The West Has Lost Already (Gonzalo Lira)

January 28, 2023

Morocco to Become a Huge U.S. Military Base to Counter Russia in Africa. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

January 24, 2023

Source

Martin Jay is an award-winning British journalist based in Morocco where he is a correspondent for The Daily Mail (UK) who previously reported on the Arab Spring there for CNN, as well as Euronews. From 2012 to 2019 he was based in Beirut where he worked for a number of international media titles including BBC, Al Jazeera, RT, DW, as well as reporting on a freelance basis for the UK’s Daily Mail, The Sunday Times plus TRT World. His career has led him to work in almost 50 countries in Africa, The Middle East and Europe for a host of major media titles. He has lived and worked in Morocco, Belgium, Kenya and Lebanon.

By Martin Jay

There may be questions about whether Russia is winning the war in Ukraine, but there is no doubt it is winning the global war against the West. And it’s starting in Africa

There may be questions about whether Russia is winning the war in Ukraine, but there is no doubt it is winning the global war against the West. And it’s starting in Africa

Pundits have for months claimed that Ukraine has made great advances on the battlefield and taken back considerable swathes of territory that Russia held. While this claim is losing its validity in recent weeks there, most western analysts indulge themselves with their own blinded dogma and refuse to look at the bigger Ukraine war: commonly known as the ‘global south’ but in reality is actually just the ‘rest of the world’ beyond the boundaries of so-called western countries.

While most countries in Africa and Asia didn’t support Putin’s invasion, they were more vexed by the West’s ‘you’re either with us or against us’ narrative which quickly followed with a threat from the U.S.’s own UN ambassador who made it clear to Africa that countries which didn’t follow U.S. sanctions against Russia would be punished.

That hasn’t worked out too well though for America, despite the U.S. cleaning up on LPG contracts in Europe whose governments are happy to pay four times the price of Russian gas, as Washington still has a few problems with this new world war.

Africa is starting to bother Biden. In recent months it has become clear that the threat of sanctions has backfired and many nations are ready to go ‘non-aligned’ and take their chances or even to cross over to Russia for security reasons.

Mali, a former French colony which until just a few months ago had French troops fighting Islamic terror groups there, is now a fully-fledged Russian ally. Burkina Faso looks like it will follow. If it does, then a domino effect is sure to take place with Francophone countries who are tired of the paternalistic relationship they have with Paris and the nauseating tutelage that is spoon-fed to them from the Elysee. This is not only starting to worry Paris, but the EU is also beginning to see the dangers of losing these countries to Russia and China.

It’s also worrying Biden, who, unlike the EU or the Elysee, at least has the means and the initiative to act rather than just whimper like a puppy just kicked by its new owner.

Biden’s plan, like so many American presidents, is hardly an original one: send more troops and show a presence on the continent.

But it’s his choice of which country to send them to is both interesting and dangerous: Morocco.

Joe Biden instructed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to prepare an emergency plan to establish an American military-industrial base in Morocco, the New York Daily News has reported. Apparently the ruse was proposed during a high-level meeting at the end of December when Biden and Austin discussed America’s new global military strategy.

Biden has told Austin to push the Pentagon to facilitate the logistical and legal aspects of U.S. defence industry investments in Morocco. Details are sketchy, but it seems that Morocco is going to host U.S. defence companies, as well as possibly even be a recipient of U.S. military aid like Israel.

This would not only be a game-changer for Morocco to flex its muscles in the continent, but also put the country on a more even keel with Algeria’s whose defence budget dwarfs that or Morocco’s.

According to media sources in the U.S., before his meeting with Austin, Biden received a detailed report from CIA Director William Burns, who just recently visited Libya on the expansion of Russia’s influence in Africa, including Zimbabwe, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Algeria and the Sahel and Sahara countries. It might well be that Biden feels that whilst it is inconceivable to fight with Putin in Ukraine, U.S. troops and their proxies could take the fight to them in Africa.

For Morocco though there is certainly a dark side. Are we to assume that with this new plan for more troops on the ground and more kit, that this will defuse the threat from Algeria which Russia has a formidable friendship with? Or, more likely, will this only raise the stakes higher and create a war-like scenario, entirely manufactured by the Biden administration, which ultimately the Moroccans will be left to tackle on their own? Remarkably, the format of ‘hit-n-run’ which Biden started in Ukraine in 2014, which led to the war there, along with a similar strategy in Taiwan, is being cultivated in Morocco to antagonise and threaten Algeria both along its long border but more probably in Western Sahara in the South. We can only presume that reports a few weeks ago in state-friendly media of nuclear power plant deals being agreed between Morocco and Russia is also part of Biden’s move in Morocco. He may well see it as a double-whammy but like almost everything the American president touches on the geomilitary circuit, he f***s up, in Obama’s own words. Rabat may well have used the deal with Russia as a card to play, gambling on taking the whole pot if the U.S. boosts their military budget beyond the miniscule 1.5bn dollars presently. But like Rabat’s recent bungling of the bribery scandal in Brussels, which is more about the elite’s dismal media skills, it is likely that the U.S. game is going to make them the loser as they are the chosen crash test dummies that Biden wants in his latest geopolitical experiment. Pray for the Moroccans. They are good people who will pay a high price for being both gullible and insecure.

ماذا بعد الحرب في أوكرانيا…؟

 السبت 21 كانون الثاني 2023

زياد حافظ

في هذه المحاولة الاستشرافية في مطلع 2023 قراءة وتساؤلات لمرحلة ما بعد الحرب في أوكرانيا. ننطلق في هذه القراءة من فرضية نناقشها في ما بعد أنّ روسيا ستحسم المعركة العسكرية في أوكرانيا ما قبل نهاية ربيع 2023. لكن هذا لا يعني انّ الصراع مع الحلف الأطلسي بشكل عام والولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص قد ينتهي. فالسؤال يصبح كيف سيتعامل الحلف الأطلسي وخاصة الولايات المتحدة مع الحقائق الميدانية التي تكون قد تحقّقت في الميدان؟

هناك عدة حالات ممكنة ولكن باحتمالات متباينة مبنية على قراءة في ذهنية القيادات الغربية والإمكانيات المتوفرة ضمن ميزان قوّة مختلّ لصالح روسيا بشكل عام وخاصة لصالح المحور العالمي الرافض للهيمنة الأميركية و/ أو الأطلسية. وما يُعقّد المشهد هو اعتبار الطرفين المتخاصمين أيّ روسيا والحلف الأطلسي أنّ الحرب في أوكرانيا حرب وجودية وبالتالي لا يمكن لأيّ طرف أن يتصوّر مخرجاً إلاّ النصر القاطع. وبما أنّ فرضية هذه القراءة تتبنّى حتمية النصر الروسي ما يبقى علينا هو تصوّر ما يمكن أن يقدِم عليه الأطلسي. وعندما نتكلّم عن الأطلسي نقصد بالدرجة الأولى الولايات المتحدة، ثم الاتحاد الأوروبي كمؤسسة، ثم الدول الأوروبية التي تماهت مع سياسات الولايات المتحدة وأخيراً بيروقراطية الحلف الأطلسي كمؤسسة قائمة بحدّ ذاتها. غير أنّ الحلقة الأساسية هي الولايات المتحدة لأنّ ما يمكن أن تقدم عليه سينجرّ بشكل أو بآخر على مؤسسة الحلف الأطلسي والاتحاد الأوروبي.

أما الحلقة الأضعف فهي الدول الأوروبية التي ستتعرّض إلى اضطرابات اجتماعية وسياسية بسبب التراجع الاقتصادي الناتج عن سياسة العقوبات المفروضة على روسيا وخاصة في قطاع الطاقة التي كانت تستوردها بشكل رخيص من روسيا دون أن تجد البديل الاقتصادي الذي يحرّرها من الاتكال على روسيا. والنتائج البنيوية على الاقتصاد الأوروبي هي تفكيك البنية الصناعية التي كانت ركيزة الطبقة الوسطى والاستقرار الاجتماعي. ليس هناك من آفاق إيجابية للاقتصاد الأوروبي في ظلّ ذلك التحوّل البنيوي خاصة مع صعود دول الجنوب الإجمالي وفي مقدّمته الصين والهند والبرازيل الذين سيتقاسمون الناتج الصناعي العالمي. دول أوروبا قد تكون دول متاحف التاريخ وللسياحة والترفيه وليس أكثر. فتصبح دولاً لا وزن لها في إدارة شؤون العالم. وهذا الهبوط لن يكون سهلاً بل ترافقه توترات اجتماعية وانتفاضات سياسية تعيد النظر في البنى السياسة والاقتصادية والاجتماعية لهذه الدول. وما سيساهم في ذلك الانحدار الكارثي هو الرداءة غير المسبوقة للقيادات السياسية سواء كانت في الحكم أو في المعارضة. المشهد البريطاني يتلاقى مع المشهد الألماني والمشهد الفرنسي، تلك الدول التي كانت تتصدّر المشهد الأوروبي. فأما دول الأطراف في أوروبا فقد تغرق أيضاً في حروب عرقية ودينية دون أن تكون لها ركيزة تستند إليها. فعلى سبيل المثال وليس الحصر اسبانيا تواجه حركة انفصالية في منطقة كتالونيا، وإيرلندا الشمالية قد تنفصل عن المملكة المتحدة لتلتحق بالجمهورية الإيرلندية، واسكتلندا قد تستقلّ عن المملكة المتحدة، وكورسيكا عن فرنسا، وبلجيكا تنقسم إلى قسم فرنسي وقسم فلمنكي. وما تبقّى من أوكرانيا خارج القبضة الروسية قد يذهب قسم منه إلى بولندا، والقسم الآخر إلى رومانيا ومولدوفيا. خارطة أوروبا مُعرّضة لتغيير جذري أسوة بما نتج في الحروب الأوروبية في القرون الماضية. كما هناك كلام عن انشطار إيطاليا بين جنوب فقير وشمال ثري. أما النعرات الطائفية في منطقة البلقان فمن السهل إشعالها مجدّداً مع سقوط الحكومات المركزية في حقبة الضيق الاقتصادي.
تصدّعات أوروبا

أما الاتحاد الأوروبي كمؤسسة فيشهد تصدّعات داخلية عززتها الإجراءات العبثية بحق روسيا وارتداداتها على الاقتصادات الأوروبية. فالزمرة الحاكمة في مؤسسة الاتحاد الأوروبي ملتزمة عقائدياً بمقرّرات دافوس لإعادة التعيين للاقتصادات القائمة نحو اقتصادات أكثر «لطفاً بالبيئة» على حدّ زعمهم. وهذا التوجه إلى مصادر طاقة نظيفة ومتجدّدة بشكل قسري وسريع سيؤدّي حتماً إلى تفكيك البنية الصناعية القائمة ما يوقع دول الاتحاد في حالة فقر وتراجع حضاري شبيه بالقرون الوسطى. فالطاقة هي مصدر الحضارة والعبث فيها له ارتدادات خطيرة على سكّان هذه الدول. لكن عدداً من حكومات دول الاتحاد يتململ من طغيان الزمرة المسيطرة على الاتحاد خاصة أنها لا تخضع لمساءلة ومحاسبة. وحكومة فيكتور اروبان المجرية تقود حملة التمرّد ضدّ الاتحاد قد تتبعها حكومة صربيا. من جهة أخرى أبدت بعض الدول الأوروبية كألمانيا وفرنسا امتعاضها من استغلال الولايات المتحدة للشحّ في قطاع الطاقة لفرض أسعار اضعاف ما كانت تدفعه لروسيا. ونعتت هذه الدول الولايات المتحدة بالتصرّف «غير الصديق» مع الحليف!

أما الدول الأوروبية فالتصدّعات التي أحدثتها الحرب الأوكرانية تتفاقم خاصة أنّ النموذج الاقتصادي النيوليبرالي المسيطر بعد سقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي وصل إلى طريق مسدود. كما أنّ النظام النيوليبرالي حوّل السلطة الفعلية للشركات الكبرى وخاصة بيوت المال التي لا تكترث لحال المواطنين. وهذه القوى المسيطرة على القرار السياسي والاقتصادي والثقافي في تلك الدول تستولد نخباً وقيادات من المستوى الرديء على صعيد العلم، والفهم، والأخلاق. وبالتالي ليس في الأفق المنظور إمكانية بروز قيادات أوروبية تضع مصلحة دولها فوق أيّ اعتبار وخاصة تلك الاعتبارات التي تريد إعادة الهندسة الاجتماعية وفقاً لمقرّرات منتدى دافوس. لذلك لا يمكن أن نتوقع خلال السنة الجديدة أيّ تغيير جذري في المشهد الأوروبي إلاّ ربما المزيد من التوترات والفوضى الأمنية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية ما يجعل أوروبا تفقد دوراً كانت تقوم به على الصعيد العالمي. فكيف يمكن وصف سلوك القيادات الأوروبية التي حوّلت أوروبا من ثاني كتلة اقتصادية في العالم، وربما في بعض الأحيان الأولى، إلى مجموعة دول مترهّلة. هذا انتحار جماعي أقدمت عليه قيادات حمقاء بكلّ معنى الكلمة.

تبقى الولايات المتحدة العنصر الأساسي في الحلف الأطلسي. والمشهد الأميركي معقّد حيث الخطاب السياسي السائد لدى المؤسسة الحاكمة وخاصة عند المحافظين الجدد الذين قبضوا على القرار السياسة الخارجية لا يسمح بأيّ تراجع أمام روسيا. لقد أصبحت الطبقة الحاكمة والمحافظون الجدد أسرى الخطاب السياسي حيث الانتصار على روسيا بات شرط ضرورة للبقاء. فلا يتصوّر المحافظون الجدد عالماً وروسيا موجودة على الأقلّ بشكلها الحالي. فلا بدّ من قلب النظام القائم في روسيا والإتيان بنخب سياسية تساهم في تقسيم روسيا إلى عدّة ولايات أو دول ضعيفة تحول دون إمكانية نهوض لدولة لها وزن على الصعيد الدولي. والمحافظون الجدد يحرصون على إجهاض أيّ محاولة للتفاهم مع روسيا تفادياً لحرب قد تخسرها حتماً الولايات المتحدة مهما كانت الكلفة عالية على روسيا. فعلى سبيل المثال وليس الحصر تسبّب المحافظون الجدود تسريب خبر لقاء بين مدير وكالة المخابرات المركزية وليم بيرنز ونظيره الروسي في أنقرة لإجهاض أيّ محاولة لمنع التصعيد في أوكرانيا الذي إذا ما استمرّ سيضع الجيش الروسي في مواجهة مباشرة مع الجيش الأميركي. وهذا الأمر لا يريده الطرفان سواء كان الرئيس الروسي بوتين أو الأميركي بايدن. لكن المحافظين الجدد لهم أجندة مختلفة ولا يكترثون لنتائج حتمية عن مواجهة عسكرية مباشرة بين الدولتين.

أجندة المحافظين الجدد!

السؤال المطروح هو هل يستطيع المحافظون الجدد تجاوز التحفّظات داخل الإدارة الأميركية التي لا تريد المواجهة المباشرة مع روسيا؟ ليس من السهل الإجابة خاصة أنّ المرحلة السابقة شهدت نصر المحافظين الجدد في توريط الولايات المتحدة في الصراع الذي كان بالإمكان تجنّبه مع روسيا. فهم من رفضوا التعامل مع العروض الروسية لحلّ الأزمة في أوكرانيا، وهم بالأساس من قام بالانقلاب على الحكومة المنتخبة شرعيا في أوكرانيا في 2014 وفي مقدمتهم فيكتوريا نيولند زوجة روبرت كاغان كبير المنظرين للمحافظين الجدد. وهم من استعمل اتفاقات منسك في 2015 للمراوغة لتمكين القوّات الأوكرانية لمواجهة روسيا. وهم من أجهضوا الاتفاق الذي تمّ الوصول إليه في أنقرة بين روسيا وحكومة زيلينسكي في نيسان/ ابريل 2022 بعد 3 أشهر من بدء العملية العسكرية الروسية في أوكرانيا. وهم من يدفعون إلى تفريغ ترسانات الدول التي كانت في كنف حلف وارسو وإرسال السلاح والذخائر لأوكرانيا. وهم من يدفعون البنتاغون لتفريع ترسانة الولايات المتحدة من الأسلحة المتطوّرة وإرسالها إلى أوكرانيا. النتيجة لكلّ ذلك هو تدمير كلّ السلاح المتوفر لأوكرانيا وقتل الجنود ودون تحقيق أيّ تقدّم على الأرض. فسجل المحافظين الجدد هو تراكم هائل من الفشل ولكن لا يوجد من يُسائل ويحاسب. ولذلك ستستمرّ إدارة بايدن في ارتكاب الحماقات تلو الحماقات دون تحقيق أي نتيجة لصالح الولايات المتحدة حتى يصبح تحطّم أوكرانيا أمراً واقعا لا يمكن الهروب منه.

المحافظون الجدد لهم أجندة من بند واحد وهي فرض هيمنة الولايات المتحدة على العالم وإنْ أدّى ذلك إلى تدمير الحلفاء وتهديد العالم بحرب نووية لن ينج منها أحد. فهم لا يكترثون لآثار سياساتهم طالما كانوا متمسكين بمفاصل صنع القرار في الولايات المتحدة سواء في الإدارة أو مراكز الأبحاث أو الجامعات أو الإعلام المرئي والمكتوب. وشبكة علاقات المحافظين الجدد لا تقتصر على الولايات المتحدة بل امتدّت إلى دوائر القرار في مكوّنات الحلف الأطلسي وإنْ كانت سياساتهم تدمّر تلك المكوّنات.

استطاع المحافظون الجدد أن يفرضوا سردية بين النخب الحاكمة في الولايات المتحدة والدول الأوروبية المتحالفة معها مفادها أنّ الصراع مع روسيا هو صراع بقاء بينما في الحقيقة هو صراع لتدمير روسيا والاستيلاء على ثرواتها الهائلة من المواد الخام، والطاقة، والمعادن الثمينة والنادرة. كما أنّ حجم روسيا الجغرافي يهدّد مصالح الولايات المتحدة فلا بدّ من تفكيك الدولة الاتحادية. وتعمّ مراكز الأبحاث في الولايات المتحدة عن خرائط محتملة لروسيا المفككة. وبالنسبة للولايات المتحدة فإنّ الهدف الحقيقي هو الحفاظ على هيمنتها وخاصة هيمنة الدولار الذي يواجه تحدّيات من اقتصادات ترفض تلك الهيمنة. والطابع الوجودي لهذا الصراع مبني على ثقافة الفكر الرأس المالي أن التوسّع هو الوسيلة الوحيدة للبقاء. وتاريخ الولايات المتحدة مبني على التوسّع الجغرافي، في البداية تجاه الغرب حتى الوصول إلى المحيط الهادي ومن ثمّ القفز إلى الجزر في ذلك المحيط وصولاً إلى الفليبين والشاطئ الشرقي للصين.

