The Secret Agenda of the World Bank and IMF

The Secret Agenda of the World Bank and IMF
Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.Peter is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals such as Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO) and more. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.
Peter is also co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020) Peter

November 17, 2020

by Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) work hand in glove – smoothly. Not only are they regularly lending huge sums of money to horror regimes around the world, but they blackmail poor nations into accepting draconian conditions imposed by the west.

In other words, the WB and the IMF are guilty of the most atrocious human rights abuses.

You couldn’t tell, when you read above the entrance of the World Bank the noble phrase, “Our Dream is World Free of Poverty”.

To this hypocrisy I can only add, ”…And we make sure it will just remain a dream.” This says both, the lie and the criminal nature of the two International Financial Institutions, created under the Charter of the United Nations, but instigated by the United States.

The front of these institutions is brilliant. What meets the eye, are investments in social infrastructure, in schools, health systems, basic needs like drinking water, sanitation – even environmental protection – over all “Poverty Alleviation”, i.e. A World Free of Poverty. But how fake this is today and was already in the 1970’s and 1980’s is astounding. Gradually people are opening their eyes to an abject reality, of exploitation and coercion and outright blackmail. And that, under the auspices of the United Nations. What does it tell you about the UN system? In what hands are the UN? – The world organization was created in San Francisco, California, on 24 October 1945, just after WWII, by 51 nations, committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.

The UN replaced the League of Nations which was part of the Peace Agreement after WWI, the Treaty of Versailles. It became effective on 10 January 1920, was headquartered in Geneva Switzerland, with the purpose of disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries, through negotiation diplomacy and improving global welfare. In hindsight it is easy to see that the entire UN system was set up as a hypocritical farce, making people believe that their mighty leaders only wanted peace. These might leaders were all westerners; the same that less than 20 years after the creation of the noble League of Nations, started World War II.

——-
This little introduction provides the context for what was eventually to become the UN-backed outgrowth for global theft, for impoverishing nations, around the world, for exploitation of people, for human rights abuses and for shoveling huge amounts of assets from the bottom, from the people, to the oligarchy, the ever-smaller corporate elite – the so-called Bretton Woods Institutions.

In July 1944 more than 700 delegates of 44 Allied Nations (allied with the winners of WWII) met at the Mount Washington Hotel, situated in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, to regulate the international monetary and financial order after WWII. Let’s be sure, this conference was carried out under the auspices of the United States, the self-declared winner of WWII, and from now on forward the master over the financial order of the world – which was not immediately visible, an agenda hidden in plain sight.

The IMF was officially created to ‘regulate’ the wester, so-called convertible currencies, those that subscribed to apply the rules of the new gold standard, i.e. US$ 35 / Troy Ounce (about 31.1 grams). Note that the gold standard, although applicable equally to 44 allied nations was linked to the price of gold nominated in US dollars, not based on a basket of the value of the 44 national currencies. This already was enough reason to question the future system. And how it will play out. But nobody questioned the arrangement. Hard to believe though that of all these national economists, none dared question the treacherous nature of the gold-standard set-up.

The World Bank, or the Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), was officially set up to administer the Marshall Plan for the Reconstruction of war-destroyed Europe. The Marshall Plan was a donation by the United Stated and was named for U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall, who proposed it in 1947. The plan gave $13.2 billion in foreign aid to European countries that had been devastated physically and economically by World War II. It was to be implemented from 1948 to 1952 which of course was much too short a time, and stretched into the early 1960s. In today’s terms the Marshall plan would be worth about 10 time more, or some US$ 135 billion.

The Marshall Plan was and still is a Revolving Fund, paid back by the countries in question, so that it could be relent. The Marshall Plan money was lent out multiple times and was therefore very effective. The European counterpart to the World Bank-administered Marshall Fund was a newly to be created bank set up under the German Ministry of Finance, The German Bank for Reconstruction and Development (KfW – German acronym for Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau”).

KfW, as the World Bank’s European counterpart still exists and dedicates itself mostly to development projects in the Global South, often in cooperation with the World Bank. Today there is still a special Department within KfW that deals exclusively with Marshall Plan Fund money. These funds are used for lending to poor southern regions in Europe, and also to prop up Eastern European economies, and they were used especially to integrate former East-Germany into today’s “Grand Germany”.

Two elements of the Marshall Plan are particularly striking and noteworthy. First, the reconstruction plan created a bind, a dependence between the US and Europe, the very Europe that was largely destroyed by the western allied forces, while basically WWII was largely won by the Soviet Union, the huge sacrifices of the USSR – with an estimated 25 to 30 million deaths. So, the Marshall Plan was also designed as a shield against communist Russia, i.e. the USSR.

While officially the Soviet Union was an ally of the western powers, US, UK, and France, in reality the communist USSR was an arch-enemy of the west, especially the United States. With the Marshall Plan money, the US bought Europe’s alliance, a dependence that has not ended to this day. The ensuing Cold War against the Soviet Union – also all based on flagrant lies, was direct testimony for another western propaganda farce – which to this day, most Europeans haven’t grasped yet.

Second, The US imposition of a US-dollar based reconstruction fund, was not only creating a European dollar dependence, but was also laying the ground work for a singular currency, eventually to invade Europe – what we know today, has become the Euro. The Euro is nothing but the foster child of the dollar, as it was created under the same image as the US-dollar – it is a fiat currency, backed by nothing. The United Europe, or now called the European Union – was never really a union. It was never a European idea, but put forward by US Secret Services in disguise of a few treacherous European honchos. And every attempt to create a United Europe, a European Federation, with a European Constitution, similar to the United States, was bitterly sabotaged by the US, mostly through the US mole in the EU, namely the UK.

The US didn’t want a strong Europe, both economically and possibly over time also militarily (pop. EU 450 million, vs US pop. 330 million; 2019 EU GDP US$ 20.3 trillion equivalent, vs US GDP US$ 21.4 trillion. Most economists would agree that a common currency for a loose group of countries has no future, is not sustainable. In comes the European Central Bank (ECB), also a creation inspired by the FED. The ECB has really no Central Bank function. It is rater a watch dog. Because each EU member country has still her own Central Bank, though with a drastically reduced sovereignty.

Out of the currently 27 EU members only 19 are part of the Euro-zone. Those countries not part of the Eurozone, i.e. Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Sweden – and more, have preserved their sovereign financial policy and do not depend on the ECB. This means, had Greece opted out of the Eurozone when they were hit with the 2008 / 2009 manufactured “crisis”, Greece would now be well on her way to full recovery. They would not have been subject to the whims and dictate of the IMF, the infamous troika, European Commission (EC), ECB and IMF, but could have chosen to arrange their debt internally, as most debt was internal debt, no need to borrow from abroad.

In a 2015 bailout referendum, the Greek population voted overwhelmingly against the bailout, meaning against the new gigantic debt. However, the then Greek President Tsipras, went ahead as if the referendum had never taken place and approved the huge bailout despite almost 70% of the popular vote against it.

This is a clear indication of fraud, that no fair play was going on. Tsipras and / or his families may have been coerced to accept the bailout – or else. We may never know, the true reason why Tsipras sold his people, the wellbeing of the Greek people to the oligarchs behind the IMF and World Bank – and put them into abject misery, with the highest unemployment in Europe, rampant poverty and skyrocketing suicide rates.

Greece may serve as an example on how other EU countries may fare if they don’t “behave” – meaning adhere to the unwritten golden rules of obedience to the international money masters.

This is scary.

——-
And now, in these times of covid, it is relatively easy. Poor countries, particularly in the Global South, already indebted by the plandemic, are increasing their foreign debt in order to provide their populations with basic needs. Or so they make you believe. Much of the debt accumulated by developing countries is domestic or internal debt, like the debt of the Global North. It doesn’t really need foreign lending institutions to wipe out local debt. Or have you seen one of the rich Global North countries borrowing from the IMF or the World Bank to master their debt? – Hardly.

So why would the Global South fall for it? Part corruption, part coercion, and partly direct blackmail. – Yes, blackmail, one of the international biggest crimes imaginable, being committed by the foremost international UN-chartered financial institutions, the WB and the IMF.

For example, the whole world is wondering how come that an invisible enemy, a corona virus hit all 193 UN member countries at once, so that Dr. Tedros, Director General of WHO, declares on 11 March a pandemic – no reason whatsoever since there were only 4,617 cases globally – but the planned result was a total worldwide lockdown on 16 March 2020. No exceptions. There were some countries who didn’t take it so seriously, like Brazil, Sweden, Belarus, some African countries, like Madagascar and Tanzania – developed their own rules and realized that wearing masks did more harm than good, and social distancing would destroy the social fabric of their cultures and future generations.

But the satanic deep dark state didn’t want anything to do with “independent” countries. They all had to follow the dictate from way above, from the Gates, Rockefellers, Soroses, et al elite, soon to be reinforced by Klaus Schwab, serving as the chief henchman of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Suddenly, you see in Brazil, a drastic surge in new “cases”, no questions asked, massive testing, no matter that the infamous PCR tests are worthless according to most serious scientists (only sold and corrupted scientists, those paid by the national authorities, would still insist on the RT-PCR tests). Bolsonaro gets sick with the virus and the death count increases exponentially – as the Brazilian economy falls apart.

Coincidence?

In comes the World Bank and / or the IMF, offering massive help mostly debt relief, either as grant or as low interest loans. But with massive strings attached: you must follow the rules laid out by WHO, you must follow the rules on testing on vaccination, mandatary vaccination – if you conform to these and other country-specific rules, like letting western corporations tap your natural resources – you may receive, WB and IMF assistance.

Already in May 2020 the World Bank Group announced its emergency operations to fight COVID-19 had already reached 100 developing countries – home to 70% of the world’s population with lending of US$ 160 billion-plus. This means, by today, 6 months later and in the midst of the “Second Wave” the number of countries and the number of loans or “relief’ grants must have increased exponentially, having reached close to the 193 UN member countries. Which explains how all, literally all countries, even the most objecting African countries, like Madagascar and Tanzania, among the poorest of the poor, have succumbed to the coercion or blackmail of the infamous Bretton Woods Institutions.

