‘My name is Nancy Pelosi, and I’m currently holding on’

‘My name is Nancy Pelosi, and I’m currently holding on’

October 19, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Note: This internal Democratic Party letter was leaked to me, Ramin Mazaheri. I initially planned to not publish it, and for the very same reason the recent The New York Post’s “smoking gun” emails about Joe Biden’s alleged corruption were banned on Facebook and Twitter: because “this story is eligible to be fact checked by (our) third-party fact checking partners”. However, my partners at the law firm Wifuoul, Peeples & Daley fact-checked this story and found it completely accurate, thus my decision in favor of publication.

From: The desk of the Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Re: Stop asking me for money

Why, oh why, do they constantly underestimate us old women?

We always had the brains, but now we’ve got the experience and higher testosterone than women younger than us, while our male peers can’t hardly deal with their plummeting hormones. Trump on post-coronavirus steroids doesn’t have as much energy as your average indomitable elderly woman. I can only laugh when I think of old, sweet Joe – he just loves to sit and sentimentalise about the good old days and delegate, defer and delegate again.

We old women don’t waste our precious time on trying to look good, as we did in our younger days. Anyways, I have a queen’s retinue of stylists, makeup artists and plastic surgeons to make these considerations for me. How else can I explain how I look better at 80 than I did at 40?

Being 80 years old I am not bound long for this earth, so I’ll get to the point: I know I’m not popular right now in mid-October.

Yes, due to a combination of age-shaming, misogyny and misdirected psychological anger towards their own mothers, polls say more people blame me for the lack of a second stimulus package than Trump.

Here’s the thing: you children just don’t understand politics. Why – this is all just temporary, my poor darlings!

Soon the Democrats will win the election and you’ll be back to loving me like the nation’s sweet grandmother that I am – which I am.

I can see you are contradicting me, you problem child! I don’t know what Angela Merkel has that I don’t, but maybe you can go live at her house?!

Excuse me – Mommies can get frustrated too, even more than people in California trying to work the offline state unemployment website.

Like all good Moms I’m taking one for the good of the household. As The New York Times correctly described on October 14, “Mothers Are the ‘Shock Absorbers’ of Our Society”. Just look at this recent interview on the second stimulus, where those well-known “apologists for Republicans” and Trump-lovers — CNN — so ungratefully tried to grill me regarding outrage over Democrats’ blocking of even a stand-alone household stimulus. I absorbed that shock with the calm only Botox can give a mother.

However, The Times sub-headline – “The pandemic is forcing moms out of work at great financial, societal and marital costs” – LOL, this might happy to the ugliest of my daughters across this nation but it surely won’t happen to me.

Give me just a moment to come down from my Mom-perch: Just like the rest of you are, in my daily course of events in 2020 I’m spending some of my time talking and thinking about the good of the nation and its direction, but I’m spending most of my time making moves so that I’m not forced out of work.

Yes, Moms and Grandmas have lives, too. And my life has been one of ever-increasing power despite ever-increasing inequality, somewhat paradoxically.

At 80 I’m not about passing the torch and mentoring the younger generation – oooh, I could just rip to shreds that smug Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez whenever she bats her big, doe eyes! But it’s not like anyone listens to her or Bernie, except the most foolish, irresponsible and gullible of our supporters.

Listen: I survived the 2016 election debacle – and my Hollywood friends made sure I still looked fabulous – but I learned something. Back then we had to concoct the Russophobia “explanation” for our loss after the fact – this time, however, we are being proactive:

By refusing a second stimulus, by fomenting protests, by encouraging mail-in ballots totally unnecessarily – in short, by creating as terrible and unstable national situation as possible we have successfully laid the groundwork for an “explanation” for our loss even before the election.

Meaning: if Democrats lose, it’s because the world is hell.

And who in hell can expect good times?So if we lose in November – it’s not our fault.

Just like in 2016, and this way things don’t have to change at the top yet again. But I think what we have done in 2020 is so bad that it will be enough to oust the incumbent and then – woo-hoo! – 24 months of power!

Totally worth it….

This is exactly why I keep telling you kids you don’t have to worry about Grandma: I’ll keep my job, influence and endless supply of $13 a pint ice cream (Haagen-Dazs is for poor people, like public transportation). You individual households who keep donating your tiny savings to the Democratic Party… I almost feel beholden to you?

Yes, by reducing expectations for good governance (this used to be the Republicans tactic) Democrats have created a bar so low that we have plausible deniability for any sort of poor results from public policy.

For example: What did America get from the Congressperson-wages spent on Trump’s semi-impeachment? Or fruitlessly searching for Russian foreign influence? Or just last week: “Why is Pelosi suddenly talking about the 25th Amendment?” My sweet, trusting children: if we started talking about the real issues in our family instead of sweeping them under the rug again and again… my God, where would that lead to?

Yes, that’s the sign of good elder leadership, in a nation as in a home alike.

Tolstoy wrote that all happy families are alike whereas all unhappy families are different in their own way: our unhappiness is merely due to our beloved American exceptionalism! Don’t fight it – accept our exceptional status quo in 2020, because 2021 will be more of the same hell if if we lose.

I just accidentally admitted the Democratic Party election platform.

But it’s October 17 – I only have a few weeks to hold on.

Thankfully the mainstream media didn’t even question the socioeconomic intelligence of a Great Lockdown until now. The economic hell of the lower classes who eat Haggen-Dazs won’t pass by then, of course, but do you honestly think Grandma is worried less than three weeks from denouement?

Ha! Why do they underestimate us old women? I’ll still be in power when you’re dead and gone, my chubby children. Why can’t you ever show any discipline?!

We grandmas have made enough sacrifices – we’re spending our inheritance, not bequeathing it to the future. And we look fabulous, so knock off all this criticism.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

Yemen’s Never Ending War

Western Hegemony, Gulf State Despots and Modern-Day Genocide of the Yemeni People

By Timothy Alexander Guzman

Global Research, October 21, 2020

Recently, US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released a statement on his promise to end his country’s support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen saying that “under Biden-Harris Administration, we will reassess our relationship with the [Saudi Arabia] Kingdom, end US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and make sure America does not check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil.”

It’s an absurd statement coming from a former vice-President to Barack Obama who supported Saudi Arabia’s brutal war on Yemen in the first place.

Saudi Arabia’s intervention was to regain its once influential hegemonic power over Yemen since the Houthis gained power by ousting President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi who fled to Saudi Arabia soon after. The Saudi-led coalition and its air force began using American and British made weaponry targeting mostly civilians and helped create al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Earlier this month, the prime minister of Yemen’s National Salvation government, Abdulaziz bin Habtoor issued a powerful statement that condemned Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for murdering the Yemeni people with Western and Israeli support. They are “commemorating the death of thousands of Jews during Germany’s “Nazi era” he said. Abdulaziz bin Habtoor was referring to the recent peace agreements sponsored by the Trump administration between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel that was signed in Washington on September 15th. He said that “the Houses of Saud and Nahyan must first and foremost remember that they are killing their (Arab) brethren in Yemen, than to commemorate Jews killed by Nazi forces” and that “the neo-Nazis are Al Saud and Al Nahyan families as well as all those who stand with them against Yemeni people, and support their unjustified killing of civilians” according to AhlolBayt News Agency (ABNA) based in Iran.

Yemen is in a never-ending war.

The Yemeni people are facing a catastrophe with more than 91,000 people dead, an economy that has basically collapsed, diseases, famine with an increase of refugees who left the war torn country. Since the start of the war, the Yemeni people experience death and destruction on a daily basis due to their opposition to the Saudi-backed President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently said that 20% of the Yemeni population is currently suffering from mental health disorders because of the ongoing war. Hadi was part of a long-list of political puppets of the US and Saudi Arabia who were responsible for the continued economic and political policies that favored his foreign backers for decades. The Yemeni people’s only crime was their resistance to Western hegemonic powers and its Saudi lap-dogs in their own country, and they pay the ultimate price.

The civil war in Yemen began in September 2014 when the Houthis, a shia-led movement and other elements including Sunni and Shia factions who were disenfranchised began a popular revolt to overthrow the Hadi government. The Houthi-led movement and military forces that are made up of both Shia and Sunni loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh began an offensive by advancing to the southern provinces defeating Hadi loyalists as time went on. Since then, the Saudi Coalition whose warplanes, attack helicopters, bombs, missiles, naval fleets and mid-air refueling planes which are all supplied by Western arms dealers allowed them to wage a bombing campaign on the Yemeni population targeting their schools, hospitals, mosques, funerals, family homes, farms, power utilities with reports of even graveyards being hit. Military personnel from the US and the UK has played a major role in the destruction of Yemen by providing intelligence, mid-flight aerial refueling assistance to both the Saudi and UAE Air Forces while targeting Houthi positions that has killed numerous civilians in the process.

As the Houthis gained territorial control, Saudi Arabia began Operation Decisive Storm and launched military operations with airstrikes attacking positions held by the Houthi militia and loyalists of the former President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh who the West and Israel claim is backed by Iran. Saudi Arabia’s coalition included the Gulf State puppets of the West including the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain who was joined by Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and long-standing US ally since its Frankenstein creation, Israel. The coalition was allowed to operate from military bases in Africa that included Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia. The US and the UK in many cases supported the coalition with intelligence and logistical support and to add insult to injury, saw an economic opportunity for its arms industry that sold weapons to the coalition.

Washington’s long-standing relationship with one of the coalition’s members is with the UAE. The US and the UK currently has thousands of military personnel in the UAE along with its fighter jets and an array of drones. The UAE is probably one of the most loyal subjects to Western Imperial powers next to Saudi Arabia that has “expeditionary forces” in a number of countries including Afghanistan and Yemen. The UAE also has overseas bases even in Africa. The UAE is a former British protectorate became a country in 1971 with its national military force made up of a federation of several ‘sheikhdoms’ that entered the US-led 1991 Gulf War that pushed Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. In 1999, the UAE joined NATO-led forces into Kosovo in what was called a peace mission. After the September 11 false flag attacks, the UAE sent special forces to Afghanistan alongside its Western allies against the Taliban. It is well-known that the UAE hosts US and other Western forces at its military bases. Since the start of the war on Yemen, the UAE has joined Saudi-led forces in attacks against rebel strongholds. In other words, the UAE is a complete puppet regime.

The Mainstream Media’s Silence on US Involvement in Yemen

The Western powers with help from its mainstream-media (MSM) all repeat the same narrative and that it is Iran who is sponsoring the Houthis thus allowing Saudi Arabia and the UAE to justify the bombing of Yemen into oblivion. The MSM including CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, NBC, ABC, CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Sky News and the BBC to name a few, all repeat the same propaganda that the Houthi movement is “Iran-Backed.” A perfect example of propaganda is from a recent article published last month by The Washington Post who headlined with ‘U.S. launches new terrorism review of Iran-backed rebels in Yemen’ claiming that “The Trump administration is considering new steps to intensify pressure on Yemen’s Houthi rebels, including a potential foreign terrorist organization designation, according to several officials, in a bid to further isolate the group’s patron, Iran.” To be clear, Iran and the Houthis do have a common faith, but not a military alliance, it can be best described more or less as a political and diplomatic relationship.

To this day, the MSM is involved in a cover-up of the US and its allies involvement in Yemen’s genocide. In March of 2018, MSM watchdog, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (Fair.org) published a story by Adam Johnson based on MSNBC’s reporting on the war in Yemen who he compared to Breitbart ‘In Run-Up to Vote to End Yemen War, MSNBC Remains Totally Silent: MSNBC outflanked from the left by Breitbart’:

MSNBC’s three major stars—Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell—haven’t used their sizable social media followings to highlight the issue either. None of the well-paid pundits has tweeted about the topic of Yemen in 2018. While Hayes has handwrung about the topic on Twitter in the past, he hasn’t covered it on his show since summer 2016. O’Donnell has tweeted about Yemen once in 20,000 tweets since joining the social media platform in June 2010; Maddow has mentioned it in four out of 7,000 tweets, two of those mentions in 2010. Even as frequent MSNBC guests Bernie Sanders and Chris Murphy, as well as celebrities like Mark Ruffalo and Susan Sarandon, lobby directly for the bill, MSNBC has not dedicated a single segment to the war, or to the recent high-profile efforts to end it

An article by Johnson from 2017 ‘Ignoring Washington’s Role in Yemen Carnage, 60 Minutes Paints US as Savior’criticized one of the MSM’s longest running news programs ’60 Minutes’ on their coverage of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis without mentioning the role the U.S. has played in the genocide:

In one of the most glaring, power-serving omissions in some time, CBS News’ 60 Minutes (11/19/17) took a deep dive into the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and did not once mention the direct role the United States played in creating, perpetuating and prolonging a crisis that’s left over 10,000 civilians dead, 2 million displaced, and an estimated 1 million with cholera. Correspondent Scott Pelley’s segment, “When Food Is Used as a Weapon,” employed excellent on-the-ground reporting to highlight the famine and bombing victims of Saudi Arabia’s brutal two-and-a-half year siege of Yemen. But its editors betrayed this reporting—and their viewers—by stripping the conflict of any geopolitical context, and letting one of its largest backers, the United States government, entirely off the hook

Once a Salesman, Always a Salesman: Trump Sells Weapons to the House of Saud

In March 2018 and with the war in full-force, the Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) decided to meet Trump for a business meeting with the intentions of buying weapons from US arms manufacturers. Bloomberg Newsreported what was the purpose of the visit by the prince of Saudi Arabia:

The 32-year-old prince will meet Donald Trump on March 20, his first trip to the U.S. since taking over as de facto leader of the world’s largest oil exporter. The aim is to strengthen their bond after he rolled out the red carpet for the U.S. president last May in Riyadh. On that visit, both sides played up their mutual interests in containing Iran, tackling Islamic extremists and enhancing business ties

And of course, the Bloomberg report also mentioned that MBS and the former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster who was replaced with neocon warmonger John Bolton spoke about Iran as a threat and “the humanitarian crisis in Yemen” they helped create:

Since then, things have changed. Prince Mohammed locked up dozens of the Saudi business elite in November for about three months in a declared crackdown on corruption. The kingdom is also likely to delay the sale of a stake in oil giant Aramco until next year. Cuts to government subsidies are proving trickier and there’s uncertainty about how the country’s ultra-conservatives are reacting to social changes.

Prince Mohammed “will try to convince the U.S. business community that the anti-corruption campaign is not a threat to commercial operations in Saudi Arabia,” said Hani Sabra, founder of New York-based Alef Advisory. “He will play up his social reform agenda to try to repair the image of Saudi Arabia in the U.S. He will advance the narrative that he’s the steward that will take the country in a more liberal direction.”

The White House said the visit will strengthen ties between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Prince Mohammed will also dine with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster to discuss $35 billion of business deals, Iran’s threat to their interests and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, according to a National Security Council spokesperson

Since the meeting between Trump and MBS, the Saudi coalition has increased its bombing campaign in Yemen. In August 2018, the Arab coalition conducted an airstrike in Yemen that targeted a busload of children and the surrounding area that killed more than 100 people. Now a Yemeni court has sentenced high-ranking members from Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and members from Hadi’s government. The incident took place in the Sa’ada province where a missile strike hit a school bus killing more than 40 children with ages that ranged from 10 to 13 years old and wounding more than 79 other people close to the bombing. Mehr News Agency which is based in Iran said that “According to Saba news agency, the Specialized First Instance Criminal Court in Saada province has ruled to execute ten of the defendants in killing Dhahyan’s students by the aggression coalition’s warplanes. The verdict sentenced ten of the defendants to death for targeting and killing the students in Dhahyan in Saada.” Those convicted are high-ranking officials from the Houthis enemy list:

According to the ruling issued in the session presided over by the court Chief Judge Riyadh al-Ruzami, the court sentenced to death ten of the convicted for targeting and killing students in Dhahyan in the airstrikes, they are as follows: 

1) Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, 2)Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, 3)Turki bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, 4)Donald John Trump, 5)James Norman Mattis, 6) Giselle Norton Allen Schwartz, 7) Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, 8)Ali Mohsen Saleh al-Ahmar, 9) Ahmed Obaid Bin Dagher, 10) Mohammad Ali Ahmad al-Maqdashi

The report mentioned the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) which produced an analysis in 2019 that paints a clear picture of the Saudi Arabia’s war crimes that has claimed the lives of more than 91,600 Yemenis since 2015. “The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The United Nations has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.” The report on casualties is grim and there is no end in sight:

ACLED records over 91,600 total reported fatalities1 from the start of 2015 to the present

Approximately 17,100 were reported in 2015; 15,100 in 2016; 16,800 in 2017; 30,800 in 2018; and 11,900 in 2019 thus far

More than 39,700 conflict events have been reported since the start of 2015

Approximately 7,700 in 2015; 8,700 in 2016; 7,900 in 2017; 10,200 in 2018; and 4,900 in 2019 thus far

Overall, 2018 is the war’s deadliest and most violent year on record

Yemen’s war continues unabated. The world is witnessing one of the worst catastrophes in modern human history with the majority of Yemen’s population including more than 12 million children caught in the crosshairs in a brutal civil war since 2015. The Saudi Coalition with help from its Western allies including the US and the UK has carried out numerous deadly airstrikes on Yemen. Despite what’s going on in Yemen, the drumbeats of war grows louder by the day as the US and Israel increase tensions with Iran, Syria and Lebanon (Hezbollah). Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East will continue to suffer a humanitarian crisis. The MSM remains silent on the issue while Washington, London, Tel Aviv and Riyadh continue their quest for dominance in the region which confirms that Yemen is just another victim of Western Imperialists, Israel and their puppet Monarchs from the Gulf states. As long as the Western powers continue their support of the Saudi coalition and their war on the Houthi-led resistance, more bloodshed is only guaranteed. This war needs to end now before it becomes the most catastrophic period in Yemen’s history.

