Biden Orders to Remove References to Israeli Occupation in Campaign Program

Source

August 8, 2020

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with US politician Joe Biden. (Photo: File)

US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has ordered the removal of any reference to the Israeli occupation in his campaign program just days before it was released on July 15, Foreign Policy revealed on Thursday.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who withdrew his presidential campaign in favor of Biden, had agreed with Biden that he would include in the Democratic Party platform an assertion that Palestinians had a right to live free of foreign “occupation”, referring to

However, under pressure from pro-Israeli advocacy groups, Biden made a last-minute decision to remove any reference to the Israeli occupation, Foreign Policy reported three sources confirming.

Therefore, Biden aides asked the progressive leaders in the Democratic Party and urged them to drop their demand to declare Israel an occupying power, the magazine reported.

According to the magazine, Biden aides argued that the inclusion of the word “occupation” threatened to undermine unity within the Democratic Party.

“The question of whether to allow the text to refer to ‘occupation’ or use the phrase ‘end the occupation’ was taken to the vice president and he said ‘no’,” Jason Isaacson, chief policy and political affairs officer at the American Jewish Committee, told Foreign Policy.

“This is not an issue on which the party can bend because it would be contrary to the position of Joe Biden,” Isaacson added.

Foreign Policy noted that the retraction reflected Biden’s reluctance to reverse decades of staunch support for Israel.

It also stated that this retreat marked something of a victory for the party’s establishment, which has sought to preserve close relations with Israel, even as its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has moved increasingly close to the Republican Party and its standard-bearer, President Donald Trump.

“While many Democrats in Congress are increasingly in touch with the views of their constituencies, those at the helm, such as Biden, remain stubbornly committed to agendas that are championed by AIPAC and the rest of the old guard,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle wrote in a recent article.

“The good news from Washington is that, despite Trump’s current support for Israel, an incremental, but lasting structural change continues to take place among Democratic Party supporters everywhere and throughout the country,” Baroud added.

(MEMO, PC, Social Medi)

ترامب والانتخابات والحرب السيبرانية: هل يشتري الوقت؟

روزانا رمّال

المنطقة والعالم بانتظار الاستحقاق الرئاسي الأميركي الكبير والذي تبنى على اساسه اجندات مركزية للتعامل بين دول المنطقة انطلاقاً من أولوية تقدير العلاقة مع «إسرائيل». ومع ان العلاقة بين واشنطن وتل ابيب لا تقع ضمن دائرة تأثير هوية او انتماء الرئيس «جمهوري» كان ام «ديمقراطي» عليها، الا ان تجربة العشر سنوات الاخيرة تؤكد العكس تحديداً اثناء تولي الرئيس باراك اوباما الحكم وهي مرحلة فيها الكثير بين سطورها من تفاصيل تحاكي الفشل الذريع في التقاط «كيمياء» للعلاقة بين المسؤولين الإسرائيليين وتحديداً رئيس الوزراء بن يمين نتنياهو والرئيس الديمقراطي «اوباما» الذي كان من أشد المتحمّسين للعلاقة مع إيران وتعبيد الطريق عبر الاتفاق النووي في فيينا عام 2015 وكان أقل الرؤساء حماساً لتقديم الطروحات الإسرائيلية كأولوية حسب مسؤولين إسرائيليين والسبب عدم التوافق الشخصي مع نتنياهو، الا ان الرد الديمقراطي على هذا الكلام كان أخذ الأمن الإسرائيلي بعين الاعتبار من منظار آخر يعتبر فيه الانكفاء عن الحروب والنزعة نحو التسويات اضمن لكل الأطراف في الشرق الاوسط.

هذا الوضع رفضته «إسرائيل» بالكامل ومع قدوم دونالد ترامب توج الرئيس الأكثر «خدمة» لـ»إسرائيل». فما قام به لم يكن متوقعاً لجهة نقض سياسات خلفه اوباما بالكامل بين «نسف الاتفاق النووي مع إيران» وطرح «صفقة القرن» كأجندة بعيدة المدى موضوعة ضمن مساعي التنفيذ عبر مستشاره جاريد كوشنر، وهي بمثابة تعهد للإسرائيليين للسنوات المقبلة يضاف الى التجرؤ على التصعيد العسكري بالمنطقة في غير مرة عبر ضرب مواقع في سورية واستهداف قادة عراقيين وإيرانيين في العراق وتسجيله اقوى الاهداف في مرمى الامن الإيراني باستهداف قائد فيلق القدس اسطورة قادة المنطقة بالنسبة لإيران وحلفائها الجنرال قاسم سليماني، إضافة الى اقصى العقوبات المالية على حزب الله.

كل ما انتهجه ترامب يثير اهتمام المسؤولين الإسرائيليين وتحديداً نتنياهو الذي يرغب وبشدة باستكمال ما بدأه حيال الملف الإسرائيلي – الفلسطيني وتحديداً ضم المزيد من الأراضي وصولاً حتى فرض صفقة القرن واقعاً.

وبعيداً هنا عن إمكانية نجاح المشروع من عدمه الا ان المساحة الأساسية لأمن «إسرائيل» عند ترامب تفوّقت على رؤساء كثر أملاً بالحصول على دعم بالانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية عبر دعمه من خلال الضغط على اللوبي الإسرائيلي «الناخب الوازن» في الولايات المتحدة حيث تندرج ضمن نفوذه مؤسسات تسيطر على صناعة الرأي العام الأميركي والتأثير عليه منها مراكز دراسات امنية واستراتيجية.

يطرح الرئيس الأميركي «المأزوم» اليوم دونالد ترامب رغبته بتأجيل الانتخابات عن موعدها المقرر لان الظروف الصحية لا تسمح بإجرائها سوى عبر الانترنت او التصويت الالكتروني. وهذا ما يجعل القلق ينتابه لأسباب كثيرة ودقيقة أبرزها:

اولاً: ان الحرب السيبرانية التي تأخذ مداها بين واشنطن وطهران والتي يبقى جزء منها قيد الكتمان بالأعم الاغلب من الحوادث التي ذكرت في وسائل الإعلام تبقى من دون تفاصيل. وهي التطور الكبير الذي ظهر على المشهد او على تغير شكل الحرب الدائرة بين الطرفين. وبالتالي فان امكانية اختراق الإيرانيين للشبكة الأميركية المعنية بالانتخابات ليس مستبعداً بل سيكون الأكثر طرحاً وقوة خصوصاً أن إيران لم تقفل ملف الرد على اغتيال الجنرال قاسم سليماني والمرشد الأعلى السيد على خامنئي لا يزال يكرر هذا في كل مناسبة. وبالتالي فان اي تلاعب بالنتائج او تخريبها وارد جداً.

ثانياً: واجه ترامب بداية فوزه بالانتخابات بالولاية الاولى اتهامات كادت تسحب منه الرئاسة على خلفية بروز تقارير تؤكد تدخل روسيا بالانتخابات الأميركية للمرة الاولى ودعم ترامب عبر لقاءات جرت مع أحد الدبلوماسيين الروس. وهو الأمر الذي وضع ترامب في موقف محرج ادى الى اتخاذه قرارات تصعيدية منذ بداية ولايته لاستعادة الثقة به. وهو الامر الذي يخشى حدوثه مرة جديدة عبر خرق روسي ايضاً او ربما صيني بعد الاتهامات الكبرى المتبادلة جراء جائحة كورونا والعمل على نسف شبكات الامان الاجتماعي للدول الكبرى.

ثالثاً: إن إمكانية التدخل والتزوير والضغط على الناخب كبيرة، خصوصاً من جهة الديمقراطيين فهذه العملية لا تكون شفافة من دون ان تتم بمراكز خاصة وراء عازل يحفظ للناخب حرية خياراته اضافة الى امكانية التزوير في الولايات الديمقراطية والتأثير بأشكاله كافة على عملية التصويت.

قد تبدو هواجس ترامب حجة للتمديد. هكذا يقرأها الديمقراطيون وهكذا يروجون الا ان هذا ليس صحيحاً. فالقلق في مكانه، ومصير ترامب ليس مطمئناً لجهة شكل العملية.

هناك تجارب حصلت في حزيران، سمحت ولاية نيويورك للناخبين بالتصويت بواسطة البريد في الاقتراع الأولي لمرشحي الحزب الديمقراطي للرئاسة. ولكن حدث تأخير طويل في فرز بطاقات الاقتراع، ولا تزال النتائج غير معروفة. هذا ما تؤكده المعلومات المنشورة.

وبعيداً عن السياسات الخارجية وقع ترامب بألغام محلية كبيرة بعد ان تقدم بالاقتصاد الاميركي نحو موقع افضل الا ان انتشار فيروس كوفيد 19 وتعاطيه معه اضافة الى انفجار لغم “العنصرية” ضد ذوي البشرة السمراء وضع امامه حقيقة خسارة اصوات الأكثرية الساحقة من هؤلاء الذين اختاروه رئيسا في الولاية الاولى..

يتحدث خبراء عن حظوظ كبيرة للمرشح جو بايدن فقد عانى من صدمة فقدان زوجته الأولى وابنته ذات الثلاث عشرة سنة في حادث سيارة بعد فوزه في انتخابات مجلس الشيوخ عام 1972. وفي عام 2015 توفي ابنه الذي نجا من الحادث نتيجة نوع نادر من سرطان الدماغ ما أكسبه تعاطفاً بشكل تلقائي.. وهذا ما يجعله قريباً من الكثيرين من أفراد العائلات التي فقدت أحباء لها نتيجة وباء كورونا وعددعم 140 ألفاً، حسب التقارير.

كل المؤشرات السيئة تحيط بترامب، لكن هذا لا يخفي ابداً فكرة قربه من الشباب الذين يختارونه للمرة الثانية حسب الاستطلاعات واعتبار بعض الاقتصاديين انه خيار افضل عن بايدن بالوقت الذي يبدو فيه الأخير ضعيفاً في هاتين الناحيتين..

و عليه، تصبح هذه الفترة هي الأخطر على المنطقة بحيث يحتاج ترامب فيها الى تطور كبير ربما يكون التوجه لتسويات مع اعدائه كي لا يتآمروا عليه انتخابياً او ربما يأخذه هذا المنطق نحو تصعيد كبير

Neither Trump Nor Biden Really Matter to China or Russia

Neither Trump Nor Biden Really Matter to China or Russia - TheAltWorld

Finian Cunningham July 30, 2020

Well, according to the Trump campaign, Democrat rival Joe Biden is the candidate whom Chinese leaders are rooting for to win the presidential election in November. “Beijing Biden” or “Sleepy Joe” would be a gift to China, so it goes.

In turn, trying to out-hawk the Republican incumbent, the Biden campaign paints Trump as being “soft” on China and having been “played” by Chinese counterparts over trade, the corona pandemic and allegations about human rights.

Biden, the former vice president in the previous Obama administrations, has vowed to impose more sanctions on China over allegations of rights violations. He claims to be the one who will “stand up” to Beijing if he is elected to the White House in three months’ time.

Last week, Biden declared he was “giving notice to the Kremlin and others [China]” that if elected to the presidency he would impose “substantial and lasting costs” on those who allegedly interfere in U.S. politics. That’s war talk based on worthless intel propaganda.

Trump meanwhile asserts that no-one is tougher than him when it comes to dealing with China (and Russia for that matter).

Given the Trump administration’s reckless policy of ramping up hostility towards China in recent months, that begs the question: how could a future Biden administration begin to be even more aggressive – short of going to war?

Relations between Washington and Beijing have plummeted to their worst levels since the historic detente initiated by President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s. The precipitous downward spiral has occurred under President Trump’s watch. So, how exactly could a prospective President Biden make the relationship more adversarial?

The truth is both Trump and Biden are equally vulnerable to domestic partisan criticism about their respective dealings with China. The belated high-handed approach that both are trying to project is pockmarked with risible hypocrisy.

The Trump campaign scores a valid point when it recalls how former Vice President Biden smooched and feted Chinese leaders with economic opportunities in the American economy.

Likewise, Trump stands accused of lavishing praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping while ignoring the impending coronavirus pandemic because Trump’s top priority was getting a trade deal with China.

The fact that both American politicians have U-turned with regard to China in such nasty terms must leave the authorities in Beijing with a deep sense of distrust in either of the would-be presidents.

Biden at one time waxed lyrical about his close relationship with Xi, but as his bid for the presidency heated up, Biden stuck the proverbial knife in the Chinese leader calling him a “thug”.

For his part, Trump previously referred to Xi as a “dear friend” while dining him with “beautiful chocolate cake” at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, but his administration has since slammed the Chinese leader as “authoritarian”. Trump’s racist slurs over the pandemic being “Kung Flu” and “Chinese plague” must give President Xi pause for disgust with the falseness.

At the end of day, can either of these presidential candidates be trusted to pursue principled U.S.-China relations going forward? The toxic anti-China campaigning by both indicates a level of puerile treachery which foreshadows no possible return to any kind of normalcy.

One distinction perhaps between Trump and Biden is the latter is promising to repair relations with Western allies to form a united front against China. To that end, a hawkish confrontational policy under Biden may have more impact on U.S.-China relations than under Trump. Trump has managed to alienate European allies with his broadsides over trade tariffs and NATO spending commitments. Although Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has recently urged “an alliance of democracies” to confront China, that rallying call is likely to fall on deaf ears with European allies irked by Trump’s brash style. Biden on the other hand could bring a more unified Western policy of hostility towards Beijing (and Moscow) by affecting a more appeasing attitude towards Europe. In that way, Biden would be more preferred by the Pentagon and foreign policy establishment than Trump, just as Hillary Clinton was in 2016.

However, it is doubtful that Beijing is paying too much attention to what either candidate is saying or posturing at. If both of them can flip so much from talking softly to shouting loud anti-China profanities then their individual characters may be deemed malleable and unscrupulous. Both have shown a shameless streak in stoking anti-China bashing for electioneering gain. Trump pulled that trick last time out in 2016 when he railed against China for “raping America” only for him to discover “deep friendship” with Xi following that election. Now he has reverted to hostility out of self-serving calculation to whip up anti-China sentiment among voters. And Biden is apt to do the very same.

Forget about such fickle personalities when it comes to reading U.S. policy towards China. Beijing will be looking at the longer trajectory of how U.S. policy turned towards a more militarized approach with the “Pivot to Asia” under the Obama-Biden administration in 2011. Indicating how Deep State continuity transcends Democrat or Republican occupants of the White House, the next major indicator was in the Pentagon planning documents of 2017 and 2018 under Trump which labelled China and Russia as “great power rivals”. The American “ship of state”, it may be concluded, is therefore set on a collision course with both Beijing and Moscow in terms of ramping up a confrontational agenda. Who sits in the White House scarcely matters.

For Trump and Biden to trade barbs about which one is “softer” on China or Russia is irrelevant in the bigger picture of U.S. imperialist ambitions for global dominance. The logic of a waning American empire and the concomitant inherent belligerence to compensate for the perceived loss of U.S. global power are the issues to follow, not whether Trump or Biden clinch the dog-and-pony race to the White House.

Foreign Interference in Elections: Is it Real or Just Political Noise?

Foreign Interference in Elections: Is It Real or Just Political ...

Philip Giraldi

July 30, 2020

A recently concluded British Parliamentary inquiry has determined that Russia may have interfered in the 2016 Brexit referendum, which resulted in the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. But, ironically, it also concluded that Russia might not have interfered given the fact that the British government never bothered to try to find out if there had been any attempt made by the Kremlin to manipulate the voting.

The Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee is reportedly perplexed by the lack of official interest in what might have been a foreign intelligence operation that had major impact, all too plausible given that it is assumed that Moscow would have welcomed Brexit as a first step that will eventually put an end to European political and economic unity.

So, no one knows if Russia or anyone else interfered in Britain, which is perhaps just as well as inquiries into voting in the U.S. also in 2016 have likewise created nothing but confusion and no smoking pistol. And, of course there is a question of definitions of interference. Millions of pounds were spent on advertising by those pro- and con-Brexit, just as billions were spent in political adverts in the United States. Much of the “information” provided in that fashion was deliberately misleading, often fearmongering, both in the U.K. and the U.S., suggesting that the problem is much bigger than one country’s possible attempt to influence the vote, if that even took place.

There were similar claims about Russian generated fake news and “a massive hacking attack” in the French presidential election in 2017, while Germany’s Federal Election was notable for a lack of any identifiable Kremlin interference in spite of warnings from some observers that Berlin would be targeted.

So, while claims of Russian interference in elections are fairly common, they are difficult to prove in any serious way. And one should recognize that the “victimized” governments and political parties have strong motives to conjure up a foreign enemy to explain to the public why things are going wrong, be it for coronavirus fumbling or for general political ineptitude. To be sure, as the allure of blaming Russia has faded China is increasingly being targeted by American politicians as a scapegoat, indicating that there must always be a foreigner available to blame for one’s problems.

The most recent nugget to come out of the U.S. Congress on foreign interference in elections originates with Adam Schiff, the sly head of the House Intelligence Committee. In an interview with MSNBC, Schiff revealed that U.S. intelligence has obtained information suggesting multiple nations could be trying to meddle in the 2020 U.S. elections, to include feeding or “laundering” possible disinformation through Congress.

Schiff explained how various nations us different tactics to get “fake news” messages through to the American voters. Some governments openly support a particular candidate or policy, while others like the Chinese provide misinformation during their trade negotiations with Washington. He observed that “The Russians may get involved in hacking and dumping operations or social media campaigns. The Iranians may have their own tactics and techniques like the North Koreans may have theirs.”

letter signed by Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark Warner, D-Va has asked for a counterintelligence briefing for Congress regarding foreign efforts to interfere in the upcoming election. It includes “We are gravely concerned, in particular, that Congress appears to be the target of a concerted foreign interference campaign, which seeks to launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate, and the presidential election in November.”

Democratic Party presidential candidate presumptive Joe Biden also has confirmed that he has received briefings about Russian alleged plans to interfere in November saying “The Russians are still engaged in trying to delegitimize our electoral process. China and others are engaged as well in activities that are designed for us to lose confidence in the outcome.”

Of course, there are a number of things to say about the claims that other nations are possibly planning to meddle in the voting. First, the list of possible players being presented by Schiff and others is all too convenient, kind of like a Congressional dream list of bad boys. Russia pops up because of longstanding claims about it, but China is a new entry in the game because it all ties up into a neat package, including the “Wuhan virus” and its challenges both to American economic supremacy and to U.S. naval power in the South China Sea. And of course, there are Iran and also North Korea.

One should ask what exactly China, Iran and North Korea stand to gain by attempting to “interfere” in the election? What message could they possibly be sending and what would be the mechanisms they would use to get their points of view across to a skeptical American public? In a campaign that will undoubtedly cost hundreds of billions of dollars in advertising and other “messaging,” what exactly is the possible place of Iran and North Korea?

There is also a lack of “realism” in the Schiff comments. By far the country that interferes the most in U.S. politics is Israel. Israel and its domestic Lobby initiate legislation relating to the Middle East and Israeli diplomats, lobbyists and soldiers all have free access both to Capitol Hill and to the Pentagon. If a Congressman dares to speak up against the Jewish state’s crimes he or she is smeared in the media and eventually forced out of office by a well-funded pro-Israel opponent. No other country gets away with all that. As it is highly likely that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be pulling out all the stops to reelect Donald Trump in November, why isn’t the Jewish state included on Schiff’s list?

And then there is the tantalizing bit about concerns over disinformation being “laundered” through Congress. It is difficult to imagine what exactly Schiff is referring to as the corrupt gasbags in Congress already constitute one of the world’s biggest sources of false information, second only to the fully coopted U.S. mainstream media.

In any event, if some countries that are accustomed to being regularly targeted by the United States are taking advantage of an opportunity to somehow diminish America’s ability to meddle globally, no one should be surprised, but it is a politically driven fantasy to make the hysterical claim that the United States has now become the victim of some kind of vast multi-national conspiracy to interfere in its upcoming election.

