Astana again) is quite tricky, swinging between eastern and western political orientations, and infiltrated by Americans as much as during the era of predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first post-USSR president.

Earlier this month, for instance, Nur-Sultan, in partnership with Ankara and British Petroleum (BP) – which virtually rules Azerbaijan – agreed to increase the volume of oil on the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline to up to 4 million tons a month by the end of this year. Chevron and ExxonMobil, very active in Kazakhstan, are part of the deal.

The avowed agenda of the usual suspects is to “ultimately disconnect the economies of Central Asian countries from the Russian economy.” As Kazakhstan is a member not only of the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), but also the BRI, it is fair to assume that Xi – as well as Putin – discussed some pretty serious issues with Tokayev, told him to grasp which way the wind is blowing, and advised him to keep the internal political situation under control (see the aborted coup in January, when Tokayev was de facto saved by the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO]).

There’s no question Central Asia, historically known as a “box of gems” at the center of the Heartland, striding the Ancient Silk Roads and blessed with immense natural wealth – fossil fuels, rare earth metals, fertile agrarian lands – will be used by the usual suspects as a Pandora’s box, releasing all manner of toxic tricks against legitimate Eurasian integration.

That’s in sharp contrast with West Asia, where Iran in the SCO will turbo-charge its key role of crossroads connectivity between Eurasia and Africa, in connection with the BRI and the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

So it’s no wonder that the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait, all in West Asia, do recognize which way the wind is blowing. The three Persian Gulf states received official SCO ‘partner status’ in Samarkand, alongside the Maldives and Myanmar.

A cohesion of goals

Samarkand also gave an extra impulse to integration along the Russian-conceptualized Greater Eurasia Partnership  – which includes the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – and that, just two weeks after the game-changing Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held in Vladivostok, on Russia’s strategic Pacific coast.

Moscow’s priority at the EAEU is to implement a union-state with Belarus (which looks bound to become a new SCO member before 2024), side-by-side with closer integration with the BRI. Serbia, Singapore and Iran have trade agreements with the EAEU too.

The Greater Eurasian Partnership was proposed by Putin in 2015 – and it’s getting sharper as the EAEU commission, led by Sergey Glazyev, actively designs a new financial system, based on gold and natural resources and counter-acting the Bretton Woods system. Once the new framework is ready to be tested, the key disseminator is likely to be the SCO.

So here we see in play the full cohesion of goals – and the interaction mechanisms – deployed by the Greater Eurasia Partnership, BRI, EAEU, SCO, BRICS+ and the INSTC. It’s a titanic struggle to unite all these organizations and take into account the geoeconomic priorities of each member and associate partner, but that’s exactly what’s happening, at breakneck speed.

In this connectivity feast, practical imperatives range from fighting local bottlenecks to setting up complex multi-party corridors – from the Caucasus to Central Asia, from Iran to India, everything discussed in multiple roundtables.

Successes are already notable: from Russia and Iran introducing direct settlements in rubles and rials, to Russia and China increasing their trade in rubles and yuan to 20 percent – and counting. An Eastern Commodity Exchange may be soon established in Vladivostok to facilitate trade in futures and derivatives with the Asia-Pacific.

China is the undisputed primary creditor/investor in infrastructure across Central Asia. Beijing’s priorities may be importing gas from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and oil from Kazakhstan, but connectivity is not far behind.

The $5 billion construction of the 600 km-long Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (Pakafuz) railway will deliver cargo from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean in only three days instead of 30. And that railway will be linked to Kazakhstan and the already in progress 4,380 km-long Chinese-built railway from Lanzhou to Tashkent, a BRI project.

Nur-Sultan is also interested in a Turkmenistan-Iran-Türkiye railway, which would connect its port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.

Türkiye, meanwhile, still a SCO observer and constantly hedging its bets, slowly but surely is trying to strategically advance its own Pax Turcica, from technological development to defense cooperation, all that under a sort of politico-economic-security package. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did discuss it in Samarkand with Putin, as the latter later announced that 25 percent of Russian gas bought by Ankara will be paid in rubles.    

Welcome to Great Game 2.0

Russia, even more than China, knows that the usual suspects are going for broke. In 2022 alone, there was a failed coup in Kazakhstan in January; troubles in Badakhshan, in Tajikistan, in May; troubles in Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan in June; the non-stop border clashes between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (both presidents, in Samarkand, at least agreed on a ceasefire and to remove troops from their borders).

And then there is recently-liberated Afghanistan – with no less than 11 provinces crisscrossed by ISIS-Khorasan and its Tajik and Uzbek associates. Thousands of would-be Heartland jihadis have made the trip to Idlib in Syria and then back to Afghanistan – ‘encouraged’ by the usual suspects, who will use every trick under the sun to harass and ‘isolate’ Russia from Central Asia.

So Russia and China should be ready to be involved in a sort of immensely complex, rolling Great Game 2.0 on steroids, with the US/NATO fighting united Eurasia and Turkiye in the middle.

On a brighter note, Samarkand proved that at least consensus exists among all the players at different institutional organizations that: technological sovereignty will determine sovereignty; and that regionalization – in this case Eurasian – is bound to replace US-ruled globalization.

These players also understand that the Mackinder and Spykman era is coming to a close – when Eurasia was ‘contained’ in a semi-disassembled shape so western maritime powers could exercise total domination, contrary to the national interests of Global South actors.

It’s now a completely different ball game. As much as the Greater Eurasia Partnership is fully supported by China, both favor the interconnection of BRI and EAEU projects, while the SCO shapes a common environment.

Yes, this is an Eurasian civilizational project for the 21st century and beyond. Under the aegis of the ‘Spirit of Samarkand.’

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

REVEALED: HOW THE US AND UK STOPPED PEACE DEAL IN UKRAINE

SEPTEMBER 14TH, 2022

Source

By Lee Camp

new report shows that Russia and Ukraine had negotiated a peace deal back in April, but the U.S. and U.K. intervened to stop it. So Russia and Ukraine wanted to end the war four months ago. They were going to end the horror and death traumatizing the Ukrainian people but NATO refused because they wanted their proxy war to continue.

Let’s take a step back and think about this.

Let’s forget the fact that the U.S. and NATO helped create the war in Ukraine by breaking their promise to Russia not to expand NATO.

Let’s forget that the U.S. perpetrated the 2014 coup in Ukraine.

Let’s forget the fact that many top US officials, including former CIA head Leon Panetta, have admitted that this is a proxy war between the U.S., NATO, and Russia.

Let’s forget the fact that Biden and Congress have sent tens of billions of dollars of weapons and aid to an army that is at least partially Nazis who don’t do a very good job of hiding that they’re Nazis.

And let’s forget the fact that even U.S. propaganda mouthpieces CBS and CNN have admitted that only about 30% of the billions of dollars of weapons have made it to the frontlines in Ukraine. The rest has been stolen and sold on the black market to terrorists and people who like using grenade launchers as coasters.

Let’s forget the fact that the U.S. government has admitted that they’re lying about what’s going on in Ukraine because they say it’s justified when in an information war.

Let’s forget the fact that a U.S.-funded committee in the Ukrainian government has called anyone reporting the truth about the war an “information terrorist” who should be prosecuted for war crimes. This includes U.S. Congressman Rand Paul and Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters.

Let’s forget th

e fact that the sanctions against Russia have backfired and are destroying the lives of average Americans.

Let’s forget that documents have already revealed that the U.S. and the West have been planning to plunder Ukraine for years.

Let’s forget all of that – and that’s a lot of forgetting. That’s Joe Biden on his worst day.

Even with all of that forgetting. Even if you’re still just waving your Ukrainian flag and refusing to hear any of those facts that I’ve just listed, would it matter to you that a new report shows the U.S. and its allies actually tore up a peace deal, stopping it from going forward, way back in April?

That’s right. Way back in April, Russia and Ukraine had tentatively agreed to a peace deal. A deal that could’ve ended all this senseless killing.

David DeCamp reports, “Russian and Ukrainian officials tentatively agreed on a potential peace deal during negotiations back in April 2022, according to a Foreign Affairs article. … The terms of that settlement would have been for Russia to withdraw to the positions it held before launching the invasion on February 24. In exchange, Ukraine would ‘promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.’”

That sounds incredible. It sounds like it could’ve ended an immense amount of suffering.

A footnote

13 Sep 2022 16:32

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Bouthaina Shaaban 

Because they cannot stop igniting wars in one part of the globe or another, that is the most pending danger NATO countries constitute to the welfare of human beings everywhere. 

Professor John Mearsheimer said the war in Ukraine will be a footnote in the history books written about the world changes this war has triggered. This remark may provide the best explanation of the huge noise the NATO countries have made about providing Ukraine with more sophisticated armaments and with billions of dollars in order to prevent a Russian victory. It also explains the big media campaign led by the West about the so-called advance made by the Ukrainian army against the Russians in Kharkov area. The press conference by NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, and the US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, has to be seen and understood in light of the dire economic crisis which is biting into Europe. 

Despite the iron fist laid on Western media, it is an open secret today that the sanctions imposed by the West against Russia have backfired on the West itself, and it has become clear that Western people are the ones suffering because of these sanctions, and not the Russian people as the western governments planned. In addition, the Eastern rapprochement between China and Russia is treading fast steps toward an alliance, and the Shanghai organization is attracting more member states, which in a short while, will become one of the most important world alliances that NATO countries do not want to see at all. Both China and Russia have announced that their future dealings and trade are going to be in Yuans and Rubles, which will start to weaken the dollar and shake its world status. 

During the week and contrary to the expectations of Western media, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, announced that he is going to Kazakhstan for a Shanghai meeting with the aim of meeting with President Putin. Every time these two leaders meet, they add another brick to the fortified base of their alliance whose grand announced aim is to change the world system into a multipolar system after getting rid of Western hegemony once and for all.

Of course, western experts and planners know all this and dread it, but instead of mentioning it or trying to address it in the real world, these jumped to the domain that they know best; i.e. the military claiming to their audiences that “Ukrainian forces have been able to stall Moscow offensive in the Donbass strike back behind Russian lines and retake territory.” On this narrative, they built the argument that NATO countries should send more support to Ukraine, with more billions of dollars and with the most sophisticated arms. Their imagination was set free to imagine that this is a very important moment for the Ukrainian people and army, and we should support them in order to prevent a Russian victory in Ukraine, as per their illusions.

First, there is no doubt that the press conference and all the media fever that came in its aftermath hailing progress made by Ukrainian forces against Russian forces was meant to change the focus of the Western people’s attention from the horrible consequences of the war on Ukraine on their daily lives and to stop the masses from taking to the streets to forcefully object to these policies, which proved to be disastrous to most of them.

Second, NATO countries have a history of supporting wars that have nothing to do with their geography or history. They now claim that they have to send hundreds of thousands of soldiers to protect the Eastern borders of NATO. What about Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria; are those also bordering NATO, or threatening its power? And what about Taiwan now; is it on the borders of NATO too?

The history of these countries proves without a shadow of a doubt that the military industry is at the core of its survival and continuity, and that is why they cannot survive and keep their hegemony over the world without this industry being well and prosperous, knowing that for this industry to be well and prosperous, it can only feed on wars. That is why they cannot stop igniting wars in one part of the globe or another, and that is the most pending danger NATO countries constitute to the welfare of human beings everywhere. 

What we have to remember is that we are dealing with two different worlds, two different systems of thinking, two different histories, and two very different objectives. The West, which has subjugated and colonized many countries across the world over centuries, has perfected the usage of media and psychological wars to keep people as its subject. Throughout history, Western colonial powers gave no thought to civilian casualties. A reminder of the answer of Madeleine Albright about millions of Iraqi children being killed; she said, “But it was worth it,” whereas Eastern powers represented by Russia in this war pay so much attention to avoiding unnecessary loss of civilian lives. They change their plans and their tactics if they can save lives in their military or on the adversary’s civilian lives. In fact, the Eastern attitude always believes in taking time. They are not in a hurry, and they do not rush to launch a media or psychological campaign because their objectives are far-reaching and by far nobler than those of the party whose main concern is to sell arms and accumulate more capital. 

For those reasons and many others unlisted here, we have to take the Hollywood postures made by the NATO Secretary-General and the US Secretary of State with a huge pinch of salt. Their major aim was to divert attention from the huge disaster they have created to their people through this uncalculated and misconceived adventure. It would have been much wiser and historically correct to review their decisions and decide whether they should continue in this futile endeavor or acknowledge the new realities on the ground born from the rise of the East and its determination, supported by the majority of people on Earth, to put an end to Western hegemony and remap the world on the basis of equal integrity and mutual respect. This may take a bit more time than what most people desire, but the train has left the station and it will undoubtedly reach its abode. The rest are insignificant details that no one will mention in the future.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Macron Insulted Africans’ Intelligence by Claiming That Multipolar Powers Manipulate Them

Global Research, August 29, 2022

By Andrew Korybko

Region: Europesub-Saharan Africa

Theme: Intelligence

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The shameless ethno-nationalist supremacy associated with his hateful remark will result in Africans doubling down on their anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanism activism since no self-respecting person would ever capitulate in the face of such blatantly racist pressure and thus voluntarily submit themselves to being dominated by their abuser.

French President Macron claimed during his latest trip to Algeria that “Many of the (information) networks that are covertly pushed (in Africa) – … by Turkey… by Russia… by China – have an enemy: France.” This was a supreme insult to all Africans’ intelligence since it channeled the discredited racist trope that they’re supposedly so stupid as to be easily manipulated by multipolar powers. Instead of acknowledging the genuinely grassroots and politically legitimate reasons why many Africans are actively rebelling against French influence in its self-proclaimed “sphere of influence” in so-called “Françafrique” like Turkiye’s Foreign Ministry suggested that he do, Macron chose to once again spew unsubstantiated smears similar in spirit to those malicious ones that it earlier made against Mali.

The reality is that the global systemic transition to multipolarity that unprecedentedly accelerated since the latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict has served to inspire the entire BRICS-led Global South to push back against the US-led West’s Golden Billion at this pivotal moment in the New Cold War between those two polar opposite models of socio-economic and political development. Moreover, many Africans felt emboldened to further intensify their efforts after President Putin unveiled his global revolutionary manifesto in late July that was followed shortly thereafter by Foreign Minister Lavrov pledging that Russia will help Africa fully complete its decolonization processes ahead of his successful trip to the continent.

Video: Freedom Convoy Solidarity in Alberta. Agreement with RCMP

Africa’s Role In The New Cold War” is destined to be that of a major battleground between the Golden Billion and the Global South precisely because its people refuse to be subjugated any longer by the former after having ruthlessly been exploited by them for half a millennium. France, which is among the most powerful of the Golden Billion’s hegemons in Africa and even surpasses the US’ influence in some parts of the continent, isn’t even hiding its neo-colonial intentions anymore after Macron ripped off his mask and started insulting Africans’ intelligence in the extremely racist way that he just did. The so-called “battle for hearts and minds” has already been won by the Global South’s multipolar Great Powers like Russia and China, who are helping to liberate all African countries with no strings attached.

They’d never dare disrespect their partners, let alone in the crude way that Macron just did, especially because they themselves have been victimized by similar forms of verbal abuse. Africans are well aware not only of those two and others’ proud anti-colonial histories, but also of just how sincerely they respect all others in contrast to the behavior exemplified by Western leaders like the French one and his peers. Macron’s racist insult of all Africans’ intelligence isn’t just rude, but also suggests that the Golden Billion is done “playing nice” after having abandoned all pretenses of their faux “politeness” that they unconvincingly attempted to practice in the past. As Western “thought leaders” never tire of reminding everyone, “might makes right” in their eyes, hence why they’re now sowing chaos across Africa.

This isn’t speculation either but documented fact after Mali recently accused France of supporting those Al Qaeda-connected terrorists that declared war on its Russian partner in late June and then the joint US- and Egyptian-led but TPLF-driven Hybrid War of Terror on Ethiopia resumed shortly thereafter on the other side of the continent. In fact, that second-mentioned conflict that first went hot in November 2020 after years of multilateral planning can be seen in hindsight as the new template that the West and its regional vassals like Egypt are employing since it was hatched as punishment for Ethiopia’s principled neutrality in the New Cold War between the US-led West’s Golden Billion and the BRICS-led Global South. It therefore follows that similarly multipolar states like Mali and others will be punished too.

Macron made a major mistake though by letting his mask slip after spewing his racist innuendo about Africans supposedly lacking the intelligence to not be manipulated by foreign powers. The shameless ethno-nationalist supremacy associated with his hateful remark will result in Africans doubling down on their anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanism activism since no self-respecting person would ever capitulate in the face of such blatantly racist pressure and thus voluntarily submit themselves to being dominated by their abuser. Far from helping the Golden Billion’s hegemonic cause like his twisted mind imagined that his crude insult would supposedly do, the French leader’s public embrace of racist tropes against Africans will only serve to accelerate the decline of the US-led West’s hegemony over that continent.

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from OneWorld

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Andrew Korybko, Global Research, 2022


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The Futility of Dialogue with Idiots and Liars

August 26, 2022

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The entire crisis could have been avoided with much less loss of life if the NATO powers had responded to Russia’s long-held security concerns.

Two weeks ago, the Strategic Culture Foundation proposed an urgent, simple test: stop the artillery shelling on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. The ZNPP – Europe’s largest nuclear power station – continues to come under military attack thereby risking a nuclear catastrophe.

It is an incredible siege situation. And one that illustrates – for anyone willing to see it, that is – the profound criminality of the NATO-backed war in Ukraine against Russia. There is nothing that the NATO powers and their lying media will stoop to. In a related illustration, the British would-be next Prime Minister Liz Truss this week said she was willing to use nuclear weapons even if it caused global annihilation. This is the same psychopathic mentality that the world has to endure from such Western regimes.

This week, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations presented photographic evidence to the Security Council that showed irrefutably that the ZNPP is being shelled by the NATO-backed Kiev regime. The trajectory of fire is from the territory held by the Ukrainian military and the weaponry includes M777 howitzers supplied by the United States.

The Kiev regime’s claims are patently absurd. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claims that Russian forces are attacking the ZNPP despite the obvious fact that the Russian military took over the station in early March, days after it launched its security operation on February 24 to neutralize mounting NATO threats from Ukraine. The Western governments and news media continue to indulge Zelensky’s blatant lie by amplifying the perverse accusations of “self-sabotage” by Russia. The United Nations’ chief António Guterres has also shamefully indulged the nonsense by pretending to “not know the truth” about “conflicting claims”.

There are no “conflicting claims”. It is starkly evident that the NATO-backed Kiev regime is engaging in nuclear terrorism by willfully attacking the ZNPP. NATO and its Ukrainian proxy are using the threat of nuclear catastrophe to demand that Russian forces withdraw from the ZNPP. It is entirely fortunate that Russia’s military secured the ZNPP at an early stage. Otherwise, the Kiev regime and its NATO handlers would have had a free hand to use nuclear blackmail.

Not for the first time, this week the Western powers abused the Security Council by allowing the Ukrainian leader to address the forum. The Council’s rules stipulate that addresses can only be made by in-person attendees. Yet, for the second time, Zelensky was permitted to speak to the Council via video link. His speech was a travesty of lies, accusing Russia of nuclear terrorism among other hysterical claims of causing world hunger and global inflation.

When Russia’s ambassador Vassily Nebenzia took his turn to set the record straight at the Security Council hearing, the Ukrainian leader refused to listen, his video link conveniently cut off.

Nevertheless, the Russian envoy presented the evidence of NATO-backed military strikes on the ZNPP and went on to cogently state that the crisis in Ukraine has been systematically instigated by the NATO powers and its Kiev proxy over the past eight years since the CIA-backed coup in 2014. Nebenzia remarked on how Western powers and the Kiev regime are living in a “parallel reality”.

It is common to hear these days how the world is subjected to a post-truth condition. In plainer language that means a world of lies, falsehoods, distortions, misinformation and disinformation. The crisis in Ukraine, the NATO powers and the Kiev regime are an embodiment of this fiendish reality.

Western regimes accuse Russia of unprovoked aggression in Ukraine. (The same regimes that have slaughtered their way through Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and continue to illegally bomb Syria, to name but a few victim nations.) They declare they are defending sovereignty and democracy. This is a preposterous charade that flies in the face of facts that the Western powers weaponized a Nazi regime in Ukraine to destabilize Russia. (An echo of how they weaponized Hitler’s Third Reich for the same purpose more than eight decades ago.) The Kiev regime has been killing its own people for eight years and committed countless war crimes. The relentless attacks on the ZNPP are totally consistent with the depraved conduct. Elsewhere, the NATO-backed regime has shelled chemical and oil plants in the Donbass territory. The Western media decline to report on these violations because that would reveal the criminal mentality and practice of the Kiev regime and its NATO sponsors.