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Timothy Alexander Guzman writes on his blog site, Silent Crow News, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from SCNThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Timothy Alexander Guzman, Global Research, 2020

European Hypocrisy: Empty Words for Palestine, Deadly Weapons for Israel

October 21, 2020

Palestinian PM Mohammad Shtayyeh makes a speech via video conference at the European Parliament Committee meeting on Foreign Affair. (Photo: via WAFA)

By Ramzy Baroud

In theory, Europe and the United States stand on completely opposite sides when it comes to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. While the US government has fully embraced the tragic status quo created by 53 years of Israeli military occupation, the EU continues to advocate a negotiated settlement that is predicated on respect for international law.

In practice, however, despite the seeming rift between Washington and Brussels, the outcome is, essentially, the same. The US and Europe are Israel’s largest trade partners, weapon suppliers and political advocates.

One of the reasons that the illusion of an even-handed Europe has been maintained for so long lies partly in the Palestinian leadership itself. Politically and financially abandoned by Washington, the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas has turned to the European Union as its only possible savior.

“Europe believes in the two-state solution,” PA Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, said during a video discussion with the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs on October 12. Unlike the US, Europe’s continued advocacy of the defunct two-state solution qualifies it to fill the massive gap created by Washington’s absence.

Shtayyeh called on EU leaders to “recognize the State of Palestine in order for us, and you, to break the status quo.”

However, there are already 139 countries that recognize the State of Palestine. While that recognition is a clear indication that the world remains firmly pro-Palestinian, recognizing Palestine as a State changes little on the ground. What is needed are concerted efforts to hold Israel accountable for its violent occupation as well as real action to support the struggle of Palestinians.

Not only has the EU failed at this, it is, in fact, doing the exact opposite: funding Israel, arming its military and silencing its critics.

Listening to Shtayyeh’s words, one gets the impression that the top Palestinian official is addressing a conference of Arab, Muslim or socialist countries. “I call upon your Parliament and your distinguished Members of this Parliament, that Europe not wait for the American President to come up with ideas … We need a third party who can really remedy the imbalance in the relationship between an occupied people and an occupier country, that is Israel,” he said.

But is the EU qualified to be that ‘third party’? No. For decades, European governments have been an integral part of the US-Israel party. Just because the Donald Trump administration has, recently, taken a sharp turn in favor of Israel should not automatically transform Europe’s historical pro-Israel bias to be mistaken for pro-Palestinian solidarity.

Last June, more than 1,000 European parliamentarians representing various political parties issued a statement expressing “serious concerns” about Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century and opposing Israeli annexation of nearly a third of the West Bank. However, the pro-Israel US Democratic Party, including some traditionally staunch supporters of Israel, were equally critical of Israel’s plan because, in their minds, annexation means that a two-state solution would be made impossible.

While US Democrats made it clear that a Joe Biden administration would not reverse any of Trump’s actions should Biden be elected, European governments have also made it clear that they will not take a single action to dissuade – let alone punish – Israel for its repeated violations of international law.

Lip service is all that Palestinians have obtained from Europe, as well as much money, which was largely pocketed by loyalists of Abbas in the name of ‘State-building’ and other fantasies. Tellingly, much of the imaginary Palestinian State infrastructure that was subsidized by Europe in recent years has been blown up, demolished or construction ceased by the Israeli military during its various wars and raids. Yet, neither did the EU punish Israel, nor did the PA cease from asking for more money to continue funding a non-existent State.

Not only did the EU fail to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing occupation and human rights violations, it is practically financing Israel, as well. According to Defence News, a quarter of all of Israel’s military export contracts (totaling $7.2 billion in 2019 alone) is allocated to European countries.

Moreover, Europe is Israel’s largest trading partner, absorbing one-third of Israel’s total exports and shipping to Israel nearly 40% of its total import. These numbers also include products made in illegal Jewish settlements.

Additionally, the EU labors to incorporate Israel into the European way of life through cultural and music contests, sports competitions, and in a myriad other ways. While the EU possesses powerful tools that can be used to exact political concessions and enforce respect for international law, it opts to simply do very little.

Compare this with the recent ultimatum the EU has given the Palestinian leadership, linking EU aid to the PA’s financial ties with Israel. Last May, Abbas took the extraordinary step of considering all agreements with Israel and the US to be null and void. Effectively, this means that the PA would no longer be accountable for the stifling status quo that was created by the Oslo Accords, which was repeatedly violated by Tel Aviv and Washington. Severing ties with Israel also meant that the PA would refuse to accept nearly $150 million in tax revenues that Israel collects on behalf of the PA. This Palestinian step, while long overdue, was necessary.

Instead of supporting Abbas’ move, the EU criticized it, refusing to provide additional aid for Palestinians until Abbas restores ties with Israel and accepts the tax money. According to Axios news portal, Germany, France, the UK and even Norway are leading the charge.

Germany, in particular, has been relentless in its support for Israel. For months, it has advocated on behalf of Israel to spare Tel Aviv a war crimes investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC). It has placed activists, who advocate the boycott of Israel, on trial. Recently, it has confirmed the shipment of missile boats and other military hardware to ensure the superiority of the Israeli navy in a potential war against Arab enemies. Germany is not alone. Israel and most European countries are closing ranks in terms of their unprecedented military cooperation and trade ties, including natural gas deals.

Continuing to make references to the unachievable two-state solution, while arming, funding and doing more business with Israel is the very definition of hypocrisy. The truth is that Europe should be held as accountable as the US in emboldening and sustaining the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Yet, while Washington is openly pro-Israel, the EU has played a more clever game: selling Palestinians empty words while selling Israel lethal weapons.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is http://www.ramzybaroud.net

The Stormtroops Of Regime Change And Counter-Revolution

South Front

October 17, 2020

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

The West is facing an unprecedented threat to its hegemony, as more agile, innovative, and cohesive non-Western powers are growing by leaps and bounds, to the point of making a transition to a global non-Western hegemony for the first time in history. During the last five centuries, the baton had passed from one European power to the next, and ultimately to the United States. Should the United States falter under the double weight of its global imperial overstretch and domestic oligarchy plundering even its own society, there will not be another Western state there to pick up where it left off. European Union, once touted as a likely successor or possible candidate for US-EU co-hegemony, is showing few signs of consolidating into a federation. Thus America’s decline would in all likelihood lead to the People’s Republic of China becoming the global hegemonic power.

Russia certainly has problems with oligarchy as well, but at least there the oligarchs are essentially treated as a “necessary evil” of capitalist economy and kept in check by the national security wing of the Russian state that is directly answerable to the President. Likewise China’s billionaires are kept at arms length from political power, lest they use In the West, on the other hand, the oligarchs run the show and the national security state is kept under close ideological surveillance to ensure that it will come to the defense of the oligarchy “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. US service academies, which admit on the basis of recommendations by elected US officials, who themselves are creatures of special interests and Big Money, are an example of that ideological oversight. And ultimately the US political system’s apparent inability to reform itself, to make itself more fair and meritocratic, means that it’s bound to lose the great power competition to those who are simply marginally less corrupt.

But that simply won’t do, which means the more effective competitors have to be brought down by other means, up to and including open warfare for which the United States is actually preparing. The current US modernization programs appear to be intended to give the US the ability to wage offensive warfare even against nuclear weapons states by not later than 2030. In the meantime other tactics will be used, such as economic warfare, information warfare, and of course the use of various proxy forces.

Since in an oligarchy property of the elites becomes of paramount importance, right-wing militants have long been used as a means to suppress socialists and communists. Very often these right-wing paramilitaries operate jointly with the official law enforcement and security forces. Examples here include the SA stormtroopers operating as Hilfspolizei in support of German police forces combating left-wing parties in Weimar Germany, the autodefensas in Colombia, even the drug cartels whose own politics tend toward the reactionary end of the spectrum. We are seeing exactly the same process emerge in the United States, in the form of right-wing, white supremacist militias who are allowed to openly flaunt laws of the United States and are invariably, without exception, treated as allies by US police departments, though not at the federal level just yet. The situation is only marginally better in the EU, but even there right-wing militants are treated with kid gloves and, like their Islamist brethren, are allowed to travel to Ukraine and obtain combat training and experience in the Azov Regiment. Considering that, in the view of European leaders, “there is no alternative” to economic neoliberalism, there is little doubt Europe’s far right will be weaponized in support of the regime should pro-democracy protests in European countries rise above the level of the Yellow Vest ones we have seen so far.

But that is only the defensive aspect of weaponizing right-wing nationalists. It keeps the ruling classes secure against threats from below, but does not contribute anything to the struggle against China, Russia, other “emerging threats” to Western hegemony.

Thus whereas extremists are the stormtroopers of counter-revolution waiting in the wings in case there is an actual threat of revolution or even substantial reform in countries of the West, in non-Western countries they are used as the spearhead of regime change. These extremists come in two flavors. The first prong is Islamic extremism, and so far to the extent that Western governments cultivate such individuals (as seems to be the case in Europe), it’s done exclusively for foreign consumption, as it were. For the most part, Western intelligence services displayed remarkable equanimity as French, Belgian, even German islamists traveled back and forth between their home countries and various MENA war zones. Invariably in cases of “blowback” in the form of terror incidents, the perpetrators were described as “known to the security services”. CIA’s investment in Al Qaeda in the 1980s, in particular, did result in fair amount of “blowback” in the form of 9/11, but even that has not dissuaded Western powers from promoting this type of proxy fighter.

The second prong are the ethnic nationalists of Russia and other CIS states. Before Ukraine, not having a war on which to sharpen their claws, they adopted the guise of “soccer hooligans” and, courtesy of UEFA, quickly developed international links. There is little known on Western services’ efforts to utilize these contacts, but it is evident Western countries actually keep track of their “hooligans” in order to occasionally prevent them from international travel if there is danger of excessive violence. Kiev’s ‘hooligans” were in force on the Maidan and formed the lion’s share of Parubiy’s “Maidan security force”. There is also a lot of overlap between these “hooligans” and various right-wing organizations like Right Sector, Azov, C14, and others. But in order to be fully effective, these right-wing militants must be mobilized by someone with big money, usually an oligarch disaffected with the system who enjoys the secret blessing of the US and EU.

In Kiev that scenario worked to perfection. Yes, there were right-wing nationalists, and yes, there were disaffected oligarchs willing to bankroll their organizations and mobilize them to achieve their purposes, which was beforehand blessed by Western powers that be. In Hong-Kong this approach faltered, apparently largely because Beijing was able to reach a behind-the-scenes agreement with the island enclave’s oligarchy which then abandoned its militants to their own devices. Consequently that uprising has all but flared out. In Belarus neither of these conditions were satisfactorily met. The country does not really have oligarchs capable of raising a de-facto army of street-fighters, and the street-fighters themselves are none too numerous. While there is evidence Ukrainian entities participated in grooming Belarusian shock troops, including in the trenches of the Donbass, in the end their numbers and/or enthusiasm was not what the Western curators of Belarus’ coup anticipated. After a few nights of violence, that segment of the protest movement vanished out of sight due to effective Belarusian counter-intelligence efforts. Atlantic Council practically disclosed a state secret when it bemoaned the absence of “robust young men” capable of going toe-to-toe with the security forces. It is evident Lukashenko’s survival took them by surprise, and it is probable someone over-promised their ability to deliver said “robust young men” onto Minsk streets.

Could this work in Russia? Probably not, due to both Russia’s own preparations and the West characteristically shooting itself in the foot. Preparations include formations like Rosgvardia which are meant to combat the low-to-middle intensity scenarios like the Maidan. But the Western economic warfare against Russia, the freezing of assets of Russian firms and individuals, have encountered a consolidation of the Russian oligarchs around the country’s political center. The West overplayed its hand there: expecting a quick, Maidan-like resolution in Moscow, it sent a signal it does not respect Russian individuals’ property rights, and which oligarch wants to have their property rights disrespected?

The tragic irony of it all is that while the strategy of destabilization using the disaffected oligarch—young extremist combination has been progressively less effective with coming years, as governments worldwide have drawn appropriate lessons from color revolutions and are determined not to be undone in a similar manner. Is United States experiencing a genuine, home-grown, grass-roots pro-democracy movement that is not bank-rolled by oligarchs or spearheaded by racial extremists? To be sure, elements in the Democratic Party think it can be used as a “get out the vote” device against Donald Trump, but on the other hand there is mounting evidence it is having an opposite effect. America’s middle bourgeois, being easily frightened and anxious to protect what little property it still has, just might decide Trump’s the guy to keep them safe going forward. But even, or perhaps especially, if Biden is elected one should expect more use of various paramilitaries to maintain order. Unfortunately America’s internal instability will mean even more erratic and reckless international behavior.

Related News

Before the Bidens ‘Did’ Ukraine, There Was Iraq – and Serbia

Before The Bidens “Did” Ukraine, There Was Iraq… And Serbia – Finanz.dk
Analyst, former U.S. diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership

James George Jatras

October 16, 2020

The United States approaches the November 2020 election with growing apprehension, even dread.

Among the possibilities:

For those who have followed events outside the United States during the past few decades, much of this sounds familiar. We’ve seen it before – inflicted on other countries.

Now It’s Coming Home to the U.S.

As explained by Revolver News, what happens in America next to a great extent may be a form of blowback from a specific event: the U.S.-supported 2014 regime change operation in Ukraine:

‘A “Color Revolution” in this context refers to a specific type of coordinated attack that the United States government has been known to deploy against foreign regimes, particularly in Eastern Europe deemed to be “authoritarian” and hostile to American interests. Rather than using a direct military intervention to effect regime change as in Iraq, Color Revolutions attack a foreign regime by contesting its electoral legitimacy, organizing mass protests and acts of civil disobedience, and leveraging media contacts to ensure favorable coverage to their agenda in the Western press.

‘It would be disturbing enough to note a coordinated effort to use these exact same strategies and tactics domestically to undermine or overthrow President Trump. The ominous nature of what we see unfolding before us only truly hits home when one realizes that the people who specialize in these Color Revolution regime change operations overseas are, literally, the very same people attempting to overthrow Trump by using the very same playbook. Given that the most famous Color Revolution was the [2004] “Orange Revolution” in the Ukraine, and that Black Lives Matter is being used as a key component of the domestic Color Revolution against Trump, we can encapsulate our thesis at Revolver with the simple remark that “Black is the New Orange.”

This hardly should come as a surprise. The same government agencies and their corporate, NGO, and think tank cronies that are now weaponizing Black Lives Matter, Antifa, other Wokesters, and military putsch plotters here at home to remove Trump have turned regime change abroad into an art form. Ukraine was one of their signal successes, featuring a cast of characters later key to the failed “Ukrainegate” impeachment.

Another consequence of regime change: corruption. As the old saying goes, any idiot can turn an aquarium into fish soup, but no one has yet figured out how to reverse the process. Once a country gets broken it tends to stay broken, whether the “breaking” is accomplished by military means (Serbia 1999, Iraq 2003, Libya 2011) or by a color revolution from the streets (Serbia 2000, Georgia 2003, Ukraine 2004-2005 and again in 2014, Kyrgyzstan 2005, Lebanon 2005, Armenia 2018, plus many others of varying degrees of success, and failures in Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China (Hong Kong), and Belarus). With the target nation’s institutions in shambles, the dregs take over – in Libya, for example, even to the point of reintroducing trade in sub-Saharan African slaves, whose black lives evidently don’t matter to anyone at all.

Iraq: Crush, Corrupt, Cash In

Finally, once regime change occurs and corruption is rampant, another shoe drops: foreign vultures descend on the carcass, profiteers who in many cases are the very same people that helped to create the chaos on which they are cashing in. Invariably, these carpetbaggers are well-connected individuals in the aggressor states and organizations positioned on the inside track both for the carve-up of the target country’s resources and (the word “hypocrisy” doesn’t begin to describe it) for funds to implement “reform” and “reconstruction” of the devastated target.

The showcase of this scam, pursuant to Colin Powell’s reported “Pottery Barn Rule” (You break it, you own it) was the money ostensibly spent on rebuilding Iraq, despite assurances from the war’s advocates that it would pay for itself. With the formal costs conservatively set at over $60 billion to $138 billion out of a tab for the war of over two trillion dollars, the lion’s share of it went to U.S. and other vendors, including the notorious $1.4 billion no-bid contract to Halliburton subsidiary KBR, of which then-Vice President Dick Cheney, a major proponent of the war, had been a top executive. (“Rand Paul Says Dick Cheney Pushed for the Iraq War So Halliburton Would Profit.”)

In Ukraine, Biden’s Son Also Rises

The predatory cronyism vignette most pertinent to the Black/Orange regime change op now unfolding before us with the intent of installing Joe Biden in the Oval Office is that of his son, Hunter, and a Ukrainian energy company with a sketchy reputation, Burisma Holdings. (Right at the outset, even some of Hunter’s associates though the gig with Burisma was too “toxic” and broke off ties with him.) Though ignored or dismissed as fake news and a conspiracy theory by Democrats and legacy media (or do I repeat myself?), the facts are well enough known and fit the Iraq pattern to a T: then-Vice President Joe Biden pushed for regime change in Ukraine, which succeeded in February 2014 with the ouster of the constitutionally elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. In April 2014, Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was brought onto Burisma’s board (along with a fellow named Devon Archer, later convicted of unrelated fraud) at an exorbitant level of compensation that made little sense in light of Hunter’s nonexistent expertise in the energy business – but which made plenty of sense given that his dad was not only Veep but the Obama administration’s point man on policy toward Ukraine, including foreign assistance money. [NOTE: It now has come out that in 2015 Hunter put his dad, the U.S. Vice President, in direct contact with Burisma, news the giant tech firms sought to suppress on social media.]