Russia and the next Presidential election in the USA

Source

Intro: not a pretty picture

Let’s begin with a disclaimer: in this article, I will assume that there will be a US Presidential election in the Fall. Right now, it appears to be likely that this election will take place (there appear to be no legal way to cancel or delay it), but this is by no means certain (see here for a machine translated and very interesting article by one Russian analyst, who predicts a diarchy after the election). Right now, the state of the US society is both extremely worried (and for good reason) and potentially explosive. It is impossible to predict what a well-executed false flag attack could do to the US. There is also the possibility of either a natural disaster (hurricane, earthquake, etc.) or even an unnatural one (considering the condition of the US infrastructure, this is almost inevitable) which could precipitate some kind of state of emergency or martial law to “protect” the people. Finally, though at this point in time I don’t see this as very likely, there is always the possibility of a coup of some kind, maybe a “government of national unity” with the participation of both parties which, as Noam Chomsky correctly points out, are basically only two factions of what could be called the Business Party. There might come a point when they decide to drop this pretense too (just look at how many other pretenses the US ruling elites have dropped in the last decade or so).

Alexander Solzhenitsyn used to explain that all governments can be placed on a continuum ranging from, on one end, “states whose power is based on their authority” to, on the other end, “states whose authority is based on their power“. In the real world, most states are somewhere between these two extremes. But it is quite obvious that the US polity currently has gone very far down the “states whose authority is based on their power” path and to speak of any kind of “moral authority” of US politicians is really a joke. The (probable) upcoming “choice” between Donald “grab them by the pussy” Trump and Joe “creepy uncle” Biden will make this joke even more laughable.

Right now, the most powerful force in the US political system must be the financial sector. And, of course, there are many other powerful interest groups (MIC, Israel Lobby, the CIA and the ridiculously bloated Intel community, Big Pharma, the US Gulag, the corporate media, Oil, etc.) who all combine their efforts (just like a vector does in mathematics) to produce a “resulting vector” which we call “US policies”. That is in theory. In practice, you have several competing “policies” vying for power and influence, both on the domestic and on international front. Often these policies are mutually exclusive.

Last, but certainly not least, the level of corruption in the US is at least as bad as, say, in the Ukraine or in Liberia, but rather than being on the street and petty cash level, the corruption in the US is counted in billions of dollars.

All in all, not a pretty sight (see here for a good analysis of the decline of US power).

Yet the US remains a nuclear power and still has a lot of political influence worldwide and thus this is not a country anyone can ignore. Including Russia.

A quick look at Russia

Before looking into Russian options in relation to the US, we need to take a quick look at how Russia has been faring this year. The short of it would be: not too well. The Russian economy has shrunk by about 10% and the small businesses have been devastated by the combined effects of 1) the economic policies of the Russian government and Central Bank, and 2) the devastating economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic, and 3) the full-spectrum efforts of the West, mostly by the Anglosphere, to strangle Russia economically. Politically, the “Putin regime” is still popular, but there is a sense that it is getting stale and that most Russians would prefer to see more dynamic and proactive policies aimed, not only to help the Russian mega-corporations, but also to help the regular people. Many Russians definitely have a sense that the “little guy” is being completely ignored by fat cats in power and this resentment will probably grow until and unless Putin decides to finally get rid of all the Atlantic Integrationists aka the “Washington consensus” types which are still well represented in the Russian ruling circles, including the government. So far, Putin has remained faithful to his policy of compromises and small steps, but this might change in the future as the level of frustration in the general population is likely to only grow with time.

That is not to say that the Kremlin is not trying. Several of the recent constitutional amendments adopted in a national vote had a strongly expressed “social” and “patriotic” character and they absolutely horrified the “liberal” 5th columnists who tried their best two 1) call for a boycott, and 2) denounce thousands of (almost entirely) imaginary violations of the proper voting procedures, and to 3) de-legitimize the outcome by declaring the election a “fraud”. None of that worked: the participation was high, very few actual violations were established (and those that were, had no impact on the outcome anyway) and most Russians accepted that this outcome was the result of the will of the people. Furthermore, Putin has made public the Russian strategic goals for 2030,which are heavily focused on improving the living and life conditions of average Russians (for details, see here). It is impossible to predict what will happen next, but the most likely scenario is that Russia has several, shall we say, “bumpy” years ahead, both on the domestic and on the international front.

What can Russia reasonably hope for?

This is really the key question: in the best of situations, what can Russia really hope for in the next elections? I would argue that there is really very little which Russia can hope for, if only because the russophobic hysteria started by the Democrats to defeat Trump has now apparently been completely endorsed by the Trump administration and the all the members of Congress. As for the imperial propaganda machine, it now manages to simultaneously declare that Russia tried to “steal” COVID vaccine secrets from the West AND that Russian elites were given a secret COVID vaccine this Spring. As for the US Dems, they are already announcing that the Russians are spreading “disinformation” about Biden. Talk about PRE-traumatic stress disorder (to use the phrase coined by my friend Gilad Atzmon)…

Although I have no way of knowing what is really taking place in the delusional minds of US politicians, I am strongly suspecting that the latest hysteria about “Russia stealing COV19 vaccine secrets” is probably triggered by the conclusion of the US intel community that Russia will have a vaccine ready before the US does. This is, of course, something absolutely unthinkable for US politicians who, (sort of) logically conclude that “if these Russkies got a vaccine first, they *must* have stolen it from us” or something similar (see here for a good analysis of this). And if the Chinese get there first, same response. After all, who in the US legacy media would ever even mention that Russian or Chinese researchers might be ahead of their US colleagues? Nobody, of course.

I would argue that this mantric Russia-bashing is something which will not change in the foreseeable future. For one thing, since the imperial ruling elites have clearly lost control of the situation, they really have no other option left than to blame it all on some external agent. The “terrorist threat” has lost a lot of traction over the past years, the “Muslim threat” is too politically incorrect to openly blame it all on Islam, as for the other boogeymen which US Americans like to scare themselves at night with (immigrants, drug dealers, sex offenders, “domestic terrorists”, etc.) they simply cannot be blamed for stuff like a crashing economy. But Russia, and China, can.

In fact, ever since the (self-evidently ridiculous) “Skripal case” the collective West has proven that it simply does not have the spine to say “no”, or even “maybe”, to any thesis energetically pushed forward by the AngloZionist propaganda machine. Thus no matter how self-evidently silly the imperial propaganda is, the people in the West have been conditioned (literally) to accept any nonsense as “highly likely” as long as it is proclaimed with enough gravitas by politicians and their legacy ziomedia. As for the leaders of the EU, we already know that they will endorse any idiocy coming out of Washington or London in the name of “solidarity”.

Truth be told, most Russian politicians (with the notable exception of the official Kremlin court jester, Zhirinovskii) and analysts never saw Trump as a potential ally or friend. The Kremlin was especially cautious, which leads me to believe that the Russian intelligence analysts did a very good job evaluating Trump’s psyche and they quickly figured out that he was no better than any other US politician. Right now, I know of no Russian analyst who would predict that relations between the US and Russia will improve in the foreseeable future. If anything, most are clearly saying that “guys, we better get used to this” (accusations, sanctions, accusations, sanctions, etc. etc. etc.). Furthermore, it is pretty obvious to the Russians that while Crimea and MH17 were the pretexts for western sanctions against Russia, they were not the real cause. The real cause of the West’s hatred for Russia is as simple as it is old: Russia cannot be conquered, subdued, subverted or destroyed. They’ve been at it for close to 1,000 years and they still are at it. In fact, each time they fail to crush Russia, their russophobia increases to even higher levels (phobia both in the sense of “fear” and in the sense of “hatred”).

Simply put – there is nothing which Russia can expect from the upcoming election. Nothing at all. Still, that does not mean that things are not better than 4 or 8 years ago. Let’s look at what changed.

The big difference between now and then

What did Trump’s election give to the world?

I would say four years for Russia to fully prepare for what might be coming next.

I would argue that since at least Russia and the AngloZionist Empire have been at war since at least 2013, when Russia foiled the US plan to attack Syria under the pretext that it was “highly likely” that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians (in reality, a textbook case of a false flag organized by the Brits), This means that Russia and the Empire have been at war since at least 2013, for no less than seven years (something which Russian 6th columnists and Neo-Marxists try very hard to ignore).

True, at least until now, this was has been 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic, but this is a real existential war of survival for both sides: only one side will walk away from this struggle. The other one will simply disappear (not as a nation or a people, but as a polity; a regime). The Kremlin fully understood that and it embarked on a huge reform and modernization of the Russian armed forces in three distinct ways:

  1. A “general” reform of the Russian armed forces which had to be modernized by about 80%. This part of the reform is now practically complete.
  2. A specific reform to prepare the western and southern military districts for a major conventional war against the united West (as always in Russian history) which would involve the First Guards Tank Army and the Russian Airborne Forces.
  3. The development of bleeding-edge weapons systems with no equivalent in the West and which cannot be countered or defeated; these weapons have had an especially dramatic impact upon First Strike Stability and upon naval operations.

While some US politicians understood what was going on (I think of Ron Paul, see here), most did not. They were so brainwashed by the US propaganda that they were sure that no matter what, “USA! USA! USA!”. Alas for them, the reality was quite different.

Russian officials, by the way, have confirmed that Russia was preparing for war. Heck, the reforms were so profound and far reaching, that it would have been impossible for the Russians to hide what they were doing (see here for details; also please see Andrei Martyanov’s excellent primer on the new Russian Navy here).

While no country is ever truly prepared for war, I would argue that by 2020 the Russians had reached their goals and that now Russia is fully prepared to handle any conflict the West might throw at her, ranging from a small border incident somewhere in Central Asia to a full-scaled war against the US/NATO in Europe.

Folks in the West are now slowly waking up to this new reality (I mentioned some of that here), but it is too late. In purely military terms, Russia has now created such a qualitative gap with the West that the still existing quantitative gap is not sufficient to guarantee a US/NATO victory. Now some western politicians are starting to seriously freak out (see this lady, for example), but most Europeans are coming to terms with two truly horrible realities:

  1. Russia is much stronger than Europe and, even much worse,
  2. Russia will never attack first (which is a major cause of frustration for western russophobes)

As for the obvious solution to this problem, having friendly relations with Russia is simply unthinkable for those who made their entire careers peddling the Soviet (and now Russian) threat to the world.

But Russia is changing, albeit maybe too slowly (at least for my taste). As I mentioned last week, a number of Polish, Ukrainian and Baltic politicians have declared that the Zapad2020 military maneuvers which are supposed to take place in southern Russia and the Caucasus could be used to prepare an attack on the West (see here for a rather typical example of this nonsense). In the past, the Kremlin would only have made a public statement ridiculing this nonsense, but this time around Putin did something different. Right after he saw the reaction of these politicians, Putin ordered a major and UNSCHEDULED military readiness exercise which involved no less than 150,000 troops, 400 aircraft & 100 ships! The message here was clear:

  1. Yes, we are much more powerful than you are and
  2. No, we are not apologizing for our strength anymore

And, just to make sure that the message is clear, the Russians also tested the readiness of the Russian Airborne Forces units near the city of Riazan, see for yourself:

This response is, I think, the correct one. Frankly, nobody in the West is listening to what the Kremlin has to say, so what is the point of making more statements which in the future will be ignored equally as they have been in the past.

If anything, the slow realization that Russia is more powerful than NATO would be most helpful in gently prodding EU politicians to change their tune and return back to reality. Check out this recent video of Sarah Wagenknecht, a leading politician of the German Left and see for yourself:

The example of Sahra Wagenknecht is interesting, because she is from Germany, one of the countries of northern Europe; traditionally, northern European powers have been much more anti-Russian than southern Europeans, so it is encouraging to see that the anti-Putin and anti-Russia hysteria is not always being endorsed by everybody.

But if things are very slowly getting better in the EU, in the bad old US of A things are only getting worse. Even the Republicans are now fully on board the Russia-hating float (right behind a “gay pride” one I suppose) and they are now contributing their own insanity to the cause, as this article entitled “Congressional Republicans: Russia should be designated state sponsor of terror” shows (designating Russia as a terrorist state is an old idea of the Dems, by the way).

Russian options for the Fall

In truth, Russia does not have any particularly good options towards the US. Both parties are now fully united in their rabid hatred of Russia (and China too, of course). Furthermore, while there are many well-funded and virulently anti-Russian organizations in the US (Neo-cons, Papists, Poles, Masons, Ukrainians, Balts, Ashkenazi Jews, etc.), Russian organizations in the US like this one, have very little influence or even relevance.

Banderites marching in the US

Banderites marching in the US

However, as the chaos continues to worsen inside the US and as US politicians continue to alienate pretty much the entire planet, Russia does have a perfect opportunity to weaken the US grip on Europe. The beauty in the current dynamic is that Russia does not have to do anything at all (nevermind anything covert or illegal) to help the anti-EU and anti-US forces in Europe: All she needs to do is to continuously hammer in the following simple message: “the US is sinking – do you really want to go down with it?”.

There are many opportunities to deliver that message. The current US/Polish efforts to prevent the EU from enjoying cheap Russian gas might well be the best example of what we could call “European suicide politics”, but there are many, many more.

Truth be told, neither the US nor the EU are a top priority for Russia, at least not in economic terms. The moral credibility of the West in general can certainly be described as dead and long gone. As for the West military might, it is only a concern to the degree that western politicians might be tempted to believe their own propaganda about their military forces being the best in the history of the galaxy. This is why Russia regularly engages in large surprise exercises: to prove to the West that the Russian military is fully ready for anything the West might try. As for the constant move of more and more US/NATO forces closer to the borders of Russia, they are offensive in political terms, but in military terms, getting closer to Russia only means that Russia will have more options to destroy you. “Forward deployment” is really a thing of the past, at least against Russia.

With time, however, and as the US federal center loses even more of its control of the country, the Kremlin might be well-advised to try to open some venues for “popular diplomacy”, especially with less hostile US states. The weakening of the Executive Branch has already resulted in US governors playing an increasingly important international role and while this is not, strictly speaking, legal (only the federal government has the right to engage in foreign policy), the fact is that this has been going on for years already.

The example of Sahra Wagenknecht is interesting, because she is from Germany, one of the countries of northern Europe; traditionally, northern European powers have been much more anti-Russian than southern Europeans, so it is encouraging to see that the anti-Putin and anti-Russia hysteria is not always being endorsed by everybody.

But if things are very slowly getting better in the EU, in the bad old US of A things are only getting worse. Even the Republicans are now fully on board the Russia-hating float (right behind a “gay pride” one I suppose) and they are now contributing their own insanity to the cause, as this article entitled “Congressional Republicans: Russia should be designated state sponsor of terror” shows (designating Russia as a terrorist state is an old idea of the Dems, by the way).

Russian options for the Fall

In truth, Russia does not have any particularly good options towards the US. Both parties are now fully united in their rabid hatred of Russia (and China too, of course). Furthermore, while there are many well-funded and virulently anti-Russian organizations in the US (Neo-cons, Papists, Poles, Masons, Ukrainians, Balts, Ashkenazi Jews, etc.), Russian organizations in the US like this one, have very little influence or even relevance.

Banderites marching in the US

Banderites marching in the US

However, as the chaos continues to worsen inside the US and as US politicians continue to alienate pretty much the entire planet, Russia does have a perfect opportunity to weaken the US grip on Europe. The beauty in the current dynamic is that Russia does not have to do anything at all (nevermind anything covert or illegal) to help the anti-EU and anti-US forces in Europe: All she needs to do is to continuously hammer in the following simple message: “the US is sinking – do you really want to go down with it?”.

There are many opportunities to deliver that message. The current US/Polish efforts to prevent the EU from enjoying cheap Russian gas might well be the best example of what we could call “European suicide politics”, but there are many, many more.

Truth be told, neither the US nor the EU are a top priority for Russia, at least not in economic terms. The moral credibility of the West in general can certainly be described as dead and long gone. As for the West military might, it is only a concern to the degree that western politicians might be tempted to believe their own propaganda about their military forces being the best in the history of the galaxy. This is why Russia regularly engages in large surprise exercises: to prove to the West that the Russian military is fully ready for anything the West might try. As for the constant move of more and more US/NATO forces closer to the borders of Russia, they are offensive in political terms, but in military terms, getting closer to Russia only means that Russia will have more options to destroy you. “Forward deployment” is really a thing of the past, at least against Russia.

With time, however, and as the US federal center loses even more of its control of the country, the Kremlin might be well-advised to try to open some venues for “popular diplomacy”, especially with less hostile US states. The weakening of the Executive Branch has already resulted in US governors playing an increasingly important international role and while this is not, strictly speaking, legal (only the federal government has the right to engage in foreign policy), the fact is that this has been going on for years already. Another possible partner inside the US for Russian firms would be US corporations (especially now that they are hurting badly). Finally, I think that the Kremlin ought to try to open channels of communication with the various small political forces in the US which are clearly not buying into the official propaganda: libertarians, (true) liberals and progressives, paleo-conservatives.

What we are witnessing before our eyes is the collapse of the US federal center. This is a dangerous and highly unstable moment in our history. But from this crisis opportunities will arise. The best thing Russia can do now is to simply remain very careful and vigilant and wait for new forces to appear on the US political scene.

Another possible partner inside the US for Russian firms would be US corporations (especially now that they are hurting badly). Finally, I think that the Kremlin ought to try to open channels of communication with the various small political forces in the US which are clearly not buying into the official propaganda: libertarians, (true) liberals and progressives, paleo-conservatives.

What we are witnessing before our eyes is the collapse of the US federal center. This is a dangerous and highly unstable moment in our history. But from this crisis opportunities will arise. The best thing Russia can do now is to simply remain very careful and vigilant and wait for new forces to appear on the US political scene.

Towards a “New Cold War” in the Middle East: Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf and the Battle for Oil and Gas

By Germán Gorraiz López

Global Research, July 21, 2020

The foundations of the great Near East were established in the Pact of Quincey (1945) following the doctrine of the Franco-British Sykes-Picot agreements of 1916 that favored the regional division of power in areas of influence and sustained on the tripod US-Egypt- Saudi Arabia. This doctrine consisted in the endemic survival in Egypt of pro-western autocratic military governments, which ensured the survival of the State of Israel (1948) and provided the US Navy with privileged access to the Suez Canal, a crucial shortcut for access direct to the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Afghanistan, remaining as a firm bastion of US geopolitical interests in the area, especially after the fall of the Shah of Persia in 1980.

The other pillar of the agreement consisted of the privileged access of the United States to Saudi Arabian oil in exchange for preserving its autocratic regime and favoring the spread of Wahhabism (doctrine founded by Mohamed Abdel Wahab in the mid-eighteenth century with the aim of becoming a vision attractive to Islam and exportable to the rest of the Arab countries), with which the Saudi theocracy became a regional power that provided the US with the key to energy dominance while serving as a retaining wall for socialist and pan-Arab currents. Finally, after the Six Day War (1967), the geostrategic puzzle of the Middle East and the Near East was completed with the establishment of autocratic and pro-Western regimes in the countries surrounding Israel (Libya, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran), leaving the Palestinians confined in the ghettos of the West Bank and Gaza.

Iraq and the Biden Plan

The Biden-Gelb Plan, approved by the US Senate in 2007 and rejected by Condolezza Rice, Secretary of State with George W. Bush, provided for the establishment in Iraq of a federal system in order to prevent the collapse in the country after the withdrawal of US troops and proposed separating Iraq into Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni entities, under a federal government in Baghdad charged with the care of the borders and the administration of oil revenues.

Thus, we will attend the appearance of Free Kurdistan presided over by Masoud Barzani with capital in Kirkust and that would include annexed areas taking advantage of the power vacuum left by the Iraqi Army such as Sinkar or Rabia in the province of Ninive, Kirkuk and Diyala as well as all the cities of Syrian Kurdish ethnicity (except Hasaka and Qamishli) occupied by the Kurdish insurgency of the BDP.

