The Turkish Military Incursion in N Syria: «Peace Spring» Operation

Trump Ally Graham: Syria Pullout Would Be Nightmare for «Israel»

By Staff, Agencies

US President Donald Trump’s sudden decision to pull back US troops from northern Syria drew quick, strong criticism Monday from some of his closest allies in Congress, among them South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who warned that the move would ultimately be “a nightmare” for the “Israeli” entity.

“By abandoning the Kurds we have sent the most dangerous signal possible,” Graham said on Twitter.

“America is an unreliable ally and it’s just a matter of time before China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea act out in dangerous ways. The US now has no leverage and Syria will eventually become a nightmare for ‘Israel’,” the normally close ally of the president said.

It was condemned, too, by Kurdish fighters who would be abandoned to face a likely Turkish assault after fighting alongside Americans for years against the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”].

The announcement threw the military situation in Syria into fresh chaos and injected deeper uncertainty into US relations with European allies.

Syria’s Kurds accused the US of turning its back on allies and risking gains made in the years-long fight against Daesh.

Trump defended his decision, acknowledging in tweets that “the Kurds fought with us” but adding that they “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.”

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” he wrote.

If the Turks go too far, he tweeted later, “I in my great and unmatched wisdom” will destroy their economy.

Hours after the White House announcement, two senior State Department officials minimized the effects of the US action, telling reporters that only about two dozen American troops would be removed from the Turkey-Syria border, not all the US forces in the northeast of the country. They also said Turkey may not go through with a large-scale invasion and the US was still trying to discourage it.

Both officials spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss what led to the internal White House decision.

Both Republicans and Democrats in the US have warned that allowing the Turkish attack could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and send a troubling message to American allies across the globe.

US troops “will not support or be involved in the operation” and “will no longer be in the immediate area,” in northern Syria, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in an unusual late-Sunday statement that was silent on the fate of the Kurds.

There are about 1,000 US troops in northern Syria, and a senior US official said they will pull back from the area – and could depart the country entirely should widespread fighting break out between Turkish and Kurdish forces.

For the moment, the US troops are not leaving Syria, officials said.

A US official confirmed that American troops were already moving out of the security zone area, which includes the Syrian towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad. That official was not authorized to speak for the record and was granted anonymity to comment.

Sunday’s announcement followed a call between Trump and Erdogan, the White House said Sunday.

The decision is an illustration of Trump’s focus on ending American overseas entanglements – one of his key campaign promises. His goals of swift withdrawals in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been stymied.

As he faces the impeachment inquiry at home, Trump has appeared more focused on making good on his political pledges, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad.

The Turkish Military Incursion in N Syria: «Peace Spring» Operation

By Staff, U-feedCenter

An infographic detailing Turkey’s 3rd military incursion into northern Syria dubbed Operation “Peace Spring”.

The Turkish Military Incursion in N Syria: «Peace Spring» Operation

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Who lost Russia?

September 24, 2019

by William H. Warrick III for The Saker Blog

Who lost Russia?

Seventy years ago this year everybody in the State Department and the Foreign Policy establishment was asking “Who lost China?” Now they are asking “Who lost Russia?” The real question is not who lost China or Russia, but why did they think they had either of them in the first place? We “lost” Iran 40 years ago which makes it a Trifecta. That means that those 3 countries which have a combined Historical and Cultural History of about 8,500 years, compared to our 243 years, together will decide the future of the Eurasian Landmass. This directly contradicts the 27 year-old ‘Wolfowitz Doctrine’, and the founding document of ‘The Project for The New American Century’.

Eurasia is the largest Landmass on Planet Earth and is composed of two sub-continents and the Asian continent that formed when the European and Indian Tectonic Plates collided with the Asian Plate. They are separated by the Mountain Ranges that formed when these Plates collided. The European Plate slid under the Asian Plate to form the Urals, and the Indian Plate slid under the Asian Plate and formed the Himalayas. In addition, Eurasia is also connected to the African Continent by a Land Bridge to North East Africa connecting the Semitic Countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, the Arabian Peninsula and the Saini Desert, connecting to Egypt. The connection of these Continents and Countries of Europe, Asia, East Asia, the Middle East and Africa control the majority of the World’s Population, territory, Natural Resources, Water, Rare Earths, Precious Metals and Energy supplies. Those who control this vast wealth and numbers of Peoples will be the most prosperous people on the Planet. The British Empire tried to get control of it but their attempt at “The Great Game” of controlling Afghanistan to keep Russia out ended in a disastrous defeat and slaughter of almost all their soldiers in Afghanistan. One made his way back to its garrison in Jalabad. They tried again in 1878 with another Anglo-Afghan War that was all about keeping Russia away from its prized possession, India without realizing that the Russian Empire was only looking for a Geographic barrier to its soft Southern Underbelly. That worked out a bit better and The Russian Empire didn’t come back because that was not their plan anyway.

The rest of the British Empire was lost in the World Wars and Independence Movements except for Hong Kong, but that too has reverted back to China although there is a ‘Color Revolution’ there now but that is unlikely to work either. The Anglo-American wish that they can get Hong Kong back by using Chinese students who carry American and British flags, and burn the Chinese Flag is unlikely to work either. MI-6 are using American GIs, Sailors and Marines with its “Special Relationship”, (common language and Lineage) with its Lost Colony, the US of A. They want to use our Military Might and our men and women in the Military to get it, and we need Political Leaders who understand that fact and won’t let it happen. The problem is that very few if any of our leaders (except for one future leader) understand that, or they are supportive of it. The State of Israel is connected to this because they see themselves ruling this World Government from Jerusalem in a plan concocted by Cecil Rhodes in the mid-nineteenth Century along with co-conspirators, John Ruskin and Lord Nathan Rothschild in his ‘Seven Secret Wills’. This is the origin of the ‘Deep State’ with tentacles all over the British Empire. All those who are on board for it are in the 1% and their “Overseers” in the 10% who ride herd on the 89% to achieve this megalomaniacal pipe dream. This ‘World Government’ was written about by Aldous Huxley, an MI-6 Asset in the British East India Company, in Brave New World. In order to achieve this it requires our Military to wage War all over Eurasia and Africa and for that to happen there have to be ‘threats’ that require our Military intervention. These ‘threats’ include ‘terrorists’, Russia, China and Iran, hence we have our Military waging various wars all over Eurasia and Africa, and permanent Military Bases, of which there are hundreds, all over Europe, the British Isles, Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Baltic States, Middle East, Africa, Korea, Japan, Australia, Guam, and other places too numerous to list. George Orwell said all of this in 1984. It is an area inside of “Tangiers, Brazzaville, Darwin and Hong Kong. The lines connecting these cities bow out due to the flattened sphere of Earth and that is where all the current wars are being fought. In addition, we have around 25,000 troops in South Korea, 2 or 3 times that in Japan, mostly on Okinawa, more on Guam, one in Australia and at least one in Israel.