When a troublesome Ukrainian prosecutor named Viktor Shokin seemed to be taking too much interest in Burisma, Papa Joe came to the rescue, openly threatening the western-dependent politicians installed after Ukraine’s 2014 color revolution with withholding of a billion dollars in U.S. aid until Shokin, whom Joe unironically alleged to be “corrupt,” got the heave-ho. As Tucker Carlson nails it, Shokin’s ouster followed a direct request from Burisma’s Clinton-connected PR firm, Blue Star Strategies, to Hunter to lobby his dad to get Shokin off their back. Joe did just what was asked. He later bragged: “I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here [i.e., Kiev] in, I think it was about six hours.’ I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.”

But First There Was Serbia

Today many people remember Iraq, some have a clue about Ukraine. But Serbia, which preceded them, is off the radar screen of most Americans. To recap:

As a Senator in the 1990s, Joe Biden was one of the most militant advocates of U.S. military action against Serbs during the breakup of the Yugoslav federation, first in Croatia (1991-95), then in Bosnia (1992-95), and then in Serbia’s province of Kosovo (1998- 1999). (As has been said about others like Hillary Clinton and the late John McCain, Biden evidently has never met a war he didn’t like. Along with Hillary, in 2003 Biden helped to whip Senate Democrat votes for the Bush-Cheney Iraq war.) Channeling his inner John McCain, Biden continually called for the U.S. to bomb, bomb, bomb bomb the Serbs while (in a foreshadowing of the Obama-Biden administration’s support for jihad terrorists in Libya and Syria, which ultimately resulted in the appearance of ISIS) pushed successfully for sending weapons to the Islamist regime in Bosnia and then for the U.S. to arm the Islamo-narco-terrorist group known as the “Kosovo Liberation Army” (KLA).

Joe Biden was the primary sponsor of the March 1999 Kosovo war authorization for military action against Serbia and Montenegro, S. Con. Res. 21. (As a little remembered historical note, Biden’s resolution might be seen as the last nail in the coffin of Congress’s constitutional war power. While S. Con. Res 21 passed the Senate, it failed in the House on a 213-213 tie vote, with Republicans overwhelmingly voting Nay. It didn’t matter. Bill Clinton, reeling from the Lewinsky scandal, went ahead with the bombing campaign anyway.) The ensuing 78-day NATO air operation had little impact on Serbia’s military but devastated the country’s infrastructure and took hundreds of civilian lives. (Even now, more than 20 years later, Serbia suffers from elevated cancer levels attributed to depleted uranium munitions.) But for Jihad Joe even that wasn’t punishment enough for people he collectively demonized as “illiterate degenerates, baby killers, butchers, and rapists.” In May 1999, at the height of the NATO air assault, he called for the introduction of U.S. ground troops (“we should announce there’s going to be American casualties”) followed by “a Japanese-German style occupation.”

Eventually the bombing stopped in June 1999 when then-Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević acceded to temporary international occupation of Kosovo on the condition that the province would remain part of Serbia, as codified in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. It was a promise the U.S. and NATO, not to mention their European Union (EU) concubine, had no intention of keeping. Under the nose of the NATO occupation, ostensibly demobilized KLA thugs were given virtually free rein to terrorize the Serbian population, two-thirds of whom were driven out along with Jews and Roma, the rest sheltering in enclaves where they remain to this day. Orthodox Christian churches and monasteries, many of them centuries old, were particular targets for destruction and desecration. KLA commanders – who were also kingpins in the Kosovo Albanian mafia dealing in sex slaves, drugs, weapons, and even human organs – were handed local administration.

In 2007 Senator Biden praised the new order as a “victory for Muslim democracy” and “a much-needed example of a successful U.S.-Muslim partnership.” A year later, the Bush administration sought to complete the job by ramming through Kosovo’s independence in barefaced violation of UNSCR 1244 and despite strong Russian objections. But instead of resolving anything the result was a frozen conflict that persists today, with about half of the United Nations’ member states recognizing Kosovo and half not. Touting itself as the most pro-American “country” [sic] in the world, the Kosovo pseudo-state became a prime recruiting ground for ISIS.

But hey, business was good! Just as in Iraq, the politically well-connected, including former officials instrumental in the attack on Serbia and occupying Kosovo, flocked to the province fueled by lavish aid subsidies from the U.S. and the EU, which for a while made Kosovo one of the biggest per capita foreign assistance recipient “countries” in the world. One such vulture – sorry, entrepreneur – was former Secretary of State Madeleine we-think-a-half-million-dead-Iraqi-children-is-worth-it Albright, a prominent driver of the Clinton administration’s hostile policy on top of her personal Serb-hatred. Albright sought to cash in to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars on sale of the mobile telephone company PTK, originally a Yugoslav state-owned firm that was “privatized” (i.e., stolen) in 2005 as a joint stock company, but who later dropped her bid when it attracted unwanted publicity. Also in the hunt for Kosovo riches was former NATO Supreme Commander and operational chief of the Kosovo war General Wesley Clark, who reportedly cornered a major share of the occupied province’s coal resources under a sweetheart deal that seems to have vanished from public scrutiny since first reported in 2016.

At the moment there seems to be no smoking gun of a direct Biden family payout, à la Ukraine, but there is a possible trail via Hunter’s Burisma-buddy Devon Archer and Archer’s fellow-defendant John “Yanni” Galanis, who in turn is connected to top Kosovo Albanian politicians. In any case, the Biden clan seems to have paid a lot of attention to Kosovo for not having skin in the game. Joe’s late son and Delaware Attorney General, Beau, worked in Kosovo following the war to train local prosecutors as part of an OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) “rule of law” mission (admittedly a big task in a mafia-run pseudo-state), for which a road was named after him near the massive U.S. base Camp Bondsteel. With Hunter on hand for the naming ceremony, Joe Biden took the opportunity to express his “condolences” to Serbian families who lost loved ones in the NATO air assault – of which he was a primary advocate.

A ‘Shokin’ Demand  

Perhaps the best parallel between Biden’s handiwork in Ukraine and his interest in Kosovo also relates to getting rid of an inconvenient individual. But in this case, the person in question wasn’t a state official like Burisma prosecutor Viktor Shokin but a hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

In May 2009 Vice President Biden insisted on visiting one of Kosovo’s most venerable Serbian Orthodox Christian sites, the Visoki Dečani monastery. Ruling Bishop Artemije of the Eparchy of Raška and Prizren, which includes Kosovo and Metohija, refused to give his blessing for the visit, in effect telling Biden he was not welcome. Bishop Artemije long had been a bane of Biden and others advocating detachment of Kosovo from Serbia, starting with his first mission to Washington in 1997 as war clouds gathered. In 2004 Bishop Artemije sued the NATO powers in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg following their inaction to protect his flock during an anti-Serbian rampage by Muslim Albanian militants in March of that year. Then, in March 2006, as preparations were underway for a “final solution” to the Kosovo issue, Bishop Artemije launched an intensive multinational lobbying and public relations effort (in which Yours Truly was the lead professional) to try to derail the U.S. policy to which Biden had devoted so much attention. While the Bishop’s campaign was unsuccessful in reversing U.S. policy it was instrumental in delaying it for over a year – to howls of outrage from Biden’s associates in Washington. Thus, for Biden, the monastery visit snub by Bishop Artemije was adding insult to injury.

The end for Bishop Artemije came a few months later, at the beginning of 2010 at the time of two visits to Kosovo by U.S. Admiral Mark P. Fitzgerald, then Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, and Commander, Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples, (who retired later that year, becoming, unsurprisingly, a consultant “with numerous defense and commercial maritime and aviation contractors”). At that time, an unconfirmed report indicated that a high NATO officer (whether Admiral Fitzgerald or someone else is not specified) stated in the course of one of his local meetings (this is verbatim or a close paraphrase): “What we need here is a more cooperative bishop.” (More details are available here. Since that posting last year the NATO command in Naples seems to have scrubbed the items about Fitzgerald’s 2010 visits from their site.)

Shortly afterwards, Biden’s troublesome priest was forcibly removed by police and exiled from his see, without ecclesiastical trial, by Church authorities in Belgrade under pressure from compliant Serbian politicians installed after the October 2000 color revolution, in turn pressured by NATO. The pretext? Transparently baseless charges of financial wrongdoing. In other words, bogus accusations of “corruption” – like against Ukraine’s Shokin.

One could almost hear Joe Biden chortle: “Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.”

But Look at the Bright Side…

Back to the incipient coup facing the United States, there should be no illusion that what’s at stake in the unfolding scenario for the removal of Donald Trump is not just his presidency but the survival of the historic American ethnos of which he is seen as an avatar by both his supporters and detractors. Remember, we’re dealing with predators and scavengers who are happy to burn the old, evil America down as long as they can achieve total power and continue to feather their cushy nests. Short of a blowout Trump victory by a margin too big to hijack, we’re headed for a dystopian state of affairs.

If they do manage to remove Trump, “by any means necessary,” and Joe Biden takes the helm, we can anticipate a bevy of globalist warmonger appointees that make Trump’s team look like disciples of Mahatma Gandhi. Among the names floated like Nicholas BurnsAntony BlinkenMichele FlournoyEvelyn Farkas, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, all were on board with Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria … [NOTE: The Atlantic Council, known as NATO’s semi-official think tank in Washington and which will be instrumental in staffing a future Joe Biden administration, also has been the beneficiary of generous donations from Hunter Biden’s paymaster, Burisma.]

It’s a recipe for wars, regime changes, and color revolutions galore.

But to finish on a positive note, the potential future business opportunities will be endless!

US Election: Mohammed Bin Salman Braces for The Loss of a Key Ally

US Election: Mohammed Bin Salman Braces for The Loss of a Key Ally

By Madawi Al-Rasheed – MEE

No doubt Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman listened to US presidential candidate Joe Biden’s statement on the second anniversary of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with apprehension.

Biden’s statement this month was a strong condemnation of the murder by Saudi operatives of Khashoggi, who had been a US resident since 2017. Biden promised to withdraw US support for the war in Yemen launched by Saudi Arabia in 2015, and noted: “Today, I join many brave Saudi women and men, activists, journalists, and the international community in mourning Khashoggi’s death and echoing his call for people everywhere to exercise their universal rights in freedom.”

Such a statement by someone who may become the master of the White House has surely sent shock waves through Riyadh.

Shifting public opinion

In contrast, two years ago, US President Donald Trump uncritically adopted the Saudi narrative about the slain journalist as an “enemy of the state”. Trump shamelessly boasted about shielding the murderers, above all bin Salman, and protecting him from further denunciation by Congress. Trump sensed a major shift in public opinion, and above all in Congress, in favor of vigorous scrutiny of US authoritarian allies in the Middle East – above all, the Saudi regime.

Many Republican and Democratic congressmen condemned Saudi Arabia and its authoritarian ruler for committing crimes against their own citizens on foreign soil, and continuing a policy of zero tolerance towards activists and dissidents. Shielding bin Salman from further scrutiny and possible sanctions allowed the crown prince to enjoy two years of security and tranquility, which may not be readily available after 3 November, should Biden win the presidential election.

Yet, one must be cautious when anticipating great US policy shifts if a Democrat is elected to the White House. The previous record of Democratic leadership has been more in line with a long US tradition of supporting authoritarian proteges in the Middle East, above all in Saudi Arabia, despite being more likely to invoke US values and their contradiction with the realist policy of propping up the region’s dictators.

Barack Obama went further than any previous US president by withdrawing support for former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, rather than openly and actively embracing the democratic forces that toppled him in 2011. By failing to unconditionally support a long-term US ally, Obama antagonized the Saudis, who interpreted his position on Egypt as abandoning a loyal partner.

The Saudis feared that the Arab uprisings would leave them exposed to serious political change, without the US superpower rushing to protect them against a dramatic fall. Saudi leaders knew they could not count on Obama to embrace them without demanding serious reforms. In a famous interview, Obama reminded Gulf leaders that their biggest problems were domestic and encouraged them to stop amplifying “external threats”, such as Iran’s regional influence, while silencing critical voices at home.

Sense of betrayal

The Saudi leadership was further annoyed by a historic deal between the US, several European countries and Iran, facilitated by Oman. The Saudis realized how far a US Democratic president could go towards marginalizing them, without openly denouncing their domestic and regional policies in the Middle East.   

That didn’t sit well with Saudi autocrats, who have always aimed to paint a picture of a kingdom besieged by hostile regional powers, while enjoying the bliss of harmony and the support of its domestic constituency. Obama publicly debunked this Saudi myth and negotiated with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s archenemy for decades.

The Saudis felt a sense of betrayal, which Trump quickly abated when he fully endorsed bin Salman – or, more accurately, the crown prince’s promises to invest in the US economy and to seriously consider normalizing relations with Israel, both high prices for US tolerance of bin Salman’s excesses at home and abroad.  

Should Biden win the US election, bin Salman will be on alert. Any word uttered by the White House that falls short of endorsing the young prince and reminding Congress of the centrality of the “historical partnership” between the US and Saudi Arabia will automatically be interpreted in Riyadh as a hostile stand.

Yet the rambling discourses of the Democrats about US values is no longer convincing, if not accompanied by real policy changes. Withdrawing support from autocrats is not enough. The region and its activists expect more than passive support from a country that boasts about its democracy and civil rights. They expect real and concrete measures that undermine the longevity of authoritarian rule, if the region and the rest of the world are to enjoy political change, economic prosperity and social harmony.

Loss of faith

The first step is to starve those autocrats of weapons used against their own people and their neighbors. Whether Democrats will reconsider the relentless US export of arms and training programs to Saudi Arabia and its neighbors remains to be seen. At the least, Biden could make the export of weapons to Saudi Arabia conditional on meeting international standards on human rights, and on serious political changes to allow Saudis to be represented in a national assembly. The Saudi people could do the rest.

Frankly, the Middle East, and for that matter the rest of the world, have lost faith in the US. Americans have yet to calculate the costs of having elected Trump and the ensuing reputational damage. Should they bring a Democrat to power next month, they will struggle to correct not only the short history of Trump’s failings, but also more than half a century of misguided US policy in the Middle East. 

From now until early November, bin Salman will no doubt have sleepless nights in anticipation of losing a good partner in Washington – one who allowed him to get away with murder.

CIA-Linked WaPo Endorses Biden/Harris

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Most establishment media are lining up for Biden/Harris over Trump.

In 2016, the WSJ was an exception to the rule, calling Trump’s candidacy a “political disruption (that challenges a) broken Washington (that) needs to be shaken up and refocused…”

“(W)ho better to do it than an outsider beholden to neither political party?”

On Saturday, the Journal headlined:

“Trailing in the Polls and Time Running Out, Trump Looks for One More Comeback”

He defied pollsters in 2016. Can he do it again on November 3?

He accumulated lots of nicknames in office, mostly unflattering.

If he beats long odds a second time around next month, he’ll be a comeback kid twice over.

Newspaper endorsements once mattered, no longer as much with voters able to follow political and other news digitally.

According to The Hill, “research suggests that endorsements have greater importance with local races and local issues than at the national level.” 

“And newspaper endorsements don’t seem to help very much.” 

“When Donald Trump was the Republican presidential nominee in 2016, he received fewer endorsements from the editorial boards of the nation’s largest newspapers than any major party presidential candidate in (US) history. He won.”

The anti-Trump NYT endorsed Hillary in 2016, Biden/Harris this year.

In 2020, so did the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times, the LA Times, the Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and numerous other broadsheets so far.

Many newspapers haven’t published an endorsement so far.

The CIA-linked Washington Post announced for Biden/Harris on September 28.

Calling Trump “the worst president of modern times,” WaPo reinvented Joe Biden like the NYT and other broadsheets.

Ignoring his long history of shilling for powerful interests at the expense of peace, equity, justice and the rule of law, WaPo defied reality saying:

Biden “is exceptionally well-qualified, by character and experience, to meet the daunting challenges that the nation will face over the coming four years (sic).”

He never met a US war of aggression he didn’t wholeheartedly endorse.

As US senator, one of his aides once said he directed his team “to think up excuses for new hearings on drugs and crime every week—any connection, no matter how remote.” 

“He wanted cops at every public meeting. You’d have thought he was running for chief of police.”

He co-sponsored the repressive 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act.

It abolished parole for federal prisoners convicted after November 1987, limiting how much time sentences could be reduced for good behavior, among other repressive provisions.

He once boasted about legislation he backed for mandating five years imprisonment without parole for anyone caught with crack cocaine “no bigger than a quarter.”

Racist contempt for people of color and the nation’s most disadvantaged drove his repressive war on drugs and war on crime — most offenses targeted no greater than misdemeanors too minor to matter.

He once argued that Roe v. Wade (a woman’s right to control her own body) “went too far.”

Throughout his public life, he one-sidedly supported privileged interests over public health and welfare.

Like the NYT, WaPo falsely claimed Biden “would restore decency, honor and competence to America’s government” — what he failed to do through his near-half century as US senator and vice president.

His record in office is polar opposite “offer(ing) a deep commitment to finding common ground in service to making government work for the greatest number.”

WaPo reinvented Kamala Harris. Calling her Biden’s “most qualified choice” for running-mate ignored her disturbing prosecutorial and political history — a figure disdainful of due process and equal justice under law.

On domestic and geopolitical issues, they offer no “positive vision,” as WaPo claimed, just the opposite.

Time and again, US presidential aspirants endorse peace and stability over endless wars.

If elected, longstanding dirty business continues like always before without missing a beat.

Belligerence Biden supported as US senator and vice president will carry over to the White House if elected.

How he and Obama operated destructively for eight years will continue with him as president and commander-in-chief.

I oppose aspirants for high office from both right wings of the one-party state.

At the same time, I fear Biden in the White House more than Trump.

The incumbent continued wars he inherited and wages them by other means on China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

His regime orchestrated Evo Morales’ ouster in Bolivia, fascist tyranny replacing him.