أما جنوباً، فكانت نظرية مونرو التي منعت الدول المستعمرة في القرن التاسع عشر من التواجد في أميركا اللاتينية وجعلها الحديقة الخلفية للولايات المتحدة. وتحفظ في أدراج الإدارات المتتالية خطط احتلال كندا إذا ما اقتضى الأمر! والآن تعمل الولايات المتحدة على التوسع في القطب الشمالي حيث توجد ثروات نفطية وغازية وشرقاً نحو القارة الآسيوية. وبالتالي لا بدّ من وضع اليد على روسيا.

المشروع الأميركي لوضع اليد على روسيا كان مكتوماً بعد سقوط حائط برلين. لكن سرعان ما تبدّدت الوعود المقطوعة للقيادات الروسية بعدم التوسّع شرقاً للحلف الأطلسي. وحجر الزاوية في مواجهة روسيا هو أوكرانيا وفقاً لنظرية زبغنيو بريجنسكي الذي اعتبر أوكرانيا ضرورة أساسية للقضاء على روسيا. المهمّ هنا أنّ التوسع الشرقي للحلف الأطلسي تجاه روسيا يشكّل خطراً وجودياً على روسيا لا يمكنها تجاهله خاصة إذا ما تمّ نشر الصواريخ البالستية النووية فيها كما يدعو إليه قادة النظام الانقلابي في أوكرانيا. حاولت القيادة الروسية إقناع الإدارات المتتالية بعدم التوسع شرقاً لكن العنجهية الأميركية لم تكترث للهواجس الروسية. لسنا هنا في إطار سرد تطوّر العلاقات الروسية الأطلسية/ الأميركية بل لنؤكّد أنّ صوغ الخطاب السياسي يدعو إلى المواجهة لدرء خطر وجودي يعني الوصول إلى الحرب لحلّ المشكلة. الحرب هنا لن تقتصر على الحرب بالوكالة كما هو الحال الآن في أوكرانيا أو ربما عبر بولندا في ما بعد بل في المواجهة المباشرة العسكرية مع روسيا.

ما يؤكّد عمق الأزمة بين النخب الأميركية مقال صدر يوم السبت في 7 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2023 في صحيفة «واشنطن بوست» والموقع من كوندوليزا رايس وزيرة الخارجية السابقة في ولاية بوش الابن وروبرت غيتس وزير الدفاع السابق في كلّ من ولايات بوش الابن وباراك أوباما. في المقال اعتراف واضح أنّ الوقت هو لصالح روسيا ولا بدّ من زيادة الجهود الأميركية (أيّ زيادة التمويل والإمداد لأنها مربحة للمجمّع العسكري الصناعي) وذلك لمنع النصر الروسي. فهذا الأمر سيكون له تداعيات كارثية بالنسبة للولايات المتحدة (خاصة للمجمّع العسكري الصناعي) وأنّ إمكانية تغيير تلك النتائج ستكون صعبة للغاية إنْ لم تكن مستحيلة. والهيمنة الأميركية على العالم أصبحت مطلباً «وجودياً» بالنسبة لتلك النخب التي لا تكترث لنتائج تلك الطموحات والتي لا تأخذ بعين الاعتبار التحوّلات التي حصلت في موازين القوّة. فمقال رايس وغيتس دعوة صريحة لاستمرار الحرب مهما كانت النتائج.

فما هي إمكانيات مواجهة مباشرة بين الحلف الأطلسي وروسيا، وبالأخصّ بين الولايات المتحدة وروسيا؟ حقيقة، إنّ المواجهة في أوكرانيا لها طابعان: الأول مع الحكومة الأوكرانية والثاني الذي تمّ إعلانه منذ بضعة أيام على لسان وزير الدفاع الاوكراني أنّ المواجهة هي بين روسيا والحلف الأطلسي. هدف العملية العسكرية الروسية في أوكرانيا هو تدمير الجيش الأوكراني وخلع النازيين من الحكم في أوكرانيا ومنع الحكومة من الالتحاق بالأطلسي. التطوّرات الميدانية أبرزت تدفق السلاح والذخيرة من مجمل دول الحلف الأطلسي دون أن يغيّر في ميزان القوّة في المعركة الذي كان ولا يزال لصالح روسيا. واليوم تعلن هذه الدول عن نفاذ سلاحها وذخيرتها لتزويد القوّات الأوكرانية بما كانت تملك من بقايا سلاح حلف وارسو. أما السلاح الغربي الذي يسيطر على معظم دول أوروبا الغربية فإنّ معرفة القوّات الأوكرانية بذلك السلاح ما زالت محدودة وتحتاج لوقت طويل للتتأقلم معها.

لكن هل تستطيع الولايات المتحدة الاستمرار بسياسة حرب رغم ضعف الجهوزية. ولا نقصد هنا الجهوزية العسكرية فحسب بل الجهوزية الاقتصادية. يشير الستير كروك وهو دبلوماسي سابق ومن أهمّ العقول السياسية المحلّلة للمشهد السياسي في آخر مقال له بتاريخ 13 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2023 على موقع «ستراتيجك كلتشار فوندشن» إلى أنّ الغرب يتجه تدريجياً لتحويل اقتصاداته لاقتصادات حرب وخاصة في ما يتعلّق بسلسلة التوريد في الإنتاج الصناعي. لكن في رأينا هذه عملية طويلة المدى خاصة بعد تفكيك البنية التحتية الصناعية في الولايات المتحدة والمملكة المتحدة وبالتالي القدرة على تحويل الطاقة الصناعية إلى طاقة إنتاجية حربية كما حصل في الحرب العالمية الثانية أمر مشكوك به في المدى المنظور. فاستبدال سلسلة التوريد التي اعتمدت خلال العقود الأربعة الماضية لتوطين مفاصل عديدة من القطاعات الصناعية في عالم الجنوب الإجمالي لا يمكن إنجازه بفترة قصيرة. فروسيا، ومعها الصين وسائر دول الجنوب الإجمالي لن يتركوا المجال لذلك التحويل.

لذلك نعتقد أنّ المعركة العسكرية الاستراتيجية بين روسيا وأوكرانيا قد حسمت في رأينا لصالح روسيا وأنّ ما تبقّى هو ترجمة الحسم الاستراتيجي إلى معالم مادية سواء في التقدّم الجغرافي أو في التغيير النظام السياسي في أوكرانيا وإنْ اقتضى الأمر دخول كييف لفرض نظام جديد. وقد يحصل ذلك خلال سنة 2023.

المواجهة مع الأطلسي طويلة

أما المواجهة مع الأطلسي فقد تطول خاصة أنّ الغرب يراهن على إطالة الحرب دون تدخّل مباشر للولايات المتحدة وسائر دول الحلف الأطلسي. ويعتمد المحافظون الجدد على سيطرتهم على الإعلام والسردية التي تقول بأنّ أوكرانيا «تنتصر» والقضية مسألة إمدادات فقط لا غير. لكن بدأت النخب الحاكمة تواجه معضلة تفسير انهيار خطوط الدفاع الأوكرانية وخاصة في منطقة سوليدار وباخوت. فهل ستتخذ الخطوة التالية بدخول جيوش الأطلسي بشكل مباشر في أوكرانيا؟

المزاج السياسي المعادي لروسيا في دول أوروبا غير مؤيّد للدخول في حرب مع روسيا. استطلاعات الرأي العام واضحة بهذا الشأن. فالمواطن الأوروبي بغضّ النظر عن رأيه في روسيا وحكّامها لا يريد ولا يتحمّل ثمن المواجهة. ولقد بدأت تظهر معالم «التعب» من أوكرانيا. ولكن المنحى الذي نشهده هو عدم اكتراث الحكومات الغربية للرأي العام الداخلي كما جاء على لسان وزيرة الخارجية الألمانية أنّ المانيا مستمرّة بدعم الجهود الحربية في أوكرانيا وأنها لا تكترث لآراء المواطنين وهذا بكلّ وضوح. لكن العديد من المؤشرات تفيد بأنّ الدول الأوروبية غير جاهزة وغير راغبة للدخول في حرب. أما الولايات المتحدة فهناك من يدفع إلى الدخول المباشر إلى أوكرانيا وإنْ كان الوجود العسكري الأميركي كـ «خبراء» و «مدرّبين» و «مستشارين» أصبح من المسلّمات. والمحافظون الجدد يدفعون إلى المواجهة المباشرة بعد استنفاذ الوكلاء علماً أنّ الجهوزية العسكرية الأميركية غير متوفّرة كما جاء على لسان رئيس هيئة الأركان المشتركة مارك ميلي في جلسة استجوابه في لجنة الدفاع في الكونغرس عند استلام مهامه. قال آنذاك في 2018 إنّ الجهوزية الأميركية لا تتجاوز 40 بالمائة وإنّ هدفه هو إيصال الجهوزية الأميركية إلى 60 بالمائة بحلول 2024.

وتأكيداً على ذلك يصدر معهد «أميركان هريتاج فونداشن» تقريراً سنوياً عن الجهوزية العسكرية الأميركية. وعلى مدى السنوات الخمس الماضية لم يتجاوز تقييم تلك الجهوزية مرحلة «الهامشية» أيّ لا تستطيع الحسم في أيّ مواجهة. وإذا أضفنا المحاكاة النظرية للمواجهة العسكرية مع أيّ من روسيا أو الصين أو إيران فكانت النتائج دائماً لصالح خصوم الولايات المتحدة. صحيح أنّ الولايات المتحدة تنفق أكثر من أيّ دولة في العالم لكن هذا الانفاق لا يعني تفوّقاً في الجودة كما تظهر التقارير حول فعّالية ركائز السلاح الجوّي أو البرّي الأميركي. وإذا أدخلنا في المعادلة السلاح المتفوّق الروسي خاصة في الصواريخ الفائقة لسرعة الصوت وغياب وسائل دفاع مضادة له فإنّ التفوّق التكتيكي والاستراتيجي للسلاح الروسي أصبح كاسراً.

وهناك خبراء عسكريون كـ اندري مرتيانوف يشكّكون بالقدرات البشرية لقيادة الأعمال العسكرية حيث خبرة القادة العسكريين الأميركيين في خوض حروب حقيقية ضدّ خصوم لديهم الحزم والعزم لا يُشجّع على إمكانية نصر عسكري. فتجربة الحرب الكورية والفيتنامية والعراقية والأفغانية تدلّ بوضوح إلى أنّ التفوّق الناري لا يعني بالضرورة النصر. لكن بعيداً عن هذه الاعتبارات ما نريد أن نقوله إنّ الولايات المتحدة غير جاهزة على الصعيد العسكري لخوض حرب طويلة مع دولة من طراز روسيا أو الصين على الأقلّ في المدى المنظور. لدى الولايات المتحدة قدرة نارية تدميرية هائلة تستطيع تدمير المعمورة آلاف المرّات ولكن ليس لديها كيف تترجمها في السياسة.

هناك عقول باردة خارج البنتاغون كدوغلاس مكغريغور او لاري جونسون أو فيليب جيرالدي أو راي مكغوفرن أو لاري ويلكرسون على سبيل المثال وليس الحصر تعي هذه الحقائق وتحاول ضبط إيقاع مسار السلطة السياسية. لكن المحافظين الجدد يتربّصون بها ويمنعون أن تصل تلك الآراء إلى مركز القرار. لذلك سيحتدم الصراع داخل الدولة العميقة بين من يؤيّد توجّهات المحافظين الجدد ومن يخشى من الوقوع في الهاوية. ولا نستبعد تكرار مشهد إنشاء لجنة بيكر ـ هاملتون جديدة التي كفّت يد المحافظين الجدد في إدارة بوش بعد الفشل في العراق. البديل عن كفّ يد المحافظين الجدد هو الحرب التي ستكون مدمّرة للولايات المتحدة وللعالم.

وهنا يكمن العامل الداخلي في الولايات المتحدة الذي قد يغيّر المعادلات بين الدولة العميقة والبيت الأبيض. مسلسل الفضائح التي تطال الرئيس الأميركي يتنامى ما يعني أنّ الدولة العميقة تريد التخلّص من إمكانية ترشّحه مجدّداً في 2024. فتعيين محقق خاص جمهوري الانتماء السياسي للكشف عن تفاصيل «الفضائح» يؤكّد أنّ المؤسسة الحاكمة بما فيها قيادة الحزب الديمقراطي تريد التخلّص من جوزيف بايدن والآتيان بـ كمالا هاريس في حال تنحّى بايدن عن منصبه، أو فتح الطريق لترشيح ميشال أوباما في 2024. في مطلق الأحوال فإنّ التطوّرات الداخلية قد تحوّل الأنظار عن الإخفاق في أوكرانيا ويتيح الفرصة لصوغ خطاب جديد يتجاهل الإخفاق في أوكرانيا. التغيير في السياسة التي تفرضه الوقائع يحتم تغيير في الأشخاص وهذا ما يمكن توقّعه في الأشهر المقبلة لمنع التدهور الذي الكارثي الذي يهدّد الجميع.

في الخلاصة نرى ما بعد الحرب في أوكرانيا الانتصار الكاسح لروسيا وتصدّع الاتحاد الأوروبي. كما سنرى تصاعد النقاش حول الدخول الأطلسي بشكل عام والولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص في حرب نووية محدودة بالنسبة للمحافظين الجدد. لكن في المقابل لا يستطيعون ضبط إيقاعها لأنّ روسيا لن تستجيب لرغبات المحافظين الجدد. فليس هناك من مواجهة نووية «محدودة»! لذلك لا نتوقع الوصول إلى تلك المرحلة بل ربما بداية تفكيك الحلف الأطلسي الذي فقد جدواه ومصداقيته. أما على صعيد الوضع الداخلي في الولايات المتحدة فتراكم الفشل في السياسة الخارجية سيظهر الحاجة للتغيير. من سيقود التغيير وكيف فهذا حديث ليوم آخر. الرهان هو على ما تبقّى من عقول باردة خاصة في أجواء التردّي لمستوى النخب السياسية في الغرب

*باحث وكاتب اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي وعضو منتدى سيف القدس

قبل ذوبان الثلوج: أميركا تتجه لتوسيع نطاق الحرب!

السبت 14 كانون الثاني 2023

د. عدنان منصور

لم تكتف الولايات المتحدة بسياساتها الاستفزازية حيال روسيا، منذ أن بدأت بتوسيع النطاق الجغرافي للحلف الأطلسي اعتباراً من عام 1999، الذي كان يضمّ في ذلك الحين 16 دولة، ليتمدّد في ما بعد، ويصل الى حدود روسيا، بعد أن ضمّت واشنطن الى الحلف ثلاث دول أوروبية عام 1999، وسبع دول عام 2004، وثلاث دول عام 2017، وأخيراً مقدونيا الشمالية عام 2020. بذلك يرتفع عدد أعضاء الحلف الأطلسي الى ثلاثين دولة، منها ما يلامس مباشرة روسيا.

لم تكتف واشنطن بهذا القدر، بل لجأت الى سياساتها الاقتصادية والمالية العدائية ضدّ موسكو، وآثرت على جرّ أوكرانيا الى فلكها وجعلها وقوداً لحرب استنزاف طويلة ضدّ روسيا بغية تحجيم وتعطيل مكانتها الأوروبية، والحدّ من دورها العالمي، ما يتيح لواشنطن عودتها مجدّداً للاستئثار بالقرار الدولي، والتربّع على عرش الأحادية القطبية العالمية.

بعد أربعين يوماً، ستنهي الحرب الأوكرانية عامها الأول، بعد أن زجّت واشنطن بدول الاتحاد الأوروبي، والحلف الأطلسي، في حرب غير مباشرة، كانت بغنى عنها. إذ كان على هذه الدول اليوم، أن تدفع الثمن الباهظ نتيجة انقيادها الأعمى لواشنطن، والتزامها بسياسات أميركا وقراراتها لعقود طويلة.
لم يكن مفاجئاً، أو غريباً، أو بعيداً عن الحقيقة الدامغة، حديث السياسي بيار ديغول، حفيد الزعيم الفرنسي شارل ديغول، العليم والخبير بحقيقة السياسة الأميركية أهدافها ومصالحها، وأبعادها، في مقابلة أجرتها معه مؤخراً، جمعية الصداقة الفرنسية الروسية في باريس جاء فيه: «إنّ روسيا تدافع عن نفسها ضدّ آلاف العقوبات والاستفزازات. وأنّ واشنطن ودول الناتو، هي من خطط للحرب باستخدام أوكرانيا لزعزعة أوروبا في محاولة لإنقاذ الهيمنة الأميركية المفقودة.»

رغم أنّ واشنطن تعلم جيداً، كما دول الحلف الأطلسي، أنّ روسيا لم ولن تتراجع عن قرارها، أو تضحّي بأمنها القومي، ووحدة شعبها وأراضيها، حتى ولو ذهبت بعيداً في استخدام ما لديها من مقومات القوة والردع الكفيل بإحباط المؤامرة الأميركية ـ الأوروبية عليها، والمكشوفة للعالم كله.

واشنطن تخوض حرباً غير مباشرة ضدّ روسيا، وقودها الاقتصادات الأوروبية، والمتطوّعون، والمقامرون من قادة دول أوروبا، وعلى رأسهم المغفل رئيس أوكرانيا زيلينسكي، الذي كان السبب الأول في دمار بلاده وخرابها، بعد أن كان أداة طيّعة في يد واشنطن، والمنفذ لرغباتها.
أميركا لا يهمّها دمار أوكرانيا، أو سقوط عشرات آلاف القتلى نتيجة الحرب التي تريدها، او ضرب اقتصادات أوروبا. ما يهمّها أن تكون في زمن السلم والحرب صاحبة القرار الأول، والمستفيد الأول، والموجهة والمهيمنة على العالم.