These institutions have no quarrels in generating dollars, as the dollar is fiat money, not backed by any economy – but can be produced literally from hot air and lent to poor countries, either as debt or as grant. These countries, henceforth and for pressure of the international financial institutions will forever become dependent on the western masters of salvation. Covid-19 is the perfect tool for the financial markets to shovel assets from the bottom to the top.

In order to maximize the concentration of the riches on top, maybe one or two or even three new covid waves may be necessary. That’s all planned, The WEF has already foreseen the coming scenarios, by its tyrannical book “Covid-19 – The Great Reset”. It’s all laid out. And our western intellectuals read it, analyze it, criticize it, but we do not shred it apart – we let it stand, and watch how the word moves in the Reset direction. And the plan is dutifully executed by the World Bank and the IMF – all under the guise of doing good for the world.

What’s different from the World Bank and IMF’s role before the covid plandemic? – Nothing. Just the cause for exploitation, indebtment, enslavement. When covid came along it became easy. Before then and up to the end of 2019, developing countries, mostly rich in natural resources of the kind the west covets, oil, gold, copper and other minerals, such as rare earths, would be approached by the WB, the IMF or both.

They could receive debt relief, so-called structural adjustment loans, no matter whether or not they really needed such debt. Today these loans come in all forms, shapes and colors, literally like color-revolutions, for instance, often as budget support operations – I simply call then blank checks – nobody controls what’s happening with the money. However, the countries have to restructure their economies, rationalizing their public services, privatizing water, education, health services, electricity, highways, railroads – and granting foreign concessions for the exploitation of natural resources.

Most of this fraud – fraud on “robbing” national resources, passes unseen by the public at large, but countries become increasingly dependent on the western paymasters – peoples’ and institutional sovereignty is gone. There is always a corrupter and a corruptee. Unfortunately, they are still omni-present in the Global South. Often, for a chunk of money, the countries are forced to vote with the US for or against certain UN resolutions which are of interest to the US. Here we go – the corrupt system of the UN.

And of course, when the two Bretton Woods organizations were created in 1944, the voting system decided is not one country, one vote as in theory it is in the UN, but the US has an absolute veto right in both organizations. Their voting rights are calculated in function of their capital contribution which derives from a complex formula, based on GDP and other economic indicators. In both institutions the US voting right and also veto right is about 17%. Both institutions have 189 member countries.
—–

Covid has laid bare, if it wasn’t already before, how these “official” international, UN-chartered Bretton Woods financial institutions are fully integrated in the UN system – in which most of the countries still trust, maybe for lack of anything better.

Question, however: What is better, a hypocritical corrupt system that provides the “appearance”, or the abolition of a dystopian system and the courage to create a new one, under new democratic circumstances and with sovereign rights by each participating country?

Nuking Itself… How Russophobia Led the U.S. to Bomb its Own Citizens

Finian Cunningham October 26, 2020

Generations of countless Americans have been contaminated and sickened by the first-ever atomic bomb test. The Trinity explosion on July 16, 1945, was carried out in the New Mexico desert. Three weeks later, two A-bombs were dropped on Japan, killing up to 200,000 people.

But the number of American victims caused by radiation fallout from the Trinity test is reckoned to be also imponderably high. The American government conducted the explosion in secret, unbeknownst to the population of New Mexico. That was in spite of warnings from Manhattan Project scientists of a high risk to public health from the extreme radiation. Without a warning to the public and because of a cover-up about the event, countless Americans were exposed to carcinogenic radiation.

In a recent interview with Karl Grossman, New Mexican resident Tina Cordova tells how her community has been campaigning for decades to find out the truth behind the Trinity test and to seek reparations from the federal government. Incredibly, there has never been a federal investigation into establishing the human health impact from that atomic test explosion. But Cordova and her community estimate that the number is huge. She is the fourth generation in her family to have suffered from cancer. Countless others tell of high numbers of infant mortality over the decades and other morbidities that stretch across the entire state of New Mexico.

A combination of factors conspired to wreak a heavy toll on the people of New Mexico. It is one of the poorest states in the U.S., with large numbers of native Americans and Latinos. In selecting the test site for the A-bomb, there was a tacit racism among planners in Washington who viewed the area and its population as expendable. By not warning the people of the explosion, local populations were given no chance to take protective measures such as evacuation or avoiding consumption of contaminated water and food produced from the soil. The people were deceived into continuing their livelihoods as normal following the explosion, drinking contaminated water and breathing radioactive air. The New York Times was instrumental in the cover-up, issuing reports that the explosion was due to a conventional munitions incident. It was only after the horrific bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 an 9 that the people of New Mexico realized what had really happened at the Trinity site. Even then they were kept in the dark by Washington stonewalling about the event for decades to come.

Still another factor that maximized the damage on public health was the rush by the American government to weaponize the A-bomb technology. As Karl Grossman points out, the rationale behind the Manhattan Project was said to be to preempt Nazi Germany. But by July 1945, Nazi Germany was defeated and imperial Japan was on its knees. The inescapable implication is that President Harry Truman and the Pentagon wanted to display the new awesome weapon of mass destruction to the Soviet Union in what would be a chilling demarcation of the postwar globe according to American power.

Truman eagerly awaited the news of the Trinity test while attending the Potsdam allies’ conference in Germany along with Britain’s Winston Churchill and the Soviet Union’s Josef Stalin. On receiving news of the successful explosion, Truman immediately adopted a more strident attitude towards Stalin. In that moment, a new Cold War was born.

Thus, it was Russophobia among the American ruling class that rushed the Trinity A-bomb explosion, even though that event would lead to generations of American citizens stricken with fatal diseases from the fallout. In a very real and frightening way, the U.S. rulers took a decision to “nuke” their own people such was their obsession with confronting the Soviet Union.

Subsequent U.S. nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s was conducted in remote areas of Nevada and in the Pacific Ocean. Those tests also took a deadly toll on the environment and local populations on Pacific islands.

But the recklessness and callous conditions of the New Mexico test is unparalleled in the toxic exposure it imposed on unsuspecting populations.

The stone-cold willingness to, in effect, bomb its own citizens by the federal government is a shuddering testimony as to the nefarious lengths the planners in Washington were prepared to go in their obsessive Russophobia.

When we survey the relentless fixation today in Washington and the U.S. political class with blaming Russia for all sorts of alleged malign intent, one can easily discern that this endemic Russophobia among America’s rulers has not waned.

The barbarity of what happened in New Mexico 75 years ago is alive and well. If it can be inflicted without apology on American citizens, then what does that say about the danger to the rest of the world?

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SUNNIS AND SHIITES AGREE IN LEBANON

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

Source

BY GABRIEL ROCKHILL

“The U.S. has established itself as the mortal enemy of all people’s government, all scientific-socialist mobilization of consciousness everywhere on the globe, all anti-imperialist activity on earth.”

– George Jackson

One of the founding myths of the contemporary Western European and American world is that fascism was defeated in WWII by liberal democracies, and particularly by the United States. With the subsequent Nuremburg trials and the patient construction of a liberal world order, a bulwark was erected—in fits and starts, and with the constant threat of regression—against fascism and its evil twin in the East. American culture industries have rehearsed this narrative ad nauseum, brewing it into a saccharine ideological Kool-Aid and piping it into every household, shack and street corner with a TV or smartphone, tirelessly juxtaposing the supreme evil of Nazism to the freedom and prosperity of liberal democracy.

The material record suggests, however, that this narrative is actually based on a false antagonism, and that a paradigm shift is necessary in order to understand the history of actually existing liberalism and fascism. The latter, as we shall see, far from being eradicated at the end of WWII, was actually repurposed, or rather redeployed, to serve its primary historical function: to destroy godless communism and its threat to the capitalist civilizing mission. Since the colonial projects of Hitler and Mussolini had become so brazen and erratic, as they shifted from playing more or less by the liberal rules of the game to openly breaking them and then running amok, it was understood that the best way to construct the fascist international was to do so under liberal cover, meaning through clandestine operations that maintained a liberal façade. While this probably sounds like hyperbole to those whose understanding of history has been formatted by bourgeois social science, which focuses almost exclusively on visible government and the aforementioned liberal cover, the history of the invisible government of the national security apparatus suggests that fascism, far from being defeated in WWII, was successfully internationalized.

The Architects of the Fascist International

When the United States entered WWII, the future head of the CIA, Allen Dulles, bemoaned that his country was fighting the wrong enemy. The Nazis, as he explained, were pro-capitalist Aryan Christians, whereas the true enemy was godless communism and its resolute anti-capitalism. After all, the U.S. had, only some 20 years prior, been part of a massive military intervention in the U.S.S.R., when fourteen capitalist countries sought—in the words of Winston Churchill—to “strangle the Bolshevik baby in its crib.” Dulles understood, like many of his colleagues in the U.S. government, that what would later become known as the Cold War was actually the old war, as Michael Parenti has convincingly argued: the one they had been fighting against communism since its inception.

Towards the end of WWII, General Karl Wolff, formerly Himmler’s right-hand man, went to see Allen Dulles in Zurich, where he was working for the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor organization to the CIA. Wolff knew that the war was lost, and he wanted to avoid being brought to justice. Dulles, for his part, wanted the Nazis in Italy under Wolff’s command to lay down their arms against the allies and help the Americans in their fight against communism. Wolff, who was the highest-ranking SS officer to survive the war, offered Dulles the promise of developing, with his Nazi team, an intelligence network against Stalin. It was agreed that the general who had played a central role in overseeing the Nazi’s genocidal machine, and who expressed his “special joy” when he secured freight trains to send 5,000 Jews a day to Treblinka, would be protected by the future director of the CIA, who helped him avoid the Nuremberg trials.