However, there is a problem that has arisen in this “Long War on Humanity”. We don’t have conscription anymore so we have to rely on recruiting which is becoming more difficult. During the War on Vietnam that the troops and sailors eventually figured out a War halfway around the Planet was not in their interest and protests, led by returning GIs and sailors who had created and self-printed over 300 Anti-War newspapers with the assistance of civilians and Veterans who had been discharged. They were fed up with fighting, dying, getting wounded, getting PTSD and Moral Injury for Empire so Resistance within the Military began ramping up. Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) was founded in 1967, just 2 years after the war started and grew quickly across the country, in Europe, in the Army, Navy, Marines and the Air Force. Veterans For Peace (VFP) began in 1985 after the Contra War on Nicaragua began because Vietnam Vets didn’t want their kids getting caught up in Wars for Empire like they did. Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) was founded in August 2004 at the VFP Convention in Boston just 17 months after the War started. All of this Resistance came out of this Quest for Empire. The War on Vietnam, ‘Operation Condor’, the War on Central and South American Leftists by the Dictators of the involved Countries, GWI and the Post-911 Wars have all taken place on the Eurasian, Middle Eastern, and African Continents, control of which automatically result in control of Planet Earth. Along with that were all of our wars on Central and South America in Operation Condor, a War of Terror on Leftists organizing against the Dictators in those countries. All of these Wars are clear evidence of an attempt at World Conquest and Empire. This megalomaniacal idea is and has been dead since China and Russia formed their Geostrategic Alliance in 1999 as reported by Mahdi Darius Nazemroya on the website of The Center for Research on Globalization a dozen years ago. A 58-60% majority of the soldiers who fought these 911 Wars, Democrats, Independents and Republicans all now say these wars weren’t worth it. The Pentagon had to adjust the recruiting goal for FY 2019 downward so they could “make their recruitment goal”. All of this does not bode well for the ‘Long War’, The Long War Against Humanity.

In addition to the Grunts, Airmen and Sailors figuring things out, the victim Countries figure things out as well. During the Nixon-Kissinger Era Dick and Henry came up with the bright idea of splitting China away from the Soviet Union which worked for a while, although Kissinger said at the time we might have to do the opposite with the Soviets, now the Russian Federation, several Decades down the line. This in fact has finally happened except for a big “but”, and that “but” is that Russia and China, who play complex strategy games like Chess and Go, put their heads together and came up with a Geostrategic Alliance, which includes Iran as a Silent Partner, and “The BRICS” Trade Bloc, Brazil (which has dropped out with the selection of Bolsanro until Lula gets out of jail and runs again), Russia, India, China and South Africa. Serious discussions on this Russia-China Geostrategic alliance began in the mid-1990s and in 1999 the plan was agreed upon and put on paper. What came out of it is “The China-Russia Double Helix”, a Symbiotic Relationship of interdependence that insulates them forever from this aggressive menace of the “English-speaking countries” that Cecil Rhodes decided had to Rule a World Empire/Government because they are the only people with the brains and ability to do it. The British and American elites have finally become aware that China and Russia along with India, Iran and the Countries of Eurasia are going their own way and Integrating Eurasia by means of the “New Silk Road” initiative, the “Maritime Silk Road”, the Arctic Sea Route, the BRICS and various groups aligning along Economic Integration and Trade and formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to protect the Project. They are ditching the Petrodollar to trade in their own currencies and form the “Multi-Polar New World Order” as opposed to the Uni-Polar New World Order” model of the Deep State. The “geniuses” of the State Department, Pentagon, EU and WTO have played it down or tried to ignore it hoping that if no one knew about it might go away, falsely believing the Russians, Chinese, India and Iranians could never work together. To make it worse they have become Brain washed by their own Russia-bashing, Russophobic Propaganda and can’t think outside of this box. Even worse, this has seeped into the training of ‘Russia Experts’, so we don’t have any who actually understand Russia and therefore they underestimate Russia and that is a Fatal Error that has discovered by many Governments and countries in the past like Napoleon and Hitler. This Geostrategic Alliance in which Iran is a Silent Partner, isn’t going away, it is getting bigger and stronger by the month. Recently one of the EU naughty children of ‘The PIGS’, (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) signed on to be a node in the BRI with China and now the fears have risen to panic levels. They think, because of being captives of the aforementioned belief in their own faulty Propaganda, that they can pull Russia and China apart but haven’t figured out yet that isn’t possible because they are unaware of the China-Russia Double Helix. They are trying but it isn’t working so they can’t understand why. This is one of those ‘Unknown Unknowns’ Donald Rumsfeld worried about over a Decade ago tripping them up. Now another ‘Unknown Unknown’ has popped up: SA’s big oil complex, which is several hundred kilometers from Yemen, has had a major portion of its oil production facilities knocked out of commission by these rag-tag and underestimated Houthi rebels with Knock-off Iranian Drones and missiles which has resulted in a bump up of World oil prices. The Houthi said they did it with the assistance of Local Patriotic Allies that provided the coordinates of the targets that were destroyed. Secretary Pompeo AKA ‘Pompus Minimus’ so named by Pepe Escobar, immediately named Iran as the culprit, but carefully avoids the fact that America’s ‘Vaunted Anti-Missile defense Patriot system’ that should have prevented the attack was asleep, aimed in the wrong direction, and faced East in a 120 degree arc instead of 360 degrees.

The Founding Document of the anglozionist Empire, “The Wolfowitz Doctrine”, written by Paul Wolfowitz in 1992 stated that no Peer Competitor can by allowed to have Hegemony on the Eurasian Landmass. Zbigniew Brzezinski echoed this in his book, The Grand Chessboard in 1997, and then by The Project for a New American Century in September 2000. The strategists of the ‘Five Eyes’ are becoming dimly aware that the Wolfowitz-Brzezinski Declarations have failed, so now they face the dilemma of possibly having to go to war with Russia, China and Iran ALL AT THE SAME TIME but are afraid they might not even win a war against any single one them alone, and now they don’t know what to do. So now they came up with a new ‘Bright Idea’: ‘Mininukes’ that ‘won’t be harmful to the Human Beings they drop them on so they could use them. John Bolton’s temporary replacement said back in the ‘80s said ‘Nuclear War is winnable’ because we could rebuild with the 20 million or so American survivors of this ‘Winnable Nuclear War’. We could rebuild the Country and take over Eurasia. The fact that these ‘safer Mininukes’ won’t work with Russia because every War Game scenario ever played against Russia has very quickly escalated into full scale Nuclear War thereby violating the basic Pentagon rule going back to the ‘50s that Nuclear War can’t be won and therefore can never be fought. On top of that Russia has very quietly developed Hypersonic Nuclear Missiles that fly at Mach 10-20, 7,600 to 15,200mph that can make evasive maneuvers and therefore can’t be shot down. They also have Nuclear Powered Cruise Missiles that can fly virtually indefinitely and Nuclear Powered Cruise Torpedoes that remain submerged indefinitely that have a velocity of 200 knots. China has Supersonic anti-ship missiles that fly at Mach 5. We don’t have ANY Supersonic missiles, hypersonic missiles, Nuclear Powered missiles or torpedoes. They did this because as Putin said: “You didn’t listen to us at Munich in 2007”. Again, our racist, Russophobic Propaganda, our so-called ‘Russia Experts’ had been Brain Washed with has put them in a Box they can’t think their way out of.