The new Kurdistan will have the blessings of the United States and will have financial autonomy by owning 20% of the farms of all Iraqi crude oil with the “sine qua non condition” to supply Turkey, Israel and Eastern Europe with Kurdish oil through the Kirkust pipeline that empties into the Turkish port of Ceyhan. On the other hand, the Sunistan with capital in Mosul and that would cover the Sunni cities of Ramadi, Falluja, Mosul, Tal Afar and Baquba (Sunni triangle), with strong connections with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and that would later lead to a radical pan-Islamist movement that it will use the oil weapon to strangle the western economies in the horizon of the next five-year period.

Finally, as the third leg of the tripod, we would have Iraqi Chi with capital in Baghdad that will counterbalance Saudi Wahhabism and that will gravitate in the orbit of influence of Iran, which will make Iran a great regional power in clear conflict with Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Iran, guardian of the Gulf and energy power

Iran acquired a regional power dimension thanks to the erratic policy of the United States in Iraq, (fruit of the political administration myopia obsessed with the Axis of Evil) by eliminating its ideological rivals, the Sunni Taliban radicals and Saddam Hussein with the subsequent power vacuum in the area. He also proposed a global negotiation with the contact group to deal with all the aspects that have confronted Western countries for thirty years, both the suffocating embargo that has plagued the Islamic Republic and the Iranian assets blocked in the United States, the role Iran regional cooperation and security cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan.The Middle East: A Review of Geopolitical Structures, Vectors of Power Dynamic

President Mahmoud Ajmadinejad stretched the rope to the limit in the security that the United States would not attack and would limit any individual action by Israel (a discarded project of bombarding the Natanz plant with commercial jets), as a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz through which it passes A third of the world’s energy traffic could exacerbate the global economic recession and profoundly weaken the entire international political system. Thus, in an interview with Brzezinski conducted by Gerald Posner in The Daily Beast (September 18, 2009), he stated that “an American-Iranian collision would have disastrous effects for the United States and China, while Russia would emerge as the great winner, as the foreseeable closure of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf where oil transportation destined for Northeast Asia (China, Japan and South Korea), Europe and the United States passes, would raise the price of black gold to stratospheric levels and would have severe repercussions on the economy global, becoming the totally crude EU dependent on Russia.

According to experts, Iran would possess the world’s third largest proven reserves of oil and gas, but it would not have enough technology to extract the gas from the deepest fields and would require an urgent multimillion-dollar investment to avoid irreversible deterioration of its facilities, which in practice it translates into a huge pie for Russian, Chinese and Western multinationals and an increase in the supply of Iranian crude oil to 1.5 million barrels / day within a year, with the consequent drop in prices. of the Brent and Texas reference crudes.

Furthermore, the revitalization of the 2010 energy cooperation agreement between Iraq, Iran and Syria for the construction of the South Pars-Homms gas pipeline that would connect the Persian Gulf with the Mediterranean Sea would relativize the strategic importance of the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline Project (TAP) , (a substitute for the failed Nabucco gas pipeline designed by the US to transport Azerbaijani gas to Europe through Turkey), as well as the relevant role of the United Arab Emirates as suppliers of crude oil to the West, which would explain the eagerness of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey for torpedoing him.

America’s “Project of the New Middle East”

Ralph Peters Map: The Project for the New Middle East. Used for teaching purposes at the military academies. (“Unofficial”)  

Are Iraq and Iran the bait for the US to involve Russia and China in a new war?

Former President Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski in a speech to the Iranian-American National Council (NIAC) stated that “I believe that the US has the right to decide its own national security policy and not follow like a stupid mule what the Israelis do. ” In addition, Brzezinski, would be faced with the neocon republican and Jewish lobbies of the USA and with his habitual biting he would have discredited the geostrategic myopia of both pressure groups when affirming that “they are so obsessed with Israel, the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Iran that they have lost from the global picture: the true power in the world is Russia and China, the only countries with a true capacity to resist the United States and England and on which they would have to focus their attention ”.

We would thus be at a crucial moment to define the mediate future of the Middle East and Middle East (PROME East), since after the arrival of Donald Trump from the White House the pressure of the pro-Israeli lobby of the USA (AIPAC) would be increasing to proceed the destabilization of Iran by expeditious methods, a moment that will be used by the United States, Great Britain and Israel to proceed to redesign the cartography of the unrelated puzzle formed by these countries and thus achieve strategically advantageous borders for Israel, following the plan orchestrated 60 years ago. jointly by the governments of Great Britain, the United States and Israel and which would have the backing of the main western allies. Thus, after the approval by the Congress and the US Senate of a declaration prepared by the Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and the Democrat Robert Menéndez, who clearly states that “if Israel is forced to defend itself and take action (against Iran), the US will be at your side to support it militarily and diplomatically”, with the Trump Administration we will assist the increase in pressure from the pro-Israeli lobby of the USA (AIPAC) to proceed with the destabilization of Iran by expeditious methods.

In a first phase of said plan, the US Senate unanimously renewed the Sanctions Against Iran Act (ISA) until 2026 and after the launch of a new ballistic missile by Iran, Trump expanded the sanctions against several Iranian companies related to ballistic missiles without violating the Nuclear Agreement signed between the G + 5 and Iran in 2015, known as the Comprehensive Joint Action Plan (JCPOA) and which would only be fireworks to distract attention from the Machiavellian Plan outlined by the Anglo-Jewish Alliance in 1960 that would include the Balkanization of Iran and whose turning point would be the recent assassination of the charismatic General Qasem Soleimani.

This war could lead to a new local episode that would be involve a return to a “recurrent endemism” of the US-Russia Cold War involving both superpowers having as necessary collaborations the major regional powers namely Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

This Cold War scenario would cover the geographic space that extends from the Mediterranean arc (Libya, Syria and Lebanon) to Yemen and Somalia and having Iraq as its epicenter (recalling the Vietnam War with Lindon B. Johnson (1963-1.969).

Thus, Syria, Iraq and Iran would be the bait to attract both Russia and China and after triggering a concatenation of local conflicts (Syria, Iraq and Lebanon), this potentially could evolve towards a major regional conflict that could mark the future of the area in the coming years.

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Featured image is from Silent Crow NewsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Germán Gorraiz López, Global Research, 2020

هذا ما ينتظر لبنان… ثلاثة سيناريوات محتملة!

 د. فادي علي قانصو

إن ّالأوضاع السياسية الهشّة التي شهدها لبنان خلال العقدين المنصرمين من فراغ على المستوى الرئاسي والحكومي والتشريعي، إضافة إلى العجوزات المتراكمة في المالية العامة، والمُماطلة في تنفيذ الإصلاحات المالية والهيكلية اللازمة، لا سيّما لناحية مكافحة الفساد وتعزيز أُطر المحاسبة والحوكمة للدولة اللبنانية، جميعها عوامل أرخت أوزارها على عامل الثقة وعلى اضطراد توافد الرساميل إلى لبنان، وأثقلت كاهل الاقتصاد اللبناني الذي أصبح اليوم بأمسّ الحاجة إلى بيئة سياسية واقتصادية خصبة وحاضنة على كافّة الصُعد.

في الواقع، لقد كثُرت في الآونة الأخيرة التحليلات والتوقعات التي قد ترسم ملامح المرحلة المقبلة في لبنان خاصةً في المدى المنظور إلى المتوسّط. عليه، فإنّ تقييم كافة المؤشرات الاقتصادية بالترافق مع قراءة معمّقة لكلّ ما استجدّ من أحداث مترابطة على الصعُد المحلية والإقليمية وحتى العالمية، تجعلنا نستنتج بأنّ ما ينتظر لبنان في المرحلة المقبلة ثلاث سيناريوات محتملة لا بديل عنها.

بدايةً مع السيناريو الأفضل (أو السيناريو التفاؤلي)، وهو رهن الاستقرار السياسي والأمني في لبنان وفي المنطقة بشكل خاص. إنّ هذا السيناريو المُحتمل مرتبط بشكل رئيسي بتأثير الانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية على المنطقة، وذلك في ضوء هزيمة، على ما يبدو مرتقبة حتى الآن، للرئيس الأميركي الحالي دونالد ترامب في الانتخابات الرئاسية في تشرين الثاني المقبل، ما من شأن ذلك أن يحمل في طيّاته ارتياحاً إقليمياً ومحلياً في ظلّ الحصار الاقتصادي الخانق على إيران وسورية ولبنان، لا سيّما أنّ المرشح عن الحزب الديمقراطي جو بايدن يعتقد أنّ الاتفاق النووي كان يخدم مقصده في ما يتعلّق بعرقلة مسارات طهران المحتملة إلى القنبلة النووية وأنّ موقف الولايات المتحدة الأميركية أصبح أسوأ بعد انسحابها من الاتفاق.

في الواقع، إنّ سيناريو كهذا ينبغي أن يترافق حُكماً مع برنامج إنقاذ شامل ينخرط فيه صندوق النقد الدولي من أجل إعطاء مصداقية للمساعي الإصلاحية المطروحة وتعزيز القدرة على استقطاب المساعدات المرجوّة من الخارج. إذ لا يمكن أن يتحقق النهوض الاقتصادي الآمن في لبنان من دون المساعدات الخارجية نظراً إلى الثغرات التمويلية الكبيرة التي أصبح لبنان يعاني منها اليوم، ودور صندوق النقد بشكل خاص محوري كونه الضمانة الأساسية للحكومة لتنفيذ الإصلاحات الموعودة، كما يشكّل الضمانة للدول المانحة بشكل عام وتحديداً دول الخليج. ومع أنه لم يجرِ الكشف حتى الآن عن حجم الدعم المالي الذي سيقدّمه الصندوق، إلا أنّ لبنان يحاول الحصول على عشرة أضعاف حصته في صندوق النقد الدولي والمقدّرة بحوالي 880 مليون دولار، مما قد يعوَّل عليه لتحرير جزء من مساعدات مؤتمر «سيدر» والتي تصل في الإجمالي إلى 11 مليار دولار. وبالتالي فإنّ ضخ ما يوازي 20 إلى 25 مليار دولار خلال السنوات الخمس المقبلة كفيل بإحداث صدمة إيجابية تُعيد ضخّ الدمّ من جديد في شرايين الاقتصاد الوطني المتعطّشة إلى السيولة بالعملات الأجنبية، ما من شأن ذلك أن يُؤمّن الاستقرار الاقتصادي المنشود والقادر على إخراج لبنان من فخّ الركود في فترة لا تتجاوز العامين، وذلك بالتوازي مع استقرار مالي ونقدي من شأنه أن يوحّد أسعار الصرف عند مستويات تعكس القيمة الحقيقية لليرة اللبنانية مقابل الدولار والتي لا تتجاوز عتبة الـ 5.000 ليرة لبنانية للدولار الأميركي الواحد كحدّ أقصى. وهو ما كانت تطمح إليه فعلياً خطة الإصلاح الحكومية التي أُقرّت في نيسان المنصرم، قبل أن تنقلب عليها الحكومة مؤخراً وتنطلق إلى البحث عن خطة بديلة، شرط أن يتغيّر النهج السائد في طريقة التعامل مع الملفّ الاقتصادي وإطلاق جدّي وسريع لعجلة الإصلاحات الهيكلية المطلوبة.

وفق تقديراتنا، فإنّ سيناريو كهذا لا يبدو أنه قد يتحقق في المدى المنظور، بل قد يحتاج إلى ما يقارب العام على الأقلّ حتى تتبلور معالم أيّ تسوية مرتقبة في المنطقة بشكل عام، لا سيّما أن الإدارة الجديدة لبايدن، في حال فوزه، لن تكون قادرة بهذه السهولة على عكس نتائج سياسات ترامب المتشدّدة التي غيّرت المشهد السياسي الإيراني بطرق تجعل الدبلوماسية أكثر صعوبة في المستقبل، خاصّةً أنه من المرجح أن يبقى إرث ترامب بسياساته الخارجية رابضاً لفترة ليست بقصيرة بعد رحيله. والسؤال الذي يُطرح هنا، هل أنّ الاقتصاد اللبناني قادر فعلياً على الصمود لعام أو أكثر؟

في الواقع، إنّ الإجابة على هذا السؤال تضعنا أمام السيناريو الثاني، أو سيناريو المراوحة، وهو الأكثر احتمالاً حتى هذه اللحظة في ظلّ هذا التراخي المُستهجن من قبل الدولة اللبنانية. ويفترض هذا السيناريو أنّ لبنان لن يحقّق أي خرق جدّي على صعيد الإصلاحات الهيكلية الضرورية أو حتى على صعيد مفاوضاته مع صندوق النقد الدولي لا سيّما في ظلّ غياب التوافق على أرقام الخسائر المالية بين مختلف العملاء الاقتصاديين حتى الآن، وبالتزامن مع فرضية أنّ لبنان باقٍ في عين العاصفة الإقليمية، أيّ دون تغيير ملموس في السياسة الأميركية المتّبعة في المنطقة في ما يخص ملفات إيران وسورية وحزب الله. وهو ما ينطبق فعلياً في حال فاز دونالد ترامب لولاية ثانية أو حتى لا تبدو هذه الفرضية مستبعدة نظرياً في حال فاز منافسه جو بايدن الذي على ما يبدو ليس بوارد التراجع عن «قانون قيصر» أقلّه في المدى القريب، وهو الذي يشارك ترامب في العديد من وجهات النظر حول السلوك الإقليمي لإيران والاقتناع بأنه لا ينبغي السماح لإيران أبداً بأن تصبح دولة مسلّحة نووياً. في ظلّ هذا السيناريو، فإنّ احتياطيات مصرف لبنان الأجنبية والبالغة اليوم حوالي 20 مليار دولار (دون احتساب احتياطيات لبنان من الذهب والمقدّرة بحوالي 16 مليار دولار)، ستبقى عرضة للاستنزاف المستمرّ منذ ما يقارب العام نتيجة تمويل حاجات الاقتصاد الوطني الأساسية من النفط والقمح والأدوية. عليه، فإذا اعتبرنا بأنّ حاجات لبنان من العملات الصعبة تُقدّر بحوالي 10 مليارات دولار سنوياً (بعدما تقلّصت إلى النصف في ظلّ التراجع الملحوظ في حجم الاستيراد)، فإنّ احتياطيات المركزي قد تكفي «نظرياً» لما يقارب العامين حتى تُستنزف بالكامل.

غير أنّ هذا الاستنزاف التدريجي في الاحتياطيات الأجنبية ستكون له تداعيات خطيرة على سعر صرف الليرة مقابل الدولار الأميركي وبالتالي على القدرة الشرائية ومعدلات البطالة ونسب الفقر المدقع، بحيث من المتوقع أن يتّبع سعر الصرف مساراً تقلبيّاً تصاعدياً ليبلغ مستويات قياسية وهمية قد يصعُب توقّع سقوفها، لا سيّما أن العوامل الهيكلية التي تساهم عادةً في تخفيض سعر الصرف في السوق السوداء تبدو غائبة تماماً اليوم، أولّها الحاجة إلى عرض أو ضخّ للدولار عن طريق توافد رساميل من الخارج على شكل ودائع أو قروض أو مساعدات أو هبات. ثانيها، كبح الطلب على الدولار نتيجة تعزّز عامل الثقة بالليرة اللبنانية (والطلب، بالعكس، إلى ارتفاع نتيجة طبع كميات كبيرة من الليرات لتمويل حاجات الدولة). وثالثها، تدخّل للمصرف المركزي في السوق نتيجة تعزّز احتياطياته بالعملات الأجنبية (وهو اليوم غير قادر فعلياً على المراوغة في ظلّ الضغط المستمرّ على احتياطياته نتيجة تمويله حاجات لبنان الأساسية). وبالتالي، فإنّ كلّ محاولات القمع أو الملاحقات القضائية والأمنية التي يمكن أن تطال صرافي السوق السوداء، وإنْ تبقى ضرورية منعاً لتفلّت السوق، لن تساهم في خفض ملموس في سعر الصرف طالما أنّ قوى العرض والطلب تتصارع على حلبة سوق الصرف والغلبة المضمونة حتى هذه اللحظة للطلب الشرس على الدولار الأميركي. تجدر الإشارة هنا إلى أنّ حجم سوق الصرف السوداء في لبنان لا يتعدّى 15% من إجمالي السوق، إلا أنها تبقى هي المتحكّمة في سعر الصرف الموازي، كونها الجهة الوحيدة القادرة اليوم على توفير الأوراق النقدية بالدولار الأميركي، مع العلم بأنّ المصارف اللبنانية قادرة على توفير هذه الأوراق النقدية من خلال الأموال المحوّلة حديثاً أو «الأموال الطازجة» الوافدة عبر حسابات مصرفية خاصة تسمّى بالحسابات الخارجية، إلا أنّ هذه الأوراق النقدية تتجّه إما إلى المنازل أو تُحوّل مباشرةً إلى الليرة اللبنانية في السوق السوداء للاستفادة من سعر الصرف المرتفع. من هنا، وفي ظلّ سيناريو كهذا، فإنّ لبنان قد يلجأ مُرغماً إلى «تسوّل» بعض المساعدات الإنسانية من مواد نفطية وغذائية وطبّية، كحدّ أقصى، إذا ما طالت فترة المراوحة.

أما السيناريو الثالث، أيّ السيناريو الأسوأ (أو السيناريو التشاؤمي)، فهو قابل للتحقّق إذا ما طالت فترة السيناريو الثاني (أيّ سيناريو المراوحة) لأكثر من عام ونصف العام، أو حتى إذا ما ترافق السيناريو الثاني مع مواجهة عسكرية قريبة قد تنطلق من جبهة الجنوب اللبناني (وإنْ تبدو مستبعدة في الوقت الراهن)، أو تزامن مع اضطرابات سياسية وأمنيّة في الشارع بين مختلف مكوّنات المجتمع السياسي اللبناني قد تدفعنا باتجاه «الفوضى الخلّاقة»، أو مع اضطرابات اجتماعية قد تدفع إلى ارتفاع معدّل الجريمة وحالات النشل والسرقة، أو حتى قد تدفع بالحكومة الحالية إلى الاستقالة تحت ضغط التحركات الشعبية في الشارع إذا ما استمرّ الوضع الاقتصادي والمعيشي في التردّي، ما يعني الدخول في فراغ سياسي طويل قد يكون مدمّراً، لا قدّر الله، لما تبقّى من أنقاض للاقتصاد اللبناني.

إنّ هذا السيناريو، للأسف، قد تردّد صداه في الآونة الأخيرة في أروقة بعض الباحثين الدوليّين تحت مسمّى «صَوْمَلة» لبنان، أيّ تحويل لبنان إلى صومال ثانٍ. إلا أنّ تفادي سيناريو كهذا ممكن جدّاً وهو يتطلّب منّا أقصى درجات الوعي والحكمة، مع إجماع داخلي وانخراط ملائم لكافة قوى المجتمع اللبناني، ومع الحاجة إلى تقديم كلّ التنازلات الملحّة وتخفيض منسوب التباينات وتعزيز القواسم المشتركة في ما بيننا، ناهيك عن أنّ كلّ المؤشرات تدلّ على أنّ المجتمع الدولي لا يزال حريصاً على دعم الاستقرار الأمني والاجتماعي في لبنان وعلى تفادي الفوضى على الساحة المحلية.

