Leaked Pentagon Docs Say Russia Can Keep Funding Ukraine War Despite Sanctions

A US assessment says Russia’s economic elite will likely not withdraw their support for Putin

by Dave DeCamp 

Leaked US military documents show the US believes Russia will be able to continue funding its war in Ukraine for at least another year despite Western sanctions, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The assessments were part of a trove of documents allegedly released by Jack Teixeira, an Air National guardsman who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted for the leaks.

According to the Post, the leaked documents show that Russia’s economic elite are unlikely to withdraw support for Russian President Vladimir Putin even if they don’t agree entirely on the actions in Ukraine and have taken a hit from US sanctions.

“Moscow is relying on increased corporate taxes, its sovereign wealth fund, increased imports and businesses adaptability to help mitigate economic pressures,” the assessment reads.

The Post said the documents are marked with a code that suggests the intelligence was gathered by intercepting private conversations held by Russians on limiting the impact of sanctions.

While Russia’s economy took a major hit from Western sanctions, Moscow’s efforts to shield itself from the US-led economic campaign has kept its currency strong and allowed energy exports to keep flowing.

In the early days of the invasion, President Biden bragged that sanctions turned the Russian ruble into “rubble,” but it quickly bounced back and was one of the strongest-performing currencies of 2022. The ruble is currently at similar levels to how it was performing before the invasion.

Russia has also found new markets for its oil in Asia, and its oil revenue has continued to soar despite the G7’s attempts to place a price cap on Russian crude. The US is pushing other G7 nations to agree on new sanctions that would ban all exports to Russia but is facing pushback from the EU and Japan.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave. 

The US balks at thriving UAE-Russia relations

April 21 2023

The leak of classified documents suggesting Emirati-Russian intel against the US has caused uncertainty about the future of US-UAE relations amid significant shifts in the geopolitics of the Persian Gulf.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Stasa Salacanin

The leak of highly classified Pentagon documents, including reports of the UAE’s alleged intelligence collusion with Russia against the US and UK, has captured headlines both regionally and globally.

According to the US intel reports leaked to the Associated Press, a document implicating the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) entitled “Russia/UAE: Intelligence Relationship Deepening” states:

“FSB officials claimed UAE security service officials and Russia had agreed to work together against US and UK intelligence agencies, according to newly acquired signals intelligence.”

However, while US officials have declined to comment on the document, the Emirati government has vehemently denied any such accusation, calling it “categorically false.”

Although it is impossible to verify the authenticity of the leaked report, western officials and analysts have nonetheless been closely following increased cooperation between Abu Dhabi and Moscow, particularly since the outbreak of conflict in Ukraine.

Ties flourish between Russia and UAE

The claims are certainly credible, as close personal ties exist between the Kremlin and the Emirati ruling elite, and the two governments share similar views on several regional issues. The war in Ukraine has further boosted mutual commercial ties and cooperation between the Russia and the UAE, with non-oil trade increasing by 57 percent during the first nine months of the last year.

In early December 2022, Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov estimated that mutual trade between Russia and the UAE will exceed $7.5 billion by the end of 2022 compared with $5.5 billion in 2021, reaching an all-time record in the history of their trade relations.

Additionally, UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan’s (MbZ) decision to support the OPEC+ move to slash oil production by two million barrels a day (bpd) in October despite pressure from the US and other countries, has been greatly praised by Kremlin.

It’s worth noting that the emirate of Dubai has witnessed an uptick in investments from affluent Russians, as real estate purchases by Russian nationals in Dubai surged by 67 percent year-on-year. Furthermore, the UAE continues to rank high on the list of preferred travel destinations for Russians, with over a million Russians having visited or relocated to the Emirates in 2022 – an impressive 60 percent increase from the previous year.

In light of the UAE having emerged as a significant destination for wealthy Russians seeking to circumvent western-imposed sanctions, Andreas Krieg, an associate professor at King’s College in London, has labeled the UAE as “the most crucial strategic partner for Russia in both the Middle East [West Asia] and Africa.” 

A ‘country of focus’ for the US

This flourishing partnership between Moscow and Abu Dhabi has not gone unnoticed in the west, and there are concerns about how cozying up with Russia may affect the UAE’s relations with the west, especially in light of the recent leak of compromising Pentagon intel.

As evidence of this, US Treasury official Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Rosenberg has explicitly designated the UAE as a “country of focus,” noting Russia has been able to evade sanctions and “obtain more than $5 million in US semiconductors and other export-controlled parts, including components with battlefield uses.”

While the UAE has historically been aligned with the US, it has developed its own foreign policy in recent years, according to Dr. Giuseppe Dentice, an expert on International Relations of the Middle East from Centro Studi Internazionali Ce.S.I and a teaching assistant at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. As Dentine explains to The Cradle:

“The UAE has positioned itself as a free rider in the international arena, able to dialogue with the west and Russia and China. This has led the UAE to pursue its own agenda increasingly distant from the US and western interests, but in any case still extremely connected to many of Washington’s objectives in the large quadrant between the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia.”

For Joost Hiltermann, program director of the Middle East and North Africa section at the International Crisis Group think tank, Abu Dhabi is not likely to turn against the US in a major way. Despite pursuing closer ties with Beijing and Moscow, the UAE and other Persian Gulf states have emphasized that the US remains their primary external security partner.

Persian Gulf states pursue strategic balancing

In essence, “the UAE and other Gulf Arab states pursue a foreign policy of strategic balancing and hedging among both regional and global actors,” he tells The Cradle.