Russia’s military operation to neutralize the growing NATO threat in Ukraine has been effective. The poisonous boil has been lanced and NATO’s decades-long aggressive expansionism against Russia has been checked. Yet Western media – the propaganda ministry that it is – claim that Russia’s intervention has been a failure. The United States and its NATO allies continue to flood Ukraine with offensive weapons even while the Kiev regime is using nuclear terrorism with these weapons and while Russian forces are destroying the Ukrainian military. That’s not a contradiction; it is a green light for more war and profits for the American military-industrial complex that underpins U.S. capitalism.

The entire crisis could have been avoided with much less loss of life if the NATO powers had responded to Russia’s long-held security concerns. But that assumes the NATO powers would have been interested in avoiding war. The damning conclusion is that the United States and its imperialist allies have always wanted the present war in order to pursue a geopolitical ambition of confronting Russia. In the same way that the U.S.-led axis wants to precipitate a war with China over Taiwan and other bogus issues.

American-led Western capitalism is addicted to war for its own ghoulish survival. A world of peaceful relations is fundamentally anathema to Washington and its vassals. But the ruling regimes can’t very well admit that pernicious motive, so they have to cover up their criminal agenda with deceptions about democracy, rules-based order, human rights and other laughable pretensions. Western media provide the necessary cosmetics for the ghoulish reality. The fact is wars and destruction are the oxygen for U.S. global power and its imperial lackeys. Dozens of wars since World War II waged by the U.S. and its international crime syndicate of NATO accomplices, especially its British henchman, attest to that naked, ugly truth.

The Ukrainian comedian-turned-president Zelensky is a liar and idiot. But he is only a bit-player in a bigger circus of imperial kabuki. His regime has used human shields and civilian centers as cover for its despicable ends. It has committed false-flag massacres in a vile attempt to blame Russia. It has diverted Russian gas from European markets while refusing to pay its energy debts. And it continues to extort Western taxpayers to foot the bill for its depredations – all too willingly obliged by Western regimes. To pay for the global-scale extortion racket, the Western public is being told to take cold showers and get used to “the end of abundance”, as France’s President (and former bankster) Emmanuel Macron haughtily advised this week.

The farce this week at the UN Security Council in which Western powers brazenly snubbed the evidence of their own criminality while giving a platform to Zelensky to peddle his ridiculous lies demonstrates a profound dilemma. Any attempt to engage idiots and liars through reasoned dialogue is doomed to fail. When dialogue and diplomacy are made futile then conflict is made all but inevitable. That dilemma has been a constant hallmark of relations with Western powers for many years. The present crisis in Ukraine is the tragic outcome. Lamentably, more such crises can be expected because the idiots and liars never stop.

Western regimes are collapsing from their own inherent loss of legitimacy. That loss is entirely due to their lies becoming more manifest despite their servile media facade. Collapse can be good. It is incontestably good in the case of ending endemic corruption. The ineffable danger, however, is what Western elites will do to avoid historic collapse. As the NATO-backed Kiev regime is demonstrating through its nuclear terrorism and as Britain’s idiotic politician Liz Truss revealed by her demonic embrace of global annihilation.

Yemen: “We Are the Terrorists.”

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Phil Butler
We are the terrorists. Americans are the terrorists creating tremendous suffering and tragedy around the world. And no, I am not the only one admitting to this. Deep down, all of my fellow citizens know what we are up to. A recent incident in Yemen drives home the hegemony my country has created, having looted, and still looting the whole.

I watched talk show host Jimmy Dore a few moments ago, laying out how the US, France, and other nations are robbing other people of this world to prop up failed super-capitalism. Dore, who has an uncanny ability to drive at the heart of matters, was interviewing Ethiopian-American Journalist Hermela Aregawi in a story about the French Foreign Legion securing Yemeni natural gas for sale to the EU. The story begins something like this from The New Arab:

“France could be gearing up to help protect a gas facility in Yemen to allow for exports in a bid to cut Europe’s reliance on Russia, according to an ex-Yemeni foreign minister.”

Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, told reporters the other day that the French Foreign Legion has arrived in Yemen’s Shabwah province to secure control of the Balhaf gas facility. He said the French are making “preparations being made to export gas from the Balhaf facility.”

Hermela Aregawi commented with Dore about how current American policies are building up massive resentment toward the United States, even in countries that were once highly favorable towards us. I know from my experience here in Greece too. As recently as three years ago, criticizing the US in any way at all brought about a look of shock among the Greek population. Today, many Greeks question our role not only in Greece but in Ukraine and other lands where proxy wars over resources burn.

The larger Yemen story also reveals the meaning of a July Paris – Abu Dhabi LNG cooperation that depends on securing Yemen’s gas resources via the Balhaf facility, owned by French multinational oil and gas company Total.

Abdulaziz Saleh bin Habtoor, Yemen’s Prime Minister, has called the world’s attention to the recent looting by the Saudi-led coalition under the watch of the United States. He says Washington is bent on getting control of the resources through Gulf proxies.

Yemeni forces have been in deadly clashes with UAE-backed southern separatist forces in Shabwa province, where Balhaf is located. Looked at in the broader scope, the Yemen situation is just a facet of a much larger looting program underway. Syria, where U.S. forces have essentially taken over the eastern oil-producing region, and the Ukraine conflict reveal the larger canvas. Looking from outer space, the battle for Earth has been raging for decades. But now, the conflict and competition have reached a crisis stage. America and the Europeans are out of gas, literally. And no matter who has to suffer and die, the liberal order cannot let the big lie slip out. Worse, the people in the so-called west don’t want to know or admit our role in pirating the whole world.

Finally, On 22 August, Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein al-Ezzi warned that the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf of Aden or any part of Yemeni waters is illegal. The minister was speaking in response to US Fifth Fleet Admiral Charles Bradford Cooper’s announcement that the US will deploy unmanned drones in the Gulf of Aden. However, the entire Yemen situation is easier to break down by revealing what all these nations want there. And, of course, the answer is precious oil and gas. I’ve discussed this before and the nature of so-called “peak oil.”

To fully cordon off Russia, Europe needs oil, gas, and plenty of it. The US cannot supply enough. It’s too far away, and America has her own needs. Yemen, however, is a relatively untapped source. Only two of the 12 significant basins on and offshore have been developed. The other ten are what’s known as “frontier basins,” according to readily available data. I believe, however, that Total and other significant players know full well another bonanza is offshore of Yemen. This GEOExPro report hints at this. The information puts current Yemen recoverable oil reserves at 4.731 Bbo, and proven gas reserves at 18.6 Tcfg. But this is 2010 estimates.

We do not need to establish the oil and gas reserves the Yemeni people are entitled to benefit from. The fact the United States, France, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the EU have their militaries, bureaucrats, and energy corporations sinking their teeth in is proof enough that the blood of Yemen children will be spilled not for some high romantic future, but so that the same people bleeding Syria, Ukraine. So much of the rest of the world dry can thrive. The French Foreign Legion defending an oil depot in the middle of nowhere says it all. We, the collective “west,” are the real terrorists.

The Western Infowar On Mali Rebrands Terrorists As Simply Being “Extremist/Jihadi Rebels”

July 23, 2022 

Source

By Andrew Korybko

The stage seems set for a French-Russian proxy war in Mali in the event that the Associated Press’ rebranding of genuine terrorists there as simply being so-called “extremist/jihadi rebels” is indeed intended to precondition the public for a Syrian redux in West Africa as was argued in this analysis.

The Associated Press, one of the leading US-led Western Mainstream Media (MSM) outlets in the world, is leading the way in that bloc’s ongoing infowar on Mali. Its military junta has become an African pioneer by showing that it’s indeed possible for the same forces tasked with enforcing the West’s neo-colonial regimes to Africa to secretly be anti-imperialist freedom fighters plotting to liberating their lands from foreign yoke once the chance presents itself, hence why that West African country’s being targeted. It’s also located in the same part of the continent that’s expected to become a major proxy war battlefield in the New Cold War between the US-led Golden Billion and the BRICS-led Global South.

In their article about the unprecedented attack against the country’s largest military base near the capital of Bamako by a group that the Associated Press itself even acknowledges is linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS, the outlet conspicuously avoids describing the culprits as terrorists, instead referring to them simply as “extremist/jihadi rebels”. This is a far cry from when the MSM rightly referred to such organizations as terrorists when France was still leading its self-proclaimed but immensely unsuccessfully anti-terrorist operation there that many locals suspected was driven by ulterior motives such as corralling such groups in the direction of shared interests instead of exterminating them.

The Malian junta’s decision in early May to break their country’s defense agreements with France in response to Paris exploiting such pacts to erode its host’s national sovereignty can be seen in hindsight as marking the moment when the MSM began to rebrand genuine terrorists there as “extremist/jihadi rebels”. The purpose in doing so is to grant a degree of tacit “legitimacy” to their cause due to what the term “rebel” supposedly implies in the popular imagination. It’s part of a larger infowar campaign aimed at preconditioning the public to accept what appears to be inevitable foreign patronage of these same terrorist groups along the lines of the Syrian model from the past decade.

Back then, the West openly supported terrorists on the supposed grounds that they were so-called “moderate rebels”, with the “moderate” qualifier being in comparison to the most backwards and barbaric terrorist groups in history even though these same “rebels” were literally indistinguishable from them and oftentimes literally members of Al Qaeda and/or ISIS. The same pattern is now being applied against Mali because employing terrorists is a Machiavellian means towards the end of regime change, which aims to remove its patriotic junta from power before it can influence those of its West African peers who still do the West’s bidding to carry out their own patriotic coups to save their states.

The Hybrid War of Terror on Syria was largely orchestrated out of that targeted country’s Turkish neighbor, while the Hybrid War of Terror on Mali will likely be orchestrated out of its Nigerien one, which will host those French forces that are being expelled by Bamako and has consistently been Paris’ bastion of regional influence alongside Chad over the decades. Just like that beleaguered Arab Republic counted on its Russian strategic partner for assistance during its darkest days, so too can the beleaguered West African republic as well, albeit probably not in any conventional form such as anti-terrorist airstrikes owing to obvious logistical reasons.

This isn’t groundless speculation either but is very strongly suggested by Foreign Minister Lavrov’s declaration on Friday that Russia will help Africa complete its decolonization process, to which end he intriguingly referenced Moscow’s historical support of building up its partners’ defense capabilities across the continent, among other means. It’s unclear exactly what military form this could take in the Malian context, but nobody should doubt Russia’s commitment to its West African partner, which has proven itself to be an African pioneer as was earlier explained and is thus of immensely strategic value for Moscow with respect to helping liberate the rest of the continent from Western neo-imperialism.

The stage therefore seems set for a French-Russian proxy war in Mali in the event that the Associated Press’ rebranding of genuine terrorists there as simply being so-called “extremist/jihadi rebels” is indeed intended to precondition the public for a Syrian redux in West Africa as was argued in this analysis. That certainly seems to be the case since there’s no other reason why that influential MSM outlet would change the way in which it describes the same groups that it used to rightly condemn as terrorists, especially considering that this coincides with the departure of French troops from the country. It’ll be regrettable if such a conflict occurs, but if it does, then Mali will fight to the end to defend its freedom.

Prepare to Freeze… EU’s Elitist Rulers Give Grim New Meaning to Cold War

July 22, 2022

Source

Russia has made every effort to keep Europe supplied. European governments in hock to U.S. imperial policy have made effort to wreak havoc on their own people.

Freezing households, crippling energy costs and associated soaring food bills are the outcome of the United States and NATO’s war agenda toward Russia. The summer season has brought sweltering heatwaves across Europe (and elsewhere) but in a few months, up to 500 million citizens of the European Union are going to face record levels of deprivation as gas shortages from Russia become fully manifest.

Russia has made every effort to keep Europe supplied. European governments in hock to U.S. imperial policy have made effort to wreak havoc on their own people.

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto while on a visit to Moscow sounded a rare note of sanity when he stated that Europe simply cannot survive without Russian energy supply. Other European leaders, however, are blinded by irrational Russophobia and subservience to American dictate. A day of reckoning is due if, that is, doomsday can be avoided.

This self-inflicted suicide of European nations has been mandated by governments that have prostrated themselves to Washington’s imperial agenda of confrontation with Russia. The war in Ukraine is the tragic outcome of a years-long US-led NATO belligerence towards Russia. Anyone who dares state that objective truth is vilified as a Kremlin propagandist. Western public discussion and critical thinking have been all but obliterated. Massive censorship of the internet has augmented that obliteration. This online journal, for example, has been blacklisted and blocked for readers in the U.S. and Europe by governments that profess to uphold free speech and independent thinking.

NATO’s relentless eastwards expansion and weaponizing of a Nazi-infested Ukrainian regime has created the current conflict and destructive consequences, including energy and food supply problems.

So obsessed are they with Russophobia and servility to Washington’s aggressive imperialism, the European elite is forcing their populations into an unprecedented Cold War that risks turning into a catastrophic world war. A war that would inevitably lead to a nuclear conflagration.

Rather than backing away from the abyss, the unelected European Commission – the executive power of the European Union – this week ordered all 27 member states to make massive cuts in gas consumption. The cuts amount to 15 percent. The measures are but a futile attempt to cover the inevitable calamity of massive energy shortages that will hit the EU this winter because of a drastic reduction in imports of Russian fuel. What the EU’s so-called political leadership is showing is a callous disregard for the living conditions of its citizens.

We are seeing the modern-day equivalent of dispatching millions of people into the muddy, bloody trenches of World War One. We may look back and wonder at that barbarity and how millions went along with it. What difference is there with today’s callousness and barbarity?

EU leaders like Ursula von der Leyen accuse Russia of “energy blackmail” and “weaponization of gas”. But such scapegoating is contemptible. The crisis situation has been engendered by the EU blindly following Washington’s agenda of sabotaging decades of reliable and affordable energy supply from Russia. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline was technically complete last year to deliver some 55 billion cubic meters of gas – or about one-third of Russia’s former total supply to the EU. Germany has chosen to suspend that pipeline at Washington’s beckoning and bullying. Even the already functioning Nord Stream 1 pipeline has been disrupted because of Western economic sanctions imposed on Russia. Scheduled maintenance of turbines was held up and nearly threatened a complete shutdown until Russia’s Gazprom managed to reconnect on Thursday despite Western obstacles.

Poland and Ukraine have also cut the overland pipeline supplies of Russian gas that were serving the EU.

Because of unilateral Western sanctions on Russian banks, Moscow was compelled to request payment for gas exports in rubles. Some European countries have refused to comply with that new reasonable payment arrangement and thus have opted to forfeit the purchase of Russian gas.

For decades, Russia has proven to be a reliable partner in providing affordable and abundant gas as well as oil to the European Union. That strategic partnership for energy supply was the cornerstone of European economies. Germany’s industries and export-led economy that drives the rest of the EU thrived on Russian energy. Perversely, the European political elite has abased itself to consort with American imperial interests, rather than protecting the interests of European populations. So much for representative democracy!

The naked self-interest of the U.S. in selling Europe its own more expensive gas is blatant. Only a fool, or a tool, could pretend otherwise.

As noted already in previous SCF editorials, Washington’s hegemonic ambitions of global dominance and of salvaging its failing capitalist power depend crucially on pursuing a new Cold War against Russia and China. The world is being thrown into perilous turmoil because of this criminal ambition. Laughably, the European leaders hold pretensions of independence and global influence. They are nothing but pathetic lackeys to American power who are willingly sacrificing their populations in the process.

The desperation of the U.S. regime and its European minions is such that their societies are teetering on the brink of collapse from economic meltdown. Their reckless warmongering towards Russia (and China) is exacerbating and accelerating their own collapse. The real danger is that the U.S. and its NATO accomplices are now betting on escalating the war in Ukraine as a way to avert the demise of their own nations – a demise that they have induced.

At a security conference this week in Aspen, Colorado, Britain’s MI6 chief warned that “winter is coming” and Western resolve will be severely tested because of cascading societal deprivation over energy blackouts. Richard Moore urged for even more weapons supply to the Kiev regime – on top of the already tinderbox situation. His reasoning, like others in the NATO axis, is to double down on a proxy war with Russia in order to avert domestic repercussions and the implosion of the Western front under Washington’s command. The very future of the U.S.-led NATO axis is at stake.

That means that as European and American citizens suffer more hardships from their leaders’ wanton warmongering towards Russia, these same Western despots are going to gamble it all on a last-ditch offensive against Russia via Ukraine. Politics and diplomacy have been abandoned. War in Ukraine is set to get worse precisely because Western elites are losing an existential conflict. Ultimately, their conflict is an internal one to do with shoring up their own crumbling inherent power to rule over their masses. That, in turn, is a concomitant of the historic failing of their capitalist economies. Militarism and war, as in past times of failure, are once again being dredged up as a desperate “solution” for their failure.

Western citizens are finding out – and paying dearly for – the grim reality of Cold War. Rather than being held accountable for reckless, criminal machinations, the insane misleaders are now trying to turn it into a Hot War.

Disaster is not inevitable. It is certainly being courted. But people can avoid the abyss by taking control out of the hands of their criminal rulers. A historic choice in direction is looming. The Western mis-rulers are trying to prevent a correct choice from being taken by ginning up war.

Finance Capitalism’s Self-Destructive Nature

July 20, 2022

Posted with Michael Hudson’s permission

Transcript of Interview on The Left Lens with Danny Haiphong May 25th, 2022

DANNY HAIPHONG: Good afternoon, everyone. Happy Wednesday, May 25th, welcome to the stream, to another left lens. Today we have a very special guest so as you’re coming in make sure you are liking the stream sharing it, make sure that you are subscribing to the channel and hitting that notifications bell, and as always you know please do support this work here at this channel and all the work that I do at patreon.com/dannyhaiphong. But with that said I want to introduce our guests because we have a lot to talk about over the next hour and it is economist Michael Hudson.

He is the author of the new book, The Destiny of Civilization: Finance capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism and I’ll pull that up from his website very soon but I want to just say about Michael Hudson is that he’s been someone I’ve been following for quite some time. He has been making the rounds on various programs talking about political economy and he’s one of the foremost voices of understanding political economy today. Hi Michael, good to be with you thanks so much for joining us today

MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to meet you, Danny.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Very very good to meet you. So I’m going to pull up your new book in a second just on your website so people know where to go and I’ll make sure to link that in the chat so people know where to get it but I want to talk about first, so I mean we’re in an economic catastrophe in a lot of ways currently and there’s a lot of talk about, inflation and money, prices are skyrocketing, and one thing I really appreciate about your work is that you really do focus on political economy and you have been talking a lot about finance capital and something called super imperialism which you’ve written a book about and that has been updated several times even just last year so I wanted to get your take on the role of finance capital uh under this imperialist arrangement and in this time of the neo-liberal era in the united states and across much of the West in the world.

What is finance capital’s role? It seems so dominant now, it seems like the dominant class at this moment that really does control the levers of economic development. Could you talk about what role it plays and how it has spurred the crises that we’re going through today and you could talk about inflation but I definitely want to just kick it to you there so our viewers can get an understanding of the economics and an analysis of this.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, most people think of all kinds of capitalism as being the same and the assumption is that industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century somehow was always financialized because there were always banks but financial capitalism is you just pointed out is a political system and as a political system it’s very different from the industrial capitalism dynamic. In industrial capitalism, the whole aim or the hope of the industrial capitalists in the late nineteenth century, especially in Germany and central Europe was that banking would no longer be just usury, it wouldn’t be just consumer lending to exploit labor, and it wouldn’t be lending to the government somehow.

The financial system  would recycle the economy savings and money creation and credit into industrial production and would finance the means of production to make that productive instead of predatory and parasitic as it became and that seemed to be the way that industrial capitalism was evolving up until World War I. Everything changed after that all of a sudden you had the financial system take over as a result of the crisis caused in the 1920s by the German reparations debt that couldn’t be paid and the inter-ally debt that was insisted upon to repay the United States for the arms that have supplied Europe for a century into World War I. Well, the result was a huge depression.

The allies said, well, we didn’t expect to actually have to pay the United States. If we have to pay the United States, then we have to charge reparations on Germany and for a decade there was a debate between John Maynard Keynes and Harold Moulton and others saying that these debts can’t be paid. How are you going to handle a situation where the debts can’t be paid?

The finance capitalists then were the basically the ancestors of today’s neoliberals and they said any amount of debt can be paid by any country if it just lowers the living standards and squeezes labor enough and that’s what basically the philosophy of the IMF ever since world war II when third world countries can’t pay the debt, the IMF comes in with an austerity program and say you have to lower wages, you have to break up labor unions, if necessary you have to have a democracy, and you can’t have a democracy unless you’re willing to assassinate and arrest the labor leaders and the advocates of land redistribution because a democracy means basically rule by the financial sector  centered in the united states. And so finance capitalism ever since WWI and especially WWII and especially since 1980 is the nationalistic doctrine of American banks and the American one percent, and the American financial sector that is sort of merged into a symbiotic unit with the finance insurance and real estate.