في الختام، لا شكّ بأنّ لبنان يتأرجح اليوم بين السيناريو الأفضل (أو السيناريو التفاؤلي) الذي يبقى رهن تسوية سياسية إقليمية تحمل معها ارتياحاً نسبياً على الساحة المحلية، وبين السيناريو الأسوأ (أو السيناريو التشاؤمي) الذي يبقى لُغماً متفجّراً يتربّص بنا، ولكننا قادرون على تخطّيه بوحدتنا ووعينا الجماعي. وبانتظار ما ستؤول إليه الأوضاع في المدى القريب، فإنّ سيناريو المراوحة يبقى هو الغالب في الوقت الراهن، وبما أننا لم نعد نملك ترف الوقت، فإنّ أيّ تلكّؤ في اتخاذ كافّة الإجراءات اللازمة لكسر حلقة المراوحة، قد يكون استنزافياً ويجرّنا في نهاية المطاف نحو سيناريو هو أكثر ما نخشاه، نظراً لتداعياته المؤلمة على الاستقرار السياسي والأمني والاقتصادي والاجتماعي في البلاد. من هنا، ينبغي أن نحافظ على إيماننا رغم صعوبة ودقّة الوضع الراهن دون أن ننسى أننا مررنا بفترات عصيبة في تاريخ لبنان الحديث وكنّا نقول في كلّ مرّة أنها آخر الدنيا وقد استطعنا أن نتجاوز هذه الخضّات مع الوقت بصلابتنا وعقيدتنا، دون أن نغفل للحظة بأنه «ليس عاراً أن نُنكَب، ولكنه عارٌ إذا كانت النكبات تحوّلنا من أشخاص أقوياء إلى أشخاص جبناء».

*خبير اقتصادي وأستاذ جامعي

US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND PROSPECTS OF KIEV ADVANCE IN EASTERN UKRAINE

South Front

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

For the past several years, the war between Ukraine and the breakaway and still-unrecognized Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic has settled into a tense routine of attritional trench warfare, punctuated by sniping, clashes between patrols, small-scale raids, offensive minelaying, and ambushes using anti-tank guided missiles. There have been few operations by units larger than company. The front line has remained almost entirely unchanged. At the same time, both sides have been preparing for the possible next round of high-intensity warfare. What would happen if the fighting were to break out again?

That particular prediction is made more difficult by the very fact of the long lull in high-intensity fighting during which both sides have undergone a certain degree of transformation which remains relatively unknown to the other party. Both sides have seen certain material improvements, though apparently nothing dramatic. Ukraine’s armored vehicle fleet still relies on the same, but now even more worn out vehicles it went to war with in 2014. The planned re-equipment with the Oplot MBT never took place, and even the upgraded T-64BU Bulat was found to be flawed. Therefore the elderly T-64BV remains the main tank of Ukraine’s forces. Light armored vehicle fleet has seen some improvement thanks to domestic production and deliveries from former Warsaw Pact member states. If there is one area where Ukraine’s military may have made a major step forward, it is the artillery, using the large store of inactive weapons for Soviet-era reserve forces. However, artillery munition production continues to be a problem. While the number of Ukraine’s brigades has grown, the military experiences major problems with recruitment and retention, meaning that many of these brigades have the strength of a reinforced combined arms battalion.

On Novorossia’s side the situation is hardly different. DPR and LPR units continue to use the same types of equipment they used during the campaigns of five years ago. The numeric strength does not appear to have changed much, either, and here too recruitment and retention remains a problem.

The other factor making predictions difficult is the level of morale of these two forces that have been bogged down in an apparently endless war that is beyond their power to finish. The combination of trench warfare boredom and terror means it is debilitating to the units’ morale and proficiency if they are forced to remain in the trenches for too long. While the most offensive-capable forces are kept out of the trenches as mobile reserves, they too can only maintain their state of alert for so long before losing their edge.

Paradoxically, this state of affairs give an advantage to the side that intends to go on the offensive, because the preparations for the attack and associated training would imbue the troops with the hope that, after the next big push, the war will finally be over. At the same time, both sides know such an offensive would be an exceedingly risky proposition, because if it fails, it will grind down the attacking side’s most effective units and render the army vulnerable to a counteroffensive to which it would not be able to respond.

Therefore the likelihood of renewed fighting also heavily depends on who actually makes the decision. While local leaders may be cautious enough, foreign ones in distant capitals may have different considerations in mind.

A big unknown hanging over the future of the Donbass is the position of Joe Biden, the Democratic Party nominee and the potential winner of the November elections. Biden has already played a highly destructive role in the politics of Ukraine and the US-Russia relations. It is Biden that blackmailed Poroshenko into firing the Chief Prosecutor Shokin due to his interest in the corrupt dealings of the Burisma energy company which infamously had Joe’s son Hunter on its board of directors. It is also Biden who held a lengthy, 30-45 minute telephone conversation with Poroshenko on the day MH17 was shot down and promptly came out blaming Russia for it, even as the wreckage was still smoking where it fell. Biden identified himself as a Russia foe much earlier, during the 2012 vice-presidential debates where he positioned himself as being “hard on Putin”, which in retrospect proved to be an early indicator of where the second-term Obama administration foreign policy would go. It also goes without saying Biden is an ardent promoter of the “RussiaGate” effort to paint Donald Trump as a Russian agent/stooge/fellow traveler/useful idiot.

At the same time, Biden’s line against China has hardened as well, which may have implications for US-Russia relations during the probable Biden presidency. As late as May 2019, Biden would describe People’s Republic of China as “they are not bad folks”, adding that “they are not competition to us”, comments that may yet come to haunt him on the campaign trail. However, once the COVID-19 broke out of control in the United States, Biden sought to out-do Trump in his accusations the high US death toll was due to China misleading the United States on the nature of the virus and not allowing US public health officials access to Wuhan and China’s epidemiology labs. Even before that, Hunter Biden resigned from boards of directors of China-based firms. While that might have been motivated by his, and his dad’s, desire to keep a low profile due to the scrutiny Hunter’s business dealings have attracted during Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings, it may also have been preparation for Joe Biden’s anti-China pivot.

The emergence of PRC as Biden’s perceived number one international adversary may mean a desire to improve relations with Russia in the way that Trump, compromised from the start by RussiaGate and without a history of own anti-Russia rhetoric to fall back on, could never deliver. Biden, however, is in the same position as Nixon was in the late 1960s. His earlier anti-Russian rhetoric and actions now make him nearly immune from the same sort of accusations which, even though false, nevertheless effectively stuck to Trump. Nixon’s own enthusiastic participation in McCarthyite witch hunts made it possible for him to do what his Democratic Party predecessor Lyndon Johnson could not: end Vietnam War, engage in arms control treaties with USSR and “go to China” in order to exploit the growing divide between the two main Communist powers. Biden has the political capital necessary to repeat the process: end the war in Afghanistan (something he had proposed already as vice president), enter into arms control treaties with China and…go to Moscow, which is currently seen in Washington in the same way that Beijing was in the 1970s, namely the secondary challenger which needs to be peeled away from the primary one. Moreover, just as in the early 1970s, United States of the 2020s is wracked by a massive internal crisis requiring international retrenchment in order to focus on internal reforms.

But that optimistic scenario remains less likely than the prospect of renewed escalation. Nixon-era United States was not suffering from the hubris of American Exceptionalism. On the contrary, it was a country full of self-doubt and under no illusion concerning the limits of its power. It entered into arms control treaties because it did not feel it could win them. Disasters abroad and at home notwithstanding, the US elite still has not been shaken out of its complacency, and it does appear to sincerely believe it can win a strategic and conventional arms race against both China and Russia. We have not seen any indications so far that Biden intends any moderation in the area of foreign policy or returning to a policy of cooperation with Russia. One should expect that, in the event of Biden victory, Ukraine will launch an offensive against the Donbass shortly after the inauguration, in other words, in February or March of 2020. This offensive would accomplish two objectives for Biden. One, it would establish his hawkish, “patriotic” bona fides, make him look “presidential” in the eyes of the mainstream media and the national security establishment. Secondly, it would allow the US to exert even more pressure on Germany and other EU member states concerning North Stream and other areas of cooperation with Russia.

In order to achieve these goals, particularly the second one, the offensive would not need to overrun the Donbass, in fact, that would not be the aim at all. Rather, the goal would be to force Russian forces to intervene directly in support of the Lugansk and Donetsk republics to justify depicting Russia as the aggressor in the matter. And even if the republics’ militaries can cope with the UAF assault on their own, the sheer level of violence will still make enough headlines to satisfy Biden’s requirements. Whether Zelensky wants that kind of escalation for his country is almost irrelevant. Both he and Biden know very well what the balance of power in that relationship is. Ukraine is a failing state seriously dependent on foreign financial assistance in the form of continual IMF loans, debt rescheduling, favorable trade deals, etc. Biden knew how to use these levers to achieve an important change in Ukraine’s politics that benefited him personally, he will not hesitate to use them again.

Moreover, even if Biden were driven by the Nixonian motives described above, it’s doubtful the foreign policy Deep State would allow him to do that. Biden’s own conversations with Poroshenko no doubt contain great many embarrassing moments whose release would instantly embroil him in a massive scandal. The fact that Donald Trump was impeached solely due to the desire of national security apparatchiks to continue their pet war in Ukraine is indicative of their power to make foreign policy quite independently of their supposed civilian bosses.

The situation is further complicated by the widening rift between the Western neo-liberal world and conservative societies of eastern European countries. This includes a large part of the Ukrainian population which is committed to traditional values. The rapidly deteriorating social and economic situation in Ukraine contributes to a further antagonism of this part of the society towards the forcefully imposed Western ideology and its local agents. Another point of tensions is the existing contradictions between the Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchy) and the artificially assembled pseudo-church organizations in Ukraine. The Moscow Patriarchy is returning to its former position among the Ukrainian faithful. In the event of a further dissatisfaction of the society by the declared pseudo-Western way of development, positions of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchy will strengthen even more.

While a Ukrainian offensive is relatively unlikely in 2020, its probability increases considerably in 2021, particularly in the event of a Biden victory. The conflict in Ukraine has lasted this long mainly because Ukraine’s current sponsors in the West are not interested in ending it, irrespective of what the will of the Ukrainian people might be. The situation will get even worse should the US presidency be taken over by someone with a well-established hostility toward Russia who believes his aims would be better served by another bloody campaign on the Donbass.

The next US administration will employ every option that it has in order to prevent the return of Russian influence in the country. Besides furthering the conflict in eastern Ukraine, it will expand efforts against it in the ideological sphere as well, likely including direct provocations.

US Presidential Election And Prospects Of Kiev Advance In Eastern Ukraine

South Front

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

For the past several years, the war between Ukraine and the breakaway and still-unrecognized Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic has settled into a tense routine of attritional trench warfare, punctuated by sniping, clashes between patrols, small-scale raids, offensive minelaying, and ambushes using anti-tank guided missiles. There have been few operations by units larger than company. The front line has remained almost entirely unchanged. At the same time, both sides have been preparing for the possible next round of high-intensity warfare. What would happen if the fighting were to break out again?

That particular prediction is made more difficult by the very fact of the long lull in high-intensity fighting during which both sides have undergone a certain degree of transformation which remains relatively unknown to the other party. Both sides have seen certain material improvements, though apparently nothing dramatic. Ukraine’s armored vehicle fleet still relies on the same, but now even more worn out vehicles it went to war with in 2014. The planned re-equipment with the Oplot MBT never took place, and even the upgraded T-64BU Bulat was found to be flawed. Therefore the elderly T-64BV remains the main tank of Ukraine’s forces. Light armored vehicle fleet has seen some improvement thanks to domestic production and deliveries from former Warsaw Pact member states. If there is one area where Ukraine’s military may have made a major step forward, it is the artillery, using the large store of inactive weapons for Soviet-era reserve forces. However, artillery munition production continues to be a problem. While the number of Ukraine’s brigades has grown, the military experiences major problems with recruitment and retention, meaning that many of these brigades have the strength of a reinforced combined arms battalion.

On Novorossia’s side the situation is hardly different. DPR and LPR units continue to use the same types of equipment they used during the campaigns of five years ago. The numeric strength does not appear to have changed much, either, and here too recruitment and retention remains a problem.

The other factor making predictions difficult is the level of morale of these two forces that have been bogged down in an apparently endless war that is beyond their power to finish. The combination of trench warfare boredom and terror means it is debilitating to the units’ morale and proficiency if they are forced to remain in the trenches for too long. While the most offensive-capable forces are kept out of the trenches as mobile reserves, they too can only maintain their state of alert for so long before losing their edge.

Paradoxically, this state of affairs give an advantage to the side that intends to go on the offensive, because the preparations for the attack and associated training would imbue the troops with the hope that, after the next big push, the war will finally be over. At the same time, both sides know such an offensive would be an exceedingly risky proposition, because if it fails, it will grind down the attacking side’s most effective units and render the army vulnerable to a counteroffensive to which it would not be able to respond.

Therefore the likelihood of renewed fighting also heavily depends on who actually makes the decision. While local leaders may be cautious enough, foreign ones in distant capitals may have different considerations in mind.

A big unknown hanging over the future of the Donbass is the position of Joe Biden, the Democratic Party nominee and the potential winner of the November elections. Biden has already played a highly destructive role in the politics of Ukraine and the US-Russia relations. It is Biden that blackmailed Poroshenko into firing the Chief Prosecutor Shokin due to his interest in the corrupt dealings of the Burisma energy company which infamously had Joe’s son Hunter on its board of directors. It is also Biden who held a lengthy, 30-45 minute telephone conversation with Poroshenko on the day MH17 was shot down and promptly came out blaming Russia for it, even as the wreckage was still smoking where it fell. Biden identified himself as a Russia foe much earlier, during the 2012 vice-presidential debates where he positioned himself as being “hard on Putin”, which in retrospect proved to be an early indicator of where the second-term Obama administration foreign policy would go. It also goes without saying Biden is an ardent promoter of the “RussiaGate” effort to paint Donald Trump as a Russian agent/stooge/fellow traveler/useful idiot.

At the same time, Biden’s line against China has hardened as well, which may have implications for US-Russia relations during the probable Biden presidency. As late as May 2019, Biden would describe People’s Republic of China as “they are not bad folks”, adding that “they are not competition to us”, comments that may yet come to haunt him on the campaign trail. However, once the COVID-19 broke out of control in the United States, Biden sought to out-do Trump in his accusations the high US death toll was due to China misleading the United States on the nature of the virus and not allowing US public health officials access to Wuhan and China’s epidemiology labs. Even before that, Hunter Biden resigned from boards of directors of China-based firms. While that might have been motivated by his, and his dad’s, desire to keep a low profile due to the scrutiny Hunter’s business dealings have attracted during Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings, it may also have been preparation for Joe Biden’s anti-China pivot.

The emergence of PRC as Biden’s perceived number one international adversary may mean a desire to improve relations with Russia in the way that Trump, compromised from the start by RussiaGate and without a history of own anti-Russia rhetoric to fall back on, could never deliver. Biden, however, is in the same position as Nixon was in the late 1960s. His earlier anti-Russian rhetoric and actions now make him nearly immune from the same sort of accusations which, even though false, nevertheless effectively stuck to Trump. Nixon’s own enthusiastic participation in McCarthyite witch hunts made it possible for him to do what his Democratic Party predecessor Lyndon Johnson could not: end Vietnam War, engage in arms control treaties with USSR and “go to China” in order to exploit the growing divide between the two main Communist powers. Biden has the political capital necessary to repeat the process: end the war in Afghanistan (something he had proposed already as vice president), enter into arms control treaties with China and…go to Moscow, which is currently seen in Washington in the same way that Beijing was in the 1970s, namely the secondary challenger which needs to be peeled away from the primary one. Moreover, just as in the early 1970s, United States of the 2020s is wracked by a massive internal crisis requiring international retrenchment in order to focus on internal reforms.

But that optimistic scenario remains less likely than the prospect of renewed escalation. Nixon-era United States was not suffering from the hubris of American Exceptionalism. On the contrary, it was a country full of self-doubt and under no illusion concerning the limits of its power. It entered into arms control treaties because it did not feel it could win them. Disasters abroad and at home notwithstanding, the US elite still has not been shaken out of its complacency, and it does appear to sincerely believe it can win a strategic and conventional arms race against both China and Russia. We have not seen any indications so far that Biden intends any moderation in the area of foreign policy or returning to a policy of cooperation with Russia. One should expect that, in the event of Biden victory, Ukraine will launch an offensive against the Donbass shortly after the inauguration, in other words, in February or March of 2020. This offensive would accomplish two objectives for Biden. One, it would establish his hawkish, “patriotic” bona fides, make him look “presidential” in the eyes of the mainstream media and the national security establishment. Secondly, it would allow the US to exert even more pressure on Germany and other EU member states concerning North Stream and other areas of cooperation with Russia.

In order to achieve these goals, particularly the second one, the offensive would not need to overrun the Donbass, in fact, that would not be the aim at all. Rather, the goal would be to force Russian forces to intervene directly in support of the Lugansk and Donetsk republics to justify depicting Russia as the aggressor in the matter. And even if the republics’ militaries can cope with the UAF assault on their own, the sheer level of violence will still make enough headlines to satisfy Biden’s requirements. Whether Zelensky wants that kind of escalation for his country is almost irrelevant. Both he and Biden know very well what the balance of power in that relationship is. Ukraine is a failing state seriously dependent on foreign financial assistance in the form of continual IMF loans, debt rescheduling, favorable trade deals, etc. Biden knew how to use these levers to achieve an important change in Ukraine’s politics that benefited him personally, he will not hesitate to use them again.

Moreover, even if Biden were driven by the Nixonian motives described above, it’s doubtful the foreign policy Deep State would allow him to do that. Biden’s own conversations with Poroshenko no doubt contain great many embarrassing moments whose release would instantly embroil him in a massive scandal. The fact that Donald Trump was impeached solely due to the desire of national security apparatchiks to continue their pet war in Ukraine is indicative of their power to make foreign policy quite independently of their supposed civilian bosses.

The situation is further complicated by the widening rift between the Western neo-liberal world and conservative societies of eastern European countries. This includes a large part of the Ukrainian population which is committed to traditional values. The rapidly deteriorating social and economic situation in Ukraine contributes to a further antagonism of this part of the society towards the forcefully imposed Western ideology and its local agents. Another point of tensions is the existing contradictions between the Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchy) and the artificially assembled pseudo-church organizations in Ukraine. The Moscow Patriarchy is returning to its former position among the Ukrainian faithful. In the event of a further dissatisfaction of the society by the declared pseudo-Western way of development, positions of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchy will strengthen even more.

While a Ukrainian offensive is relatively unlikely in 2020, its probability increases considerably in 2021, particularly in the event of a Biden victory. The conflict in Ukraine has lasted this long mainly because Ukraine’s current sponsors in the West are not interested in ending it, irrespective of what the will of the Ukrainian people might be. The situation will get even worse should the US presidency be taken over by someone with a well-established hostility toward Russia who believes his aims would be better served by another bloody campaign on the Donbass.

The next US administration will employ every option that it has in order to prevent the return of Russian influence in the country. Besides furthering the conflict in eastern Ukraine, it will expand efforts against it in the ideological sphere as well, likely including direct provocations.

PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE MADE BET AND LOST. OVERTURES TO WEST UNDERMINED PATRIARCHY POSITIONS IN EAST

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Patriarch Of Constantinople Made Bet And Lost. Overtures To West Undermined Patriarchy Positions In East
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I leads the service during the Epiphany Day ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, 06 January 2020. Greek Orthodox swimmers take part in an annual race to retrieve a wooden crucifix thrown into the Bosphorus waters at the Golden Horn. EPA-EFE/ERDEM SAHIN

On July 24, the Hagia Sophia will be open for prayer following the decree of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan turning this world heritage site and a symbolic christian site into a msoque. For a long time, the Erdogan government has been working to convert Turkey into a leading state in the Islamic world and soldify its influence in the territory of the collapsed Ottoman Empire. Therefore, the turning of Hagia Sophia into a mosque was a logical step from the Turkish leadership. In the event of the success of Turkish foreign policy adventures, the mosque will become a symbol of Erdogan’s Turkey.

Despite the international criticism, the move of the Erdogan government will not face any real resistance or punishing from other influential palyers. Regardless positions of the sides, this decision in fact did not really impact or threaten interests of any other regional or global power. In this case, the main affected side is the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople. Hagia Sophia was the patriarchal cathedral until 1453. Currently, the patriarchal cathedral is St. George’s Cathedral, but until recently the patriarchy was able to pretend that it has a kind of influence on the situatino with Hagia Sophia as an important symbol of the Christian World. These claims were broken by the reality.