Yet, the UAE, along with other Persian Gulf countries, has refrained from aligning with the US in the new cold war, which has become evident in the case of US escalation over Taiwan and the war in Ukraine. In this context, the UAE does not want to miss out on the lucrative opportunity to engage with wealthy Russians, even if it means turning down the west and its preoccupation with the proxy war in Ukraine.

Dentice observes that many regional powers, especially those in the Persian Gulf have taken advantage of this new competitive environment to raise their own ambitions and develop their interests. The case of Russia and its businessmen is emblematic of this condition.

While the US does not necessarily oppose Russians visiting and residing elsewhere, Hiltermann notes that:

“They have an issue with the UAE becoming a hub for sanctions-busting and illicit economies, and they’ve had this concern for some time as US concerns relate to Russia sanctions violations and Iran and Syria sanctions violations.”

However, Hiltermann points out that the US has not always been clear on its sanctions policies and enforcement, which has confused and frustrated regional actors like the UAE. He says “Gulf Arab officials express significant dissatisfaction with US sanctions politics in the region, and often underline their lack of impact and how much they hurt local populations.”

Feeling the pressure

Additonally, Dentice emphasizes that the “UAE must be very careful to balance its own interests with the ambitions of the great powers.” Abu Dhabi should avoid any unnecessary confrontations or the risk of being labeled as a “pariah state” as this could harm its development and reputation as a commercial hub.

Irrespective of growing ties, the UAE has introduced some strict requirements for Russian businessmen and real estate investors who find it ever more difficult to purchase or rent space in Dubai. According to reports, financial and consultancy firms have are being closely observed by US financial regulators, so country business subjects have to be more cautious when dealing with Russia.

Also, despite its “free-rider” foreign policy approach, which requires a difficult balancing act, the UAE as well as other Persian Gulf states still heavily rely on US security arrangements, so many observers believe that sooner or later the UAE will have to agree on some compromise related to western sanctions issues.

Due to US pressure, the UAE has already canceled a license it had issued to Russia’s MTS Bank, and Russia’s largest bank Sberbank was also forced to close its office in Dubai.

Abu Dhabi’s diplomatic dilemma  

Despite efforts by Abu Dhabi and other Persian Gulf capitals to appeal to Washington about the importance of maintaining ties with Moscow by supporting de-escalation measures between Russia and the west – such as prisoner exchanges – it is becoming increasingly challenging to maintain good relations with a Russia so profoundly vilified in western capitals.

Hiltermann doubts whether this approach will be effective in the long run. He points out that while the “US claims that it does not push Gulf Arab states to choose sides, Russia has turned into an existential issue for the US and Europe in many ways, and sooner or later western pressures on the UAE will increase.”

It is clear that the UAE’s foreign policy approach is complex and involves a delicate balancing act between its own interests and the ambitions of great powers. Withstanding its efforts to maintain good relations with both Washington and Moscow, the UAE is increasingly feeling the western pressure to untangle from Russia, especially in the form of sanctions threats.

While Abu Dhabi’s strategic partnerships with a broad range of countries have reaped economic benefits, in the foreign policy realm, the same choices have caused acute diplomatic challenges.

But the UAE cannot merely focus on the great power contests unfolding abroad. Closer to home, Abu Dhabi has had to navigate the changing dynamics in West Asia, including peace talks to end the conflict in Yemen and the game-changing, Beijing-brokered rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The UAE’s success and stability in its own region will ultimately hinge on its proficiency in managing these local shifts. Meanwhile, the entry of China and Russia into West Asia offers Abu Dhabi some further leverage in managing Washington’s demands. Unless and until the US decides to draw a hard red line, the Emiratis will likely play all their cards in all arenas.

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

Russiatourismtrade and investmentUAE

Sergey Glazyev: ‘The road to financial multipolarity will be long and rocky’

In an exclusive interview with The Cradle, Russia’s top macroeconomics strategist criticizes Moscow’s slow pace of financial reform and warns there will be no new global currency without Beijing.

March 13 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

The headquarters of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) in Moscow, linked to the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) is arguably one of the most crucial nodes of the emerging multipolar world.

That’s where I was received by Minister of Integration and Macroeconomics Sergey Glazyev – who was previously interviewed in detail by The Cradle –  for an exclusive, expanded discussion on the geoeconomics of multipolarity.

Glazyev was joined by his top economic advisor Dmitry Mityaev, who is also the secretary of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s (EEC) science and technology council. The EAEU and EEC are formed by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia. The group is currently engaged in establishing a series of free trade agreements with nations from West Asia to Southeast Asia.

Our conversation was unscripted, free flowing and straight to the point. I had initially proposed some talking points revolving around discussions between the EAEU and China on designing a new gold/commodities-based currency bypassing the US dollar, and how it would be realistically possible to have the EAEU, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and BRICS+ to adopt the same currency design.

Glazyev and Mityaev were completely frank and also asked questions on the Global South. As much as extremely sensitive political issues should remain off the record, what they said about the road towards multipolarity was quite sobering – in fact realpolitik-based.

Glazyev stressed that the EEC cannot ask for member states to adopt specific economic policies. There are indeed serious proposals on the design of a new currency, but the ultimate decision rests on the leaders of the five permanent members. That implies political will – ultimately to be engineered by Russia, which is responsible for over 80 percent of EAEU trade.

It’s quite possible that a renewed impetus may come after the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow on March 21, where he will hold in-depth strategic talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On the war in Ukraine, Glazyev stressed that as it stands, China is profiting handsomely, as its economy has not been sanctioned – at least not yet – by US/EU and Beijing is buying Russian oil and gas at heavily discounted prices. The funds Russians are losing in terms of selling energy to the EU will have to be compensated by the proposed Power of Siberia II pipeline that will run from Russia to China, via Mongolia – but that will take a few more years.