In other words, finance capitalism instead of trying to promote overall economic growth for the 99 percent, instead of financing the industrialization of an economy with rising productivity and rising living standards, is now cannibalizing the industrial sector, cannibalizing the corporate sector. As you’re seeing in the U.S., finance capitalism is the economic doctrine of deindustrialization that has occurred in America in England and is now occurring in Europe.

Well, the problem is how do you survive if you’re not industrializing, if you’re not producing your own means of subsistence and how are you going to get this from other countries? Well, the answer is you don’t go to war with them like countries used to go to war with each other to grab their money and their land, you use finance as the new means of war so finance capitalism is the tactic of economic warfare by the United States against Europe and the global south to sort of draw all of the economic surplus of these countries in the form of debt service and the debt service is supplied by basically economic rent seeking from land rent, natural resource rent,  and just plain interest charges on economy. So, none of these are really the result of industrial profits that are made by employing labor and uh selling its products at a markup.

Finance capitalism is not based on surplus value like industrial capitalism was. In fact, it destroys industry and in this cannibalizing of industrial capital, it basically dries out the economy and makes it unable to break even or even to function and in the United States today, for instance, if you look at the balance sheets of corporate revenue much of it is spent on stock buybacks. You buy back your own stock or dividend payouts. Only eight percent of corporate earnings are spent on new capital investment research and development: factories, machinery, and means of production to employ labor.

How did General Electric (GE) go broke? Basically, Jack Welch said let’s use our income not to continue to invest in making more electronic goods and services and appliances, let’s use it to buy our own stock that’ll push up our stock and essentially, we’ll just sell off our divisions and we’ll use the money of selling off our washing machine companies and stoves and sell it off and we’ll just pay it to the stockholders. That’ll push it up and by the way his salary was based on how much he could push up the stock of GE and he was paid in the form of stock options. Well, all of this is now the normal corporate behavior in the United States and corporations are no longer led by industrial engineers as they were a few centuries ago in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

They’re led by financial engineers of the chief financial officer and the ideal of these corporations is to make money financially not by industrial investment….. so on the narrow microeconomic level finance capitalism is a way of basically selling out a company and giving the proceeds to the stockholders and the bondholders but as a political system, because it is so destructive of the economy as you’ve seen in the United States and you’ve seen in Britain through de-industrializing it, it becomes belligerent in an attempt to make other countries just as equally paralyzed by making these countries pay tribute to the U.S. and England and the financialized economies by means of financial engineering, by means of debt service, by means of selling their mineral resources, their public utilities, their land, their roads all to foreign investors–basically to who borrows the money that’s just simply created in the U.S.  and to save all of their money in their central bank reserves in the forms of loans to the U.S. treasury holding treasury bonds which is how the international monetary system worked until just a few months ago when everything changed.

So if you’re England and America right now you can look at President Biden’s speeches and he said well, China is our number one enemy because it’s competing unfairly. China is actually subsidizing industrial development by having its own infrastructure. It gives free education instead of privatizing education and making its labor pay for it. It has public health instead of privatizing social medicine like we do in the United States and making employers and workers pay for it.

Well, industrial capitalism in the nineteenth century was all in favor of strong government infrastructure. The ideal of industrial capitalism was to keep the wage costs of production down not by reducing wages but having government provide a basic infrastructure to cover the basic
needs of employees. The governments would provide free education so that employers didn’t have to pay for it. The governments would provide medical care so that employees didn’t have to pay for it and employers wouldn’t have to pay employees enough money to cover the education costs and to cover the medical care costs. The government would build roads and infrastructure and everything to facilitate the overall cost of doing business by industrial capital.

Well finance capitalism is just the reverse. Finance capitalism wants to privatize and take education, medical care, roads, turn the roads into toll roads, and take all of these and privatize them and make them financial  corporations that will essentially pay out their economic rent to the bondholders and the stockholders and this economic rent adds to the cost of education and everything else that workers need to live on so the result is to make it a high cost economy and that’s why Biden has said China and Russia are America’s enemies because the only way that America can succeed given our privatized economy, given the fact that Americans have to pay up to forty three percent of their income for rent, given the fact that eighteen percent of America’s GDP is for medical care, given the heavy student loan debt–only if other countries tie themselves in the same knot, only if other countries impose the same economic overhead on their labor force and on their industry can there be equal competition.

If other countries have a mixed economy and are more efficient because they have an active government providing basic needs, that’s “autocracy” and that’s the opposite of “democracy.” Democracy is where everything is privatized and ultimately the one percent own everything.

Autocracy is any government that’s strong enough to have its own public investment. Any government strong enough to tax or regulate the financial sector is called “autocracy” so the U.S. in the 19th century would be called an autocracy as I guess the Austrian school called it  – civilization is basically an “autocracy.”

There never has been an unmixed economy without government regulation, without a government investment, although Rome began to get to that point at the end of its empire and we all know what happened to it. So basically, finance capitalism is a predatory international economic policy aimed at draining the rest of the world all to pay the leading one percent of wealth holders in the U.S. and their satellite oligarchy in England and a few European countries.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Well, I mean that was an incredible summary with so much in there. I mean what you describe reminds me of what we have called at Black Agenda Report, this Great Race to the Bottom, like that is what finance capital facilitates because it’s you know there’s a lot of talk about outsourcing and production going from the U.S. and the West to other places, the global south, poor countries, oppressed nations, and all of it is underwritten by finance capital because it’s this international monetary system that you describe which is actually plundering the Global South for super profits and also plundering the United States and the West’s economic base for super profits.

So it’s like the super profits come rolling in from all sides and oftentimes the jingoists and the chauvinists will frame things as oh well China is taking our jobs. They rarely say Bangladesh or some other country that is actually being super exploited. So in many ways it’s framed like that to distract us from everything that you described. The fact that this class and this policy are plundering from all sides.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, you use the word super profit and, in a way, what is super profit? Super profit is what the classical economists called economic rent. It’s over and above profit. Profits are made by employing labor and basically that’s not how most wealth is created in today’s world. A financialized economy sees wealth is not created by making profits by investing in factories and plant and equipment and employing labor to make a profit, it’s made on getting a third world country, a global south country in debt and saying well if you can’t pay the debt yeah that we’ve given you then you have to sell off your raw materials, your land, all of your natural monopolies and the way to make money in finance capitalism is to buy up the monopolies and the whole idea of industrial capitalism was to get rid of economic rent.

The main aim was to get rid of the landlord class that was the carryover from feudalism, the warrior warlords that had conquered England and France and other countries. Land was to be brought into the public domain. That was the first item in the communist manifesto. You tax the land rent and then nationalize and socialize the land. The idea was to get rid of monopoly rent because monopoly rent is unearned income and to get rid and essentially to get rid of financial rent of interest that is just made as John Stewart Mill said and you ‘make it in the sleep’ if you’re a bond holder or a landlord. You get the rents not from playing any productive service at all but making this money in the sleep and so that has nothing to do with profits.

Unfortunately, the national income accounts don’t label economic rent as a distinct category they call any income that someone makes whether it’s a Goldman Sachs and Citibank or GE or any country and call it earnings and the theory is that everybody earns what they make but that wasn’t the idea of industrial capitalism.

The idea of industrial capitalism is from the physiocrats and Adam Smith and John Stewart Mill and Marx was that earnings were something that was actually made productively with money by employing labor to produce a surplus that would be reinvested but economic rent was unearned and that’s why natural monopolies should all be kept in the public domain instead of being available to be monopolized. So, like in America when Indiana ran into trouble it privatized and sold out the roads to be made into a toll road and now almost everybody avoids the toll roads and drives on the side roads.

When Chicago had problems paying its local debt, they sold the rights to the sidewalk and parking meters causing vast increases in the cost of living and doing business if you live in downtown Chicago where you have to park a car. So the ideal of industrial capitalism was I guess what Schumpeter called creative destruction by lowering the cost of production the way that a country would, an industrial country would win out in the world market, first England then the United States, Germany, Japan, and the way that they went out was by underselling competitors.

But finance capitalism adds as much as it can to the cost of production. It adds as much as it can to the cost of living because instead of treating education and healthcare and transportation as a public right, a natural human right, it’s all privatized by the one percent.

DANNY HAIPHONG:  Yeah, I mean it’s so true. Even in the Communist Manifesto there’s a section where Marx outlines the very idea of what socialism would look like and in it, it’s explicit how socialism will begin with the commanding heights of the economy, as you said these natural monopolies, they were going to be public owned like that’s the only way that you can have anything remotely socialist and now we’ve gotten to the point where finance capital has usurped them, has completely privatized them or is attempting to with whatever is left of the public domain, the public sector so to speak globally. And you bring up this really interesting point about the cost of everything going up, especially the cost of production.

I mean that’s just seen in how a lot of these big corporations have enormous amounts of debt now, corporate debt is at this astronomical level and you think well, look at all these super profits they’re making, look at all these huge profits they’re making. We always hear about all these corporations making these huge profits but we rarely hear about all the debt that these corporations are accumulating because of finance capital and so it’s really incredible.

I love talking about this because it’s these things that we don’t hear about because finance capital really is writing the rules and they have such undue influence over the media and over so many things. So I wanted to ask though about China so let’s just jump there because I want to ask you a question because I recently got into a debate with this, I don’t even know if I want to call a journalist but he’s a commentator, Matt Stoller. He’s very anti-China and this is a talking point especially on the far right but I would say that a lot of people think this, a lot of people think China and Wall Street are merged together, that they work together to undermine workers across the world especially in the capitalist epicenters, of the finance capitalist epicenters so to speak, U.S. and the Western countries.

Could you talk about China and its monetary system? You mentioned it briefly about why the U.S. is so hostile right now, why Biden can’t stop talking about competition and autocracy versus democracy. You talk about the differences in the monetary systems and how China treats finance because I think this is not really well understood and it has global implications. I think it has huge implications because I think there’s a general shift in a direction of how we address this flailing dollar-led economy, the global economy of imperialism and China is really at the center of this so could you speak on this if you would?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, what gets Americans so upset is that China’s getting rich by doing
exactly what the United States did in the 19th century. I’ve written a book America’s protectionist takeoff where I described the whole idea of American protectionism was tariff protection for its industry, government subsidized research and development, government subsidy of industry by having infrastructure as a fourth factor of production alongside land labor and capital – and it was supposed to have public banking.

So basically China, like the United States, said we want to raise the living standards of labor not because of an abstract ideal but because highly paid labor is more efficient labor, a highly paid labor is more educated, it’s better fed, it’s healthier and the Americans in the nineteenth century pointed out that America was the highest paid labor in the world but it was also the most productive and high paid labor outsold pauper labor.

Well China began under Mao with, you’d look at pictures back in the fifties, and even early sixties and you’d see masses of beggars and I’d look at the pictures and I said how on earth are they going to solve this problem? Well, they actually did it and China realized that in order to survive in the modern world you had to have uh well-paid, well-housed, well-fed, well-educated labor and they’ve done it.

The difference is that America had kept money creation in the hands of the treasury ever since the greenbacks in America’s Civil War. Basically, the government created money but in 1913, JP Morgan and the financial sector got together and they said we’ve got to get the government out of money and credit. If we can control money and credit, we can control the economy so they convinced President Wilson to have the Federal Reserve. They said we’re not even going to let a treasury official be on the Federal Reserve.

We’re going to move the Federal Reserve banks out of Washington. We’re going to have the key bank in New York where Wall Street is the ideal of a Federal Reserve to make a centrally planned economy and America is a much more centralized planned economy than China but its centralized planning is on Wall Street by the financial sector, by the leading financial corporations instead of the government.

So, where America took economic forward planning out of the hands of the government in 1913, China has kept the financial system in the hands of the government. Let’s look at how these two countries create money in a different way since the Obama depression began in 2008.

The Federal Reserve has created a tidal wave of credit, all into the stock market, in the bond market, all of this recent zero interest policy. This flood, these nine trillion dollars of federal reserve credit has only been to support banks, real estate prices, bond and stock prices, to support property prices. That’s not what they do in China, although the prosperity that China has created has increased uh housing prices and there has been private credit increasing housing prices. China has kept money creation in the hands of the government itself so that when the government creates money it can finance the creation of factories plant and equipment, dams, transportation infrastructure, public housing.

It doesn’t create money to lend to financial speculators and stockholders to increase their holdings, it creates actual tangible means of production. Now of course, if you create tangible means of production and employ labor and have high speed railroads and research laboratories,  you’re going to overtake countries that are busy closing down the factories and cutting back research and development because they want quick payouts.

So the chief public utility to be kept in the public domain, (China realizes and has realized from the beginning) is the banking system and credit creation even so there’s still private credit creation to some extent. They’ve also let some participation by American Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs because it’s hoped, it wants to avoid war and it hopes that it can by providing opportunities for financial profit to American companies that will somehow uh convince Wall Street to resist the Biden administration’s race hatred of China and the attempt to move towards a new war against China.

Obviously, the assumption that China made that seemed rational at the time was well the American economy is run by Wall street so if we can have Wall Street say we’re doing just fine with China, everything’s going to be okay. But Wall Street and the Federal Reserve bank and the  treasury have not even been consulted on this year’s war, NATO’s war with Russia in Ukraine at all. It’s Blinken and Biden and the neocons basically are waging a war that has sidelined finance and the result is to create the present crash in stock market prices and the parallel decline in bond prices.

So, finance capitalism is intrinsically self-destructive whereas industrial capitalism is self-expansive. Finance capitalism is self-destructive and that’s exactly what’s happening today and that’s what China wants to avoid by basically following the logic of what used to be called industrial capitalism.

By the 19th century, everybody used the word socialism and it wasn’t only the Marxists that were using the word socialism. There were Christian socialists, libertarian socialists, anarchist socialists and all different kinds of socialists. They recognized that you have to have the government sponsorship of a balanced and fair economic development. You have to prevent people from getting rich not by providing any productive service at all but just by being good rip-off artists and that’s basically what finance capitalism is: opportunity for rip-off artists to get rich uh by taking money away from the 99 percent, into their own hands.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Yeah, and that’s exactly what has happened and we’ve seen the differing results between China and the United States since that crash. China was able to sustain growth despite the worldwide economic crisis. As you said, living standards still rose. I think wages were going up something like seven to ten percent every year after the financial crisis and a lot of that was because of investment in jobs.

I’ve spoken to people in China and they say well in China if you go work for a factory, wages tend to rise and actually workers want to go there and sometimes they don’t want to leave even though China is trying to move more into the high-tech sector and the service sector. A lot of people want to stay in the factory jobs because it’s paying and it has some of these benefits and subsidies that are very alien here now.

I tell people there’s a housing allowance and they’re like what’s that? Like how could you say that? It’s China! China’s horrible! It’s like, well, you know factory workers have a housing allowance. How are you going to reproduce labor? We look at Marx and China’s very big on Marx. Look at what Marx was saying you got to reproduce the worker, you got to make sure that the worker has what they need, like that’s the bare minimum of what any economy should do but that’s what capitalism was originally supposed to do.

You reproduce the worker so you can extract the surplus. Finance capital is a great race to the bottom that workers oftentimes are not reproducing themselves. There’s a huge crisis of life expectancy and all sorts of things that didn’t used to be characteristic of capitalism. Standards used to rise as capitalism developed more advanced productive forces.

You mentioned this current crisis of the dollar and finance capital kind of being sidelined in the Ukraine crisis. I find this very interesting because finance capital is so hegemonic and it has so much influence over Washington and Europe but what you’re saying is very true because and we just see it that there’s just a catastrophe. There’s this huge inflation and there’s the crisis of the dollar like what’s happening here?

How come it seems that the further and further the United States gets into this proxy war with Russia over Ukraine, the more and more it deepens its involvement, and it’s been a long involvement, it’s not just since February, but ever since this period we’ve seen just this impending economic collapse. So, what’s happening here? Why is it that finance capital is sidelined and how do you see this going with the Ukraine crisis especially around the dollar?

MICHAEL HUDSON:  What do you mean by crisis of the dollar?

DANNY HAIPHONG: Well, it seems like what the United States is trying to impose its hegemony through its foreign sanctions, is having this blowback effect where now you have countries seeking alternatives to the dollar and the U.S. seems to be more economically vulnerable even though it’s expanding and trying to dominate. It’s this very strange contradiction that feels very unstable and it feels like the dollar is artificially inflating itself as it is also dealing with the fact that there is no end game here in Ukraine. It seems like messing with a big country like Russia and its relationship to Europe is moving us toward economic catastrophe, an economic crisis if there’s not already one underfoot.

MICHAEL HUDSON:  No that’s not what’s happening with the dollar at all. People with all of the emphasis on America’s war against Russia to try to break it away from China before going to war with China, the first thing that America wanted to do was to lock in its control over Europe because that’s the easiest way to get things is you want to take over the richest economies in the
world and lock them into the United States and that means taking over the Eurozone, England and Japan. And the dollar has been soaring against these currencies.

To put it another way, the Euro has been plunging toward one dollar per Euro. The pound sterling has been plunging to one dollar per sterling. The Japanese yen has been plunging even more so there’s a huge movement to safety into the dollar.

The Americans have successfully destroyed the basis of European industry. They’ve finally beaten Germany. They’ve left Germany without energy and GDP in any country compared to energy per worker and basically the productivity that makes goods is basically embodied energy and Europe has been getting its energy from Russia in the form of gas and oil.

Well, the United States has asked Europe to commit economic suicide basically by saying, “don’t buy Russian gas, wait three or four years, spend five billion dollars on building new ports so that you can import American liquefied natural gas at seven or eight times the price and meanwhile let your chemical industry, your car industry, your basic industries go bankrupt.  Take it on the chin for America and Europe said, “okay not Europe but the politicians that America have meddled in European politics to promote to sign on the dotted line for treaties” made that decision so even if the Europeans don’t want to commit suicide, America has its proxy politicians in its Tony Blairs, in the head of the social Democratic Party in the advocates of pollution and global warming at the head of the Green Party.

You have in England you have a Boris Yeltsin and in Japan you have leaders who are willing to continue to sacrifice Japan’s growth to serve the United States. So these countries, the investors in Europe, England, and Japan are moving their money into the United States especially because the United States is raising its interest rates through the Federal Reserve and that’s telling Japan and Europe not to do it so the Eurozone has very low rates.

People are borrowing at under one percent and moving it into the United States to make two, two and a half percent. Japan has almost interest-free money from the central bank. It’s moved its money into the U.S. so the dollar, while I won’t say it’s soaring against these currencies, other currencies in the U.S. orbit are collapsing against the dollar because they’re following U.S. advice.

So, I think when you say other countries are breaking away, you’re talking about the bulk of the world, Central Asia and Latin America and China and the key to the present New Cold War is America has to achieve its almost dictatorial dominance over Europe and Japan. It’s the client oligarchies and client dictatorships and without realizing that this is American democracy, where the leaders of the whole world follow what the United States tells them to do because the United States identifies itself as the democratic center.

So democracy no longer means a political system where voters get to determine who is in charge, democracy is the policy dictated by the United States State Department. Any country that goes its own way or develops the power potentially to go its own way such as China and Russia is called an autocracy. So, you have to realize in today’s world democracy is autocracy and autocracy is democracy.

You could say yeah, the question is of course will the world really break into two halves and it looks like it is breaking into parts and there will be the U.S. and its allies, the U.S., Europe, and Japan against a Eurasian core that will go hand in hand with Africa and Latin America and other Asian countries who are able to rely on trade and investment among themselves. And the United States by seeming to isolate Russia and China and Iran and other countries actually is isolating its own dollar from the rest of the world. So, there is an iron curtain but it’s not to keep other countries out, it’s to keep its own allies within.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Do you see this succeeding? We’ve been hearing a lot about Russia’s relationship with Europe and just how deep its energy sector is with Europe and how that relationship is a very difficult relationship to break economically. Although Europe is doing everything it can, everything you’ve described. It made me think about how throughout this crisis Europe, because of the dominance of the U.S. and just listening to whatever the U.S. said, was actually going way above and beyond what the U.S. would commit to in terms of Russia and how economically they would wage this kind of warfare. But China and Russia, with Russia’s energy and its natural resources but China I think in a broader kind of portfolio, have so much to offer to Europe, do you think that this will succeed?

Europe has been going the road of austerity for many years but this seems like such a huge step in that direction. Europe could look very much like the United States very soon. Do you see this working given how China has so much to offer it and already has a lot of countries in Europe maybe not the biggest of the clients like the UK for example but a lot of European countries have big relationships with China even the UK does despite all of the nonsense, all the New Cold War stuff. What do you think? Do you think this will work?

MICHAEL HUDSON: There’s a lot of crap that futurists tend to fall into and that’s imagining that countries are going to act in their self-interest. This is the mistake Stalin made with Hitler. He thought if Germany attacks Russia in World War II, it’s obviously going to lose. No sane country would attack Russia just as winter’s coming but Hitler attacked Russia. You’d think that if you tried to say what is a logical future.