The upshot of this is we didn’t “lose Russia” because the fact is we never had it to lose in the first place, so the Empire, the Brits, the Saudis and Israel are between the proverbial “Rock and a Hard Place” and don’t have any options or realistic ideas of what to do. The last West European leader still standing, Macron, who had worked at a Rothschild owned bank and came out of nowhere to get ‘selected’ to be the leader of France several years ago, has decided that Europe has to go a different way, stop kowtowing to Washington, cozy up to Russia and “pull them back to the West”. Again, he is unaware of that pesky ‘Unknown Unknown’, the Geostrategic Alliance of China and Russia with Iran in the background that makes it impossible. So he gave this speech to an assembly of Ambassadors outlining why this (impossible feat) must be done. His plan begins with The Ukraine and the Minsk II Accords that will force the new President, Zelenski, to make serious decisions to move on Minsk II, although Zelenski has been warned by the Ukronazis unleashed with the Coup on Feb 22, 1914, that he will be deposed in a New Maidan (and probably murdered) if he even tries this. I’m not making any bets on if or when Macron will figure out none of this going anywhere because Zelenski is between a Rock and a Hard Place too and can’t move on Minsk II. Where all this is going is again ‘Unknown’, and as Yogi Berra once said: “Predictions are hard to make, especially about the Future”. One thing we know for sure is that right after Macron’s speech a formal meeting between President Putin and the Premier of the State Council of The People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang. At this meeting President Putin spelled out a clear message directed at President Macron which was that the EU has nothing to offer Russia that would pull it away from China because they are fully aligned with each other in a Future of total alignment of their Geostrategic, Economic and Military affairs.

Dr Warrick was born in Philadelphia, Pa. in December 1943 and has Bachelors Degrees in Business Administration and Psychology, an MD Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and was a Family Physician in Gainesville Florida for 34 years and now does Open Source Intelligence Analysis in Geopolitics, The Empire, Public Banking and Modern Monetary Theory.

US Waging Wars on Multiple Fronts: Cold Wars, Hot Wars, Economic Wars, Propaganda Wars …

Supported by both hawkish wings of its war party, the US is waging hot wars, cold wars, economic wars, financial wars, trade wars, anti-social justice wars, anti-human rights wars, anti-democracy wars, propaganda wars, sanctions wars, tariffs wars, protest wars, homeland wars, and environmental wars on multiple fronts worldwide — ordinary people everywhere the losers.

During decades of Cold War years, the US got along with Soviet Russia, even if uneasily at times. Nixon went to China. Relations today with both countries and many others are more dismal and dangerous than any previous time in the post-WW II period.

New wars could erupt without warning. The threat of possible nuclear war is ominously real by accident or design.

The land of opportunity I remember as a youth is now consumed by its hubris, arrogance, rage to colonize planet earth, control its resources and exploit it people.

New Deal, Fair Deal, Great Society years I grew up in were replaced by neoliberal harshness, endless wars on humanity at home and abroad, a growing wealth disparity exceeding the robber baron years, along with mass unemployment and underemployment, growing homelessness, hunger, and poverty, as well as a ruling class dismissive of the public welfare.

Current US leadership is militantly hawkish and anti-populist, led by a racist geopolitical/economic know-nothing/reality TV president.

Dark forces run things, headquartered on Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms, the rule of law replaced by police state governance, a free and open society by mass surveillance and growing totalitarianism.

Challenging authority disruptively with collective activism when vitally needed is absent.

The US reached peak power, prominence, influence, and leadership on the world stage following WW II, the only major nation left unscathed by its ravages.

Its preemptive war of aggression on nonbelligerent North Korea, a nation threatening no one, started its downward trajectory.

Today it’s a nation in decline while China, Russia and other countries are rising. It spends countless trillions of dollars for militarism and warmaking against invented enemies. No real ones exist.

Its preeminence as a military super-power was overtaken by Russia, China heading toward becoming the world’s leading economic power one day, multi-world polarity replacing unipolarity the US favors to dominate other nations.

Its rage for maintaining a global empire of bases as platforms for endless wars of aggression came at the expense of eroding social justice on the chopping block for elimination altogether.

The myth of American exceptionalism, the indispensable state, an illusory moral superiority, and military supremacy persist despite hard evidence debunking these notions.

Democracy in America is fiction, not fact, a system of governance its ruling class abhors, tolerating it nowhere, nations like Venezuela targeted to replace it with fascist rule.

The US is plagued by the same dynamic that doomed all other empires in history.

It’s an increasingly repressive/secretive/intrusive warrior state, spreading death, destruction and human misery worldwide.

It exploits ordinary people to serve privileged interests — a pariah state/declining power because of its unwillingness to change.

Its war machine never rests. Its criminal class is bipartisan. Its governance meets the definition of fascism — wrapped in the American flag.

It’s a corporate/political partnership over the rights and welfare of ordinary people, exploiting them for power and profits — at home and abroad.

It’s way too late for scattered reforms. The American way is too debauched to fix.

Nothing short of revolutionary change can work. Yet there’s not a hint of it in prospect because of a know-nothing populace distracted and controlled by bread, circuses, and the power of state-approved/media disseminated propaganda.

A decade ago, the late Doug Dowd said “(t)he world now stands on a cliff’s edge.”

He envisioned “four related groups of horrors: existing and likely wars, a fragile world economy, pervasive and deepening corruption, and the earth dangerously near the ‘tipping point’ of environmental disaster.”

It’s not a pretty picture, things worse now than years earlier.

A permanent state of war exists with no prospect for peace in our time — while freedom in the US and West erode toward disappearing altogether the way things are heading.

*

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

 

Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus

August 12, 2019
Image result for Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus

There’s a good reason the presidential hopeful met with Assad, but the media doesn’t want to talk about it.

Scott RITTER

It was eight minutes of hell for Kamala Harris. Onstage at the second Democratic debate in Michigan, Harris was subjected to a blistering assault on her record as a California prosecutor at the hands of Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Afterwards, Harris was asked about Gabbard’s attack by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“Listen,” she replied, “I think that this coming from someone who has been an apologist for an individual, [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad, who has murdered the people of his country like cockroaches. She has embraced and been an apologist for him in the way she refuses to call him a war criminal. I can only take what she says and her opinion so seriously, so I’m prepared to move on.”

Harris was referring to a controversial four-day visit by Gabbard to Syria in early January 2017, during which she met with Assad. While Gabbard’s performance during the debate was stellar (her name was the most searched of all the Democratic candidates), Harris’s jab regarding Assad seemed like all the mainstream media wanted to talk about.

“When sitting down with someone like Bashar al-Assad in Syria,” MSNBC’s Yasmin Vossoughian asked Gabbard, “do you confront him directly and say why do you order chemical attacks on your own people? Why do you cause the killings of over half a million people in your country?”