Glazyev sketched the possibility of a similar debate on a new currency taking place inside the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – yet the obstacles could be even stronger. Once again, that will depend on political will, in this case by Russia-China: a joint decision by Xi and Putin, with crucial input by India – and as Iran becomes a full member, also energy-rich Tehran.

What is realistic so far is increasing bilateral trade in their own currencies, as in the Russia-China, Russia-India, Iran-India, Russia-Iran, and China-Iran cases.

Essentially, Glazyev does not see heavily sanctioned Russia taking a leadership role in setting up a new global financial system. That may fall to China’s Global Security Initiative. The division into two blocs seems inevitable: the dollarized zone – with its inbuilt eurozone – in contrast with the Global South majority with a new financial system and new trading currency for international trade. Domestically, individual nations will keep doing business in their own national currencies.

The road to ‘de-offshorization’

Glazyev has always been a fierce critic of the Russian Central Bank, and he did voice his misgivings – echoing his book The Last World War. He never ceases to stress that the American rationale is to damage the Russian economy on every front, while the motives of the Russian Central Bank usually raise “serious questions.”

He said that quite a few detailed proposals to reorient the Central Bank have been sent to Putin, but there has been no follow-up. He also evoked the extremely delicate theme of corruption involving key oligarchs who, for inscrutable reasons, have not been sidelined by the Kremlin.

Glazyev had warned for years that it was imperative for Moscow to sell out foreign exchange assets placed in the US, Britain, France, Germany, and others which later ended up unleashing sanctions against Russia.

These assets should have been replaced by investments in gold and other precious metals; stocks of highly liquid commodity values; in securities of the EAEU, SCO, and BRICS member states; and in the capital of international organizations with Russian participation, such as the Eurasian Development Bank, the CIS Interstate Bank, and the BRICS Development Bank.

It seems that the Kremlin at least is now fully aware of the importance of expanding infrastructure for supporting Russian exports. That includes creating international exchange trading marketplaces for trade in Russian primary goods within Russian jurisdiction, and in rubles; and creating international sales and service networks for Russian goods with high added value.

For Russia, says Glazyev, the key challenge ahead in monetary policy is to modernize credit. And to prevent negative impact by foreign financial sources, the key is domestic monetization –  “including expansion of long and medium-term refinancing of commercial banks against obligations of manufacturing enterprises and authorized government bodies. It is also advisable to consistently replace foreign borrowings of state- controlled banks and corporations with domestic sources of credit.”

So the imperative way to Russia, now in effect, is “de-offshorization.” Which essentially means getting rid of a “super-critical dependence of its reproduction contours on Anglo-Saxon legal and financial institutions,” something that entails “systematic losses of the Russian financial system merely on the difference in profitability between the borrowed and the placed capital.”

What Glazyev repeatedly emphasized is that as long as there’s no reform of the Russian Central Bank, any serious discussion about a new Global South-adopted currency faces insurmountable odds. The Chinese, heavily interlinked with the global financial system, may start having new ideas now that Xi Jinping, on the record, and unprecedentedly, has defined the US-provoked Hybrid War against China for what it is, and has named names: it’s an American operation.

What seems to be crystal clear is that the path toward a new financial system designed essentially by Russia-China, and adopted by vast swathes of the Global South, will remain long, rocky, and extremely challenging. The discussions inside the EAEU and with the Chinese may extrapolate to the SCO and even towards BRICS+. But all will depend on political will and political capital jointly deployed by the Russia-China strategic partnership.

That’s why Xi’s visit to Moscow next week is so crucial. The leadership of both Moscow and Beijing, in sync, now seems to be fully aware of the two-front Hybrid War deployed by Washington.

This means their peer competitor strategic partnership – the ultimate anathema for the US-led Empire – can only prosper if they jointly deploy a complete set of measures: from instances of soft power to deepening trade and commerce in their own currencies, a basket of currencies, and a new reserve currency that is not hostage to the Bretton Woods system legitimizing western finance capitalism.

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

الحسابات الأميركية السعودية بين اليمن وسورية ولبنان

الخميس 9 آذار 2023

ناصر قنديل

منذ مدة تمرّ العلاقات الأميركية السعودية بأزمة ثقة، وتأكيد الطرفين الأميركي والسعودي على الطابع الاستراتيجي لتحالفهما، لم ينف اعتراف الفريقين بأزمة في العلاقة التي كانت لها قواعد تقليدية تقوم على موقع مرجعي للسياسات السعودية الخارجية ترسمه سقوف السياسات الأميركية. وبدأت تتغيّر مع موقف سعودي يرسم هوامش مستقلة تتسع تدريجياً حتى طالت ما تعتبره واشنطن بداية مساس خطر بالثوابت، مثل الموقف من تدفقات الطاقة، ورفض السعودية الالتزام بالدعوات الأميركية لزيادة الإنتاج، والعقوبات على روسيا وتمسك السعودية بالتعاون معها كشريك كامل ضمن إطار أوبك بلاس من خارج نظام العقوبات، وصولاً الى العلاقات الصينية السعودية ووصفها أميركياً بالإنقلاب على العلاقة التاريخية الأميركية السعودية، وتوصيف الرياض لها ضمن إطار الشركات المتعددة، حتى خرجت مواقف أميركية رسمية من البيت الأبيض ووزارة الخارجية تتحدّث عن أن العلاقة مع الرياض قيد التقييم، وأن هذا التقييم سينتهي بإجراءات.