Wolff was very far from being the only senior Nazi official protected and rehabilitated by the OSS-CIA. The case of Reinhard Gehlen is particularly telling. This general in the Third Reich had been in charge of Fremde Heere Ost, the Nazi intelligence service directed against the Soviets. After the war, he was recruited by the OSS-CIA and met with all of the major architects of the postwar National Security State: Allen Dulles, William Donovan, Frank Wisner, President Truman. He was then appointed to head the first German intelligence service after the war, and he proceeded to employ many of his Nazi collaborators. The Gehlen Organization, as it was known, would become the nucleus of the German intelligence service. It is unclear how many war criminals this decorated Nazi hired, but Eric Lichtblau estimates that some four thousand Nazi agents were integrated into the network overseen by the American spy agency. With an annual funding of half a million dollars from the CIA in the early years after the war, Gehlen and his strong men were able to act with impunity. Yvonnick Denoël explained this turnaround with remarkable clarity: “It is hard to understand that, as early as 1945, the army and the US intelligence services recruited without qualms former Nazi criminals. The equation was, however, very simple at the time: the United States had just defeated the Nazis with the help of the Soviets. They henceforth planned to defeat the Soviets with the help of former Nazis.”

The situation was similar in Italy because Dulles’ agreement with Wolff was part of a larger undertaking, called Operation Sunrise, which mobilized Nazis and fascists to end the Second World War in Italy (and begin the Third World War across the globe). Dulles worked hand in hand with the Agency’s future chief counterintelligence officer, James Angleton, who was then stationed by the OSS in Italy. These two men, who would become two of the most powerful political actors of the twentieth century, showed what they were capable of in this close collaboration between the American intelligence services, the Nazis and the fascists. Angleton, on his end, recruited fascists to end the war in Italy so as to minimize the power of the communists. Valerio Borghese was one of his key contacts because this hardline fascist in Mussolini’s regime was ready to serve the Americans in the anti-communist struggle, and he became one of the international figureheads for postwar fascism. Angleton had directly saved him from the hands of the communists, and the man known as the Black Prince was given the opportunity to continue the war against the radical Left under a new boss: the CIA.

Once the war was over, Senior U.S. intelligence officials, including Dulles, Wisner and Carmel Offie, “worked to ensure that denazification only had a limited scope,” according to Frédéric Charpier: “Generals, senior officials, policemen, industrialists, lawyers, economists, diplomats, scholars and real war criminals were spared and put back in their positions.” The man in charge of the Marshall Plan in Germany, for instance, was a former adviser to Hermann Göring, the commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe (air force). Dulles drafted a list of high functionaries of the Nazi state to be protected and passed off as opponents to Hitler. The OSS-CIA proceeded to rebuild the administrative states in Germany and Italy with their anti-communist allies.

Eric Lichtblau estimates that more than 10,000 Nazis were able to immigrate to the United States in the post-war period (at least 700 official members of the Nazi party had been allowed into the U.S. in the 1930s, while Jewish refugees were being turned away). In addition to a few hundred German spies and thousands of SS personnel, Operation Paperclip, which began in May 1945, brought at least 1,600 Nazi scientists to the U.S. with their families. This undertaking was aimed at recovering the great minds of the Nazi war machine and putting their research on rockets, aviation, biological and chemical weapons, and so forth, in the service of the American empire. The Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was set up specifically to recruit Nazis and find them positions in research centers, the government, the army, the intelligence services or universities (at least 14 universities participated, including Cornell, Yale and MIT).

Although the program officially excluded ardent Nazis, at least at the beginning, in actual fact it allowed for the immigration of chemists from IG Farben (which had supplied the deadly gases used in mass exterminations), scientists who had used slaves in concentration camps to make weapons, and doctors who had participated in hideous experiments on Jews, Roma, communists, homosexuals and other prisoners of war. These scientists, who were described by an official in the State Department opposed to Paperclip as “Hitler’s angels of death,” were received with open arms in the land of the free. They were given comfortable accommodations, a laboratory with assistants and the promise of citizenship if their work bore fruit. They went on to conduct research that has been used in the manufacturing of ballistic missiles, sarin gas cluster bombs, and the weaponization of the bubonic plague.

The CIA also collaborated with MI6 to set up secret anti-communist armies in every country in Western Europe. On the pretext of a potential invasion by the Red Army, the idea was to train and equip networks of illegal stay-behind soldiers, who would remain behind enemy lines if the Russians moved westward. They would thus be activated in the newly occupied territory and charged with missions of exfiltration, espionage, sabotage, propaganda, subversion and combat. The two agencies worked with NATO and the intelligence services of many Western European countries to build this vast sub-rosa organization, establish numerous weapons and ammunition caches, and equip their soldiers of the shadows with everything they needed. To do this, they recruited Nazis, fascists, collaborationists and other anti-communist members of the extreme Right. The numbers vary according to the country, but they are estimated between a few dozen and several hundred, or even a few thousand, per country. According to a report from the television program Retour aux sources, there were 50 stay-behind network units in Norway, 150 in Germany, more than 600 in Italy and 3,000 in France.

These trained militants would later be mobilized to commit or coordinate terrorist attacks against the civilian population, which were then blamed on the communists in order to justify ‘law and order’ crackdowns. According to the official numbers in Italy, where this strategy of tension was particularly intense, there were 14,591 politically motivated acts of violence between 1969 and 1987, which killed 491 people and injured 1,181. Vincenzo Vinciguerra, a member of the far-right group Ordine Nuovo and the perpetrator of the bombing near Peteano in 1972, explained that the fascist “Avanguardia Nazionale, like Ordine Nuovo, were being mobilized into the battle as part of an anti-Communist strategy originating not with organizations deviant from the institutions of power, but from the state itself, and specifically from within the ambit of the state’s relations within the Atlantic Alliance.” An Italian parliamentary commission that undertook an investigation of the stay-behind armies in Italy, reached the following conclusion in 2000: “Those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organized or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as has been discovered more recently, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence.”

The U.S. National Security State was also involved in overseeing ratlines that exfiltrated fascists from Europe and allowed them to resettle in safe havens around the world, in exchange for doing its dirty work. The case of Klaus Barbie is but one among thousands, but it speaks volumes regarding the internal functioning of this process. Known in France as ‘the butcher of Lyon,’ he was head of the Gestapo office there for two years, including the time when Himmler gave the order to deport at least 22,000 Jews from France. This specialist in ‘enhanced interrogation tactics,’ known for torturing to death the coordinator of the French Resistance, Jean Moulin, organized the first roundup of the General Union of Jews in France in February 1943 and the massacre of 41 Jewish refugee children in Izieu in April 1944. Before arriving in Lyon, he had led savage death squads, which had killed more than a million people on the Eastern Front according to Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. But after the war, the man whom these same authors describe as third on the most-wanted list of SS criminals was working for the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) of the U.S. Army. He was hired to help build the stay-behind armies by recruiting other Nazis, and to spy on French intelligence services in the French and American controlled regions in Germany.

When France learned what was happening and demanded Barbie’s extradition, John McCloy, the U.S. High Commissioner of Germany, refused by claiming that the allegations were based on hearsay. Nevertheless, it ultimately proved too expensive, symbolically, to keep a butcher like Barbie in Europe, so he was sent to Latin America in 1951, where he was able to continue his illustrious career. Settling in Bolivia, he worked for the security forces of the military dictatorship of General René Barrientos and for the Ministry of the Interior and the counter-insurgency wing of the Bolivian Army under the dictatorship of Hugo Banzer, before actively participating in the Cocaine Coup in 1980 and becoming the director of security forces under General Meza. Throughout his career, he maintained close relationships with his saviors in the U.S. National Security State, playing a central role in Operation Condor, the counter-insurgency project that brought together Latin American dictatorships, with the support of the United States, to violently crush any attempt at egalitarian uprisings from below. He also helped develop the drug empire in Bolivia, including organizing gangs of narco-mercenaries whom he named Los novios de la muerte, whose uniforms resembled those of the SS. He traveled freely in the 1960s and 1970s, visiting the U.S. at least seven times, and he most likely played a role in the manhunt organized by the Agency to kill Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

The same basic pattern of integrating fascists into the global war against communism is readily identifiable in Japan, whose system of government prior to and during the war has been described by Herbert P. Bix as “Emperor-system fascism.” Tessa Morris-Suzuki has convincingly demonstrated the continuity of intelligence services by detailing how the U.S. National Security State oversaw and managed the KATO organization. This private intelligence network, very much like the Gehlen organization, was stocked with former leading members of the military and intelligence services, including the Imperial Army’s Chief of Intelligence (Arisue Seizō), who shared with his American handler (Charles Willoughby) a deep admiration for Mussolini. The U.S. occupation forces also cultivated tight relationships with senior officials in Japan’s wartime civilian intelligence community (most notably Ogata Taketora). This remarkable continuity between prewar and postwar Japan has led Morris-Suzuki and other scholars to map Japanese history in terms of a transwar regime, meaning one that continued from before to after the war. This concept also allows us to make sense of what was happening above ground in the realm of the visible government. For the sake of concision, suffice it to cite the remarkable case of the man known as the “Devil of Shōwa” for his brutal rule of Manchukuo (the Japanese colony in Northeast China): Nobusuke Kishi. A great admirer of Nazi Germany, Kishi was appointed Minister of Munitions by Prime Minister Hideki Tojo in 1941, in order to prepare Japan for a total war against the U.S., and he was the one who signed the official declaration of war against America. After serving a brief prison term as a war criminal in the postwar era, he was rehabilitated by the CIA, along with his cell mate, the kingpin of organized crime Yoshio Kodama. Kishi, with the support and generous financial backing of his handlers, took over the Liberal Party, made it into a rightwing club of former leaders of imperial Japan, and rose to become Prime Minister. “The [CIA] money flowed for at least fifteen years, under four American presidents,” writes Tim Wiener, “and it helped consolidate one-party rule in Japan for the rest of the cold war.”