Following six months of strenuous pre-deployment training, Tulsi Gabbard deployed to Iraq in early 2005 as part of the 29th Brigade Combat Team, an all-National Guard/Reserve unit. She and the rest of the 29th Support Battalion were deployed to Camp Anaconda, a sprawling U.S. facility situated on the grounds of Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad. At the time, Camp Anaconda was under such frequent attack by insurgent mortar fire that it had acquired the nickname “Mortaritaville,” a play on a Jimmy Buffet song of a similar title.

Mortar and rocket attacks became an ever-present reality for the young Hawaiian soldier.

“Sometimes,” Gabbard told the Honolulu Advertiser, “we can go for days with no alarm siren going off, no attacks, and sometimes there can be many in one day…sometimes the attacks are so far away you can’t hear the explosion; other times so close that the ground and sky just seem to shake from the impact.” The feeling of helplessness was palpable: “all you can really do,” Gabbard said, “is say a silent prayer that you and your buddies are unharmed.”

While Charlie Med, as her unit was known, came through the deployment unscathed, 18 members of the 29th Brigade Combat Team were killed in Iraq, and scores more were wounded.

“Every single day,” Tulsi Gabbard reminded her fellow Americans during the second Democratic debate in July, “I saw the high cost of war.”

The 29th Brigade Combat Team was deployed in Iraq at a time when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was engaged in an all-out war with U.S. forces. The casualties that Gabbard and her comrades endured were a result of “the fight that is ongoing every day in Iraq against these insurgent terrorists”; these losses, she noted, “we have felt in Hawai’i.” War for Tulsi Gabbard and her fellow soldiers wasn’t an abstraction, but an ever-present, horrible reality.

Gabbard returned from her year-long deployment a decorated combat veteran, having earned commendations and the coveted Combat Medic Badge for her service. Gabbard went on to graduate from Officer Candidate School and was trained as a Military Police Officer. Later she completed a second tour of duty in the Iraq theater, commanding a Military Police Company stationed in Kuwait.

For Gabbard, the road to Damascus began with her initial deployment to Iraq and continued through her 2009 deployment to Kuwait. Having enlisted in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Gabbard instead found herself engaged in a “regime change” war in Iraq predicated on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. It then continued through the halls of Congress, following Gabbard’s successful bid for office in 2011. From her position as a member of the Armed Services Committee, she watched as the al-Qaeda enemy she’d fought in Iraq morphed into ISIS and spread its influence into Syria.

Over the next few years, Gabbard saw how the Obama administration began, in her words,

“funneling weapons and money through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and others who provide direct and indirect support to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda” in an effort to overthrow the Assad regime. “If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS,” Gabbard declared via Twitter, “we would be thrown in jail. Why does our gov get a free pass on this?”

For someone who watched her fellow soldiers die fighting al-Qaeda in 2005, the Obama policy of supporting terrorists, whether directly or indirectly, as part of a new regime change war against Syria was a betrayal of that sacrifice.

A vocal supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election, Gabbard opposed Hillary Clinton’s more hawkish policies on Syria. Following Clinton’s defeat at the hands of Donald Trump, she continued to flaunt the rules of political expediency, taking a meeting with the president-elect in order to discuss Syria and the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda. “I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the president-elect now,” Gabbard noted at the time, “before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government.”

In January 2017, Tulsi embarked on her fateful visit to Syria. As she told CNN’s Jake Tapper during an interview after her return, she hadn’t planned on meeting with the Syrian president. When the opportunity presented itself, however, Gabbard stated that she went

“because I felt it’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace, and that’s exactly what we talked about.”

“Obviously,” Tapper stated in response, “Bashar al-Assad is responsible for thousands of deaths and millions of people being displaced during this five-year long civil war. Did you have any compunctions about meeting with somebody like that, giving him any sort of enhanced credibility because a member of the United States Congress would meet with someone like that?”

“Whatever you think about President Assad,” Tulsi replied, “the fact is that he is the president of Syria. In order for any peace agreement, in order for any possibility of a viable peace agreement to occur, there has to be a conversation with him.”

In the aftermath of President Trump’s three meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Tulsi’s observations don’t seem quite as controversial. But at the time she was lambasted by her colleagues in Congress for ostensibly giving credence to Assad, whom they labeled a “brutal dictator.”

If the U.S. succeeded in overthrowing Assad, Tulsi knew, the very terrorists she’d fought against in Iraq would end up ruling Syria. Meeting with Assad to discuss the prospects of defeating a common enemy was the most meaningful way she could honor the service and sacrifice of her fellow soldiers. That the mainstream media and detractors like Kamala Harris don’t get this only underscores the deep divide between those like Tulsi Gabbard, who have served in combat, and those who have not.

Gabbard’s performances in the first two Democratic debates were strong, but it remains an open question as to whether she will qualify for the third debate in September. At a time when she should be campaigning hard to secure a spot on that debate stage, however, she’s instead taking a two-week break to fulfill her annual training requirement as an officer in the Hawaii National Guard.

Kamala Harris and the other Democratic candidates would do well to take note of the following reality—if the U.S. goes to war in Syria, Iran, North Korea, or elsewhere, Tulsi alone among her colleagues could be called upon to serve on the front line.

“The Congresswoman [Gabbard] is the most qualified and prepared candidate to serve as Commander in Chief, which I believe is the most important responsibility of the President,” Senator Mike Gravel, a Democrat who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 through 1981, noted in his letter endorsing Tulsi for president. Gravel, an Army veteran, is perhaps most famous for placing the Pentagon Papers in the public record in 1971. A popular progressive voice for peace, his endorsement should not be taken lightly. Kamala Harris should take

“The Congresswoman [Gabbard] is the most qualified and prepared candidate to serve as Commander in Chief, which I believe is the most important responsibility of the President,” Senator Mike Gravel, a Democrat who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 through 1981, noted in his letter endorsing Tulsi for president. Gravel, an Army veteran, is perhaps most famous for placing the Pentagon Papers in the public record in 1971. A popular progressive voice for peace, his endorsement should not be taken lightly. Kamala Harris should take note.

theamericanconservative.com

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

The U.S. has the best Congress and White House that money can buy

Philip Giraldi
August 8, 2019

Think tanks sprout like weeds in Washington. The latest is the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, which is engaged in a pre-launch launch and is attracting some media coverage all across the political spectrum. The Institute is named after the sixth US President John Quincy Adams, who famously made a speech while Secretary of State in which he cautioned that while the United States of America would always be sympathetic to the attempts of other countries to fight against dominance by the imperial European powers, “she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

The Quincy Institute self-defines as a foundation dedicated to a responsible and restrained foreign policy with the stated intention of “mov[ing] US foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace.” It is seeking to fund an annual budget of $5-6 million, enough to employ twenty or more staffers.

The Quincy Institute claims correctly that many of the other organizations dealing with national security and international affairs inside the Beltway are either agenda driven or neoconservative dominated, often meaning that they in practice support serial interventionism, sometimes including broad tolerance or even encouragement of war as a first option when dealing with adversaries. These are policies that are currently playing out unsuccessfully vis-à-vis Venezuela, Iran, Syria and North Korea.