في هذا السياق يقرأ الخبراء التعقيدات المرافقة لظهور التوجه السعودي نحو السعي لتمديد الهدنة في اليمن وفق مقاربة تراعي مطالب حركة أنصار الله، والحديث السعودي عن الحاجة للانفتاح على الدولة السورية، والنقاش السعودي حول الوضع في لبنان، حيث ظهر استعداد سعودي لمشاريع تسويات في الملفين اليمني والسوري لا تنضبط بالسقوف السابقة التي اعتمدتها السعودية سابقاً، حملتها تصريحات سعودية واضحة تتحدث علناً عن استحالة الاستمرار بالسياسات السابقة، ككلام وزير الخارجية السعودية حول سورية، ويبدو للمتابعين أن هذا التراجع السعودي عن السقوف العالية تجاه اليمن وسورية، والإنفتاح على خيارات جديدة يمكن أن تنجح في صناعة التسويات، يرافقه موقف سعودي سلبي تجاه التسوية في لبنان، بل موقف سعودي بسقف أعلى من الموقف الأميركي في السلبية تجاه فرص تسوية تخرج لبنان من الاستعصاء الخانق في مقاربة الاستحقاق الرئاسي، وهو ما يعتقد الخبراء أنه نتاج كون السعودية في اليمن تقاتل بجيشها، وفي العلاقات العربية والدولية حيث القضية السورية حاضرة تستنزف بسمعتها ومكانتها، بينما لا تتكبد أي أكلاف في لبنان، حيث تستثمر حراك أطراف لبنانية مستعدة لضبط إيقاعها على التوقيت السعودي، وهي تحاول أن تعوض عبر المكاسب الممكن تحقيقها عبر التصعيد والتشدد في لبنان، ما سوف يكون عليها تقديمه من تنازلات أو تكبده من أكلاف في تسويات ممكنة في ملفي اليمن وسورية. ويعتبر الخبراء ان هذه الصلة هي التي تفسر البطء في مساري التسوية في اليمن وسورية، بانتظار أن يؤتي التشدد والتصعيد في لبنان بعض الثمار، أو يسلك طريق التقدم.

مقابل هذه المقاربة ثمة مقاربة مخالفة في تفسير وتوصيف مسار الموقف السعودي تجاه اليمن وسورية ولبنان، واستطراداً ما تسميه بتعقيدات العلاقة الأميركية السعودية، وتقول هذه المقاربة إن الحاجة الماسة لتحقيق تقدم سعودي في اليمن وسورية ولبنان، سواء في سلوك خط التسويات أو التصعيد ترتبط بالحاجة لتسهيل أميركي، حيث لواشنطن مقاربة لا تتقاطع في النظرة مع الحسابات السعودية، والحساب الأميركي نحو سورية عبرت عنه زيارة قائد القوات الاميركية الى شرق الفرات لإعلان التمسك بتعطيل أي انفتاح على الدولة السورية وإعلان التمسك بالكانتون الكردي. وقد ترجمت هذا الموقف تصريحات أميركية متكررة تحذر من الانفتاح على الدولة السورية، وفي اليمن لا تزال واشنطن تأمل أن تنتزع من أي تسوية لوقف الحرب في اليمن، ترتيبات تتصل بأمن الملاحة في الممرات المائية التي يسيطر عليها أنصار الله وخصوصاً مضيق باب المندب، وضمانات لأمن كيان الاحتلال، وصلة ذلك بمستقبل السلاح الصاروخي للأنصار، وشرعنة قواعد أميركية في الأرض اليمنية وتسهيلات لحركة الطائرات الأميركية المسيرة في الأجواء اليمنية، بينما لا تمانع واشنطن بتسوية في لبنان تستوحي الطريقة التي تم عبرها ترسيم الحدود البحرية للبنان تفادياً لقيام حزب الله بوضع فائض قوته على الطاولة وتهديد أمن «إسرائيل»، وهي بذلك ترسم سقفاً للمقاربة اللبنانية أدنى من السقف السعودي وأكثر انفتاحاً على خيارات التسوية.
– تملك واشنطن مفاتيح التعطيل والتسهيل، وهي تستخدمها عبر رسائل مشفرة نحو الرياض، فتعرض عليها منحها تفويضاً مشروطاً في لبنان لقيادة الاستحقاق الرئاسي بشروطها، مقابل انضباط الرياض بالسقوف الأميركية لملفات اليمن وسورية، وهذا ما يربك الحسابات السعوية ويفسر التباطؤ في رسم الخيارات وتظهير المواقف، لكن الوقت يضيق، ففي سورية تسارع تركي نحو دمشق وموعد يقترب لعقد القمة العربية في الرياض التي يريدها السعوديون مناسبة لا ينالها سواهم لعودة سورية الى الجامعة العربية، وفي اليمن حدود لاستعداد أنصار الله للانتظار ومنح المهل، وفي لبنان تغلق الأبواب على الرهانات الرئاسية التي قيل للسعودية إنها رهانات رابحة ويتقدم الخيار المقابل بثقة، بينما تضع المقاومة الأميركي أمام معادلة تحميله مسؤولية إدامة الفراغ ومنع التسويات وصولاً إلى الفوضى وتضع مقابلها استعدادها للحرب على الكيان، فتنشأ دينامية الجنرال وقت التي لا تدع مجالاً لمواءمة قسمة الحقل على قسمة البيدر، ويصير على العشاق أن يتفرقوا لأن الدف قد تمزق، فلا تبقى السعودية قادرة على ضبط ايقاعها في اليمن وسورية على التوقيت الأميركي ولا تبقى اميركا قادرة على ضبط إيقاعها في لبنان على التوقيت السعودي. هي شهور فاصلة ستقول الكثير.