واشنطن وضعت في حسابها خوض حرب استنزاف طويلة ضدّ روسيا، تزداد شراستها أكثر فأكثر قبل انتهاء فصل الشتاء في أوروبا وذوبان الثلوج فيها. وهي تستعدّ لتقديم المزيد من الدعم العسكري والمالي المتواصل لكييف، وتوفير الكمّ الكافي من الأسلحة المتطورة، والدبابات وبطاريات الصواريخ لشلّ القدرات العسكرية الروسية، وإحباط مفاعيلها.

قرار الولايات المتحدة بمواجهة روسيا ودعمها لأوكرانيا، وتطويق خصومها في أنحاء عديدة من العالم، كشفته بصورة واضحة من خلال قانون الموازنة الفدرالية الأميركية لعام 2023. إذ لحظ القانون موازنة دفاع قدرها 858 مليار دولار بزيادة تبلغ 88 مليار دولار عن موازنة عام 2022 البالغة 778 مليار دولار، وهي أكبر ميزانية عسكرية في تاريخ الولايات المتحدة والعالم. إذ انّ الإنفاق العسكري الأميركي وحده يشكل %36 من مجمل الإنفاق العسكري في العالم كله البالغ 2 تريليون و113 مليار دولار عام 2021 وفقاً لبيانات معهد ستوكهولم الدولي لأبحاث السلام SIPRI بموجب الموازنة العسكرية هذه، ستعمد واشنطن إلى تطوير البرامج النووية، وسيتمّ أيضاً تخصيص 45 مليار دولار مساعدات عسكرية، واقتصادية، وإنسانية لأوكرانيا.

كما لحظت الموازنة إنفاق 6 مليارات دولار من أجل تمويل مبادرة الاحتواء الأوروبية الموجهة ضدّ موسكو، وضرورة تقليل الاعتماد على موارد الطاقة الروسية.

يبقى ذلك أن ضغطت الولايات المتحدة على دول حلف الناتو لزيادة موازناتها العسكرية، بحيث انّ ثماني دول أعضاء في الحلف، خصصت %2 أو أكثر من الناتج المحلي على الإنفاق العسكري.

سياسة واشنطن والاتحاد الأوروبي، والعقوبات الاقتصادية، والتجارية، والمالية ضدّ روسيا نتيجة لحرب أوكرانيا، أدّت الى ارتفاع تكاليف الطاقة في دول الاتحاد الأوروبي 1.06 تريليون دولار عام 2022، وفقاً لتقرير بلومبورغ الأميركي، وهو تقرير يتوافق مع تقديرات صندوق النقد الدولي في هذا الشأن.
أميركا بتطلعاتها لعام 2023، ترصد أيضاً منطقة الشرق الأوسط بكلّ قوة، للحفاظ على مواقعها وتعزيز نفوذها. فالموازنة العسكرية الأميركية ركزت على الاهتمام بالمنطقة، والعمل على تشديد المراقبة على البرنامج النووي الإيراني، و»أذرع طهران» المسلحة، التي «تهدّد» حلفاء واشنطن، وعلى رأسهم «إسرائيل»، ومتابعة التطورات والقدرات النووية، والصاروخية، وبلورة استراتيجية فاعلة لتعميق وتقوية التعاون بين الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها في الشرق الأوسط، بغية رفع مستوى الجهوزية الدفاعية للتصدي لأنشطة إيران.

لم يغب شرق وجنوب شرق آسيا، لا سيما تايوان عن قلق واهتمام واشنطن بها. ففي 8 كانون الأول عام 2022، أقرّ مجلس النواب الأميركي قانوناً، يمنح بموجبه مساعدات عسكرية، ومبيعات أسلحة لتايوان بقيمة 10 مليارات دولار. وقد اعتبر رئيس لجنة الشؤون الخارجية في مجلس الشيوخ بوب ميننديز Bob Menendez انّ هذا القانون «سيعزز الى حدّ بعيد شراكة الولايات المتحدة الدفاعية مع تايوان». مع العلم انّ هذا القانون قبل تعديله كان يلحظ منح تايوان وضع «حليف كبير خارج الحلف الأطلسي»، مما كان سيشكل تحدياً كبيراً واستفزازاً مباشراً للصين، التي شهدت علاقاتها مع واشنطن تدهوراً ملحوظاً في السنوات الاخيرة.

واشنطن في عام 2023، تكشر عن أنيابها من جديد، مندفعة لملء الفراغ الذي تركته في أكثر من مكان في العالم، ولاستعادة دورها الأحادي ونفوذها الواسع والمهيمن على العالم، الذي يشهد تراجعاً عاماً بعد عام، مع بروز قوى دولية كبرى بدأت تشكل لها تحدياً خطيراً لإزاحتها عن زعامتها العالمية التي كانت ولفترة قصيرة دون منازع.

شهية الولايات المتحدة على الحروب منذ نشوئها، شهية لا حدود لها، ولم تتوقف على مساحة العالم كله. فمن حرب الى حرب تتنقل، ولا ندري ما الذي تخبّئه في جعبتها وهي تستعدّ عام 2023 للمغامرة في أكثر من مكان في العالم، بعد أن سبق لها أن كانت العلة في دمار وخراب العديد من البلدان، وما أوكرانيا إلا آخرها، والباقي على الطريق…

*وزير الخارجية والمغتربين الأسبق.

War in Ukraine: A conflict that will decide the global system’s fate

5 Jan 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen English

By Ali Jezzini 

With the war in Ukraine almost entering its second year, much more is at stake now, as both parties have invested immensely and the outcome might decide their fate, so what will happen in 2023?

Ukraine 2022, a Recap

The war in Ukraine could be the most significant geopolitical event in this century, as it represents an embodiment of the shift in the global balance of power. Such an action made by Russia, intervening to protect what it describes as its non-negotiables, and the actions of many countries taking the decision not to side with the collective West, could not have even been imagined two decades ago. It is safe to assume that the undeniable shifts in the global political and economic epicenter to the East permitted states seeking a more independent approach and autonomy from western hegemony to undertake risky political actions. Clausewitz had announced centuries ago that war is a mere continuation of political action with other means.

Plowing through the narratives of both sides regarding the factors that drove the event the way they went would take much more than this article can discuss, so we will try to stick to concrete events and numerical data in analyzing this conflict, its aspects, and the possible outcomes that the coming year might hold.

A hotter-than-usual February 

Despite Russia revealing the goals behind the actions it took, which are the “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine, it did not provide a timeframe nor the extent to which the situation might escalate. NATO, on the other hand, started ramping up its arms shipments to Kiev on the eve of the conflict, a trend that would continue throughout the war and would consume a hefty chunk of the alliance’s military equipment stockpiles. In addition, an assumption was spread by Western media that the war would only take three days, despite the lack of any Russian official statement backing such a claim. Consequently, when the war entered its 10th month, the assumption was used to bash Russia’s military capabilities.

Utilizing several axes of attack, the Russian forces and their allies in the Donbass advanced. A few months into the conflict, the initial advances seemed to be aimed at having a shock effect on the Ukrainian political and military leadership, consequently leading to their sudden collapse, rather than being a part of a military plan that involved the surrounding and destruction of enemy forces. The initial Kiev push failed to break the will of the Kiev authorities to continue the fight, and the lack of an initial Russian Western-style Shock & Awe strategy contributed to inflating Kiev’s hopes of victory, leading to a prolonged grinding conflict. 

In pursuing an initial strategy that intended to limit the damage to Ukraine’s civilian and military infrastructure and seeking a short conflict, Russia led to the exact opposite. When the initial offensive failed to collapse the Kiev authorities, the most logical decision at this point was to attempt a withdrawal and stabilize the frontlines while regrouping the retreating forces that sustained combat losses and damages. A static situation had developed during the months between Russia’s withdrawal from the Kiev district and the North of Ukraine, and the subsequent Ukrainian summer offensive that managed to push the Russians out of the Kherson and Kharkov districts. This period was characterized by an artillery duel, in which Russia had the upper hand, and a Ukrainian build-up that led to their consequent victory. 

The Ukraine build-up was fueled by nine waves of mobilization and an endless train of Western military equipment that Russia had little success in derailing. Despite Kiev’s heavy losses in manpower and equipment, it was still capable of conducting cohesive military actions that were sustained by NATO’s whole massive intelligence-gathering apparatus. Russia, on the other hand, was stuck with what it had at the beginning of the war; around 150-200 thousand regulars plus its Donbass allies defending a frontline stretching thousands of kilometers. The juridical limits of the use of force imposed by the nature of “the special military operation” hindered Russia’s efforts in increasing pressure on Kiev and slowing down its buildup. What happened next was Russia withdrawing from some areas it took at the beginning of the war in an attempt to avoid huge losses that could result in its units being cut off or surrounded. 

Shifting winds

Following the Ukrainian attack on the Crimean bridge and the appointment of a new commander to the Russian forces in the operations zone, Sergey Surovikin, Russia seemed as if it was starting to take the glove off. The start of this new phase of military operations was signaled by a mass strike against Ukraine’s dual-use infrastructure, such as various components of the electrical grid system using its arsenal of cruise and ballistic missiles that Western media and experts had claimed had been exhausted several times during the conflict. A newcomer also took its toll on Ukraine’s military and dual-use infrastructure, highlighting an important aspect of modern warfare: suicide drones, the Geran-2 or the Shahed-136. Western countries and Kiev have accused Iran of supplying Russia with an arsenal of such drones, a claim that both Russia and Iran have refuted. We won’t delve into the details of both statements, yet we must state that it highlights growing military cooperation between parties opposed to the unipolar global system, an occurrence that causes great concern to the collective West.

Russia also undertook a partial mobilization that involved calling around 300,000 of its reserves. Arming and retraining such numbers is not a simple task, and in fact, it is still taking place today, according to Russian sources. Scores of these soldiers started arriving at the frontlines and taking part in the ongoing combat, but turning the balance of numbers around is going to take a while. Russia also is mainly targeting anti-air defense systems and munitions now by making use of a dual-strategy: destroying them using anti-radiation missiles and miniature suicide drones such as the Zala drone on one hand, and depleting their costly ammunition using cheap but effective drones, such as the Geran-2, on the other. The cost ratio between an interception and that of the intercepted can be as big as ten-fold, since the drone costs around $20,000 and an AD missile could reach half a million USD easily, starting from around $150,000. A losing bargain in the long term to say the least.

The same artillery grind is also ongoing and taking a toll on Ukrainian losses, but this time Russia is making use of the shorter contact lines to fill the defenses with an inferior number of troops in comparison with their adversaries until it finishes training its reserves. Despite the arrival of troops to the frontline, Russia will still not have the numerical superiority, but such numbers will serve primarily to consolidate the current lines of contact, and to give the Russians more options if they want to utilize their fire superiority to level the playing field around the Donbass and in the held part Zaporozhye regions east the Dnieper River. 

Difficult situation, tough decisions

The political and military leaderships in the West and Kiev on one hand, and Moscow on the other, are faced with tough decisions with a tight timeline before them. These decisions will draw the outcomes of the conflict in the short and long term. The scale of the conflict is global, as the West sees Russia as a rogue state trying to undermine the Western-dominated so-called rules-based order, and it seems like it is willing to go above and beyond to guarantee another century of dominion over the planet. Russia has many reasons to fight in Ukraine that go beyond NATO expanding east and protecting the lives and rights of the Russian people in Ukraine. Russia is genuinely worried that the direction that Kiev was heading revealed a long-term plan to transform Ukraine into another “big Israel”, which the Ukrainian President hinted at in one of his speeches. A highly militarized society built around a fascist ideology that its raison d’etre is being anti-something, as in “Israel” being a “shield protecting the West from Eastern barbarism,” hinted by “Israel’s” fathers. Ukrainian leaders and media don’t waste an opportunity to remind the West that they are fighting the battle of the collective West, and thus they earned a blank check in exchange for providing the meat for the carnage.

If what some commentators say about Russia overestimating its military capabilities is true, then the West for sure overestimated its political and economic capabilities. Faced with an internal crisis and trapped in the loop of financing a state living off external aid, the West is facing the threat of a wedge forming between its components on both sides of the Atlantic as Europe, which is hit more by the effects of the crisis, sees that the US is trying to bail itself at its expense. This view has been expressed by various Western leaders.

Russia, faced with a nuclear bomb of Western sanctions, managed to surpass the worst, according to the head of its central bank. With hundreds of billions of dollars frozen abroad, the Russian economy is still holding. The Ruble has long stabilized, and alternative market opportunities have revealed themselves to the Western market. But will this be enough? Many countries across the globe refused to side with the West in its campaign, namely the Arab, African, and Latin countries, as well as India, China, Iran, and Turkey. Despite these countries not forming a cohesive block, their decisions gave Russia breathing space in this lengthy battle nevertheless.

A protracted conflict?

Both the West and Russia have invested so much in this conflict but still have not fully committed, as both parties still have many cards up their sleeve. For instance, even if NATO faces severe military equipment shortages, it can still provide Ukraine with new types of arms at the expense of its combat readiness, like tanks, warplanes, or maybe long-range precision munitions. Russia, on the other hand, has not undergone a full mobilization yet, both in the military and economic sense of the word, as it still spends only a small fraction of its GDP on the war, and its biggest “ally”, namely China, did not even start providing it with a significant amount of military hardware. China ramping up its aid to Russia is not so far-fetched since it benefits from a change in a global shift from the Western-dominated global system into a multipolar international system.

We are not dealing with isolated opposing parties, as any actions by one of them can trigger an escalation from the other as if we are witnessing the checkerboard of a chess game. Such security dilemmas imposed by the nature of the conflict taking place in Ukraine draw a gloomy scene of a protracted and bloody conflict that decides the outcome of the world. If Russia wins, we might actually witness the birth of a new multi-polar world where formerly dominated and exploited countries can have more options and thus a brighter future. If the West wins, however, it might add a century to the life of this global system that grants only a small portion of humanity, namely the collective West, the ability to impose the way of thinking, living, and governing on the rest of the world. A thermonuclear annihilation war is always a possibility too, but hopefully not.

So what will be the outcome?

Related Stories

Bakhmut has turned into Ukrainian bloodbath (Col. Macgregor)

December 24, 2022

The US love for Ukraine or Hate against Russia?

December 23, 2022

Source

by Zamir Awan 

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine is on his first overseas visit since the crisis began in February 2022. He is already in Washington and met with President Joe Biden at the White House. The visit amounts to a daring show of solidarity and backing with Ukraine’s most powerful ally and its largest foreign supplier of weapons, or the masterminds of the whole crisis.

Sitting next to Biden in the Oval Office, Zelensky spoke in English and expressed “all my appreciations, from my heart, from the heart of Ukrainians — all Ukrainians” for the U.S. designs. It seems he is committed to Washington’s plans. Biden told Zelensky that the Ukrainian people “inspire the world.” But at what cost? Is it worth it to keep happy the masters at such a huge cost???

Zelensky will deliver an address to a joint session of Congress later in the day in which he will again convince that Ukraine still needs more powerful weapons, according to Ukrainian politicians. As a matter of fact, he was not satisfied with the limited assistance and control over weapons. His desires are much higher and unlimited.

The U.S. announced a new aid package of $1.8 billion that includes a Patriot missile battery, the most advanced U.S. ground-based air defense system. The Patriot could help Ukraine defend against Russian missile and drone attacks that have targeted its energy infrastructure. In military circles, the Patriot is viewed as a security blanket, protection from incoming fire. But Russia has developed its own weapons much more advanced and Patriot cannot intercept them.

Zelensky’s trip came after U.S. lawmakers proposed $44 billion more in emergency aid to Ukraine, which would bring the total U.S. wartime assistance to more than $100 billion. But many Republican lawmakers are hostile to authorizing more money to Ukraine just as they are poised to take control of the House of Representatives in January. The US expenditures above Trillion Dollars in Afghanistan and a long war over two decades could not make them win the war. This meager amount is far behind making Ukraine win over Russia.

In a speech to defense officials yesterday, President Vladimir Putin agreed to an increase in the size of Russia’s armed forces. He said there would be “no limits in terms of financing” Russia’s campaign in Ukraine. Russia has spent 150 billion in its operation in Ukraine but gained economic benefits worth around 500 to 600 billion.

As a matter of fact, Russia has not planned for a full-scale war in Ukraine, its limited special military operation was on the same line as in 2014 in Crimea. Once the Russians achieved their limited targets and goals, might have returned back. It was the US plan to engage Russia for a longer period of time and bleed for a prolonged time. Despite Russian early warmings and declaring Ukraine as its Red Line, the US kept on instigating Russia to intervene in Ukraine providing the American an excuse to engage Russia for a prolonged time.

The US is not sincere with Ukraine nor in love. If the Americans love Ukraine, they might have provided unlimited weapons and advanced weapons to make Ukraine win. But, this is not their intention, not their goals. Actually, they are in hate with Russia and wanted to counter the revival of Russia through Ukraine and may keep them engaged for a prolonged time to make Russia suffer economically. The US put sanctions on Russia to harm it economically.

Sanctions proved counterproductive and the Russian economy has not suffered at all. Its trade has remained the same, but, the trading partners have changed, China, India, Pakistan, and many other countries are becoming bigger trading Partners with Russia. Pushing out from the SWIFT banking system has no impact on its financial transactions as China has compensated and provided them with alternates. It Oil and Gas export has not reduced, and India and China have been importing much more. Furthermore, the increase in Oil and Gas prices in the international market has become supported the Russian economy.

On the other hand, Europe has been victimized by the Ukraine war. The Fuel and Food prices have jumped much high. Few European countries are providing subsidies to their citizens but not all of the European countries are rich enough to extend subsidies to their citizens. As a result, many Europeans are suffering.

The public in Europe is turning against the Ukraine war and demanding the end of this war immediately. There are protests and agitations in some European capitals and slogans are heard against NATO and withdrawal from NATO. The current leaders in Europe are bound under the agreement to support NATO and Ukraine’s war. But, it is predicted that in the upcoming some of the political parties may come up with the idea to promise the public to end the war, end NATO support or exiting from NATO, etc., may win the general elections. It is pretty sure that public sentiments will dominate in the next elections and visionary politicians will make bold decisions.

