Biden’s Journey: Change Is Imperceptible

Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi

February 25, 2021

Biden has been a major disappointment for those who hoped that he’d change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts.

The new White House Team has been in place for more than a month and it is perhaps time to consider where it is going with America’s fractured foreign policy. To be sure, when a new administration brings in a bunch of “old hands” who made their bones by attacking Syria and Libya while also assassinating American citizens by drone one might hope that those mistakes might have served as valuable “lessons learned.” Or maybe not, since no one in the Democratic Party ever mentions the Libya fiasco and President Joe Biden has already made it clear that Syria will continue to be targeted with sanctions as well as with American soldiers based on its soil. And no one will be leaving Afghanistan any time soon. The Biden team will only let up when Afghanistan is “secure” and there is regime change in Damascus.

A big part of the problem is that the personnel moves mean that the poison from the Barack Obama years has now been reintroduced into the tottering edifice that Donald Trump left behind. Obama’s United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice once made the case for attacking the Libyans by explaining how Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi provided his soldiers with Viagra so they could more readily engage in mass rapes of presumably innocent civilians. Unfortunately, Sue is back with the new administration as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council where she will no doubt again wreak havoc in her own inimitable fashion. She is joined at the top level of the administration by Tony Blinken as Secretary of State, Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor, Samantha Power as head of USAID and retired General Lloyd J. Austin as Secretary of Defense. All of the appointees are regarded as “hawks” and have personal history working with Biden when he was in Congress and as Vice President, while most of them also served in the Obama administration.

Be that as it may, Joe Biden and whoever is pulling his strings have assembled a group of establishment warmongers and aspirant social justice engineers that is second to none. Those who expected something different than the usual Democratic Party template have definitely been disappointed. Hostility towards China continues with warships being sent to the South China Sea and the president is seeking to create a new Trans-Atlantic alliance directed against both Beijing and Moscow. The Europeans are reportedly not enthusiastic about remaining under Washington’s thumb and would like some breathing room.

In a phone conversation where it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall, Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States would no longer ignore his bad behavior. The official White House account of the call included the following pithy summary: “President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. He also raised other matters of concern, including the SolarWinds hack, reports of Russia placing bounties on United States soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 United States election, and the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny.”

And to be sure, there have already been a number of issues that Biden might have dealt with by executive order, like lifting the illegal and unjustified blockade of Cuba, that could have inspired some hope that the new administration would not be just another bit of old wine in new bottles. Alas, that has not taken place but for a series of moves to unleash another wave of illegal immigration and to “protect LGBTQ rights globally.” Biden has also retained a heavy military presence in Washington itself, possibly as part of a Constitution-wrecking plan to tackle what he is referring to as “domestic terrorism.” The domestic terrorists being targeted appear to largely consist of people who are white working and middle class and voted for Trump.

In some ways, foreign policy might have been the easiest fix if the new administration were really seeking to correct the misadventures of the past twenty years. Quite the contrary, Biden and his associates have actually reversed the sensible and long overdue policies initiated by Donald Trump to reduce troop strength in Germany and bring the soldiers home from Syria and Afghanistan. Biden has already committed to an indefinite stay in Afghanistan, America’s longest “lost” war, and has covertly sent more soldiers into Syria as well as Iraq.

As regards Latin America, the U.S. clearly is prepared to double down on regime change in Venezuela, continuing its Quixotic support of Juan Guaido as president. Meanwhile, the new Secretary of State Tony Blinken has clearly indicated that there will be no end to deference to Israeli interests in the Middle East. Under questioning by Congress, he has insisted that Israel will be “consulted” on U.S. policy to include arms sales in the region, which has been interpreted to mean that Jerusalem will have a veto, and has confirmed that his view on Iran is identical to that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both are apparently promoting the view that Iran will have enough enriched uranium to construct a weapon within a few weeks, though they have not addressed other technical aspects of what would actually be required to build one. Netanyahu has been making the claim about the Iranian threat since the 1980s and now it is also an element of U.S. policy.

Biden and Blinken have also moved forward slowly on a campaign commitment to attempt renegotiation of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran that President Trump withdrew from in 2017. As a condition to re-start discussions, the Iranian leadership has demanded a return to the status quo ante, meaning that the punitive sanctions initiated by Trump would have to be canceled and Iran would in return cease all enrichment activities. Biden and Blinken, which admittedly sounds a bit like a vaudeville comedy duo, have reportedly agreed to withdraw the Trump sanctions but have also suggested that Iran will have to make other concessions, to include ending its ballistic missile development program and ceasing its “meddling” in the Middle East. Iran will refuse to agree to that, which means that the bid to renegotiate could turn out to be nothing more than a bit of theater involving multilateral “discussions” hosted by the European Union and the pointless hostility between Washington and Tehran will continue.