التعليق السياسي

إلى الحوار در

بعدما تبدّدت الأحلام بفرض خريطة طريق تحكم الاستحقاق الرئاسي عنوانها السعي لتجميع الغالبية اللازمة لانتخاب المرشح ميشال معوض، أي 65 صوتاً، وبدأت جبهته الداعمة تتفكك ومجموع ناخبيه يتقلص، منذ قرّر الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي الخروج من هذه الجبهة نحو ترشيح قائد الجيش وآخرين كخيارات متفق عليها مع شركاء ترشيح معوّض وفي مقدمتهم القوات اللبنانية بالانتقال إلى الخطة باء، وبدعم الخارج الراعي والمساند، صارت الخطة باء في الواجهة وانتهى الرهان على ترشيح معوض وتحول الى حصان أعرج عاجز عن المضي في السباق، وقد انفض الثلث المعطل المفترض من حوله، فكيف بالسعي لتجميع الغالبية.

في الخطة باء سعي لتمرير إمكانية انتخاب قائد الجيش دون تعديل دستوري وطرحه مرشحاً توافقياً لا يمثل ما يمثله معوض من استفزاز بخطاب عدائي للمقاومة، وهو المرشح الجدّي للحلف الداخلي والخارجي المناوئ للمقاومة، ليس بالضرورة لاعتباره مناوئاً، بقدر اعتباره مؤهلاً لخلط الأوراق وإرباك الحسابات، لكن الخطة باء أصيبت بالمقتل وسقطت بالضربة القاضية مع إعلان رئيس مجلس النواب استحالة انتخابه دون تعديل دستوري، باعتبار غياب الإجماع الذي تحقق في التسوية السياسية التي تمت في الدوحة ومن ضمنها وصول العماد ميشال سليمان الى رئاسة الجمهورية، يجعل أي انتخاب دون تعديل الدستور عرضة لطعن مؤكد ينتهي بإبطال الانتخاب.

صار الفريق المناوئ للمقاومة خالي اليدين من أي مرشح، ولا خطة ج، وليس من السهل إنتاج مرشح ثالث وتجميع الثلث المعطل من حوله لتحقيق التوازن التفاوضي في مواجهة الإعلان المتتابع لدعم ترشيح فرنجية وحشد تأييد يتجاوز الثلث المعطل ويقترب من الأغلبية وراءه، وبالتالي لم يعد هذا الفريق المناوئ هو الفريق المفاوض المقابل لمؤيدي فرنجية، بل هو واحد من مجموعة أطراف مدعوة للحوار طلباً للتوافق حول الاستحقاق الرئاسي، وهي أطراف تتراوح في أحجامها وتتفاوت في مقاربتها، وليس بينها أي خيار قادر على تجميع الثلث المعطل منفرداً.

العودة للحوار اليوم تحظى بموافقة كتل نيابية تمثل أكثر من ثلثي مجلس النواب، وهو النصاب اللازم لانتخاب الرئيس، وعلى مناوئي المقاومة الاختيار بين مقاطعة الحوار وتظهير حجمهم الفعلي العاجز عن تعطيل النصاب، وهذا أمر جيد، أو المشاركة في الحوار منعاً لانكشاف تراجع حجمهم، وهذا جيد ايضاً.

عنقود العنب يؤكل حبة حبة، والحبة الناضجة اليوم هي إلى الحوار در.

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Sanctions against Russia dubbed ‘poison’ for EU

28 Feb, 2023 

The bloc’s new restrictions only increase its dependence on direct competitors, according to Moscow

Sanctions against Russia dubbed ‘poison’ for EU

Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova ©  Sputnik / Russian Foreign Ministry

EU sanctions against Russia are missing the mark and instead chipping away at the bloc’s economic independence, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday.

She slammed the tenth package of EU sanctions, which was unveiled on Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s military campaign against Ukraine. The measures targeted Russia’s banking sector and sought to curb its access to dual-use and advanced technologies.

Each consecutive sanctions package clearly demonstrates one thing: anti-Russia restrictions are instruments that did not work.

Zakharova said she agreed with Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, who earlier this month described the restrictions as “slow-acting but certain poison.”

“The only thing is that they, first of all, ‘kill’ the economic sovereignty of the European Union. The EU can slap itself with any number of restrictions regarding trade with Russia; this will only increase its dependence on its direct competitors,” she explained.

Zakharova also blasted the bloc’s crackdown on Russian media, noting that Brussels was “deliberately destroying the foundations of democratic society, undermining the principles and values the EU was built on in the first place.”

The spokeswoman also offered a reminder that “the EU, the US and their satellites found themselves alone” in imposing sanctions on Russia.

“The rest of the world… did not join any of the ‘packages’, rejecting restrictions as illegal, hurting the global economy and undermining food and energy security,” she said, adding that the EU’s threats to punish those who refuse to comply with the sanctions would only strengthen global opposition to what “essentially is the neo-colonial dictatorial policy of the West.”

Since the start of the Ukraine crisis, the EU has imposed restrictions on a total of 1,473 individuals and 205 entities that the bloc said undermined Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Russian President Vladimir Putin has described this campaign as “a full-blown sanctions war,” adding that it had failed to bring about the collapse of the nation’s economy.