There is an awareness in the public that blindly following the US is not the ultimate goal, but, must think about national interests. War in Europe is not desired, no one wants it and the public may reflect their anger at the time of voting. The next elections will be decisive and may change the fate of not only Europe but the whole world. Geopolitics might be changed completely. It is a matter of time only, public sentiments must be respected at all costs.

Europe has learned after so many wars in the past and reached the conclusion that war is not a solution nor is beneficial to anyone. Even the winner of the wars was also proved losers. Europe is committed to no wars and Ukraine’s war needs to end soon, the sooner the better. It is the American war against the Russians hate, and Europe has to pay a heavy cost.

Humankind deserves peace and peace must prevail globally.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, and Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Zelensky in US Congress confirms war in Ukraine is war for US

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses a joint session at the US Congress to reaffirm that if Russia wins the war in Ukraine, the world order established by the US post WWII will inevitably crumble.

Ukrainian President brings Ukrainian flag to US Congress in joint session only to have it raised by US House Speaker (AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived at the White House on Wednesday for a meeting with US President Joe Biden in light of the ongoing war in his country and addressed the US Congress in a joint session as lawmakers mull ratifying legislation that will include billions of dollars to be sent to Ukraine as “aid.”

During the address, Zelensky urged US lawmakers to provide his forces with more weapons as well as impose additional anti-Russian sanctions.
 
“We have artillery, yes – thank you,” Zelensky acknowledged in his address, and then questioned whether that is enough and went on to answer himself “Honestly, not really.”
 
Zelensky claimed that “to make sure the Russians completely pull out, more shells and cannons are needed.”

The Ukrainian President then called for increased unilateral sanctions against Russia, arguing that Congress had the capacity to impose stronger sanctions. 

Early in his address Zelensky claimed that Kiev has already “defeated Russia in the battle for minds of the world” and the rest of the West had achieved a “victory” over the Russian Federation which he insisted “will never influence us again.”

Zelensky also used the occasion to attack not only the Russian Federation, but also Iran as he stated that “Russia found an ally” in what he called “its homicidal strategy – Iran.”

Furthermore, Zelensky added that “one terrorist has found the other,” and warned that the Russia-Iran partnership threatened not just Ukraine, but all Western nations, as he stated that “It is just a matter of time before they strike your other allies if we do not stop them now.”

Also in his speech, the Ukrainian President hinted that only regime change will “liberate” Russia and noted that “the Russians will stand a chance to be free only when they defeat the Kremlin in their minds.”

Zelensky agrees with Putin, fights until the last Ukrainian

There were a few significant statements in Zelensky’s speech where he reaffirmed that the war in Ukraine is about changing the world order. Zelensky stated “This struggle will define in what world our children and grandchildren will live, and then their children and grandchildren.” 

While he pointed out that this war is one for generations to come, he added that he, and those whom he represented in Ukraine and the world, stand with the American version of the world order. He recalled US President Franklin Roosevelt, who defined modern liberalism in the US and dominated US politics throughout the two World Wars; an era that set the current global world order.

Zelensky stated, “the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory,” referring to victory in the war in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian President also stated, whilst in the US Congress, that a potential victory against Russia “will prove to any potential aggressor that no one can succeed in breaking national borders, no one committing atrocities and reigning over people against their will.”

It is of note that the US is currently illegally occupying Syrian soil and looting Syrian oil, and is currently in violation of numerous international resolutions and the UN charter in a number of countries.

Moreover, Zelensky brought with him a flag from Bakhmut to the US and described it as “a symbol of our victory,” wherein the US and Ukraine are fighting one and the same war against world order change. and then noted that “we will win because we are united — Ukraine, America, and the entire free world.”

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, agreed with the Ukrainian President and tweeted that “the fight for Ukraine is the fight for democracy itself.”

Zelensky, in conclusion, thanked the US and added “may God protect our brave troops and citizens, may God forever bless the United States of America. “

Read more: Putin: The world is changing for the better

Some members of Congress were not impressed

GOP Representatives Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Dianne Harshbarger, and Jim Jordan remained seated at times when the rest of the US Congress gave Zelensky a standing ovation. These GOP reps were criticized by others however, their positions were not new. 

Gaetz, on his Twitter page, hinted at US Congress’ double standards as he noted that when 

Jen Psaki, former White House Press Secretary, called Zelensky’s trip a “sales pitch” via her Twitter profile, noting decreasing support for Ukraine in the US.

While Donald Trump Jr. argued that the Ukrainian President is an “ungrateful international welfare queen.”

Republicans vow audit to track Biden’s $20 bln Ukraine aid

It is worth noting that earlier in November, the Biden administration is currently scurrying to track down the approximately $20 billion in military aid it sent to Ukraine, amid a warning by Republicans of impending audits after they take over the House in January.

Incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has previously stated that Ukraine will not receive a “blank check”. The purpose of the audit is meant to track how the funds are being delivered and exactly where – as prior suspicions point to many shipped arms ending up on the black market.

Controversial Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who announced the audit decision, promised to “hold our government accountable”, as other colleagues such as Rep. Jason Crow echoed to the Washington Post: “The taxpayers deserve to know that investment is going where it’s intended to go,” adding: “In any war, there can be missteps and misallocation of supplies.”

The lawmakers called out current monitoring efforts as inadequate since the Biden administration inspected just 10% of the 22,000 weapons transported to Ukraine between February and November 1, according to the Post

However, US allies in Europe believe such an audit won’t fully cut off funding, such as UK Parliament member Tobias Ellwood who said in October: “You’d be playing into Putin’s hands… If America pulls back, Putin could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.”

Read more: Russia operation aimed at derailing West’s ominous plans: Lavrov

Related Stories

Michael Hudson gives an interview to a German magazine

December 16, 2022

Posted with the author’s permission

Boos German interview Dec 15 2022

Dear Prof Hudson,

Once again: Herzliche Grüße aus Berlin!

Last time we spoke for German print magazine “Four” in June. Right now I also work for MEGA Radio, a radio news station for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We broadcast from Vienna and are located in Berlin, Bavaria and Austria.

Hereby I would like to invite you to another interview via ZOOM to record it for our radio program. It would be an update on our last interview. Maybe around 20-30 Minutes long.

See also our last talk: https://www.vierte.online/2022/06/03/ukraine-a-trojan-for-germanys-us-dependence/

I don’t know if that’s too short notice, but would you have time for such a conversation next week or the week after?

Otherwise, also at the beginning of January.

Here are my questions:

(1.) You made some predictions in our last interview for “Four” magazine which became true.

You talked about crisis for German companies in the production of fertilizer. This just hit the headlines weeks after our interview.

You also said: “What you characterize as “blocking Nord Stream 2” is really a Buy-American policy.” This now also became more than clear after the destroyed Nord Stream pipelines.

Could you comment that?

MH: U.S. foreign policy has long concentrated on control of the international oil trade. This trade is a leading contributor to the U.S. balance of payments, and its control gives U.S. diplomats the ability to impose a chokehold on other countries.

Oil is the key supplier of energy, and the rise in labor productivity and GDP for the leading economies tends to reflect the rise in energy use per worker. Oil and gas are not only for burning for energy, but are also a basic chemical input for fertilizers, and hence for agricultural productivity, as well as for much plastic and other chemical production.

So U.S. strategists recognize that cutting countries off from oil and its derivatives will stifle their industry and agriculture. The ability to impose such sanctions enables the U.S. to make countries dependent on compliance with U.S. policy so as not to be “excommunicated” from the oil trade.

U.S. diplomats have been telling Europe for many years not to rely on Russian oil and gas. The aim is twofold: to deprive Russia of its major trade surplus, and to capture the vast European market for U.S. oil producers. U.S. diplomats convinced German leaders not to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and finally used the excuse of the NATO war with Russia in Ukraine to act unilaterally to arrange the destruction of both Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines.

(2.) For our audience, our listeners: In your new book “The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism, or Socialism”

You state that the world economy is now fracturing between two parts, the United States and Europe is the dollarized part.

And this Western neoliberal unit is driving Eurasia and most of the Global South into a separate group. You just stated this in an interview from November.

Could you explain this for our outlet?

MH: The split is not only geographic but above all reflects the conflict between Western neoliberalism and the traditional logic of industrial capitalism. The West has deindustrialized its economies by replacing industrial capitalism with finance capitalism, initially in an attempt to keep its wages down by moving abroad to employ foreign labor, and then to try and establish monopoly privileges and captive markets or arms (and now oil) and high-technology essentials, becoming rentier economies.

A century ago, industrial capitalism was expected to evolve into industrial socialism, with governments providing subsidized basic infrastructure services (such as health care, education, communication, research and development) to minimize their cost of living and doing business. That is how the United States, Germany and other countries built up their industrial power, and it also is how China and other Eurasian countries have done so more recently.

But the West’s choice to privatize and financialize its basic infrastructure, dismantling the role of government and shifting planning to Wall Street, London and other financial centers, has left it with little to offer other countries – except or the promise not to bomb them or treat them as enemies if they seek to keep their wealth in their own hands instead of transferring it to U.S. investors and corporations.

The result is that when China and other countries build up their economies in the same way that the United States did from the end of its Civil War to World War II, they are treated as enemies. It is as if U.S. diplomats see that the game is lost, and that their economy has become so debt-ridden, privatized and high-cost that it cannot compete, that it simply hopes to keep making other countries dependent tributaries for as long as it can until the game finally is over.

If the U.S. succeeds in imposing financial neoliberalism on the world, then other countries will end up with the same problems that the United States is experiencing.

(3.) Now the first terminals for LNG from the US are opened in Germany. How will this effect trade and interdependence / dependency between Germany and United States?

MH: The U.S. sanctions and destruction of Nord Stream 1 and 2 have made Europe dependent on U.S. supplies, at so high a cost of LNG gas (about six times what Americans and Asians have to pay) that Germany and other countries have lost their ability to compete in steel making, glass making, aluminum and many other sectors. This creates a vacuum which U.S. affiliates home to fill from their investments in other countries or even from the U.S. itself.

The expectation is that German and other European heavy industry, chemical and other manufacturing will have to move to the United States to obtain oil and other essentials that they are told not to buy from Russia, Iran or other alternatives. The assumption is that they can be blocked from relocating in Russia or Asia by imposing sanctions, fines and political meddling European politics by U.S. NGOs and National Endowment for Democracy satellites in, as has been the case since 1945. We can expect a new Operation Gladio to promote politicians willing to sustain this Global Fracture and the shift of European industry to the United States.

One question is whether Germany’s skilled labor will follow. That typically is what occurs in such situations. This kind of demographic shrinkage is what the Baltic states have experienced. It is a byproduct of neoliberal policies.

(4.) What is your view on the current military situation in the Russian/Ukrainian war?

MH: It looks like Russia will easily win in February or March. It probably will create a Demiliarized Zone to protect the Russian-speaking areas (probably incorporated into Russia) from the pro-NATO West in order to prevent sabotage and terrorism.

Europe will be told to continue to boycott Russia and its allies instead of seeking mutual gains by reciprocal trade and investment. The U.S. may urge Poland and other countries to “fight to the last Pole” or Lithuanian, emulating Ukraine. It will put pressure on Hungary. But most of all, it will insist that Europe spend an immense sum to re-arm, mainly with U.S. arms. This expense will crowd out social spending to help Europe cope with its spreading industrial depression or subsidies to revive its industry. So a militarized economy will become a rising overhead – while consumer and industrial debt increase, along with government debt.

As this occurs, Russia may demand that NATO roll back its borders to pre-1991 boundaries. That is the most likely flash point of conflict.

(5.) What is your view on the current financial situation in this war. The G7 and EU governments talk already about rebuilding and reconstruction of Ukraine after the war. What does this mean for Western businesses and finance capitalism?

MH: Ukraine hardly can be rebuilt. First of all, much of its population has left, and is unlikely to return, given the destruction of housing and infrastructure – and husbands.

Second, Ukraine is owned mainly by a narrow group of kleptocrats – who are trying to sell out to Western agricultural investors and other vultures. (I think you know who they are.)

Ukraine is already debt-ridden, and has become a fiefdom of the IMF (meaning in practice, of NATO). Europe will be asked to “contribute,” and the foreign reserves seized from Russia may be spent on hiring U.S. companies to make a financial killing rebuilding a pretense of an economy in Ukraine – leaving the country even more debt ridden.

A new Democratic Party secretary of state will echo Madeline Albright and say that the killing of Ukraine’s economy, children and soldiers “was all worth it” as the cost of spreading democracy U.S.-style.

(6.) I’ve read lots of background reports on the sanctions against Russia. It seems more and more the sanctions hit Russia hard, because they cannot produce all products, esp. technology, by themselves. On the other hand Russia have now more stable business and buyers with and in China, India.

What real effect do the sanctions have according to your analysis?

MH: The U.S. sanctions have turned out to be an unanticipated godsend for Russia. In agriculture, for instance, sanctions against Lithuanian and other Baltic dairy exports has led to a flowering of a domestic Russian cheese and dairy sector. Russia is now the world’s largest grain exporter, thanks to the Western sanctions that have had much the same effect as protective tariffs and import quotas of the sort that the United States used in the 1930s to modernize its agricultural sector.

If President Biden were a secret Russian agent, he hardly could have helped Russia more. Russia needed the economic isolation of protectionism, but was still too entranced by neoliberal free-trade policy to do this by itself. So the U.S. did it for it.

Sanctions oblige countries to become more self-reliant, at least in basic needs such as food and energy. This self-reliance is the best defense against U.S. economic destabilization to force regime change and similar compliance.

One effect is that Russia will need to buy much less from Europe even after the fighting in Ukraine ends. So there will be less need for Russia to export raw materials to Europe. It can work these up themselves. The industrial core that was Europe may end up more in Russia and its Asian allies than in the United States.

That is the ironic result of NATO’s new Iron Curtain.

(7.) How would you describe China, Russia and India: Do you see Industrial Capitalism or Socialism there?

MH: RIC was the original core of the BRICS, now greatly extended to include Iran and much of Central Asia and the roads involved with China’s Belt and Road initiative. The goal is for Eurasia no longer to have to rely on Europe or North America.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld often referred to “Old Europe” as a shrinking dead zone. It failed to follow its plans a century ago to evolve into an increasingly socialized economy with government subsidy of rising living standards and labor productivity, science and industry. Europe rejected not only Marxism but the basis of Marxist analysis in the classical economics of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and their contemporaries. That path has been followed in Eurasia, while the right-wing anti-government liberalism of the Austrian and Chicago Schools has destroyed the NATO economies from within.

As the locus of industrial and technological leadership moves eastward, European investment and labor probably will follow.

The Eurasian countries will still visit Europe as tourists, as Americans like to visit England as a kind of theme park of post-feudal gentry, the posting of the palace guards and other quaint memories of the days of knights and dragons. European countries will look more like that of Jamaica and the Caribbean, with hotels and hospitality becoming the main growth sectors, with Frenchmen and German waiters dressed in their quaint quasi-Hollywood costumes. Museums will do a thriving business as Europe itself turns into a kind of museum of post-industrialism.

(8.) Currently we saw the collapse and bankruptcy of the crypto exchange FXT. The management of this company seems to be highly criminal. How do you judge that?

MH: Crime is what made crypto a growth sector for the past few years. Investors bought crypto because it is a vehicle for the fortunes being made in international drug dealing, the arms trade, other crime and tax evasion. These are the great post-industrial growth sectors in Western economies.

Ponzi schemes often are good investment vehicles in their take-off stage – the pump-and-dump stage. It was inevitable that criminals would not only use crypto to transfer funds, but actually set up their own currencies “free of oppressive government regulation.” Criminals are the ultimate Chicago School free market libertarians.

Anyone can create their own currency, much as U.S. wild-west banks did in the mid-19th century, printing currency at will. When one went shopping in the early 20th century, the stores still had lists of the shifting valuations of various bank notes. The best designed ones tended to be the most successful.

(9.) Do you have any knowledge about business relations between FTX and Ukraine, the government in Kyiv? There were some rumours and press articles in the alternative media about it?

MH: The IMF and Congress have paid large amounts of money to the Ukraine government and its kleptocrats in charge. Newspapers report that much of this money has been turned over to FTX – which has become the second largest funder of the Democratic Party (behind George Soros, who also is said to be trying to buy up Ukrainian assets). So a circular flow seems to be at work: U.S. Congress votes for funding for Ukraine, which puts some of this money in FTX crypto to pay or the political campaign of pro-Ukrainian politicians.

(10.) Some months ago there were articles in the US press about plans by the FED: They are planning to establish a digital Dollar, a Central Bank Digitcal Currency (CBDC). Also in Europe ECB president Madame Lagarde and the German minister for finance, Lindner, talk about an introduction of the digital Euro.

Here in Germany some critical experts are warning this will only push the total surveillance of the population and customers.

What is your take on digital currencies?

MH: It’s not my department. All banking is electronic, so what does “digital” mean? To libertarians, it means no government oversight, but in government hands, the government will have a record of everything that anyone spends.

(11.) What is your view on the current weakness or strength of the US dollar, the Euro, the British Pound, Gold and Silver?

MH: The dollar will remain in demand, thanks to its success in making the Eurozone dependent on it. The British pound has little means of support, and little reason for foreigners to invest in it. The euro is a junior satellite currency to the dollar.

Without a dollar or other currency to hold their monetary reserves in, governments will continue to increase the proportion held in gold, because it doesn’t have government liabilities attached to it – so U.S. officials can’t simply grab it, as they did with Russia’s foreign reserves. Eurozone countries cannot be trusted not to follow U.S. orders to grab foreign countries’ reserves, so it will be shunned.

As the euro’s exchange rate declines against the dollar, foreign investment will decline, because investors will not want to invest in (1) a shrinking market, and (2) companies that earn domestic euros that are worth fewer and fewer dollars or other hard currency for head offices.

Of course, gold will have to be kept at home, so that it can’t simply be grabbed, as the Bank of England grabbed Venezuela’s gold and gave it to the right-wing U.S. proxy. Germany would be wise to accelerate its airlift of its own gold supply from the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank vaults in New York City.

(12.) What is your current analysis of the energy and financial crises in the world?

MH: No real crisis as much as a slow crash. Rising prices paid for what America exports: oil, food and IT monopoly goods, with living costs for consumers rising faster than wages. So there will be a tightening squeeze or most families. The middle class will discover that it really is the wage-earning class after all, and will go deeper into debt – especially if it tries to protect itself by taking out a mortgage to buy a home.