U.S. national security services have also established a global educational network to train pro-capitalist combatants—sometimes under the leadership of experienced Nazis and fascists—in the tried-and-true techniques of repression, torture and destabilization, as well as propaganda and psychological warfare. The famous School of the Americas was established in 1946 with the explicit goal of training a new generation of anti-communist warriors worldwide. According to some, this school has the distinction of having educated the greatest number of dictators in world history. Whatever the case may be, it is part of a much larger institutional network. It is worth mentioning, for example, the educational contributions of the Public Safety Program: “For about twenty-five years,” writes former CIA officer John Stockwell, “the CIA, […] trained and organized police and paramilitary officers from around the world in techniques of population control, repression, and torture. Schools were set up in the United States, Panama, and Asia, from which tens of thousands graduated. In some cases, former Nazi officers from Hitler’s Third Reich were used as instructors.”

Fascism Goes Global under Liberal Cover

The American imperium has thus played a central role in the construction of a fascist international by protecting right-wing militants and enlisting them in the Third World War against ‘communism,’ an elastic label extended to any political orientation that entered into conflict with the interests of the capitalist ruling class. This international expansion of fascist modes of governance has led to a proliferation of concentration camps, terrorist and torture campaigns, dirty wars, dictatorial regimes, vigilante groups and organized crime networks around the world. The examples could be enumerated ad nauseum, but I will curtail them in the interests of space and simply invoke the testimony of Victor Marchetti, who was a senior CIA official from 1955 to 1969: “We were supporting every half-assed dictator, military junta, oligarchy that existed in the Third World, as long as they promised to somehow maintain the status quo, which would of course be beneficial to U.S. geopolitical interests, military interests, big business interests, and other special interests.”

The record of U.S. foreign policy since WWII is probably the best measure of its unique contribution to the internationalization of fascism. Under the banner of democracy and freedom, the United States has, according to William Blum:

+ Endeavored to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments.

+ Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.

+ Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.

+ Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.

+ Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.

The Association for Responsible Dissent, composed of 14 former CIA officers, calculated that their agency was responsible for killing a minimum of 6 million people in 3,000 major operations and 10,000 minor operations between 1947 and 1987. These are direct murders, so the numbers do not account for premature deaths under the fascist-backed capitalist world system due to mass incarceration, torture, malnutrition, lack of drinkable water, exploitation, oppression, social degradation, ecological illness or curable disease (in 2017, according to the U.N., 6.3 million children and young adolescents died from avoidable causes linked to the socio-economic and ecological inequalities of the Capitalocene, which amounts to one child dying every 5 seconds).

To establish itself as the global military hegemon and international guard dog of capitalism, the U.S. government and National Security State have relied on the help of the significant number of Nazis and fascists it integrated into its global network of repression, including the 1,600 Nazis brought into the U.S. through Operation Paperclip, the 4,000 or so integrated into the Gehlen organization, the tens or even hundreds of thousands that were reintegrated into the ‘postwar’—or rather transwar—regimes in fascist countries, the large number who were given free passage to Empire’s backyard—Latin America—and elsewhere, as well as the thousands or tens of thousands integrated into NATO’s secret stay-behind armies. This global network of seasoned anti-communist assassins has also been used to train armies of terrorists around the world to participate in dirty wars, coups d’état, destabilization efforts, sabotage, and terror campaigns.

All of this has been done under the cover of a liberal democracy, and with the assistance of its powerful culture industries. The true legacy of WWII, far from being that of a liberal world order that had defeated fascism, is that of a veritable fascist international developed under liberal cover in order to try and destroy those who had actually fought and won the war against fascism: the communists.

Gabriel Rockhill is a Franco-American philosopher, cultural critic and activist. He the founding Director of the Critical Theory Workshop and Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University. His books include Counter-History of the Present: Untimely Interrogations into Globalization, Technology, Democracy (2017), Interventions in Contemporary Thought: History, Politics, Aesthetics (2016), Radical History & the Politics of Art (2014) and Logique de l’histoire (2010). In addition to his scholarly work, he has been actively engaged in extra-academic activities in the art and activist worlds, as well as a regular contributor to public intellectual debate. Follow on twitter: @GabrielRockhill

Weekend Edition
October 16, 2020
Friday – SundayGABRIEL ROCKHILL
The U.S. Did Not Defeat Fascism in WWII, It Discretely Internationalized ItPAUL STREET
The Coup Already UnderwayEVE OTTENBERG
How Trust in a Covid Vaccine ErodedJEFFREY ST. CLAIR
Roaming Charges: Pray, Grin and BarrettROB URIE
Who Elected Donald Trump?RICHARD D. WOLFF
How Fascism Has Converged With Capitalism to Redefine GovernmentMEDEA BENJAMIN – NICOLAS J. S. DAVIES
Trump’s Endless WarsISHMAEL REED
The Tragedy of Stanley CrouchJOSEPH NATOLI
Our Territory is Fractal, Our Mapping HyperrealJOHN HORNING
Compassion, Wolves and America’s First WildernessANDREW LEVINE
Pack the Damn Court, JoeW. T. WHITNEY
Medical Doctors Seek Social and Political Solutions for COVID 19 CrisisREV. WILLIAM ALBERTS
Why Pray for the Renewed Health of a Tyrant Who will Merely Continue to Lie and Harm People?JAMES HALBROOK
I Witnessed an Eco-CrimeLOUIS PROYECT
Can an Eco-Socialist Revolution Save China?PAUL EDWARDS
Emma Goldman and Lesser EvilismJEFF MACKLER
Fact-Checking the Liars: the Record of U.S. Imperial War and PlunderKATIE BILODEAU
How the Clinton-Era Roadless Rules Aid and Abet LoggingROMANA RUBEO – RAMZY BAROUD
Zionist War on Palestinian Festival in Rome is Ominous Sign of Things to ComeLAWRENCE DAVIDSON
American Jewish Progressives Declared IrrelevantTHOMAS KLIKAUER
Profits über Alles – MBAs in GermanySARAH ANDERSON
Farmers and Meatpackers Are Teaming UpBINOY KAMPMARK
Dropped Prosecutions: The Afghan Files, Public Interest Journalism and Dan OakesDAN BACHER
Karuk Tribe Leads Effort to Fight Racism and Climate Change with FireDENNIS BERNSTEIN
Structural Racism in Liberal Armor: Newsome’s Veto Domestic Workers’ Rights BillTED RALL
After The Donald, The Deluge?JAMES A HAUGHT
Trust ScienceRON JACOBS
Based in EmpireNICKY REID
AMERIKA!: The Horror StoryJENNIFER ROBIN – PHIL ROCKSTROH – KENN ORPHAN
And who will join this standing up: A Poetic Response to Empire, BurningK.J. NOH
The US is Set on a Path to War with China. What Is to be Done?NICK PEMBERTON
Pro-Life is a Pedophilic PositionSTEVEN HILL
Latest Election Stunt Proves Uber and Lyft are Their Own Worst Political EnemiesROB OKUN
Not Proud, BoysJILL RICHARDSON
Voter Suppression in a Pandemic ElectionCHRIS WRIGHT
The Revolutionary BeethovenTHOMAS KNAPP
Tucker Carlson and the Cult of the CourtLAWRENCE WITTNER
Memories of Voter SuppressionJONAH RASKIN
Tragedy or Farce? Reflections on Aaron Sorkin’s “Trial of the Chicago 7”EVAGGELOS VALLIANATOS
Hellas Reborn?MICHAEL DOLINER
I Accept the NominationDANIEL HUNTER
Ten Things to Know About Stopping a CoupCHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
The Hallmark of TrumpDESIREE HELLEGERS
Why I Hate Mad Men  DAVID YEARSLEY

The limits of Chinese power

October 08, 2020

The limits of Chinese power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An October Surprise?

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

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

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

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

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

How Beijing miscalculates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ask Confucius

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

75th session of the UN General Assembly : President of Russia Vladimir Putin

75th session of the UN General Assembly : President of Russia Vladimir Putin

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/64074

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

This year, the international community celebrates two, without exaggeration, historic anniversaries: the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and establishment of the United Nations.

The importance of these two forever interlinked events cannot be overemphasized. In 1945, Nazism was defeated, the ideology of aggression and hatred was crushed, and the experience and spirit of alliance, as well as the awareness of the huge price that had been paid for peace and our common Victory, helped construct the post-war world order. It was built on the ultimate foundation of the UN Charter that remains the main source of international law to this day.

I am convinced that this anniversary makes it incumbent upon all of us to recall the timeless principles of inter-State communication enshrined in the UN Charter and formulated by the founding fathers of our universal Organization in the clearest and most unambiguous terms. These principles include the equality of sovereign States, non-interference with their domestic affairs, the right of peoples to determine their own future, non-use of force or the threat of force, and political settlement of disputes.

Looking back at the past decades, one can say that despite all difficulties of the Cold War period, major geopolitical shifts and all the intricacies of today’s global politics, the UN has been ably fulfilling its mission of protecting peace, promoting sustainable development of the peoples and continents and providing assistance in mitigating local crises.

This enormous potential and expertise of the UN is relevant and serves as a solid basis for moving ahead. After all, just like any other international organization or regional entity, the UN should not grow stiff, but evolve in accordance with the dynamics of the 21st century and consistently adapt to the realia of the modern world that is indeed becoming more complicated, multipolar and multidimensional.

The current changes certainly have an effect on the principal UN body, the Security Council, as well as on the debate concerning the approaches to its reform. Our logic is that the Security Council should be more inclusive of the interests of all countries, as well as the diversity of their positions, base its work on the principle of the broadest possible consensus among States and, at the same time, continue to serve as the cornerstone of global governance, which cannot be achieved unless the permanent members of the Security Council retain their veto power.