Furthermore, more and more voices adress concerns that political gaimes of Bartholomew I of Constantinople undermined the unity of the Orthodox community and led not only to destructive developments in eastern Europe, but also set conditions in which local Orthodox Churches were split and had no voice in the Hagia Sophia question. In previous years, Bartholomew I became a useful servant of the United States and provider of its policy in countries with strong Orthodox communities. Actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople allowed the global elites to undermine the values of conservative societies of eastern Europe and set up pseudo-church organizations supporting the neo-liberal, globalist world order. These actions were especially clear in such countries as Montenegro and Ukraine and created a deep rift between the patriarchy and local churches that opposed such actions, including the Russian Orthodox Church.

In turn, Bartholomew I apparently believed that the United States will contribute efforts to keep him in power and allow the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople to expand its influence creating a kind of ‘Orthodox Papism’. This did not happen. On top of this, the position of the United States in the Middle East was recently weakened by both years of the back-and-forth diplomacy of previous administrations and the unwillingness of the current administration led by President Donald Trump to participate in conflicts and invest in regions where he sees no clear revenue for his country. Thus, the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople found itself without support from its main backer. As to the US Democratic Party and its presidential candidate Joe Biden, their public commitment to neo-liberal values is strong as it has never been. So, if Bartholomew I wants to rely on this very faction in the US elites, he will need to demonstrate his own commitment to this anti-coonservative, pro-minotiries, pro-LGBTQ stance. Thus, he will undermine the position of Constantinople among the more traditionalist part of the Orthodox World and further. This will likely lead to the situation when conservative Orthodox societies will have no other option but strengthen their ties with the Russian Orthodox Church, which is in the open conflict with Constantinople.

Bartholomew I made bet and lost, but his actions made a real damage to the Orthodox World. It may take years before negative consequences of his actionswill be fully removed.

LEADER OF ULTRA-RIGHT MILITIA PREDICTS END OF US AND WARNS OF CIVIL WAR

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Leader Of Ultra-Right Militia Predicts End Of US And Warns Of Civil War
The three percenters are one of the US’ oldest militias still in existence

As the US election looms, the heavily armed III% Security Force militia is ready for an anti-Democrat uprising. The group has been accused of neo-Nazism, but in a recent interview with RT one of its leaders said their purpose is to protect and defend the will of the people.

Chris Hill, commanding officer of the III% Security Force’s Georgia branch, states the militia’s take on current developments in the US unequivocally:

“There is a coup taking place right now, there’s a collective effort to overthrow our way of life as we know it – people are starting to realize it’s not a conspiracy theory.

“If we don’t come together as one, we’ll be living in a post-American world by 2021.”

The Three Percenters are a constitutional militia with chapters across the US, their name originating from the claim that only three percent of colonists took up arms against Britain during the US revolution and War of Independence.

The militia claims that over the last few months membership has rocketed by 150%, with 50 to 100 applicants per day – spurred on by developments like Minneapolis City’s pledge to dismantle their police department and Joe Biden’s promise to defend the rights of Muslim communities in the US if he enters the White House. 

Hill, also known as General Blood Agent, said: “It’s like our Founding Fathers stated, we believe we should come together, to lend our arms and council whenever a crisis arises.

We advocate and defend our goals and beliefs with regards to our way of life, our constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.”

The group, whose members are rarely seen in public without military fatigues and firearms, sees its role as protecting the people, allowing them to rise up and take control. They spend around a fifth of their time on political activism and the rest doing practicing survivalism, military infantry training, hunting, rescue and first aid.

RT

They believe they have been made deliberately obsolete in modern America, a feeling only exacerbated by the national Defund the Police movement and the Democratic Party’s pledge to reform the police force.

Speaking to RT, Hill, a former marine, explained: “How do you get rid of a militia in the United States? You render them useless and over time they fade away.

“Now we’re seeing the Founding Fathers had it right, this is something we should have never let the fire burn out on. We have a short amount of time to reignite it.

“We will be whenever we need to be, wherever God sees fit. Every day we can reach out to another American citizen and say, ‘Are you in favour of communism and anarchism? We have a right to repel that.’”

Claims of neo-Nazism

The group, while evidently on the far end of the political right wing, reject their depiction in the mainstream media of being racist neo-Nazis.

In one example, the GSF were accused of “terrorizing” county officials in Georgia out of a meeting to build a new mosque, and linking the place to ISIS – a charge Hill denies. 

But his group takes reports of things like Muslim community patrols forming in New York after the Christchurch shooting, as signals that attempts to introduce Sharia law are underway. 

Still, in Hill’s view, the group is pro-immigration, supports religious freedom, and would not lead with violence. The big caveats are that the immigration must be legal and the newcomers must assimilate. Like many on the American political right, he refers to undocumented migrants as an invasion.

“I am 100 percent against illegal immigration. The government is cast with a job and part of that is to prevent an invasion, it doesn’t specify armed or unarmed, but if 20 million people are in this country illegally, how can you look at me with a straight face and say we haven’t been invaded?

“Legal immigration is fine, as long as whatever caused you to flee, leave that shit where you came from. Learn the language, our practices, our traditions – do not try to advocate for other religious, ideological or political beliefs enforced in whatever country you came from.

“I’m not saying you have to be Christian, in America you are free to practice any religion you like. But if anyone doesn’t want to assimilate or come here legally, I’d put them in a catapult and fling them into the Gulf of Mexico.”

Death threats

Hill’s prominent position in the movement has made him a high profile target for the groups opponents. He says he and his family regularly receive death threats. He believes that most of them come from the anti-fascist group Antifa, which US President Donald Trump wants to officially label a domestic terrorist organization for its alleged role in the recent riots and the harassment of conservative figures and their supporters.

“I have been targeted for four or five years. When I went to Virginia in January they put up a hit list and my face was there, basically I’m a target. If they know I am going to be somewhere, they put up my picture and say they’ll kill me.”


I’ve got a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber on my hip and it’s got 15 bullets in it – if anybody threatens my life, they are going to hit a few of them.

RT

One major reason Hill feels he’s considered worthy of killing is because of his media portrayal. The influential liberal “anti-hate” group Southern Poverty Law Center has branded him and his group “anti-government,” saying he praises “neo-Nazi movements.” 

But he claims that the reporting on him is selective.

Some media reports have linked him to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and previous GSF member Michael Ramos, who carried out a racial beating in public in 2017. 

The images of Hill’s group almost exclusively have white people in them, but he claims it’s not on purpose.

“I would love to have a wide range of skin tones in our militia, multiple races, any race is welcome. People can look at us and say, they don’t see a lot of black, Asian or Latino people. It’s not for lack of trying, the invitation is there, we need more.

It’s laughable to say I am racist or KKK, as I turn around and look at my son, my daughter who are half-white, half-Asian – I’m married to a Vietnamese woman and our kids are mixed. That information doesn’t reach the light of day as it doesn’t fit with everybody who wants to say we’re all racist and KKK.

My situation doesn’t ever make publication, especially from any left-wing liberal sources.”

‘Gun-grabbing’ Democrats

The III% Security Force hope to see President Trump secure a second term in November and believe the Democrats are out to take away their guns.

“If Joe Biden wins, as depressing as that sounds, and Joe Biden goes after guns on a national level – if he’s coming for the guns, he can get it. And any other politician coming for the guns, they can get it too.

They are 24 different states that are going with red-flag laws and gun bans. That’s different from a potential President Biden pushing through some national firearms ban. That is the true definition of tyranny.”

Issues like red-flag laws which allow individuals to petition a court to remove someone else’s firearm are paramount for the III% Security Force.

If Biden does that, Chris Hill will get up off his ass and fight against that until my last breath.”

Hill was preparing for that back in 2016, against the threat of “gun-grabbing” Hillary Clinton winning the election. Back then, Trump won and his resolve to fight back was not put to the test. Now, Joe Biden is the “gun-grabbing pedophile” (an apparent reference to Biden’s barely-appropriate shows of physical affection to women and children) that there’s “no way in hell” Hill will vote for.

If Biden does win, Hill, like many Trump supporters, is convinced that the Democrat will have “stolen” the election with the FBI’s help, through methods like hacking and mail-in ballot fraud.

Civil war is coming?

Ironically, given how extremely polarizing his views are, Hill wants his militia to be a uniting force.

But at the same time, he warns that a US civil war is looming. The racial divide is there, but it’s the current-day protesters who are the racists, in Hill’s view. He sees himself and his group as defenders of freedom of speech.

“I believe Black Lives Matter is a racist slogan, I believe the organizers of that movement are Marxists, communists and they have no end-game other than taking to streets to loot or riot.

I’ve been in Georgia my whole life other than in the military, I have not seen any Klan or Nazi rallies, there are no white supremacists in large groups. I would tell them to rent a stadium, spill your guts, say what you need to say and let’s get on with it.

Nobody in the USA was born into slavery, I understand what happened prior to me being born, a lot of bad things happened, but I was born free just like the next white man, Asian woman or black man, all people.

We are on an equal footing going forward, if you don’t like the situation you are in, get a bus ticket and relocate. This is not a movie, it’s real life.”

Never without a gun himself, Hill maintains his group isn’t advocating a violent uprising.

“We’ll protect the voice of the people. It can’t come from the end of a gun, if we do that then we’ve lost the moral high ground and the war before it even starts.

Power needs to be given to the people to make changes. But there is no doubt in my mind we are stumbling towards an armed conflict inside the United States of America.”

Ultimately, in a country that’s rapidly dismantling the unseemly elements of its past, the Three Percenters want to see a return to the principles of 1776 when America formed as an independent nation.

“We are a constitutional militia recognized by the Second Amendment. In the last 244 years, would you have said we have moved towards perfection or towards damage done and anarchy?

“We are definitely heading in the wrong direction.” LINK

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PHILIP M. GIRALDI: “RUSSIA-BAITING IS THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN”

Washington again becomes hysterical

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PHILIP GIRALDI • JULY 7, 2020

There is particular danger at the moment that powerful political alignments in the United States are pushing strongly to exacerbate the developing crisis with Russia. The New York Times, which broke the story that the Kremlin had been paying the Afghan Taliban bounties to kill American soldiers, has been particularly assiduous in promoting the tale of perfidious Moscow. Initial Times coverage, which claimed that the activity had been confirmed by both intelligence sources and money tracking, was supplemented by delusional nonsense from former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who asks “Why does Trump put Russia first?” before calling for a “swift and significant U.S. response.” Rice, who is being mentioned as a possible Biden choice for Vice President, certainly knows about swift and significant as she was one of the architects of the destruction of Libya and the escalation of U.S. military and intelligence operations directed against a non-threatening Syria.

The Times is also titillating with the tale of a low level drug smuggling Pashto businessman who seemed to have a lot of cash in dollars lying around, ignoring the fact that Afghanistan is awash with dollars and has been for years. Many of the dollars come from drug deals, as Afghanistan is now the world’s number one producer of opium and its byproducts.

The cash must be Russian sourced, per the NYT, because a couple of low level Taliban types, who were likely tortured by the Afghan police, have said that it is so. The Times also cites anonymous sources which allege that there were money transfers from an account managed by the Kremlin’s GRU military intelligence to an account opened by the Taliban. Note the “alleged” and consider for a minute that it would be stupid for any intelligence agency to make bank-to-bank transfers, which could be identified and tracked by the clever lads at the U.S. Treasury and NSA. Also try to recall how not so long ago we heard fabricated tales about threatening WMDs to justify war. Perhaps the story would be more convincing if a chain of custody could be established that included checks drawn on the Moscow-Narodny Bank and there just might be a crafty neocon hidden somewhere in the U.S. intelligence community who is right now faking up that sort of evidence.

Other reliably Democratic Party leaning news outlets, to include CNN, MSNBC and The Washington Post all jumped on the bounty story, adding details from their presumably inexhaustible supply of anonymous sources. As Scott Horton observedthe media was reporting a “fact” that there was a rumor.

Inevitably the Democratic Party leadership abandoned its Ghanaian kente cloth scarves, got up off their knees, and hopped immediately on to their favorite horse, which is to claim loudly and in unison that when in doubt Russia did it. Joe Biden in particular is “disgusted” by a “betrayal” of American troops due to Trump’s insistence on maintaining “an embarrassing campaign of deferring and debasing himself before Putin.”

The Dems were joined in their outrage by some Republican lawmakers who were equally incensed but are advocating delaying punishing Russia until all the facts are known. Meanwhile, the “circumstantial details” are being invented to make the original tale more credible, including crediting the Afghan operation to a secret Russian GRU Army intelligence unit that allegedly was also behind the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury England in 2018.

Reportedly the Pentagon is looking into the circumstances around the deaths of three American soldiers by roadside bomb on April 8, 2019 to determine a possible connection to the NYT report. There are also concerns relating to several deaths in training where Afghan Army recruits turned on their instructors. As the Taliban would hardly need an incentive to kill Americans and as only seventeen U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan in 2019 as a result of hostile action, the year that the intelligence allegedly relates to, one might well describe any joint Taliban-Russian initiative as a bit of a failure since nearly all of those deaths have been attributed to kinetic activity initiated by U.S. forces.

The actual game that is in play is, of course, all about Donald Trump and the November election. It is being claimed that the president was briefed on the intelligence but did nothing. Trump denied being verbally briefed due to the fact that the information had not been verified. For once America’s Chief Executive spoke the truth, confirmed by the “intelligence community,” but that did not stop the media from implying that the disconnect had been caused by Trump himself. He reportedly does not read the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), where such a speculative piece might indeed appear on a back page, and is uninterested in intelligence assessments that contradict what he chooses to believe. The Democrats are suggesting that Trump is too stupid and even too disinterested to be president of the United States so they are seeking to replace him with a corrupt 78-year-old man who may be suffering from dementia.

The Democratic Party cannot let Russia go because they see it as their key to future success and also as an explanation for their dramatic failure in 2016 which in no way holds them responsible for their ineptness. One does not expect the House Intelligence Committee, currently headed by the wily Adam Schiff, to actually know anything about intelligence and how it is collected and analyzed, but the politicization of the product is certainly something that Schiff and his colleagues know full well how to manipulate. One only has to recall the Russiagate Mueller Commission investigation and Schiff’s later role in cooking the witnesses that were produced in the subsequent Trump impeachment hearings.

Schiff predictably opened up on Trump in the wake of the NYT report, saying “I find it inexplicable in light of these very public allegations that the president hasn’t come before the country and assured the American people that he will get to the bottom of whether Russia is putting bounties on American troops and that he will do everything in his power to make sure that we protect American troops.”

Schiff and company should know, but clearly do not, that at the ground floor level there is a lot of lying, cheating and stealing around intelligence collection. Most foreign agents do it for the money and quickly learn that embroidering the information that is being provided to their case officer might ultimately produce more cash. Every day the U.S. intelligence community produces thousands of intelligence reports from those presumed “sources with access,” which then have to be assessed by analysts. Much of the information reported is either completely false or cleverly fabricated to mix actual verified intelligence with speculation and out and out lies to make the package more attractive. The tale of the Russian payment of bribes to the Taliban for killing Americans is precisely the kind of information that stinks to high heaven because it doesn’t even make any political or tactical sense, except to Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and the New York Times. For what it’s worth, a number of former genuine intelligence officers including Paul Pillar, John KiriakouScott Ritter, and Ray McGovern have looked at the evidence so far presented and have walked away unimpressed. The National Security Agency (NSA) has also declined to confirm the story, meaning that there is no electronic trail to validate it.

Finally, there is more than a bit of the old hypocrisy at work in the damnation of the Russians even if they have actually been involved in an improbable operation with the Taliban. One recalls that in the 1970s and 1980s the United States supported the mujahideen rebels fighting against the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. The assistance consisted of weapons, training, political support and intelligence used to locate, target and kill Soviet soldiers. Stinger missiles were provided to bring down helicopters carrying the Russian troops. The support was pretty much provided openly and was even boasted about, unlike what is currently being alleged about the Russian assistance. The Soviets were fighting to maintain a secular regime that was closely allied to Moscow while the mujahideen later morphed into al-Qaeda and the Islamist militant Taliban subsequently took over the country, meaning that the U.S. effort was delusional from the start.

So, what is a leaked almost certainly faux story about the Russian bounties on American soldiers intended to accomplish? It is probably intended to keep a “defensive” U.S. presence in Afghanistan, much desired by the neocons, a majority in Congress and the Military Industrial Complex (MIC), and it will further be played and replayed to emphasize the demonstrated incompetence of Donald Trump. The end result could be to secure the election of a pliable Establishment flunky Joe Biden as president of the United States. How that will turn out is unpredictable, but America’s experience of its presidents since 9/11 has not been very encouraging.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

Does the next Presidential election even matter?

Source

President Barack Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden head toward the Capitol Platform during the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2017. More than 5,000 military members from across all branches of the armed forces of the United States, including reserve and National Guard components, provided ceremonial support and Defense Support of Civil Authorities during the inaugural period. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

THE SAKER • JULY 2, 2020

Just by asking the question of whether the next Presidential election matters, I am obviously suggesting that it might not. To explain my reasons for this opinion, I need to reset the upcoming election in the context of the previous one. So let’s begin here.

The 2016 election of Donald Trump

The first thing which, I believe, ought to be self-evident to all by now is that there was no secret operation by any deep state, not even a Zionist controlled one, to put Donald Trump in power. I would even argue that the election of Donald Trump was the biggest slap in the face of US deep state and of the covert transnational ruling elites this deep state serves. Ever. My evidence? Simple, look what these ruling “elites” did both before and after Trump’s election: before, they ridiculed the very idea of “President Trump” as both utterly impossible and utterly evil.

As somebody who has had years of experience reading the Soviet press or, in another style, the French press, I can honestly say that I have never seen a more ridiculously outlandish hate campaign against anybody that would come even close to the kind of total hate campaign which Trump was subjected to. Then, as soon as he was elected, the US neo-liberals (who are not liberals at all!) declared that Trump was “not their President”, that Trump was put into power by Putin and that he was a “Russian asset” (using pseudo-professional jargon is what journos typically do to conceal their abject ignorance of a complex topic) and, finally, that he was a White racist and misogynist who will deeply divide the country (thereby dividing the country themselves by making such claims).

The fact is that for the past four years the US liberals have waged a total informational war against Trump and it would be absolutely unthinkable for them to ever accept a Trump re-election, even if he wins by a landslide. For the US Dems and neo-liberals, Trump is the personification of evil, literally, and that means that “resistance” to him and everything he represents must be total. And if he is re-elected, then there is only one possible explanation: the Russians stole the election, or the Chinese did. But the notion that Trump has the support of a majority of people is literally unthinkable for these folks.

Truth be told, Trump has proven to be a fantastically incompetent President, no doubt about that. Was he even worse than Obama? Maybe, it really all depends on your scoring system. In my personal opinion, and for all his very real sins and failings, Trump, at least, did not start a major war, which Obama did, and which Hillary would have done (can’t prove this, but that is my personal belief). That by itself, and totally irrespective of anything else, makes me believe that Trump has been a “lesser evil” (even if far more ridiculous) President than Obama has been or Hillary would have been. This is what I believed four years ago and this is what I still believe: considering how dangerous for the entire planet “President Hillary” would have been, voting for Trump was not only the only logical thing to do, it was the only moral one too because giving your voice to a warmongering narcissistic hyena like Hillary is a profoundly immoral act (yes, I know, Trump is also a narcissist – most politicians are! – but at least his warmongering has been all hot air and empty threats, at least so far). However, I don’t think that this (not having started a major war) will be enough to get Trump re-elected.

Why?

Because most Americans still like wars. In fact, they absolutely love them. Unless, of course, they lose. What Americans really want is a President who can win wars, not a President who does not initiate them in the first place. This is also the most likely reason why Trump did not start any major wars: the US has not won a real war in decades and, instead, it got whipped in every conflict it started. Americans hate losing wars, and that is why Trump did not launch any wars: it would have been political suicide to start a real war against, say, the DPRK or Iran. So while I am grateful that Trump did not start any wars, I am not naive to the point of believing that he did so for pure and noble motives. Give Trump an easy victory and he will do exactly what all US Presidents have done in the past: attack, beat up the little guy, and then be considered like a “wartime President hero” by most Americans. The problem is that there are no more “little guys” left out there: only countries who can, and will, defend themselves if attacked.