I’ve been studying the 11th and 12th centuries for my history of debt, and I came across a story that may have relevance to the questions that you’ve asked. NATO keeps claiming that it is a defensive alliance. But Russia has no desire to invade Europe. The reason is obvious: No army can invade a major country. More important, Russia does not even have a motive to destroy Europe as a U.S.-puppet adversary. Europe already is self-destructing.

I am reminded of the battle of Manzikert in 1071, when the Byzantine Empire lost to the Seljuk Turks (largely because its general on whom the emperor had depended, Andronikos Doukas, defected, and then overthrew the Emperor. Crusade of Kings, a game supplement, covers the battle extensively, and claims the following conversation took place between Alp Arslan and Romanos:[52]

Alp Arslan: “What would you do if I were brought before you as a prisoner?”

Romanos: “Perhaps I’d kill you, or exhibit you in the streets of Constantinople.”

Alp Arslan: “My punishment is far heavier. I forgive you, and set you free.”

That is the punishment that Europe will receive from Eurasia. Its leaders have made their choice: to be a U.S. satellite.

New EU Sanctions on Russia will backfire: Russian Foreign Ministry

December 16, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko assures that the European Union’s new sanctions on Russia will “undermine the economic interests of these countries”.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko. (REUTERS)

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said as quoted by Sputnik that the European Union has decided to impose fresh sanctions on Russia, adding that these actions also jeopardize the interests of the member states.

“They [EU states] are abandoning market principles — in energy, finance, and in many other areas. This is their choice. But this choice, when implemented in concrete actions, undermines international economic relations in the form, in which they have been formed in recent years, and undermines the economic interests of these countries,” Grushko said.

The official went on to say that it is obvious that the United States benefits from all of these sanctions, stressing that Russia will implement policies to secure its economic interests.

This comes as the permanent representatives of EU countries on Thursday evening agreed on the ninth package of sanctions against Russia. The EU has already imposed eight waves of unprecedented anti-Russia sanctions since the start of the Ukraine war in February, including targeting Russian key oil exports. 

After the adoption of several packages of sanctions against Moscow by the West, western sanctions backfired, having detrimental effects on the world’s global markets, most notably gas and oil. European governments are now suffering the repercussions of their sanctions amid rising strikes and protests over the cost of living and pay.

“بوليتيكو”: طهران ستسلم موسكو سلاحها الفعّال في وجه العقوبات

الاحد 13 تشرين ثاني 2023

المصدر: وسائل إعلام أميركية

ذكرت صحيفة “بوليتيكو” أن طهران ستسلم موسكو مخططات سلاحها الأكثر فعالية للتهرب من العقوبات، في الوقت الذي تواجه فيه روسيا عقوبات أميركية وغربية بعد بدء الحرب على أوكرانيا.

“بوليتيكو” تقول إن تسليم إيران روسيا مخططاتها لتخطي العقوبات سيعطي بوتين الوقت والمرونة في الحرب ضد أوكرانيا.

نقلت صحيفة “بوليتيكو” الأميركية، عن دبلوماسيين غربيين إنّ “إيران تستعد لتسليم موسكو مخططات سلاحها الأكثر فعالية ضد الغرب التي تتمثل بالشبكة المالية السرية التي تعتمد عليها للتهرب من العقوبات”.

وأشارت الصحيفة إلى أنّ “طهران، أحبطت لسنوات الجهود الأميركية لعزلها وتجويع اقتصادها من خلال بناء عالم مواز من الشركات والبنوك، بما في ذلك المؤسسات المالية الكبرى التي تتخذ من أوروبا والولايات المتحدة مقراً لها، والتي تستخدمها الشركات الإيرانية للتهرب من الضوابط الدولية وإجراء الأعمال التجارية في الخارج”.

وأضافت أنه “في الوقت الذي تواجه فيه روسيا عزلةً دوليةً متزايدة بسبب الحرب في أوكرانيا، عرضت إيران، كما يقول دبلوماسيون غربيون، مشاركة خبراتها في فن التهرب من العقوبات”. 

ونقلت الصحيفة عن الدبلوماسيين إنّ “سلسلة من الاجتماعات الأخيرة بين كبار المسؤولين الروس والإيرانيين، بمن فيهم رئيس البنك المركزي الإيراني علي صالح الله آبادي ونائب وزير الاقتصاد علي فكري، تضمنت وضع الأساس لهذا التعاون”.

كما أضافت “بوليتيكو” أنّه “إذا تمكنت موسكو من نسخ النظام الإيراني، فقد تأمل في تخفيف تأثير العديد من العقوبات التي تواجهها، خاصةً في قطاعي النفط والغاز، الذي يشكل العمود الفقري لاقتصادها”.

واعتبرت أنّ “من شأن مثل هذا النظام أن يمنح الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين قدراً أكبر من المرونة والوقت في الحرب ضد أوكرانيا”.

وأشار الدبلوماسيون الذين أصدروا التحذير بشأن تقنيات التهرب من العقوبات، إلى أن البنوك الغربية، مثل “كومرتس بنك” الألماني و”دويتشه بنك”، وكذلك “سيتي غروب” في الولايات المتحدة، لعبت دوراً في مساعدة إيران على الاستمرار في جني عائدات التصدير من خلال المعاملات السرية، بحسب ما ذكرت الصحيفة.

وقالت إنّ “الخطر يكمن في أن نفس البنوك الغربية – سواء عن قصد أو عن غير قصد – يمكن أن تنجر من قبل روسيا إلى نفس النمط من التجارة”.

كذلك، ذكرت الصحيفة الأميركية أنه “في حين أثّرت العقوبات الأميركية سلباً على الناتج الاقتصادي الإيراني، فإن شبكة الظل المالية في طهران ضمنت استمرار الاقتصاد”. 

وأشارت في معرض حديثها عن الاقتصاد الإيراني إلى أن “التضخم والبطالة في إيران مرتفعان، إلا أن اقتصادها أظهر مؤخراً علامات على الحياة، حيث نما بأكثر من 4% في السنة المالية الماضية وحدها وفقاً للبنك الدولي”.

وبلغت التجارة الخارجية الإيرانية نحو 100 مليار دولار العام الماضي، ووصلت إلى أعلى مستوى لها منذ أن أعادت واشنطن فرض العقوبات، بحسب “بوليتيكو”.

كما ذكرت أن “صادرات النفط الإيرانية انخفضت إلى النصف تقريباً في ظل العقوبات إلى حوالي 1 مليون برميل يومياً، إلا أن طهران نجحت في الوقت نفسه في الحفاظ على تجارةٍ قوية في مجالات أخرى، مثل البتروكيماويات والمعادن”.

وقالت إنه “على الرغم من انخفاض حجم النفط، استفادت البلاد مؤخراً من ارتفاع الأسعار، حيث تضاعفت عائدات التصدير العام الماضي إلى حوالي 19 مليار دولار”، مذكّرةً بتصريح للبنك الدولي يقول فيه إن “ما يدفع تعافي النفط الإيراني هو الصادرات غير المباشرة إلى الصين”.

وذكرت في هذا السياق، إنّ “النفط الإيراني جذابٌ للصين، ويرجع ذلك أساساً إلى أنه رخيص نسبياً” بالنسبة للسوق العالمي.

وقامت الولايات المتحدة ودول أوروبية، بفرض عقوبات واسعة على روسيا بسبب حربها على أوكرانيا.

وناقش الرئيسان الروسي فلاديمير بوتين والإيراني ابراهيم رئيسي أمس في اتصال هاتفي، تعزيز العلاقات التجارية والتعاون الاقتصادي المستدام، بالإضافة إلى زيادة وتيرة الزيارات الدبلوماسية والاقتصادية بين البلدين.

مواضيع متعلقة

Biden Administration Privately Asks US Banks to Keep Working with Russia – Report

Nov 08 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The Biden administration is privately urging leading US banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup to continue doing business with strategic Russian firms despite sanctions imposed on Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine, people familiar with the issue told Bloomberg.

Such requests have been made by the Treasury and State Departments as the US government is trying to keep pressure on Russia, but at the same time avoid “a global economic catastrophe,” the news agency reported on Monday.

Washington has been asking for services such as US dollar settlements, payment transfers, and trade finance for Russian firms exempt from some aspects of the sanctions, including gas giant Gazprom and fertilizer producers Uralkali and PhosAgro, the sources said.

As a result, the largest American banks are currently being “caught in the push-pull” between the Biden administration and Congress, which insists on harsher measures against Moscow.

The sanctions prevent US banks from providing services to blacklisted entities and people, with violations punishable with multibillion-dollar fines.

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of investment bank JPMorgan Chase, was reportedly grilled at a congressional hearing in September over his company allegedly using loopholes in the sanctions regime to keep working with Russia. The banker responded by saying that “we are following the instructions of the American government as they asked us to do it.”

When addressed on the matter by Bloomberg, a Treasury spokesman said that it had issued guidance to banks, clarifying that activities in humanitarian aid, energy, and agriculture are authorized. JPMorgan and Citigroup have declined to comment.

“Congress needs to understand this – the US government has not imposed a comprehensive embargo with Russia, there’s still pockets of business that are allowed,” Nnedinma Ifudu Nweke, an attorney specializing in US economic sanctions at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, pointed out.

The Treasury “will continue to have meetings to educate banks on those pockets of allowable transactions, especially in the humanitarian space,” Nweke added.

Russian TYPICAL Supermarket After 8 Months of Sanctions

November 06, 2022

Take a look around a Russian Typical Supermarket in Moscow, Russia. After 8 months of Sanctions impeded on Russia how does a Russian typicalSupermarket look. What are the prices really like now.

In case you missed

How bright are EUropeans ?

November 05, 2022

Source

by Jorge Vilches

no contract

Several indications lead to the conclusion that EUropeans at large — exceptions aside — should not be very bright. Or at least not brighter than anyone else as they claim to be. The fact is that – despite their undeniably copious amounts of individual and collective achievements – they have not yet been able to articulate a peacefull co-existence strategy amongst themselves and with third parties. Having failed at that implies that EUropeans are not really that bright, how could they be ? True enough, EUrope´s macro-economic and consumer society development has been ´successful´… but still under a highly unstable political co-existence. IMNSHO the main reason for such disqualifying historical flaw is that – contrary to their own self-image frequently preached sanctimoniously onto others – in political EUrope a “deal” is never a dealIt´s rather an expression of possible temporary abidance always subject to their own interpretation and circumstances yet un-defined. Basically, there is no valid contract, social or political or otherwise in EUrope. Humpty Dumptyness at its best. And the EU governance experiment made things worse with all the key decisions imposed by un-elected officials very clearly in the case of Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Poland, and Hungary. The argument could possibly be made that other societies today also struggle along equivalent lines, but then again this would swiftly confirm that EUropeans cannot be considered to be brighter than others… as they bloody insist they are.

EUropean ´superiority´ (not)

Dr. Josep Borrell is the EU´s topmost senior diplomat as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Recently joined by another un-elected official namely the EU Commission President Ursula von den Leyen both now roughly insist that EUrope´s problems stem from its addictiveness to excellent and cheap Russian energy and resources, to China´s humongous export markets and high productivity dependency, and to the military ´security´ that the US today supposedly renders to them. So, accordingly their solution for EUrope would be to (a) get itself up in arms yet again and (b) to double-down on the ‘battle of narratives´ which should be interpreted to be just some more effective EU propaganda. So from this perspective rather than being bright EUropeans would just appear to be aggressive, manipulative, and conceited… and not superior to anyone else. So why be so proud about it all ?.

the EU thorny garden

Objectively searching into the EUropean political soul it´s easy to find EUrope´s self-EUthanization vis-á-vis its sheer lack of any ´affectio societatis´. This makes EUrope an un-viable business associate to and for anyone, even amongst themselves in view of the current widespread infighting. But JB´s ´brightness´ does not stop there, now proclaiming that “the world needs Europe” and that EUrope is a “garden” and the rest a mere ”jungle” ready to encroach upon it… So at this rate it would be wise to copernically acknowledge that EUrope is not any “global super-power” and that God Almighty has not appointed the un-elected European Commission as the rule-maker for the rest of the world to follow. Furthermore, the “international community”(sic) is not headquartered at Davos or Brussels and 85% of planet Earth does not even wake up in the West every morning. Making that clear would focus EU politics better than complaining about “too many abstentions” in the UN votes regarding this conflict which EU officials fail to understand and accept.

Ref #1 https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/foreign-affairs-council-remarks-high-representative-josep-borrell-upon-arrival-1_en

Ref #2 http://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2022/10/19/josep-borrell-apologises-for-controversial-garden-vs-jungle-metaphor-but-stands-his-ground

Ref #3 https://news.cgtn.com/news/2022-10-12/Josep-Borrell-looks-backwards-on-China-Russia-and-U-S–1e3XRtUKOJy/index.html

Ref #4 https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/european-diplomatic-academy-opening-remarks-high-representative-josep-borrell-inauguration_en

7 historical catastrophes 7

During the past one hundred years (approx.) aided or not by its supposed “superiority” collective Europe fostered 7 major historical vintage TM® failures, namely (1) enthusiastically fostered World War I – the Great War – “the war to end all wars” amongst themselves + (2) cradled and fully developed Nazism + (3) instigated and deployed World War II + (4) allowed for the firm establishment of ruinous “King Dollar” by calmly and willingly accepting the 1971 US unilateral default on the Bretton Woods Agreement thus perpetuating until today a highly detrimental “exhorbitant privilege” for a thus fiat US dollar + (5) established the currently ticking Euro currency time bomb + (6) fully accepted and even participated with impunity in many dozens of US military unsolicited interventions worldwide as the sole un-elected “world cop” thru its 800+ military bases in 80 countries (7) in 2022 unilaterally provoked an unnecessary and stupid self-harming divorce from Russia which has led the world closer than ever to a nuclear war. Readers may have different opinion regarding the individual interpretation of related events but still all of the above are categorically accepted historical facts. And a society that lies so much – onto itself and third parties — cannot be too bright, can it ?

Ref #5 http://www.theepochtimes.com/on-the-path-to-hyperinflation_4782143.html

Ref #6 http://www.zerohedge.com/markets/path-hyperinflation

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no ´Greater Europe´

Forget any and all dreams about forging a Greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Russia tried it, worked very hard at it, and invested tons in such century-milestone project, to no avail. Fact #1: Russia focused on Greater Europe for 30 years. Fact #2: Russia failed miserably in such endeavor. Under deep ´political hypnosis´ — for want of a better term — EUropean leaders supported by complicit constituents ended up deploying their self-harming strategy. For starters, no Referendum on the NATO-imposed, suicidal “let´s divorce Russia” initiative was ever proposed even though many dozens referenda have been held in the EU´s recent past. It´s simple: there is no valid contract in the EU

Russophia was also firmly established as a national cross-border regional sport of sorts spear-headed by complicit Western MSM and loudly outspoken and highly payed for EU officials. Of course, if challenged, Russians have the advantage of becoming quite stubborn when circumstances so require it, so they insisted in the Greater Europe project success and strictly followed the required EUropean Market & Financial Rules. But, yet again, there was no contract compliance. So led by the G-7 leadership, the collective West just plain took effective advantage of Russia in every way it possibly could provoke … and so the Minsk Accords were conveniently extended, postponed… and duly forgotten despite being squarely – and deceitfully — brokered by both Germany and France. The EU´s supposed Ostpolitik was betrayed with every trace of ´affectio societatis´ absent thus DE-stabilising the area and using third parties as pawns. Because, of course, EUropean flagrant unilateralism dictates that there is no room for anything close to having willingness and interest to engage and relate constructively with high-quality business partners beyond the EU´s – and NATO´s — full control. So Russia finally got fed up sick and tired of the West´s lack of “agreement capability” and will thus fully pivot to thriving Eurasia. Meanwhile Europe will immolate itself thru its NATO-induced suicide with shamefull colonialistic sins hovering its soul for the last 500 years until today. Is any of this “bright” ?

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NATO´s ´hypnotic´ spell

British Gral. Hastings Ismay — the first Secretary General of NATO — defined that the purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was “to keep Russians out, Americans in, and Germans down” which has since become the common way to describe its dynamics and goals. Ismay also proposed that NATO “must grow until the whole free world gets under one umbrella.” So EUrope today and per its own fault, in more than one way and through not-publicized non-sanctum mechanisms, is actually ruled and governed directly by the US. Accordingly, the inclusion of Russia in the Greater Europe project was to be boycotted to death – most specially its association with Germany — and it certainly was. The European leadership thus offered and deployed highly pro-active support to provoke the Ukraine conflict, be it “militarily, financially or politically” thus confirming yet again its direct and unequivocal commitment and participation. During 8 years the Ukraine Armed Forces were trained by NATO to meet NATO combat standards while the Eastern Russian-speaking areas were systematically intimidated and bombed . NATO members proudly admitted to constantly supply the UAF with heavy modern weapons, military advisers and intel.

Ref #7 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hastings_Ismay,_1st_Baron_Ismay

Ref #8 https://www.azerbaycan24.com/en/eu-again-urged-to-open-wallet-for-kiev/

The Lord Ismay.jpg

To weaken Germany and simultaneously strengthen the US required pitting Russia against Germany in a mutually destructive conflict so that the two countries could not re-establish normal relations for decades to come. The collapse of the EUropean economy would come about by denying cheap Russian energy to Germany. Thus, trillions of dollars of European resources would supposedly relocate to the US jointly with their best and brightest. According to the Rand Report, the main obstacle to Europe´s plundering on a scale which rivaled the Jewish looting of Russia in the 1990s was “the growing independence of Germany” which followed Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) which gave “Germany greater independence and decreased the US influence upon European governments.”

the EU ´bright´ new oil & gas markets

No matter how diced or sliced, under the planned nat-gas EU ´capped-price´ purchase policy Western markets would be missing access to some 50% (approx.) of the 2021 effectively traded and consumed natural gas volumes. Besides, serious doubts remain on (a) the technical quality of such new possible “capped” price nat-gas (b) its delivery terms and conditions and (c) the reliability of such type of possible nat-gas suppliers. But at any rate when EUrope soon necessarily runs out of all possible nat-gas vendors willing to comply with its new capped-price policy — which would never fulfill its physical needs — then Russia and others will be able to charge whatever they want for the remaining nat-gas which EUrope will require in order to function ASWKI. Unless, of course, the deliberate ruinous EUropean plan were exactly THAT …which is an ever larger possibility. High quality nat-gas is high quality nat-gas, markets are markets, and business is business. An equivalent “absurd” sourcing conundrum would also be triggered by the soon-coming EU ban on Russian sea-borne oil with serious refinability problems (diesel !!!) vis-á-vis the different quality and quantity of the replacements yet to be found and the un-vetted reliability of the yet non-existent suppliers. Tom Kloza, Global Head of Energy Analysis says “Without new inventory, by the end of November the wolf will be at the door. And it will look like a big ugly wolf if it’s a cold winter” Ref #9 http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/11/the-u-s-diesel-shortage-is-worsening.html

not-so-bright useful green idiots ?