Such a right pertaining to the five nuclear powers, the victors of the Second World War, remains indicative of the actual military and political balance to this day. Most importantly, it is an essential and unique instrument that helps prevent unilateral actions that may result in a direct military confrontation between major States, and provides an opportunity to seek compromise or at least avoid solutions that would be completely unacceptable to others and act within the framework of international law, rather than a vague, gray area of arbitrariness and illegitimacy.

As diplomatic practice shows, this instrument actually works, unlike the infamous pre-war League of Nations with its endless discussions, declarations without mechanisms for real action and with States and peoples in need not having the right to assistance and protection.

Forgetting the lessons of history is short-sighted and extremely irresponsible, just like the politicized attempts to arbitrarily interpret the causes, course and outcomes of the Second World War and twist the decisions of the conferences of the Allies and the Nuremberg Tribunal that are based on speculation instead of facts.

It is not just vile and offending the memory of the fighters against Nazism. It is a direct and devastating blow to the very foundation of the post-war world order, which is particularly dangerous in view of the global stability facing serious challenges, the arms control system breaking down, regional conflicts continuing unabated, and threats posed by terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking intensifying.

We are also experiencing a whole new challenge of the coronavirus pandemic. This disease has directly affected millions of people and claimed the most important thing: the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Quarantines, border closures, numerous serious troubles to citizens of almost all States constitute the present-day realia. It has been especially difficult for elderly people who, due to the necessary restrictions, have not been able to hug their loved ones, children and grandchildren for weeks or even months.

Experts are yet to fully assess the scale of the social and economic shock caused by the pandemic and all its long-term consequences. However, it is already evident that it will take a really, really long time to restore the global economy. Furthermore, even the proven anti-crisis measures will not always work. We will need new innovative solutions.

The only way to elaborate such solutions is to work together, which is the most important task for both the UN and G20 States, as well as other leading inter-State organizations and integration associations that are also going through tough times due to the pandemic impact and need fundamentally new horizons and scope of development.

This very idea of a qualitative integrative growth, the ”integration of integrations“, is the one behind Russia’s initiative to form a Greater Eurasian Partnership involving all Asian and European countries without exception. It is purely pragmatic and increasingly relevant.

Besides, I would like to draw attention once again to Russia’s proposal to create so-called ”green corridors“ free from trade wars and sanctions, primarily for essential goods, food, medicine and personal protective equipment needed to fight the pandemic.

In general, freeing the world trade from barriers, bans, restrictions and illegitimate sanctions would be of great help in revitalizing global growth and reducing unemployment. According to experts, total or partial reduction in global employment in the second quarter of this year equals to the loss of 400 million jobs, and we have to do our utmost to prevent this unemployment from growing long-term and ensure that people return to work and can support their families instead of finding themselves imprisoned by poverty with no prospects in life.

This is indeed a most acute global social problem, so the politics has a mission now to pave the way for trade, joint projects and fair competition, rather than tie the hands of business and discourage business initiative.

The pandemic has also pinpointed a series of ethical, technological and humanitarian matters. For instance, advanced digital technologies helped quickly reorganize education, trade and services, as well as set up distant learning and online courses for people of different ages. Artificial intelligence has assisted doctors in making more accurate and timely diagnoses and finding the best treatment.

However, just like any other innovation, digital technologies tend to spread uncontrollably and, just like conventional weapons, can fall into the hands of various radicals and extremists not only in the regional conflict zones, but also in quite prosperous countries, thus engendering enormous risks.

In this regard, matters related to cybersecurity and the use of advanced digital technology also deserve a most serious deliberation within the UN. It is important to hear and appreciate the concerns of people over the protection of their rights, such as the right to privacy, property and security, in the new era.

We must learn to use new technologies for the benefit of humankind, seek for a right balance between encouraging the development of artificial intelligence and justifiable restrictions to limit it, and work together towards a consensus in the field of regulation that would avert potential threats in terms of both military and technological security, as well as traditions, law, and morals of human communication.

I would like to point out that during the pandemic, doctors, volunteers and citizens of various countries have been showing us examples of mutual assistance and support, and such solidarity defies borders. Many countries have also been helping each other selflessly and open-heartedly. However, there have been cases showing the deficit of humanity and, if you will, kindness in the relations at the official inter-State level.

We believe that the UN prestige could strengthen and enhance the role of the humanitarian or human component in multilateral and bilateral relations, namely in people-to-people and youth exchanges, cultural ties, social and educational programs, as well as cooperation in sports, science, technology, environment and health protection.

As to healthcare, just like in economy, we now need to remove, as many as possible, obstacles to partner relations. Our country has been actively contributing to global and regional counter-COVID-19 efforts, providing assistance to most affected states both bilaterally and within multilateral formats.

In doing so, we first of all take into account the central coordinating role of the World Health Organization, which is part of the UN system. We believe it essential to qualitatively strengthen the WHO capability. This work has already begun, and Russia is genuinely motivated to engage in it.

Building on the scientific, industrial and clinical experience of its doctors Russia has promptly developed a range of test systems and medicines to detect and treat the coronavirus, as well as registered the world’s first vaccine, “Sputnik-V.”

I would like to reiterate that we are completely open to partner relations and willing to cooperate. In this context, we are proposing to hold an online high-level conference shortly for countries interested in cooperation in the development of anti-coronavirus vaccines.

We are ready to share experience and continue cooperating with all States and international entities, including in supplying the Russian vaccine which has proved reliable, safe, and effective, to other countries. Russia is sure that all capacities of the global pharmaceutical industry need to be employed so as to provide a free access to vaccination for the population of all states in the foreseeable future.

A dangerous virus can affect anyone. The coronavirus has struck the staff of the United Nations, its headquarters and regional structures just like everyone else. Russia is ready to provide the UN with all the necessary qualified assistance; in particular, we are offering to provide our vaccine, free of charge, for the voluntary vaccination of the staff of the UN and its offices. We have received requests from our UN colleagues in this respect, and we will respond to those.

There are other critical items on today’s agenda. The issues of both environmental protection and climate change should remain the focus of joint efforts.

The specialized multilateral UN conventions, treaties and protocols have proved fully relevant. We are calling on all states to comply with them in good faith, particularly in working to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Dear colleagues! I would like to underline again, that Russia will make every effort to contribute to peaceful political and diplomatic resolution of regional crises and conflicts, as well as to ensuring strategic stability.

For all the disputes and differences, at times misunderstanding and even distrust on the part of some colleagues, we will consistently advance constructive, uniting initiatives, first of all in arms control and strengthening the treaty regimes existing in this area. This includes the prohibition of chemical, biological and toxin weapons.

The issue of primary importance that should and must be promptly dealt with is, of course, the extension of the Russia-US Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which will expire shortly, i.e. in February 2021. We are engaged in negotiations with our US partners on the matter.

We also expect that mutual restraint would be exercised with regard to deploying new missile systems. I would like to add that as early as last year, Russia declared a moratorium on deploying ground-launched medium and short-range missiles in Europe and other regions as long as the United States of America refrains from such actions. Unfortunately, we have not received any reaction to our proposal from either our US partners or their allies.

I believe that such reciprocal steps on specific issues would provide a sound basis for launching a serious, profound dialogue on the entire range of factors affecting strategic stability. It would aim at achieving comprehensive arrangements, shaping a solid foundation for the international security architecture that would build on prior experience in this field and in line with both the existing and future politico-military and technological realia.

In particular, Russia is putting forward an initiative to sign a binding agreement between all the leading space powers that would provide for the prohibition of the placement of weapons in outer space, threat or use of force against outer space objects.

We are well aware of the fact that security issues as well as other problems discussed by this jubilee UN General Assembly call for consolidated efforts on the basis of values that unite us, our shared memory of the lessons of history, and the spirit of alliance which guided the anti-Hitler coalition participants who found it possible to raise above differences and ideological preferences for the sake of Victory and peace for all nations on the Earth.

In the current challenging environment, it is important for all countries to show political will, wisdom and foresight. The permanent members of the UN Security Council – those powers that, for 75 years now, have been bearing particular responsibility for international peace and security, the preservation of the foundations of international law – should take the lead here.

Fully realizing this responsibility, Russia has suggested convening a G5 summit. It would aim at reaffirming the key principles of behavior in international affairs, elaborating ways to effectively address today’s most burning issues. It is encouraging that our partners have supported the initiative. We expect to hold such summit – in person – as soon as epidemiological situation makes it possible.

I would like to reiterate that in an interrelated, interdependent world, amid the whirlpool of international developments, we need to work together drawing on the principles and norms of international law enshrined in the UN Charter. This is the only way for us to carry out the paramount mission of our Organization and provide a decent life for the present and future generations.

I wish all the peoples of our planet peace and well-being.

Thank you.

AVERTING BARBAROSSA II: THE LIANA SPACE RADIOELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM

Averting Barbarossa II: The Liana Space Radioelectronic Surveillance System
Video

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

At the end of the Cold War, the level of international tension has considerably declined for at least a decade, thanks to widespread multilateral disarmament bolstered by a variety of arms control regimes for conventional and nuclear armaments. That decade also saw the rapid deterioration of Russia’s early warning and surveillance systems as satellites launched during the Soviet era exhausted their service lives and crashed into the atmosphere without being replaced. At first, this was either not seen as an urgent priority by Russian decisionmakers or, if it was, there were more urgent priorities for scarce defense funding in an era of a prolonged economic crisis.

Fast-forwarding a decade, we find ourselves in a radically different situation. There is no more “end of history” optimism in the air, nor is there a sense of durable US hegemony either that seemed so permanent in the 1990s. Unfortunately, history tells us that such shifts in the global balance of power are fraught with danger, as the fading hegemon has an incentive to resort to extreme, reckless measures to preserve that hegemony. What makes the current situation unprecedented is this being the first hegemonic transition of the nuclear age. In the past, nuclear deterrence existed only in the context of relatively stable bipolar and then unipolar systems. Does nuclear deterrence mutually assured destruction still work under conditions of a multipolar system experiencing a hegemonic transition?