His failed color revolution attempt in Belarus continues.

So does his regime’s plot to undermine Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Russia, along with falsely accusing the Kremlin of poisoning Navalny with novichok.

No matter who serves as US president or in high congressional posts, privileged interests are served exclusively at the expense of ordinary people everywhere.

It’s the American way, a fantasy democracy from inception, never the real thing.

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”

Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”

Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.

هل الثورة مقبلة إلى الولايات المتحدة؟ المقارنة مع روسيا

زياد حافظ

في سلسلة من المقالات والأبحاث المعمّقة أشرنا إلى تعاظم الاحتمال لانهيار داخلي في الولايات المتحدة. تسارع الأحداث في شوارع المدن الأميركية والانفلات الإعلامي في الفضاء السياسي والفوضى في الحوار التصادمي بين مكوّنات المجتمع الأميركي، فكلّ ذلك ينذر بأنّ شيئاً ما سيحدث قريباً. في مقال مثير للباحثة هيلين اندروز على موقع «الأميركان كونسرفاتيف» (الأميركي المحافظ) كتبت في مطلع هذا الشهر أنّ المناخ السائد في الولايات المتحدة يشبه المناخ الروسي سنة 1917. أن يصدر كلام من هذا النوع في الولايات المتحدة أمر لافت للنظر ولكن أن يصدر من موقع محافظ فهو دليل على خطورة الوضع الداخلي.

اعتبرت الباحثة انّ عام 2020 عام التدحرج نحو مناخات 1917 ذلك رغم الإنذارات المتكرّرة منذ الستينات في القرن الماضي والتي شهدت أعمال عنف وتمرّداً من قبل الشباب. لكن تلك الإنذارات لم تترجم إلى عمل يقود إلى الثورة ما جعل النخب ترتاح أن «الثورة» لن تحدث في بلد كالولايات المتحدة. لكن ما يحدث اليوم قد يكون مختلفاً عما حدث في الستينات من حركات احتجاجية لم تؤدّ إلى التغيير المطلوب آنذاك. وتسترسل الباحثة في سرد المناخ القائم في 1917 في روسيا مع ما يحدث اليوم في الولايات المتحدة. لكن «الثورة» المقبلة قد تكون مختلفة عن الثورات في العالم التي تريد التغيير. فهي «ثورة» تريد تثبيت الأمر الواقع وتقوم بحركة مناهضة لأيّ تغيير!

فحركة المقاومة في الولايات المتحدة (نعم هناك حركة اسمها المقاومة تهدف إلى خلع الرئيس الأميركي) تقول بوضوح إنها لن تقبل إعادة انتخاب ترامب في 2020 كما رفضتها في 2016. فالرئيس الأميركي كان ظاهرة تتمرّد على التوازنات القائمة وبالتالي حاولت تلك «المقاومة» الإطاحة بترامب عبر فضيحة «روسيا غيت» أيّ التدخل الروسي المزعوم في الانتخابات سنة 2016. ويعتبر الكاتب والأستاذ الجامعي مايكل ريكتنوالد أنّ الجبهة العريضة المعادية لترامب والتي تسعى الإطاحة به بأيّ وسيلة ممكنة مؤلّفة من ماكينة الحزب الديمقراطي، الديمقراطيين الأوفياء، المعادين لترامب من داخل الحزب الجمهوري تحت يافطة «أبداً لا لترامب» منهم من المحافظين الجدد كـ وليام كريستول ودوغلاس فيث، والدولة العميقة المؤلّفة من الجهاز البيروقراطي والمؤسسات الأمنية والمجمع العسكري الصناعي والمالي، ثم مجمل الإعلام الشركاتي المهيمن باستثناء بعض الجزر الصغيرة المستقلّة، وحركة «انتيفا»، وحركة «بي أل أم» (حياة السود مهمّة) المموّلة من الشركات الكبرى المالية والمعلوماتية على حدّ سواء. هذا التحالف يعيش وفقاً للكاتب في عالم موازي بعيداً عن هموم المواطنين الأميركيين العاديين ولا يريد التغيير. الاحتجاج ضدّ العنصرية «مقبول» من قبل الدولة العميقة طالما لا يمسّ بالمعادلات الاقتصادية والمالية القائمة.

وما يزيد من قلق المراقبين هو تباشير عن إمكانية تدخّل القوّات المسلّحة الأميركية حلبة الصراع القائم لصالح القوى المناهضة لترامب ما يزيد في وتيرة البارانويا في صفوف الجبهة الأخرى. ويعتبر الباحث أنّ تصريحات وزير الدفاع السابق في إدارة ترامب جون ماتيس حول ضرورة اقتلاع كلّ من لا يحترم الدستور تحذيراً لترامب. كما أنّ رئيس هيئة الأركان المشتركة انتقد الرئيس عندما أراد الأخير زجّ الجيش في قمع المظاهرات الاحتجاجية ضدّ العنصرية. ويُضاف إلى ذلك ضلوع مدير مكتب التحقيق الاتحادي السابق جيمس كومي في تبنّيه لملفّ مزوّر من أحد العاملين في وكالة الاستخبارات حول تورّط الرئيس الأميركي مع روسيا خلال الحملة فيضيف إلى مصداقية التهم التي يوجّهها ترامب وأنصاره إلى تواطؤ الأجهزة الأمنية في محاولات الإطاحة به. فالإيحاء بأنّ القوّات المسلّحة ومختلف الأجهزة الأمنية تنظر بعين الرضى لمشاريع الإطاحة بترامب جعلت المرشّحة السابقة هيلاري كلنتون تحثّ جوزيف بايدن على عدم القبول بالهزيمة فيما لو فاز ترامب في تشرين الثاني.

في المقابل يعمل أنصار ترامب، مع أنهم لا يحظون بتأييد الإعلام المهيمن، على نبش كلّ الفضائح التي تعود إلى المرشح بايدن ونجله هنتر. الاعلام المهيمن إما يتجاهل عمداً الاتهامات الموجّهة ضدّ فساد جوزيف بايدن ونجله أو يستحفّ بمصداقيتها. ونذكر أيضاً تصريحات وزير الخارجية مايك بومبيو حول عزمه لنشر الرسائل السرّية لهيلاري كلينتون تثبت تورّطها في فضائح عديدة وذلك خلال الأيام المقبلة قبل موعد الانتخابات. كما أنّ الحركات اليمينية المتطرّفة والعنصرية البيضاء تساهم في استمرار موجة الكراهية السائدة في البلاد. فالحقد والكراهية بين الفريقين المتنافسين يأخذ أبعاد خطرة للغاية حيث إمكانية التفاهم أصبحت شبه معدومة وأنّ الفصل قد يكون في الشارع.

أما الباحث الأميركي الذي يكتب تحت اسم جون كوينسي آدامز، وهو اسم مستعار للرئيس السادس للولايات المتحدة وهو ابن جون آدامز الرئيس الثاني وأحد مؤسّسي الدولة الأميركية، فيعتبر أنّ الولايات المتحدة «انتهت» كما كتب في مقال في موقع «استراتيجيك أند كلتشر فونداشين» (موقع مؤسسة الاسترتيجيا والثقافة) وذلك في 25 أيلول/ سبتمبر 2020. ويقيم مقارنة بين واقع الحال في الولايات المتحدة وواقع الحال في روسيا قيل عشرين سنة.

النقطة الأولى تعتبر أنّ من يتحكّم بالقرار في الولايات المتحدة الآن هي الاوليغارشية المالية التي لم تساهم في بناء الجسور والطرقات والمرافق العامة ومجمل البنى التحتية والقاعدة الصناعية والزراعية. بل هي مجموعة من مضاربين ماليين في معظمهم. في المقابل فإنّ الاوليغارشية التي لم تبن أيضاً أيّ شيء في روسيا بل استفادت من التفكك والفساد لبناء ثروات طائلة وتحكّمت بروسيا بعد تفكيك الاتحاد السوفياتي تضاءل نفوذها بشكل ملحوظ مع صعود الرئيس بوتين.

النقطة الثانية هي أنّ الثقة في الدولة تتزايد يوماً بعد يوم في روسيا بينما تتراجع بشكل سريع في الولايات المتحدة. معظم الروس يعتبرون السياسيين من اللصوص والنصّابين إلخ… في المقابل تشير استطلاعات الرأي العام في الولايات المتحدة ازدياد حالة القرف من السياسيين ومن الحكومة والدولة. فثقة الأميركيين بالدولة تراجعت بسبب عدم الشفافية (69 بالمائة) كما أنّ العلاقات والخطاب السياسي فقد الحدّ الأدنى من اللباقة والتهذيب (72 يالمائة).

النقطة الثالثة هي تراجع الكفاءة والقدرة العسكرية الأميركية بينما تتصاعد بشكل ملحوظ في روسيا. أشرنا في مقالات سابقة إلى عدم الجهوزية العسكرية الأميركية وذلك على لسان رئيس هيئة الأركان المشتركة وتقارير مراكز الأبحاث. كما أنّ الإخفاقات في الميدان ظهرت للجميع، سابقاً في فيتنام، وحالياً في أفغانستان والعراق. كما أنّ نوعية التسليح الروسي أفضل وأقلّ كلفة من التسليح الأميركي وخاصة في السلاح الكاسر للتوازن.

النقطة الرابعة هي أنّ الولايات تنفق الكثير على التسليح ومعظمه يذهب هدراً بينما روسيا أكثر ترشيداً ورشاقة في نفقاتها العسكرية. فروسيا تحرص على عدم تحويل وارداتها إلى التسلّح مستفيدة من تجربة الماضي في سباق التسلّح الذي أدّى إلى انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي. التركيز هو على السلاح النوعي والأقلّ كلفة. لذلك نرى تزايد في الإنفاق العسكري الأميركي وتراجع في الإنفاق العسكري الروسي.

النقطة الخامسة هي أنّ كلّ من روسيا والولايات المتحدة تشهد تراجعاً ملحوظاً في معدّلات الولادة. فخلال العقد الماضي تراجع عدد السكان في روسيا بنسبة مليون بسبب انخفاض معدّلات الولادة وتزايد معدّلات الوفيات بسبب الكحول. وإذا استمرّت الحال فإنّ روسيا قد تخسر ثلث عدد سكّانها الـ 146 مليون في عام 2050. في المقابل فالولايات المتحدة تواجه تراجعاً في الولادة وتزايداً في الوفيات بسبب المخدّرات والإقبال على الانتحار. لكن الإحصاءات الأخيرة تشير إلى أنه تمّ تثبيت معدّلات الولادة في روسيا بينما عدد السكان في الولايات المتحدة يتراجع. وهنا تكمن المشكلة لأنّ الحلّ في تثبيت عدد السكّان لن يأتي إلاّ عبر الهجرة. والهجرة يعني تغييراً كبيراً في نسبة المكوّنات العرقية في الولايات المتحدة وما يرافق ذلك من تغيير في الثقافة والقيم والتي تصطدم مع الموجة العنصرية المتفشية في الولايات المتحدة.

كلّ ذلك يدّل على أنّ الوضع في روسيا أكثر استقرار مما هو عليه في الولايات المتحدة وأنّ الأخيرة في طريقها إلى الانهيار الداخلي إنْ لم تصحُ النخب على الواقع وتقوم بالإجراءات الجذرية اللازمة. لكن ما نشهده في هذه الأيام هو تأجيج متزايد نحو مواجهة في الداخل الأميركي خارج إطار المؤسسات بسبب موقف «المقاومة» للتغيير وموقف من يريد التغيير وإنْ لم تكن ملامح التغيير المطلوب واضحة. وهذا ما يزيد خطورة في الوضع لأنّ غياب هدف مشترك ينذر بالتفتّت والانشقاق.

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*كاتب وباحث اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي

Trump Says November Election ‘Out of Control’

Trump Says November Election ‘Out of Control’

By Staff, Agencies

US President Donald Trump again raised the alarm about possible voter fraud in the November election, saying the situation is “out of control” and the vote is “rigged.”

“Breaking News: 50,000 OHIO VOTERS getting WRONG ABSENTEE BALLOTS. Out of control. A Rigged Election!!!” Trump tweeted on Friday, days after he refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the reelection bid to Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee.

Last week, Trump tweeted “Rigged election!” and also posted a video purportedly showing a man caught on camera while paying cash for ballot exchange.

The video showed a man buying a registration form for an absentee ballot for a voter, giving him “pocket money” of $200 and expecting to collect his ballot when the voter receives it.

Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on mail voting, claiming that mail-in ballots lead to mass voter fraud.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic however millions of people prefer not to vote in person.

At least in nine states, every registered voter will automatically be mailed an application to request an absentee ballot.

Experts believe that by escalating his ongoing attack on mail-in ballots, Trump is preparing the ground to contest the election as” rigged or fraudulent” in the event of losing the election, and push the US into chaos.

Last month, Trump refused to commit to leave office peacefully if he loses the election.

Asked if he loses this year’s election to Biden, will he accept the results and commit to a peaceful transition, Trump said, “We’re going to have to see what happens.”

“We’ll want to have — get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very — we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation,’ he said.

American political commentator and journalist Thomas Friedman has warned that the United States could be headed towards a second civil war after Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power and relinquish his office should he lose in the election.

“You know, I began my career as a journalist covering Lebanon’s second civil war in its history, and I’m terrified to find myself ending my career as a journalist covering America’s potential second civil war in its history,” Friedman told Anderson Cooper in an interview with CNN.

“You really believe that?” Cooper asked.

“I think what happened in the last few days is a six-alarm fire,” said Friedman, later adding, “The President of the United States has told us ‘Either I win the election or I delegitimize the election.’ Those are your choices, folks.”

The New York Times columnist also criticized Republicans for not standing up to Trump.

The limits of Chinese power

October 08, 2020

The limits of Chinese power

By Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Everything about US-China hinges on the result of the upcoming US presidential election.

Trump 2.0 essentially would turbo-charge its bet on decoupling, aiming to squeeze “malign” China on a multiple Hybrid War front, undermine the Chinese trade surplus, co-opt large swathes of Asia, while always insisting on characterizing China as evil incarnate.

Team Biden, even as it professes no desire to fall into the trap of a new Cold War, according to the Dem official platform, would be only slightly less confrontational, ostensibly “saving” the “rules-based order” while keeping Trump-enacted sanctions.

Very few Chinese analysts are better positioned to survey the geopolitical and geoeconomic chessboard than Lanxin Xiang: expert on relations between China, US and Europe, professor of History and International Relations at the IHEID in Geneva and director of the Center for One Belt, One Road Studies in Shanghai.

Xiang got his PhD at SAIS at Johns Hopkins, and is as well respected in the US as in China. During a recent webinar he laid out the lineaments of an analysis the West ignores at its own peril.

Xiang has been focusing on the Trump administration’s push to “redefine an external target”: a process he brands, “risky, dangerous, and highly ideological”. Not because of Trump – who is “not interested in ideological issues” – but due to the fact that the “China policy was hijacked by the real Cold Warriors”. The objective: “regime change. But that was not Trump’s original plan.”

Xiang blasts the rationale behind these Cold Warriors: “We made a huge mistake in the past 40 years”. That is, he insists, “absurd – reading back into History, and denying the entire history of US-China relations since Nixon.” And Xiang fears the “lack of overall strategy. That creates enormous strategic uncertainty – and leads to miscalculations.”

Compounding the problem, “China is not really sure what the US wants to do.” Because it goes way beyond containment – which Xiang defines as a “very well thought of strategy by George Kennan, the father of the Cold War.” Xiang only detects a pattern of “Western civilization versus a non-Caucasian culture. That language is very dangerous. It’s a direct rehash of Samuel Huntington, and shows very little room for compromise.”

In a nutshell, that’s the “American way of stumbling into a Cold War.”

An October Surprise?

All of the above directly connects with Xiang’s great concern about a possible October Surprise: “It could probably be over Taiwan. Or a limited engagement in the South China Sea.” He stresses, “Chinese military people are terribly worried. October Surprise as a military engagement is not unthinkable, because Trump may want to re-establish a war presidency.”

For Xiang, “if Biden wins, the danger of a Cold War turning Hot War will be reduced dramatically.” He is very much aware of shifts in the bipartisan consensus in Washington: “Historically, Republicans don’t care about human rights and ideology. Chinese always preferred to deal with Republicans. They can’t deal with Democrats – human rights, values issues. Now the situation is reversed.”

Xiang, incidentally, “invited a top Biden adviser to Beijing. Very pragmatic. Not too ideological.” But in case of a possible Trump 2.0 administration, everything could change: “My hunch is he will be totally relaxed, may even reverse China policy 180 degrees. I would not be surprised. He would turn back to being Xi Jinping’s best friend.”

As it stands, the problem is “a chief diplomat that behaves as a chief propagandist, taking advantage of an erratic president.”

And that’s why Xiang never rules out even an invasion of Taiwan by Chinese troops. He games the scenario of a Taiwanese government announcing, “We are independent” coupled with a visit by the Secretary of State: “That would provoke a limited military action, and could turn into an escalation. Think about Sarajevo. That worries me. If Taiwan declares independence, Chinese invade in less than 24 hours. “

How Beijing miscalculates

Unlike most Chinese scholars, Xiang is refreshingly frank about Beijing’s own shortcomings: “Several things should have been better controlled. Like abandoning Deng Xiaoping’s original advice that China should bide its time and keep a low profile. Deng, in his last will, had set a timeline for that, at least 50 years.”

The problem is “the speed of China’s economic development led to hot headed, and premature, calculations. And a not well thought of strategy. ‘Wolf warrior’ diplomacy is an extremely assertive posture – and language. China began to upset the US – and even the Europeans. That was a geostrategic miscalculation.”

And that brings us to what Xiang characterizes as “the overextension of Chinese power: geopolitical and geoconomic.” He’s fond of quoting Paul Kennedy: “Any great superpower, if overstretched, becomes vulnerable.”