Let’s go back to 1991 when the Soviet Union self-dissolved. The whole idea, the dream at that point according to Russia’s leaders was well, if we can have peace, we’re not going to have a war budget anymore. Europe is going to invest in us and help us rebuild a rationalized, efficient industry and we will trade with Europe and we’ll both get rich on mutual trade.

Well, this terrified the United States. It said, “oh my! We want it, we Americans want to be the beneficiaries of Russia.” We don’t want to trade with it. We want to carve it up and privatize it and take over. Basically, have Wall Street take over its oil resources, its gas resources, its nickel resources, its electric utilities. The last thing America wanted was this symbiotic mutual gain between Europe and Russia and I think that Putin and most of the leaders at that time expected that Europe would act in its self-interest and they could both end up gaining.

But that’s not what happened obviously. Europe followed American dictates and continues to because it’s, again, its leaders follow, its leaders are really just like Zelensky in Ukraine, they’re just as dependent on what the State Department dictates to them to do as Zelensky is. And there’s something evangelistic about it.

The Europeans I’ve spoken to really believe that America is the land of the future and that neoliberalism, that finance capitalism, somehow is going to be an ideal of private enterprise. They’ve bought the rat poison, they’ve eaten the rat poison, and they actually believe it and think of themselves not simply as servants of the United States following what it’s doing. As the Pakistan former Prime Minister said a few weeks ago, slaves of the United States policy, they actually are evangelistic promoters of neoliberalism and as sort of disciples, just as bishops you could say really. It’s like a religion and they treat the American-centered neoliberalism as the new religion . It’s literally a crusade against Russia and Europe and I think this has shocked Putin.

I would imagine the Chinese leadership also thinking: How can Europe be so completely unrealistic? How can its media lie so constantly about what’s really happening in Ukraine? How can Europe deify the neo-Nazis in Ukraine as freedom fighters, as heroes, as wonderful people to be supported? I think this has been such a shock to the Russian leadership that they realize finally that, well, Europe is not going to act in its self-interest.

There is not going to be any mutual gain.  Europe again and again is just going to grab any money that we have there like they’ve grabbed our whatever was in European or American banks. There’s really nothing we can do. So there’s been a fundamental reorganization with Russia and the rest of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), meaning not only with China but with Iran, with India, with all of the other Eurasian countries. So, in that sense the United States has brought about exactly what it feared. The whole rest of the world is going its own way productively in a capital investment way, raising living standards, things that democracies are supposed to do well.

In the United States, we really don’t have democracy because the political parties are controlled by the donor class, the one percent, that’s what the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling meant. The United States is left without any means of self-support and Europe will be left without any means and self-support at some point. Europe may say, gee we made a mistake, maybe we should have tried to profit from Russia because everybody else is profiting with and getting Russian gas and nickel and China and other countries are rebuilding Russian industry and we could have had our car industry build up Russia but we don’t have a car industry anymore because it doesn’t have the gas that it needs and the raw materials and titanium it needs from Russia so now, we’ve seen other countries replace us.

And so, Europe has been rendered pretty much obsolete and even if it says we made a mistake, let’s be friends again, I don’t think Russia or other countries will trust it mainly because they can afford not to trust it.

They say, why take a risk with trusting Europe may not just continue to be America’s poodle?

Why take a risk? Why not just say, we’re doing just fine the way we are? Why not just work with each other peacefully? And all that the United States can do about this is threaten to bomb it and the way to stay away from this threat is simply to say look, you go your way, we’ll go our way and to have enough of the military between them to defend themselves against the American potential military attack despite the almost eight hundred military bases the United States has. If the United States is not getting foreign exchange from these countries anymore, the dollar with the euro and the yen and the sterling will all go way down against the Eurasian currency block and they’re going to move into a common block with their own counterpart to the IMF, their own counterpart to the World Bank, their own trade organization and the world will be split into two parts – just like the world split when the Roman empire fell apart and the east went forward, Western Europe went down. This is really the final submergence of western Europe.

DANNY HAIPHONG:  Yeah, I mean you have more activity now in the BRICS plus, right. The BRIC countries are trying to move forward and add more partners and expand their financial operations. I mean there’s so many multilateral institutions mainly led by China with Russia’s heavy involvement and in other countries that are building a kind of independent monetary system and economic development system that can as you said ‘avoid the risks’.

The Ukraine crisis is such a huge deal in part because of how geopolitics like you were saying, geopolitics plays such a big role. What the United States has done and what Europe has done during this Ukraine crisis is show countries like Russia and China that they not only cannot be trusted but it’s almost a guarantee that not only will this Ukraine situation have no quick ending right, there’s no like, we’re pulling out! The ball is rolling and they can’t catch it. They’re not going to be able to stop what they’re doing. There’s so many issues with that but they’ve even escalated the situation. You have countries like Finland and Sweden saying we’re going to join NATO. You have just so many, just all of these points that show that the United States and Europe can’t be trusted.

What are you to do other than make sure that you can keep the right, as China says, to sovereign economic development safe? And the only way you do that is by increasing that sovereign part, sovereignty, and I think Russia learned a big lesson here. I mean you mentioned those assets that were stolen. They were just stolen. It was bigger than Afghanistan which had the same situation happen to it but with Russia it was probably the biggest problem with all the economic moves that were made against Russia, the assets being stolen right out from under it. That’s a huge blow economically and it facilitated so much change.

But I wanted to and you know this is the last question because I feel like a lot of these developments are leading to a positive thing that we see countries like China and Russia increase the sovereignty of their economic development models. Can you end with talking about socialism and you know, where do you see this concept of socialism going as an economy, as
a political economy?

We know China has its model, other countries are trying their own models, but what do you think are its prospects now in this environment because China has its particular model, it seems like a lot of countries want to emulate that. You see Cuba and other countries wanting to understand how to do what China has done because it is an economic miracle in a lot of ways.

You were talking about how China was living, how people were living in China just in the sixties and seventies, it’s just a completely different situation. What do you see the prospects of it in this a very chaotic environment, the geopolitics imperialist finance capital it’s creating all this chaos, what do you think the prospects are and could you I guess enlighten our audience about socialism and your work on it?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well socialism is really how industrial capitalism of the 19th century was
supposed to evolve. Everybody thought that it was going to evolve into a more democratic system because the first aim of industrial capitalism, what it really needed politically was to get rid of the landlord class because there’s no way that, as David Ricardo pointed out, there’s no way that England could become the workshop of the world if you let the landlord class continue to get more and more land rent and force labor to pay more and more for its food.

Today, it’s housing as well as food. There’s no way that it could be competitive so in order to get rid of the landlord class, you had to get rid of the house of lords in England and the upper house in every European country because the upper house and the senate were controlled by the hereditary landlords and so industrial capitalism backed democracy.

Already by 1848, the year that the Communist Manifesto was written, that led to revolutions all over European countries getting rid of the old aristocracy. Well, the rentiers fought back and actually it was wasn’t until World War I that the monarchies were overthrown and the aristocracies connected to the monarchies and land no longer was owned by a hereditary class. It was democratized but it was democratized on credit and that you had the banking system replay the role that the landlord class had played out before and the bankers were the new rentier class. The bankers were the new people whose interest charges and debt services and privatization of economic rents prevented economies from underselling non-rentier economies.

So, socialism was basically getting rid of the free lunch. Marx described capitalism as being revolutionary because he said what was revolutionary was getting rid of all of the unnecessary cost of production and that meant the unnecessary rentiers, the rent seekers, the coupon clippers, the financiers, and the monopolists. Everybody could agree that socialism was getting rid of this parasitic class that was not necessary for economies to grow and actually whose takings slowed the economy.

Socialism was to free economies and free markets from rent seeking, not freedom for rent seeking. After the 1890s, socialism was to get rid of a free lunch income whereas finance capitalism is all about how to get a free lunch if you’re a member of the one percent.

So in one sense, socialism is freeing economies from the legacy of feudalism which fought back in the modern world into a kind of neo-feudalism operating through financial control, not simply land ownership and monopoly ownership. And China has been able to get rid of this and at the same time avoid the central planning that gave socialism a bad name under Stalinism because China said well, let one hundred flowers bloom and we’re going to we realize that we can’t plan all sorts of innovations because there are so many possibilities of productive innovations.

We’re going to let people get rich by being creative, by being productive, by adding but we’re not going to let them get super rich. They can get pretty rich but then at a certain point they’re so rich that they’re getting rid of a monopoly we’re going to sort of cut down the high grains of wheat as they say so they’ve got a sort of consensus government where this occurs.

Other countries will have great difficulty putting this in place because there really isn’t any economic doctrine of socialism that’s been developed recently. There’s been just an out of hand rejection of all discussion of what socialism really was and what makes a socialist economy more efficient than a finance capitalist economy and that really is the key.

If countries, if economic theory, would talk about what makes a socialist country more efficient- lower cost with higher living standards-then it wouldn’t be economics anymore because economics are what gets published in the University of Chicago economic journals. I don’t know what you should call it, futurism or reality economics. There has to be a new discipline that our countries are going to develop to try to explain how to think about developing a world that doesn’t have parasites in it.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Right, so true. I mean what you were saying about all this, it just gets you thinking about what China has done to be able to control these forces. You see it in the tech sector especially, now you see it with this common prosperity drive. Like there is a drive to control these forces that can, as industrial capitalism found out of the old in America and Europe, you let those forces get out of control and then finance capital turns around and takes everything. And China has prevented that and you don’t hear it, even in like the Bernie Sanders social democracy milieu, you don’t hear them talk about this.

They’ll say like socialism is when you have Medicare for All but it’s not just that, it’s how as you were saying, what are the forces that need to be arrested? What are the forces that need to be strengthened to be able to ensure that the public good and public wealth is protected? That’s not in the discussion. It’s still not in the discussion.

I mean, it’s not on discussion even among the most so-called progressives. But they don’t talk about it like that because as you said earlier, it’s like autocracy or authoritarianism or something when a government is strong in the interests of economic development for people. It’s almost like finance capital has dominated even just the idea of it and the idea of what socialism is and what it could be.

But Michael, do you have like five to ten more minutes for a couple of questions? We had some in the audience and I think one of them is very good and I wanted to know your take on it.
Thank you for the super chat. So, they said that the People’s Republic of China has three trillion in USD foreign exchange reserves. What measures, I know that you’ve done a lot of work in China and you’ve done a lot of work around this. This person’s asking, what measures should the central government take to ensure they don’t get seized just like how the U.S. seized Russia’s foreign exchange reserves but I’ll let you answer that because I think that’s a great question.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, I bet this is just what they’re discussing right now in China. Because of COVID, I haven’t gone there since 2019 because I’d have to be isolated in a hotel room for two weeks so I’m not party to their discussion but they’re obviously worried that the Americans can do to them what they did to Russia. What are they going to do?

They need to keep some dollars just to intervene in the foreign exchange market to stabilize their exchange rate but they don’t need too many dollars and in fact in the third edition of my book Super Imperialism, which is coming out in Chinese now, the first edition sold about sixty thousand copies there and it is the first book of mine translated in China. So that was all about this question that you asked. This is very much in discussion now.

How do they run down their dollar holdings and what are they going to replace it with? Well, in principle they can replace it with holding each other’s currencies: Rubles, Indian currency and Pakistan currency and with gold because gold doesn’t have a liability attached to it. It’s a pure asset.

The world, the whole world is now de-dollarizing. America has, or Biden has, killed the dollar standard. This was America’s free lunch, being able to print dollars and never have to pay them back and now countries are all going to be dumping the dollars. They realize that America is just a gangster state financially and obviously they’re going to dump the dollars and this probably will push up China’s exchange rate and countries selling the dollars will increase their exchange rate against the dollar and that will hurt their relative exports. So, I think they’re trying to figure out how we can all do this together and keep a rough parity among our own currencies while really de-dollarizing. I don’t know what they’re doing but you can be sure this is what is on the forefront of everybody’s mind there.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Indeed indeed. It’s a huge question. I mean it really is trying to unravel and get oneself out of this hegemonic system, the dollar system. It’s something that you cannot escape and there’s been so much unfair, I feel like unfair condemnation and criticism of China and other countries trying to go their own path, for just their participation, it’s something you need to participate in right now to survive absent of another system.

Last question and I mean this isn’t so related to what we’re talking about but it is I think a good super chat question and I think it gets into economics too. What are the chances that China will simply not open back up for the next ten years or so looking at this long term because of COVID-19. I don’t know what you think Michael. My opinion of that from what I’ve learned about China there is a huge domestic tourism industry and foreign tourism is very important but I don’t know for me it feels like it’s going to open up before that. It seems like the economic situation that COVID-19 restrictions are difficult to continue on permanently but what do you think? Do you think that China could maintain these kinds of hard travel restrictions for a long period? I hope not. I want to go back; I need to go back and learn more but what do you think?

MICHAEL HUDSON:  Well, I asked that very question of the universities that I’m associated with yesterday. We had a long discussion and the answer is nobody has a clue. They’ve been criticized in the West for avoiding COVID-19 but there’s no discussion in America or Europe of
long COVID and now that there’s a report that a million Americans have long COVID and it really seems awful, your IQ goes down by ten percent and it’s almost like inheriting a trust fund. You’re stupefied. As a result of that they’re also tired. Some professors I know there say that they still have not fully recovered from COVID months and months ago. They still had very low energy. There’s no way of knowing. This doesn’t look good and if the thought of staying in you know traveling all the way over there, staying in an isolated hotel for two weeks just to have a few days of meetings and then come back and be isolated again, nobody has a clue but it doesn’t look good.

DANNY HAIPHONG: No, it doesn’t and I myself, I’ve avoided COVID unironically like the plague like I am so lucky not to have caught it and part of it is U don’t want, exactly what you’re saying, long COVID. I don’t want that. I don’t want that in my life and I feel like you know I know so many people who have gotten COVID-19 and they lived through it and while they had it, it was awful. It was bad but they lived but now they have all of these other symptoms like I know people who had their whole lives kind of turned upside down because they just can’t get the energy back or the motivation or whatever it is.

It has an effect on your breathing and mental health and there’s so many aspects of long COVID that are difficult to understand and I think China you know at one point it was like a twenty one day quarantine. I know people who are traveling there and who go there often and they were staying twenty-one days you know in a quarantine hotel. I mean you know China has done such a great job containing and addressing COVID as best that they can under these circumstances. And so well of course I have my own deep desires to go back, but I totally understand why the government and why the people there who support this policy would be very careful because you have in China a population so huge. If they did what the United States did, I think the recent estimates are like one point seven million would die and then how many would have long COVID? Millions upon millions more because the case numbers would be astronomical through the roof.

MICHAEL HUDSON I am sure they’re watching what happens in North Korea which is just experiencing its first outbreak. I mean that’s sort of an example. The difference of course is that China is inoculating people and there are also pills the Chinese have sent me and many kinds of medicine in case I get COVID.

DANNY HAIPHONG: That’s great. Amazing, so before we depart Michael, I’ll stay on for another fifteen minutes or so but I definitely want you to plug whatever you’d like to plug now I will pull up the book again and your website. So, if there’s anything you’d like to plug please everyone, keep liking the stream, keep sharing and subscribing to the channel all that good stuff supporting the work at patreon.com/dannyhaiphong but Michael is there anything you would like to plug?

MICHAEL HUDSON: All of my articles are on my website michael-hudson.com and I’m also on patreon and they can join on patreon and I have an ongoing discussion there so the website, patreon are my favorite sites where I publish, and Naked Capitalism, the Saker, Counterpunch, my articles are usually on a lot of these different websites and you’re showing it now so yeah and the books are available on Amazon or Xlibris and you can all buy them and they’re well printed and priced not very expensively.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Great conversation Michael. Thanks so much for coming. We will have to talk again as things continue to develop so thanks so much.

MICHAEL HUDSON. It’s good to be here Danny. Thanks for having me.

CHRIS HEDGES: NATO — THE MOST DANGEROUS MILITARY ALLIANCE ON THE PLANET

JULY 12TH, 2022

By Chris Hedges

Source

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (Scheerpost) — The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the arms industry that depends on it for billions in profits, has become the most aggressive and dangerous military alliance on the planet. Created in 1949 to thwart Soviet expansion into Eastern and Central Europe, it has evolved into a global war machine in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

NATO expanded its footprint, violating promises to Moscow, once the Cold War ended, to incorporate 14 countries in Eastern and Central Europe into the alliance. It will soon add Finland and Sweden. It bombed Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo. It launched wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, resulting in close to a million deaths and some 38 million people driven from their homes. It is building a military footprint in Africa and Asia. It invited Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, the so-called “Asia Pacific Four,” to its recent summit in Madrid at the end of June. It has expanded its reach into the Southern Hemisphere, signing a military training partnership agreement with Colombia, in December 2021. It has backed Turkey, with NATO’s second largest military, which has illegally invaded and occupied parts of Syria as well as Iraq. Turkish-backed militias are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Syrian Kurds and other inhabitants of north and east Syria. The Turkish military has been accused of war crimes – including multiple airstrikes against a refugee camp andchemical weapons use – in northern Iraq. In exchange for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s permission for Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, the two Nordic countries have agreed to expand their domestic terror laws making it easier to crack down on Kurdish and other activists, lift their restrictions on selling arms to Turkey and deny support to the Kurdish-led movement for democratic autonomy in Syria.

It is quite a record for a military alliance that with the collapse of the Soviet Union was rendered obsolete and should have been dismantled. NATO and the militarists had no intention of embracing the “peace dividend,” fostering a world based on diplomacy, a respect of spheres of influence and mutual cooperation. It was determined to stay in business. Its business is war. That meant expanding its war machine far beyond the border of Europe and engaging in ceaseless antagonism toward China and Russia.

NATO sees the future, as detailed in its “NATO 2030: Unified for a New Era,” as a battle for hegemony with rival states, especially China, and calls for the preparation of prolonged global conflict.

“China has an increasingly global strategic agenda, supported by its economic and military heft,” the NATO 2030 initiative warned. “It has proven its willingness to use force against its neighbors, as well as economic coercion and intimidatory diplomacy well beyond the Indo-Pacific region. Over the coming decade, China will likely also challenge NATO’s ability to build collective resilience, safeguard critical infrastructure, address new and emerging technologies such as 5G and protect sensitive sectors of the economy including supply chains. Longer term, China is increasingly likely to project military power globally, including potentially in the Euro-Atlantic area.”

The alliance has spurned the Cold War strategy that made sure Washington was closer to Moscow and Beijing than Moscow and Beijing were to each other. U.S. and NATO antagonism have turned Russia and China into close allies. Russia, rich in natural resources, including energy, minerals and grains, and China, a manufacturing and technological behemoth, are a potent combination. NATO no longer distinguishes between the two, announcing in its most recent mission statement that the “deepening strategic partnership” between Russian and China has resulted in “mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order that run counter to our values and interests.”

On July 6, Christopher Wray, director of the FBI, and Ken McCallum, director general of Britain’s MI5, held a joint news conference in London to announce that China was the “biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security.” They accused China, like Russia, of interfering in U.S. and U.K. elections. Wray warned the business leaders they addressed that the Chinese government was “set on stealing your technology, whatever it is that makes your industry tick, and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market.”

This inflammatory rhetoric presages an ominous future.

One cannot talk about war without talking about markets. The political and social turmoil in the U.S., coupled with its diminishing economic power, has led it to embrace NATO and its war machine as the antidote to its decline.

Washington and its European allies are terrified of China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) meant to connect an economic bloc of roughly 70 nations outside U.S. control. The initiative includes the construction of rail lines, roads and gas pipelines that will be integrated with Russia. Beijing is expected to commit $1.3 trillion to the BRI by 2027. China, which is on track to become the world’s largest economy within a decade, has organized the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s largest trade pact of 15 East Asian and Pacific nations representing 30 percent of global trade. It already accounts for 28.7 percent of the Global Manufacturing Output, nearly double the 16.8 percent of the U.S.

China’s rate of growth last year was an impressive  8.1 percent, although slowing to around 5 percent this year.  By contrast, the U.S.’s growth rate in 2021 was 5.7 percent — its highest since 1984 — but is predicted to fall below 1 percent this year, by the New York Federal Reserve.

If China, Russia, Iran, India and other nations free themselves from the tyranny of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency and the international Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a messaging network financial institutions use to send and receive information such as money transfer instructions, it will trigger a dramatic decline in the value of the dollar and a financial collapse in the U.S. The huge military expenditures, which have driven the U.S. debt to $30 trillion, $ 6 trillion more than the U.S.’s entire GDP, will become untenable. Servicing this debt costs $300 billion a year. We spent more on the military in 2021, $ 801 billion which amounted to 38 percent of total world expenditure on the military, than the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined. The loss of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency will force the U.S. to slash spending, shutter many of its 800 military bases overseas and cope with the inevitable social and political upheavals triggered by economic collapse. It is darkly ironic that NATO has accelerated this possibility.