International relations theory has no answer to that question, but the US national security establishment appears to think that it doesn’t, particularly in an era of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, drone and missile swarms, hypersonic delivery vehicles, and possibly even directed energy weapons. Crash US programs in developing all of the above, far beyond anything that might be termed reasonable defensive sufficiency under conditions of the US spending far more on defense than anyone else in the world, do raise the possibility of long-term plans to prevail in the new round of great power competition through not only covert action and “hybrid warfare”, but also, if an opportunity arises, through good old fashioned strategic first strike which need no longer be delivered using nuclear weapons.

The point of Cold War-era nuclear arms treaties was not to limit the number of nuclear warheads for its own sake. Rather, it was to deprive the two superpowers of their ability to launch a disarming and decapitating strike which, given technologies of the era, could only be launched using nuclear weapons.  That is still the case today, but may not be by 2030 should the US complete its planned rearmament with a large array of land-, air-, and sea-based long-range stealthy and hypersonic weapons. Even the US Army, with its plans for “1,000-mile cannon” is once again getting into the game of strategic strike, to speak nothing of land-based hypersonic missiles. And strategic strike using non-nuclear warheads is a novel scenario in which the old “mutually assured destruction” calculations may not apply. Combined with the explosive growth of US anti-ballistic missile programs, if the rest of the world stands still, by 2030 US decision makers might find themselves tempted to launch such a strategic strike against even a major nuclear weapons state like Russia or China, to say nothing of mid-level powers like Iran or North Korea, particularly if they have no nuclear deterrent to begin with.

Except the rest of the world is not about to stand still, and the Liana space surveillance system is an important component of the Russian response to US initiatives. The imminent era of post-nuclear strategic strike demands strategic defense and stability cannot be provided solely by anti-ballistic early warning systems. They would simply provide warning of an attack once it was underway, and in view of the possibility that large numbers of hypersonic missiles could be launched very close to Russia’s borders from the territory of NATO member-states following a rapid and covert deployment, as well as submarines and stealthy bombers, that warning might come too late to make an effective response possible. To make matters worse still, US drive to destroy the Open Skies Treaty that is supposed to prevent precisely that kind of a covert preparation for a first strike, is also indicative of what the long-term US plans are.

Liana is therefore intended to provide that kind of strategic early warning, as well as operational target designation, in the event of an attempted surprise first strike. The satellite constellation is to consist of two types of satellites. The first, Pion-NKS, is a 6.5 ton satellite intended for a 67-degree, 500km orbit, with service life of more than three years. It’s development is nearly complete at the Arsenal Design Bureau. It is a high-resolution radar reconnaissance satellite, capable of positively identifying “car-sized” objects on the Earth’s surface. The second component of the Liana will be Lotos-S, a six-ton satellite operating on a 67-degree, 900km apogee orbit, and performing passive detection, identification, and location of electronic emitters, including radio communications. It was developed by the Arsenal Design Bureau, in collaboration with several other scientific research institutions. Both types of satellites are expected to be launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, using the proven and reliable Soyuz-2-1b launch vehicles. The complete Liana configuration is to consist of two Pion-NKS and two Lotos-S satellites, and open-source information sources suggest the two satellite types have a fair amount of component commonality in order to allow them not only to complement one another, but to perform each other’s primary missions though in a degraded form. So far there have been three Lotos-S launches from Plesetsk, with the first 2009 one being a failure, and the 2015 and 2018 one a success. No Pion-NKS launches have been scheduled yet, but the satellite’s advanced stage of development suggests they will occur in the coming years.

Technological advances mean that once complete, Liana will serve as a replacement for both the Legenda naval surveillance and target designation satellite network, and the Tselina radioelectronic reconnaissance one, thus providing Russian decisionmakers with the ability to monitor troop deployments and electronic activity that would inevitably precede a strategic first strike. Liana will also no doubt prove itself useful in non-Doomsday scenarios as well. The Syria experience revealed the need for reliable detection and target designation of NATO cruise-missile launch assets, including aircraft, submarines, and surface vessels. Liana’s capabilities mean both the assets themselves, other than submarines, and their communications can be monitored to reveal preparations for a strike and provide targeting information as well. It is not clear Russia would have been able to accurately strike at US warships launching cruise missiles at Syria had they been directed against Russian bases. The absence of radar surveillance satellites was a painful gap in Russia’s capabilities at that time, one that will be filled in the coming years.

The Quiet Imperialism

The Quiet Imperialism

September 05, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

Many if not most Americans have always been in denial about the imperial ambitions and practices of US foreign policy. There are honourable exceptions – Noam Chomsky, Tulsi Gabbard come immediately to mind. But on the whole the direction of US geopolitical strategy has been guided and implemented by a small cabal of geopolitical fanatics; these are ensconced in various state and non-state organizations such as the media and various think-tanks and have had a wholly negative effect on US foreign policy, both in practise and theory. The US’s global adventurism has been regarded by the US public, insofar that it concerns itself with such matters, as being conceived in good faith and benign in intent. Unfortunately, the facts don’t conform to the popular trust that American citizens put in their government, particularly the Deep State, National Security Agencies, the political elites, and the Military Industrial Complex, not to mention the mainstream media.

This popular narrative of America qua global good-guy was very beautifully illustrated in a novel by the British author Graham Greene. The novel The Quiet American was set against the background of the first Indo-China war, with one of the central characters, Alden Pyle, an ostensibly idealistic young American Aid worker, who presented himself as a proto third-way reformist opposed both to the excesses of French colonialism on the one hand, and Chinese Communism on the other. But in fact he was nothing of the sort, and his baleful motives are soon uncovered by the cynical, world-weary British journalist, Thomas Fowler. As it turned out Pyle had been working for the CIA all along. The novel itself has been made into two motion pictures. Both are well worth watching and instructive. The novel was of course an allegory on what was happening and what has always been happening in geopolitical national rivalries and machtpolitik.

Thus US imperialism is the theory and practise which dare not speak its name. In the third world, however, and increasingly in the developed world, the facts are plain to see for all but the ideologically purblind. The US, particularly since the neo-conservative ascendancy, is a rampaging imperial juggernaut, with a blatant empire-building agenda. The US imperial project was from 1945 onwards held in check by social democratic obstacles in western Europe, the existence of the Soviet and East Asian Communist bloc and national anti-colonialist movements in the south. But with the collapse of communism, the ongoing enervation and retreat of social democracy, and the stalling of the anti-colonial struggle in the south, the rapacious beast of American imperialism was off the leash.

Moreover, the US has made it perfectly clear that it will not tolerate the reconstitution of any economic or military power capable of challenging its global domination. (see The Wolfowitz Doctrine.) To this end it has arrogated to itself the right to wage ‘preventive wars’ against those who may sometime in the future threaten its global ambitions. The global system has been unipolar but now its dominance is being challenged by new adversaries, particularly Russia, China, and perhaps Iran and the Americans are determined to contain what they regard as a strategic challenge.

This project is assuredly not lacking in ambition. It aims at extending the ‘Monroe Doctrine’ to the whole planet; the establishment of a sort of US global suzerainty. This would be difficult for the US to accomplish alone – it therefore has to form alliances and spheres of influence with other (subaltern) partners in the developed world. Roughly speaking the geopolitical configuration for America’s global project is as follows.

The phase of the (present) global development of capitalism is characterised by the emergence of a collective imperialism. The entirety of the Americas, Europe west of the Polish frontier and Japan, to which we should add Australia and New Zealand, defines the area of this collective imperialism. It ‘’manages’’ the economic dimension of capitalist globalization and the political military dimension through NATO, whose responsibilities have been redefined so that in effect it can substitute itself for the United Nations.

This requires some skilful diplomatic balancing between the US and its junior partners – particularly within the EU, where conflict between certain European states and the US is always a possibility. This is clearly evident in the spat between Germany and the US with the contretemps over Nordstream-2 and the stationing of US troops in Germany. To this end the mobilization of various euro-quisling elites – the UK, Poland, and according to Donald Rumsfeld the ‘new’ (Eastern) Europe – are vital for America’s policy of divide and rule in this area. Moreover the globalization agenda (the economic prong in the US global offensive) has become the received wisdom in the EU. As for the Euro it has become a satellite currency of the dollar, although it is in fact a stronger currency since it is based upon a euro economy which runs persistent trade surpluses with the United States (as does most everybody else).

Thus the EU – with the possible exception of France – has tended to meekly follow in the wake of the US hegemon ensnared in an Atlanticist doctrine for which the raison d’etre – if there ever was one – definitively ended with the cold war. And the world pays a heavy price for this.

According to Samir Amin:

‘‘The US economy lives as a parasite off its partners in the global system, with virtually no national savings of its own. The world produces while North America consumes … The fact is that the bulk of the American deficit (on Federal and Current Account) is covered by capital inputs from Europe and Japan, China and the South, rich oil-producing and comprador classes from all regions in the Third World – to which should be added the debt service levy that is imposed on nearly every country in the periphery of the global system. The American superpower depends day to day on the flow of capital that sustains the parasitism of its economy and society.’’ (1)

This was written by Amin back in 2006, but the US’s drive has not really altered that much in the interim. If anything it has become even more bellicose in pursuit of its quest for world hegemony. However, today, we not only have a clash of interests with the Germans and the US over the above issues. And despite the nominally peaceful intentions between the US and its allies (vassals) eventually the rising nations find that pursuing their own interests hits the barriers of the prevailing international order. And the further the old powers try to sustain their outdated settlement, the more the ascending powers – both within Europe and without – are frustrated. The entire post-war system itself becomes a source of international tension.