The ideology of messianic imperialism which permeates the US political culture is still extremely powerful and deep seated and it will take years, probably decades, to truly flush it down to where it belongs: to the proverbial trash-heaps of history. Besides, in 2020 Americans have much bigger concerns than war vs. peace – at least that is what most of them believe. Between the Covid19 pandemic and the catastrophic collapse of the economy (of course, while the former certainly has contributed to the latter, it did not single-handedly cause it) and now the BLM insurgency, most Americans now feel personally threatened – something which no wars of the past ever did (a war against Russia very much would, but most Americans don’t realize that, since nobody explains this to them; they also tend to believe that nonsense about the US military being the best and most capable in history).

Following four years of uninterrupted flagwaving and MAGA-chanting there is, of course, a hardcore of true believers who believe that Trump is nothing short of brilliant and that he will “kick ass” everything and everybody: from the spying Russians, to the rioting Blacks, from the pandemic, to the lying media, etc. The fact that in reality Trump pitifully failed to get anything truly important done is completely lost on these folks who live in a reality they created for themselves and in which any and all facts contradicting their certitudes are simply explained away by silly stuff like “Q-anon” or “5d chess”. Others, of course, will realize that Trump “deflated” before those whom he called “the swamp” almost as soon as he got into the White House.

As for the almighty Israel Lobby, it seems to me that it squeezed all it could from Trump who, from the point of view of the Zionists, was always a “disposable President” anyway. And now that Trump has done everything Israel wanted him to do, he becomes almost useless. If anything, Pelosi, Schumer and the rest of them will try to outdo Trump’s love for everything Israeli anyway.

So how much support is there behind Trump today? I really don’t know (don’t trust the polls, which have always been deeply wrong about Trump anyway), but I think that there is definitely a constituency of truly frightened Americans who are freaking out (as they should, considering the rapid collapse of the country) and who might vote Trump just because they will feel that for all his faults, he is the only one who can save the country. Conversely, they will see Biden as a pro-BLM geriatric puppet who will hand the keys of the White House to a toxic coalition of minorities.

So what if Trump does get re-elected?

In truth, the situation is so complex and there are so many variables (including many “unknown unknowns”!) that make predictions impossible. Still, we can try to make some educated guesses, especially if based on some kind of logic such as the one which says that “past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior”. In other words, if Trump gets elected, we will get more of the same. Personally, I would characterize this “same” as a further destruction of the US from within by the Democrats and their “coalition of minorities” combined with a further destruction of the US Empire abroad by delusional Republicans.

I very much doubt that it makes any sense at all to vote for that, really. Better stay at home and do something worthwhile with your time, no?

Now what about a Biden election?

Remember that Biden is now the de-facto leader of what I would loosely call the “anti-US coalition”, that is the “coalition of minorities” which really have nothing in common except their hatred of the established order (well, and, of course, their hatred of Trump and of those who voted for him).

These minorities are very good at hating and destroying, but don’t count on them to ever come up with constructive solutions – it ain’t gonna happen. For one thing, they are probably too stupid to come up with any constructive ideas, but even more important is the fact that these folks all have a hyper-narrow agenda and, simply put, they don’t care about “constructing” anything. These folks are all about hatred and the instant gratification of their narrow, one-topic, agenda.

This also begs the question of why the Dems decided to go with Biden in spite of the fact that he is clearly an extremely weak candidate. In spite? I am not so sure at all. I think that they chose him because he is so weak: the real power behind him will be in the hands of the Schumer-Pelosi-Obama gang and of the interests these folks represent.

Unlike Trump who prostituted himself only after making it to the White House, the neo-liberal Dems have *already* prostituted themselves to everybody who wanted to give them something in return, from the Ukie Nazis to the thugs of BLM, to the powerful US homo-lobby. Don’t expect them to show any spine, or even less so, love for the USA, if they get the White House. They hate this country and most of its people and they are not shy about it.

What would happen to the US if the likes of Bloomberg or Harris took control? First, there would be the comprehensive surrender to the various minorities which put these folks in power followed by a very strong blowback from all the “deplorables” ranging from protests and civil disobedience, to local authorities refusing to take orders from the feds. Like it or not, but most Americans still love their country and loathe the kind of pseudo-liberal ideology which has been imposed upon them by the joint actions of the US deep state and the corporate world. There is even a strong probability that if Biden gets elected the USA’s disintegration would only accelerate.

On the international front, a Biden Presidency would not solve any of the problems created by Obama and Trump: by now it is way too late and the damage done to the international reputation of the United States is irreparable. If anything, the Dems will only make it worse by engaging in even more threats, sanctions and wars. Specifically, the Demolicans hate Russia, China and Iran probably even more than the Republicrats. Besides, these countries have already concluded a long time ago that the US was “not agreement capable” anyway (just look at the long list of international treaties and organization from which the US under Trump has withdrawn: what is the point of negotiating anything with a power which systematically reneges on its promises and obligations?)

The truth is that if Biden gets elected, the US will continue to fall apart internally and externally, if anything, probably even faster than under a re-elected Trump.

Which brings me to my main conclusion:

Why do we even bother having elections?

First, I don’t think that the main role of a democracy is to protect minorities from majorities. A true democracy protects the majority against the many minorities which typically have a one-issue agenda and which are typically hostile to the values of the majority. Oh sure, minority rights should be protected, the question is how exactly?

For one thing, most states have some kind of constitution/basic law which sets a number of standards which cannot be violated as long as this constitution/basic law is in force. Furthermore, in most states which call themselves democratic all citizens have the same rights and obligations, and a minority status does not give anybody any special rights or privileges. Typically, there are also fundamental international standards for human rights and fundamental national standards for civil rights. Minority rights (individual or collective), however, are not typically considered a separate category which somehow trumps or supplements adopted norms for human and civil rights (if only because it creates a special “minority” category, whereas in true “people power” all citizens are considered as one entity).

It is quite obvious that neither the Republicrats nor the Demolicans represent the interests of “we the people” and that both factions of the US plutocracy are under the total control of behind-the-scenes real powers. What happened four years ago was a colossal miscalculation of these behind-the-scenes real powers who failed to realize how hated they were and how even a guy like Trump would seem preferable to a nightmare like Hillary (as we know, had the Dems chosen Sanders or even some other halfway lame candidate, Trump would probably not have prevailed).

This is why I submit that the next election will make absolutely no difference:

  1. The US system is rigged to give all the power to minorities and to completely ignore the will of the people
  2. The choice between the Demolicans and the Republicrats is not a choice at all
  3. The systemic crisis of the US is too deep to be affected by who is in power in the White House

Simply put, and unlike the case of 2016, the outcome of the 2020 election will make no difference at all. Caring about who the next puppet in the White House will be is tantamount to voting for a new captain while the Titanic is sinking. The major difference is that the Titanic sank in very deep water whereas the “ship USA” will sink in the shallows, meaning that the US will not completely disappear: in some form or another, it will survive either as a unitary state or as a number of successor states. The Empire, however, has no chance of survival at all. Thus, anything which contributes to make the US a “normal” country and which weakens the Empire is in the interests of the people of the USA. Voting for either one of the candidates this fall will only prolong the agony of the current political regime in the USA.

الاستطلاعات عدوّ ترامب الجديد

 الأخبار 

الثلاثاء 30 حزيران 2020

الاستطلاعات عدوّ ترامب الجديد
نفت حملة الرئيس بشدّة إمكانية انسحابه من السباق الانتخابي (أ ف ب )

بالرغم من مهاجمة دونالد ترامب للاستطلاعات التي أجرتها وسائل الإعلام الأميركية، أخيراً، فإنّ واقعاً جديداً فرض نفسه على الرئيس وحزبه الجمهوري، سببه تعاطي الإدارة مع «كورونا» والاحتجاجات… وترامب نفسهيواجه الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب تهديداً من نوع آخر، جسّدته موجة استطلاعات أجراها العديد من وسائل الإعلام الأميركية، أخيراً، من بينها شبكة «فوكس نيوز» المقرّبة منه، والتي أظهرت تخلّفه بشكل كبير عن منافسه الديموقراطي جو بايدن. وإن كانت هذه الاستطلاعات قد دفعت ترامب إلى وصفها بـ«الكاذبة»، إلّا أنّ ذلك لم يكن كافياً لإلغاء المخاوف التي تعتري الحزب الجمهوري بشأن المخاطر التي تصطدم بها فرص إعادة انتخابه.

وفق شبكة «فوكس نيوز»، فقد دفع هذا الواقع ببعض النافذين في الحزب الجمهوري إلى التساؤل عمّا إذا كان ترامب سينسحب من السباق الانتخابي، في حال لم تتحسّن أرقام الاستطلاعات. وبالرغم من تشكيك البعض في إمكانية حصول ذلك، فإن أحد هؤلاء النافذين قال للشبكة إنه «إذا استمرّت الاستطلاعات في التدهور، يمكنك أن ترى سيناريو حيث ينسحب»، بينما راهن آخر على أنّ ترامب «قد ينسحب في حال رأى أن من المستحيل أن يفوز».
الأسباب وراء هذه التكهّنات تعود إلى ما شهدته الأسابيع الأخيرة الماضية من انخفاض كبير لأرقام ترامب في الاستطلاعات، وسط الانتقادات التي طالت إدارته بشأن تعاملها مع جائحة «كورونا»، وردّ البيت الأبيض على التظاهرات والاحتجاجات، على خلفية مقتل جورج فلويد، في أواخر شهر أيار /مايو في مينيابوليس، عندما كان في عهدة الشرطة.

وفي هذا السياق، أظهر استطلاع أجرته شبكة «فوكس نيوز» أنّ الرئيس متأخّر عن بايدن بـ12 نقطة، بينما أفاد معدّل الاستطلاعات الصادر عن موقع «RealClearPolitics» بأنّ بايدن يتقدّم ترامب بحوالى 10 نقاط. وما يعطي هذه الأرقام أهمية أكبر، هو تقدّم بايدن في العديد من الولايات التي تشكّل ساحات معارك أساسية، بينما يظهر جنباً إلى جنب مع ترامب في ولاياتٍ طالما عُدّت معقلاً للجمهوريين، مثل تكساس.


أظهر استطلاع لـ«فوكس نيوز» أنّ ترامب متأخّر عن بايدن بـ 12 نقطة


وعن هذا الواقع بالذات، أوضح موقع «بوليتيكو» أنّ «انفجار» إصابات «كوفيد ـــــ 19» في ولايات «الحزام الشمسي» (المنطقة الممتدة عبر جنوب الشرق وجنوب الغرب من الولايات المتحدة) بات يشكّل عائقاً جديداً أمام آمال إعادة انتخاب دونالد ترامب، ما يفتح المجال أمام فرصة جديدة لجو بايدن والديموقراطيين في تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر. وأشار الموقع إلى أنّ الحكّام الجمهوريين لولايات فلوريدا، وأريزونا وتكساس، اتّبعوا تعليمات ترامب القاضية بإعادة فتح ولاياتهم، بشكل سريع، بينما اعتمدوا نهجاً متساهلاً في إطار التباعد الاجتماعي. وبالرغم من أن من الصعب تقدير مدى خطورة الوضع بالنسبة إلى ترامب، فإنّ «بوليتيكو» لفت إلى أنّه «في حال خسر واحدة من الولايات الثلاث، تصبح إعادة انتخابه محكومة بالفشل».

في مقابل ذلك، نفت حملة ترامب بشدّة إمكانية انسحاب هذا الأخير من السباق الانتخابي، وانتقدت الاستطلاعات «التي اختزلت الناخبين الجمهوريين بشكل متعمّد». يأتي ذلك بعدما كانت حملته قد أصدرت مذكّرة، بعد الاستطلاعات الأخيرة، يوم الأحد، رفضت فيها الادعاءات بأنّ فرص إعادة انتخاب الرئيس كانت تواجه مشكلة. أمّا ترامب، فلم يلبث أن ردّ، في تغريدة عبر موقع «تويتر»، قال فيها: «آسف لإعلام الديموقراطيين الذين لا يفعلون شيئاً، ولكنّي أحظى بأرقام جيدة جداً في الاستطلاعات الداخلية للحزب الجمهوري». وأضاف: «تماماً مثل عام 2016، استطلاعات ذي نيويورك تايمز كاذبة! استطلاعات فوكس نيوز نكتة! هل تظنّون أنهم سيعتذرون منّي ومن مشتركيهم مجدّداً عندما أفوز؟ الناس يريدون القانون، والنظام والأمن».

مع ذلك، وفي ظلّ اقتراب الانتخابات الرئاسية، بعد أربعة أشهر، يتطلّع المهتمّون بشؤون الحزب الجمهوري وموظّفو حملة ترامب، إلى تحويل مسار الاستطلاعات السيّئة، عبر توجيه هدفهم إلى ما اعتبروه نقاط ضعف بايدن الرئيسية. من هذا المنطلق، تسعى حملة ترامب إلى التركيز على هفوات المرشّح الديموقراطي، إضافة إلى مهاجمته على اعتبار أنه «ناعمٌ» مع الصين، مشكّكين في صحّته العقلية، ومشيرين إلى أنه سيصبح رهينة يسار حزبه، إذا ما تمكّن من الوصول إلى البيت الأبيض.

كذلك، أفادت صحيفة «واشنطن بوست» بأنّ ترامب وفريق حملته يتجادلون حول كيفية إحياء جهود إعادة انتخابه الهشّة. وفي هذا الإطار، أشارت الصحيفة إلى أنّ عدداً من مستشاري الرئيس وحلفائه يدفعون بشكل خاص إلى إحداث تغييرات في حملته، بما فيها تغييرٌ كبير في الموظفين، وذلك بينما يسعون إلى إقناع ترامب بأن يكون أكثر انضباطاً في رسائله وسلوكه.

http://program.almanar.com.lb/episode/120496

In tortured logic, Trump begs for a do-over on the Iran nuclear deal

Source

Written by Tyler Cullis and Trita Parsi

Even the Trump administration seems to grudgingly have concluded that breaching the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) was a mistake. More than two years after the U.S. exit, the deal still stands while the Trump administration is running out of options to force a re-negotiation. It is now so desperate it is seeking to convince the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that it never quit the deal in the first place. The lesson to the U.S. is clear: Diplomatic vandalism carries costs — even for a superpower. The lesson to a prospective President Joe Biden is more specific: Rejoin the nuclear deal, don’t try to renegotiate it.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claims that UNSC Resolution 2231 defines the term “JCPOA participant” to be inclusive of the United States, and nothing the United States could do or has done can change this supposed legal fact.  According to Pompeo, even though the Trump administration repeatedly referred to its “withdrawal” from the JCPOA as a “cessation of its participation” in the agreement, UNSCR 2231 continues to define the United States as a “JCPOA participant” that can invoke the resolution’s sanctions snapback mechanism. 

The snapback permits a “JCPOA participant” to provide notification to the Security Council of a case of significant non-performance by a party to the agreement, triggering the automatic re-institution of former Security Council sanctions resolutions targeting Iran. No Russian or Chinese veto can prevent the reimposition of the sanctions contained in those resolutions. Only a resolution agreed to within 30 days that would undo the snapback — but the U.S. has the ability to veto such a resolution.

This is why the Obama administration cherished the snapback — if Iran were to renege on its nuclear commitments, the reimposition of sanctions would be swift and automatic. 

But this leverage was lost when Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 (the Presidential memoranda announcing the decision was even titled “Ceasing U.S. Participation in the JCPOA”). A senior Iranian diplomat told us at the time that Tehran was shocked that Trump would forgo this advantage. 

Now Trump is begging for a do-over. Despite the legal debate over Pompeo’s interpretation of UNSCR 2231, Trump’s gambit will prove less a legal question than a political one. The issue is not so much whether the United States remains a “JCPOA participant,” but whether the other members of the Security Council — and most prominently, its permanent members — will recognize the United States as such and allow Trump to issue a reverse veto to ensure the full re-imposition of U.N. sanctions on Iran. 

That is less likely to happen — and for an obvious reason: the Trump administration has spent the last three years squandering any international goodwill towards the United States, abandoning international agreements, strong-arming allies, and cozying up to dictators. It has threatened and cajoled its European allies to abandon legitimate trade with Iran or risk the wrath of punishing U.S. sanctions — all for the purpose of killing a fully functioning nuclear agreement that Europe views as essential to its security. Trump will need the sympathy of Europe’s permanent members to the Security Council. But no sympathy is likely to be forthcoming.

But even if Europe were to succumb to Trump’s pressure, it is unclear what objectives stand to be achieved. If, as Trump and his allies fear, a Biden administration would rejoin the nuclear accord, the snapback of U.N. sanctions is unlikely to pose a significant impediment to doing so, other than raising the cost to the United States for a return to the JCPOA. Nothing would prevent a President Biden to support the immediate reinstitution of UNSCR 2231. 

The danger, instead, is that Iran, having witnessed the malicious use of the snapback, will demand that any future resolution drop the snapback procedure. Considering that Iran will be weighing the merits of leaving the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and terminating its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a result of the U.N. snapback, the Biden administration would likely be forced to choose between eating that cost or escalating militarily against Iran in its first months in office. 

This underscores the real reason for Trump’s move: the U.S. is out of leverage when it comes to Iran. While U.S. sanctions have decimated Iran’s economy, they have not forced Iran to accede to Trump’s demands. Iran has neither begged for talks nor abandoned the JCPOA. Its posture remains essentially the same, immune to Trump’s best efforts to cause it to lash out to international approbation. 

Though immense pain, Iran has sapped the U.S. of its leverage while keeping its own intact. Tehran can (and has) scale back its commitments to the JCPOA in response to Trump’s actions, it can abandon the JCPOA or even withdraw from the NPT and terminate its safeguards agreement with the IAEA. These, and other options, remain in Iran’s arsenal, unused for the time being but ready to be deployed should the U.S. continue on its path of diplomatic vandalism. 

This is why Biden must dispel with any illusion that he can seek a renegotiation of the JCPOA on the back of Trump’s sanctions. If a Biden administration were to signal to Tehran that it will not seek a clean return to the JCPOA, then Iran will begin using the leverage it has kept in store.

If Trump succeeds in snapping back U.N. sanctions, Biden would not even be able to leverage the risk to Iran in international isolation, as Iran would be already isolated internationally by virtue of the U.N. sanctions. Biden’s sole recourse would be to threaten war with Iran — a terrible prospect for an incoming administration that will be fighting off a deadly pandemic, resuscitating a depressed economy, and operating under the promise of being different from Trump.

Trump overplayed his hand by thinking he could renegotiate the nuclear deal and is now begging for a do-over. Candidate Biden should take note and signal clearly already now that he does not intend to repeat this mistake.

Fake or True? Trump Might Quit Presidential Race

Source

Fake or True? Trump Might Quit Presidential Race

By Staff, News Agencies 

A Fox New report suggested on Sunday that US President Donald Trump could drop out of presidential race if his national poll numbers don’t improve.

Trump has been trailing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in recent weeks over the president’s handling of nationwide racial justice protests and the coronavirus crisis. 

“It’s too early, but if the polls continue to worsen, you can see a scenario where he drops out,” the GOP operative told Fox News on condition of anonymity. “I’ve heard the talk, but I doubt it’s true,” another said.

“My bet is, he drops out if he believes there’s no way to win.”

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh called the reports “the granddaddy of fake news.” 

“Everyone knows that media polling has always been wrong about President Trump – they under sample Republicans and don’t screen for likely voters – in order to set false narratives,” Murtaugh told Fox News.

“There was similar fretting in 2016 and if it had been accurate, Hillary Clinton would be in the White House right now.”

Fox News reported that in a recent poll the channel has conducted, Trump was trailing Biden by 12 points. Trump also appears to be trailing in key battleground states. 