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سنة على حرب أوكرانيا فمن فرض إرادته؟

السبت 25 شباط 2023

التعليق السياسي

عندما يحتفل الغرب بمرور سنة على حرب أوكرانيا تحت عنوان أن أوكرانيا صمدت وأن روسيا تعاني العزلة، وأن السنة الثانية للحرب هي سنة التراجعات الروسية العسكرية والسياسية والاقتصادية، فهل علينا أن نصدّق؟

عندما بدأت روسيا ما وصفته العملية العسكرية الخاصة، وضعت حربها بين سقفين، الأول أن يقابل الأوروبيون الموقف الروسيّ بعقلانية، فلا ينضمّون إلى منطق العقوبات العدائية التي تنادي بها أميركا وتستدرجهم إلى ساحتها لتجعلهم رهائن للسياسات الأميركية في مجال الطاقة، وبالتالي تحولهم الى دول هشة ضعيفة عاجزة عن الاستقلال. وفي هذه الحالة تكتفي روسيا بالسقف الأوكراني للحرب، أي ترتيب مريح لذوي الأصول الروسية في أوكرانيا الجديدة، ضمن صيغة اتحادية لعدة دول مستقلة، يجمعها الحياد. وسقف آخر يرتبط باستجابة أوروبا لنداء العداء لروسيا الذي تقوده واشنطن. وفي هذه الحالة تتحوّل الحرب الى سقف عنوانه إعادة صياغة العلاقات الدولية على المسرح الأوروبيّ بصورة خاصة.

في الحالة الأولى كانت حلقة الهيمنة الأميركية ستضعف في أوروبا وتتحوّل أوروبا الى شريك أمني اقتصادي لروسيا في بناء نظام عالمي متعدّد الأقطاب تحفظ فيه أوروبا مقعدها المستقل، أما في الحالة الثانية فتسقط العناوين الأوكرانية المباشرة للحرب وتحلّ مكانها العناوين الدولية، وتتحول أوكرانيا الى ساحة منازلة مع حلف الناتو، كما هو الحال، وفي حرب استنزاف تتقن روسيا أصولها تزيد أهمية القدرة على تلبية الميدان بالقدرات البشرية والعتاد والسلاح والذخائر على أهمية الجغرافيا، وعندما سلكت الأمور هذا الاتجاه أظهرت روسيا براعة فائقة في تحمّل التخلي المؤقت عن الجغرافيا لتحقيق أهداف حرب الاستنزاف، وأوصلت الناتو إلى استنزاف مخزونات ذخائره، وأوكرانيا إلى استنزاف مقدراتها البشرية، واحتوت بنجاح العقوبات الغربية المالية ونجحت بحماية الروبل من الضغوط المفترضة بذكاء رغم مصادرة مئات مليارات الدولارات من أصولها.

الآن تدخل الحرب مرحلة جديدة لا ينفع فيها التغني الغربي بتصويت الأمم المتحدة على مبدأ الانسحاب الروسي من أوكرانيا، وهو مبدأ يبدو طبيعياً أن تؤيده غالبية دولية، هي ليست متوافرة للعقوبات المفروضة على روسيا وهي الأهم، حيث يتمرد أقرب حلفاء أميركا عليها في الاستجابة لنداء العقوبات، كحال تركيا التي تمسك بمداخل البحر الأسود، والسعودية التي تمسك بعصب سوق الطاقة. والواضح أن المرحلة الجديدة التي يدخلها العالم ليست مرحلة عزلة روسيا، بل مرحلة فقدان اميركا لسطوة قبضتها على أقرب الحلفاء.

في الميدان سيكشف الربيع ومن بعده الصيف حجم التحولات التي تتراكم لصالح روسيا في الجغرافيا، ومحدودية القدرة الغربية على مجاراة الروس في تأمين المزيد من السلاح الفعال وسلاسل توريد الذخائر، ويبدأ الاقتصاد الروسي بدورته الجديدة التي أسست لها إجراءات احتواء العقوبات، والتي يتوقع الخبراء أن تتيح نمواً في ظل الحرب يتجاوز الـ 5% سنوياً.

نجحت روسيا بفتح الطريق لعالم جديد يتشكل.

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Neocons’ Strategery

Feb 25, 2023


February 17, 2023

Srbin Info Media

Media and personal freedom in Serbia have hit a new low over the last several days.

On February 15, a large citizens’ protest rally took place in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, around the statue of Czar Nicholas II. The assembled citizens were protesting against the ultimatum recently presented to the Serbian government by France and Germany to officially recognize and legally accept the secession of the NATO occupied southern Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija. They were using their constitutional right to voice their views and were urging the government to reject the ultimatum. The Serbian public believes that the ultimatum was conceived and written by the Biden Administration and that Britain and France were merely used as delivery boys.

A collateral issue is Serbia joining anti-Russia sanctions, which Western government have been pressuring and cajoling its government to do since the start of the Special Military Operation in the Ukraine a year ago. The Serbian government has been delaying compliance with these demands, but there are increasing signs that it is preparing to give in to US and EU pressure in the near future. On both issues, opinion polls show that the Serbian public are opposed to both recognizing Kosovo and joining anti-Russia sanctions by overwhelming majorities of between 85 to 90%.