And speaking again of Israel, there have been concerns expressed by the usual suspects because Biden had not called telephoned Netanyahu immediately after the inauguration. It may be true that the president was sending a somewhat less than subtle message signaling that he was in charge, but the call has now taken place and everything is hunky-dory. As a separate issue, the Jewish state has, of course, the world’s only secret nuclear arsenal, estimated to consist of at least 200 bombs, and it also has several systems available to deliver them on target. For no reasons that make any sense, the United States since the time of President Richard Nixon has never publicly confirmed the existence of the weapons, preferring to maintain “nuclear ambiguity” that allows Israel to have the weapons without any demands for inspections or constraints on their use. The most recent four presidents have, in fact, signed secret agreements with Israel not to expose the nuclear arsenal. Biden has apparently not done so yet, but appeals by international figures, including most recently South African Desmond Tutu, had produced some expectations that the new administration might break with precedent.

Giving aid to Israel is, in fact, illegal due to the Symington Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, which bans U.S. economic and military assistance to nuclear proliferators and countries that seek to acquire nuclear weapons. But Biden has already indicated that he would not under any circumstances cut aid to Israel, so the matter would appear to be closed. In any event the Symington Amendment includes an exemption clause that would allow the funding to continue as long as the president certifies to Congress that continued aid to the proliferator would be a vital U.S. interest. Given Israel’s power in both Congress and the White House it is not imaginable that its aid would be affected no matter what Netanyahu and his band of criminals choose to do.

So, it would seem that Biden is unprepared to either pressure or pursue any distancing from Israel and its policies, not a good sign for those of us who have encouraged some disengagement from the Middle East quagmire. And one final issue where some of us have hoped to see some movement from Biden has also been a disappointment. That is Julian Assange, who is fighting against efforts to have him extradited from England to face trial and imprisonment in the U.S. under the Espionage Act. Many observers believe that Assange is a legitimate journalist who is being set up for a show trial with only one possible outcome. The entire process is to a large extent being driven by a desire for revenge coming largely from the Democratic Party since Assange was responsible for publishing the Hillary Clinton emails as well as other party documents. Biden has already indicated that the process of extraditing Assange will continue.

So, Biden has been a major disappointment for those who expected that he might change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts while also having the good sense and courage to make relations with countries like Iran and Israel responsive to actual U.S. interests. Finally, it would be a good sign if Assange were to be released from the threat of trial and prison, if only to recognize that free speech and a free press benefit everyone, but that is perhaps a bridge too far as the United States moves inexorably towards a totalitarian state intolerant of dissent.

Washington to Organize Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to Challenge Russia in the Black Sea

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research, February 15, 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 27 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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One of Washington’s main strategic objectives is to consolidate and organize Eastern European states to oppose and contain Russia. Supporting Black Sea countries against Russia has become a major American priority as Turkey is now an unreliable partner, and therefore Washington is attempting to create a new alliance officially outside of the NATO structure but attached to it indirectly. The creation of a military bloc between Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova is a Washington-led initiative, but is unlikely to have any major impact in limiting Russian influence.

Last week, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba revealed details of his conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Kuleba said that Kiev, with the support of Washington, will start forming a trilateral military alliance comprising of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Although Moldova is not directly on the Black Sea like Ukraine and Georgia, it does have relatively easy access via the Port of Giurgiulești on the Danube River. The bold statements by Kiev’s leaders do not usually provoke significant global interest, but this is special as the order came directly from the White House. Therefore, it unsurprisingly proves a continuation of Washington’s hostile policies towards Russia under new U.S. President Joe Biden.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, almost immediately after Blinken’s endorsement, began to check the combat readiness of his troops in Donbass and stopped the transmission of “pro-Russian” television stations on February 3. Then a week later on February 10, Ukraine made a provocative proposal to NATO by urging the Alliance to use the airspace in the Simferopol Flight Information Region (FIR) over Russia’s Crimean Peninsula for its operations.