The Quincies promise to be different in an attempt to change the Washington foreign policy consensus, which some have referred to as the Blob, and they have indeed collected a very respectable group of genuine “realist” experts and thoughtful pundits, including Professor Andrew Bacevich, National Iranian American Council founder Trita Parsi and investigative journalist Jim Lobe. But the truly interesting aspect of their organization is its funding. Its most prominent contributors are left of center George Soros and right of center and libertarian leaning Charles Koch. That is what is attracting the attention coming from media outlets like The Nation on the progressive side and Foreign Policy from the conservatives. That donors will demand their pound of flesh is precisely the problem with the Quincy vision as money drives the political process in the United States while also fueling the Establishment’s military-industrial-congressional complex that dominates the national security/foreign policy discussion.

There will be inevitably considerable ideological space between people who are progressive-antiwar and those who call themselves “realists” that will have to be carefully bridged lest the group begin to break down in squabbling over “principles.” Some progressives of the Barack Obama variety will almost certainly push for the inclusion of Samantha Power R2P types who will use abuses in foreign countries to argue for the US continuing to play a “policeman for the world” role on humanitarian grounds. And there will inevitably be major issues that Quincy will be afraid to confront, including the significant role played by Israel and its friends in driving America’s interventionist foreign policy.

Nevertheless, the Quincy Institute is certainly correct in its assessment that there is significant war-weariness among the American public, particularly among returning veterans, and there is considerable sentiment supporting a White House change of course in its national security policy. But it errs in thinking that America’s corrupted legislators will respond at any point prior to their beginning to fail in reelection bids based on that issue, which has to be considered unlikely. Witness the current Democratic Party debates in which Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate who is even daring to talk about America’s disastrous and endless wars, suggesting that the Blob assessment that the issue is relatively unimportant may be correct.

Money talks. Where else in the developed world but the United States can a multi-billionaire like Sheldon Adelson legally and in the open spend a few tens of millions of dollars, which is for him pocket change, to effectively buy an entire political party on behalf of a foreign nation? What will the Quincies do when George Soros, notorious for his sometimes disastrous support of so-called humanitarian “regime change” intervention to expand “democracy movements” as part his vision of a liberal world order, calls up the Executive Director and suggests that he would like to see a little more pushing of whatever is needed to build democracy in Belarus? Soros, who has doubled his spending for political action in this election cycle, is not doing so for altruistic reasons. And he might reasonably argue that one of the four major projects planned by the Quincy Institute, headed by investigative journalist Eli Clifton, is called “Democratizing Foreign Policy.”

Why are US militarism and interventionism important issues? They are beyond important – and would be better described as potentially life or death both for the United States and for the many nations with which it interacts. And there is also the price to pay by every American domestically, with the terrible and unnecessary waste of national resources as well human capital driving American ever deeper into a hole that it might never be able to emerge from.

As Quincy is the newcomer on K Street, it is important to recognize what the plethora of foundations and institutes in Washington actually do in any given week. To be sure, they produce a steady stream of white papers, press releases, and op-eds that normally only their partisan supporters bother to read or consider. They buttonhole and talk to congressmen or staffers whenever they can, most often the staffers. And the only ones really listening among legislators are the ones who are finding what they hear congenial and useful for establishing a credible framework for policy decisions that have nothing to do with the strengths of the arguments being made or “realism.” The only realism for a congress-critter in the heartland is having a defense plant providing jobs in his district.

And, to be sure, the institutes and foundations also have a more visible public presence. Every day somewhere in Washington there are numerous panel discussions and meetings debating the issues deemed to be of critical importance. The gatherings are attended primarily by the already converted, are rarely reported in any of the mainstream media, and they exist not to explain or resolve issues but rather to make sure their constituents continue to regard the participants as respectable, responsible and effective so as not to interrupt the flow of donor money.

US foreign policy largely operates within narrow limits that are essentially defined by powerful and very well-funded interest groups like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Hudson Institute, the Brookings Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), but the real lobbying of Congress and the White House on those issues takes place out of sight, not in public gatherings, and it is backed up by money. AIPAC, for example, alone spends more than $80 million dollars per year and has 200 employees.

So, the Quincy Institute intention to broaden the discussion of the current foreign policy to include opponents and critics of interventionism should be welcomed with some caveats. It is a wonderful idea already explored by others but nevertheless pretty much yet another shot in the dark that will accomplish little or nothing beyond providing jobs for some college kids and feel good moments for the anointed inner circle. And the shot itself is aimed in the wrong direction. The real issue is not foreign policy per se at all. It is getting the corrupting force of enormous quantities of PAC money completely removed from American politics. America has the best Congress and White House that anyone’s money can buy. The Quincy Institute’s call for restraint in foreign policy, for all its earnestness, will not change that bit of “realism” one bit.

Fake Has Become Realer Than Real And The Dogs Of War Are There To Keep It That Way

May 17, 2019

by Denis A. Conroy for the Saker Blog

Fake Has Become Realer Than Real And The Dogs Of War Are There To Keep It That Way

America’s self-imagined custodianship of human rights and freedom epitomize problems associated with fake prophesies. That Americans now rally behind the latest battle-cry of the Republic, ‘Make America Great Again’, indicate that they are indifferent to the fact that their country has been barnstorming across the globe these past six decades killing vast numbers of innocent people with the objective of creating a pre-eminently militaristic empire to strategically control the skies, oceans, their market-share plus control of space. In implementing these belligerent objectives, the US has repeatedly unleashed auto-da fes to destroy many countries across the globe who failed to fall in line.

Foremostly, America’s firebrand passage through Muslim countries clearly illustrate how a neophyte culture with racist baggage can implode the nation’s reputation, leaving it bereft of respect and credibility. This now appears to be what is happening in America. The two-tiered (or three) aspect of this enterprise requires closer examination.

It would appear that ‘greatness’ in the American context amounts to nothing more than upholding vulgar white-middle-class racist values as the measure of excellence, with fake ‘principled’ notions of cultural superiority leading the chase. When the dogs-of-war were unleashed to wreak havoc, pillage and plunder on the habitats of millions of hapless people across the globe, the silence of so-called conscionable America was deafening.

Violence had become an American staple and the voice of the Peace Movement is all but mute. It’s now impossible to ignore the fact that the three tiers of state, the top tier, the middle tier and the lower tier…the three classes…collude in a program whose singular use of power expresses an unwavering desire to ride the gravy train to the hilt and devil take the hindmost.

These three classes, battle hardened and indifferent to the chaos caused by their bloodthirsty military have been blindsided by their own government. There is the sense that the flag… the stars-and-strips…has become the nation’s birth certificate and each person’s birth certificate a little bit of a collective ‘stars and stripes’ denouement that entitles them to extrajudicial considerations and the right to be proud of their dubious record. However, finding one’s niche in this hierarchal edifice is another matter altogether.