Xiang goes as far as stating that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – whose concept he enthusiastically praises – may be overstretched: “They thought it was a purely economic project. But with such wide global reach?”

So is BRI a case of overstretching or a source of destabilization? Xiang notes how, “Chinese are never really interested in other countries’ domestic policies. Not interested in exporting a model. Chinese have no real model. A model has to be mature – with a structure. Unless you’re talking about export of traditional Chinese culture.”

The problem, once again, is that China thought it was possible to “sneak into geographical areas that the US never paid too much attention to, Africa, Central Asia, without necessarily provoking a geopolitical setback. But that is naiveté.”

Xiang is fond of reminding Western analysts that, “the infrastructure investment model was invented by Europeans. Railways. The Trans-Siberian. Canals, like in Panama. Behind these projects there was always a colonial competition. We pursue similar projects – minus colonialism.”

Still, “Chinese planners buried their head in the sand. They never use that word – geopolitics.” Thus his constant jokes with Chinese policy makers: “You may not like geopolitics, but geopolitics likes you.”

Ask Confucius

The crucial aspect of the “post-pandemic situation”, according to Xiang, is to forget about “that wolf warrior stuff. China may be able to re-start the economy before anyone else. Develop a really working vaccine. China should not politicize it. It should show a universal value about it, pursue multilateralism to help the world, and improve its image.”

On domestic politics, Xiang is adamant that “during the last decade the atmosphere at home, on minority issues, freedom of speech, has been tightening to the extent that it does not help China’s image as a global power.”

Compare it, for instance, with “unfavorable views of China” in a survey of nations in the industrialized West that includes only two Asians: Japan and South Korea.

And that brings us to Xiang’s The Quest for Legitimacy in Chinese Politics – arguably the most important contemporary study by a Chinese scholar capable of explaining and bridging the East-West political divide.

This book is such a major breakthrough that its main conceptual analyses will be the subject of a follow-up column.

Xiang’s main thesis is that “legitimacy in Chinese tradition political philosophy is a dynamic question. To transplant Western political values to the Chinese system does not work.”

Yet even as the Chinese concept of legitimacy is dynamic, Xiang stresses, “the Chinese government is facing a legitimacy crisis.” He refers to the anti-corruption campaign of the past four years: “Widespread official corruption, that is a side-effect of economic development, bringing out the bad side of the system. Credit to Xi Jinping, who understood that if we allow this to continue, the CCP will lose all legitimacy.”

Xiang stresses how, in China, “legitimacy is based on the concept of morality – since Confucius. The communists can’t escape the logic.

Nobody before Xi dared to tackle corruption. He had the guts to root it out, arrested hundreds of corrupt generals. Some even attempted two or three coups d’état.”

At the same time, Xiang is adamantly against the “tightening of the atmosphere” in China in terms of freedom of speech. He mentions the example of Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew, an “enlightened authoritarian system”. The problem is” China has no rule of law. There are a lot of legal aspects though. Singapore is a little city-state. Like Hong Kong. They just took over the British legal system. It’s working very well for that size.”

And that brings Xiang to quote Aristotle: “Democracy can never work in bigger countries. In city-states, it does.” And armed with Aristotle, we step into Hong Kong: “Hong Kong had rule of law – but never a democracy. The government was directly appointed by London. That’s how Hong Kong actually worked – as an economic dynamo. Neoliberal economists consider Hong Kong as a model. It’s a unique political arrangement. Tycoon politics. No democracy – even as the colonial government did not rule like an authoritarian figure. Market economy was unleashed. Hong Kong was ruled by the Jockey Club, HSBC, Jardine Matheson, with the colonial government as coordinator. They never cared about people in the bottom.”

Xiang notes how, “the richest man in Hong Kong only pays 15% of income tax. China wanted to keep that pattern, with a colonial government appointed by Beijing. Still tycoon politics. But now there’s a new generation. People born after the handover – who know nothing about the colonial history. Chinese elite ruling since 1997 did not pay attention to the grassroots and neglected younger generation sentiment. For a whole year the Chinese didn’t do anything. Law and order collapsed. This is the reason why mainland Chinese decided to step in. That’s what the new security law is all about.”

And what about that other favorite “malign” actor across the Beltway – Russia? “Putin would love to have a Trump win. The Chinese as well, up to three months ago. The Cold War was a great strategic triangle. After Nixon went to China, the US sat in the middle manipulating Moscow and Beijing. Now everything has changed.”

شركاء جدد للعدوان الخليجيّ على اليمن؟

 د. وفيق إبراهيم

تراجع الحلف السعوديّ – الإماراتيّ ومرتزقتهم في حربهم على اليمن والأزمات التي يتخبّط بها حليفهم الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب تضع حكام السعودية والإمارات في مأزق تاريخيّ.

فلا هم قادرون على الانسحاب بعد خمس سنوات على هجوم قواتهم على اليمن بدعم أميركي بريطاني بالتسليح والتخطيط والتدريب ومرتزقة من السودان وبعض بلدان العالم العربي والإسلامي، مع شراء مفتوح للسلاح من بلدان أوروبية ومشاركات إسرائيليّة متنوّعة ودعم مصري بحريّ.

هؤلاء لم يعد بوسعهم إكمال حربهم التي ادركت في جوانب منها مرحلة الخسارة المتدحرجة، فها هو جيش دولة صنعاء على وشك تحرير منطقة مأرب بما يعنيه من انهيار الدور العدوانيّ السعوديّ في كامل اليمن، والقضاء على طموحه في الاستيلاء على حضرموت والجوف.

كذلك الإمارات التي لم تتمكن حتى الآن من توطيد احتلالها لمدينة عدن وبعض أنحاء الجنوب وجزر سقطرى.

ما أدى الى ولادة معادلة تقوم على ان الانسحاب من حرب اليمن ممنوع بقرار أميركي والانتصار فيها مستحيل لقوة المدافعين عن بلادهم في دولة صنعاء.

هذا الى جانب الذعر الذي أصاب حكام الخليج بسبب تراجع حظوظ وليهم الأميركي ترامب في الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية في الثالث من تشرين الثاني المقبل.

هناك الآن فارق يزيد عن ثلاث عشرة نقطة تؤكد مكاتب استطلاعات الرأي الأميركية ان منافسه بايدن يحوز عليها، وقد تزداد في مقبل الأيام لتخوف الأميركيين من الحالة الصحية المتفاقمة لترامب التي يحاول إخفاءها بالتهريج والضجيج والادعاء انه تمكن من القضاء على وباء الكورونا المصاب به.

لذلك يجب الربط بين الانسداد العسكري للعدوان على اليمن ونجاح الحُديدة في إجهاض كل محاولات إسقاطها من قبل السعوديين والإماراتيين، وأزمات ترامب هي من العوامل التي دفعت مفتي السعودية آل الشيخ لمطالبة المسلمين عموماً بالدعاء لشفاء ترامب.

إلا أن السفير الاميركي في «اسرائيل» ديفيد فريدمان كشف المستور مسقطاً التوريات الدينية، فأعلن أن فوز بايدن على ترامب يمثل خطراً كبيراً على جهود واشنطن وحلفائها في حرب اليمن من جهة والتطبيع الإسرائيلي – الخليجي العربي من جهة ثانية.

فإذا كان الأميركيون أنفسهم يتوجّسون على مشاريعهم الاستعمارية، فماذا حال أدواتهم في الشرق الأوسط وهل لديهم سياسات بديلة؟

ليس لدى السعودية والإمارات إلا العمل لإنجاح ترامب بضخ كميات وافرة من المساعدات لحملاته الانتخابية والإعلامية، علماً ان الفوارق في الأهداف بين الحزبين الأميركيين الجمهوري والديموقراطي هي في اسلوب التطبيق وليس في الأهداف، فالطرفان يعملان على السطو على موارد بلدان الشرق الاوسط وافريقيا وآسيا، لكن الحزب الديموقراطي يميل الى الربط بين الدبلوماسية والنفوذ الجيوبوليتيكي والصفقات الاقتصادية، فيما يسطو الحزب الجمهوري على اقتصاد المرتبطين به بشكل مباشر ومن دون حوارات على الطريقة الترامبية المليئة بالغطرسة والاستكبار.

كما أن الحزب الديموقراطي يميل الى حل الدولتين في فلسطين المحتلة مع تسويات لمصلحة الكيان المحتل، فيما يريد الحزب الجمهوري منح «إسرائيل» كامل فلسطين والجولان والأراضي اللبنانية المحتلة، معززاً فرصها في علاقات كاملة مع العالم الغربي على اساس حل بينهما معادٍ لإيران وروسيا والصين.

فأين المهرب الذي قد يفر اليه الخليج لإجهاض التداعيات المحتملة لخسارة ترامب الانتخابات الرئاسية؟

يبدو ان الخليج ذاهب الى تعميق تطبيعه مع العدو الإسرائيلي الى درجة تقديم دعم مالي مفتوح لهذا الكيان مقابل خدمات عسكرية جوية وبحرية وتقنية وتدريبية ويريد السعوديون والإماراتيون التعجيل في التطبيع السوداني مع «اسرائيل» لهدفين: الاول هو الكسر المعنوي لجبهة الأول الرافضة للعلاقات مع «اسرائيل» فيما يذهب الهدف الثاني إلى مسارعة الكيان الإسرائيلي إلى تدريب قوات سودانية بأعداد كبيرة قد تصل الى ثمانين الف جندي، يعمل نصفها تقريباً على حماية العائلات الحاكمة في السعودية والإمارات فيما يجري زج القوات الباقية داخل معارك اليمن للمحافظة على الأقل على «الستاتيكو» القائم في مأرب وبعض الوسط والجنوب وللدفاع ايضاً عن الجهة السعودية في نجران وجيزان المواجهتين لأعالي صنعاء.

هناك ايضاً محاولات سعودية – إماراتية لطلب مساعدات عسكرية أوروبية لها ميزتان: الاحتراف العسكري والتغطية السياسية لحرب الخليج على اليمن، الأمر الذي يزيد من مناعة النظامين السعودي والإماراتي في الاتحاد الاوروبي والامم المتحدة بالإضافة الى الدور العسكري، فهل تنجح هذه المساعي الشديدة الكلفة في زمن يتراجع فيه استهلاك البترول والغاز، وتختفي موارد الحج والعمرة ومختلف انواع العلاقات الاقتصادية؟ الصمود اليمني المتحول الى هجوميّ لن يتيح لكل هؤلاء فرصة ترقب تحولات ميدانيّة لمصلحتهم. لكن عملية طرد الغزاة السعوديّين والإماراتيّين من اليمن أصبحت مسألة وقت بانتظار تشكل موقف جنوبي يمني يلتقي مع الشمال والوسط المحرّر لإنقاذ بلادهم والمحافظة على ثرواتها ودورها اليمني والإقليمي وبالتالي العربي.

A Biden Victory Would Be Bad For ‘Israel’ – Friedman

A Biden Victory Would Be Bad For ‘Israel’ - Friedman

By Staff, Agencies

US Ambassador to the Zionist entity David Friedman cautioned Sunday that November 3 win for Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden would have an adverse effect on the region and would undermine the progress made by the Trump administration to curb the ‘threat’ Iran poses to the Middle East.

Speaking with the United Arab Emirates-based media outlet Al Ain News, Friedman said that Iran was the “most consequential issue of the election.”

“As you know, Joe Biden was part of the Obama administration that negotiated and implemented the Iran deal, something that President Trump – and I share his view – thinks was the worst international deal the US has ever entered into,” Friedman said in an excerpt from the interview posted to Twitter.

He further warned that a Biden victory could have serious consequences for America’s allies in the Middle East, including ‘Israel,’ Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

“If Biden wins, we will see a policy shift that, in my personal opinion, will be wrong and will be bad for the region, including for ‘Israel,’ Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait,” he told the Emirate daily.

“President Trump thinks was the worst deal the US have ever entered into. It created a path for Iran to get a nuclear weapon,” he explained adding that currently, Washington is “in a very good place in terms of the sanctions we have imposed upon Iran, and we think if we continue down this path, Iran will have no choice but to end its malign activity.

“We worked really hard to get Iran, I think, to a much better place. I would hate to think a new administration would undermine that but, regrettably, if Biden wins, I think they might,” Friedman added.

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Like 2017 France, will voters choose Trump just to end a fake-leftist party?

Like 2017 France, will voters choose Trump just to end a fake-leftist party?

October 04, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Since 1996 Americans have proven that they know their own country: polls show they have correctly picked the winner of the popular vote every time. Even though Trump’s approval rating is under 50% and poll aggregates show he trails by 8%, Gallup just asked who they think will win and 56% of Americans picked Trump, including 24% of Democrats, while just 40% picked Biden.

That’s a big spread, but it confirms what everybody tells me from small towns to Chicago, and I ask everyone. It’s pretty pathetic to see the fear in the eyes of some Biden supporters – you aren’t Afghans planning a wedding party during the Obama era, ok?

Given the extraordinary economic disaster and mass unemployment (in a country with no social safety net) it seems totally impossible for any incumbent to survive, but we should not forget that Democrats are the half of the duopoly which is paid to lose: they are here to provide a safety valve against real leftism (they are Bernie Sanders writ large), and to divert people away from leftist solutions to America’s lack of a social safety net with fake-leftist divisiveness.

Trump has caught coronavirus, and – I’m sure he’s saying – it’s the biggest, most stupendous, most world-famous case of corona ever! It is – Trump is finally not over-selling. But so will be the recovery, no? A recovered Trump (and a 74-year old man has just a 3% chance of dying after contracting corona) who doesn’t make Biden’s willingness for even more devastating, unbearable, technocratic lockdowns a top-two issue would prove that corona does indeed cause lasting brain damage.

The Deep State and their proxies have obviously done everything – fair or foul – they could to stop Trump, and yet I haven’t seen anyone discuss the idea that the White House corona outbreak was injected there on purpose? If anybody could and would do it – and then see Trump survive and overturn their best-laid plans – it would be US Democrats, no?

Trump has the good fortune of running against a Democratic Party which – the ousting of Bernie Sanders and the elevation of Kamala Harris shows – is dominated by a tiny cabal of well-connected Clintonistas, the corporate board members residing in one of the world’s biggest tax havens (the state of Delaware, home of Biden) and Hollywood media liberals who will get incredibly upset at my upcoming use of the term “Frenchmen” instead of “Frenchx”.

Indeed, the biggest achievement of US liberals since 2016 may merely be forcing people to use “Latinx” instead of “Latino/a”. At the “China: Isn’t It Time to Turn To Us?” first presidential debate I don’t recall Biden uttering the word “impeachment”, and he definitely didn’t talk about Russiagate – Democrats can’t possibly run on their own pathetic record?

Yes, the US is such a politically-ignorant country that Trump can accuse “Corporate Joe” Biden of being a “radical socialist” and actually find believers, but Western fake-leftist parties are increasingly being punished by voters for their “right-wing economics and right-wing foreign policy but with political correctness” platform.

It’s amazing that the Clintonista faction wasn’t forced from power after stunningly losing to a reality show star in 2016, but if they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again will there finally be a fair reckoning?

Could defeat in November break up the ossified, out-of-touch and certainly ineffective Democratic Party?

There is a recent Western precedent for such an abrupt exit: the Socialist Party of France.

In 2017 they were rejected so emphatically that their perpetual post-WWII duopoly-dominance became quickly irrelevant; the fact that in 2012 they won both the presidency and 36% more seats than any other party in Parliament became quickly irrelevant. What cost the Socialist Party was the patsy Francois Hollande’s appalling backtracking on his campaign promise to end austerity – it finally became totally clear to Frenchmen that the Socialist Party should be called the “Neoliberal Party of Brussels”.

The French left remains in total disarray, as they should be, given how they refused to listen to their constituents and how they proved themselves to be elitist, duplicitous and amoral technocrats. The trend in France is for the Green Party to be given a chance next, as they are the only other not-yet-discredited option other than the tiny true left and the “paper tiger” far-right.

Yes, unlike the US the French political spectrum contains more than just two parties, but the bigger difference is that the French voter was smart enough to be out for blood in 2017: the #1 reason people voted for Emmanuel Macron was to block Marine Le Pen, but the #2 most-stated reason was to sweep both mainstream parties out from entrenched power – it worked spectacularly well against the Socialist Party.

The United States is far more more prone to hysterical fear-mongering than the cool and politically-experienced French, and “never Trump derangement syndrome” does help explain why there isn’t a similar “cast your vote to kill the mainstream party” movement like France had in 2017. Of course, votes for Trump in the 2016 Republican primaries were made for precisely this reason – this is totally forgotten/covered-up/ignored/misunderstood in 2020 USA.

Such a movement is certainly good sense (which American leftists rarely have), though, as well as political justice.

Yet it seems impossible to imagine someone like Nancy Pelosi – eating her $13 ice cream while getting an illegal high-class haircut – wouldn’t be made the fall-guy (“fall-guyx”?) for yet another Democratic debacle, but was there any change whatsoever after Hillary’s loss?

Is there any doubt that a Biden win wouldn’t see Hillary taking a top cabinet post, replete with royal re-coronation media coverage? Hillary’s certain return is never, ever discussed here because it would obviously turn many voters away from the Democrats in disgust, even though she’s already said she’s ready to join Biden’s administration. A vote for Biden is indeed a vote for Hillary.

But when did Democratic Party leadership ever care about being popular among the masses?

They don’t have to care because the reality is that the American system is incredibly undemocratic at the upper level. Maybe at the local levels we can talk about a face-off between a small town’s two richest lawyers as being a marginally democratic election, but at the top the American system is a most-rigid Politburo dominated by politicians, lobbyist-connected generals and billionaires who never even paid lip service to ideals which weren’t grasping Western individualism, self-righteous arrogance and realpolitik greed.