The Simferopol FIR includes Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast, the Crimean Peninsula and the central part of the Black Sea. International air routes over Crimea have been banned by Eurocontrol (European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation) as the Simferopol dispatch center is Russian operated and the only flights to Crimea come from Russia. The sky above the peninsula and the adjacent waters of the Black and Azov Seas are effectively protected by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Russian Navy. Therefore, Ukraine’s invitation for NATO to fly over Crimea with military aircraft is an insidious military ingenuity and an attempt by Zelensky to force the Alliance into a conflict with Russia.Georgia and Ukraine Joining NATO Will Likely Have the Opposite Effect Against Russia

The intensification of Ukrainian military operations in Donbass, even with the promised support of the U.S., will only lead to a new humanitarian catastrophe, but more importantly a changing of the frontlines that will not be in Kiev’s favor. We cannot overlook that the Donbass People’s Militia defeated the Ukrainian Armed Forces and their advance was only halted because of orders from Moscow. President Vladimir Putin has already announced that he will never allow the repression of Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine to occur, but authorities in Kiev have not shown any sign in ending their hostilities.

Kiev, as well as decisionmakers in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, dream of complete NATO support in any future war against Russia. Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia in 2008 and Ukraine’s military actions against Donbass in 2014 should serve as stark reminders that NATO is not willing to go to war with Russia for their sake. This is even despite Washington’s encouragement for these countries to be openly hostile against Russia.

In the Global Firepower military ranking, Poland ranks 23. The Pentagon has promised to assist Warsaw within five days of any conflict breaking out. However, recent computer simulations of a possible conflict between Poland and an adversary from its east (i.e. Russia) suggest that assistance will be shortcoming. Given the logistical problems, a five-day transfer of U.S. troops to Poland is an overly optimistic forecast. Using the realistic background of Poland which directly borders several friendly states, such as Germany which has a huge contingent of American soldiers, the geographical separation between Ukraine and Georgia is discouraging if they are supposed to be in an alliance to counter and/or contain Russia.

A hypothetical military bloc between Ukraine (ranked 25 by Global Firepower), Georgia (ranked 92) and Moldova (ranked 107) seems extremely unconvincing in being able to contain Russia. Although Moldova has a “non-aligned” Constitution, new Russophobic President Maia Sandu is more than willing to carry out demands made by Washington.

The U.S. and NATO are attempting to turn the post-Soviet space into a state of permanent military hostility and conflict as they believe it is the best guarantee for Western countries to keep Russia distracted and weak. However, close coordination between Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova is unlikely to be a major concern for Russia in security terms as they don’t have navies.

As Turkey has become an unreliable NATO member, the U.S. is hedging their bets on NATO members Bulgaria and Romania, and NATO-friendly states like Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, to serve Turkey’s role in pressuring Russia in the Black Sea. Although the U.S. and Turkey conducted military exercises in the Black Sea to the condemnation of Moscow only days ago, there is little suggestion that if a conflict broke out in the Black Sea involving NATO and Russia, Turkey will commit to its Alliance obligations. It is for this reason that Washington is pushing Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to more closely cooperate with NATO against Russia despite not being Alliance members.

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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

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Al-Houthi to Al-Mayadeen: We are ready for war and peace – Biden to Remove Yemen’s Ansarullah from Terror List الحوثي للميادين: جاهزون للحرب والسلام وبايدن يرفع أنصار الله اليمني من قائمة الإرهاب

Al-Houthi to Al-Mayadeen: We are ready for war and peace

الحوثي للميادين: مستعدون للحرب وللسلام.. والكلام عن التقسيم مجرد شعارات

A member of the Yemeni Supreme Political Council confirms that his country is waiting for the words of the US President on stopping the war to be converted into action, and affirms the readiness of “Ansar Allah” for dialogue in the interest of the Yemenis.


Muhammad Ali Al-Houthi, said in an interview with Al-Mayadeen that Washington is supposed to “stop the Saudi-Emirati war on our country and this is what we are waiting for,” describing the US President’s statements regarding stopping the war as “mere statements,” while what is expected. Stop the war and lift the blockade. “

Al-Houthi stressed that what Saudi Arabia and the UAE have done is “full-fledged terrorism,” adding that the Saudi coalition has tried “against us the military war since 2004 and has not worked with us, and we are not afraid of them and are ready to continue more.”

Al-Houthi emphasized that what Saudi Arabia and the UAE did was “terrorism with full descriptions,” explaining that the Saudi alliance had tried launched a military war against us since 2004, “We are not afraid of this war and are ready to continue the confrontation, but we are with peace,” he said. “all matters can be resolved during peace negotiations if arrogance is put aside.” Al-Houthi called on Washington to impose according to the war on its followers and to take serious decisions in this context, pointing out the absence of communication with the United States until now.

Earlier, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a halt to his country’s support for the war in Yemen, saying, “I have asked my Middle East team to act on a cease-fire  to deliver humanitarian aid and open dialogue.”