The reference below describes the green parties in Europe “as being particularly easy to manipulate into running the errands of American imperialism. The prerequisite for Germany to fall into this trap is the dominant role of Green Parties and European ideologies. The German environmental movement is a highly dogmatic, if not fanatical, movement, which makes it quite easy to get them to ignore economic argument.”

Ref #10 https://fair.org/home/us-medias-intellectual-no-fly-zone-on-us-culpability-in-nord-stream-attack/

Ref #11 https://www.veteranstoday.com/2022/10/08/the-attack-on-the-pipeline-and-the-resurrection-of-the-morgenthau-plan-as-the-long-arm-of-jewish-vengeance/ Ref #12 https://nyadagbladet.se/utrikes/shocking-document-how-the-us-planned-the-war-and-energy-crisis-in-europe/

Eurasian pivot

On their part, the Russians — many still astonished by suicidal EUrope – seem to basically be thinking (approx.) …

EUropeans, you didn´t have to love us or even be friends you know… but why hate us ? Always, systematically, by default. Why are you Russophobic ? We only wanted to continue being your vetted trade partners as repeatedly proven with flying colors for 30 years. So just what is wrong with you ? Why do you allow your leaders to lie to you, cheat and mislead you so much ? If you actually wished to scare us away consider it done, good job and good bye EUrope. Now, despite your fully un-necessary EUthanization of our relationship, we still welcome you to set up your investments as our business associates here in Russia. Just consider that your only gateway to the world´s next all-time winner anyway you dice it or slice it — namely Mackinder´s Eurasia — is by relocating to Russia with all our known advantages. Otherwise – per WEF logic — you will not have any worthwhile fuels or natural resources left ( just hyperinflation…and no markets ) and you will not be happy”. So the remaining bright Germans – and other bright minds still in EUrope — would finally understand that 85% of the world´s population is not Western let alone part of today´s non-sensical NATO, fully “brain dead” per French President Emmanuel Macron. And once that the NS1 & NS2 sabotage perpetrators are proven and known, EUropean public opinion – most specially Germans – will see things very differently from today understanding how they have been mis-led into an entirely un-justified Russophobia.

EUropean RE-location

Development requires cheap and excellent all-around energy and natural resources which Germany and others do not have and that Russia has plenty of. It also requires markets with which to trade. So the alternatives are (a) “NATO out” which does not seem feasible right now, meaning “to revolt en masse against the NATO-imposed trade/financial sanctions against Russia, and force Berlin to repair NS1 and commission Nord Stream 2”…or… (b) relocate to the US, meaning total vassalization of the EUropean industrial burgeoisie a-la Werner von Braun…or… (c) relocate to Russia and be part of Eurasia´s new bright future, jointly with China & BRICS & SCO & Global South. Of course, sooner or later some of (b) will surely take place but chances are that (c) — per the assumed Russian offering proposed — will at least be the German predominant choice. Obviously, this would probably mean the sudden demise of the EUro and, soon after, of the US dollar ASWKI. The smarter part of the remaining EUrope would also follow the relocation of bright Germans to Russia. Unexpectedly, along these lines events may pick up unusual speed and EUrope as we know it today would cease to exist. And this would be the final evidence proving that EUropeans at large are not as bright as they think they are. They would all act differently if they were, with no room for cannibalism.

the Overton window

Bright Europeans do exist, but in EUropean politics they are very few and far between. So most today focus on (1) ruining Russia per NATO mandate to supposedly uphold ´democracy everywhere´ even corrupt kleptocracies… and while they are at it…(2) also saving planet Earth. Still, a handfull are finally understanding that this is too high a price to pay as EUropeans would not be willing to accept the MAGNITUDE and DEPTH of the hardships soon to come in what up until today was a flourishing consumer society with an enviable standard of living. Hypothetically, what some few political leaders were waiting and jockeying for was an Overton window large enough to get their heads in, their bets made, and their feet wet. The Overton window defines what is politically possible per the existing public opinion at a given point in time. So it is a very convenient tool to apply in view of the EU Commissariat Master Plan.

Ref #13 https://thesaker.is/natos-green-masochistic-euthanasia/

Ref #14 https://thesaker.is/europe-hypnotized-into-war-economy/

Ref #15 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Europes-Energy-Crisis-Will-Not-Be-A-One-Winter-Story.html

the German oath

All members of the elected government of the German Federal Republic have necessarily taken an oath of office details of which are explicit below. That is the basis for the social and political contract between German leadership and their constituents. But apparently many / all have decided to conveniently dismiss such sworn obligations until the Overton window – Main Street´s hidden weapon — forces them to act accordingly, not before.

“ I swear that I will devote my energies to the well-being of the German people, increase their benefit, protect them from harm, uphold and defend the Basic Law and the laws of the Federation, perform my duties conscientiously and do justice to everyone. So help me God.” Not a single word is ever mentioned relating directly or indirectly to the EU, its governance impact, its interests and/or its goals.

the “most stupid” government in EUrope

Recently Sahra Wagenknecht has defined Germany’s government as the “most stupid” in EUrope for managing to embroil itself in a full-blown economic war with its top – and thus un-replaceable — energy supplier, namely Russia. Speaking at the Bundestag, the former co-chair of the party Die Linke (“The Left”) urged for an immediate end to the anti-Russian sanctions and also for the resignation of German Vice Chancellor and Minister of the Economy, the now infamous ´Herr Green´ Robert Habeck. While still describing the ongoing conflict in Ukraine as a “crime” Wagenknecht insisted that the anti-Russian sanctions are “fatal” for Germany itself. She told her fellow Bundestag leaders in-their-face that “The biggest problem is your grandiose idea of launching an unprecedented economic war against our most important energy supplier. The idea that we are punishing Putin by impoverishing millions of families in Germany and destroying our industry while Gazprom is making record profits – how stupid is that?” she wondered out loud. So, an important German at an important German venue publically told many other important Germans how stupid they were. Not me, she did. “The promise of NATO membership did not help any. Militarily, this war cannot be won”. Of course, this has meant that some Left Party members now demand the expulsion of Sahra Wagenknecht for good.

Ref #16 https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/09/19/qunz-s19.html

Ref #17 https://www.rt.com/business/563382-high-energy-costs-eu-companies/

Ref #18 https://www.rt.com/business/563490-thousands-firms-italy-closure/

Ref #19 https://www.reuters.com/article/ukraine-crisis-eu-energy-smes-idAFL8N30E4WV

Ref #20 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Europe-Faces-An-Exodus-Of-Energy-Intensive-Industries.html

´the grandiose idea´ …

Firms in the metal and chemical industries, among others, are trying to relocate to the US, The Wall Street Journal reports: “High energy costs drive companies away from EU”. This means obvious consequences only fools would not foresee: DEpression & UN-employment. German producers warn of food shortages. Die Welt now reports that “There are significant supply gaps in the daily food supply for people in Germany. The situation is “more than serious” an open letter from the industry said. “Companies now fear that production lines will soon come to a standstill and that refrigerated logistics centers for food distribution will be closed. Some are even preparing for possible insolvency.”

Manufacturers of both frozen and fresh products say they cannot cope with soaring energy costs. “The food industry is currently experiencing the worst crisis since the end of the Second World War… It’s a minute to twelve. Act now – otherwise the refrigerators and freezers of the German population will soon be empty” the letter urges. Germany, along with the broader EU, is facing a sharp rise in energy prices and a record inflation surge amid the intensifying anti-Russian sanctions and a policy of abandoning all possible Russian fuels. The situation could also soon lead to energy rationing and shortages, also meaning NO energy, NO fuels at ANY price, period. And forget LNG from whomever or wherever. Too little, too late, too cumbersome, too risky, way dirtier, and way too expensive. Germany needs Russian pipelined nat-gas for many good reasons that they cannot ignore and will necessarily live by soon.

The frozen food industry is particularly susceptible to energy supply problems, due to its strong reliance on electricity for freezers. The EU risks a ‘Wild West’ scenario says IEA head Fatih Birol warning that member states could possibly abandon solidarity to secure their own gas supplies. Many dozens of thousands of small and medium-size businesses (SMEs) in Italy can’t cope with soaring energy bills, ´Corriere della Sera´ reports. Italy is badly dependant on Russian pipelined nat-gas, no substitutes are possible in practice. Supposed “stored” reserves cannot be extracted from sub-surface unless Russian pipelines are also flowing thus allowing to add-on such stored reserves to the main flow. By themselves, underground nat-gas reserves can hardly be produced on surface and still with lots of negative impact.

Ref #21 https://thesaker.is/germanys-failing-stored-nat-gas-lng-experiment/

Larger companies will also add to the un-employed. According to a recent survey, over 70% of Italians are having difficulty or are simply unable to pay their energy bills. SMEs represent 99% of all businesses in the 27-nation EU. SMEs employ around 100 million people, or two thirds of all employed and account for 53% of Europe’s GDP.

Nearly one in six people over 65 in Germany is at risk of poverty, meaning they have less than 60% of the median income at their disposal according to the Federal Statistical Office and published by the German media group Funke. Europe maybe could have articulated a far better and softer transition and slower pathway into “some” renewables under excellent quality and already available + pipeline delivered, cheap Russian nat-gas. But they chose otherwise and now Europe must pay the piper. And with only a fraction of the EU imploding generalized chaos will prevail.

True enough, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán led the pack weeks ago by saying “the approach has clearly failed — sanctions have backfired — and our car now has 4 four flat tires”. Just as a reminder, vehicles carry only one spare tire (maybe two) but never four and more to come… Now, also Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotaki proposes to lift sanctions on Russia by December at the latest. But the questions remains: beyond some optics, the audio and the visual… just where precisely is the ACTION ? Are these two Heads of State bright enough per the circumstances ? Or are they just better sounding than the overwhelming EUropean political mediocrity ? Oh, you say they aren´t allowed to do any more than that ? If that´s the established system then EUropeans were not very bright…

Ref #22 https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/orban-urges-new-eu-strategy-on-ukraine-says-sanctions-have-failed/

Michael Kretschmer

Germany needs Russian gas” – says Michael Kretschmer, Saxony’s Minister-President. Okay, that´s a good starting point to acknowledge don´t you think ? A valid diagnosis is necessarily behind any reasonable therapy and at least in this case – besides being bloody obvious – it´s still reconforting to see that a spanking new “common denominator” is being put together by some in Germany. Herr Kretschmer added that the current exorbitant prices for the fuel are “ruining Germany’s industry”. Okay, sorry to hear that. So that means that Russian energy matters lots, correct ?

Russian gas supplies are critical for Germany, and will remain so in the foreseeable future”. In an interview with Germany’s Funke Mediengruppe Michael Kretschmer also added: “We are already witnessing that we can’t do without Russian gas.” Hmmm….. But then Kretschmer went on to say that now Berlin should try to make sure that it keeps receiving Russian gas after the armed conflict is over. But would that be soon, please tell us ? Because saying that implies ignoring that the end of the armed conflict will most probably not be decided in the battlefield and just come about by a NATO-EU surrender. Why so you may ask ? Well precisely because NATO & the EU leadership provoked and sustained Russian gas to be cut off, so that can be reverted only by them, not the other way around. So whatever happens militarily in the battlefield does not actually matter that much any more unless it were 101% decisive. But many months have elapsed and it does not seem to be anywhere close to that, does it ? So finally EU politicians on their own will have to end this unnecessary war that they started simply because the Overton window for European public opinion will not stand it and they will have to admit they were dead wrong and plain go home, if not to jail.

Ref #23 https://www.rt.com/news/563458-saxony-governor-germany-needs-russian-gas/

Clare Daly (Irish MEP)

Clare Daly is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and from the very beginning in March 2022 she has voted against its Resolutions on this matter basically considering them to be “a recipe for prolonging war with escalation”. She believes that “ignoring the role played by the US and NATO in destabilising the area for the past decade,using Ukraine as a pawn in its battles with Russia, only serves to prevent an understanding of the measures necessary to secure peace”. Per Clare Daly, the EP Resolutions “accelerate the provision of military equipment and weapons to Ukraine, strengthen NATO’s forward presence, increase defence spending…and strengthen the European pillar within NATO” while also ”opportunistically call for opening the European energy market to fracked American liquefied natural gas (LNG)…which is far more polluting and terribly far more expensive”. Clare Daly believes that ”there is no military solution to this crisis as the policy of flooding Ukraine with weapons will, at worst, lead to a permanent condition of conflict, as has happened in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, at best, a greater loss of life and destruction in Ukraine”. Furthermore, Clare Daly believes that the EP Resolutions on this topic do not sufficiently “take into account the impact of the war on workers,their working conditions, and the recognition of the hardship that this entails”.

Ref #24 https://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/197731/CLARE_DALY/other-activities/written-explanations

Ref #25 https://rmx.news/article/shock-eu-commission-president-threatens-italy-on-eve-of-election-says-brussels-has-tools-if-wrong-parties-win/ Ref #26 https://tomluongo.me/2022/09/23/as-democracy-dies-eu-its-sins-are-revealed/

Ref #27 https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/London-Banks-Prepare-For-Possible-Blackouts.html

Saint Greta of Thunberg

Days ago Greta Thunberg at the London’s Royal Festival Hall left on record that there is no going “back to normal” as it would mean returning to the Global North climate crisis “system” i.e. “colonialism, imperialism, oppression, genocide and racist, oppressive extractionism”. So only the overthrow of “the whole capitalistic system” will suffice, says Greta. No explanation was given — or even a mild attempt made — to describe how the required transition could possibly be made to get from our current evil point A to future greatly-improved point B. Apparently, there’s no GDP growth — especially of the capitalist sort — without increasing carbon emissions. Supposedly the only solution to this state of emergency is “for rich countries to immediately abandon economic expansion as a social goal.” Full interview credit to Nicholas Harris at Ref #28 https://unherd.com/thepost/greta-thunberg-throws-her-lot-in-with-the-anti-capitalist-left/

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entitlements & cakeism vs. the chicken and the egg DE-globalization economics: FIRE vs real STUFF

If really interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions mankind worldwide would need to drastically change its way of life in many important ways already very firmly considered by the collective mind-set as genuinely valid entitlements So, politically speaking such proposal is a non-starter waaaay outside any current Overton window we may come up with. In turn, we also can´t have our own cake and eat it too. So which will it be ? On top of it, let´s add that “All service industries (– including FIRE finances –) remain completely dependent on the raw materials and manufactured goods sectors to function… So DE-globalization will increasingly favor those who produce and control the STUFF which underpins everything else…(of course necessarily) leading to devastating closures of (almost all ?) energy and/or resource-intensive industrial operations in Europe due to high energy prices that make their products uncompetitive.” Ref #29 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/East-vs-West-Stuff-vs-Finance.html . Full credit to Kurt Cobb via OilPrice.com.

Germany’s position in America’s New World Order

November 02, 2022

Source

by Michael Hudson

Germany has become an economic satellite of America’s New Cold War with Russia, China and the rest of Eurasia. Germany and other NATO countries have been told to impose trade and investment sanctions upon themselves that will outlast today’s proxy war in Ukraine. U.S. President Biden and his State Department spokesmen have explained that Ukraine is just the opening arena in a much broader dynamic that is splitting the world into two opposing sets of economic alliances. This global fracture promises to be a ten- or twenty-year struggle to determine whether the world economy will be a unipolar U.S.-centered dollarized economy, or a multipolar, multi-currency world centered on the Eurasian heartland with mixed public/private economies.

President Biden has characterized this split as being between democracies and autocracies. The terminology is typical Orwellian double-speak. By “democracies” he means the U.S. and allied Western financial oligarchies. Their aim is to shift economic planning out of the hands of elected governments to Wall Street and other financial centers under U.S. control. U.S. diplomats use the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to demand privatization of the world’s infrastructure and dependency on U.S. technology, oil and food exports.

By “autocracy,” Biden means countries resisting this financialization and privatization takeover. In practice, U.S. rhettoric means promoting its own economic growth and living standards, keeping finance and banking as public utilities. What basically is at issue is whether economies will be planned by banking centers to create financial wealth – by privatizing basic infrastructure, public utilities and social services such as health care into monopolies – or by raising living standards and prosperity by keeping banking and money creation, public health, education, transportation and communications in public hands.

The country suffering the most “collateral damage” in this global fracture is Germany. As Europe’s most advanced industrial economy, German steel, chemicals, machinery, automotives and other consumer goods are the most highly dependent on imports of Russian gas, oil and metals from aluminum to titanium and palladium. Yet despite two Nord Stream pipelines built to provide Germany with low-priced energy, Germany has been told to cut itself off from Russian gas and de-industrialize. This means the end of its economic preeminence. The key to GDP growth in Germany, as in other countries, is energy consumption per worker.

These anti-Russian sanctions make today’s New Cold War inherently anti-German. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has said that Germany should replace low-priced Russian pipeline gas with high-priced U.S. LNG gas. To import this gas, Germany will have to spend over $5 billion quickly to build port capacity to handle LNG tankers. The effect will be to make German industry uncompetitive. Bankruptcies will spread, employment will decline, and Germany’s pro-NATO leaders will impose a chronic depression and falling living standards.

Most political theory assumes that nations will act in their own self-interest. Otherwise they are satellite countries, not in control of their own fate. Germany is subordinating its industry and living standards to the dictates of U.S. diplomacy and the self-interest of America’s oil and gas sector. It is doing this voluntarily – not because of military force but out of an ideological belief that the world economy should be run by U.S. Cold War planners.