Forty years ago Democrats in Detroit and in the farming Delta may have said things which condemned those obvious flaws in the neo-aristocratic (bourgeois) US model, but now Democrats only say such things at election time. Take, for example, the discussions about African-American reparations during the Democratic primaries – LOL, no top Democrat has talked about that since Biden’s victory, and they won’t again… until 2024.

Cynically insist all you want that the Democratic Party, the oldest voter-based party in the world, is too entrenched, too privileged and has had too long to game the system in order to ever pay the price for such phony politics, but history says otherwise – just ask France’s fake-leftists.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

Regression as a National Theme

October 2, 2020 

Lawrence Davidson | Author | Common Dreams
Lawrence Davidson is professor of history
emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.
He has been publishing his analyses
of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy,
international and humanitarian law
and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

An Analysis (2 October 2020) by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Going Backwards

Led by a reactionary, autocratic faction of the Republican Party, the United States has taken another step backward in terms of social progress. This comes with Donald Trump’s nomination of a religiously motivated conservative, Amy Coney Barrett, to the Supreme Court. Barrett, a devout Catholic and presently a federal appeals court judge, was nominated specifically at the behest of the president’s fundamentalist Christian supporters. They, in turn, are hell-bent (this term is employed purposely) on enforcing their moral sensibilities through secular law. 

I use the words “another step” because, in multiple different forms, this slippage has been going on for a while. It started with President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) and his confused idea that the problem with American society—a society of now over 300 million people, a poverty rate of at least 10.5%, no mandated health insurance, a place where national and state regulations were the only thing standing between the citizen and environmental degradation, an unhealthy workplace and economic instability—was the size and intrusive nature of the federal government.

With occasional but always temporary pauses, the country has been following this Reaganite campaign for small government ever since. How so? All the “intrusive” rules and regulations that protect the workplace, the environment and the economy, have come under attack from people wrapping themselves in the cloak of conservatism and championing a perverted notion of individual freedom. The whole national domestic orbit has been thrown into retrograde motion.

Donald Trump is the apparent culmination of this self-destructive process. Even before he ran for president on the Republican ticket, Trump was suspected of only masquerading as a conservative to secure a political base. Subsequently, he has been described as a misogynist, narcissist, congenital liar, bully, autocrat, and con man. Nonetheless, Trump was voted into the White House in 2016.

President Trump has turned the Republican Party into a rump affair remade in his own image, essentially purging all moderate Republicans from the party ranks. His singular achievements as president have been to make the rich richer, keep the poor poor, and render most of the population more vulnerable to a range of social, economic and environmental ills. He has also sought to befriend and defend every un-American, potentially criminal outfit in the country, ranging from the Nazis and anarchist armed militias to organized religious fanatics.

In essence, Trump seeks to do to the U.S. as a whole what he has done to the Republican Party. That is why a very large number of government agencies are now headed up by henchmen whose number one job is to cripple their own agencies. For those branches not so easily sabotaged, Trump seeks to find a way to load them up with those he believes will follow his lead. Presently, he is moving to do just that to the Supreme Court.

The unfortunate catalyst for this effort at court stacking is the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg personified for many the nation’s potential to move forward. She was a progressive figure who fought for civil rights, particularly those of women. As such, she became a symbol of resistance to the Trump administration’s efforts to move the Supreme Court to the right. Afflicted with cancer, Ginsburg was, alas, unable to outlive Donald Trump’s presidency. 

Now Trump seeks to replace her on the court with a candidate who, unlike President John Kennedy (a Catholic who was once falsely accused of being a tool of the Papacy), might indeed turn out to be more influenced by “orthodox” Catholicism than the U.S. Constitution. On the one hand, judge Barrett has asserted that legal careers ought to be seen “as a means to the end of serving God.” On the other, she says “I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear in the discharge of my duties as a judge.” These two statements are in direct contradiction. If the first is true, the second is certainly false. This is not the kind of conflict of interest you want for an arbiter of the U.S. Constitution.

Trump, of course, does not care about religion, nor has he read the U.S. Constitution, and thus is uninterested in a mandated separation of church and state. From Trump’s point of view, Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination was made not an act of religious faith or made on conservative principle, it is rather an act of political opportunism. With it Trump hopes to garner support in the impending election among a host of Christian fundamentalist voters who fantasize that he is an agent of God. For these fanatics, Barrett’s appointment to the court would serve as proof of this absurd conviction.   

America isn’t the only place such dangerous craziness can take place, but that offers little consolation. Just how depressed should we be due to this unfortunate turn of events? It depends on whether you take a long range or short range view. 

Part II—Short Range

Ginsburg’s death was a bad break at a time of serious confrontation between progressive and regressive forces. By this I refer to the next presidential election cycle and the question whether the country will be guided by the concepts of civil and human rights espoused during the 1960s. Will its citizens support the concepts of racial egalitarianism? Will they also uphold same sex-marriage, abortion rights, fair immigration rules, health care for all, and the ongoing struggle for rational gun control? Will they make the issue of climate change a major priority? Will the citizenry even maintain the traditional economic reforms instituted by Franklin Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression? In the short run, Trump’s ascendency, bolstered by millions of fundamentalist Christians (whose loyalty is to an anti-humanist religious ideology) and tens of thousands of libertarians and anarchists, makes these open questions. And now with Ginsburg’s demise, Trump will get another chance to undermine progressive standards with a reactionary appointment to the Supreme Court. 

Some might say that, despite such a court appointment, this retrograde movement will end after the upcoming November election. The assumption here is that Donald Trump and his rump Republican Party will lose the presidency and control of Congress. Then, after overcoming the illicit legal maneuvers and temper-tantrum violence the right attempts, the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, will become president. At that point, presumably, he will begin to put the country back on a progressive path. Certainly, if Biden wins the presidency and the Democrats also win both houses of Congress, the potential for forward movement on all the issues mentioned above becomes possible. However, it is not guaranteed. 

Joe Biden’s present slogan of “Make America America Again”   can mean just about anything, but it seems not to imply making the nation more progressive than it was, say, under Barack Obama. Under Obama there was moderate progress on the issue of health care and the country was dragged out of yet another Republican-facilitated recession. On the other hand, under Obama, immigrants were deported in high numbers and drones were regularly hitting wedding parties and picnics in Afghanistan. 

Can Biden go beyond Obama in a forward direction? When you consider this question keep in mind more than the fact that the country will most likely be burdened by a screwed-up Supreme Court. Joe Biden himself has issues. He is a lifetime institutional politician—a guy who believes in, and plays by, long-established political rules. In this sense, he is Donald Trump’s opposite. Trump is willing to break all such rules, ostensibly to “make America great again.” Biden will reassert the primacy of tradition—that is, play by traditional political rules—and thereby “make America America again.” Doing so will not bring with it an era of greater progress—unless circumstances force Biden and the Democrat’s to take a “great leap forward.”

Part III—Long Range

Historically, what is usually needed to usher in significant progressive change? In our modern era such change usually follows catastrophes—mostly wars, disease and economic downturns. 

Modern wars and related military research are famous for providing leaps forward in technology. Everything from ambulance services, radar, and jet engines to intravenous blood transfusions, microwave ovens and duct tape comes to us through this route. Of course, war is a horrible way of motivating technological development. It is a truly murderous tradeoff. 

Epidemic diseases can spur medical progress. The outbreaks of viral epidemics such as MERS, AIDS and now Covid-19 have encouraged treatment research for virus infections and vaccine development. Again, it is death and debilitation that moves things forward at an accelerated rate. 

And then there is economic depression. In the U.S., progressive steps such as Social Security, collective bargaining and unionization, and various forms of necessary business regulation designed to prevent both corruption and instability followed the Great Depression (roughly 1929 

 to 1941). This catastrophic economic plunge, following decades of “boom and bust” instability, also encouraged the average citizen (minus some Republicans) to accept an activist government working for the interests of society as a whole.

There are other major stimuli to progressive change but they too tend to have their origins in dire circumstances such as long-term inequality, discrimination and exploitation. Over time these conditions spur uprisings that may overcome these socio-cultural evils. Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement is an example of how this works within a democracy. Today’s Black Lives Matter may also have potential to move us in a progressive direction.

Part IV—Going Forward

Assuming Joe Biden’s election to the presidency and Democratic control of both houses of Congress, is there a catastrophic circumstance that might push him to go beyond his stated goal of simply “Making America America Again”? Well we know that Covid-19 will still be with us in 2021 but the discovery process for a vaccine is already going very fast. Here Biden may do little more than relieve us all of Trump’s self-serving confusions and provide a more trustworthy, science-based platform for the curative process to proceed—which is something we should all be thankful for. Still, there might be another potentially catastrophic situation waiting around the corner. That possibility is continued economic breakdown and a painful restructuring process.

The U.S. is presently running a $170.5 billion budget deficit as well as a $63.6 billion trade deficit. The nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) or total worth of all production was down 31.7% in the second quarter of 2020. These figures will eventually necessitate an increase in taxes if the government is to be in a position to assist the citizenry in economic recovery. Trump, of course, has a regressive policy of as little taxation as possible and no help to the states or the citizens. 

The U.S. unemployment rate stands at 8.4%, which is down two percentage points as a marginal recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic took place. However, this proved temporary and the rate is now going up. Covid-19 led to a loss of 22 million jobs in the United States, and only about half of them have been recovered. Until there is an effective vaccine, not much additional progress on this front can be expected. 

Even with a vaccine, it might turn out that the pandemic has permanently changed the structure of the economy, making It unlikely that all of the lost jobs will come back. Even before Covid-19, retail was shifting to on-line sales to the detriment of normal retail stores and malls. The pandemic has greatly accelerated this movement. Work-from-home arrangements are leaving office space unoccupied and city-based luncheon eateries near empty. Overall, the restaurant business is shrinking. All of this will lead to higher levels of bankruptcies and unemployment for the foreseeable future. 

Under President Trump the approach to these changes would be to do nothing while claiming he was doing more than anyone else could or would do. Biden and the Democrats can be expected to be more proactive. This would hopefully go beyond the reestablishment of the programs and regulations Trump has destroyed. 

So what will Joe Biden do if he becomes president? He is not an original thinker. However, the worse the economy gets, the more violence from rightwing individuals and militias will manifest itself, and the more cases of police brutality there are, the more the Democrats will be pressured to institute progressive domestic reform (i.e. infrastructural renewal, debt reduction, police reforms, gun control, universal health care, etc.) I think we can count on these pressures persisting. 

Part V—Conclusion

The reader might have noticed a certain incompleteness in the above reasoning. That is, catastrophe can encourage regression as well as progression. Wars, pandemics and economic depressions have sometimes given rise to dictatorships and repression. Worse yet, quite often, this happens to the sound of cheering crowds.  

Throughout his presidency Trump has retained the support of roughly 35% of the U.S. adult population. Presently the adult population stands at 209,128,094, thus Trump supporters may number over 73 million citizens. That implies that even after four years of destructive behavior, these millions seem to still support the leadership of an incompetent authoritarian personality.

However, the entire adult population never actually votes. In the case of the United States a relatively large number of citizens are, like the permanently unemployed, no longer active in the political marketplace. That is, they pay little attention to electoral politics and don’t show up at the polls. In modern times it is rare that the percentage of eligible voters who actually turn out for presidential elections exceeds 60%. Using this number, that puts the actual voting population at 125,476,856. If we assume that 35% of this number supports Trump consistently, we get 43,916,899.

This may not be enough for Trump to win a second term as president—a fact that may actually save the country’s democracy. Yet this number is still very disturbing. The fact that just about 44 million Americans are willing to risk their democratic traditions and a relatively progressive future to follow a man without a conscience over a political cliff—an action that puts at risk not only their own country but, arguably, the entire planet—is certainly something to lose sleep over. Finally, this picture is not unique to the United States. It is probably true that one-third of any given population is susceptible to the overtures of a cult personality. 

Perhaps this last fact gives some insight into why history is full of civil and international disturbance. A large minority of any population is easily seduced into such engagements, dragging the rest of us along with them. That may help contextualize the choice U.S. citizens have come November 3rd. 

U.S. foreign policy toward Iran is ‘institutionally hegemonic’, says professor

Source

By Mohammad Homaeefar

October 4, 2020 – 12:31

TEHRAN – Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, a professor in global thought and comparative philosophies, believes that the U.S. foreign policy toward Iran is “institutionally hegemonic”, and that a Biden administration would in some way continue the confrontational approach.

“I have theorized that the U.S. foreign policy towards Iran as institutionally hegemonic. There are nuances of course, and there was a real difference between Obama and George W. Bush,” he told the Tehran Times in an interview conducted on Tuesday.

“If Iranians could come together in an election that fosters unity, and that brings to the fore a candidate with diplomatic diligence and empathy for the plight of ordinary Iranians, then the likelihood of any major national security threat is already minimized,” Arshin Adib-Moghaddam told the Tehran Times.

“But Biden is no Obama,” he opined. “While he will accentuate the language of diplomacy, the policies of his administration will continue to be recurrently confrontational. I have studied this dynamic in-depth in my forthcoming book What is Iran: Domestic Politics and International Relations in Five Musical Pieces (Cambridge University Press, 2020).”

Asked how a Biden administration would affect Iran, Adib-Moghaddam said Iran needs to focus on its own presidential elections which will determine the context of Iranian-U.S. relations by far more decisively than the deliberations of the White House.

“If Iranians could come together in an election that fosters unity, and that brings to the fore a candidate with diplomatic diligence and empathy for the plight of ordinary Iranians, then the likelihood of any major national security threat is already minimized,” he said.

He also argued that some elements of the Iranian state are by far more responsible for some international crises than any other institution, citing the problems of dual-nationals and the application of death penalty in Iran as two of the greatest issues facing the country.

Tensions arose between Tehran and Washington after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal, which was reached in 2015 between Iran and six major powers including the U.S.

The deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was reached when Barack Obama was the president of the United States.

“I am in no doubt that Biden would immediately fly to Europe, and put the JCPOA on top of the agenda,” Adib-Moghaddam said, responding to whether Biden would revive the nuclear pact.

“In Europe, he would be welcomed with great fanfare in order to reinstitute a positive image of the United States, one that is decisively tarnished by the Trump administration, certainly among a whole generation and globally,” he said.

The professor further said that the JCPOA is likely to be presented as a transatlantic initiative to bring Europe and the U.S. closer.

“I am in no doubt that Biden would immediately fly to Europe, and put the JCPOA on top of the agenda,” said the professor.

However, he continued, even a Biden presidency will take a “condescending” approach framed by occasional threats and demands for a change in Iran’s foreign policy behavior and domestic politics.

“Once the JCPOA is back on the table, it is absolutely crucial for the next Iranian president, to make any further steps towards verification entirely and uncompromisingly dependent on sanctions relief,” he said, adding, “Ordinary Iranians deserve nothing but that for their daily sufferings which are heart-breaking and unsustainable. Both the Khatami and the Rouhani administrations failed Iranians on this account.”

Professor Adib-Moghaddam was asked to comment on what would happen if Trump gets re-elected to rule the U.S. for the next four years. He said it would have the benefit that his administration would continue to be treated as a “quasi-pariah”.

Trump is probably the most hated politician in the world right now, and no self-respecting leader would want a photoshoot with him, he remarked.

“This perception seriously constraints the ability of this administration to forge a diplomatic consensus among its allies in Europe and beyond. On the negative side, the policy of threats, insults and sanctions would continue, with intermittent efforts towards provoking a military confrontation,” he noted.

On why the three European countries to the JCPOA – namely Britain, France, and Germany – have failed to protect Iran’s interests under the deal, Adib-Moghaddam said Europe doesn’t have the diplomatic backbone to translate diplomatic defiance of the United States into independent foreign policies.

“Europe doesn’t have the diplomatic backbone to translate diplomatic defiance of the United States into independent foreign policies,” Adib-Moghaddam noted.

“The JCPOA is a very good example for that,” he maintained. “Europe said no to the United States, most recently in its rebuke of the snapback travesty that has been rightly ridiculed in Brussels and London alike. But this negation of U.S. efforts to escalate the situation hasn’t translated into an alternative strategy.”

Asked whether Trump’s hatred toward Obama was a significant factor behind his withdrawal from the JCPOA, the professor said undoubtedly there is a pathological personal hatred that Trump feels towards Obama which stems from an obvious inferiority complex.

“He has also needed to contrast his type of politics quite radically from Obama’s to secure his right-wing constituency in the United States,” he said. “He can’t be a compromise candidate because he would lose the votes of those extremists.”

President Hassan Rouhani and his administrations have argued that the 2017-2018 widespread protests across Iran, which began on 28 December 2017 and lasted for two weeks, prompted Trump to exit the nuclear deal. Offering his take on the matter, Professor Adib-Moghaddam said he believes it is analytically false and politically dangerous to link events in Iran to foreign policies of other countries.

“It is a form of Gharbzadegi in reverse because it ultimately suggests that Iranians are not writing their own history. It is also a form of discrediting real grievances that must be addressed sooner or later to avert any crisis in the future,” he said.

“What is needed is a fresh start and a new way of framing Iran’s relations with the United States. The tired paradigms of the past are not only analytically wrong but amount to political self-harming,” the professor concluded.

RELATED NEWS

US debate debacle shows Democrats will adopt Trumpian self-interest globally

Thursday, 01 October 2020 7:02 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 02 October 2020 3:47 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their first 2020 presidential campaign debate held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, September 29, 2020. (Via Reuters)
US debate debacle shows Democrats will adopt Trumpian self-interest globally

By Ramin Mazaheri

Politics is life or death (for the barest illustration of this reality just look at medicine sanctions on Iran, Cuba, etc.), so it’s hard for many of us to get too worked up over Joe Biden telling Donald Trump that he was a “clown” who should “shut up” at their first presidential debate, which is now known as the worst debate ever.