Al-Houthi said Biden put forward a halt to the war on Yemen during his campaign because he wanted to “restore U.S. policy” after former President Donald Trump, adding: “If Biden violates the cessation of the war on Yemen that he has pledged to stop, it undermines the confidence of the American voter and that’s what he doesn’t want.”

He also urged Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to stop the war and turn to the peace of the brave,” stressing that “Ansar Allah” will dialogue according to “the dictates of the Yemeni interest, and we do not accept anyone to be humiliated. We and they will be equals to speak in a way that takes care of our interests and their interests. “

Al-Houthi considered that the political solution should be “subject to a referendum by the Yemeni people, and whatever the people are satisfied with, we will accept it.”

Al-Houthi called for an end to the aggression and the embargo imposed on his country, as well as the payment of compensation from the countries of aggression similar to those received by Kuwait from Iraq.

He said the Yemeni armed forces will stop bombing coalition targets “if all the countries of aggression stop bombing,” stressing the right of the Yemeni people to “defend themselves”, using weapons manufactured locally, he said.

Al-Houthi also pointed out that there are video meetings of leaders in “ISIS” and “al-Qaeda” with Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar in Aden, stressing that the threat of “ISIS” comes from Saudi Arabia and America.

On the position of other countries participating in the aggression in one way or another, al-Houthi said that selling arms to the coalition is a “crime”, and “the British know who the Yemenis are, the Yemeni people have liberated their land from British colonialism, and the Yemeni army can now reach them, we have sophisticated weapons.”

On the future of the solution and the prospects for partition, al-Houthi said the UN Security Council is talking about the territorial integrity of Yemen, calling some of the words of secession “just slogans to mobilise fighters.”

At the end of the interview, a member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council called on the Yemeni people to be aware and cautious “especially in the peace phase”, and praised the efforts of the Yemeni armed forces and their role in maintaining the country’s independence.

Biden to Remove Yemen’s Ansarullah from Terror List

By Staff, Agencies

The US announced that it is heading towards delisting Yemen’s Ansarullah group as a terrorist organization, removing a block that humanitarian groups said jeopardized crucial aid.

The grinding six-year Saudi aggression in Yemen has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions, triggering what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

A State Department spokesperson said Friday they had “formally notified Congress” of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s intent to revoke the terrorist designations.

The move, which will take effect shortly, comes a day after Biden announced an end to US support for the Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen.

“Our action is due entirely to the humanitarian consequences of this last-minute designation from the prior administration,” they said.

Blinken’s predecessor Mike Pompeo announced the designation days before leaving office last month.

الحوثي للميادين: جاهزون للحرب والسلام

الحوثي للميادين: مستعدون للحرب وللسلام.. والكلام عن التقسيم مجرد شعارات

عضو المجلس السياسي الأعلى اليمني يؤكد أن بلاده تنتظر تحويل كلام الرئيس الأميركي بشأن وقف الحرب إلى أفعال، ويؤكد استعداد “أنصار الله” للحوار بما يخدم مصلحة اليمنيين.

قال عضو المجلس السياسي الأعلى في اليمن محمد علي الحوثي، في مقابلة مع الميادين، إن من المفترض أن “توقف واشنطن الحرب السعودية – الإماراتية على بلدنا وهذا ما ننتظره”، واصفاً تصريحات الرئيس الأميركي بشأن وقف الحرب بأنها “مجرد تصريحات”، فيما المنتظر “وقف الحرب ورفع الحصار”. 
 
 وأكد الحوثي أن ما فعلته السعودية والإمارات هو “إرهاب مكتمل الأوصاف”، موضحاً  أن التحالف السعودي جرّب “ضدنا الحرب العسكرية منذ عام 2004 ولم تنفع معنا، ونحن لا نخشاهم ومستعدون للاستمرار أكثر”. 

وتابع: “نحن لا نخاف هذه الحرب ومستعدون للاستمرار في المواجهة لكننا مع السلام”، موضحاً أن “كل الأمور قابلة للحل خلال مفاوضات السلام في حال تم تنحية العجرفة”.

ودعا الحوثي واشنطن لفرض وفق الحرب على أتباعها واتخاذ قرارات جادة في هذا الإطار، مشيراً إلى غياب التواصل مع الولايات المتحدة حتى الساعة.

وكان الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن قد أعلن، في وقت سابق، وقف دعم بلاده للحرب على اليمن، قائلاً: “طلبت من فريقي المختص للشرق الأوسط العمل لوقف إطلاق النار لإيصال المساعدات الإنسانية وفتح الحوار”.