Sometimes it is easier to understand today’s dynamics by stepping away from one’s own immediate situation to look at historical examples of the kind of political diplomacy that one sees splitting today’s world. The closest parallel that I can find is medieval Europe’s fight by the Roman papacy against German kings – the Holy Roman Emperors – in the 13th century. That conflict split Europe along lines much like those of today. A series of popes excommunicated Frederick II and other German kings and mobilized allies to fight against Germany and its control of southern Italy and Sicily.

Western antagonism against the East was incited by the Crusades (1095-1291), just as today’s Cold War is a crusade against economies threatening U.S. dominance of the world. The medieval war against Germany was over who should control Christian Europe: the papacy, with the popes becoming worldly emperors, or secular rulers of individual kingdoms by claiming the power to morally legitimize and accept them.

Medieval Europe’s analogue to America’s New Cold War against China and Russia was the Great Schism in 1054. Demanding unipolar control over Christendom, Leo IX excommunicated the Orthodox Church centered in Constantinople and the entire Christian population that belonged to it. A single bishopric, Rome, cut itself off from the entire Christian world of the time, including the ancient Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople and Jerusalem.

This break-away created a political problem for Roman diplomacy: How to hold all the Western European kingdoms under its control and claim the right for financial subsidy from them. That aim required subordinating secular kings to papal religious authority. In 1074, Gregory VII, Hildebrand, announced 27 Papal Dictates outlining the administrative strategy for Rome to lock in its power over Europe.

These papal demands are strikingly parallel to today’s U.S. diplomacy. In both cases military and worldly interests require a sublimation in the form of an ideological crusading spirit to cement the sense of solidarity that any system of imperial domination requires. The logic is timeless and universal.

The Papal Dictates were radical in two major ways. First of all, they elevated the bishop of Rome above all other bishoprics, creating the modern papacy. Clause 3 ruled that the pope alone had the power of investiture to appoint bishops or to depose or reinstate them. Reinforcing this, Clause 25 gave the right of appointing (or deposing) bishops to the pope, not to local rulers. And Clause 12 gave the pope the right to depose emperors, following Clause 9, obliging “all princes to kiss the feet of the Pope alone” in order to be deemed legitimate rulers.

Likewise today, U.S. diplomats claim the right to name who should be recognized as a nation’s head of state. In 1953 they overthrew Iran’s elected leader and replaced him with the Shah’s military dictatorship. That principle gives U.S. diplomats the right to sponsor “color revolutions” for regime-change, such as their sponsorship of Latin American military dictatorships creating client oligarchies to serve U.S. corporate and financial interests. The 2014 coup in Ukraine is just the latest exercise of this U.S. right to appoint and depose leaders.

More recently, U.S. diplomats have appointed Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s head of state instead of its elected president, and turned over that country’s gold reserves to him. President Biden has insisted that Russia must remove Putin and put a more pro-U.S. leader in his place. This “right” to select heads of state has been a constant in U.S. policy spanning its long history of political meddling in European political affairs since World War II.

The second radical feature of the Papal Dictates was their exclusion of all ideology and policy that diverged from papal authority. Clause 2 stated that only the Pope could be called “Universal.” Any disagreement was, by definition, heretical. Clause 17 stated that no chapter or book could be considered canonical without papal authority.

A similar demand as is being made by today’s U.S.-sponsored ideology of financialized and privatized “free markets,” meaning deregulation of government power to shape economies in interests other than those of U.S.-centered financial and corporate elites.

The demand for universality in today’s New Cold War is cloaked in the language of “democracy.” But the definition of democracy in today’s New Cold War is simply “pro-U.S.,” and specifically neoliberal privatization as the U.S.-sponsored new economic religion. This ethic is deemed to be “science,” as in the quasi-Nobel Memorial Prize in the Economic Sciences. That is the modern euphemism for neoliberal Chicago-School junk economics, IMF austerity programs and tax favoritism for the wealthy.

The Papal Dictates spelt out a strategy for locking in unipolar control over secular realms. They asserted papal precedence over worldly kings, above all over Germany’s Holy Roman Emperors. Clause 26 gave popes authority to excommunicate whomever was “not at peace with the Roman Church.” That principle implied the concluding Claus 27, enabling the pope to “absolve subjects from their fealty to wicked men.” This encouraged the medieval version of “color revolutions” to bring about regime change.

What united countries in this solidarity was an antagonism to societies not subject to centralized papal control – the Moslem Infidels who held Jerusalem, and also the French Cathars and anyone else deemed to be a heretic. Above all there was hostility toward regions strong enough to resist papal demands for financial tribute.

Today’s counterpart to such ideological power to excommunicate heretics resisting demands for obedience and tribute would be the World Trade Organization, World Bank and IMF dictating economic practices and setting “conditionalities” for all member governments to follow, on pain of U.S. sanctions – the modern version of excommunication of countries not accepting U.S. suzerainty. Clause 19 of the Dictates ruled that the pope could be judged by no one – just as today, the United States refuses to subject its actions to rulings by the World Court. Likewise today, U.S. dictates via NATO and other arms (such as the IMF and World Bank) are expected to be followed by U.S. satellites without question. As Margaret Thatcher said of her neoliberal privatization that destroyed Britain’s public sector, There Is No Alternative (TINA).

My point is to emphasize the analogy with today’s U.S. sanctions against all countries not following its own diplomatic demands. Trade sanctions are a form of excommunication. They reverse the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia’s principle that made each country and its rulers independent from foreign meddling. President Biden characterizes U.S. interference as ensuring his new antithesis between “democracy” and “autocracy.” By democracy he means a client oligarchy under U.S. control, creating financial wealth by reducing living standards for labor, as opposed to mixed public/private economies aiming at promoting living standards and social solidarity.

As I have mentioned, by excommunicating the Orthodox Church centered in Constantinople and its Christian population, the Great Schism created the fateful religious dividing line that has split “the West” from the East for the past millennium. That split was so important that Vladimir Putin cited it as part of his September 30, 2022 speech describing today’s break away from the U.S. and NATO centered Western economies.

The 12th and 13th centuries saw Norman conquerors of England, France and other countries, along with German kings, protest repeatedly, be excommunicated repeatedly, yet ultimately succumb to papal demands. It took until the 16th century for Martin Luther, Zwingli and Henry VIII finally to create a Protestant alternative to Rome, making Western Christianity multi-polar.

Why did it take so long? The answer is that the Crusades provided an organizing ideological gravity. That was the medieval analogy to today’s New Cold War between East and West. The Crusades created a spiritual focus of “moral reform” by mobilizing hatred against “the other” – the Moslem East, and increasingly Jews and European Christian dissenters from Roman control. That was the medieval analogy to today’s neoliberal “free market” doctrines of America’s financial oligarchy and its hostility to China, Russia and other nations not following that ideology. In today’s New Cold War, the West’s neoliberal ideology is mobilizing fear and hatred of “the other,” demonizing nations that follow an independent path as “autocratic regimes.” Outright racism is fostered toward entire peoples, as evident in the Russophobia and Cancel Culture currently sweeping the West.

Just as Western Christianity’s multi-polar transition required the 16th century’s Protestant alternative, the Eurasian heartland’s break from the bank-centered NATO West must be consolidated by an alternative ideology regarding how to organize mixed public/private economies and their financial infrastructure.

Medieval churches in the West were drained of their alms and endowments to contribute Peter’s Pence and other subsidy to the papacy for the wars it was fighting against rulers who resisted papal demands. England played the role of major victim that Germany plays today. Enormous English taxes were levied ostensibly to finance the Crusades were diverted to fight Frederick II, Conrad and Manfred in Sicily. That diversion was financed by papal bankers from northern Italy (Lombards and Cahorsins), and became royal debts passed down throughout the economy. England’s barons waged a civil war against Henry II in the 1260s, ending his complicity in sacrificing the economy to papal demands.

What ended the papacy’s power over other countries was the ending of its war against the East. When the Crusaders lost Acre, the capital of Jerusalem in 1291, the papacy lost its control over Christendom. There was no more “evil” to fight, and the “good” had lost its center of gravity and coherence. In 1307, France’s Philip IV (“the Fair”) seized the Church’s great military banking order’s wealth, that of the Templars in the Paris Temple. Other rulers also nationalized the Templars, and monetary systems were taken out of the hands of the Church. Without a common enemy defined and mobilized by Rome, the papacy lost its unipolar ideological power over Western Europe.

The modern equivalent to the rejection of the Templars and papal finance would be for countries to withdraw from America’s New Cold War. They would reject the dollar standard and the U.S. banking and financial system. that is happening as more and more countries see Russia and China not as adversaries but as presenting great opportunities for mutual economic advantage.

The broken promise of mutual gain between Germany and Russia

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 promised an end to the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact was disbanded, Germany was reunified, and American diplomats promised an end to NATO, because a Soviet military threat no longer existed. Russian leaders indulged in the hope that, as President Putin expressed it, a new pan-European economy would be created from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Germany in particular was expected to take the lead in investing in Russia and restructuring its industry along more efficient lines. Russia would pay for this technology transfer by supplying gas and oil, along with nickel, aluminum, titanium and palladium.

There was no anticipation that NATO would be expanded to threaten a New Cold War, much less that it would back Ukraine, recognized as the most corrupt kleptocracy in Europe, into being led by extremist parties identifying themselves by German Nazi insignia.

How do we explain why the seemingly logical potential of mutual gain between Western Europe and the former Soviet economies turned into a sponsorship of oligarchic kleptocracies. The Nord Stream pipeline’s destruction capsulizes the dynamics in a nutshell. For almost a decade a constant U.S. demand has been for Germany to reject its reliance on Russian energy. These demands were opposed by Gerhardt Schroeder, Angela Merkel and German business leaders. They pointed to the obvious economic logic of mutual trade of German manufactures for Russian raw materials.

The U.S. problem was how to stop Germany from approving the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Victoria Nuland, President Biden and other U.S. diplomats demonstrated that the way to do that was to incite a hatred of Russia. The New Cold War was framed as a new Crusade. That was how George W. Bush had described America’s attack on Iraq to seize its oil wells. The U.S.-sponsored 2014 coup created a puppet Ukrainian regime that has spent eight years bombing of the Russian-speaking Eastern provinces. NATO thus incited a Russian military response. The incitement was successful, and the desired Russian response was duly labeled an unprovoked atrocity. Its protection of civilians was depicted in the NATO-sponsored media as being so offensive as to deserve the trade and investment sanctions that have been imposed since February. That is what a Crusade means.

The result is that the world is splitting in two camps: the U.S.-centered NATO, and the emerging Eurasian coalition. One byproduct of this dynamic has been to leave Germany unable to pursue the economic policy of mutually advantageous trade and investment relations with Russia (and perhaps also China). German Chancellor Olaf Sholz is going to China this week to demand that it dismantle is public sector and stops subsidizing its economy, or else Germany and Europe will impose sanctions on trade with China. There is no way that China could meet this ridiculous demand, any more than the United States or any other industrial economy would stop subsidizing their own computer-chip and other key sectors.[1] The German Council on Foreign Relations is a neoliberal “libertarian” arm of NATO demanding German de-industrialization and dependency on the United States for its trade, excluding China, Russia and their allies. This promises to be the final nail in Germany’s economic coffin.

Another byproduct of America’s New Cold War has been to end any international plan to stem global warming. A keystone of U.S. economic diplomacy is for its oil companies and those of its NATO allies to control the world’s oil and gas supply – that is, to reduce dependence on carbon-based fuels. That is what the NATO war in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine was about. It is not as abstract as “Democracies vs. Autocracies.” It is about the U.S. ability to harm other countries by disrupting their access to energy and other basic needs.

Without the New Cold War’s “good vs. evil” narrative, U.S. sanctions will lose their raison d’etre in this U.S. attack on environmental protection, and on mutual trade between Western Europe and Russia and China. That is the context for today’s fight in Ukraine, which is to be merely the first step in the anticipated 20 year fight by the US to prevent the world from becoming multipolar. This process, will lock Germany and Europe into dependence on the U.S. supplies of LNG.

The trick is to try and convince Germany that it is dependent on the United States for its military security. What Germany really needs protection from is the U.S. war against China and Russia that is marginalizing and “Ukrainianizing” Europe.

There have been no calls by Western governments for a negotiated end to this war, because no war has been declared in Ukraine. The United States does not declare war anywhere, because that would require a Congressional declaration under the U.S. Constitution. So U.S. and NATO armies bomb, organize color revolutions, meddle in domestic politics (rendering the 1648 Westphalia agreements obsolete), and impose the sanctions that are tearing Germany and its European neighbors apart.

How can negotiations “end” a war that either has no declaration of war, and is a long-term strategy of total unipolar world domination?

The answer is that no ending can come until an alternative to the present U.S.-centered set of international institutions is replaced. That requires the creation of new institutions reflecting an alternative to the neoliberal bank-centered view that economies should be privatized with central planning by financial centers. Rosa Luxemburg characterized the choice as being between socialism and barbarism. I have sketched out the political dynamics of an alternative in my recent book, The Destiny of Civilization.

This paper was presented on November 1, 2022. on the German e-site
https://braveneweurope.com/michael-hudson-germanys-position-in-americas-new-world-order
. A video of my talk will be available on YouTube in about ten days.

  1. See Guntram Wolff, “Sholz should send an explicit message on his visit to Beijing,” Financial Times, October 31, 2022. Wolff is the director and CE of the German Council on Foreign Relations. 

Vladimir Putin Addresses Russian Security Council – October 26, 2022 – ENG Subtitles

October 26, 2022

US-Saudi Rift on OPEC Plus: Bruised Ties or Beyond That?

October 15, 2022

By Hiba Morad | Press TV

The US-Saudi partnership has often been described as a transactional one; majorly owing to Saudi Arabia’s oil supply in return for US arms in bulk. Since 1943, the equation has been protecting the interests of American oil companies in Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas industry in return for weapons and military equipment.

Saudi Arabia is a vital US asset in West Asia. Since the kingdom has the world’s largest oil reserves, enjoys a geo-strategic position, and has influence in the Arab and Islamic worlds, it remains to be the imperialist US’s pivot to Asia. Saudi Arabia has also been the US’ milking cow, paying tremendous sums of money in return for arms deals over the years.

Tensions, however, rose between the two countries following Saudi pressure on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies [OPEC Plus] alliance last week to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day.

This was after the US was acting in collusion with Saudi Arabia to patch things up in July on the Mohammed Bin Salman-ordered killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. The US Intelligence had earlier released a report in which it said that MBS approved the operation to kill and dismantle the journalist.

Recently given a “made up” title of prime minister to secure his impunity at US courts on his role in the killing of Khashoggi, MBS claimed that the decision of OPEC Plus, in which Riyadh is a top producer, was “merely” economic and not politically motivated.

John Kirby, a top spokesperson for the US National Security Council denied the claims and said the Saudi move was wrong. He stated that the Saudis conveyed during the recent weeks their intention to reduce oil production, privately and publicly, knowing this would increase Russian revenues and blunt the effectiveness of sanctions.

In reaction, President Biden issued a vague warning to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, pledged “consequences” and vowed to “take action.” The US claimed that OPEC Plus is aligning with Russia.

Of course, Biden is concerned that decreased oil output could push up the price of gasoline right before the November 8 US midterm elections, when Democrats will defend their control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Meanwhile, some Senate Democrats are demanding a swift and concrete response.

In a strong expression of US anger over the Saudi oil-production cuts, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez called for freezing all US cooperation with Saudi Arabia on Monday. Menendez claimed that the move serves to boost Russia in its war in Ukraine.

He vowed he “will not green-light any cooperation with Riyadh until the Kingdom reassesses its position with respect to the war in Ukraine. Enough is enough.”

Gulf sources rushed to conclude that the rift between the two countries will not break ties, while pro-US sources lashed MBS and OPEC Plus for the decision and said this move proves Bin Salman is siding with Russia, and that Western leaders should abandon him.

In the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, the West has gone to great lengths to isolate Russia’s economy, which relies in large part on energy exports.

As part of their economic sanctions against Moscow, the US and EU are trying to impose a cap on the price paid to Russia for its oil exports. But that effort could now collapse as global oil prices rise and Europe heads into a winter season when heating costs are expected to soar due to the Ukraine war.

OPEC Plus, which groups the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia, has refused to raise output to lower oil prices despite pressure from major consumers, including the United States.

Russia has hailed the recent decision made by OPEC Plus. The Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the remarks on October 9, saying the move successfully at least “balances the mayhem that the Americans are causing.”

It is very good that such “balanced, thoughtful and planned work of the countries, which take a responsible position within OPEC, is opposed to the actions of the US,” Peskov said.

For months, the US and Saudi monarchy have been in a tit-for-tat game, seemingly contemplating how to pressure each other in return for gains. Of course, Mohammed bin Salman has gained leverage on the international level following the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war since he controls the oil game, if possible to say.

MBS, who was described by The Economist as “one of the most dangerous leaders” of the world in September is opportunistic; he will do whatever it takes to get what he wants.

Middle East Eye quoted an academic from Tehran as saying “A senior Saudi diplomat told me that MBS started as a kid playing video games. Killing Khashoggi, starting a military intervention in Yemen which would last ‘two weeks,’ the siege of Qatar, and getting rid of [Lebanese Prime Minister Saad] Hariri were all video games for him, buttons you can press, enemies disappearing from the screen. Out of necessity, he is becoming more strategic.”

“Strategic maturity does not come from what you would like to have. It comes out of necessity,” the academic said. “I don’t think the Saudis decided to move beyond that strategic relationship with America. The American hand is still strong. But there are differences happening. The Americans are not seen with the same confidence that was seen in Riyadh.”

By the OPEC Plus move, yes, MBS has shown his influence over the global oil market, but he did upset the foreign policy establishment in Washington. Of course, Washington will not want to risk oil security which is in the hands of the kingdom to a great extent, or drive Riyadh closer to Russia and China; a too simplistic of a prediction. Saudi Arabia still cannot make it through without the US, but Biden needs to take action for the Saudi humiliation.

A serious issue remains in question; what will happen to the West as winter becomes harsher in light of power cuts, the absence of hot water and scarcity and high prices of oil?

Also on the current rift, will Biden invite MBS to Washington and “spank” him like the Saudi game boy did to Lebanon’s Hariri, perhaps in one way or another? Will relations deteriorate and the world see different coalitions as the US says it will reconsider relations with the Saudi monarchy? Or will this be just another bruise in ties between the oil-rich country and the imperialist US before the two resume their US-Saudi waltz?