However, in the United States such things truly cause more domestic shock than any footage of the latest US bombing of a wedding party in Afghanistan.

Yes, the most violent and imperialistic society paradoxically has these informal codes which actually demand a rigorous politeness: one does not talk politics or religion in polite society here, but when they are cornered into honestly discussing their moral outlooks a Queen Elizabeth-level formality is de rigueur.

Trump, with the buffoon-sized ego required of anyone who applies to go on a reality show, upended this expectation four years ago and many middle-class Americans still nearly faint at his unthinkable lack of a “presidential demeanor.” This lack, one regularly hears from the countless talk-show idiots in the US, was enough for an impeachment by itself. The underlying cry is, “Won’t anyone think of the children!” Not dead Afghan children, of course.

That’s what makes the first debate so vital: Trump was not the only clown on the stage, and that is not how it used to be in US politics.

Pelosi attacks Trump over questioning election's integrity, says elections results must be respected
Pelosi attacks Trump over questioning election’s integrity, says elections results must be respected

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has criticized the US President Donald Trump over his comments during the presidential debate over the integrity of the Nov. 3 election, saying the results must be respected.

Trump has obviously altered the expectations for how American politicians can behave – it is now a circus of buffoons who rudely steamroll anyone to get their way, whereas they used to be characterized by an unflappable and deadly focus: ice queen Hillary Clinton, smooth-faced and infamously unemotional Obama, ex-CIA ringleader George Bush I, etc. Even rural/southern/Texan presidents – Bill Clinton and Dubya Bush – quickly knocked off the folksy shenanigans, straightened up and actually started reading something for a change.

Buffoonery is not a competition, we should remember: we might laugh at one clown more than others, but when we go to a circus we laugh at all the clowns, just as the world laughed at the first presidential debate. There could not have been a more urgent illustration of what it will mean to follow the lead of Washington from 2020 to 2024: amid a corona pandemic, a once-in-a-century domestic economic catastrophe, a never-ending pandemic of police bullets finding Black backs, widespread rebellions and less-widespread looting – this is the apex choice of American leadership?

If anything, it’s a case for even more indirect democracy safeguards – politics is life or death, and we need serious, responsible people with established moral, society-first codes making these excruciating decisions.

Independent journalist: US 2020 election 'rigged in favor of Trump'
Independent journalist: US 2020 election ‘rigged in favor of Trump

‘The US 2020 presidential election is rigged as US president Donald Trump acknowledges but it will end up “in his favor,” says a political commentator.

But there’s a better alternative – any democracy except “democracy with US characteristics”. This requires honestly discussing the structural underpinnings of the American system: imperialism, the most rightwing form of capitalism, cultural arrogance, a tolerance for public depravity that is only exceeded by a tolerance for shocking inequality amid enormous wealth, and – above all – total freedom and irresponsibility for those who can afford to pay for such things.

I don’t think we should give up on them so easily, but perhaps we should consider this reality: is that the system the average American wants, and Trump was the first to grasp this? Maybe the average American does truly want what Trump offers – buffoonery and spectacle instead of serious and responsible politics – and this explain why Biden willingly degraded himself down to Trump’s level at the debate: Biden felt that he had to emulate Trump in order to win votes.

What other conclusion could we logically draw? That Biden just took leave of his senses repeatedly?

Everybody knew the debate would be full of Trumpian off-the-cuff observations/outbursts, but Biden willingly played Trump’s game and for that he has totally lost global respect, by all foreign media accounts. Here in the US Democrat supporters – who never saw an Afghan wedding party bombing they were outraged about (mainly because, via the same smothering informal censorship and faux-sensitivity which produces fainting at “shut up”, bloody photos of American war crimes are never published by US media) – are willing to excuse anything Biden does because it’s allegedly “not as bad as Trump”, but this myopic hypocrisy only plays domestically.

Biden looked terrible to the world’s eyes – he could not master himself, nor master the situation. He is not much of a leader – that is the best-case scenario. Contrarily, as I assert, Biden decided to copy Trump’s behavior because he saw that Trumpian buffoonery gets one elected.

What if Trump loses but refuses to leave office?
What if Trump loses but refuses to leave office?

America will face mass public unrest if either Donald Trump or Joe Biden refuses to accept the result.

This reality that Biden is going to happily carry the torch of Trumpism was illustrated in a recent editorial from the extremely popular and openly anti-Trump website Politico: The Trump foreign policies Biden might keep.

It’s a pretty staggering douse of cold water to anyone who expects major changes from Washington and the Pentagon if the Democrats win in November: Expect the same policies regarding Jerusalem al-Quds, Venezuela, China, Russia, and – yes – Iran.

But the author goes even further, explicitly asserting that Trump’s brazenness has given Biden new latitude to boss around NATO, the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council.

“Trump’s overt hostility toward multilateral institutions could present Biden with an opportunity to push through reforms to some international bodies.”

“While Biden is not likely to be so crude, don’t be surprised if he at times takes a more forceful position toward both allies and adversaries than he did when he served as Barack Obama’s vice president.” Translation: Biden won’t openly tell other people to “shut up”, but he will do so privately.

Trump has revealed to US leaders that brashly and unilaterally throwing their weight around in order to get what they want works, so not even the anti-Trump Politico expects Biden to inaugurate a new policy of mutually-beneficial cooperation. Above all, naked Trumpian self-interest works to win a US government post in domestic elections – that is the essence and importance of Trump’s victory, which pulled the sheet off an American fascism (which is not only about racism, but more about aligning corporate power with individual power, as opposed to grassroots democratic power structures) which Biden will continue to apply in foreign policy, even if he takes down a few domestic statues of Confederate generals and Columbus.

Poll: Both Democrats and Republicans believe election will be rigged
Poll: Both Democrats and Republicans believe election will be rigged

A new poll has revealed that both Democrat and Republican voters in the United States believe there is a possibility that the 2020 presidential election will be rigged.

Biden was not pulled down to Trump’s level at the first debate – he willingly jumped down.

Maybe he doesn’t have age-related dementia after all, because Trump’s success indicates it’s a savvy domestic election move which could win him some voters who view him as weak.

That view must be the case over here: Immediately after the election US televisions were full of Trump-sponsored ads (disgustingly) trumpeting the assassination of Iranian anti-terror hero Qassem Soleimani: the point of the ad was to openly accuse Biden of being “weak.” Biden clearly sought to pre-empt these accusations and perceptions by “standing up” to Trump in a “show of strength” in the debate, no?

“Strongman” politics – this is what Americans want, or so their leaders just told the world via their actions at the debate, no?

The recent first debate showed that Democrats agree: Trumpism works. After four years of faux-fainting at Trump’s crude behavior what did Democrats do when they were finally confronted with him face to face? They joined him, even perhaps seeking to outdo Trump.

Non-Americans should take note. Even with a Biden victory we should not expect a rollback of Trump’s foreign policy – we should expect even further encroachments on national and international dignities and human rights.

However, historians have already taken copious notes and are not surprised by Politico’s admission that Biden will do what Trump did – try to dominate the whole world via (an allegedly new) Trumpian self-interest, as this is just a repeat of Dubya Bush’s “US versus the world” approach following 9/11.

That was a repeat of Ronald Reagan’s “leader of the free world (and we’ll attack/blockade if you aren’t free enough to our tastes), which was a repeat of the continent-dominating concept of “Manifest Destiny,” which was a repeat of the South America-dominating “Monroe Doctrine,” and – noticing a pattern, yet?

To answer a previous question: I don’t think the average American wants what Trump offers – I think they elected Trump as a protest against the structural corruption of the establishment “Swamp.” It was both a desperate move as well as a furiously empowered demand for major change. What Politico is telling us is that Joe Biden took all the wrong lessons from the election of Trump, which we also saw on display at the first debate, and apply them globally.

The underlying ideology of buffoons and clowns is that nothing matters or deserves seriousness. All that truly matters is that they get what they want – clowns and buffoons usually just want attention and laughs, but US leaders want power and control. Biden just proved to the world how low he is willing to go get it – down to the level of Trump, after four years of decrying such behaviors.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

السياسة فن صناعة الأمل من واشنطن إلى بيروت

ناصر قنديل

يقول نابليون بونابرت إن مهمة السياسي الناجح هي أن يعرف كيف يبيع الأمل للشعب. وعبر التاريخ كانت السياسة شيئاً مختلفاً عن العقيدة، لكنها عندما تنبثق من عقيدة أو من الواقعية ومدارس المصلحة تشبه بعضها بصفتها فن صناعة الأمل، فيتفوّق منها مَن يكون أشدّ إقناعاً بصدقية قدرته على تحقيق وعوده، ويشكل هذا السعي للإقناع محور التنافس السياسي في الانتخابات، والحروب الإعلاميّة والنفسيّة، وتشكل الصدقية عنصراً حاسماً فيه، لكنها ليست العنصر الوحيد، وإلا بقي الرابح رابحاً والخاسر خاسراً. وفي مرات كثيرة ينجح عديمو الصدقية بالفوز في مباريات صناعة الأمل ويخسرها أصحاب المصداقية، وتدور كل معارك السياسة على سعي لا يتوقف على صناعة الأمل لجمهور يشكل بيئة القوة لصاحب السياسة، وتدمير الأمل عند فئة مقابلة تسمّى الخصم أو العدو، وهذا هو ما يُعرف بكي الوعي.

في واشنطن تدور منافسة رئاسية حامية الوطيس، تبدو مغايرة عن كل سابقاتها من مشهد المناظرة التي دارت بين الرئيس دونالد ترامب ومنافسه الديمقراطي جو بايدن، وبالمقارنة بين ما قدّمه الفريقان، وما قدّمه أسلافهما، ليست القضية بتدنّي مستوى النقاش واللجوء الى البذاءة والشتائم، كما علقت وسائل الإعلام الأميركية، بل بفقدان القدرة على المشاركة في صناعة الأمل، فعندما نعود للأمس القريب وحملتي كل من باراك أوباما الديمقراطي ودونالد ترامب الجمهوري، نجد المشاريع الانتخابية التي طغت على مطالعات المرشحين في المناظرات، ومهدت لكسبهم الفوز في الانتخابات، فقد تركزت حملة أوباما على عنواني سحب القوات الأميركية من العراق ولاحقاً من أفغانستان، وتعديل النظام الضريبي بما يتيح تأميناً صحياً منصفاً بحق الفقراء وذوي الدخل المحدود، وكانت وعوده مصدر أمل للأميركيين الذين ضاقوا ذرعاً من حروب عبثية ورطتهم بها إدارة الرئيس جورج بوش، فيما يعاني نصف الأميركيين من فشل نظام التأمين الصحي الذي لا يحقق الأمان إلا للأغنياء وشرائح من الطبقات الوسطى. وفي حملة الرئيس ترامب، كانت صناعة الأمل بالانتقال من وعد بأميركا العظمى إلى أميركا العظيمة، وأميركا أولاً، والتخلي عن دور شرطي العالم، في ظل بنى تحتية متهالكة وتراجع في مستوى التعليم وتدهور الصناعة وتخلف الأرياف، بينما بدت الحملات الانتخابية لهذا الموسم الرئاسيّ خالية من أي مصدر لصناعة الأمل، فترامب الذي خان شعاراته الانتخابية وبايدن الذي لا يملك إلا إنجازات أوباما للتذكير بها، تحوّلا مهاترة شخصية، في إعلان موت السياسة، ما يعني فتح الباب لخيارات قاتمة.

في فلسطين المحتلة يتقابل كيان الاحتلال مع الشعب الفلسطيني في ظل لاتوزان غير محدود بالمقدرات ومستويات الدعم الخارجي السياسي والمعنوي والمادي، لصالح الكيان، لكن المعركة تظهر صعوداً فلسطينياً مقابل الهبوط الإسرائيلي، والعامل الحاسم هو أن الفلسطينيين باتوا مشبَعين بالأمل بأن الغد لهم، منذ انتصار المقاومة في لبنان وتالياً في غزة، وهو أمل ينمو كل يوم، بينما المستوطنون الذي عاشوا على نمو الأمل ببقائهم في فلسطين بعد انتصار جيش الاحتلال في حرب العام 67، تأرجحوا على حبال الصعود والهبوط منذ حرب تشرين عام 73، وصولاً لبدء العد التنازلي المتواصل للأمل منذ انتصار المقاومة عام 2000، وحيث كل يوم تزرع فيه المقاومة بقيادتها وحربها النفسية، مزيداً من الشكوك في نفوس المستوطنين، تنجح بزرع المزيد من الأمل في جمهورها، خصوصاً في فلسطين بأن الغد لهم، وقد صارت إصابة الكيان في روحه وتفوّقت المقاومة في روحها، ولم يعد ينفع في تغيير هذه المعادلة لا أكاذيب بنيامين نتنياهو عن أماكن الصواريخ، ولا تطبيع الخليج، وبات مفعول كل منهما لا يتعدّى الليلة التي يُطلَق فيها، ما يعني نهاية مهمة السياسة.

في لبنان، رغم المحاولات المتعددة والمختلفة المصادر، يتراجع الأمل بمكافحة الفساد وبناء دولة القانون، بعدما نجح التبشير بعهد الرئيس ميشال عون كمدخل للإصلاح والتغيير، وجاءت بعده انتفاضة 17 تشرين وأعادت إحياء أمل باتجاه آخر، وتحولت الفرصتان إلى الشكوى من العجز والضعف بمعزل عن المبررات، فأخليت الساحة لتنافس بين وعدين بالأمل، وعد بالكرامة مشفوع بالإثبات تمثله المقاومة، ووعد بالازدهار المفترض، شرط التخلي عن المقاومة، وليس خافياً أن ما يتعرّض له لبنان من تدمير اقتصادي وإفقار ودفع للإفلاس يتم تحت عنوان ترجيح كفة الوعد بالازدهار. وهو الوصف الذي أطلقه الدبلوماسي الأميركي السابق جيفيري فيلتمان على الخطة الأميركية لضرب المقاومة، واستجابت لها دعوة الحياد، كما ليس خافياً أن هذه المنافسة تدور على منصة المبادرة الفرنسية ايضاً، وهي التي تفسر فشل مهمة الرئيس المكلف مصطفى أديب، وهي أرضية السجال الدائر حولها، من كلام الرئيس الفرنسي إلى رد الأمين العام لحزب الله والرد على الرد من نادي رباعي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين، ما يعني احتدام السياسة إلى حدّ الفوضى.

ردّ رؤساء الحكومات السابقين

سارع نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين للردّ على كلام الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، فقال إن السيد نصرالله خالف الحقائق مقدماً حججاً يعتقد أنها ترد له الاعتبار وتثبت صحة مقاربته.

قال النادي إن المبادرة الفرنسية بنيت على ضرورة تعليق كل ما يمتّ الى​ السياسة الداخلية التقليدية، ومسألة تنافس الكتل والأحزاب، لأشهر معدودة بحيث تتفق ​الكتل النيابية​ الرئيسية على حكومة إنقاذ مصغرة. و”النادي” أشد العارفين بأن كل هذا الكلام هو كلامه هو وليس من المبادرة الفرنسية بشيء، ومثلها لا مكان للمداورة ولا لمن تسند حقيبة المال في نص المبادرة ولا في الكلام الشفهي الذي قاله الرئيس الفرنسي في قصر الصنوبر.

قال «النادي» إنه لم يلعب دور الوصاية على الرئيس المكلف، ولم يكن له دور في تشكيل الحكومة. وهو يعلم أن الذي ذهب يفاوض الرئيس نبيه بري على طلب حقيبة المال هو الرئيس سعد الحريري، وأن الرئيس المكلف بعد مفاوضاته مع ممثلي الثنائي طلب الإستمهال لمراجعة رؤساء الحكومات السابقين، ويعلم «النادي» أن تسمية الرئيس المكلف انطلقت من عنده بتصريح للرئيس فؤاد السنيورة، قد تمّت على قاعدة ضمان تغطية ميثاقية التسمية طائفياً، وبدعة «النادي» هي ميثاقية لمرة واحدة يضمن من خلالها خلافاً للديمقراطية، التي تمنح الغالبية حق التسمية، ويريد اغتصاب الحكومة خارج هذه الميثاقية، المنصوص عليها بتمثيل الطوائف بصورة عادلة في الحكومة، والعدالة في طريقة التسمية قبل أي شيء آخر.

يستعيد «النادي» تأييد رئيس الجمهورية للمداورة في وجه كلام السيد نصرالله، لكن هذا التأييد لا يجعل المداورة ضمن المبادرة الفرنسية، لكنه حجة على «النادي» الذي لم يشفع عنده كلام رئيس الجمهورية المؤيد للمداورة ليتم التعامل معه وفقاً للأصول الدستورية، فيتّهم السيد نصرالله بافتعال مشكلة بين «النادي» ورئيس الجمهورية، فهل قام الرئيس المكلف بالتفاهم مع رئيس الجمهورية على حجم الحكومة وتوازناتها الطائفية والسياسية، وكيفية تسمية وزرائها؟ وهو ما طالب به رئيس الجمهورية علناً. مضيفاً انه لم يسمع من الرئيس المكلف شيئاً، خلال ثلاثة أسابيع، فهل هذا هو الدستور والحرص على صلاحيات رئيس الجمهورية؟

يقول «النادي» إن كلام السيد عن الشأن الاقتصادي ينسف المبادرة الفرنسة، فهل نصّت المبادرة على التوقيع من دون نقاش مع صندوق النقد الدولي، ويقول إن التحذير من تكرار سيناريو 5 ايار 2005 هو تهديد من دون فهل يقصد بذلك تأكيد الاتهام بالسعي للتكرار؟

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Come what may, I must reveal the identity of the NY Times’ Trump tax leaks

Come what may, I must reveal the identity of the NY Times’ Trump tax leaks

September 29, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

So there I was again on the “Job Creator’s Red-Eye” (NYC to Silicon Valley) and I made this fateful, election-shaping decision.