ورأى الحوثي أن بايدن طرح وقف الحرب على اليمن خلال حملته الانتخابية، لأنه يريد “ترميم السياسة الأميركية” بعد الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب، وأضاف: “إذا أخلّ بايدن بوقف الحرب على اليمن التي تعهد بوقفها فإنه يخل بثقة الناخب الأميركي وهذا ما لا يريده”.
 
كما وحثّ الملك السعودي سلمان بن عبد العزيز على وقف الحرب وأن “تتجه السعودية إلى سلام الشجعان”، مشدداً على أن “أنصار الله” ستحاور وفق “ما تمليه المصلحة اليمنية، ولا نرضى لأحد أن يكون ذليلاً، سنكون نحن وهم أنداداً لنتحدث بما يرعى مصالحنا ومصالحهم”.

واعتبر الحوثي أن الحل السياسي ينبغي أن “يخضع لاستفتاء الشعب اليمني، وما يرضى به الشعب سنقبل به”.

وطالب الحوثي بوقف العدوان والحصار المفروض على بلاده، كما دعا لصرف تعويضات من دول العدوان مماثلة للتعويضات التي حصلت عليها الكويت من العراق.

وأعلن أن القوات المسلحة اليمنية ستتوقف عن قصف أهداف التحالف “إذا توقفت جميع دول العدوان عن القصف”، مؤكداً حق الشعب اليمني في أن “يدافع عن نفسه”، وذلك باستخدام الأسلحة التي يجري صناعتها محلياً، وفق قوله. 

كما وأشار الحوثي إلى وجود لقاءات مصورة لقيادات في “داعش” و”القاعدة” مع نائب الرئيس علي محسن الأحمر في عدن، مشدداً على أن خطر “داعش” يأتي من السعودية وأميركا.

وبشأن موقف الدول الأخرى المشاركة في العدوان بشكل أو بآخر، قال الحوثي إن بيع السلاح للتحالف هو “جريمة”، و”البريطانيون يعرفون من هم اليمنيون فالشعب اليمني حرر أرضه سابقاً من الاستعمار البريطاني، وبإمكان الجيش اليمني حالياً الوصول إليهم، فنحن نمتلك أسلحة متطورة”. 

وحول مستقبل الحل واحتمالات التقسيم، أشار الحوثي إلى أن مجلس الأمن الدولي يتحدث عن وحدة الأراضي اليمنية، معتبراً كلام البعض عن الانفصال “مجرد شعارات لحشد المقاتلين”.

ودعا عضو المجلس السياسي الأعلى في اليمن، في ختام المقابلة، الشعب اليمني أن يكون على مستوى عالٍ من الوعي والحذر “خاصة في مرحلة السلام”، كما وأشاد بجهود القوات المسلحة اليمنية ودورها في الحفاظ على استقلال البلاد. 

بايدن يرفع أنصار الله اليمني من قائمة الإرهاب

Biden to Remove Yemen’s Ansarullah from Terror List

الموظفين والوكالات

أعلنت الولايات المتحدة أنها تتجه نحو شطب جماعة أنصار الله اليمنية من القائمة كمنظمة إرهابية، قالت منظمات إنسانية إنها تعرض المساعدات الحاسمة للخطر.

لقد أدى العدوان السعودي الطاحن الذي دام ست سنوات في اليمن إلى مقتل عشرات الآلاف وتشريد الملايين، مما تسبب في ما تسميه الأمم المتحدة أسوأ كارثة إنسانية في العالم.

وقال متحدث باسم وزارة الخارجية الاميركية الجمعة انهم “ابلغوا الكونغرس رسميا” بعزم وزير الخارجية الاميركي انتوني بلينكن على الغاء هذه التصنيفات الارهابية.

وتأتي هذه الخطوة، التي ستدخل حيز التنفيذ قريباً، بعد يوم واحد من إعلان بايدن إنهاء الدعم الأمريكي للعمليات الهجومية التي تقودها السعودية في اليمن.

واضافوا ” ان تحركنا يرجع تماما الى العواقب الانسانية لهذا التصنيف فى اللحظة الاخيرة من الادارة السابقة ” .

وكان مايك بومبيو، سلف بلينكن، قد أعلن عن تعيينه قبل أيام من مغادرته منصبه الشهر الماضي.