The February 15 protest was covered by our media service, Srbin Info. Our editor, Dejan Petar Zlatanović also spoke at the rally to express his personal opposition to both the Kosovo ultimatum and the plan to introduce sanctions against Russia. In his remarks he stated that “whoever signs off on giving up Kosovo is a dead man.” The police, which monitored the rally, interpreted his remarks as a direct threat to assassinate Serbia’s President Alexander Vučić and promptly arrested Zlatanović. The violent arrest of our editor, who is 60 and also happens to be a person with a congenital disability, has been filmed and posted on Twitter. Take a listen to his screams as the regime police are taking him away:

Serbian law provides for detention of no more than 48 hours, unless the prosecutor’s office can satisfy a judge that the detained person constitutes a danger to society, in which case the court can order a longer detention. As the 48 hour period was expiring and the authorities were facing a legal obligation to release Mr. Zlatanović, the prosecutor charged him with planning to violently overthrow the “constitutional order” and requested that the court approve detention of at least 30 days, pending an investigation. Our editor Zlatanović announced that he would begin a hunger strike if the prosecutor’s extended detention request were granted.


Along with Zlatanović the police also arrested human rights activist Damnjan Knežević. During the arrest, Knežević was beaten so badly that he had to be transferred from prison to a hospital to receive medical treatment.

The Serbian regime has managed to deceive a part of the Western public with the narrative that it would never knuckle under to Western pressure to recognize NATO occupied Kosovo as an independent state separate from Serbia and would not impose sanctions on Russia. It was lying on both counts. Now that the farce is falling apart and under Western threats and blackmail it is preparing to do both, it is trying to silence all truth tellers, as evidenced by the repression of opposition media and illegal detention of our editor, Dejan Petar Zlatanović. We ask all who believe in freedom of expression to write to the office of Serbia’s President Alexander Vučić to demand the immediate release of Mr. Zlatanović and Mr. Knežević and the dropping of all charges for legal and non-threatening speech that is protected by Serbia’s constitution and the European Declarations on Human Rights.

Please direct your appeal to:

Alexander Vučić

President of Serbia


Russia Confronting the Entire NATO Machine; West Engaged in Economic Terrorism – Ambassador to Lebanon

February 3, 2023

By Mostafa Awada

As the Russian military operation in Ukraine approaches the one-year mark, Al-Ahed News sat down with Moscow’s envoy to Lebanon Alexander Rudakov.

According to the Russian ambassador, his country “is not at war with the Ukrainian people, but it is facing the entire NATO military machine led by the United States that is using the Ukrainians as fuel. Kiev has no authority to make any sovereign decisions.”

“The objectives of the Russian special military operation on Ukrainian soil have not changed. They primarily include protecting our Motherland, its sovereignty, and its territorial integrity, ensuring the security of the Russian people, including [those living] in the territory of Ukraine liberated from neo-Nazis, and the disarming and the de-Nazification of this country,” Rudakov explained.

“We are actively and rapidly developing our own economic countermeasures. We are taking the necessary measures to minimize damage and ensure the sustainable functioning of all sectors of the national economy. The import substitution policy, the accelerated development of private industry, and the strengthening of technological sovereignty are designed to neutralize the impact of sanctions and all restrictions.”

Below is the complete transcript of the interview:

It’s been almost one year since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine. What goals has Russia achieved so far? And what is your assessment of the progress of the operation?

The system of international relations is experiencing radical changes. The course and results of 2022 show the clear and categorical refusal of the Western world to deal with anyone on an equal footing as a fully sovereign partner. Rather, it deals with some countries as dependent entities, colonies, or as second-class countries. The West also openly commits aggressive and treacherous actions without the slightest regard for the interests of other countries.

NATO’s hostile steps towards Russia began well before February 2022, which eventually led to an escalation on the Ukrainian front.

The objectives of the Russian special military operation on Ukrainian soil have not changed. They primarily include protecting our Motherland, its sovereignty, and its territorial integrity, ensuring the security of the Russian people, including [those living] in the territory of Ukraine liberated from neo-Nazis, and the disarming and the de-Nazification of this country. We are moving steadily towards the completion of all difficult tasks.

Are the doors of dialogue with Kiev still open?

One of the main principles of Russia’s foreign policy is the need to resolve differences by political and diplomatic means.

We have always been and remain open to dialogue with Kiev, including a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. Several rounds of these negotiations have already taken place in the spring of last year, which the Ukrainian side refused to continue, on the orders of Washington.

It is important to understand that Russia is not at war with the Ukrainian people, but it is facing the entire NATO military machine led by the United States that is using the Ukrainians as fuel. Kiev has no authority to make any sovereign decisions.

Thus, it is necessary, first of all, for Washington, the European capitals, and the Kiev puppet regime to realize the imperative of respecting Russia’s legitimate security interests in order to begin negotiations on a settlement in Ukraine.

There is nothing new in our position regarding this issue. We have always strived to create a system of equal and indivisible security for all. We consider attempts to enhance the security of a state by infringing on the interests of another state useless.

What are the methods adopted by Russia to withstand Western attacks through the media, politically, and economically?

In fact, a fierce hybrid war has been launched against Russia. Western countries are taking hostile measures towards us in the political, economic, and media sectors, in addition to providing military support to the neo-Nazis in Kiev.

Attempts to isolate Russia globally continue. In the pro-Western media, they are trying to discredit us and make false accusations about the world’s problems, such as the global food and energy crises. Unlawful penalties are being imposed unilaterally, and they use fraudulent and illegal methods to compete with us.

This is done with the aim of weakening or breaking Russia, but they will not be able to achieve their desired goals.

We were able to successfully prepare ourselves for sanctions. We are actively and rapidly developing our own economic countermeasures. We are also working hard to clarify and spread our positions aimed at promoting world peace, ensuring global security and stability, and establishing a fair, democratic system for relations between states. We are developing relationships with countries that share this vision and mission.