Russia, in the eyes of NATO and U.S. strategists, is the appetizer. Its military, NATO hopes, will get bogged down and degraded in Ukraine. Sanctions and diplomatic isolation, the plan goes, will thrust Vladimir Putin from power. A client regime that will do U.S. bidding will be installed in Moscow.

NATO has provided more than $8 billion in military aid to Ukraine, while the US has committed nearly $54 billion in military and humanitarian assistance to the country.

China, however, is the main course. Unable to compete economically, the U.S. and NATO have turned to the blunt instrument of war to cripple their global competitor.

The provocation of China replicates the NATO baiting of Russia.

NATO expansion and the 2014 US-backed coup in Kyiv led Russia to first occupy Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, with its large ethnic Russian population, and then to invade all of Ukraine to thwart the country’s efforts to join NATO.

The same dance of death is being played with China over Taiwan, which China considers part of Chinese territory, and with NATO expansion in the Asia Pacific. China flies warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense zone and the U.S. sends naval shipsthrough the Taiwan Strait which connects the South and East China seas. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in May called China the most serious long-term challenge to the international order, citing its claims to Taiwan and efforts to dominate the South China Sea. Taiwan’s president, in a Zelensky-like publicity stunt, recently posed with an anti-tank rocket launcher in a government handout photo.

The conflict in Ukraine has been a bonanza for the arms industry, which, given the humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, needed a new conflict. Lockheed Martin’s stock prices are up 12 percent. Northrop Grumman is up 20 percent. The war is being used by NATO to increase its military presence in Eastern and Central Europe. The U.S. is building a permanent military base in Poland. The 40,000-strong NATO reaction force is being expanded to 300,000 troops. Billions of dollars in weapons are pouring into the region.

The conflict with Russia, however, is already backfiring. The ruble has soared to a seven-year high against the dollar. Europe is barreling towards a recession because of rising oil and gas prices and the fear that Russia could terminate supplies completely. The loss of Russian wheat, fertilizer, gas and oil, due to Western sanctions, is creating havoc in world markets and a humanitarian crisis in Africa and the Middle East. Soaring food and energy prices, along with shortages and crippling inflation, bring with them not only deprivation and hunger, but social upheaval and political instability. The climate emergency, the real existential threat, is being ignored to appease the gods of war.

The war makers are frighteningly cavalier about the threat of nuclear war. Putin warned NATO countries that they “will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history” if they intervened directly in Ukraine and ordered Russian nuclear forces to be put on heightened alert status. The proximity to Russia of U.S. nuclear weapons based in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey mean that any nuclear conflict would obliterate much of Europe. Russia and the United States control about 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads, with around 4,000 warheads each in their military stockpiles, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

President Joe Biden warned that the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine would be “completely unacceptable” and “entail severe consequences,” without spelling out what those consequences would be. This is what U.S. strategists refer to as “deliberate ambiguity.”

The U.S. military, following its fiascos in the Middle East, has shifted its focus from fighting terrorism and asymmetrical warfare to confronting China and Russia. President Barack Obama’s national-security team in 2016 carried out a war game in which Russia invaded a NATO country in the Baltics and used a low-yield tactical nuclear weapon against NATO forces. Obama officials were split about how to respond.

“The National Security Council’s so-called Principals Committee—including Cabinet officers and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—decided that the United States had no choice but to retaliate with nuclear weapons,” Eric Schlosser writes in The Atlantic. “Any other type of response, the committee argued, would show a lack of resolve, damage American credibility, and weaken the NATO alliance. Choosing a suitable nuclear target proved difficult, however. Hitting Russia’s invading force would kill innocent civilians in a NATO country. Striking targets inside Russia might escalate the conflict to an all-out nuclear war. In the end, the NSC Principals Committee recommended a nuclear attack on Belarus—a nation that had played no role whatsoever in the invasion of the NATO ally but had the misfortune of being a Russian ally.”

The Biden administration has formed a Tiger Team of national security officials to run war games on what to do if Russia uses a nuclear weapon, according to The New York Times. The threat of nuclear war is minimized with discussions of “tactical nuclear weapons,” as if less powerful nuclear explosions are somehow more acceptable and won’t lead to the use of bigger bombs.

At no time, including the Cuban missile crisis, have we stood closer to the precipice of nuclear war.

“A simulation devised by experts at Princeton University starts with Moscow firing a nuclear warning shot; NATO responds with a small strike, and the ensuing war yieldsmore than 90 million casualties in its first few hours,” The New York Times reported.

The longer the war in Ukraine continues — and the U.S. and NATO seem determined to funnel billions of dollars of weapons into the conflict for months if not years — the more the unthinkable becomes thinkable. Flirting with Armageddon to profit the arms industry and carry out the futile quest to reclaim U.S. global hegemony is at best extremely reckless and at worst genocidal.

Putin: Address to participants of 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum

June 30, 2022

Address to participants of 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum

Vladimir Putin gave a video address to greet the participants of a plenary session of the 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum. This year’s plenary session was themed Law in a Multipolar World. The video address was recorded during the President’s recent visit to St Petersburg.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues,

I would like to welcome you to the 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum, which, as always, has brought together leading jurists and practicing lawyers from many countries.

I am glad that after a forced interruption, the forum is again being held in person because even the most advanced communication technologies cannot replace a direct dialogue and face-to-face meetings.

Participants at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum recently discussed the most relevant political, financial, technological and cultural issues on the global agenda; many of these issues directly related to international law. It is important that you continue this conversation within this forum and discuss important topics like Law in a Multipolar World.

It is true, a multipolar system of international relations is now being formed. It is an irreversible process; it is happening before our eyes and is objective in nature. The position of Russia and many other countries is that this democratic, more just world order should be built on the basis of mutual respect and trust, and, of course, on the generally accepted principles of international law and the UN Charter.

At the same time, it is being said that law cannot adequately respond to the problems and challenges of today, to today’s turbulent and fundamental changes. There are also more radical assessments that the idea of international law is being dismantled. I fundamentally disagree with these conclusions.

Undoubtedly, the system of international law needs to be further developed, but we should not confuse cause and effect. Crises happen not because law is faulty, but because of attempts to replace law with dictate, and international standards with the national jurisdiction of certain states or groups of states in a deliberate refusal to follow essential legal principles – justice, conscientiousness, equality and humanity. These are not just legal ideals, but values that reflect the diversity of our civilisation.

Some states are not ready to accept losing their supremacy on the international stage, and they are striving to preserve the unjust unipolar model. Under the guise of what they call order based on rules, and other questionable concepts, they try to control and direct global processes at their own discretion, and hold to a course of creating closed blocs and coalitions that make decisions for the benefit of one country, the United States of America. The natural rights of others in international relations are being ignored; the fundamental principle of indivisibility of security is being used selectively. The West’s unilateral, illegitimate sanctions against sovereign states have reached an unprecedented scale.

I will add that the countries that advocate their own exceptionalism also overstep the law and cross out such concepts as inviolability of property and freedom of speech in their own domestic policy as well. In sum, the domination of one country or a group of countries on the global stage is not only counter-productive, but also dangerous and inevitably creates global, systemic risk.

The multipolar world of the 21st century does not have a place for inequality or for discrimination against states and peoples. Therefore, our country speaks for the practical realisation of the pivotal international legal principle of the sovereign equality of states and the right of each state to pursue its own development model.

The Russian foreign affairs agenda has always been and remains constructive. We develop multipolar relations with all who are interested in them and place great value on cooperation within the UN, the G20, BRICS, the SCO and other associations.

Russia is open to dialogue on ensuring strategic stability, preserving agreements on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and improving the situation in arms control. We are focused on joining efforts on crucial issues like the climate agenda, fighting famine, providing stability in food and energy markets, and fair rules in international trade and competition.

All of these areas require appropriate and flexible legal regulation and meticulous cooperation. With this approach, we could avoid crises such as the current one in Donbass that is happening to protect its residents from genocide – and there can be no other definition for the Kiev regime’s actions than “a crime against humanity.”

At the same time, Russia will continue to create a more democratic and just world where the rights of all peoples are guaranteed and mankind’s cultural and civilizational diversity is preserved.

I am confident that, by consistently following international law and joining our efforts, it is possible to resolve the most difficult problems that the world is facing and to provide for the stable, sustainable and progressive development of all states. Both practicing lawyers and jurists can and should bring a significant contribution to the recreation of the authority of law, strengthening its legal institutions and rebuilding trust in international relations.

I wish all of you productive work and interesting networking.

Thank you for your attention.

Europe Wants War

July 1, 2022

Source

By Declan Heyes

Though The European Union’s Strategic Compass for Security and Defence reads like Hitler penned it, the EU has recently formally approved this dangerous nonsense now that “we witness the return of war in Europe”, something the EU apparently did not witness when Serbia was put to NATO’s sword from 1992 to 1995.

Europe, these Eurocrats inform us, “needs to be able to protect its citizens and to contribute to international peace and security… following the unjustified and unprovoked Russian aggression against Ukraine, as well as of major geopolitical shifts”, which are not explicitly stated but which the EU’s Army will tackle alongside its “partners to safeguard its values and interests”.

So, besides teaching Russia some bloody lessons, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Malta will also teach the wider world a thing or two about their shared values and interests, whatever they may be.

This is all good as a more assertive Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Malta “will contribute positively to global and transatlantic security and is complementary to NATO, which remains the foundation of collective defence for its members. It will also intensify support for the global rules-based order, with the United Nations at its core”.

Even though Lithuania and Luxembourg are NATO’s muscle, Ireland and Malta are not parties to that criminal conspiracy and long may that continue. Furthermore, as the United Nations is a body, which the United States liaises with only when it suits their own selfish interests, the EU should either find a better fig leaf to sheathe its self serving hypocrisy with, or just say it wants to be America’s unthinking vassal.

Not that the EU’s finest would ever consider themselves anybody’s vassals. They intend to strengthen cooperation with strategic partners such as NATO, the UN and regional partners, including the OSCE, the African Union (AU) and ASEAN; develop more tailored bilateral partnerships with like-minded countries and strategic partners, such as the U.S., Canada, Norway, the UK, Japan and others; develop tailored partnerships in the Western Balkans, the EU’s eastern and southern neighbourhood, Africa, Asia and Latin America, including through enhancing dialogue and cooperation, promoting participation in CSDP missions and operations and supporting capacity-building.

To see what the EU’s headless chickens are up to, let’s look at these partners in some more detail. As the African Union includes every country in Africa, bar the former French and Spanish protectorate of Morocco, one has to wonder what further devilment France, Africa’s favorite gendarme, has in store not only for Morocco but for all of that long exploited continent, which the EU continues to happily ravish.

One must also wonder why Australia and New Zealand are not included in the EU’s wish list of military partners and if an EU task force is already on its way to liberate Australia’s kangaroos and koala bears from whatever Putin or Assad happens to be ruling the roost there.

Not that koala bears and kangaroos are alone in being legitimate targets. If the EU is forming alliances with Norway and Japan, then not only Moby Dick but whales everywhere are in for a rough time.

Still, if we are to gang up with Latin America (given the Munroe Doctrine, with Uncle Sam’s permission, of course), that might result in a higher standard of samba and tango dancing in Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Malta, and I’d be the last to object to that (and I am fluent in Spanish and Portuguese but could do with a few samba pointers).

Still, outside of Russophones, that leaves us decidedly short of enemies; tiny Morocco hardly counts and we don’t want to hurt any kangaroos or koala bears.

But maybe panda bears are fair game as China is conspicuous by its absence on that list, as ASEAN is notable for being included on the list. The beauty of ASEAN, to me, is that it is composed of ten diverse South East Asian countries that are trying to plot a common future for themselves free from the economic, diplomatic and military meddling that are synonymous with the countries at the heart of the EU. All ten of those ASEAN countries live in the shadow of China and, though Vietnam in particular has had a chequered history with China, their future lies alongside China, not being used as an EU-NATO lever to upend China and themselves.

Stripped of its chaff, this is old European wine in new NATO bottles. It is to recreate the Wehrmacht with a gaggle of mini Napoleons to lead it and profit from it, along with whatever Irish, Lithuanian, Scottish and other satellite cheerleaders NATO have on the take.

Look at the Baltic pimple of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which is not content with oppressing its Russian speaking minority but is in a trade war with China and is hell bent on taking on Russia in a hot war because it thinks the EU, Ireland, Luxembourg and mighty Malta, in other words, has its back.

Ireland has nobody’s back, not even its own. Even as it howls to its Anglo American bosses that Russian ships passed within 500km of its coast, it allows British war ships moor in Cork, a city the British previously burned to the ground, and the Royal British Airforce violate its airspace on a daily base and even host air displays over its capital city.

Although the European peoples do indeed have some shared values, they are more benign than those their mercenary political class in pimple statelets like Ireland and Lithuania share. These satraps give China and Russia the finger because that is what their NATO masters require of them. Were those leaders adult, never mind independent, they would try to act as peace brokers and not pretend that their tiny, debt ravaged economies have anything more than a fig leaf to offer NATO’s war lords.

But that is not the Europe we have. Because ours is a continent beholden to NATO and its political puppets, we must all prepare for the deluge that is coming our way, and all because NATO’s Lithuanian satrap thinks she is a Moses, who can hold apart two parts of sovereign Russia to support the world’s richest clown who has NATO’s Kiev gig.

Europe, with its crocodile tears for kangaroos and koala bears, thinks those they target should forever stand beguiled by them, their French perfumes and their German colognes. Nothing stands still and China and the countries of ASEAN and the African Union do not. Europe should either holster its guns, sheathe its swords or prepare to use them and batten the hatches for the overwhelming incoming fire they, their French perfumes and their German colognes will get in return.

Gonzalo Lira: The Sitzkrieg We’re In

JUNE 28, 2022

The New York Times Inadvertently Revealed The Qualitative Scale Of Kiev’s Losses

26 JUNE 2022

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Source

Up until this point, it was smeared as so-called “Russian propaganda” to claim that the Ukrainian Conflict has culled Kiev’s best fighters but now it’s officially confirmed by the NYT.

The New York Times (NYT) meant to trumpet the coalition of 20 countries whose “stealthy network of commandos and spies [is] rushing to provide weapons, intelligence and training” to Kiev in their latest piece about this but inadvertently also ended up revealing the qualitative scale of that US proxy’s losses. It’s already been disclosed that Kiev’s experiencing up to 1,000 casualties a day, has already lost between 30-50% of its total military equipment according to its own officials, is out massively outgunned per the Associated Press’ latest admission, but only now has it been confirmed that it’s “losing a lot of experienced people” in the words of an unnamed former Trump Administration official.

Up until this point, it was smeared as so-called “Russian propaganda” to claim that the Ukrainian Conflict has culled Kiev’s best fighters but now it’s officially confirmed by the NYT. Furthermore, that same source compared the scale of Kiev’s losses to “the height of the Vietnam War for us”, bluntly concluding that “it is terrible.” Shortly thereafter, an unclear number of “former American officials” are alleged to have informed the NYT that “The Ukrainian military’s most acute training problem right now is that it is losing its most battle-hardened and well-trained forces”. This revelation follows the news just last week that one of Russia’s surgical strikes killed over 50 Ukrainian generals and officers.

As Kiev’s “most battle-hardened and well-trained forces” continue dwindling down, it’s becoming much more dependent on its Western overlords to provide training in order to soften the qualitative blow that these losses have inflicted upon it. The trend is that its military forces are increasingly being trained either abroad or by foreigners inside the country, not by its own veterans, and that the rank-and-file are quickly turning into little more than conscripted cannon fodder for the US-led NATO proxy war on Russia. The latest information warfare narrative against Russia is that it’s a modern-day “colonial power’, but this observation actually proves that it’s the US that fits this description instead.

To explain, the declining unipolar hegemon provoked Russia’s ongoing special military operation by refusing to respect the integrity of its national security red lines that were explained in Moscow’s security guarantee requests from last December. This was done knowing fully well that it would be their Ukrainian proxies that would be on the receiving end of this conflict, not their own. In the span of just one-third of a year, the NYT then confirmed that not only has Russia successfully culled the quality of Kiev’s fighters, but that those who remain are completely dependent on the US as explained in that outlet’s latest article.

Not only that, but the impossibility of naturally replacing these “most battle-hardened and well-trained forces” anytime soon means that Kiev will become more dependent on foreign trainers, which adds a visible dimension to its colonial relationship with the US wherein Americans and others openly prepare their Ukrainian proxies for battle with Russia. Kiev’s military forces have no semblance of sovereignty after its best fighters were already taken out by Russia and they were thus compelled to come under foreign control as a result. This outcome that even the NYT just acknowledged discredits the latest information warfare narrative against Russia by exposing the US as the real colonizer in this conflict.

Ukraine isn’t “fighting for its independence” since its leadership already voluntarily ceded control of its armed forces to the US and the other 19 countries participating in the “stealthy network of commandos and spies” that the NYT revealed in its latest piece. This bait-and-switch means that while the US-led Western Mainstream Media (MSM) was gaslighting about the supposed “threat” that Russia poses to Ukraine’s sovereignty, this same sovereignty was given to the US behind the scenes after Kiev made the decision to openly become that declining unipolar hegemon’s vassal state in exchange for continuing the conflict that it’s destined to lose.

Put another way, one of the reasons why the US provoked the Ukrainian Conflict was to create the pretext for openly taking control of its proxy’s military after Russia culled them of their “most battle-hardened and well-trained forces”. Furthermore, the existing damage that’s been inflicted by Russia throughout the course of its special operation made Zelensky so desperate for reconstruction aid that he literally offered his overlords “to take patronage over a particular region of Ukraine, city, community or industry” while speaking at this year’s Davos Summit. In other words, this US-provoked conflict directly led to the loss of both Ukraine’s military and economic independence.

Not only that, but it’s extremely likely that the US will continue provoking more such proxy wars across the world in the coming future in an attempt to replicate the neo-imperial success of its Ukrainian operation whereby it’ll exploit the same conflicts that it sparks in order to obtain control of its vassal’s military and economy under the false pretext of “supporting” it. After all, there’s no reason for it not and there are plenty of fault lines across the world for it to take advantage of for these ends. This is especially the case across the Global South that’s emerging as the primary zone of competition in the New Cold War, which means that some of the world’s poorest countries might also suffer Ukraine’s fate.

Maduro: We Are All Part of Axis of Resistance

June 21, 2022

By Staff, Khamenei.ir

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the ‘Axis of Resistance’ is not just confined to certain countries across the world, but it refers to all those fighting colonialism and hegemonic powers.

“The Axis of Resistance exists throughout the world; it exists in Africa, in Asia, in the Middle East, in Latin America and in the Caribbean. The Resistance also belongs to the people who are fighting against neoliberalism, racism and various forms of colonization, political, economic, cultural colonization and cyber colonization,” Maduro said in an exclusive interview with the official website of Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei that was published on Monday.

“All of us who fight against colonialism, all of us who fight to decolonize our minds and our people, are part of the Axis of Resistance that stands against the methods of the imperialists for imposing hegemony on the world,” he added.

Maduro: We Are All Part of Axis of Resistance

Lauding the deeds of the Axis of Resistance throughout the years, Maduro said, “The 21st century is our century. It is the century of the unity of the people. It is the century in which people will be liberated. It is the century of justice and truth. Empires are in decline, and people’s projects for well-being, development and greatness have just begun. This century is our century.”

Pointing to a recent meeting with Imam Khamenei and the His Eminence’s statement about the very close relationship between Iran and Venezuela, Maduro said, “Since Commander Hugo Chavez’s first visit in 2001, Iran and Venezuela have established exemplary political, diplomatic, moral, and spiritual ties.”

“During this current trip, I’ve witnessed how there is an exemplary relationship between us in terms of our increasing cooperation. We’ve had many successes. So Imam Khamenei is right when he states that the relationship between the two countries is quite unique and extraordinary,” he noted.

Asked about his latest assertion regarding the Zionist occupation regime’s conspiracies against Venezuela through Mossad, Maduro said, “Imperialism and Zionism are conspiring against the progressive, revolutionary processes taking place in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially the Bolivarian Revolution.”

The Venezuelan president stressed, “This is because we are a true alternative, an alternative of truth and justice, an alternative of freedom, an alternative of democracy, and an alternative for realizing projects that are fully humane in the Latin American region and the Caribbean Sea. In addition to this, Mossad’s conspiracies are due to our strong position of solidarity with the Palestinian people and our support of them for their regaining their historical rights and for the Palestinian Resistance. Our support of them is strong and unique, and we will continue supporting them in this manner.”