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The Destructive Plan Behind the Biden Russia Agenda

January 31, 2021

[Note by the Saker: as most of you know, I don’t do reposts (see here why).  This time, however, I decided to make a small exception to this rule and I emailed William and asked him for the permission to repost his excellent article on the hardcore russophobic elements inside Biden’s team.  William has very kindly allowed me to do so, so here it is below]

The Destructive Plan Behind the Biden Russia Agenda

by William Engdahl, reposted by special permission

source: http://www.williamengdahl.com/englishNEO29Jan2021.php

The new Biden Administration has from day one made it clear it will adopt a hostile and aggressive policy against the Russian Federation of Vladimir Putin. The policy behind this stance has nothing to do with any foul deeds Putin’s Russia may or may not have committed against the West. It has nothing to do with absurd allegations that Putin had pro-US dissident Alexei Navalny poisoned with the ultra-deadly Novichok nerve agent. In has to do with a far deeper agenda of the globalist Powers That Be. That agenda is what is being advanced now.

The Cabinet choices of Joe Biden reveal much. His key foreign policy picks–Tony Blinken as Secretary of State and Victoria Nuland as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs; Bill Burns as CIA head; Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor ; Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence—all are from the Obama-Biden Administration and all have worked closely together. As well, all see Russia, not China, as the prime security threat to the United States’ global hegemony.

As candidate, Joe Biden stated this often. His key foreign policy choices underscore that the focus with the Biden Administration, regardless how fit Biden himself is, will shift from the China threats to that of Putin’s Russia. Biden’s CIA head, Bill Burns, is a former Ambassador to Moscow and was Deputy Secretary of State during the Obama CIA coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014. Notably, when Burns left State in November 2014 he was succeeded by Tony Blinken, now Secretary of State. Blinken reportedly formulated the US State Department response to Russia’s Crimea annexation.

Nuland is key

All Biden choices are uniformly clear in blaming Putin’s Russia for everything from US election interference in 2016 to the recent SolarWinds US government computer hack, to every other claim aired against Russia in recent years, whether proven or not.

In trying to determine what the new Biden Administration and the US intelligence agencies have in store towards Putin and Russia, however, the best indication is the prominent role being given to Victoria Nuland, the person, together with then-Vice President Joe Biden, who ran the political side of the US coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2013-14. She infamously was wire-tapped in a phone call to the US Ambassador in Kiev during the Maidan Square 2013-14 protests, telling the Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, regarding EU choices for a new Ukraine regime, “F**k the EU.” Her husband, Robert Kagan is a notorious Washington neocon.

On leaving government on Trump’s election in 2016, Nuland became a Senior Counselor at the Albright Stonebridge Group, headed by former Clinton Secretary of State Madeline Albright who is also chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) affiliate, National Democratic Institute. Nuland also joined the Board of the NED, after 2016, keeping in close contact with NED regime change operations. She is a Russia expert, fluent in Russian and a specialist in toppling regimes.

As Obama Assistant Secretary of State for Eurasian and European Affairs in 2013, Nuland worked closely with Vice President Joe Biden to put into power Arseniy Yatsenyuk in a US-friendly and Russia-hostile Ukraine coup. She fostered months of protest against the regime of the elected President of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, to force his ouster after his decision to join the Russian Eurasian Economic Union. Founder of the private intelligence group Stratfor, George Friedman, in an interview just after the February 2014 coup in Kiev, called it “the most blatant coup in (US) history.”

New Initiatives

In a major article in the August, 2020 Foreign Affairs, journal of the New York Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Nuland outlines what most likely will be US strategy for undermining Russia in the coming months. She complains that, “resignation has set in about the state of US-Russian relations, and Americans have lost confidence in their own ability to change the game.” In other words, she is about “changing the game” with Putin. She charges that in the past 12 years, “Russia has violated arms control treaties; fielded new, destabilizing weapons; threatened Georgia’s sovereignty; seized Crimea and much of the Donbass; and propped up despots in Libya, Syria, and Venezuela. It has used cyber-weapons against foreign banks, electrical grids, and government systems; interfered in foreign democratic elections; and assassinated its enemies on European soil.”

She goes on to say the repeated US economic sanctions on select Russian banks and companies as well as Putin backers have done little to change Russian policy, claiming that, ”US and allied sanctions, although initially painful, have grown leaky or impotent with overuse and no longer impress the Kremlin.”

But Nuland suggests that Putin’s Russia today is vulnerable as never in the past 20 years: “the one thing that should worry the Russian president: the mood inside Russia. Despite Putin’s power moves abroad, 20 years of failing to invest in Russia’s modernization may be catching up with him. In 2019, Russia’s GDP growth was an anemic 1.3 percent. This year, the coronavirus pandemic and the free fall in oil prices could result in a significant economic contraction…Russia’s roads, rails, schools, and hospitals are crumbling. Its citizens have grown restive as promised infrastructure spending never appears, and their taxes and the retirement age are going up. Corruption remains rampant, and Russians’ purchasing power continues to shrink.”