In Texas – a Republican stronghold – the two candidates seem to be neck-and-neck.

THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF THE EMERGING NEW WORLD ORDER

 A

Source: New Eastern Outlook

By James O’Neill
One of the many difficulties in interpreting the statements of United States President Donald Trump is to decide what category to put his many statements (and even more prolific tweets) in.

Is it another thought bubble similar to his pronouncements on a cure for COVID-19 that was more likely to kill rather than to cure those who followed his advice? Is the latest pronouncement said with an eye to his re-election this coming November, to be discarded once that hurdle has been passed?

The answer to that question is perhaps best found by looking at his track record over the past 3 ½ years. There have been many pronouncements in the foreign policy field, but vanishingly small achievements have followed. The much-heralded nuclear deal with North Korea is one of the latest to fall by the wayside with North Korea’s president Kim announcing a resumption of nuclear testing.

Kim’s cited reason was the total absence of any concrete moves by the United States in settling their multiple outstanding issues. Kim noted, with some justification, that Trump’s negotiating technique was to demand concessions from the North Koreans which had to be fulfilled before the US would make any moves itself, such as reducing troop numbers in South Korea, or ceasing its economic warfare on the North.

It is a well-established principle that what a person does is a much more reliable indicator of future behaviour than what they say. Since becoming president, Trump has withdrawn from, or announced the United States’ intention of withdrawing from, a significant number of major treaties. These included, a by no means exhaustive list, the nuclear arms deal with Iran negotiated with the other United Nations Security Council permanent members plus Germany and European Union; the International Postal Union; the Paris climate agreement; the Trans-Pacific Partnership; UNESCO; and the Human Rights Council.

Whatever else these moves may mean; they are not the actions of a country committed to solving international problems in a multi-national format. Given this track record over the past 3+ years there is no basis for believing that they are temporary measures designed only to enhance Trump’s re-election prospects. Rather the attitude has been, “as long as you do what we want, we will stay.”

Given also the lack of any serious opposition to these moves in the US Senate or his putative presidential opposition candidate Joe Biden, it is probably safe to assume that these moves reflect a broader US approach to multilateral relations. That is, “as long as you do what we want we will stay” in any given organisation.

The reaction to unfavourable decisions by international bodies does however go further. The International Criminal Court (that the United States does not belong to) recently announced it was reopening its investigation into war crimes committed by the United States (and its allies) in Afghanistan. One might argue that this is long overdue, given that these alleged crimes have been a feature of the long 18+ years of warfare carried out on that country. This is before one even begins to contemplate the manifest lies on which the original invasion was based.

Trump’s reaction to the ICC announcement was to threaten both the organisation and its investigating staff, implying a military response if they had the temerity to indict any Americans for war crimes. The principles established in the Nuremberg and Tokyo war crimes trials are, it seems, but an historical aberration when even the investigation of what are, in reality, well documented crimes, invokes such a lawless and violent response.

It is in this context that one has to look at Trump’s sudden enthusiasm for an arms control treaty with Russia. This is the topic to be discussed at the forthcoming meeting between the United States and Russian representatives at a 22 June 2020 meeting in Vienna.

There are a number of ways to interpret the United States’ sudden enthusiasm for an agreement with Russia. The first and most obvious is that it is that the United States has realised that the modern Russian arsenal, partially detailed in President Putin’s March 2018 speech to the Russian parliament, is vastly superior to anything in the United States arsenal and that gap is unlikely to narrow, little alone close, for the foreseeable future.

The Russian (but United States resident) writer and military analyst Andre Martyanov is particularly scathing on this point, both in his books and all his website.

While that is possibly part of Trump’s motivation, this is far from being the whole explanation. One has only to look at the continuing role of the United States in Ukraine, not to mention the farcical trial of four alleged perpetrators of the shooting down of MH 17 (three Russians and one Ukrainian) to gauge a measure of United States sincerity.

Far more likely a motive is that Trump is using the meeting as part of his much wider campaign of trying to disrupt the burgeoning Russia China partnership that is going from strength to strength. Trump wants a new deal on nuclear arms that includes China, but he is silent on the other nuclear powers (Great Britain, India, France, Pakistan and Israel) all of whom have a similar or greater number of nuclear weapons than China.

China has long since passed the United States as the world’s largest economy in terms of parity purchasing power. It has formed a close and growing relationship with Russia, not only in its huge Belt and Road Initiative (with now more than 150 countries) but in a series of other organisations such as the Shanghai Corporation Organisation and ASEAN that is presenting a radically different model of economic co-operation and development than the exploitative western model that has dominated for the past 300 years.

This threat to the United States’ self-defined role as the world’s dominant power did not commence during Trump’s presidency, and the United States reaction to it will not cease with the ending of that presidency, either at the end of this year or in four years’ time. If Biden wins in November, we may be spared the endless tweets and bombastic behaviour, but it would be naïve to anticipate any significant change in United States foreign policy.

Therein lies the greatest danger to world peace. The likely future trends arising out of the growing might of China and its relationship with Russia have recently been analysed by the imminent Russian academic Sergey Karaganov. His analysis of the developing China Russia relationship and its geopolitical implications was recently published in an Italian outlet and conveniently summarised in English by Pepe Escobar in his article “Russia Aiming to Realise Greater Eurasian Dream”.

Karaganov argues that Russia’s growing relationship with China represents a wholly new non-aligned movement centred in the greater Eurasian landmass. Unlike the British and the later United States models which depended on invasion, occupation and exploitation of the natural resources of the conquered nations, the new Eurasian model is much more likely to recognise the individual rights and aspirations of the participating nations and pursue policies of mutual benefit.

None of which is seen as other than a threat to the United States and the model it seeks to impose upon the world. Trump’s recent gestures towards Russia need to be interpreted in that light. The United States has no genuine interest in the welfare and prosperity of either Russia or China. Rather, they exist as pieces to be used in the United States version of the world chess board, manipulated to try and maintain the old model of Western, and in particular, United States dominance.

The reluctance of a growing number of European countries to subscribe to that version is more apparent by the day. Therein lies the challenge, the prospect for a better future for the countries joining the pivot to the east, and the greatest danger from a desperate United States unwilling to acknowledge that its days of dominance are rapidly disappearing.

As the Indian commentator M.K. Bhadrakumar says: “Trump’s diatribe against the ICC exposes the hypocrisy of American policies, which keeps blabbering about a rules based international order while acting with impunity whenever it chooses, for geopolitical reasons.” He cites examples and then concludes that “America under Trump has now become the rogue elephant in the international system.” That is, with respect, a perfect summation of where we are at present.

Trump’s only hope: buying re-election with populist jobless benefits

June 16, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Trump’s only hope: buying re-election with populist jobless benefits

The US economy is in such a dire state (if we may temporarily put down the newly-discovered problem of racism in the Western hemisphere (except for Cuba)) that US voters are going to be happy to sell themselves to the highest bidder come November. It’s not like anyone could get genuinely excited by Joe Biden, after all.

Trump has a huge advantage over Biden in that he can distribute money to voters today and until October – but does he realise that’s the only way to win re-election during this economic catastrophe?

The idea that the US economy has somehow stabilised – or even yet seen the worst – from the shock of three months (and counting) of corona overreaction is totally irrational. You can’t even put it into a single headline: Over 44 million unemployed people doesn’t include the absurd new stock market bubble, the “we’re done holding on” looming wave of bankruptcies in small businesses, the demand shock which is still omnipresent and solidifying with each passing day, the total lack of a corona exit strategy after the West rushed into the Great Lockdown out of a competitive idiocy that “whatever China’s system can do, we can do better”, and on and on and on.

It is thus little wonder that Americans have recently latched on to the far easier to grasp issues of colour-based racism and police brutality (which are also neutered of economics & class). But US cops murder Blacks all the time and that isn’t going away soon, sadly, and neither is the corona economic catastrophe.

So unlike other re-election campaigns this isn’t going to be just another referendum on the incumbent, as Democrats desperately wanted: amid such economic devastation the past will remain in the past until the issue of paying the bills at the end of this month gets sorted first. Fin du mois (end of the month) is the battle cry of the Yellow Vests, after all….

In late May I wrote August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin to stress how the US 1% made a huge tactical error amid the corona hysteria by granting $1,000 per week in unemployment benefits: that is better wages for half of America’s incredibly hard-working, zero-benefit receiving labor force. The 1% foolishly showed their hand: they are flush – absolutely flush with decades of productivity-produced profits, QE, compound interest, unearned rents, etc. – and now it’s crystal clear to all that they have been holding out. Anyone who says that the US “can’t afford” to extend unemployment past August 1 obviously has no idea what they are talking about economically – only 30% of the 2020 CARES package went to individuals, whereas 45% went to bosses big (corporate) and small (the Small Business Administration). More importantly: that 30% was the first “people’s QE” ever, so the percentage of “bailout money” gone to individuals since 2008 is roughly just a few percent.

This, and not racism, is the actual psychological basis for the recent US rebellions and prolonged anger: Americans are instructed to first “think race”, so that is what they ran to protest first, but they will eventually reach this higher level of economic understanding. The cultural reality is that the average American has been denied economic understanding; that their media is forbidden to discuss it – how could they ever immediately talk about I discussed in that article? They can’t – not without some violent rebellion first.

When the economic reality of America’s hoarded wealth does get discussed in an election context it portends a sea change in US politics, and not just labor battles.

The corona overreaction has created a situation where socialist “reverse patronage” is finally coming to America, and I say “good”: the power to hold a political seat should absolutely be based on how much you give back to the people – what else are Westerners paying so much taxes for? (In Western capitalism they are paying so much to keep the 1% in butter brickle, of course.)

Is Donald the man of the moment? After 3.5 years the answer has been: LOL, no

Maybe the problem all along has been this: Donald J. Trump actually does have principles, but they are bad ones?

We were right to pose the question: Considering his many bankruptcies, TV reality idiocies, sexual assault boasts, philandering and pandering racism (this list was not in any particular order nor exhaustive) I think we all were quite fair to assume that Trump was always only in it for Trump, and therefore he could maybe be a malleable instrument of the people’s will as the egomaniac would want to remain in the limelight via re-election.

Isn’t that why the Deep State went after him so quickly – because he dared to echo the common American’s call to reverse in free trade and foreign militarism? They were worried that the American people would finally have an idiot puppet to enforce their will, whereas the Deep State was used to having their own idiot puppets like Barack Obama, Dubya Bush and Ronald Reagan.

That assumed malleability gave two genuine reasons Trump truly was the “hope candidate” in the pathetic 2016 election: 1) Hillary Clinton was a proven warmonger and Deep State cheerleader, and 2) Trump was the first genuinely outsider politician since Andrew Jackson (I imagine it has been 3.5+ years since you were reminded of this comparison). It’s critical to always recall that Trump was emphatically rejected by the Republican Party until the very last moment, only six months before the November 2016 vote. Trump is not a “Republican”, and it’s only to keep a firm grip of party duopoly (and their need for a target for their American rage) that Democrats play along with this Republican-aiding fiction of Trump’s “mainstream-ness”.

I don’t think it’s appreciated enough that all bets are off: due to corona I am literally not accepting any more bets on the presidential election, because who knows what on earth is going to happen as a result of enforcing a multi-month pause to the capitalism-imperialism machine?! Could be World War III, could be a new era of peace and brotherhood.

But what appears certain is that working people (and that obviously includes the temporarily unemployed) deserve free lunches. Finally getting them some money back from a tax system which they have paid into is such a radical idea in neoliberal America that whoever proposes it will surely sweep into the White House. It’s amazing Biden hasn’t jumped all over this already – if only to make sure Trump does not – but then we remember that he is the senior senator from Delaware, one of the world’s biggest tax havens.

Can Trump put aside his conservative fiscal principles (if he we now believe that he has actual “principles” other than self-interest) to realise that extending unemployment is a sure-fire way to win votes?

To reformulate more accurately: Will we see a revival of the Trump who was willing to buck the Republican Party, a stance which got him elected in the first place?

In my second article on the corona crisis I seized upon this very idea – Trump as Huey Long: Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? Of course I did: as a socialist I cling to the very un-radical but very un-American belief that government leaders can actually design their policies with the lower classes in mind. Of course as someone who does not believe in Western liberal (aristocratic) democracy I am not a Trump supporter, I was and am merely a journalist commenting on the news and musing as to how history could maybe turn out.

The PR campaign for Trump writes itself: Vote for the man who kept you off the street after corona, and now let’s really drain the swamp.

The perhaps fatal flaw in my Long comparison is this: Trump has never been the outsider economic populist his anti-free trade stance indicated. Hopes that Trump is a real populist – which fake-leftist Democrats, the 1% and the MSM fear with such horror – have certainly not been redeemed. After 3.5 years we still have no proof that Trump is going to use his bloated executive powers (normal in the 21st century Western “liberal strongman” balance of power conception) to aid the lower classes.

I have read of Chinese analysts who say, “Well, maybe if Trump can get re-elected then he can finally shed the war hawks – forced on him via the Russophobia campaign – and get back to the art of the political deal.” That’s half-based on the same premise: that somewhere a populist, patriotic, non-warmongering Trump is hiding.

However, the other half of this analysis is based around the same “hope” of 2016: it’s better to have a wild and crazy hope like Trump than to continue with the depressing certainty of what a “mainstream” US president will surely wreak. Militarist “pivots to China” after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, bombing many Muslim countries and other such phoniness….

If Trump wants to win re-election – which seems impossible for an incumbent amid such Herbert Hoover-like devastation – Trump has to do a 180 and finally embrace his inner FDR… if there is one? It’s too bad a Hail Mary miracle pass is all you can hope for in the hopelessly reactionary American system.

But that’s really true of all Western liberal (aristocratic) democracy: if Marine Le Pen wins in 2022 we’ll likely be hoping for a very same political-deathbed conversion in 2026.

Corona is ruining Trump, yes, but he’s forgetting two key things: 1) it’s ruining absolutely everyone else, and 2) no citizen of the US has more power to act as a saviour than he does, as he is still the president.

If Trump can’t see that a simple (and equitable, and democratic) way to win re-election is by pacifying a rightly panicked populace with a continued good dole then… maybe he really is just an idiot? Or he’s just another American politician whose secret/subconscious economic ideology is the mainstream corporate fascism.

You can’t blame anyone anywhere for hoping against hope that’s not true.

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

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

– March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? –

March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30,

2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20,

2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,

2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020

Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020

‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021

The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately – May 25, 2021

August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin – May 28, 2021

Corona proving the loser of the Cold War was both the USSR & the USA – May 30, 2021

Rebellions across the US: Why worry? Just ask Dr. Fauci to tell us what to do – June 2, 2021

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos – June 3, 2021

Why do Westerners assume all African-Americans are leftists? – June 5, 2020

The US as Sal’s Pizzeria: When to ‘Do The Right Thing’ is looting – June 6, 2020

The problem with the various ‘Fiat is all the problem!’ (FIATP) crowds – June 9, 2020

Politicisation of Great Lockdown result of ‘TINA’ economic ignorance & censorship – June 14, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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 the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

The Systemic Collapse of the US Society Has Begun

THE SAKER • JUNE 4, 2020 


Cops in DC

I have lived in the United States for a total of 24 years and I have witnessed many crises over this long period, but what is taking place today is truly unique and much more serious than any previous crisis I can recall. And to explain my point, I would like to begin by saying what I believe the riots we are seeing taking place in hundreds of US cities are not about. They are not about:

  1. Racism or “White privilege”
  2. Police violence
  3. Social alienation and despair
  4. Poverty
  5. Trump
  6. The liberals pouring fuel on social fires
  7. The infighting of the US elites/deep state

They are not about any of these because they encompass all of these issues, and more.

It is important to always keep in mind the distinction between the concepts of “cause” and “pretext”. And while it is true that all the factors listed above are real (at least to some degree, and without looking at the distinction between cause and effect), none of them are the true cause of what we are witnessing. At most, the above are pretexts, triggers if you want, but the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society.

The next thing which we must also keep in mind is that evidence of correlation is not evidence of causality. Take, for example, this article from CNN entitled “US black-white inequality in 6 stark charts” which completely conflates the two concepts and which includes the following sentence (stress added) “Those disparities exist because of a long history of policies that excluded and exploited black Americans, said Valerie Wilson, director of the program on race, ethnicity and the economy at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning group.” The word “because” clearly point to a causality, yet absolutely nothing in the article or data support this. The US media is chock-full of such conflations of correlation and causality, yet it is rarely denounced.

For a society, any society, to function a number of factors that make up the social contract need to be present. The exact list that make up these factors will depend on each individual country, but they would typically include some kind of social consensus, the acceptance by most people of the legitimacy of the government and its institutions, often a unifying ideology or, at least, common values, the presence of a stable middle-class, the reasonable hope for a functioning “social life”, educational institutions etc. Finally, and cynically, it always helps the ruling elites if they can provide enough circuses (TV) and bread (food) to most citizens. This is even true of so-called authoritarian/totalitarian societies which, contrary to the liberal myth, typically do enjoy the support of a large segment of the population (if only because these regimes are often more capable of providing for the basic needs of society).

Right now, I would argue that the US government has almost completely lost its ability to deliver any of those factors, or act to repair the broken social contract. In fact, what we can observe is the exact opposite: the US society is highly divided, as is the US ruling class (which is even more important). Not only that, but ever since the election of Trump, all the vociferous Trump-haters have been undermining the legitimacy not only of Trump himself, but of the political system which made his election possible. I have been saying that for years: by saying “not my President” the Trump-haters have de-legitimized not only Trump personally, but also de-legitimized the Executive branch as such.

This is an absolutely amazing phenomenon: while for almost four years Trump has been destroying the US Empire externally, Trump-haters spent the same four years destroying the US from the inside! If we look past the (largely fictional) differences between the Republicrats and the Demolicans we can see that they operate like a demolition tag-team of sorts and while they hate each other with a passion, they both contribute to bringing down both the Empire and the United States. For anybody who has studied dialectics this would be very predictable but, alas, dialectics are not taught anymore, hence the stunned “deer in the headlights” look on the faces of most people today.

Finally, it is pretty clear that for all its disclaimers about supporting only the “peaceful protestors” and its condemnation of the “out of town looters”, most of the US media (as well as the alt media) is completely unable to give a moral/ethical evaluation of what is taking place. What I mean by this is the following:

By repeating mantras about how “Black anger is legitimate” the US liberal media is basically placing a seal of approval on the violence and looting. After all, if Black “anger” is legitimate, and if “White privilege” is real, then it is quite “understandable” that this “anger” “sometimes” “boils over” and leads to “regrettable” “excesses”. Just take a look at this image of Biden kneeling down before a Black demonstrator:

Of course, Biden and his supporters will claim that Biden was only kneeling before a cute little girl and her peacefully protesting father, but when combined with the attacks against Trump’s “law and order” rhetoric by Biden and his supporters (including four former US Presidents!), I believe that these kinds of photo-ops are sending a very different message: keep “protesting” as we are on your side which, coming from a guy like Biden, the ultimate symbol of the 1%er elites and a perfect example of “White privilege”, just goes to show that the hypocrisy of US politicians really knows no bounds or limits.

I have to note here that these riots also represent a potential danger for both factions of the Uniparty in power: for the Demolicans the riots probably represent the very last chance to prevent a Trump-reelection, but if the Demolicans are too obvious in support of the riots, then it could backfire against them and turn all the frightened “law and order” types against them. But if they do not support the riots, then the Demolicans will alienate their core constituency (a hodgepodge of various “minorities” pushing their narrow identity-politics agenda). Likewise, for Trump this is an opportunity to show his “law and order” credentials and promise the White people and the relatively fewer Blacks of his base that he will protect them. However, if he is too direct about this and if Trump orders what might be seen by many as unfair or excessive force (of which there has been a lot almost everywhere), then he risks pushing many moderate Republicrats over the edge and side with the Demolicans (or, at least, withhold their vote). In other words, both factions of the Uniparty feel that the riots are both an opportunity and a threat and this is why neither faction can come out and speak truthfully about the real causes of the riots.