How does Moscow deal with the economic sanctions imposed on it in light of the war with Kiev? What is the impact of these sanctions on the Russian interior? And how does Moscow face this economic terrorism legally?

At the beginning, I would like to point out the correct formulation of the question: Western countries are currently practicing economic terrorism in its most obvious form.

The Europeans, whom we used to call “partners”, have completely lost their credibility. They are trying to strangle Russia economically. They arbitrarily set price ceilings for the purchase of Russian gas and oil, sabotage the infrastructure that guarantees supplies of hydrocarbons, and then unfoundedly accuse us of provoking the global food and energy crises, knowing that they themselves prevent the shipment of Russian grain and fertilizers to countries in need.

The policy of economic sanctions has long been practiced against Russia. In recent years, we have witnessed a new round of measures. However, it was fairly easy to predict, so we were able to prepare ourselves for it.

We take the necessary measures to minimize damage and ensure that all sectors of the national economy function sustainably. The import substitution policy, the accelerated development of private industry, and the strengthening of technological sovereignty are designed to neutralize the impact of sanctions and all other restrictions.

What is the role of Russia’s allies in strengthening its steadfastness in the face of the Western attack?

The true reasons for the war that a handful of Western countries launched against Russia are not a secret for much of the world.

We maintain reliable relations with many of our friends and allies in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, and with them we continue to develop political dialogue and bilateral trade and economic cooperation, as well as through various frameworks of international bodies.

Russia has long been a reliable trading partner and supplier of energy, food, and other goods and services. Due to the hostile course of the West towards Russia, our relations are currently being redirected to the markets of friendly countries, especially Asian ones.

We are successfully cooperating with member states of the Eurasian Economic Union, BRICS, and Shanghai Cooperation Organization to overcome emerging challenges.

In Lebanon, we have heard in the media about Russian offers in various fields to provide assistance to the government and the people. Can you provide an overview? And what was the government’s response to this?

Our Lebanese friends are well aware of Russia’s continuous readiness to lend a helping hand in difficult times.

Russian in-kind assistance is provided to Lebanon, including through United Nations humanitarian organizations. For example, last year 714.15 tons of Russian sunflower oil were distributed to Lebanese schools.

Every year, we offer 150 scholarships to Lebanese students who wish to receive free education in Russian universities.

Heeding the call of the Lebanese government, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided regarding the free supply of wheat and petroleum products. The technical logistics of transporting these products are currently being coordinated.

In addition, we are studying prospects for intensifying bilateral cooperation in a number of fields, including energy, medicine, and agriculture.

We are looking for other opportunities to support our Lebanese friends during this difficult time for their country. We always remain open to considering proposals for launching any mutually beneficial projects.

We are convinced that the early election of a Lebanese President and the subsequent formation of an effective and capable government will greatly contribute to the successful progress of all these initiatives.

Some Russian airlines are suffering from a fuel crisis in Lebanon. Care to comment?

One of the manifestations of Western economic terrorism, which we mentioned earlier, is the blatant intimidation of our partners. This is intended to get them to refuse to cooperate with us.

Companies operating in Lebanon specialized in ground maintenance of aircraft could not escape this fate, as under the threat of sanctions, they were prohibited from refueling Russian aircraft.

This, of course, creates some inconvenience and confusion. Considering this, the entire Russian economy has adapted to the pressure of continued sanctions, and in the best interests of our country, we are adopting effective methods to neutralize the damage caused by the restrictions on us and respond to them appropriately.

We are convinced that over time we will be able to restore Moscow-Beirut flights.

Does the Lebanese government’s acceptance of some of the sanctions imposed on Russia, at the West’s request, affect the Lebanese community in Russia?

Western countries, in their reckless attempts to inflict economic damage on Russia, create a whole host of human complexities that affect innocent people, often exacerbating the social and economic problems in these same countries imposing sanctions.

We regret that this short-sighted policy has negatively affected thousands of Lebanese expatriates living in Russia, depriving them of the possibility of benefiting from inexpensive direct flights to their homeland. We are trying to find a way out of this situation.

A final word

Russia traditionally stands for the promotion of international peace and stability, with strict respect for the principle of sovereign equality of states.

Russia’s relations with all Arab countries have always been characterized by an open and friendly nature, with our willingness to consider each other’s interests and mutual assistance.

Today, in the emerging multipolar world, Russian-Arab relations have become a model of sincere, mutually beneficial and diversified relations.

The steadfastness of many Arab countries in the face of extortion and intimidation is respected, as well as their firm position of being guided by their national interests in resolving pressing international issues.

I am confident that by uniting the efforts of like-minded people all over the planet, we will be able to contribute effectively to building a new, democratic, multipolar world order without threats against “unwanted” countries and without manifestations of neo-Nazism and neo-colonialism.

What is behind the escalation between Ankara and NATO?

NATO warns that Putin’s MASSIVE attack is happening now, send weapons | Redacted with Clayton Morris

February 03, 2023

The Ukraine Conflict — A Primer (Gonzalo Lira)

JANUARY 31, 2023

I like Gonzalo Lira’s videos A LOT, but today I am posting one without seeing it (I don’t have the time), so I cannot say that I approve (or disapprove) of what he says. 

If you disagree with X he says, please don’t blame me 🙂  That being said, I am pretty sure that he will be spot on.  Andrei

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


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?

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Bakhmut has turned into Ukrainian bloodbath (Col. Macgregor)

December 24, 2022

The US love for Ukraine or Hate against Russia?

December 23, 2022


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

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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.

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