Asked about the role of Iran’s anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and the Quds Force over the last 20 years in strengthening the relationship between Tehran and Caracas, Maduro said he met General Soleimani in March and April of 2019 when he came to Venezuela during the time of US’ cyberattacks against the country’s power plants.

“I really didn’t know. I didn’t know him. I didn’t know how amazing he was, but the discussion I had with him was very pleasant. We reviewed everything during our meeting and he immediately suggested we get help from Iranian experts. Two or three days later, Iranian experts came to repair electrical services in Venezuela,” he added.

In response to a question regarding a saying by Imam Khamenei that, “If Prophet Issa [Peace upon Him] were among us today, he wouldn’t miss a moment to fight the leaders of global oppression and arrogance,” Maduro said, “We’re believing Christians. We’re the type of Christians who take action while praying and thinking. And Christ came into this world to fight the Empires. He came to confront the Roman Empires. He risked his life. He sacrificed his life to fight the Roman Empire.”

The Venezuelan leader said, “If there’s one good thing I can say about Christianity, it is its anti-imperialist nature and its seeking of truth and justice against the oppressors. I have no doubt that if Christ were among us today, he would have been at the forefront of the battle against imperialism, colonialism and all forms of oppression.”

During the interview, Maduro pointed to several meetings he had had with Imam Khamenei over the years as well as the meeting between Chavez and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

“I’ve always admired Imam Khamenei’s excellent memory. That he recalls the memories of those days is important. In the talks that I have had with him, he has recalled some of the conversations he had with Commander Chavez where Commander Chavez shared some of his memories about Cuba and Commander Fidel Castro. There was a time when a hurricane was heading straight toward Cuba. It was a Category 5 hurricane. A conversation took place between Fidel and Chavez. Fidel said, “Chavez! What you need to do right now is to pray. Pray for us!” Chavez started praying. That day passed and the hurricane changed its course. It didn’t cross over Cuba. Chavez called Fidel and said, “It’s a miracle!” Fidel replied, “Yes, it’s because God helps Chavez and Chavez’s friends.” In the last talk that I had with Imam Khamenei, he told me this story in a friendly, kind way in memory of Commander Chavez and Commander Fidel Castro,” he said.

“Holding a conversation with Imam Khamenei truly fills one with spirituality and wisdom. He likes the Venezuelan people. He likes the people’s ideals, and he always offers us great ideas and recommendations,” Maduro underlined.

“قلعة روسيا”.. إلى متى ستستمر المواجهة مع الغرب؟

 الإثنين 20 حزيران 2022

سيرغي كاراغانوف

مواقف الغرب القائمة على التفوّق العسكري، ظلت ثابتة نحو 500 عام، ومثّلت أساس رفاهيته، ما سمح له بنهب العالم بأسره بشكل مباشر أو خفي.

مع نموّ الهستيريا المعادية لروسيا والصين، كان الغرب يتوطّد فعلاً

عشيّة  الاحتفال بيوم روسيا، كثرت الأحاديث حول الأشياء التي يمكن لروسيا أن تفتخر بها، وما الذي نجحت فيه، وماذا الذي يعبّر عن هذا النجاح؟ هل هو توسّع رقعتها الجغرافية، أم اعتماد بعض الصواريخ ذات السرعة الفائقة والقدرة التدميرية الهائلة، أم الحدّ من الفقر مثلاً؟ ما الذي نفخر به حقاً؟

أودّ أن أقترح أن نكون فخورين بأننا نجَونا مرة أخرى. نجَونا من الاضطرابات التي فُرضت علينا جزئياً من الخارج، وقد بدأنا نولد من جديد. لقد أصبحنا أقوى، وعدنا إلى صفوف القوى العظمى. وروسيا لا يسعها إلا أن تكون من بين القوى العظمى، فمن دون ذلك لا تستطيع ببساطة أن تشعر بأنها دولة، لأن ذلك هو طبيعة تاريخها.

على مدار الخمسة عشر عاماً الماضية، ومع نموّ الهستيريا المعادية لروسيا والصين، كان الغرب يتوطّد فعلاً. لكنه يفعل ذلك على وجه التحديد لأنه يدرك أن مواقفه تتداعى. هذه المواقف، القائمة على التفوّق العسكري، ظلت ثابتة نحو 500 عام، ومثّلت أساس رفاهيته، ما سمح له بنهب العالم بأسره – بشكل مباشر أو خفي.

أما اليوم، فلم يعد هناك تفوق عسكري، كما أن الواقع كشف أن القيم السائدة في الغرب هي مناهضة لأوروبا نفسها ومعادية للإنسان، ويرفضها معظم الناس في العالم – كالمثلية، والنسوية المتطرفة، وإنكار الأسرة والتاريخ والوطن.

وفي الغرب، وإن لم يقتصر الأمر عليه، يوجد الكثير من المشاكل الآخذة في الازدياد، ولكن سوى الضجيج الدائر حولها، لم يتم في الواقع حلها، كالتلوث والمشاكل البيئية (جميع الخبراء يؤكدون منذ سنوات عديدة أن تغيّر المناخ، وتقلّص الأراضي الصالحة للزراعة، وضحالة الأنهار في المناطق الزراعية، ستؤدي إلى المجاعة – لكن لم يتم فعل شيء). وهذا إضافة إلى إفقار الطبقة الوسطى، وتنامي التفاوت الطبقي بشكل صارخ (هذا الأخير ينطبق أيضاً على بلدنا). 

إن النخب القديمة التي نشأت على الازدهار النسبي، خلال العقود الأربعة الماضية، لا تريد التغيير ولا تستطيع ذلك. لقد بدأت الأرض تنهار تحت أقدامهم، وهذا أحد أسباب المواجهة اليوم: إنهم بحاجة إلى عدو يمكنهم تحويل انتباههم إليه، ولبعض الوقت، لتجنّب المسؤولية عن الفشل.

إلى جانب ذلك، قد يبدو غريباً بالنسبة إلى البعض أن روسيا يمكن أن تعتبر نفسها، إلى جانب الصين – وجزئياً الهند- جزيرة استقرار في عالم يتساقط، بينما بدأ الغرب والعديد من المناطق الأخرى بالانهيار.

فعلًا، إن العالم من حولنا ينهار، وقريباً سيكون هناك مئات الملايين من الجياع والمهاجرين والعديد من النزاعات الجديدة، ومن الأفضل لنا أن نعيش لبعض الوقت في “قلعة روسيا”، المحميّة بشكل موثوق، والتي تعتني بنفسها بالدرجة الأولى، ولكن في الوقت نفسه، منفتحة على التعاون مع أولئك المستعدين لذلك. ينبغي، بأي حال من الأحوال، أن لا نعزل أنفسنا عن العالم فكرياً أو علمياً، وإلا فإننا سنتوقف عن فهمه، كما كانت عليه الحال في العهد السوفياتي.

نحن بحاجة إلى إقامة علاقات مع جميع الدول المستعدة للتعاون معنا، كأفريقيا والعالم العربي، وتقريباً كل آسيا وأميركا اللاتينية.

أما بخصوص الموقف الصيني، فأنا متأكد تماماً من أن بكين ستساعدنا. بطبيعة الحال، هم يحاولون عدم تقويض موقف شركاتهم، التي لا تزال تعتمد بشكل وثيق على الأسواق والتقنيات الغربية. ومن نواحٍ كثيرة، يُنفَّذ هجوم الغرب على روسيا لشطبها كحليف استراتيجي محتمل للصين. وإذا تعثرت روسيا، فإن الموقف الصيني سيضعف بشكل كبير، وهم يفهمون هذا جيداً.

ومن المهم أيضاً التخلّي عن الصور النمطية التي أسرَتنا لعقود. لقد أكلنا العصيدة الفكرية التي طُبخت في الغرب، والتي أصبحت فاسدة منذ زمن طويل، لكننا ما زلنا نمضغها. وهذا ما يحدث في العلوم الاجتماعية والاقتصادية والسياسية والعلاقات الدولية.

لنأخذ هنا على سبيل المثال فكرة التكافؤ العسكري السيّئة السمعة. هذا غباء! لقد أعاق 300 من المقاتلين الاسبارطيين الجيش الفارسي المؤلف من 100 ألف مقاتل  في تيرموبيلاي. كما حطم نابليون على الدوام (باستثناء حملته المؤسفة ضد روسيا) الجيوش الأوروبية، التي كان لها تفوّق عددي عليه.

أما نحن فاستوعبنا مفهوم التكافؤ في الحقبة السوفياتية، وقمنا ببناء كمية مجنونة من الصواريخ والدبابات والأسلحة الأخرى – كان لدى الاتحاد السوفياتي دبابات أكثر من بقية العالم! وما زال البعض متمسكاً بهذه الفكرة.

 وعلى الرغم من ذلك، لماذا نحتاج إلى الكثير من الصواريخ مثل الأميركيين؟ فإذا افترضنا أن لديهم 5 آلاف صاروخ، ولدينا ألف فقط، وهو أمر مضمون لتحقيق أهدافهم، فإن التهديد حتى باستخدامهم المحدود لها سيبدو مقنعاً ويمنع العدوان والصراع العالمي. لكن قد يكون لدينا المزيد من الأسلحة الأخرى. الشيء الرئيسي هو عدم التورط في سباق تسلح، ولا سيما أن تبنّي مفهوم التوازن العسكري، والحدّ من التسلح أدّى إلى تضخيمهما إلى حدّ كبير.

إن عودة روسيا إلى الوقوف على قدميها، بعد أن تحولت من دون إرادتها إلى بطلة العالم في العقوبات الاقتصادية، ستعتمد على مدى سرعة انتقالها إلى طريق التعبئة في مجال التنمية. حتى الآن هذا يحدث ببطء شديد. أنا لا أتحدّث عن “شيوعية الحرب”. فبالطبع، يجب أن يظل الاقتصاد مختلطاً، مع الملكية الخاصة المتطورة. لكن الصناعات الرئيسية يجب أن تتعامل معها الدولة بشكل مباشر.
 
نقله إلى العربية: فهيم الصوراني
 
المؤلف: سيرغي كاراغانوف – المشرف الأكاديمي لكلية الاقتصاد العالمي والشؤون الدولية في الجامعة الوطنية للبحوث.

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Ukraine’s Dark Web Arms Arsenal

June 18, 2022

Source

Declan Hayes

Ukraine has been flooded with tens of billions of dollars of NATO weaponry, much of which is now for sale on the dark web and elsewhere.

Although NATO has already supplied Clown Prince Zelensky’s rogue regime with enough materiel, some $50 bn worth (not that anyone is counting), to arm a medium sized nation, there is overwhelming evidence that much of those weapons have found their way onto the dark web for terrorists and sundry other trouble makers to buy and use as they see fit. Although NATO are right to express alarm at this latest development, they should look at themselves in the mirror to see who is responsible for this latest threat.

Rand to the Rescue

Although The UN, the World Economic Forum, the Australian National University and the Cambridge Independent have all opined on how to source weapons on the dark web, their work revolve around this Rand Corp study to which we now also revert. This Rand report tells us that, though the U.S. accounts for almost 60 per cent of the firearms listings, Europe represents the largest market for arms trade on the dark web, generating revenues that are around five times higher than the U.S.

As the report tells us that pistols accounted for 84 per cent of all listed firearms, followed by rifles (10 per cent) and sub-machine guns (6 per cent), Interpol’s warning of sales of Javelin missiles on the dark web, which the CIA now predictably but alarmingly say is Russian disinformation, would be a major step up in such sales, something like children going from a lemonade stand to taking on Coca Cola for market share.

As the Rand report reckons the dark web’s overall monthly value in arms’ trading is only about $80,000, they correctly conclude that “the dark web is unlikely to be the method of choice to fuel conflicts because arms are not traded at a large enough scale and due to the potential limitations on infrastructure and services in a conflict zone”. Though its further conclusion that “the dark web has the potential to become the platform of choice for individuals (e.g. lone-wolves terrorists) or small groups (e.g. gangs)” as well as for sundry other crackpots to obtain weapons and ammunition is worth keeping in mind, such attacks are as nothing compared to a series of NATO inspired missile strikes on Serbian, Hungarian, Chinese or other passenger planes. The British and Americans both have form in that regard.

DW Shift, German Intelligence’s contribution to NATO’s disinformation wars, talks us through the 101 of buying a weapon on the Dark Web; this is of concern to Germans because one of their 2016 mass shooters sourced his weapon on the dark web. DW’s pretty reporter talks to an equally pretty young researcher who is au fait with such dark arts which seem, by the report, simple enough. One shops on the dark web, as one might shop on Amazon or ebay, clicks on one’s orders and checks out. GlockColtSig SauerBerettaEkol-VoltranRuger and Smith & Wesson are, in that order, the most popular purchases. DW Shift’s pretty fräuleins inform us that because the sellers of these items are rated, just as are their Amazon and ebay equivalents, we can shop in safety and have DHL deliver our purchase to a safe location of our choice.

Enter the IRA

Anybody who believes that NATO mis information deserves every minute of the jail sentence they get. The Irish Republican Army and its offshoots are proof that such purchases are not for DW Shift’s casual browser. If the IRA found sourcing medium grade weapons difficult, then you should perhaps think twice about shopping on these dark sites.

This New York Times article shows how the CIA were supplying the IRA with weapons to stop the IRA shopping elsewhere; that the CIA now control the mainstream IRA through their 1998 Good Friday Agreement shows how successful that strategy has been.

The CIA were not, of course, the IRA’s only American supplier. CIA agent and Boston Mafia boss, Whitey Bulger, also sent them boat loads of weapons, which were duly interdicted. Although Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi became a much more important source, the point is that acquiring weapons is not easily done as there are countless, well resourced parties determined to stop you.

This can be seen in the case of Liam Campbell, who was recently extradited from Ireland to Lithuania on charges of trying to acquire weapons for his rump IRA faction. As a cast of Irish MI5 agents, led by Dennis McFadden, walked Palestinian doctor Issam Bassalat and other gullible marks into an arms-related trap, and as CIA operative David Rupert previously got the rump IRA’a leader jailed for 20 years, caveat emptor, buyer beware applies on the dark web even more so than it does on amazon or ebay. Unless, that is, one is a member of an MI5 controlled death squad charged with killing Catholics, then one can import weapons from South Africa or Australia to do what MI5 has decided must be done.

The Irish lesson then is that, if one wishes to procure arms for a sectarian or other campaign, one needs to work with either governments or gangsters or both to secure the necessary weaponry, which are not cheap. Recent gangland murders and related trials in Dublin as well as the IRA and its rump offshoots confirm that trajectory.

Enter the Kiddy Fiddlers

The experiences of the international pedophile network show the risks that even those criminals most proficient in the dark web’s darkest corners run when these predators become the prey. Australia’s Task Force Argos has brought down many of these kiddy fiddling networks, not the least of which was the very sophisticated operation run by Shannon Grant McCoole, who ran one of the pedophiles’ most depraved websites from his South Australian base. But not, as the case of Peter Scully and Matthew Graham show, the most depraved site. Although Graham, his tech savvy buddies and their tens of thousands of customers are an unspeakable threat to all the world’s vulnerable children, Task Force Argos and their global partners are, thankfully, a threat to them and, by extension any group who wish to line the pockets of Ukraine’s purveyors of death through the dark web.

EncroChat

EncroChat was a sting operation Australia’s Task Force Argos would have been proud of. EncroChat allowed organized crime members to plan criminal activities through encrypted messages that Europe’s various police forces listened into. Over 1,000 arrests were made across Europe as a result of that sting. As the Australian and American police forces conducted similar stings, conducting these transactions are fraught with more risks than rewards for those unskilled in the dark arts.

Given the Encrochat experience, one should note that Twitter and the CIA both have sizable dark net presences. If you want to be enmeshed in their dark web, enjoy your jail time.

Dark Markets

Interpol has also highlighted the trade in illegal organ harvesting, which has previously crossed my desk as a result of the Muslim Brotherhood’s criminal activities in terrorist controlled Syria which works, like most other markets do, by a system of levers. There is a demand in countries like Israel and Switzerland where donors are in short supply and there is an obvious supply where poverty is king or, as in the case of rebel held Syria, where there is an over supply of captives. Rebel sanctioned brokers will, per Interpol’s report, ensure the markets work at a certain level of efficiency, at least until money changes hands. Because these gangsters are totally unscrupulous, medical complications, which will have to be fixed by Israeli, Swiss or other doctors, will most likely quickly follow from these cut price operations.

More for our purposes is that rebel held Syria provides a safe haven for such criminality.

The CIA: Market Maker

The only groups who can make the dark web in NATO supplied Ukrainian weaponry viable are the Western intelligence agencies and their proxies, who are not honest brokers in this or in anything else. One need only look at the Iran Contra Affair where the Reagan regime supplied Islamic Iran with weaponry to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Allied to that is the Gary Webb affair, where the CIA flooded America’s ghettos with crack cocaine to fund the Contras’ fight for American sanctioned democracy.

The Ukrainian Bazaar

Ukraine, Europe’s most corrupt country, has been flooded with tens of billions of dollars of NATO weaponry, much of which is now for sale on the dark web and elsewhere. The only possible “hostile” markets for such materiel are criminals and terrorists; nations opposed to NATO can be ruled out because of the reputational damage such shenanigans would cause them. Although the Kinahan Organized Crime Group and their Latin American partners have formidable arsenals, FBI retaliation against them would be sure and swift if they started to use NATO weaponry to shoot down NATO friendly planes.

That just leaves terrorists or, to be more precise, NATO friendly terrorists, like those NATO has nurtured in the Fertile Crescent, the Southern Caucasus, the Indian-Pakistani-Afghan triangle and throughout Africa. As the experiences of the IRA and its various offshoots show that the expertise to obtain and deploy such weaponry has always been far beyond their capabilities, one can only conclude that a major government sponsor is needed to successfully obtain and deploy such firepower.

The experiences of ISIS, which was able to obtain fleets of brand new Toyota trucks, suggest that it is only NATO and its affiliates that can supply the necessary logistics to put such weaponry in the field, not only throughout the Arab and Asian worlds but in Western Europe as well.

This report that these advanced Ukrainian missiles are surfacing in NATO controlled Syria would confirm that hypothesis that NATO are using their Ukrainian involvement to funnel yet more advanced weaponry to their favored zealots elsewhere. NATO’s Ukrainian defeat makes Syrian military and civilian targets the obvious theater for payback, complete with NATO’s usual implausible denials of course.

Globalization

NATO’s dirty war in Ukraine is but one of the many hot wars it is currently engaged in in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Colombia, DR Congo, Ethiopia , Iraq, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique , Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia and Yemen. NATO’s generals move men and materiel around from one theater to another as the need arises.

The war in Ukraine was never about democracy or keeping the idiot Zelensky in power. It was about bleeding Russia, Iran, Venezuela and China dry and, though it seems Russia is not for turning in Ukraine, our earlier precedents show that does not mean NATO will cease and desist from its criminal ways.

Although the corrupt Zelensky junta is awash with advanced NATO weapon that is surplus to their requirements, they are not surplus to NATO’s requirements elsewhere. Therefore, depending on NATO’s needs where you live and according to this NATO report by 26 ethically challenged Ukrainian NGOs, expect Javelin and NLAW anti-tank systems, Stinger and Starstreak portable air defence systems, Switchblade loitering munitions. Harpoon missiles, MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Predator UAVs to show up in a NATO sponsored war near you. And, though NATO’s media will act all surprised as to how that might have happened, remember that you read it here first.

The Empire Strikes Back: Imperialism’s global war on multipolarity

June 15, 2022

This is a series of talks where each talk is short and one can enjoy the long video in shorter pieces.  An absolute must-listen is the convenor’s (Radhika Desai) opening statement which explains so clearly the concept of multi-polarity or pluripolarity.

The second one by Victor Gao brings a new view to how China perceives these changes in our world.

Ben Norton from Multipolarista takes a look at the influence of socialism in the Belt and Road Initiative.

All of these are worth listening to, and it is easy as the presentations are short, and one can come back to it.

Topics include: * NATO, AUKUS and the military infrastructure of the New Cold War * The evolving China-Russia relationship and the West’s response * The Biden administration’s undermining of the One China Principle * Solomon Islands and the West’s plan for hegemony in the Pacific * NATO’s plan for Ukraine and how this impacts China * Prospects for sovereign development in the Global South

Speakers: * Victor Gao (Vice President, Center for China and Globalization) * Ben Norton (Editor, Multipolarista) * Li Jingjing (Reporter, CGTN) * Jenny Clegg (Author, ‘China’s Global Strategy: Toward a Multipolar World’) * Danny Haiphong (Author, ‘American Exceptionalism and American Innocence’) * Chris Matlhako (SACP Second Deputy General Secretary) * Mustafa Hyder Sayed (Executive Director, Pakistan-China Institute) * Professor Ding Yifan (Senior Fellow, Taihe Institute, China) * Ju-Hyun Park (Writer and organizer, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development) * Rob Kajiwara (President, Peace For Okinawa Coalition) * Sara Flounders (United National Antiwar Coalition, International Action Center) * Yury Tavrovsky (Chairman, Russian-Chinese Committee for Friendship, Peace and Development)

FORGET LIBERATING UKRAINE – WE FIRST NEED TO LIBERATE OUR MINDS 

JUNE 10TH, 2022

By Jonathan Cook

Source

Nothing should better qualify me to write about world affairs at the moment – and Western meddling in Ukraine – than the fact that I have intimately followed the twists and turns of Israeli politics for two decades.