In her CFR article Nuland advocates using, “Facebook, YouTube, and other digital platforms… there is no reason why Washington and its allies shouldn’t be more willing to give Putin a dose of his own medicine inside Russia, while maintaining the same deniability.” She adds that because Russians widely use the Internet and it is largely open, “Despite Putin’s best efforts, today’s Russia is more permeable. Young Russians are far more likely to consume information and news via the Internet than through state-sponsored TV or print media. Washington should try to reach more of them where they are: on the social networks  Odnoklassniki and VKontakte; on Facebook, Telegram, and YouTube; and on the many new Russian-language digital platforms springing up.”

Navalny

Around the time Nuland submitted her July-August Foreign Affairs article, perennial Putin opponent, Alexey Navalny was in Berlin, ostensibly recovering from what he claims was an attempt by Putin’s intelligence to kill him with highly toxic nerve agent, Novichok. Navalny, a US-educated opposition figure who was a Yale University Fellow in 2010 has been trying to gain a strong following for well over a decade, has been documented receiving money from Nuland’s National Endowment for Democracy, whose founder in the 1990s described it as doing, “what the CIA used to do, but privately.” In 2018 according to NPR in the US, Navalny had more than six million YouTube subscribers and more than two million Twitter followers. How many are bots paid by US intelligence is not known. Now, five months after exile in Berlin, Navalny makes a bold return where he knew he faced likely jail for past charges. It was obviously a clear calculation by his Western sponsors.

The US government’s NGO for Color Revolution regime change, the NED, in a piece published on January 25 echoes Nuland’s call for a social media-led destabilization of Putin. Writing about the Moscow arrest of Navalny just three days before the Biden inauguration, the NED states that, “By creating a model of guerrilla political warfare for the digital age, Navalny has exposed the regime’s utter lack of imagination and inability….” They add, “Putin is in a Catch-22: If Putin kills Navalny, it could draw more attention to the problem and exacerbate unrest. If Putin lets Navalny live, then Navalny remains a focus for resistance, whether he is in prison or not… Navalny has very much outmaneuvered Putin at each turn since the poisoning. It’s becoming a bit humiliating for him.”

Since his alleged botched poisoning in August in Russian Far East, Navalny was allowed by the Russian government to fly to Berlin for treatment, a strange act if indeed Putin and Russian intelligence had really wanted him dead. What clearly took place in the intervening five months in exile suggests that Navalny’s return was professionally prepared by unnamed Western intelligence regime change specialists. The Kremlin has claimed intelligence that shows Navalny was directly being tutored while in exile by CIA specialists.

On Navalny’s Moscow arrest January 17, his anti-corruption NGO released a sophisticated YouTube documentary on Navalny’s channel, purporting to show a vast palace alleged to belong to Putin on the Black Sea, filmed with use of a drone, no small feat. In the video Navalny calls on Russians to march against the alleged billion dollar “Putin Palace” to protest corruption.

Navalny, who clearly is being backed by sophisticated US information warfare specialists and groups such as the NED, is likely being told to build a movement to challenge United Russia party candidates in the September Duma elections where Putin isn’t a candidate. He has even been given a new tactic, which he calls a “smart voting” strategy, a hallmark NED tactic.

Stephen Sestanovich, New York Council on Foreign Relations Russia expert and former board member of the NED, suggested the likely game plan of the new Biden team. On January 25 Sestanovich wrote in the CFR blog, “The Putin regime remains strong, but nationwide protests in support of Alexei Navalny are the most serious challenge to it in years. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny is showing a political creativity and tactical skill that Putin has not previously faced. If the protests continue, they could reveal vulnerabilities in his decades-long hold on power.” This was two days after Russia-wide protests demanding Navalny’s release from jail. “With his bold decision to return to Moscow and the release of a widely viewed video purporting to expose regime corruption, Navalny has shown himself to be a capable and imaginative political figure—even from jail, perhaps the most formidable adversary Putin has faced,” he wrote. “The strategic sophistication of Navalny’s team is underscored both by its video release and, before that, by its exposé of the Federal Security Services (FSB) personnel who poisoned him last summer.”

The clear decision of the Biden team to name a former Moscow ambassador to head the CIA and Victoria Nuland to No. 3 position at the State Department, along with his other intelligence choices indicate that destabilizing Russia will be a prime focus of Washington going forward. As the NED gleefully put it, “Navalny’s arrest, three days before Biden’s inauguration former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul says, has all the makings of “Biden’s first foreign policy crisis. Whatever was in their transition documents, this is now front and center for them.”