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are missives of choice for the middle class in matters relating to America’s monopolistic capitalist system. Predatory incursions into foreign countries resulting in bloodshed are routinely explained away in false-flag gibberish or in some other fashion to justify the actions of the government. This business of doing business attitude exists to negate everything else and the middle-class appear to have no qualms with this scenario. The sub-text here being, as God’s own people they believe that they have the right to expect ‘mana-from-heaven’ to rain down upon them from all quarters of the globe.

For the working class however, tweeting along with the paymaster appears to be an act of convenience. But when the music stops, as it most certainly will, the birthright question (all men are equal) will inevitable come into contention again when the issue of inequality needs to be confronted. However, the next generation may be more strident should they once again find themselves being herded back into a holding-pen position to await casino-capitalism’s next ‘flurry’ at the roulette table.

But irony of ironies, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal etc. are merely institutions that employ smoke and mirror tactics to conceal the nastiness of a two-tiered (or three) system that entails subjecting the public to a game of musical chairs, whose prime objective is to unseat a competitor each time Wall Street chooses to play its favourite game of ‘pass-the-stock-market-parcel’…the one designed to consolidate wealth in fewer hands each time it is played.

Musical chairs, also known as Trip to Jerusalem, is a game of elimination involving players, chairs, and music, with one fewer chair than players. When the music stops whichever player fails to sit on a chair is eliminated, with a chair then being removed and the process repeated until only one player remains. Alas! The origins of the game are unknown. On the other hand, we may safely assume that Karl Marx or Antonio Gramsci are not its authors.

So, the questions we need to ask here are, have Americans taken to wearing masks to hide their lack of conscience, like their President wears his hairpiece… do their masks, like Donald’s hairpiece, only make an appearance when orchestrating auto-da fes, or when administering sanctions designed to economically incinerate…or starve… apostates?

Or should we defer to another Donald…Donald Rumsfeld…for insights into America’s moral stature. “We don’t know what we don’t know. There are too many unknowns too many factors that we may not have yet considered,” said he. Which, when translated might mean, ‘Life is like a game of musical chairs and America has the right to take occupancy of the limited number of chairs available or our armed forces will be forced to use terror to procure knowable ends that are ultimately unknowable but desirable because they make us feel great.’

Narratives fed to the public by special interest groups come as hybridised versions of Hollywood cypher-speak-gibberish and are passed off as truths to the public for the purpose of indoctrinating them. A continuous repetition of false declamatory statements praising American exceptionality pour from the media to reinforce fake news. If there were a Noble Peace prize for hypocrisy, it would surely go to America.

America, the so-called leader of the so-called free world is awash with fallacious narratives that are put in place by corporate entities to implement a two-tiered (or three) system that strives to gain support in the public domain by using fearmongering tactics to implement its propaganda in every way possible. Fake narratives ceaselessly eat into public consciousness while cleverly concealing their real purpose, which is full spectrum Mafioso dominance. Think of the numerous corporate ploughshares that have insidiously penetrated a country near you!

As we now live in a technological age that has provided humans with the ability to engage in nuclear Armageddon, we can’t help but notice how worse-case scenarios abound. Some even suggest that evolution has run out of steam. Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine (MAD) is a minefield without canaries and we, in the lower tiers, are left painfully aware of our impotence on discovering that we are without a voice in the decision- making process. We are required to seal our lips and accept the reality that nuclear buttons now hang over our heads like the sword of Damocles.

We are constantly reminded that states exist, super and otherwise, their nuclear dogs-of-war straining on the leash in readiness should lines be crossed. We are repeatedly reminded of the fact that it is now possible to cause enormous casualties and destruction to civilian populations anywhere in the world by simply pressing a button from thousands of miles away.

We can no longer feel free because we can no longer free ourselves from the shadow of Dr. Strangelove. The more bloated the military budget becomes, the deeper we sink into gloom upon realizing how our anxiety increases exponentially with increases to the military budget.

Knowing that unknown knowns have consigned us to carceral spaces where modern-day Caesars busy themselves toying with their nuclear buttons, suggests that the middle and working classes have become prisoners in an ill-defined reality. The knowledge that capitalism engenders fear through its ‘security’ narrative has now become the problem. The ideology that keeps capitalism frothing at the mouth has produced its own evil doppelganger…a pedagogic Promethean pariah responsible for global degradation, its power ever more lethal in a world that has learned to fear its score card.

Four in ten Americans sometimes face what economists call “material hardship,” struggling to pay for basic needs such as food and housing, according to a new study from the Urban Institute. Even middle-class families routinely struggle financially and are occasionally unable to pay their bills and more and more ordinary citizen are beginning to feel that they no longer have a part to play in a secular agenda that has become the property of the military establishment.

So, the problem now is that civilians seem unable to deal with facts. A shut-the-fuck-up mentality now exists to banish issues that relate to questions relating to social criteria and the people who write and whistle-blow the inequities of their government. People are relentlessly exposed to facts, but as civilians, are incapable of dealing with them. Facts appear on electronic screens ad nauseam to reveal how citizens have become captive to a static reality that uses fearmongering as a way of castrating public dissent. Facts that indicate that only the elite have skin in the game are everywhere in evidence.

At the Colosseum level…the elite level…the grand referee in the orange hairpiece keeps tweeting dealership gibberish while the classes in the lower tiers are expected to remain on standby to applaud this kind of hubris. Many are amused but few are chosen…unless you are an exponent of the rules of Republican Likud or are Likud Democrats building separation walls to keep Zion in and Allah out, per medium of a nasty game of musical chairs…a la currency wars!

Secondary development is fine, but at what cost to that primary narrative within us that depends on freedom of expression? It is ironic that many of the ‘learned’ amongst us strategically position themselves between the people and the elites, thereby limiting the potential for development within the masses. Traditionally, the policy of our rulers…shepherds… was to herd the ‘sheeple’ into the shepherd’s fold, lest he or she escape the soporific effects of propaganda or holy writ. To our great dismay, most of our teachers to this day do little other that look in the rear-view mirror for inspiration.

Justifications for releasing the ‘Dogs of War’ on civilians who can’t defend themselves are inevitable meaningless. For example, the American-Zionist agenda which manufactures fear for the purpose of manufacturing enemies for the purpose of manufacturing wars, has of itself become a war on truth. Sadly, the reason why investigative reporting became so highly selective is that in the US, truth had lost its place in the established media. The fact of the matter is, white-middle-class Americans respond with pique when confronted with criticism of their values. Sadly, exposing the injustices perpetrated on Muslims, Palestinians or Black People is a matter of little concern…a poignant example of what happens to complacent people when they turn away from the truth.

What William Kristol and Robert Kagan proposed when helping to draft the ‘Project for the New American Century’, was a manufactured narrative that led the average citizen to believe that their security depended on elites who could explain the threats they were exposed to…a win-win solution designed to keep them believing that they needed the protection of elites. And what the elites were telling them was that the military establishment was a bulwark against chaos, and the destruction of their state and the possibility that they might become subservient to non-white people.