The reality is that as a big-time CEO we all knew this was coming – it was announced at the last Bilderburg meeting and re-confirmed at Davos. Trump was there, and he objected, and even though I hate Trump with the same postmodern fury of a nose-ringed, 95-pound Brooklyn barista (8 pounds in tattoo ink and 2 pounds in glasses) I cannot allow such obvious political manipulation to go unchecked.

The New York Times refuses to admit who gave them more than two decades of Trump’s tax returns, and just two days before the first Trump-Biden debate no less.

I wonder how many days Joe will be sequestered from the media after he drinks his now-usual pre-dabate Long Island Ice Tea cocktail of beta-blockers, amphetamines, vitamin B12, anabolic steroids and Chinese rhinoceros horn? I was told the same amount doesn’t give Joe the same kick like before – that’s a problem. If Joe wins I guess we’ll have to grind up all the Chinese rhinos in the world just so Joe can hold a press conference with the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf? More concerning than the rhinos is that if we add in too many psychedelics Joe will try and pull off something folksy like, “So you are the first King Carl but you are the 16th Gustaf? Howzatwork? And is it ’16 Gustafs’ or ‘16th Gustaves’?”

Back to the tax returns: the bottom line is that Americans will be shocked and appalled to discover that rich people successfully and legally avoid paying their taxes.

So in order to protect my fellow CEOs I must keep this rough worldly knowledge from the virgin ears of the average American, and thus I must reveal the source of the Times leak:

The source of Trump’s IRS tax information is none other than my neighbour who lives two doors down, Lemuel Sherbockowicz.

It’s true.

Firstly, I want to point out just how much Lemuel has been through under four years of Trump: Lemmy, you see, is a minority. Therefore, his integrity cannot be questioned.

Firstly, he’s left-handed. Do you realize how few stores carry left-handed scissors? The strips he uses in his papier-mâché artworks are terribly crooked.

Lemmy is red-headed. I wish Lemuel had been an albino, in order to strengthen his case here, but Biden has promised to add red-headedness to Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Code in exchange for a major score of rhino horn. (They really have Joe chasing the dragon, it seems.)

Lemmy, despite his last name, is Black. He was adopted. By immigrants. One of whom had gender-reassignment surgery, before reversing it. The other was diagnosed with serious social anxiety disorder unfairly inflicted by a repressive patriarchal society after being unable to urinate in full public view on a bet. Both parents overcame teenage acne.

So… Lemmy is bulletproof – his intentions and actions are beyond any possible reproach. The only thing you should be asking regarding Lemuel Sherbockowicz is: why haven’t you apologised to him yet?

But how did he get Trump’s tax returns?

This is how it happened: just as Democrats called up elderly Green Party supporters in Montana 25 times in order to harass them into recanting their signatures on a petition aiming to get the Greens on the presidential, congressional and local ballots (allowing third parties to actually exist obviously undermines the US claim of having free and open elections – those votes are owed to Democrats (if the voter is a real leftist) or Republicans (if the voter is a Libertarian)), Lemmy said somebody from the Times kept calling and calling and calling him to say that he had to personally hand what they claimed were Trump’s tax returns to a Times reporter.

Lemmy kept asking why the Times needed anyone to personally hand over documents which were not theirs to a Times reporter? The caller – who only identified herself as “No Throat” (because throats are merely a social construct, the caller insisted) – said that the rules of good journalism prohibit journalists from making false claims themselves… but good journalism says that relaying false claims by others is totally fine.

Lemmy said this didn’t sound like “the rules of good journalism” to him.

No Throat said the Times does this all the time in the Trump era, and then she shamed him into doing it by calling him a “traitor to his handedness” and an “Uncle Righty”.

No Throat thanked Lemmy after he gave up because he was tired of answering the phone (it’s his own fault – for still having a land line) because now the Times was able to publish just some of Trump’s tax records.

No Throat rejoiced that the people who already hate Trump will cast their one vote against Trump even harder.

And those on the fence, No Throat was sure, would surely adore the Times for working with the Internal Revenue Service to manipulate American democracy – Americans in flyover country love the tax man, right? Another savvy move from the East Coast elite – they must live in Harlem, they are so hip.

And No Throat said that by breaking to the flyover inbreds the shocking, unheard news that Trump was not actually 100% morally upright, nor as great a businessman as he wildly claims to be, would surely prove to them that Biden and his Clintonista faction must be morally upright… somehow. Lemmy said that he didn’t see this connection, but he was happy he was making some people happy they would be voting harder.

But Lemmy – being as much a Sherbockowicz as any of the Sherbockowiczes – pushed the boundary: he asked if there was some nobody like him behind the Times many, many other anonymous-based stories? Lemmy actually said, “Anonymous sources have negatively or at least questionably influenced the election more than Julian Assange or the Russians ever possibly could.”

No Throat nearly choked with righteous fury – how could Lemmy possibly question the integrity of The New York Times, especially after being intimidated into accepting their report based on totally unproven facts?! For which Lemuel Sherbockowicz is most certainly the source!

Anyway, No Throat insisted, the point is all about Trump: he is a liar. Democrats finally got a limited sample of Trump’s tax returns to prove that – despite his hundreds of millions in assets and the ability to contract loans worth hundreds of millions – he is not actually a “rich person”.

Lemmy – being a Sherbockowicz – had no reply to such logic.

Lemmy then pointed out that – like half of all Americans – he wasn’t going to vote anyway, but he’d do anything to stop these damn political robocalls! And he was too busy trying to pay the bills created by the coronavirus hysteria and resulting Great Lockdown to care all that much about the Chinese rhino population, either.

Since 2016 I have become a fanatical Russophobe – it was my patriotic duty – and I desperately want to believe that Trump is a poor person, but I simply had to relate the source of the Times’ Trump tax leaks.

Why? Because the integrity of American democracy depends on it! And on a steady supply of rhino horn for Joe.

***************

This totally unserious piece is dedicated to my beautifully serious friend, mentor and colleague, Andre Vltchek. He tragically died of natural causes at only 57, but after a life overflowing with inspirational leftist journalism that was seemingly without peer. Andre left us too soon, but he left us with so very, very, very much. Read himwatch himlisten – you will remember him.

Rest in Peace comrade.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

Is There A Coup Brewing In The US?

Source

Written by Leonid SAVIN on 28/09/2020

In August, a curious document emerged in the US entitled “Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election and Transition“. It was prepared by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, which includes more than one hundred current and former senior US officials alongside experts from various fields. The group announced that they had run crisis scenario exercises for the November 2020 elections, all of which had shown rather disappointing results.

It should be noted that the group, which was put together in December 2019, includes not only Democrats but also Republicans who speak out against Donald Trump. It has been reported that the Transition Integrity Project has the direct support of George Soros, who is trying to organise a colour revolution in the US.

Among other things, a link has been uncovered between the group’s founder, Rosa Brooks, and Soros himself, as well as Hillary Clinton’s campaign leader, John Podesta, and former National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who works for Joe Biden.

Rosa Brooks is a fellow at the New America Foundation, which was sponsored by the Open Society Foundations, and she used to work as a senior national security advisor in the US State Department during the presidencies of both Clinton and Obama. She is currently pursuing an academic career at West Point’s Modern War Institute. For some reason, Rosa Brooks believes that the forthcoming elections will lead to violence and a constitutional crisis.

The group’s second founder is Nils Gilman, who is vice president of programs at the Berggruen Institute (San Francisco) and also works at the Rockefeller Foundation. The institute is a research centre that promotes ideas of transhumanism, that is, it is opposed to traditional values.

The group’s director is Zoe Hudson – a former senior policy analyst at Soros’ Open Society Foundations who was responsible for maintaining contacts between the organisation and US government departments for more than ten years.

The group also includes well-known neoconservative Bill Kristol, military analyst Max Boot, former US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and the aforementioned John Podesta.

Transition Integrity Project

The 22-page document states that “November’s elections will be marked by a chaotic legal and political landscape. We also assess that the [sic] President Trump is likely to contest the result by both legal and extra-legal means, in an attempt to hold onto power.” The recent protests, which federal agents were deployed to suppress, are also regarded as evidence that Trump may go to extreme measures to stay in office.

Here are the key conclusions that the authors themselves highlight in the report:

– The concept of “election night” is no longer accurate and has become dangerous. “We face a period of contestation stretching from the first day a ballot is cast in mid-September until January 20,” note the report’s authors. “The winner may not, and we assess likely will not, be known on ‘election night’ as officials count mail-in ballots. This period of uncertainty provides opportunities for an unscrupulous candidate to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the process and to set up an unprecedented assault on the outcome. Campaigns, parties, the press and the public must be educated to adjust expectations starting immediately.”

– A determined campaign will be able to contest the elections into January 2021. The report states: “We anticipate lawsuits, divergent media narratives, attempts to stop the counting of ballots, and protests drawing people from both sides. President Trump, the incumbent, will very likely use the executive branch to aid his campaign strategy, including through the Department of Justice. We assess that there is a chance the president will attempt to convince legislatures and/or governors to take actions – including illegal actions – to defy the popular vote. Federal laws provide little guidance for how Congress should resolve irregularities when they convene in a Joint Session on January 6, 2021. Of particular concern is how the military would respond in the context of uncertain election results. Here recent evidence offers some reassurance, but it is inconclusive.”

– The administrative transition process itself may be seriously impeded. According to the report’s authors: “Participants in our exercises of all backgrounds and ideologies believed that Trump would prioritize personal gain and self-protection over ensuring an orderly administrative handoff to his successor. Trump may use pardons to thwart future criminal prosecution, arrange business deals with foreign governments that benefit him financially, attempt to bribe and silence associates, declassify sensitive documents, and attempt to divert federal funds to his own businesses.”

The report contains four recommendations that reflect the agenda typical of colour revolutions – preparation of resources, scenarios, lawsuits, etc.

– Plan for a contested election. “If there is a crisis, events will unfold quickly, and sleep-deprived leaders will be asked to make consequential decisions quickly,” the report states. “Thinking through options now will help to ensure better decisions. Approach this as a political battle, not just a legal battle. In the event of electoral contestation, sustained political mobilization will likely be crucial for ensuring transition integrity. Dedicated staff and resources need to be in place at least through the end of January.”

– Focus on preparedness in the US, providing political support for a full and accurate count. The report’s authors state: “Governors, Secretaries of State, Attorneys General and Legislatures can communicate and reinforce laws and norms and be ready to confront irregularities. Election officials will need political and public support to see the process through to completion.”

– Tackle the two greatest threats head on: lies about “voter fraud” and the escalation of violence. “Voting fraud is virtually non-existent,” states the report, “but Trump lies about it to create a narrative designed to politically mobilize his base and to create the basis for contesting the results should he lose. The potential for violent conflict is high, particularly since Trump encourages his supporters to take up arms.”

– Foresee a difficult administrative transition. According to the report: “Transition teams will likely need to do two things simultaneously: defend against Trump’s reckless actions on his way out of office; and find creative solutions to ensure landing teams are able to access the information and resources they need to begin to prepare for governing.”

Many liberal media outlets have supported the Transition Integrity Project’s statements and published a number of interviews on the “war games” carried out by the group. Leading television channels in the US are also supporting the group’s image and giving airtime to its position. For example, Al Gore openly stated live on Fox News that if Trump does not leave the White House in January 2021, then the military will remove him.

In fact, one of the exercise scenarios run by the group was a clear Trump win. So, on what basis would US citizens be showing their defiance and organising riots?

Despite such contradictions, and the fact that there is no mention of the US Constitution’s provision on presidential elections, which clearly shows the mechanism for recognising the victor, it is obvious from the report itself and the subsequent reaction that public opinion is being programmed in the US and includes several elements: the inevitably of civil conflicts throughout the country; Donald Trump’s direct responsibility; the need for mass mobilisation; and a military intervention in favour of Trump’s opponent, that is, the representative of the US Democratic Party.

At the very least, these actions are already devaluing the practice of electoral democracy that, until now, has been regarded as the foundation of Western “rule of law” societies.

Are You Feeling Safer? ‘War of the Worlds’ Pits U.S. and Israel Against Everyone Else

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Trump Netanyahu Abraham Accords ee19e

The media being focused on an upcoming election, coronavirus, fires on the West Coast and burgeoning BLM and Antifa unrest, it is perhaps no surprise that some stories are not exactly making it through to the evening news. Last week an important vote in the United Nations General Assembly went heavily against the United States. It was regarding a non-binding resolution that sought to suspend all economic sanctions worldwide while the coronavirus cases continue to increase. It called for “intensified international cooperation and solidarity to contain, mitigate and overcome the pandemic and its consequences.” It was a humanitarian gesture to help overwhelmed governments and health care systems cope with the pandemic by having a free hand to import food and medicines.

The final tally was 169 to 2, with only Israel and the United States voting against. Both governments apparently viewed the U.N. resolution as problematical because they fully support the unilateral economic warfare that they have been waging to bring about regime change in countries like Iran, Syria and Venezuela. Sanctions imposed on those countries are designed to punish the people more than the governments in the expectation that there will be an uprising to bring about regime change. This, of course, has never actually happened as a consequence of sanctions and all that is really delivered is suffering. When they cast their ballots, some delegates at the U.N. might even have been recalling former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s claim that the death of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. imposed sanctions had been “worth it.”

Clearly, a huge majority of the world’s governments, to include the closest U.S. allies, no longer buy the American big lie when it claims to be the leader of the free world, a promoter of liberal democracy and a force for good.  The vote prompted one observer, John Whitbeck, a former international lawyer based in Paris, to comment how “On almost every significant issue facing mankind and the planet, it is Israel and the United States against mankind and the planet.”

The United Nations was not the only venue where the U.S. was able to demonstrate what kind of nation it has become. Estimates of how many civilians have been killed directly or indirectly as a consequence of the so-called Global War on Terror initiated by George W. Bush are in the millions, with roughly 4 million being frequently cited. Nearly all of the dead have been Muslims. Now there is a new estimate of the number of civilians that have fled their homes as a result of the worldwide conflict initiated by Washington and its dwindling number of allies since 2001. The estimate comes from Brown University’s “Costs of War Project,” which has issued a report Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States Post-9/11 Wars that seeks to quantify those who have “fled their homes in the eight most violent wars the U.S. military has launched or participated in since 2001.”

The project tracks the number of refugees, asylum seekers applying for refugee status, and internally displaced people or persons (IDPs) in the countries that America and its allies have most targeted since 9/11: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria. All are predominantly Muslim countries with the sole exception of the Philippines, which has a large Muslim minority.

The estimate suggests that between 37 and 59 million civilians have become displaced, with an extremely sharp increase occurring in the past year when the total was calculated to be 21 million. The largest number of those displaced were from Iraq, where fighting against Islamic State has been intermittent, estimated at 9.2 million. Syria, which has seen fighting between the government and various foreign supported insurgencies, had the second-highest number of displacements at 7.1 million. Afghanistan, which has seen a resurgent Taliban, was third having an estimated 5.3 million people displaced.

The authors of the report observe that even the lower figure of 37 million is “almost as large as the population of Canada” and “more than those displaced by any other war or disaster since at least the start of the 20th century with the sole exception of World War II.” And it is also important to note what is not included in the study. The report has excluded sub-Saharan Africa as well as several Arab nations generally considered to be U.S. allies. These constitute “the millions more who have been displaced by other post-9/11 conflicts where U.S. forces have been involved in ‘counterterror’ activities in more limited yet significant ways, including in: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.”

Yemen should be added to that list given U.S. military materiel assistance that has enabled the Saudi Arabian bombing attacks on that country, also producing a wave of refugees. There are also reports that the White House is becoming concerned over the situation in Yemen as pressure is growing to initiate an international investigation of the Saudi war crimes in that civilian infrastructure targets to include hospitals and schools are being deliberately targeted.

And even the United States Congress has begun to notice that something bad is taking place as there is growing concern that both the Saudi and U.S. governments might be charged with war crimes over the civilian deaths. Reports are now suggesting that as early as 2016, when Barack Obama was still president, the State Department’s legal office concluded that “top American officials could be charged with war crimes for approving bomb sales to the Saudis and their partners” that have killed more than 125,000 including at least 13,400 targeted civilians.

That conclusion preceded the steps undertaken by the Donald Trump White House to make arms sales to the Saudis and their allies in the United Arab Emirates central to his foreign policy, a program that has become an integral part of the promotion of the “Deal of the Century” Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Given that, current senior State Department officials have repressed the assessment made in 2016 and have also “gone to great lengths” to conceal the legal office finding. A State Department inspector general investigation earlier this year considered the Department’s failure to address the legal risks of selling offensive weapons to the Saudis, but the details were hidden by placing them in a classified part of the public report released in August, heavily redacted so that even Congressmen with high level access could not see them.

Democrats in Congress, which had previously blocked some arms sales in the conflict, are looking into the Saudi connection because it can do damage to Trump, but it would be far better if they were to look at what the United States and Israel have been up to more generally speaking. The U.S. benefits from the fact that even though international judges and tribunals are increasingly embracing the concept of holding Americans accountable for war crimes since the start of the GWOT, U.S. refusal to cooperate has been daunting. Last March, when the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague authorized its chief prosecutor to open an investigation into U.S. crimes in Afghanistan the White House reacted by imposing sanctions on the chief prosecutor and his staff lawyer. And Washington has also warned that any tribunal going after Israel will face the wrath of the United States.

Nevertheless, when you are on the losing side on a vote in a respected international body by 169 to 2 someone in Washington should at least be smart enough to discern that something is very, very wrong. But I wouldn’t count on anyone named Trump or Biden to work that out.

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