The reason however is not because of domestic corruption by Putin’s inner circle, true or not. Biden could care less. Rather it is the very existence of Russia under Putin as an independent sovereign nation that tries to defend that national identity, whether in military defense or in defense of a traditionally conservative Russian culture. Ever since the US-backed NED destabilization of the Soviet Union in 1990 during the Bush Administration, it has been NATO policy and that of the influential financial interests behind NATO to break Russia into many parts, dismantle the state and loot what is left of its huge raw materials resources. The globalist Great Reset has no room for independent nation states like Russia is the message that the new Biden team will clearly convey now.
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F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

US Back to ‘Normal’ Imperialism

U.S. Army soldiers prepare to clear and secure a building during exercise Hammer Strike at the Udairi Range Complex near Camp Buehring, Kuwait

Sputnik

By Finian Cunningham

13:09 GMT 24.11.2020

The next US administration is taking shape with President-elect Joe Biden naming his picks to top cabinet posts and national security. It heralds a return to “normal” US imperialism and militarism. That is something to dread not celebrate, as American and European media would have us believe.

The incoming Democrat president, who is due to be inaugurated on January 20, is cheerfully reassuring European and NATO leaders that “America is back” after four years of erratic US foreign policy under the maverick Donald Trump.

Biden said his administration will “reclaim America’s seat at the top of the table”.

US media are also straining with Orwellian euphemisms. CNN says under Team Biden, the US will “reclaim its squandered leadership role”. While the Washington Post said the new Biden administration hails the “return to competent government”.

Other commentators say it is a “return to normalcy”. Former US Assistant Secretary of State PJ Crowley is quoted by the BBC as saying of Biden’s picks: “They have a consistent world view. They are strong believers in American leadership and international alliances”.

Well, what is “normal” and “competent” about wars, death and destruction?

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hold a joint news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 12, 2017.
© REUTERS / JONATHAN ERNSTU.S. President Donald Trump (R) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hold a joint news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 12, 2017.

Biden’s cabinet is a rehash of holdovers from the Obama administrations. Several of the people he has nominated or who are tipped to fill vacancies are advocates of warmongering.

The next US Secretary of State – if vetted by the Senate – is Antony Blinken. As part of the previous Obama administration, Blinken was a major proponent of US military intervention in Libya, Syria and Yemen. He also pushes a hard line towards Russia and China.

All the recent media swooning about Blinken being a professional diplomat and fluent in French belie the true, ugly face of American war policy which he instrumented. We only have to look at the misery of starving children in Yemen to realise the horror and criminality of US militarism which the likes of Blinken are responsible for.

Not yet confirmed by Biden for cabinet posts are Obama-era warmongers Susan Rice, Samantha Power and Michèle Flournoy. The latter is hotly tipped to head the Pentagon as Secretary of Defence.

International human rights lawyer Christopher Black dismissively describes the Biden team as “cruise missile liberals”. Meaning they are adept at using righteous rhetoric to justify war.

Flournoy wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine in June that the US military must build up “deterrence” against China by being able to “credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours”.

Blinken and Flournoy co-founded a shadowy political strategy business called WestExec Advisors which connects weapons manufacturers with the Pentagon. Talk about conflict of interest! Or maybe that should be a confluence of interest. These people have a vested interest in promoting conflict and war for profit.

During Trump’s four years in the White House, the chaos in US foreign policy was such that American imperial interests were often frustrated. Not that Trump was a peacemaker. His aggression towards China, Iran and Venezuela and Russia (if you count the Nord Stream-2 sanctions), was apparent. But his erratic egoism and cronyism got in the way of the “vital interests” of the US foreign policy establishment and the military-industrial complex.

Joe Biden receives a national security briefing in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 17, 2020
© REUTERS / TOM BRENNERJoe Biden receives a national security briefing in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 17, 2020

That’s why Biden was so heavily backed during his election campaign by former Pentagon and intelligence chiefs, as well as by Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. He’s their man to get back to business-as-usual. And the team he is forming is meant to deliver Washington to the “top table” of exerting hegemonic ambitions.

That means solidifying the NATO alliance and cohering European allies behind US policy of confronting China and Russia – a move which the European vassal politicians seem to be cooing over.

Trump’s feckless leadership was infuriating and exhausting. He was a destabilising figure in international relations. But so too are all US presidents. They will use massive violence and lawlessness to achieve whatever the “vital interests” demand. Supposed “business genius” Trump was just incompetent and inefficient as the so-called leader of the US-led “free world”.

A Biden administration will bring “competence” back to US imperialism with the deployment of professional warmongers. Absurdly, the brainwashing of US and European media present this dreadful prospect as something to be welcomed.

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