The West, having created a bifurcated paradigm called democracy sold it to the public as a vector capable of promoting the verity of good governance. But unfortunately, as all paradigms contain bias, the model in question went to great lengths to conceal the presence of the schism within. An upper tier and a lower tier came into existence, whereby the resolution of conflicts was subject to the veto powers of the upper tier. Soon the upper tier set about training minds in the lower-tier to shepherd the resources of the state in ways that benefited the upper-tier. Sadly, over time, the upper tier became more interested in the subject of fiscal welfare (for themselves) rather than pursuing outcomes that could serve the interests of the entire polity.

The bifurcated concept of democracy as propounded by our learned founding-fathers was from the beginning a sleight of hand operating in deference to proprietorial principles enabling the architects of the system to retain control of their plan by fostering the notion that their vector of choice, democracy, could deliver justice for all.

In the US, a tiny number of people cream off virtually all the wealth. Ever since the first Cold War, the ‘sheeple’ have been led to believe that an external threat to their security existed and that it could only be managed by the ruling elite. Spending money to secure the two-tiered realm would require the creation of a global military force capable of warding off threats to American hegemony.

In recent times, emotions pertaining to loss of kudos led to acrimonious debate within the US. Insisting that the Western alliance would work better if individual members paid a bigger share of the costs involved in maintaining NATO came to the fore. This policing agency, the tip of the economic iceberg that was put in place to secure right-of-passage for US hegemony in the first instance, was now upping the ante…the cost of missiles had increased. To date, the dust may have settled, but the opprobrium (phlegm) released by Emperor continues to rile the ruled.

In middle America…the beltway…the media, academia and the entertainment industry share a quasi-moral narrative which floats like an iceberg in an inland sea. This inland sea has a mirror-like surface which reflects the vanity of its citizenry who need to bathe in the unholy waters of hubris. For the upper and middle classes, focusing on America’s military might enables them to revel in unadulterated vainglory. Hubris within the upper class had reached a point where debasement of human values became the norm. Celebrations of inhouse grandiosity suggesting that inverted middle-class American perspectives had passed their use-by-date.

And as the wealth of the nation continued its rise upwards, the lower tier showed signs that something had become unsustainable. The top-heaviness of the unequal economic order had begun to impact unfavourably on the lower tier. From the anonymity of the sheep-pen, the so-called sheeple people had discovered a flaw in that aphorism which stated, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’. They discovered that these perspectives were held by pedagogic Prometheans peering into histories rear-view mirrors. They were teachers who would never experience the thrill that came with grassroot activity or feel passions that could change the course of history.

Denis A. Conroy
Freelance Writer
Australia

Iran Squeezed Between Imperial Psychos and European Cowards

By Pepe Escobar – with permission and cross posted with Consortium News

What Putin and Pompeo did not talk about

The Trump administration unilaterally cheated on the 2015 multinational, UN-endorsed JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal. It has imposed an illegal, worldwide financial and energy blockade on all forms of trade with Iran — from oil and gas to exports of iron, steel, aluminum and copper. For all practical purposes, and in any geopolitical scenario, this is a declaration of war.

Successive U.S. governments have ripped international law to shreds; ditching the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is only the latest instance. It doesn’t matter that Tehran has fulfilled all its commitments to the deal — according to UN inspectors. Once the leadership in Tehran concluded that the U.S. sanctions tsunami is fiercer than ever, it decided to begin partially withdrawing from the deal.

President Hassan Rouhani was adamant: Iran has not left the JCPOA — yet. Tehran’s measures are legal under the framework of articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA — and European officials were informed in advance. But it’s clear the EU3 (Germany, France, Britain), who have always insisted on their vocal support for the JCPOA, must work seriously to alleviate the U.S.-provoked economic disaster to Iran if Tehran has any incentive to continue to abide by the agreement.

Protests in front of former U.S. embassy in Tehran after U.S. decision to withdraw from JCPOA, May 8, 2018. (Hossein Mersadi via Wikimedia Commons)

Russia and China — the pillars of Eurasia integration, to which Iran adheres — support Tehran’s position. This was discussed extensively in Moscow by Sergey Lavrov and Iran’s Javad Zarif, perhaps the world’s top two foreign ministers.

At the same time, it’s politically naïve to believe the Europeans will suddenly grow a backbone.

The comfortable assumption in Berlin, Paris and London was that Tehran could not afford to leave the JCPOA even if it was not receiving any of the economic rewards promised in 2015. Yet now the EU3 are facing the hour of truth.

It’s hard to expect anything meaningful coming from an enfeebled Chancellor Angela Merkel, with Berlin already targeted by Washington’s trade ire; a Brexit-paralyzed Britain; and a massively unpopular President Emmanuel Macron in France already threatening to impose his own sanctions if Tehran does not agree to limit its ballistic missile program. Tehran will never allow inspections over its thriving missile industry – and this was never part of the JCPOA to begin with.

As it stands, the EU3 are not buying Iranian oil. They are meekly abiding by the U.S. banking and oil/gas sanctions — which are now extended to manufacturing sectors — and doing nothing to protect Iran from its nasty effects. The implementation of INSTEX, the SWIFT alternative for trade with Iran, is languishing. Besides expressing lame “regrets” about the U.S. sanctions, the EU3 are de facto playing the game on the side of U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates; and by extension against Russia, China and Iran.

Rise of the Imperial Psychos

As Tehran de facto kicked the ball to the European court, both EU3 options are dire. To meaningfully defend the JCPOA will invite a ballistic reaction from the Trump administration. To behave like poodles — the most probable course of action — means emboldening even more the psychopaths doubling as imperial functionaries bent on a hot war against Iran at all costs; Koch brothers Big Oil asset and enraptured evangelist, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and paid Mujahideen-e Khalq asset and notorious intel manipulator, National Security Advisor John Bolton.

The Pompeo-Bolton gangster maneuver is hardly Bismarck’s Realpolitik. It consists of relentlessly pushing Tehran to make a mistake, any mistake, in terms of “violating” its obligations under the JCPOA, so that this may be sold to gullible American public opinion as the proverbial “threat” to the “rules-based order” doubling as a casus belli.

There’s one thing the no-holds-barred U.S. economic war against Iran has managed to achieve: internal unity in the Islamic Republic. Team Rouhani’s initial aim for the JCPOA was to open up to Western trade (trade with Asia was always on) and somewhat curtail the power of the IRGC, or Revolutionary Guards, which control vast sectors of the Iranian economy.

Washington’s economic war proved instead the IRGC was right all along, echoing the finely-tuned geopolitical sentiment of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who always emphasized the Americans cannot be trusted, ever.

And as much as Washington has branded the IRGC a “terrorist organization,” Tehran replied in kind, branding CENTCOM the same.

Independent Persian Gulf oil traders dismiss the notion that the kleptocrat House of Saud — de facto run by Jared “of Arabia” Kushner’s Whatsapp pal Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), the Saudi  crown prince – holds up to 2.5 million barrels of oil a day in spare capacity capable of replacing Iran’s 2 million barrels of exports (out of 3.45 million of total daily production). The House of Saud seems more interested in hiking oil prices for Asian customers.