We will turn to the wider picture in a moment. But before that, let us consider developments in Israel, as its “historic,” year-old government – which included for the very first time a party representing a section of Israel’s minority of Palestinian citizens – teeters on the brink of collapse.

Crisis struck, as everyone knew it would sooner or later, because the Israeli parliament had to vote on a major issue relating to the occupation: renewing a temporary law that for decades has regularly extended Israel’s legal system outside its territory, applying it to Jewish settlers living on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank.

That law lies at the heart of an Israeli political system that the world’s leading human rights groups, both in Israel and abroad, now belatedly admit has always constituted apartheid. The law ensures that Jewish settlers living in the West Bank in violation of international law receive rights different from, and far superior to, those of the Palestinians that are ruled over by Israel’s occupying military authorities.

The law enshrines the principle of Jim Crow-style inequality, creating two different systems of law in the West Bank: one for Jewish settlers and another for Palestinians. But it does more. Those superior rights, and their enforcement by Israel’s army, have for decades allowed Jewish settlers to rampage against Palestinian rural communities with absolute impunity and steal their land – to the point that Palestinians are now confined to tiny, choked slivers of their own homeland.

In international law, that process is called “forcible transfer,” or what we would think of as ethnic cleansing. It’s a major reason that the settlements are a war crime – a fact that the International Criminal Court in the Hague is finding it very hard to ignore. Israel’s leading politicians and generals would all be tried for war crimes if we lived in a fair, and sane, world.

So what happened when this law came before the parliament for a vote on its renewal? The “historic” government, supposedly a rainbow coalition of leftwing and rightwing Jewish parties joined by a religiously conservative Palestinian party, split on entirely predictable ethnic lines.

Members of the Palestinian party either voted against the law or absented themselves from the vote. All the Jewish parties in the government voted for it. The law failed – and the government is now in trouble – because the rightwing Likud Party of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined the Palestinian parties in voting against the law, in the hope of bringing the government down, even though his legislators are completely committed to the apartheid system it upholds.

UPHOLDING APARTHEID

What is most significant about the vote is that it has revealed something far uglier about Israel’s Jewish tribalism than most Westerners appreciate. It shows that all of Israel’s Jewish parties – even the “nice ones” that are termed leftwing or liberal – are in essence racist.

Most Westerners understand Zionism to be split into two broad camps: the right, including the far-right, and the liberal-left camp.

Today this so-called liberal-left camp is tiny and represented by the Israeli Labour and Meretz parties. Israel’s Labour Party is considered so respectable that Britain’s Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, publicly celebrated the recent restoration of ties after the Israeli party severed connections during the term of Starmer’s predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.

But note this. Not only have the Labour and Meretz parties been sitting for a year in a government led by Naftali Bennett, whose party represents the illegal settlements, they have just voted for the very apartheid law that ensures the settlers get superior rights over Palestinians, including the right to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their land.

In the case of the Israeli Labour Party, that is hardly surprising. Labour founded the first settlements and, apart from a brief period in the late 1990s when it paid lip service to a peace process, always backed to the hilt the apartheid system that enabled the settlements to expand. None of that ever troubled Britain’s Labour Party, apart from when it was led by Corbyn, a genuinely dedicated anti-racist.

But by contrast to Labour, Meretz is an avowedly anti-occupation party. That was the very reason it was founded in the early 1990s. Opposition to the occupation and the settlements is supposedly hardwired into its DNA. So how did it vote for the very apartheid law underpinning the settlements?

UTTER HYPOCRISY

The naïve, or mischievous, will tell you Meretz had no choice because the alternative was Bennett’s government losing the vote – which in fact happened anyway – and reviving the chances of Netanyahu returning to power. Meretz’s hands were supposedly tied.

This argument – of pragmatic necessity – is one we often hear when groups professing to believe one thing act in ways that damage the very thing they say they hold dear.

But Israeli commentator Gideon Levy makes a very telling point that applies far beyond this particular Israeli case.

He notes that Meretz would never have been seen to vote for the apartheid law – whatever the consequences – if the issue had been about transgressing the rights of Israel’s LGBTQ community rather than transgressing Palestinian rights. Meretz, whose leader is gay, has LGBTQ rights at the top of its agenda.

Levy writes: “Two justice systems in the same territory, one for straight people and another for gay people? Is there any circumstance in which this would happen? A single political constellation that could bring it about?”

The same could be said of Labour, even if we believe, as Starmer apparently does, that it is a leftwing party. Its leader, Merav Michaeli, is an ardent feminist.

Would Labour, Levy writes, “ever raise its hand for apartheid laws against [Israeli] women in the West Bank? Two separate legal systems, one for men and another for women? Never. Absolutely not.”

Levy’s point is that even for the so-called Zionist left, Palestinians are inherently inferior by virtue of the fact that they are Palestinian. The Palestinian gay community and Palestinian women are just as affected by the Israel’s apartheid law favoring Jewish settlers as Palestinian men are. So in voting for it, Meretz and Labour showed that they do not care about the rights of Palestinian women or members of the Palestinian LGBTQ community. Their support for women and the gay community is dependent on the ethnicity of those belonging to these groups.

It should not need highlighting how close such a distinction on racial grounds is to the views espoused by the traditional supporters of Jim Crow in the U.S. or apartheid’s supporters in South Africa.

So what makes Meretz and Labour legislators capable of not just utter hypocrisy but such flagrant racism? The answer is Zionism.

Zionism is a form of ideological tribalism that prioritizes Jewish privilege in the legal, military and political realms. However leftwing you consider yourself, if you subscribe to Zionism you regard your ethnic tribalism as supremely important – and for that reason alone, you are racist.

You may not be conscious of your racism, you may not wish to be racist, but by default you are. Ultimately, when push comes to shove, when you perceive your own Jewish tribalism to be under threat from another tribalism, you will revert to type. Your racism will come to fore, just as surely as Meretz’s just did.

DECEPTIVE SOLIDARITY

But of course, there is nothing exceptional about most Israeli Jews or Israel’s Zionist supporters abroad, whether Jewish or not. Tribalism is endemic to the way most of us view the world, and rapidly comes to the surface whenever we perceive our tribe to be in danger.

Most of us can quickly become extreme tribalists. When tribalism relates to more trivial matters, such as supporting a sports team, it mostly manifests in less dangerous forms, such as boorish or aggressive behavior. But if it relates to an ethnic or national group, it encourages a host of more dangerous behaviors: jingoism, racism, discrimination, segregation and warmongering.

As sensitive as Meretz is to its own tribal identities, whether the Jewish one or a solidarity with the LGBTQ community, its sensitivity to the tribal concerns of others can quickly dissolve when that other identity is presented as threatening. Which is why Meretz, in prioritizing its Jewish identity, lacks any meaningful solidarity with Palestinians or even the Palestinian LGBTQ community.

Instead, Meretz’s opposition to the occupation and the settlements often appears more rooted in the sentiment that they are bad for Israel and its relations with the West than that they are a crime against Palestinians.

This inconsistency means we can easily be fooled about who our real allies are. Just because we share a commitment to one thing, such as ending the occupation, it doesn’t necessarily mean we do so for the same reasons – or we attach the same importance to our commitment.

It is easy, for example, for less experienced Palestinian solidarity activists to assume when they hear Meretz politicians that the party will help advance the Palestinian cause. But failing to understand Meretz’s tribal priorities is a recipe for constant disappointment – and futile activism on behalf of Palestinians.

The Oslo “peace” process remained credible in the West for so long only because Westerners misunderstood how it fitted with the tribal priorities of Israelis. Most were ready to back peace in the abstract so long as it did not entail any practical loss of their tribal privileges.

Yitzhak Rabin, the West’s Israeli partner in the Oslo process, showed what such tribalism entailed in the wake of a gun rampage by a settler, Baruch Goldstein, in 1994 that killed and wounded more than 100 Palestinians at worship in the Palestinian city of Hebron.

Rather than using the murder spree as the justification to implement his commitment to remove the small colonies of extreme settlers from Hebron, Rabin put Hebron’s Palestinians under curfew for many months. Those restrictions have never been fully lifted for many of Hebron’s Palestinians and have allowed Jewish settlers to expand their colonies ever since.

HIERARCHY OF TRIBALISMS

There is a further point that needs underscoring, and that the Israel-Palestine case illustrates well. Not all tribalisms are equal, or equally dangerous. Palestinians are quite capable of being tribal too. Just look at the self-righteous posturing of some Hamas leaders, for example.

But whatever delusions Zionists subscribe to, Palestinian tribalism is clearly far less dangerous to Israel than Jewish tribalism is to Palestinians.

Israel, the state representing Jewish tribalists, has the support of all Western governments and major media outlets, as well as most Arab governments, and at the very least the complicity of global institutions. Israel has an army, navy and air force, all of which can rely on the latest, most powerful weaponry, itself heavily subsidized by the U.S. Israel also enjoys special trading status with the West, which has made its economy one of the strongest on the planet.

The idea that Israeli Jews have a greater reason to fear the Palestinians (or in a further delusion, the Arab world) than Palestinians have to fear Israel is easily refuted. Simply consider how many Israeli Jews would wish to exchange places with a Palestinian – whether in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem or from the minority living inside Israel.

The lesson is that there is a hierarchy of tribalisms, and that a tribalism is more dangerous if it enjoys more power. Empowered tribalisms have the ability to cause much greater harm than disempowered tribalisms. Not all tribalisms are equally destructive.

But there is a more significant point. An empowered tribalism necessarily provokes, accentuates and deepens a disempowered tribalism. Zionists often claim that Palestinians are a made-up or imaginary people because they did not identify as Palestinians until after the state of Israel was created. Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously suggested the Palestinians were an invented people.

This was, of course, self-serving nonsense. But it has a kernel of truth that makes it sound plausible. Palestinian identity clarified and intensified as a result of the threat posed by Jewish immigrants arriving from Europe, claiming the Palestinian homeland as their own.

As the saying goes, you don’t always fully appreciate what you have until you face losing it. Palestinians had to sharpen their national identity, and their national ambitions, faced with the threat that someone else was claiming what they had always assumed belonged to them.

SUPERIOR VALUES

So how does all this help us understand our own tribalism in the West?

Not least, whatever the anxieties being encouraged in the West over the supposed threat posed by Russia and China, the reality is that the West’s tribalism – sometimes termed “Western civilization,” or “the rules-based order,” or “the democratic world,” or, even more ludicrously, “the international community” – is by far the most powerful of all tribalisms on the planet. And so also the most dangerous.

Israel’s tribal power, for example, derives almost exclusively from the West’s tribal power. It is an adjunct, an extension, of Western tribal power.

But we need to be a little more specific in our thinking. You and I subscribe to Western tribalism – either consciously or less so, depending on whether we see ourselves as on the right or the left of the political spectrum – because it has been cultivated in us over a lifetime through parenting, schools and the corporate media.

We think West is best. None of us would want to be Russian or Chinese, any more than Israeli Jews would choose to be Palestinian. We implicitly understand that we have privileges over other tribes. And because we are tribal, we assume those privileges are justified in some way. They either derive from our own inherent superiority (a view often associated with the far right) or from a superior culture or traditions (a view usually embracing the moderate right, liberals and parts of the left).

Again, this echoes Zionist views. Israeli Jews on the right tend to believe that they have inherently superior qualities to Palestinians and Arabs, who are seen as primitive, backward or barbarian-terrorists. Overlapping with these assumptions, religious-Zionist Jews tend to imagine that they are superior because they have the one true God on their side.

By contrast, most secular Jews on the left, like the liberals of Meretz, believe that their superiority derives from some vague conception of Western “culture” or civilization that has fostered in them a greater ability to show tolerance and compassion, and act rationally, than do most Palestinians.

Meretz would like to extend that culture to Palestinians to help them benefit from the same civilizing influences. But until that can happen, they, like the Zionist right, view Palestinians primarily as a threat.

Seen in simple terms, Meretz believes they cannot easily empower the Palestinian LGBTQ community, much as they would like to, without also empowering Hamas. And they do not wish to do that because an empowered Hamas, they fear, would not only threaten the Palestinian LGBTQ community but the Israeli one too.

So liberating Palestinians from decades of Israeli military occupation and ethnic cleansing will just have to wait for a more opportune moment – however long that may take, and however many Palestinians must suffer in the meantime.

NEW HITLERS

The parallels with our own, Western worldview should not be hard to perceive.

We understand that our tribalism, our prioritizing of our own privileges in the West, entails suffering for others. But either we assume we are more deserving than other tribes, or we assume others – to become deserving – must first be brought up to our level through education and other civilizing influences. They will just have to suffer in the meantime.

When we read about the “white man’s burden” worldview in history books, we understand – with the benefit of distance from those times – how ugly Western colonialism was. When it is suggested that we might still harbor this kind of tribalism, we get irritated or, more likely, indignant. “Racist – me? Ridiculous!”

Further, our blindness to our own super-empowered Western tribalism makes us oblivious too to the effect our tribalism has on less empowered tribalisms. We imagine ourselves under constant threat from any other tribal group that asserts its own tribalism in the face of our more empowered tribalism.

Some of those threats can be more ideological and amorphous, particularly in recent years: like the supposed “clash of civilisations” against the Islamist extremism of al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

But our preferred enemies have a face, and all too readily can be presented as an improbable stand-in for our template of the bogeyman: Adolf Hitler.

Those new Hitlers pop up one after another, like a whack-a-mole game we can never quite win.

Iraq’s Saddam Hussein – supposedly ready to fire the WMD he didn’t actually have in our direction in less than 45 minutes.

The mad ayatollahs of Iran and their politician-puppets – seeking to build a nuclear bomb to destroy our forward outpost of Israel before presumably turning their warheads on Europe and the U.S.

And then there is the biggest, baddest monster of them all: Vladimir Putin. The mastermind threatening our way of life, our values, or civilization with his mind games, disinformation and control of social media through an army of bots.

EXISTENTIAL THREATS

Because we are as blind to our own tribalism as Meretz is to its racism towards Palestinians, we cannot understand why anyone else might fear us more than we fear them. Our “superior” civilization has cultivated in us a solipsism, a narcissism, that refuses to acknowledge our threatening presence in the world.

The Russians could never be responding to a threat – real or imagined – that we might pose by expanding our military presence right up to Russia’s borders.

The Russians could never see our NATO military alliance as primarily aggressive rather than defensive, as we claim, even though somewhere in a small, dark mental recess where things that make us uncomfortable are shoved we know that Western armies have launched a series of direct wars of aggression against countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and via proxies in Syria, Yemen, Iran and Venezuela.

The Russians could never genuinely fear neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine – groups that until recently Western media worried were growing in power – even after those neo-Nazis were integrated into the Ukrainian military and led what amounts to a civil war against ethnic Russian communities in the country’s east.

In our view, when Putin spoke of the need to de-Nazify Ukraine, he was not amplifying Russians’ justifiable fears of Nazism on their doorstep, given their history, or the threat those groups genuinely pose to ethnic Russian communities nearby. No, he was simply proving that he and the likely majority of Russians who think like he does are insane.

More than that, his hyperbole gave us permission to bring our covert arming of these neo-Nazis groups out into the light. Now we embrace these neo-Nazis, as we do the rest of Ukraine, and send them advanced weaponry – many billions of dollars worth of advanced weaponry.

And while we do this, we self-righteously berate Putin for being a madman and for his disinformation. He is demented or a liar for viewing us as a existential threat to Russia, while we are entirely justified in viewing him as an existential threat to Western civilization.

And so we keep feeding the chimerical devil we fear. And however often our fears are exposed as self-rationalizing, we never learn.

Saddam Hussein posed an earlier existential threat. His non-existent WMDs were going to be placed in his non-existent long-range missiles to destroy us. So we had every right to destroy Iraq first, preemptively. But when those WMDs turned out not to exist, whose fault was it? Not ours, of course. It was Saddam Hussein’s. He didn’t tell us he did not have WMDs. How could we have known? In our view, Iraq ended up being destroyed because Saddam was a strongman who believed his own propaganda, a primitive Arab hoisted by his own petard.

If we paused for a moment and stood outside our own tribalism, we might realize how dangerously narcissistic – quite how mad – we sound. Saddam Hussein did not tell us he had no WMDs, that he had secretly destroyed them many years earlier, because he feared us and our uncontrollable urge to dominate the globe. He feared that, if we knew he lacked those weapons, we might have more of an incentive to attack him and Iraq, either directly or through proxies. It was we who trapped him in his own lie.

And then there is Iran. Our endless fury with the mad ayatollahs – our economic sanctions, our and Israel’s executions of Iran’s scientists, our constant chatter of invasion – are intended to stop Tehran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon that might finally level the Middle East’s playing field with Israel, whom we helped to develop a large nuclear arsenal decades ago.

Iran must be stopped so it cannot destroy Israel and then us. Our fears of the Iranian nuclear threat are paramount. We must strike, directly or through proxies, against its allies in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Gaza. Our entire Middle East policy must be fashioned around the effort to prevent Iran from ever gaining the bomb.

In our madness, we cannot imagine the fears of Iranians, their realistic sense that we pose a much graver threat to them than they could ever pose to us. In the circumstances, to Iranians, a nuclear weapon might surely look like a very wise insurance policy – a deterrence – against our boundless self-righteousness.

VICIOUS CYCLE

Because we are the strongest tribe on the planet, we are also the most deluded, the most propagandized, as well as the most dangerous. We create the reality we think we oppose. We spawn the devils we fear. We force our rivals into the role of bogeyman that makes us feel good about ourselves.

In Israel, Meretz imagines it opposes the occupation. And yet it keeps conspiring in actions – supposedly to aid Israel’s security, like the apartheid law – that justifiably make Palestinians fear for their existence and believe they have no Jewish allies in Israel. Backed into a corner, Palestinians resist, either in an organized fashion, as during their intifada uprisings, or through ineffectual “lone-wolf” attacks by individuals.

But the Zionist tribalism of Meretz – as liberal, humane and caring as they are – means they can perceive only their own existential anxieties; they cannot see themselves as a threat to others or grasp the fears that they and other Zionists provoke in Palestinians. So the Palestinians must be dismissed as religious maniacs, or primitive, or barbarian-terrorists.

This kind of tribalism produces a vicious cycle – for us, as for Israel. Our behaviors based on the assumption of superiority – our greed and aggression – mean we inevitably deepen the tribalisms of others and provoke their resistance. Which in turn rationalizes our assumption that we must act even more tribally, even more greedily, even more aggressively.

CHEERLEADING WAR

We each have more than one tribal identity, of course. We are not only British, French, American, Brazilian. We are Black, Asian, Hispanic, white. We are straight, gay, trans, or something even more complex. We are conservative, liberal, left. We may support a team, or have a faith.

These tribal identities can conflict and interact in complex ways. As Meretz shows, one identity may come to the fore, and recede into the background, depending on circumstances and the perception of threat.

But perhaps most important of all, some tribalisms can be harnessed and manipulated by other, narrower, more covert tribal identities. Remember, not all tribalisms are equal.

Western elites – our politicians, corporate leaders, billionaires – have their own narrow tribalism. They prioritize their own tribe and its interests: making money and retaining power on the world stage. But given how ugly, selfish and destructive this tribe would look were it to stand before us nakedly pursuing power for its own benefit, it promotes its tribal interests in the name of the wider tribe and its “cultural” values.

This elite tribe wages its endless wars for resource control, it oppresses others, it imposes austerity, it wrecks the planet, all in the name of Western civilization.

When we cheerlead the West’s wars; when we reluctantly concede that other societies must be smashed; when we accept that poverty and food banks are an unfortunate byproduct of supposed economic realities, as is the toxifying of the planet, we conspire in advancing not our own tribal interests but someone else’s.

When we send tens of billions of dollars of weapons to Ukraine, we imagine we are being selfless, helping those in trouble, stopping an evil madman, upholding international law, listening to Ukrainians. But our understanding of why events are unfolding as they are in Ukraine, more so than how they are unfolding, has been imposed on us, just as it has on ordinary Ukrainians and ordinary Russians.

We believe we can end the war through more muscle. We assume we can terrorize Russia into withdrawal. Or even more dangerously, we fantasize that we can defeat a nuclear-armed Russia and remove its “madman” president. We cannot imagine that we are only stoking the very fears that drove Russia to invade Ukraine in the first place, the very fears that brought a strongman like Putin to power and sustain him there. We make the situation worse in assuming we are making it better.