NATO exemplifies this. Established as we saw in a different era to coordinate western military power since the Cold War 1, after the end of that war NATO has turned into a disruptive force. Pursuing an ‘open-ended and ill-conceived eastern expansion’ the EU has rekindled inter-state tensions instead of assuaging them. (2) This illustrates a broader trend; that conflicting attitudes to the entrenched institutional structures generate dissension triggered by outdated economic and strategic pressures. National differences are expressed and often inflamed through opposing or supporting the existing and outdated systems and rules.

It could be said that NATO is a locus classicus of a dysfunctional bureaucracy. It exists ‘in order to solve the problems which it created.’ Or as Schumpeter first noticed, that ‘’ … in Egypt a class of professional soldiers formed during the war against the Hyskos persisted even when those wars were over along with its warlike instincts and interests … ‘‘ He noted with a pithy summary of his viewpoint that ‘’Created by wars that required it, the machine now created the wars which were required.’’ NATO anyone!?

With regard to International Political Economy, It is not generally understood that the US with its chronic federal and trade deficits is actually on the brink of technical bankruptcy, particularly when long term commitments on Medicaid, Medicare and Pensions, and Social Security payments are factored into the calculations. According to research carried out by Professor Laurence Kotlikoff for the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, a leading constituent of the US Federal Reserve, Fed liabilities come to a staggering $70 trillion – this is roughly 5 times the size of the US GDP. However these figures are now out of date. Given the fact that sovereign (or government) debt currently stands at $24 trillion which in terms of DEBT-to-GDP ratio of 107% is bad enough. Then comes private DEBT-to-GDP which stands at 220% minus unfunded future liabilities. (See below).

Figure 1. Sovereign debt to GDP 107%

Figure 2. Private debt to GDP 220%

The TOTAL DEBT i.e. municipal, household, financial, corporate, cars and student fees/debts AND, unfunded future liabilities, social security, Medicare, and pensions, are pushing on to a figure of total debt of 2000% in the not too distant future. This according to a CNBC report by Jeff Cox, September 09, 2019. This whole process has more or less been on track since the demise of the Bretton Woods system in 1971. The date was significant since this was when the US defaulted on its gold IOUs handing its trading partners paper dollars, or near dollars such as US Treasuries (Bonds) which it insisted were as good as gold. As a result the holders of this US government paper have been subsidizing the US and its economy ever since. The ability to palm off its trading partners with green paper meant that the US has been able to buy stuff from the western world without actually paying for any of it. It gets better. The US has been able to buy foreign made goods with monies loaned to them by foreign governments! The ultimate free lunch! See below. Only one way up apparently! Bear in mind also that the figures shown only go up to 2014. It’s odds on that the debt has grown further in the ensuing time span.

Against this backdrop the foreign policy of the US becomes clear. Its purpose is loot pure and simple. The south must continue to be plundered for cheap inputs and raw materials and in order to do this comprador elites must be promoted who are friendly to US interests. Economic development of course cannot take place in this context as there will be an outflow of capital from South to North. Markets must be opened up to the rapacious incursions of US and other western capitals. Possible rivals – Russia, China – must be regarded as long-term enemies and will be divided and marginalised or possibly in 1970s geopolitical jargon ‘Finlandised’. And uppity allies in Europe – like France – must be slapped down and brought to heel.

Whether the Americans can pull this off is a moot point. It rather depends on whether and how the rest of the world will continue to take the green paper from the Fed/US-Treasury (they are now conjoint BTW similar to a pantomime horse).

When other countries and other private lenders borrow, in this instance from the US, they must consider the economic and financial strength and resilience of that economy. Let’s put ourselves into the position of a creditor. As follows.

  • US sovereign debt is greater than national GDP and is only going to get worse. That puts the US economy in what historically has been the danger zone for ruinous trouble of one kind or another: economic stagnation, default, or runaway inflation. As we have seen however it’s the TOTAL DEBT. Which makes the situation dramatically worse.
  • Manufacturing industry has been hollowed out by a strong dollar policy which makes US export costs rise leading to deindustrialisation.
  • The Economy has been left with little capacity for recovering from shocks – both internal and external. Despite the unprecedented money printing and deficit spending evoked by past – 2008 – and presently – 2020 – even greater and further shocks will arise which will only be comparable to the 1930s.
  • Zero or negative interest rates, courtesy of the Fed, which have resulted in a bonanza for corporations to juice up their stock-market capitalisation. Essentially by stealing money off of savers.
  • Investment markets can’t go anywhere without creating bubbles that eventually burst. 1. Dot.com bubble, 2000, 2. Property bubble, 2008, 3. Everything bubble 2020.

This seems to be the story of the 20/21 centuries with each crisis being bigger and deeper as the one before. Does this look like the picture of a healthy super-power? Or is it the picture of a vulnerable giant close to its historical inflexion point? I know where I would put my money.

But given the tsunami of dollar bills flooding the markets an engineered inflation or a Volcker style 20% hike in interest rates seems likely; my own view is that there will be an engineered inflation; in fact, it’s happening already. This means any persons, corporations or states holding US$s or dollar denominated assets, e.g. Treasury Bills is going to take a big hit.

Of course this US offensive, both political and economic, has and will continue to be met with stiff resistance. Most of this has been spontaneous and centered around the crisis in the Middle East, South East Asia, with the growing opposition to the reputedly Promethean gifts of globalisation.

Samir Amin identifies 4 aspects of a political programme which would give organizational coherence to this opposition. ‘’(i) A campaign against all American ‘preventive’ wars and for the closure of all foreign US bases, (ii) A campaign of right to access to the land, which is of crucial importance to the world’s 3 billion peasants, (iii) A campaign for the regulation of industrial outsourcing, and (iv) A cancellation of third world external debts.(v)’’ (3)

One could of course add more to this – capital controls, global minimum wage and labour standards … and so forth. This would only be a beginning, however. Amin himself looks forward to the reconstitution of the UN as a forum where the third world and smaller countries could find legitimate voice, as opposed to the dominant – i.e., US controlled – institutions of the present – the IMF, WTO, WORLD BANK, and NATO which are frankly little more than instruments of US/EU/NATO Triad collective imperialism.

Get ready for a long period of Sturm Und Drang.

(1) Beyond US Hegemony – Samir Amin – 2006

(2) Stephen Walt – 2018

(3) Amin Op.cit. 2006

China Newsbrief & Sitrep

China Newsbrief & Sitrep

August 12, 2020

By Godfree Roberts from his newsletter

This week we focus mainly on China’s development and business.

We still see signs of an unrestricted and type of unformed war on China that is described by many names, examples cold war or, hybrid war.  The main characteristic of this war is where nothing that disrupts the enemy is off limits.

Despite an unprecedented downturn in US-China relations during a pandemic, US businesses are not leaving the China market. This was a major finding of an annual survey of members released today by the US-China Business Council (USCBC), a trade group representing more than 200 businesses, many of them global brands with decades of China experience.  

https://www.uschina.org/media/press/pandemic-and-politics-aside-us-china-trade-ties-continue

Extracts from Here Comes China

Excellent overview – How Did China Succeed? | Joseph E. Stiglitz  on China’s Economic System

Although Stiglitz is a world banker, he holds different views from the trademark, neoliberal Washington consensus, specifically an economic ideology holding that while people should own the value they produce themselves, economic value derived from land (including all natural resources and natural opportunities) should belong equally to all members of society.  His wide overview here on the growth of China makes sense and is easy listening.

China’s central bank has taken the lead in digital currencies. What does it mean for businesses?  by Jemma Xu and Dan Prud’homme

Outside  China, digital currencies are fraught with incredible risk. In this void, China’s Digital Currency Electronic Payments offers the public confidence unobtainable by private digital currencies. DCEP is itself a stablecoin, but one backed 1:1 by the PBoC with fiat Chinese yuan/renminbi. Its system follows a “two layer” approach. First, and critically, because it is a sovereign digital currency, the PBoC is the only issuing party. Second, to expeditiously diffuse the currency, the central bank issues DCEP to select retail banks and non-financial institutions (e.g., Alibaba, Tencent, and Union Pay) in China with strong pre-existing mobile payment networks, who then merely distribute the currency to the general public. Businesses across China will be required by law to accept DCEP as payment.

Besides the regulatory legitimacy, many factors position DCEP to become the world’s most widely used digital currency:

  • the Chinese state’s track record of rapid institutional innovation;
  • Chinese public support of institutional experimentation;
  • Chinese firms’ strong competitiveness in digital ecosystems and
  • capabilities to quickly adapt to changing technological paradigms and institutions;
  • a massive Chinese population who quickly adopts new digital technologies, and
  • lead the world in adopting mobile payment applications.

Although central banks in several other countries have also been studying digital currencies, none have taken the lead to actually develop and rollout a CBDC at the scale occurring in China. DCEP will be used for purchases in all sectors across the country. To start, as of mid-2020, DCEP has been piloted in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Xiong’an – potentially reaching over 42 million people, more than Canada’s entire population. Elsewhere in China, DCEP is already in the process of being piloted in the restaurant and hospitality sectors, with foreign multinationals such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway already signing up to participate. Further, DCEP trials are already being conducted around China to reimburse public sector employees’ travel costs. Yet other pilot initiatives, such as a commitment to use DCEP at venues for large-scale upcoming events in Beijing, are in place.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government recently proposed the creation of a regional digital currency backed by the Chinese RMB/yuan, Japanese yen, South Korean won, and Hong Kong dollar – with DCEP at the centre. And China’s multi-trillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) offers a network to extend DCEP in countries around the globe.

Businesses should prepare for DCEP’s rollout in two main ways. First, they must ensure that they have appropriate infrastructure in place to accommodate DCEP, such as digital wallets. Contracts with third-party financial custodians can also be helpful. On the upside, to facilitate swift legal compliance with DCEP – considering that its acceptance is being required by law in China – the Chinese authorities may integrate DCEP with popular existing digital wallets already widely used by many businesses in China, namely Alipay and Wechat Pay.