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Global finance vs global energy: who will come out on top?

October 13 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

In the war between global finance and energy, one fact remains clear: You can print money but you can’t print oil

There is more to the current struggle between the oil-consuming west and the oil-producing nations than meets the eye and it runs far deeper than the war in Ukraine

By Karin Kneissl

On 6 October, when the European Union (EU) agreed to impose a Russian oil price cap as part of a new package of sanctions against Moscow, 23 oil ministers from the OPEC+ group of oil-producing countries spoke out in favor of a sharp cut in their joint production quota.

Their collective decision to decrease output by about two million barrels of oil per day elicited strong reactions in the US in particular, and there was even talk of “declarations of war.” The EU feels duped, as the OPEC+ production cuts could drive up fuel prices and dampen their eight sanctions packages. Despite the narrative of the world edging toward a “post-oil era,” it seems there’s life in the old dog yet, as OPEC remains the talk of the town.

OPEC is as relevant as ever

OPEC and ten non-OPEC energy producers – including Russia – have been coordinating their production policy since December 2016. At the time, analysts gave this “OPEC-plus” format little chance of having an impact.

Back then, I recall the mockery of many who scorned the announcement in the press room of the OPEC General Secretariat in Vienna. But OPEC has weathered the storm of the global oil market in recent years, and has emerged as a key player.

Recall the exceptional situation in the spring of 2020 during the global COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, when futures trading for US oil grades were even quoted at negative prices at times, only to rise again to new heights in April 2021.

In contrast to the escapades in the oil market between 1973 and 1985, when there was little consensus among OPEC’s members and many had already written the organization’s obituary – today, former rivals such as Saudi Arabia and Russia are managing to converge their interests into powerful cards.

In those days, it was normal practice for Riyadh to take into account and execute Washington’s interests within OPEC: A single phone call from the US capital was enough. When the US oil company ARAMCO – which acted like an extended arm of the US in the kingdom – was nationalized by Saudi Arabia in the early 1970s as part of the sweeping nationalization trends around the world, compensation was promised to the US on a mere handshake.

The era of the “Seven Sisters,” a cartel of oil companies that divided up the oil market, came to an end then. However, for US policymakers – at least, psychologically – this era still persists. “It’s our oil,” is an expression I often hear uttered in Washington. Those voices were particularly loud during the illegal US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Financial market versus the energy market

To really understand the core of the conflict in Ukraine – where a proxy war rages – one must break down the confrontation thus: The US and its European allies, who represent and back the global financial sector, are essentially engaged in a battle against the world’s energy sector.

In the past 22 years, we have seen how easy it is for governments to print paper currency. In just 2022, the US dollar has printed more paper money than in its combined history. Energy, on the other hand, cannot be printed. And therein lies a fundamental problem for Washington: The commodity sector can outbid the financial industry.

When I wrote my book “The Energy Poker” in 2005, I also dealt with the currency question, i.e. whether oil will be traded in US dollars in the long term. At the time, my interlocutors from the Arab OPEC countries unanimously said that the US dollar would not be changed. Yet, 17 years later, that view has devolved starkly.

Riyadh is warming up to the idea of trading oil in other currencies, as indicated this year in discussions with the Chinese to trade in yuan. The Saudis also continue to purchase Russian like other West Asian and Global South states, they have opted to ignore western sanctions on Moscow, and are increasingly preparing for the new international condition of multipolarity.

Washington, thus, no longer maintains its ability to exert absolute leverage on OPEC, which is now repositioning itself geopolitically as the enlarged OPEC+.

US reacts: Between defiance and anger

The OPEC+ ministerial meeting on 6 October was a clear foreshadowing of these new circumstances. The inherent tensions between two world views unfolded immediately in the post-meeting press room where a Saudi oil minister put the western news agency Reuters in its place, and where US journalists fiercely attacked OPEC for “holding the world economy hostage.”

The next day, a tough policy was grudgingly announced by the White House. The OPEC+ production cuts has Washington vacillating between sulking and seeking revenge – against the once-compliant Saudis, in particular. In a few weeks US midterm elections will be held, and the ramifications of spiking fuel prices will no doubt unfold at the ballot box.

For almost a year, President Joe Biden has been expanding US fuel supply via the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but has been unable to calibrate either the price of oil or runaway inflation. The US Congress is threatening to use the so-called “NOPEC” bill – under the legal pretext of banning cartels – to seize the assets of OPEC governments.

The concept has been floating around for decades on Capitol Hill, but this time new irrational emotions may own the momentum. But hostile or threatening US actions are likely to backfire and even accelerate the geopolitical shifts taking place in West Asia, which has been edging out of the US orbit in recent years. Many Arab capitals have not forgotten the unseating of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, and how quickly the US abandoned its longterm ally.

“It’s the economy, stupid”

The price of oil is a seismograph of the world economy and also of global geopolitics. With the production cuts, OPEC+ is simply planning in anticipation of upcoming recessionary consequences. Moreover, some producing countries are failing to create new capacities in view of the investment gap that has persisted since 2014: a low price of oil simply cannot be sustained if there is no major capital investment in its sector.

The energy supply situation is expected to further worsen as of 5 December, when the oil embargo imposed by the EU comes into force.

The fundamental laws of supply and demand will ultimately determine the many distortions in the commodity markets. The anti-Russian sanctions created by the EU and other states (a total of 42 states) have disrupted global supply, and that has man-made supply and pricing consequences.

The two major global financial crises – real estate and banks in 2008, and the pandemic in 2020 – led to the excessive printing of paper money. Ironically, it was China that moved the paralyzed global economy out of the first crisis: Beijing stabilized the entire commodity market in 2009/10 by serving as the global locomotive and bringing the yuan into the trading schemes.

China, the well-oiled machine

Until the early 1990s, China satisfied its domestic oil consumption with domestic oil production, ranging from 3-4 million barrels per day. But fifteen years and a rapidly-expanded economy later, China had turned into the world’s number one oil importer.

This status reveals the crucial role of Beijing in the global oil market.  While Saudi Arabia and Angola are important oil providers, Russia is the main gas supplier for China. As former Premier Wen Jiabao once aptly observed: “any small problem multiplied by 1.3 billion will end up being a very big problem.”

For the past 20 years, I have argued that pipelines and airlines were moving east not west. Arguably, one of Russia’s biggest mistakes was to invest in infrastructure and contracts for a promising but ungrateful European market. The cancellation of the South Stream project in 2014 should have served as a lesson to Moscow not to enlarge Nord Stream as of 2017.  Times, nerves, and money could have been better spent on expanding the grid heading east.

It’s never been about Ukraine

Ever since the start of Ukraine’s military conflict in February 2022, we have essentially been watching the western-led financial industry waging its war against the eastern-dominated energy economy. The momentum will always be with the latter, because as stated above, in contrast to money, energy cannot be printed.

The oil and gas volumes needed to replace Russian energy sources cannot be found on the world market within a year. And no commodity is more global than oil. Any changes in the oil market will always influence the world’s economy.

“Oil makes and breaks nations.” It is a quote that epitomizes the importance of oil in shaping global and regional orders, as was the case in West Asia in the post-World War I era: First came the pipelines, then came the borders.

The late former Saudi oil minister Zaki Yamani once described oil alliances as being stronger than Catholic marriages. If that is the case, then the old US-Saudi marriage is currently undergoing estrangement and Russia has filed for divorce from Europe.

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

EU Pushes For More Sanctions Which Will Come Back To Bite It

October 5, 2022

On February 22, two days before Russian troops entered the Ukraine, the U.S. and the EU put reams of sanctions onto Russia. They also confiscated some $300 billion of Russia’s reserves that were invested in the ‘west’. The sanctions had been negotiated between the EU and the U.S. and prepared for over several months.

The idea was to bankrupt Russia within a few weeks. The deluded people behind those sanctions had no idea how big and sanctions proved Russia’s economy really is. The sanctions failed to influence Russia in any way but their consequences led to a shortfall of energy in Europe and increased the already high inflation rates. Inflation in Russia is sinking and its general economic numbers are good. The now higher energy prices generate sufficient additional income to completely finance its war efforts.

A sane actor would conclude that the sanctions were a mistake and that lifting them would help Europe more than it would help Russia. But no, the U.S. and European pseudo elites are no longer able to act in a sane manner. They are instead doubling down with the most crazy sanction scheme one has ever heard of:

[T]he European Union pushed ahead on Wednesday with an ambitious but untested plan to limit Russia’s oil revenue.

If the global price of oil remains high, it would complicate the European Union’s effort to impose a price cap on Russian oil that was expected to gain final approval on Thursday, after E.U. negotiators reached an agreement on the measure as part of a fresh package of sanctions against Moscow.

Under the plan, a committee including representatives of the European Union, the Group of 7 nations and others that agree to the price cap would meet regularly to decide on the price at which Russian oil should be sold, and that it would change based on the market price.

Several diplomats involved in the E.U. talks said that Greece, Malta and Cyprus — maritime nations that would be most affected by the price cap — received assurances that their business interests would be preserved, the diplomats said.

The countries had been holding up what would be the eighth sanctions package the European Union has adopted since the Russian invasion of Ukraine because of worries that a price cap on Russian oil exported outside the bloc would affect their shipping, insurance and other industries, the diplomats said.

With oil prices at a high, Russia is raking in billions of dollars in revenue, even as it sells smaller quantities. The cap — part of a broad plan pushed by the Biden administration that the G7 agreed to last month — is intended to set the price of Russian oil lower than where it is today, but still above cost. The U.S. Treasury calculates that the cap would deprive the Kremlin of tens of billions of dollars annually.

How do you make a big producer of a rare commodity sell those goods below the general market price? Unless you have a very strong buyers cartel that can also that product from elsewhere you can not do this successfully. It is an economic impossibility.

To make the measure effective, and cut Russian revenue, the United States, Europe and their allies would need to convince India and China, which buy substantial quantities of Russian oil, to purchase it only at the agreed upon price. Experts say that even with willing partners, the cap could be hard to implement.

Russia has declared that it will not sell any oil to any party that supports the G7 price fixing regime. That is why neither China nor India nor any other country besides the EU and U.S. will agree to adhere to it.

The whole idea is crazy and way too complicate to achieve anything:

Under the new rules, companies involved in the shipping of Russian oil — including shipowners, insurers and underwriters — would be on the hook for ensuring that the oil they are helping to transport is being sold at or below the price cap. If they are caught helping Russia sell at a higher price, they could face lawsuits in their home countries for violating sanctions.

Russian crude will come under an embargo in most of the European Union on Dec. 5, and petroleum products will follow in February. The price cap on shipments to non-E.U. countries has been championed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as a necessary complement to the European oil embargo.

Under the E.U. deal, Greece, Malta and Cyprus will be permitted to continue shipping Russian oil. Had they not agreed to place their companies at the forefront of applying the price cap, they would have been forbidden from shipping or insuring Russian oil cargo outside the European Union, a huge hit for major industries.

More than half of the tankers now shipping Russia’s oil are Greek-owned. And the financial services that underpin that trade — including insurance, reinsurance and letters of credit — are overwhelmingly based in the European Union and Britain.

This is of course an open invitation to other countries to enter the oil shipping and related financial services businesses at the cost of European companies.

China and India will both it to increase their market shares in those fields. Their ships will transport Russian oil to whoever wants to buy it for the market price minus the always negotiable Russian rebate. Greek ships will sit idle or will be sold off while Indian and Chinese and other Asian tankers will be very, very busy. China’s big insurance companies will happily join that new global services business.

That European bureaucrats agreed to his stupid U.S. idea, which will foremost hurt European businesses, is another sign that Brussels has given up on having any agency.

Today OPEC+ countries, the seller cartel for oil, reacted to the crazy sanctions idea and the upcoming global depression by agreeing to decrease their daily output by 2 million barrels. This was not done out of Saudi solidarity with Russia. Saudi Arabia needs oil at above $80/bl to finance its budget.

Brent Crude, which had fallen to $83/bl on September 26, has since risen to $93/bl.

The global demand for oil is around 100 million barrels per day. Should the demand stay up the 2% reduction in OPEC+ production will have significant price effects and $100 per barrel will be in easy reach.

But OPEC+ is committed to stable prices, not to significant price increases. During the OPEC+ session today the Saudi Prince Abdulazis showed this table:
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Since the beginning of the year the prices for all forms of carbon based energy except crude oil have increased considerably. Abdulazis argued that the chart shows that OPEC+ is managing oil prices responsibly. The EU is certainly not doing similar.

The Biden administration has meanwhile nearly halved the content of the U.S Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This to keep U.S. pump prices down and the Democrats in power.
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Neither is a responsible step to take.

Posted by b on October 5, 2022 at 16:48 UTC | Permalink

Speech by the President of Russia at an expanded meeting of the SCO Heads of State Councila Plus Press Conference (ENG Subtitles)

SEPTEMBER 17, 2022

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues,

https://thesaker.is/speech-by-the-president-of-russia-at-an-expanded-meeting-of-the-sco-heads-of-state-council/I fully share the statements made by my colleagues and their positive assessments of the work of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and its growing prestige in international affairs. Indeed, the SCO has become the largest regional organisation in the world. As previous speakers have pointed out, over half of the world’s population lives in SCO member states, which account for about 25 percent of global GDP and have a powerful intellectual and technological potential and a considerable part of global natural resources.

At the same time, the SCO is not marking time but continues to develop and build up its role in addressing international and regional issues and maintaining peace, security and stability throughout the vast Eurasian space. Colleagues, this is especially important in the current complicated international situation, about which we have talked in detail during our restricted-attendance meeting.

However, I would like to repeat that global politics and economy are about to undergo fundamental and irreversible changes. The growing role of new centres of power is coming into sharp focus, and interaction among these new centres is not based on some rules, which are being forced on them by external forces and which nobody has seen, but on the universally recognised principles of the rule of international law and the UN Charter, namely, equal and indivisible security and respect for each other’s sovereignty, national values and interests.

It is on these principles, which are devoid of all elements of egoism, that the joint efforts of SCO member states are based in politics and the economy. This opens up broad prospects for continued mutually beneficial cooperation in politics, the economy, culture, humanitarian and other spheres.

Fighting terrorism and extremism, drug trafficking, organised crime and illegal armed formations remains a priority of our cooperation. Other key areas include providing assistance in the political and diplomatic settlement of conflicts along our external borders, including in Afghanistan.

Strengthening economic cooperation has traditionally been a critical part of the SCO’s activities. Our joint efforts are designed to expand trade and investment exchanges, carry out mutually beneficial business projects in various industries, and to increase the volume of settlements in national currencies.

As noted above, including by the President of Kazakhstan, we are open to working with the whole world. The SCO is a non-bloc association. We help addressing the energy and food problems that are growing globally as a result of certain systemic errors in the world’s leading economies in the field of finance and energy. Our policy is not selfish. We hope that other participants in economic cooperation will build their policies on the same principles and stop using the tools of protectionism, illegal sanctions and economic selfishness to their own advantage.

The European Commission’s decision to lift sanctions on Russian fertilisers is a vivid example of such selfish behaviour. We are aware of the fertilisers’ important role in overcoming the food problem. Of course, we welcome the decision to lift the sanctions. But it turns out that, in accordance with the clarification of the European Commission of September 10, these sanctions were lifted only for EU countries. It turns out that they are the only ones who can purchase our fertilisers. What about the developing poorest countries around the world?

Taking advantage of the presence of UN Under-Secretary-General [Rosemary] DiCarlo, I would like to ask the UN Secretariat – I discussed this matter with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres the day before yesterday – to use its influence on the European Commission’s decision not in word, but in deed and to demand that they, our colleagues from the European Commission, lift these clearly discriminatory restrictions on developing countries and provide access for Russian fertilisers to their markets.

Also, the day before yesterday I apprised Secretary-General Guterres of the fact that 300,000 tonnes of Russian fertilisers are stocked at the EU seaports. We are ready to make them available to developing countries for free.

I would also like to note that Russia is increasing its grain exports to international markets. This year, it is going to be 30 million tonnes, and next year it will be 50 million tonnes with 90 percent of our food exports going to the markets of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Undoubtedly, the ongoing summit’s decisions and documents to improve the efficiency of international transport corridors, to expand intraregional, to advance industrial and scientific and technical cooperation, and to introduce high-tech solutions in agriculture and healthcare will promote further development of business ties within the SCO.

It is also important to advance cultural and humanitarian cooperation within the SCO.

Agreements and memorandums on cooperation in tourism and museology that will be signed during today’s meeting will serve as the next step forward on this path.

It appears that opportunities are good for stepping up sports cooperation and potentially holding major sporting events with SCO sponsorship. To do this, we could think about creating an association of sports organisations under our association.

Friends,

It was noted earlier today during the restricted-attendance meeting that the SCO states focus on expanding cooperation with countries that seek to establish an open and equal dialogue with our organisation and are interested in joining it. In this context, Russia, no doubt, favours the earliest possible accession of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the SCO, which is what the documents and the memorandum that will be signed today are designed to accomplish. We are convinced that Iran’s full-fledged participation will be beneficial for the association, as that country plays an important role in the Eurasian region and the world at large.

We also fully stand behind the decision submitted for approval by the Heads of State Council to start the process of admitting the Republic of Belarus as an SCO member. Let me be clear that we have always advocated that Belarus, which is Russia’s strategic partner and closest ally, should participate fully in the SCO. This will undoubtedly improve our ability to advance unity in politics, the economy, security and humanitarian matters.

Of course, we welcome the granting of SCO dialogue partner status to Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as the commencement of the procedure for obtaining this status by the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Kuwait, the Republic of Maldives, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and the United Arab Emirates. Notably, there are more countries desirous of cooperating with the SCO in various capacities, and applications from other states and international associations deserve our utmost attention and favourable consideration.

In closing, I would like to thank President Shavkat Mirziyoyev for the hospitality and excellent organisation of our work, and to congratulate Uzbekistan on its successful SCO chairmanship. I would also like to wish every success to our Indian friends who are taking over the chairmanship today.

Thank you for your attention.

Press Conference (ENG Subtitles)

This video was translated and subtitled by Michael Rossi Poli Sci
Please support him on this Patreon channel: https://www.patreon.com/MichaelRossiPoliSci

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