London protests at Saudi bombing of Yemen. March 2018. (Alisdare Hickson via Flickr)

Faulty Blockade

Washington’s energy trade blockade of Iran is bound to fail.

China will continue to buy its 650,000 barrels a day – and may even buy more. Multiple Chinese companies trade technology and industrial services for Iranian oil.

Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey — all bordering Iran — will continue to buy Iranian high-quality light crude by every method of payment (including gold) and transportation available, formal or informal. Baghdad’s trade relationship with Tehran will continue to thrive.

As economic suffocation won’t suffice, Plan B is — what else — the threat of a hot war.

It’s by now established that the info, in fact rumors, about alleged Iranian maneuvers to attack U.S. interests in the Gulf was relayed to Bolton by the Mossad, at the White House, with Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat personally briefing Bolton.

Everyone is aware of the corollary: a “reposition of assets” (in Pentagonese) — from the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group deployment to four B-52 bombers landing in Al Udeid Air base in Qatar, all part of a “warning” to Iran.

A pre-war roaring crescendo now engulfs the Lebanese front as well as the Iranian front.

Reasons for Psychotic Rage

Iran’s GDP is similar to Thailand’s, and its military budget is similar to Singapore’s. Bullying Iran is a geopolitical and geo-economic absurdity. Iran may be an emerging Global South actor — it could easily be a member of the G20 — but can never be construed as a “threat” to the U.S.

Yet Iran provokes psychopathic imperial functionaries to a paroxysm of rage for three serious reasons. Neocons never mind that trying to destroy Iraq cost over $6 trillion — and it was a major war crime, a political disaster, and an economic abyss all rolled into one. Trying to destroy Iran will cost untold trillions more.

The most glaring reason for the irrational hatred is the fact the Islamic Republic is one of the very few nations on the planet consistently defying the hegemon — for four decades now.

The second reason is that Iran, just like Venezuela — and this is a combined war front — have committed the supreme anathema; trading on energy bypassing the petrodollar, the foundation stone of U.S. hegemony.

The third (invisible) reason is that to attack Iran is to disable emerging Eurasia integration, just like using NSA spying to ultimately put Brazil in the bag was an attack on Latin American integration.

The non-stop hysteria over whether President Donald Trump is being maneuvered into war on Iran by his pet psychopaths – well, he actually directed Iran to “Call me” — eludes the Big Picture. As shown before, a possible shut down of the Strait of Hormuz, whatever the reasons, would be like a major meteor impact on the global economy. And that would inevitably translate as no Trump reelection in 2020.

The Strait of Hormuz would never need to be blocked if all the oil Iran is able to export is bought by China, other Asian clients and even Russia — which could relabel it. But Tehran wouldn’t blink on blocking Hormuz if faced with total economic strangulation.

According to a dissident U.S. intel expert, “the United States is at a clear disadvantage in that if the Strait of Hormuz is shut the U.S. collapses. But if the U.S. can divert Russia from defending Iran, then Iran can be attacked and Russia will have accomplished nothing, as the neocons do not want detente with Russia and China. Trump does want detente but the Deep State does not intend to permit it.”

Assuming this scenario is correct, the usual suspects in the United States government are trying to divert Putin from the Strait of Hormuz question while keeping Trump weakened, as the neocons proceed 24/7 on the business of strangling Iran. It’s hard to see Putin falling for this not exactly elaborate trap.

Not Bluffing

So what happens next? Professor Mohammad Marandi at the Faculty of World Studies of the University of Tehran offers quite a sobering perspective: “After 60 days Iran will push things even further. I don’t think the Iranians are bluffing. They will also be pushing back at the Saudis and the Emiratis by different means.”

Marandi, ominously, sees “further escalation” ahead:

“Iranians have been preparing for war with the Unites States ever since the Iraq invasion in 2003. After what they’ve seen in Libya, in Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, they know that the Americans and Europeans are utterly brutal. The whole shore of the Persian Gulf on the Iranian side and the Gulf of Oman is full of tunnels and underground high-tech missiles. The Persian Gulf is full of ships equipped with highly developed sea-to-sea missiles. If there is real war, all the oil and gas facilities in the region will be destroyed, all the tankers will be destroyed.”

And if that show comes to pass, Marandi regards the Strait of Hormuz as the “sideshow”:

“The Americans will be driven out of Iraq. Iraq exports 4 million barrels of oil a day; that would probably come to an end, through strikes and other means. It would be catastrophic for the Americans. It would be catastrophic for the world – and for Iran as well. But the Americans would simply not win.”

So as Marandi explains it — and Iranian public opinion now largely agrees — the Islamic Republic has leverage because they know “the Americans can’t afford to go to war. Crazies like Pompeo and Bolton may want it, but many in the establishment don’t.”

Tehran may have developed a modified MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) framework as leverage, mostly to push Trump ally MbS to cool down. “Assuming,” adds Marandi, “the madmen don’t get the upper hand, and if they do, then it’s war. But for the time being, I thinks that’s highly unlikely.”

Guided-missile destroyer USS Porter transits Strait of Hormuz, May 2012. (U.S. Navy/Alex R. Forster)

All Options on the Table?

In Cold War 2.0 terms, from Central Asia to the Eastern Mediterranean and from the Indian Ocean to the Caspian Sea, Tehran is able to count on quite a set of formal and informal alliances. That not only centers on the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad-Tehran-Herat axis, but also includes Turkey and Qatar. And most important of all, the top actors on the Eurasian integration chessboard: the Russia and China in strategic partnership.

When Zarif met Lavrov last week in Moscow, they discussed virtually everything: Syria (they negotiate together in the Astana, now Nur-Sultan process), the Caspian, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (of which Iran will become a member), the JCPOA and Venezuela.

The Trump administration was dragged kicking and screaming to meet Kim Jong-Un at the same table because of the DPRK’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests. And then Kim ordered extra missile tests because, in his own words, as quoted by KCNA, “genuine peace and security of the country are guaranteed only by the strong physical force capable of defending its sovereignty.”

Global South Watching

The overwhelming majority of Global South nations are watching the U.S. neocon offensive to ultimately strangle “the Iranian people”, aware more than ever that Iran may be bullied to extinction because it does not posses a nuclear deterrent. The IRGC has reached the same conclusion.

That would mean the death of the JCPOA – and the Return of the Living Dead of “all options on the table.”

But then, there’ll be twists and turns in the Art of the (Demented) Deal. So what if, and it’s a major “if”, Donald Trump is being held hostage by his pet psychopaths?

Let The Dealer speak:

“We hope we don’t have to do anything with regard to the use of military force…We can make a deal, a fair deal. … We just don’t want them to have nuclear weapons. Not too much to ask. And we would help put them back into great shape. They’re in bad shape right now. I look forward to the day where we can actually help Iran. We’re not looking to hurt Iran. I want them to be strong and great and have a great economy… We have no secrets. And they can be very, very strong, financially. They have great potential.”

Then again, Ayatollah Khamenei said: the Americans cannot be trusted, ever.

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