The exact same message of weakness and even submissive impotence is, I believe, sent every time a cop kneels when confronting even peaceful demonstrators like on this photo. While this might be intended as a message of compassion, and maybe even an apology, the only thing the rioters will see here is a powerful sign of surrender of the local authorities and I find that extremely dangerous.

Yes, there are plenty of racist, violent and otherwise incompetent cops in the USA. And yes, many of my Black friends reported feeling singled out and treated rudely by cops. But having extensively traveled the world, I want to assure you that the US most definitely does not have the worst cops out there. In fact, I believe that most US cops are decent people. Much more importantly, these cops are the “thin blue line” which protects society against criminals. And while I do believe that US policemen ought to be better educated, better trained, better led and better supervised, I also realize that there is also no short term alternative to them. It is all very fine to dream about educated, peaceful and non-racist cops, but if you remove the existing police force from the equation, there are no other alternatives (the national guard or the regular armed forces do not qualify and don’t have the correct training to deal with civilians anyway), especially in those states which have successfully killed the 2nd Amendment by means of what I call “death by a thousand regulatory cuts” (including NY and NJ).

Then there is what Solzhenitsyn called the “decline of courage” in the West: the vast majority US politicians have basically lost the ability to criticize Blacks, even when it is quite obvious that many of the current problems of the Black population of the US are created by Blacks themselves: I think of the truly vulgar, obscene and overall disgusting “rap culture” with which most Black youth are now “educated” in since early childhood or how many Black youth have been brainwashed into considering gang members and street prostitutes as the measure of what “looking cool” looks like in terms of clothes, language and overall behavior. I believe that it is pretty obvious to any person who lived in the US that Blacks are very often (mostly?) the cause of their own misery: I can tell you that my Jamaican and Sub-Saharan African friends (who live in the USA) have told me many times that a) they think that US Blacks have opportunities which they would never have in Africa or Jamaica and that b) local Blacks often resent Africans and Jamaican Blacks because the latter do so much better in the US society. I can also testify to the fact that I have seen a lot of anti-Latino feelings from US Blacks. As for how Blacks often feel about Asians, all we need to do is remember the LA riots in 1992. Finally, I do believe that many (most?) people in the US know that the strongest and most frequent form of racism in the US will be anti-White, especially from politically engaged Blacks.

I can personally attest that there is plenty of anti-White racism in the USA. Not only did I experience it myself (I lived in Washington, DC from 1986-1991), but it has been amply documented by people like Colin Flaherty whose books “White Girl Bleed A Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It” and “Knockout Game a Lie?: Awww, Hell No!” are excellent primers on Black on White violence and racism. Yet, anybody daring to suggest that US Blacks themselves are at least partially responsible for their own plight will immediately be labeled a “racist”.

To those of you who live outside the USA, I would recommend this simple thought experiment: just take 20-30 minutes and watch the footage of BOTH the “peaceful protests” AND “the violent riots” and look carefully not only at what the folks you see in the footage are wearing, but also how they speak, how they act, what they say and how they say it and ask yourself a simple question: would you want to hire any of these guys and pay them a decent salary? I very much doubt that many of you would. Frankly, most of these rioters are unhirable, and “racism” has nothing to do with this.

The fact is that what is sometimes called the “MTV culture” is, in reality, nothing else than a systematic glorification of criminal mayhem. Forget about rap hits like the famous “Fuk Da Police” or “Kill d’White People“, I would argue that 99% of rap is a glorification of all the worst problems of Black communities in the US (drugs, violence, promiscuous sex, objectification of women, alcoholism, glorification of criminal behavior in the streets and in prisons, etc.). Yet most US politicians seem to be paralyzed and feel the need to pretend like they are absolutely charmed by this so-called “Black culture”. But it is even worse than that.

Combine an emasculated ruling polity which does not dare to call a stone a stone and which promotes a (pretend) “culture” which glorifies violence and hatred against all non-criminals, including law abiding Black who are called “Toms” and who are also singled out as in this “beautiful” rap which includes the following “verses”: “Then you got niggas that’s blacker then the night, Running around town saying their best friends are white, Niggas like that are gonna hang up from a tree, And burn them up alive and let everybody see” (check out this “beautiful” rap here and for the full lyrics, a truly fascinating read, here). Next, throw in a completely dysfunctional state which is owned and operated by a tiny gang of obscenely rich narcissistic bastards (of all races, very much including Blacks), add to it a total absence of any real social opportunities, then toss in the COVID pandemic and the worst recession in US history with record high levels of unemployment even among those who would be employable (folks with dropped down pants, excessive tattoos, past felony convictions and a comprehensively non-professional attitude would not even get a job even if the economy was booming). Then, you get a relatively localized “spark” (like the murder of George Floyd by a gang of arrogant imbeciles in uniform) to start a fire which will instantly spread throughout the entire country, especially since there are so many other groups besides Blacks who want to “piggyback” their personal agenda on top of the one of Black Lives Matter or Antifa (I am, of course, referring to the real cornucopia of Trump-haters which never accepted his election).

Conclusion 1: this is not the US version of the Gilets Jaunes!

Some might be tempted to say that what we are seeing in the US is a US version of the French Gilets Jaunes. I assure you that it is not. For one thing, the Gilets Jaunes had a pretty clear political program. US rioters do not. Next, the Gilets Jaunes were mostly peaceful and much of the violence was instigated by the French police forces (including the use of fake rioters). While there are definitely peaceful protesters in the USA, neither BLM or AntiFa have truly denounced the riots (and why should they when the US media and politicians don’t have the courage to do that either?). Finally, the French ruling classes and media did not show the kind of “understanding” of the riots which did take place although Macron did pose with two “gangstas” in an effort to look “cool” (which failed):

Not only Biden, in Europe too…

Not only Biden, in Europe too…

Conclusion 2: this is not a revolution or a civil war

Some are now fantasizing that what we are witnessing today is either a revolution or a civil war. I believe that this is neither.

For a revolution to take place there must be a force capable of changing not the person(s) in power, but fundamentally change the regime, the polity, itself and replacing it with another one. Declaring that “Black lives matter” or looting stores or even demanding that the police be defunded, does not have this kind of potential capability.

For a civil war to take place you need at least two sides, each with a clearly identifiable political agenda. Since the real power in the US is hidden from the public awareness, there is no potential for a “the people vs the rulers” kind of civil war in the US. A “Right/Conservative vs Left/Liberal” civil war is also not possible, because both the US Right and the US Left are, in reality controlled by a deep state which is neither liberal nor conservative. Finally, a “rematch” between North and South is not possible either because the modern US is not really split along North/South lines anymore. In terms of geography, there is somewhat of a “Big cities vs rural USA” split, but it takes place in both the north and the south of the country. Instead, what we do observe is a social breakup of the US into “zones” some of which will be doing much better than others (big cities with a strong Black population fare the worst, mostly White small towns fare best; that is even true within the same state). In some of these zones, we will see more of this kind of acts of self-protection:

This kind of confrontations, even if they are not violent, are yet another illustration of the state being simply unable to take charge and protect the people.

Conclusion 3: this is an insurrection which has initiated the systemic collapse of the US society

I call what is happening today an insurrection: a violent revolt or rebellion against the authorities as such. When you burn a police precinct you do not “protest” against the actions of a few cops, no, what you are doing is expelling the cops from your neighborhood (I know that personally. In Argentina I lived in a suburb of Buenos-Aires in which the police station was attacked so often that it closed and was never rebuilt). And since in a civilized society the state should have the monopoly on the (legal) use of force, you are basically rejecting the authority and legitimacy of the state which operates the police force. This insurrection is most unlikely to remove Trump from office (hence it is not a coup or a revolution), but the anti-Trump faction of the ruling elites have now clearly adopted the strategy of “worse is better” simply because they realize that these riots are probably their last chance to blame it all on Trump (and Russia, why not?!) and maybe, just maybe, defeat him in November.

Right now all we see can only be called a mob-rule (technically referred to as an “ochlocracy“). But mobs, no matter how violent, rarely succeed in achieving tangible political results as they act ‘against something’ and not ‘for something’. This is why the real (behind-the-scenes) ruling classes need to instrumentalize this mob-induced insurrection to their political advantage. So far, I would say that neither the Demolicans nor the Republicrats have succeeded in this. But there is a very long and potentially extremely dangerous summer ahead and this might well change.

Irrespective of whether either faction will succeed in instrumentalizing the riots, what we are seeing today is a systemic collapse of the US society. That is not to say that the US will disappear, not at all. But just like it took the Soviet Union a decade or more to fully collapse (roughly from 1983-1993), it will take the US many years to fully crash. And just like a New Russia eventually began taking form in 1999, there will be a New US coming out of the current collapse. Total and final collapses are very rare, mostly they just initiate a lengthy and potentially very dangerous transformation process, the outcome of which is almost impossible to predict.

However, just as the Russian people had to stop kidding themselves with silly dreams about “democracy” and had to tackle the real problems of Russia, so will the people of the US have to find the courage to deal with their real problems, frontally and deliberately. If they fail to do that, the country will most likely simple further disintegrate into numerous and mutually hostile entities.

Time will tell.

US Protests: Why the uneasy silence?

US Protests: Why the uneasy silence?

June 04, 2020

by Ken Leslie for The Saker Blog

Note: I appreciate that some will find the essay controversial or even uncomfortable reading. I hope though that it can destroy the paralysing trope of Soros bad – everybody else good.

I’d very much like to thank The Saker for deeming this essay good enough to publish. Like many others, I have been engrossed in the mayhem unfolding in the United States over the last week or so. I have felt a sense of relief and hope in what I see as the beginning of the end of the United States as a fundamentally fascist quasi-empire whose criminal record in terms of destruction of innocent lives and countries after 1945 is unparalleled (according to some estimates, 30 million people and 56 countries respectively—highly likely more). More important, I have been heartened by the sense that a new, different America might be possible.

This is not the place to elaborate on why and how the USA arrived at a point at which, many people sense, a restoration of its former power and status is impossible. Here, I want to address something that I have found quite strange, namely, the muted if not completely inimical reaction in many alternative (particularly pro-Russian) media to this momentous event. Here, I will briefly comment on some of the relevant points but will avoid dealing with political and tactical reasons for such a reaction.

1. Why destroy a great country over one dead black man—he was passing a fake cheque!

The country as it is needs to end and be replaced by something else—hopefully better. It was built on a massive genocide of the indigenous human and buffalo populations (despite what some revisionists claim). It was built on the sweat of the black, Chinese and other sources of slave or near-slave labour. It achieved its acme at a time when the rest of the world was laid low by the ravages of war. Since the end of WWII, it has leveraged the disgusting, anti-Christian and anti-human myth of exceptionality to loot, pillage, destroy, and bully innumerable countries and retard progress towards a more equitable and just society. This is not even contentious.

Drunk on anti-communism, Russophobia and a completely undeserved superiority complex, successive US governments have also used this pernicious myth (remember the CIA cut-out Obama?) to anaesthetise their population to the fact that the Potemkin village of American supremacy was starting to crumble as early as 1968. The anaesthetic started to wear off in the early 2000s and now we are finally witnessing the moment of full awakening. The ultimate irony of the situation lies in the fact that great American “patriots” strutting on Twitter are quiet about the fact that their own cherished City on the Hill was born from a bloody rebellion, rioting and destruction—of continental proportions.

This is the main reason for the current confusion—people as thoroughly zombified as an average adult American are utterly incapable of comprehending their predicament and reflecting critically in order to affect positive change. Sure, there will be token gestures of “taking a knee” with protesters, sops to the black community etc. None of this however can reverse the rapid descent into Hades of a country built on iniquity. The pain of the black American is real. Still inchoate despite a number of attempts to articulate it intellectually, it reflects a genuine sense of grievance and desperation. The experience of slavery to one side, it is the constant and uninterrupted campaign by the right-wing whites to behead the black leadership and strangle any genuine attempts by the black community to advance—politically, economically or culturally—that has found its expression in an emotive call to protest.

Sadly, some people think of the black Americans as the lowest of the low. According to this view, they are hardly human and their low caste status is justified because of their low IQ, inherent laziness, affinity for violence, promiscuity etc. Never once do these superior human beings stop to consider that the causality might be reversed—that it is precisely because of the inhuman treatment, cruel uprooting and universal contempt of generations of African Americans that have given rise to the criminality. If I were treated by the police and white people the way that many black Americans are treated, I would rob, loot and kill too. This is not to say that white people are irredeemably racist. As the protests demonstrate, younger generations will not stand for racism of any kind.

It is unthinkable for me to view anybody, let alone an African-American, as a sub-human precisely because my people were enslaved for 400 years and as recently as 1940s, my “race” was considered Untermenschen, not worthy of life or any human consideration. In addition, I do believe in the precepts of Jesus Christ. This makes it easy for me to empathise with black Americans despite the constant poisoning of the well by various COINTELPRO machinations. Until now, there has often been more white outrage on the internet over the abuse of animals than over the deaths of black people. The narratives such as “they shouldn’t have resisted arrest” are no longer allowable and rightly so. This is the end of that argument, no ifs, no buts. Unless we are able to recognise our own exceptionalism, we can never claim to be fully human (or Christian). If you were ever thought of as “lower”, you have no right to look down. And especially if you weren’t! You can’t serve God and Mammon both. I am no better than anybody else, just aware of my own darkness.

2. Raise the bridge, Soros at the gates!

Apart from racial insensitivity, that insidious poison of the mind, another reason for the muted reaction must be the fear conditioned by the alt-right that Soros, Illuminati, freemasons, satanic Bolsheviks, Antifa, Frankfurt School etc. are behind the riots. The reticence is understandable—the malevolent speculator Soros is indeed one of the major criminals of the modern era and it is possible that some of this activity is being sponsored by his organisation. However, this has no bearing on the proper understanding of the situation. Even if all of this were true, and it isn’t, so what? Does it mean that we are prepared indefinitely to endure the whims of a belligerent right-wing regime which has taken the world to the brink of a world war (see e.g. the demented pencil-necked Tom Cotton baying for Chinese and black blood)? If nothing else, the protests have taken away what little domestic and international credibility America had and have crippled its soft power beyond repair. Is this such a bad thing?

The hypocrisy of the current US’s position is delightful. After accusing and sanctioning Russia and China for a long list of non-existent crimes, it has exposed itself for what it is—a shaky plywood fortress built on a land cursed by its extinguished owners. Why not celebrate? If Soros is funding the “left”, do you know who is funding the “right”, namely the ultramontane Bannonites, the crazed Evangelicals and assorted right-wing Zionist cabals? What about Jabba the Hutt Adelson? Has Trump’s election fund of over $100 million dollars (five times larger than Obama’s) come solely from the contributions of patriotic Americans? Perhaps, but I wouldn’t bet on it. The idea that the alt-right regime is in any sense “good” is beyond naïve.

Does the fact that nefarious agents always co-opt any meaningful human activity mean that we must forego the fight against obvious injustice? What’s wrong with giving America a taste of the Bolshevik medicine? If the “patriots” are anything like the fat, bearded or steroid-soaked rednecks with AR-15s I see daily on the internet, more power to Soros (and I have been following his criminal activity since the mid-90s). It could be argued that the alt-right has turned Soros into the ultimate scarecrow that successfully distracts from their own evil. If the reason for silence has to do with Russia, again, what is the problem? Russia has gone through three West-inspired tragedies in less than 100 years. If it has not learned the lessons of history, our support for Trump will not help much.

Before I continue, let me emphasise that US Democrats are as far from a true “left” as it is possible to get. The Overton window of the American political discourse has shifted to the right so much that known warmongering murderers and racists such as Hillary Clinton (“black super thugs”) are considered to be of the left. As discussed on this site ad nauseam, the US political scene is a parasitical corporatist duopoly. I am not interested in the flavour of this travesty (patronisingly liberal or patriotic and God-fearing) because both are massive cons specifically promulgated to give the plebs a sense of hope. This is now unravelling and with it, the capacity of the dark empire to harm the world. Why are we not raising a glass? Does anybody here think that the narcissistic racketeer Trump who has sanctioned Russia and China to death, incited a war against Iran and Venezuela, and is now threatening to move nuclear weapons to Poland, A MAN OF PEACE? The time has come to shed such illusions and acknowledge that we were wrong. The most charitable explanation for his failure is that compelled to renege on his campaign promises by the advanced imperial decay, Trump has accelerated the destruction of the fabric of the US society (some say deliberately) and exposed its dark racist and imperialist underbelly. Which brings me to the next point.

4. We must all cheer for Team Murrica!

The fact that the majority of US citizens are completely in thrall of the grand lie, I take for granted. What is more puzzling and troubling is the sense that the desperate and dirty struggle of the US regime to save itself from the justifiable wrath of its own people is somehow our struggle. For over 70 years we have been conditioned to think of America as a unique and irreplaceable Shangri-La whose destiny touches us all. We have spent a large amount of time and best years of our youth in that America of the mind that includes many great things but is ultimately a chimera built on lies with a single intent—to perpetuate the empire without having to resort to the force of arms.

Those living in the USA will say—oh, but it’s not like that, this place is really great. To that I reply—it might have been once and briefly but the unresolved internal contradictions (hello Karl) have sucked out its elan vital, destroyed its cohesion and sense of purpose. Wake up! The world is tired of the bullying, killing and racketeering perpetrated by the trillionaire parasites infesting the Wall Street, the Silicon Valley and the military-industrial-intelligence complex—the three fasciae.

Whether their chosen puppet is Trump or Biden is less important, if at all. For the United States to have any future as a coherent entity, it must first renounce its evil imperialist present and revisit some of the more humane and peaceful modes of existence based on peaceful co-existence. The first people that spring to mind here are Franklin Roosevelt and Henry Wallace (so hated by the “patriots”) but also a number of black intellectuals who have pondered this difficult question. The first step though is the eradication of the deep systemic racism which still blights the landscape. I have no doubt that African Americans deserve better—and this does not mean money but genuine respect. And, what is equally important, in the coming together of the young people of different races, I see a germ of a more hopeful future. Which leads to…

5. Those soy-fed white SJWs have no idea how privileged they are!

A typical reaction to the unprecedented participation of white youth in the protests is met with a lazy alt-right trope: pampered middle-class millenials and Generation Xers are playing at class struggle blah blah. Yet, the response has been so overwhelming that it cannot be explained away by empty generalisations. The young generation in America and the West feels cheated. Decades of lies and empty promises have left most young people helpless and hopeless. They are drowning in student loan debt and mostly have no hope of owning a home or holding a steady job. The typical right-wing injunctions to “get on your bike” or “learn to code” are largely meaningless when you realise that few privileged hustlers who produce nothing useful hold around 70% of the country’s wealth.

Why should a young person work their entire life for slightly more than a pittance in order to increase the profits of a malignant corporation? Why enter the corporate rat race when one can be happy with very little provided the society is based on humane values? Why should they spend years learning a skill or getting a degree only to be immediately removed from the queue and replaced by the cheaper H1b import? I would argue that the young are much smarter than we old f***s give them credit for. They understand the fundamental injustice of the present system and refuse to perpetuate it. Rather than a sign of stupidity, it is a mature and largely rational estimate of the situation. They cannot be lulled into obedience by the slimy appeals to freedom, family and second amendment issued daily by warmongering lechers and paedophiles hiding behind God and homeland.

It is this sense of hopelessness that has awakened empathy for the suffering of others. Yes, some might be selfish and deluded but even in their awkward attempts to embrace their black brothers and sisters, they are saying a loud NO to the system that has betrayed them all. They reject the divisive rhetoric of the fake left (race before class) and fascist right (implicit segregation, racial inequality). Instead of criticising them, it might be a good idea for us to move aside and hope that they are capable of rectifying the errors of their ancestors.

Oh, and FBI has just stated that there has been no Antifa presence at the protests so far.

Ken Leslie is an independent researcher based in the UK with some experience in post WWII history and geopolitics

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