So why do we do it?

Because our thoughts are not our own. We are dancing to a tune composed by others whose motives and interests we barely comprehend.

An endless war is not in our interests, nor in those of Ukrainians or Russians. But it might just be in the interests of Western elites that need to “weaken the enemy” to expand their dominance; that need pretexts to hoover up our money for wars that profit them alone; that need to create enemies to shore up the tribalism of Western publics so that we do not start to see things from the point of view of others or wonder whether our own tribalism really serves our interests or those of an elite.

The truth is we are being constantly manipulated, duped, propagandized to advance “values” that are not inherent in our “superior” culture but manufactured for us by the elites’ public-relations arm, the corporate media. We are made into willing co-conspirators in behavior that actually harms us, others, and the planet.

In Ukraine, our very compassion to help is being weaponized in ways that will kill Ukrainians and destroy their communities, just as Meretz’s caring liberalism has spent decades rationalizing the oppression of Palestinians in the name of ending it.

We cannot liberate Ukraine or Russia. But what we can do may, in the long term, prove far more significant: We can start liberating our minds.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions: news conference on current international issues

June 08, 2022

Source

Colleagues,

Last night and this morning, we received multiple questions from the media regarding our response to the unprecedented decisions made by a number of NATO members who blocked the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to the Republic of Serbia.

An unthinkable thing has happened. I understand the interest in our assessment of these outrageous actions. A sovereign state has been deprived of the right to carry out its foreign policy. At the moment, Serbia’s international activities, at least on the Russian track, are blocked.

Let’s not beat around the bush. This is another clear and cautionary demonstration of how far NATO and the EU can go in using the most low-grade methods of influencing those whose actions are grounded in national interests and who are against sacrificing their principles and dignity for the sake of the “rules” imposed by the West instead of international law. If the West sees a visit by the Russian Foreign Minister to Serbia almost as a threat on a universal scale, then, apparently, things are not so good there.

Lately, we’ve heard vociferous calls to the effect that Serbia needs to “make a final choice.” Yesterday, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt made a splashy statement saying that hosting the Russian Foreign Minister in Belgrade was the worst thing Serbia could do to advance its EU prospects. How do you like that? Several days ago (when my visit was announced), US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill published a big article titled “East or West: There is no third way,” where he used precisely these terms and logic with regard to Serbia’s future relations with the United States, the EU and the Russian Federation. Even an unsophisticated observer will understand that Brussels is not a place for the sovereign equality of states, as enshrined in the UN Charter, and even less so for the notorious freedom of choice, which Brussels constantly talks about.

During our discussions last year, we proposed signing a treaty on European security with the United States and NATO. We were told that NATO would not accept any principles regarding indivisible security, including the unacceptability of strengthening one’s own security at the expense of others. They will accept only the principle of freedom to choose partners. Now, the West has torn up this very principle, after centering it for so long.

The West believes that Serbia should not have freedom to choose partners. This cynicism is hardly surprising. The West is making it clear that it will continue to unscrupulously use pressure.

We’ve seen this kind of hypocrisy on many occasions, including during the tragic bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 by those who came to believe in their victory in the Cold War and their right to build the world exclusively according to their own design. This mentality manifested itself in the incident that we are now discussing.

I know they will come up with multiple explanations (we haven’t heard any so far). The countries that didn’t allow a flyover for the Russian aircraft will say that they received orders from the European Union or NATO. Those, in turn, will say that these countries were independent in their decision-making. You are well aware of all that. However, most importantly no one will be able to destroy our relations with Serbia.

We had plans to hold important and time-sensitive meetings with President Aleksandar Vucic, Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic, National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic, and the clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church. That would be very helpful. These contacts did not go anywhere on other tracks. Nikola Selakovic was invited to pay a visit to Russia soon. I hope that the plane on which he will fly (a regular or a special fight) will not be subjected to another shameful “punishment” by Brussels and its “clients” that have lost all decency.

We planned to discuss a broad agenda, including the rapidly expanding bilateral strategic partnership and international affairs. Clearly, the Brussels puppeteers were not comfortable with providing us with a platform in the capital of Serbia where we could confirm Russia’s position on Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. They did not want us to express support for Belgrade’s initiative to implement the Open Balkan project in the interests of improving and bolstering relations between all the countries of that region.

Clearly, Brussels (NATO and the EU) wants the Balkans to become a project of its own called Closed Balkans. It is hard to draw other conclusions looking at the situation at hand.

Question: What measures will be taken for this meeting to be held? You said the closure of the air space by three countries is an unprecedented step. Is there a threat of this becoming a norm? That the air space will be shut for ministers to protect these countries?

Sergey Lavrov: This has already become the norm for the European Union and NATO. I mentioned the “sound effects” that accompanied this decision. They were made in the Western media and by some politicians.

They are increasingly afraid of the truth and are trying to escape into an invented, fake reality that is filling screens, social media and any information resources. They have completely shut down all alternative media at their own initiative. They want to resolve their electoral challenges by brainwashing their voters. If such a choice was made (no doubt about it), Brussels is going to decide the destinies of all European countries by itself.

This shows once again the worth of the status sought by the EU applicants. The explanation is simple. It was declared more than once (including by  Josep Borrell, the bellicose EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, who said this war must be won “on the battlefield” in order to “defeat Russia”) that while merely preparing to join the EU, the applicants must fully and unquestionably follow the European policy on security and defence. It is common knowledge that this policy is emphatically anti-Russian. This is what awaits the countries that are trying to find a balance of interests in preserving and developing their relations with the EU and non-EU countries.

We value Serbia’s courageous position in this respect. President Alexandar Vucic has emphasised that he will not engage in anti-Russia activities. But this is exactly what the EU wants – for all applicants to assume Russophobic commitments.

This case showed the worth of NATO membership for Montenegro and North Macedonia and the reasons why NATO needs such countries – only to punish Russia, expand the anti-Russia bridgehead in Europe and create threats and mechanisms of containment. This does not square in the least with the requirements of Article 10 of the Washington Treaty on NATO. This article states that new members must meet the criteria and, most important, contribute to the security of all members of the alliance.

Whose security did Montenegro and North Macedonia contribute to? But they have coped with their role really well as an instrument for deterring Russia and stooges of the big guys. I feel sorry for these countries. These are two friendly nations. They have a wonderful nature and history that they cherish. They valued our relations in the past. But the current political realities have put them into a sticky situation.

As for responses, we will never do anything that will further complicate ties between nations. This is what our Western partners are doing. They are facing problems at home not only because they are creating a socio-economic quagmire but also because more and more sensible Europeans are asking the question: Why turn Russia into an enemy? More and more people are recalling the great, proud and glorious history we have made in cooperation with many European countries.

Speaking about history, I would like to return to the failed visit to Serbia. As part of the itinerary, I was supposed to attend a ceremony at the Eternal Flame in memory of the liberators of Belgrade. I was also supposed to make an entry in the Honoured Guest Book. I planned to write the following. Imagine I am sending it to the Serbian people now.

“Let us be worthy of the memory of the Soviet and Yugoslav warriors who perished in the struggle against Nazism. Serbia and Russia stand in solidarity in their efforts to preserve the truth about the history of World War II. We will not allow the rebirth of Nazism.”

Please consider these words my message to all those who visit this magisterial monument in Belgrade.

Question (retranslated from Serbian): Will you please comment on how it has come to the point that you were literally denied the opportunity to fly on a visit to Serbia as three countries closed their airspace to your plane? What was the reason for this? Does it mean that you might encounter an obstacle like this on any other route over EU or NATO member countries? Or does it only have to do with your visit to Serbia?

Sergey Lavrov: I will not engage in speculation about other routes across EU and NATO member countries. Currently, we have no plans to meet [with any officials from these countries]. As for now, there are no invitations from NATO countries, nor am I expecting anyone in Moscow.

As for the reason you asked about, there was much speculation about it several days ago in the Serbian and Croatian press and in the press in other countries in the Western Balkans. For example, it was suggested that Sergey Lavrov was one of the most unwelcome guests in Serbia now because he decided to “go ahead” of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is planning to visit the Balkans in the next few days. The head of the German Government was allegedly disappointed and even felt hurt by this impolite, in his view, step on the part of Serbia. It is on the conscience of analysts who write things like these. I believe it is humiliating not only for the people whom they write about and whose response they try to predict but, primarily, for the media outlets that are trying to reach more readers and viewers through this type of “exercise”.

Question (retranslated from Serbian): Serbia has been pressured by both sides since the very start of the conflict in Ukraine in the context of the events it has nothing to do with. Will Russia show more understanding for the national interests and position of Serbia as distinct from some Western countries?

Sergey Lavrov: My response is a definite yes. We see how fiercely the West is reacting to what is happening in Ukraine. This proves that we are right. We have explained to the whole world why the special military operation was launched. In retrospect, we showed our efforts for many years to avert threats and not 10,000 km away but right on our borders. The United States considers it possible to declare “today” that Belgrade is posing a threat (to global or European security) and start bombing Belgrade “tomorrow.” Then, in a couple of years, the United States decides that one more country, also located 10,000 km away – Iraq – is posing a threat. Cities are erased from the face of the Earth and hundreds of thousands of civilians are killed. Then they decide that there is one more country across the Atlantic – Libya – that is also posing a threat to the US and must be destroyed for this reason.

We have long been saying that it is unacceptable to expand NATO eastward, support the coup d’etat in Ukraine and tolerate the subversion by Pyotr Poroshenko and Vladimir Zelensky of the Minsk agreements that had been so hard to reach. All these warnings were ignored. The Russian people in Ukraine continued to be discriminated against across the board. Laws banning the Russian language were adopted and Nazi practices (theory and practice of Nazism) were established. The West applauded all this, presenting this process as an achievement of true democracy. It continued supporting the neo-Nazi armed forces of Ukraine that were shelling civilians and civilian infrastructure in Donbass every day. We had no other choice left.

I spoke about all this in detail and now I am reiterating what I said. But Brussels’ line in the Balkans and in Ukraine is the same. The only difference is that in the Balkans the EU favours those who impinge on the Serbian interests, while in Ukraine, NATO and the EU support the regime that has long declared a war on all things Russian. This is an interesting observation. I mentioned it during my interview with the media of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the gist of the EU’s mediation. Some process started in the Balkans after Kosovo proclaimed “independence” unilaterally and without any referendum. The UN General Assembly invited the EU to mediate between Pristina and Belgrade and its effort was rather successful: in 2013, the agreement was reached on establishing the Community of Serbian Municipalities of Kosovo. In 2014, when a coup was staged in Ukraine and the “counterterrorism” forces launched an operation against Donbass and Russians in Ukraine, the EU also acted as a mediator. This led to the signing of the Minsk agreements that established certain rules, just as with regard to the Serbian municipalities in Kosovo.

The EU made a solemn promise to support a special status for northern Kosovo and eastern Ukraine. The status did not imply any complicated things: to let people speak their native tongue (Serbians were supposed to be allowed to speak Serbian and Russians in Ukraine to speak Russian), teach children in schools in their native tongue, use it in daily life and have a certain autonomy as regards law-enforcement and economic ties with neighbouring regions (northern Kosovo with Serbia and eastern Ukraine with Russia). Identical agreements were made, which urged respect for national minorities in full conformity with international European conventions on the rights of these groups. The EU announced that it had succeeded in both cases. But it shamefully failed in both cases and had to admit it later on by saying it could not persuade Kiev to fulfil the Minsk agreements or make Pristina abide by its agreements with Belgrade. There is something in common as regards the EU’s treatment of different areas in our common geopolitical space, its goals, its competence and its ability to make deals.

Question: What role do you think Turkey could play in normalising the situation around Ukraine, especially since it aspires to the role of a mediator? How promising is the format that was initially established with Ukraine and that it subsequently torpedoed? What do you think about Ankara’s position on Sweden and Finland’s potential accession to NATO?

Sergey Lavrov: I will not even comment on the last question. This is Ankara’s sovereign business, just as it is for any other country that is a member of an alliance, union or organisation. I heard somewhere that some overzealous EU members from the Baltic states demanded during the discussion of the sixth package of anti-Russia sanctions that Hungary be deprived of the right to vote because it abused the rule of consensus. But this is a paradoxical claim. Consensus means only one thing: that everyone concurs on an issue. If a single member is against something, there is no consensus. Therefore, by voting against something, nobody can undermine the principles of consensus. I will leave this aside; let the NATO members figure it out among themselves. I already had an opportunity to comment on this. Let us see how this process will develop. As for us, this concerns Russia in just one regard: Will Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO create direct physical and material threats to Russia’s security? I think every sensible politician is aware that this will not make the situation any better politically.

As for the military aspect of this deal, we will see what will be done in this respect.

As far as Turkey’s role is concerned, yes it has its own position that it does not conceal. We do not have identical views on all issues; far from it. We have serious disagreements on many aspects of the regional situation. As our cooperation on Syria and later on the Libyan crisis showed, our presidents, while clearly outlining their views, respect each other’s positions. Instead of aggravating the existing differences, both leaders are trying to take into account each other’s concerns. This is how Moscow treats Ankara and Ankara reciprocates. This was the gist of a recent telephone conversation on the problems on food security the West has created over the past two years. Later it aggravated them further by imposing senseless sanctions. Having introduced them, the West suddenly started thinking about how they will affect food deliveries to different countries.

Yes, Russia and Turkey are interested in resolving these problems. In his recent interview, President of Russia Vladimir Putin explained in detail how to unblock food shipments from the Black Sea ports that had been mined by the Ukrainians, and from the ports of the Sea of Azov that have been demined and are now controlled by the Russian Federation. There are safe routes from there via the Kerch Strait to the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. Specialists are leaving for Turkey today. Tomorrow, my delegation will head there. I hope we will manage to examine in detail all the options mentioned by President Vladimir Putin, and our countries’ leaders will dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. This depends exclusively on who will work with Ukraine and compel it to remove the mines in its own ports, as well as those who must remove all obstacles to shipments, their insurance and servicing of ships that will deliver grain and other food products to European ports and from there to developing nations.

Question: The UK has announced that it will supply multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russian forces. The United States is doing the same. You said that this was a risky path to take. But if Russia had not attacked Ukraine and there had been no Russian invasion, there would be no deliveries of rocket launchers. Do you agree?

Sergey Lavrov: I will not even try to step into America’s or Britain’s shoes. You don’t even want to hear our arguments. The issue is not that “if someone hadn’t attacked, you wouldn’t have done something.” The thing is that for twenty years, both you, the British, and the Americans, and all other NATO countries were urged to do what all of you subscribed to in 1999: no country shall strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others. Why can’t you do that? Why is it that the commitments signed by your prime minister, the presidents and prime ministers of all other OSCE countries proved to be lies? Instead, you are saying that we should leave NATO alone and that it is “none of our business,” for you will accept whoever you want. You moved closer to our borders on five occasions (a defensive alliance!). The Warsaw Treaty and the USSR are no more. Who are you defending yourselves against? Five times you decided all on your own where your lines of defence would be. What’s that? This smacks of megalomania.

Today Jens Stoltenberg is saying that NATO’s responsibility should be ensured on the global scale in the Indo-Pacific region. This means that your next line of defence will be in the South China Sea. If we look at what is happening, it becomes patently clear that during all these years you believed you had the right to wreak havoc far from your borders. I understand that you are nostalgic for the British Empire and that there are seeds planted somewhere deep down. You are wistful, of course. Regions are picked out an ocean away from the United States, where allegedly there is a threat to Washington, and they are razed to the ground. Now it is Mosul in Iraq, now Raqqa in Syria, now Belgrade. Libya is in chaos, and countries are destroyed.

Just imagine for a minute that your neighbour, Ireland, which occupies half of the island of the same name, upped and banned the English language, or that Belgium banned French, or Switzerland outlawed French, German, or Italian. How would Europe look at that? I will not even expand on this. But Europe was looking on passively at them banning Russian. This took place in Ukraine. All things Russian – education, the media, everyday contacts, etc. – were prohibited. Moreover, the regime that openly professes and glorifies Nazism bombed and shelled ethnic Russians for eight years.

I understand, you must use cut and dried phrases to drum into the heads of your audiences this truth of yours: “if you hadn’t attacked, we wouldn’t have supplied the MLRS.”  Vladimir Putin has commented on the situation that emerged in connection with the arrival of the new weapons. I can only add that the longer-range arms you supply, the farther will we push from our border the line where the neo-Nazis will be able to threaten the Russian Federation.

Question: At the talks with Ukraine in March, Russia demanded that Kiev recognise the independence of Donbass and the Russian status of Crimea. Does Russia intend to demand that Kiev additionally recognise independence of the Kherson Region and part of the Zaporozhye Region currently controlled by the Russian forces, or their accession to Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: This question will be answered by the people living in the liberated territories. They are saying that they want to choose their future on their own. We fully respect this position.

As for the declared objectives, let me reiterate the following. The West has decided to supply weapons that, in all evidence, are capable of reaching not only the border areas of the Russian Federation but also its more remote points. Politicians and legislators in Ukraine itself are laughing at the Americans, who said they believed Vladimir Zelensky’s promise not to shell Russia. If this is how the United States and its satellites react to what is happening, I will stress once again: the longer-range are the systems supplied to the Kiev regime, the farther will we push the Nazis from the line from which threats emanate for the Russian population of Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

Question: What expectations do you have for your upcoming visit to Ankara? Will a mechanism to resolve the grain issue be announced? Will the continuation of the Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul be discussed?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already answered this question. The range of topics for the talks was outlined during a telephone conversation between the presidents of Russia and Turkey.

In his recent interview, President Vladimir Putin gave a detailed description of the best options for exporting grain. We have been doing everything that is up to us for a long time. For more than a month, Russian servicemen both in the Black and Azov seas have been opening humanitarian corridors for foreign ships to leave, which are in fact kept hostage there by the Ukrainian authorities. The Ukrainians have to clear the mines for the ships to use these corridors. Our Turkish colleagues declared their readiness to help us in this. I think our military will come to terms on the best way to organise this, so that the ships pass to the open sea through the minefields that have to be cleared. Next, we guarantee – on our own or with our Turkish colleagues – that they will reach the straits and move further into the Mediterranean Sea.

The concept is absolutely clear. We have been talking about it for a long time. Attempts are being made to present the case as if Russia does not want something, as if it is necessary to involve some organisation like the UN or adopt a UN Security Council resolution. We have been through all these games. Everyone who can be even a little bit serious about the task of exporting grain from Ukrainian ports knows very well that only one thing must be done to achieve this: to order Vladimir Zelensky to give the command to clear the ports and stop hiding behind statements that Russia will take advantage of this. President Vladimir Putin said that we are not going to take advantage of this and are ready to tackle this problem earnestly. Let me stress that we have been doing everything in our power for a long time.

Question: An increasing number of countries are trying to join the attempts to settle the disagreements between Moscow and Kiev amid Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine and the problems it has caused. What proposals for mediation is Moscow currently considering as the most realistic and acceptable alternatives?

Sergey Lavrov: The most realistic proposals that did not provide for mediation were put forward at a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul on March 29, 2022. These proposals were made by the Ukrainian party. We immediately accepted them as a foundation. Afterwards, the Ukrainian party walked out on these proposals either on its own initiative or under orders from Washington, London or Brussels. Western analysts say “mediation” is impossible as Ukraine’s only demand is that the situation be reversed to the state of affairs on the ground as it was on February 24, 2022. Fantasies are talked about every day, sometimes contradicting one another.

Ukraine is unwilling to hold negotiations. It has declined to do this. We have every reason to believe that in this way Kiev is following the wishes of the Anglo-Saxon leadership of the Western world. We were ready to work honestly based on our Ukrainian colleagues’ proposals. A draft agreement drawn up on the basis of those proposals has been shelved by the Ukrainian side for six weeks now.

Question: As for the provocation by Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro, do you think their position was agreed on with Brussels or directly with Washington? Or was it these countries’ desire to gain favour with Washington and Brussels? Has Europe been closed to our diplomacy altogether?

Sergey Lavrov: I do not know what lies behind this move – either an order or the desire to gain favour – but you have hit the mark. I believe it is a combination of both. They may have long since been ordered not to diverge from the policy of containing Russia, so the desire to be servile is part of it. Or maybe they received these orders yesterday. We do not know.

We are still maintaining diplomatic relations with the majority of western countries, including the unfriendly ones. At the same time I have repeatedly emphasised the main geopolitical conclusion from this situation: it is now impossible to agree with Europe on anything and be sure that they will deliver on their obligations. When these “demons” are driven out and Europe comes to itself, we will see what their perspective on our future ties are. We are not going to impose ourselves on them. Of course, we will weigh and consider what they propose. If their proposals do not disagree with our interests, we will be ready to resume our contacts.

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