Second, businesses may need to explore interoperability options when conducting cross-border trade. Such action may be needed in the longer term if DCEP leads to an alternative international payments system vis-à-vis the current US-led system, which is a probable prospect.
Meanwhile, firms who timely prepare for China’s DCEP rollout can seize several significant opportunities. First, as previously alluded to, the expansion of DCEP will facilitate the internationalisation of the yuan/renminbi. In doing so, the Chinese currency will provide a strong alternative institution to rival the current USD-dominated international payments system.

Third, by facilitating direct transactions between digital wallets, DCEP will eliminate sizeable banking clearing and settlements costs. In other words, ‘payment is settlement’ with no need for separate clearing and settlement processes.

Fourth, DCEP will offer firms new ways of raising capital and secondary trading via the issuance of digital securities and disintermediated trading on exchanges. Digital securities are regulated financial instruments such as equities or bonds where the transaction and shareholder details are recorded on the blockchain ledger. As a stable currency, DCEP will be used to reduce or eliminate the clearing and settlement processes associated with trading digital securities on secondary exchanges. In turn, this will provide firms and investors easier access to digital financial instruments.

Fifth, DCEP’s development will catalyse fintech innovation, giving rise to hybrid products that draw on both traditional markets and digital currencies. Greater numbers of innovative structured products are appearing in the digital currencies market, where the underlying asset is a native digital currency, such as Bitcoin, but the payoffs are based on traditional structured products. DCEP will serve as a reliable alternative underlying-asset in the future, stimulating the creation of more hybrid financial products.
Fifth, and not least, aggregate demand may rise as a result of DCEP’s rollout. DCEP adoption will allow governments to rapidly deploy “helicopter money” to the public without requiring bank accounts. This will empower the previously unbanked to form a new group of consumers.[MORE]

Debt – People criticizing China’s debt see only the debit side of the ledger. If they look at the credit side, they would see offsetting assets. One of those assets is the $20 billion Three Gorges Dam, which generates 100 billion KWh which it sells for US$0.084/KwH, bringing in $8.4 billion every year. Three Gorges tours earn another $3 billion, and flood mitigation and irrigation enhancement save another $3 billion, as the current flooding demonstrates. That’s valuable debt!

China pledged to invest $5.8 billion in the construction of the Moscow-Kazan High Speed Railway. The railway will be extended to China through Kazakhstan. The total cost of the Moscow-Kazan high speed railroad project is $21.4 billion. [MORE]

The Caspian Sea is becoming an alternative to the Suez for shipping between Europe and China, and a great deal of activity is taking place there. Four major Belt & Road routes and one significant Indian route make up the five East-West intersections that the Caspian is shortly to provide, with the potential for a sixth should plans to create a canal between the Caspian and Black Seas come to fruition. [Download Chris Devonshire-Ellis’ Report]

The Port of Beirut poses the biggest geostrategic threat to American power projection because China’s Silk Road is fast creeping towards the docks at Beirut Port. The US, having recently forced Israel to cancel its Haifa rail contract with China, has dampened the Chinese advance in the eastern Mediterranean, and what remains now in the path of the US is the Beirut Port. The US must either invade it to block the Chinese geostrategic mission creep, or else destroy it.[MORE]


See everyone next week for the regular Here Comes China newsletter.  It is a pleasure to work with Godfree and to collate the main points for The Saker Blog.

amarynth

Free word | The US-China Conflict كلمة حرة | الصراع الأميركي الصيني

EU SITREP: U.S. Defense Sec’y. Tells EU: “Deter Peace,” Confront Russia & China

EU SITREP: U.S. Defense Sec’y. Tells EU: “Deter Peace,” Confront Russia & China

August 10, 2020

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told Europeans, in statements on July 29th and August 9th,

“I’ve said that very publicly, I’ve said that very privately to my counterparts as well, about the importance of NATO, any alliance, sharing the burden so that we can all deter Russia and avoid peace in Europe.’”

“We are moving many troops further east, closer to Russia’s border, to deter them.”

The U.S. Department of Defense’s website, when it issued the transcript of Esper’s statement “so that we can all deter Russia and avoid peace in Europe,” added in brackets, “[editor’s note. Secretary Esper intended to say ‘avoid conflict in Europe’]”; however, that does not appear to reflect Esper’s statement, for the following reasons:

1. The assertion “so that we can all deter Russia and avoid peace in Europe” was so inflammatory as to demand a ‘correction’ regardless of whether that statement was consistent with everything else that he has been saying, and it is consistent with everything else that he has been saying.

2. Esper’s 4,800-word speech on that occasion did not use the word “conflict” even once. It is not a word that he typically uses. By contrast, against that zero frequency for “conflict,” he used there “deter” 21 times. He used “peace” three times. Each of those was in a hostile context: First, “One of our primary missions is to prevent another great power war, and to maintain great power peace. The National Defense Strategy, the NDS, guides our efforts to adapt the force, and the EUCOM plan optimizes our force posture in Europe as we seek to deter malign actors there.” Second, “These efforts all increase our opportunity to generate greater peace in Europe and enhance the U.S.’s effectiveness in great power competition.” Third, “And I’ve said that very publicly, I’ve said that very privately to my counterparts as well, about the importance of NATO, any alliance, sharing the burden so that we can all deter Russia and avoid peace in Europe.”

He used the phrase “great power competition” five times: First, “Today, we want to update you on the status of our U.S. European Command review, which was accelerated with the president’s decision in early June to reduce our footprint in Germany, and our plans to reposition our forces in Europe to be better-situated for great power competition.” Second, “As we’ve entered a new era of great power competition, we are now at another one of those inflection points in NATO’s history.” Third, “One of our primary missions is to prevent another great power war, and to maintain great power peace.” (“Great power peace” did not mean “peace” in any broader sense but only that the U.S. does not want to become a battlefield in World War III — that’s for Europe, etc., not for the U.S., to serve as the war-fields; it would be like happened during WW II. This was a very careful usage of words.)  Fourth, “We focus on actions inside and outside our area of responsibility, and vigilance with respect to great power competition is an absolute imperative.” (That reaffirms Esper’s focus on “great power competition.” Europe’s nations are vassal-states. They are expendable. The way that Barack Obama said this was “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation.” Every other nation is “dispensable.” How much clearer can it be? Furthermore: Esper explicitly asserts there that “We focus on actions inside and outside our area of responsibility,” which means that the U.S. military imposes its will “outside our area of responsibility” — anywhere in the world — meaning against any real or imagined “great power competitor,” which refers specifically to both Russia and China. Consequently, the U.S. regime demands that Europe get in line with the U.S. Government’s objective to defeat both Russia and China. He says that this is “an absolute imperative.”) Fifth, “These efforts all increase our opportunity to generate greater peace in Europe and enhance the U.S.’s effectiveness in great power competition.” (“Greater peace in Europe” implies that European nations are at war. It’s a lie. Esper has made clear that “great power competition” is the U.S. regime’s obsessive focus.)

The other assertion, that “We are moving many troops further east, closer to Russia’s border, to deter them,” is a clear affirmation of the U.S. regime’s lie to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 when he was ending the Cold War on Russia’s side — ending its communism, ending its Warsaw Pact military alliance, ending the Soviet Union — and George Herbert Walker Bush deceived him into believing that NATO would not move “one inch to the east.” The sheer evilness of that man and of all subsequent U.S. Presidents, for their ceaseless efforts ultimately to conquer Russia, and now with Trump also to conquer China, is perhaps unsurpassed in human history, competing even with Adolf Hitler. It’s what happens when a country — in this instance the United States — gets taken over by its aristocracy, its billionaires.

Europe is to serve, along with the Middle East and elsewhere, as America’s battlefields to conquer Russia and China. That’s the plan.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

“Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map”, 204 Atomic Bombs against 66 Major Cities, US Nuclear Attack against USSR Planned During World War II

When America and the Soviet Union Were Allies

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, August 04, 2020

To read this article in other versions, click: French, German, and Russian.

First published November 4, 2017. Revisions to the English Text, December 10, 2017

Author’s Note 

Since this article was first published in 2017, YouTube has decided to Censor the short video produced by South Front which is largely based on the declassified documents quoted in this article. 

US nuclear threats directed against Russia predate the Cold War. They were first formulated  at the height of World War II under the Manhattan Project when the US and the Soviet Union were allies.  

The plan to bomb 66 Soviet cities was “officially” formulated in mid-September 1945, two weeks after the formal surrender of Japan.  

Had the US decided NOT to develop nuclear weapons for use against the Soviet Union, the nuclear arms race would not have taken place. 

Neither The Soviet Union nor the People’s Republic of China would have developed nuclear capabilities as a means of “Deterrence” agains the US which had already formulated plans to annihilate the Soviet Union.

Flash Forward to 2020: Nuclear War is still on the drawing board of the Pentagon. In the post Cold War era, under Donald Trump’s “Fire and Fury”, nuclear war directed against Russia, China, North Korea and Iran is “On the Table”.

A one $1.2 trillion ++ nuclear weapons program, first launched under Obama, is ongoing. 

Michel Chossudovsky, August 4, 2020

***

According to a secret document datedSeptember 15, 1945, “the Pentagon had envisaged blowing up the Soviet Union  with a coordinated nuclear attack directed against major urban areas.

All major cities of the Soviet Union were included in the list of 66 “strategic” targets. The tables below categorize each city in terms of area in square miles and the corresponding number of atomic bombs required to annihilate and kill the inhabitants of selected urban areas.

Six atomic bombs were to be used to destroy each of the larger cities including Moscow, Leningrad, Tashkent, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa.

The Pentagon estimated that a total of 204 atomic bombs would be required to “Wipe the Soviet Union off the Map”. The targets for a nuclear attack consisted of sixty-six major cities.

To undertake this operation the “optimum” number of bombs required was of the order of 466 (see document below)

One single atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima resulted in the immediate death of 100,000 people in the first seven seconds. Imagine what would have happened if 204 atomic bombs had been dropped on major cities of the Soviet Union as outlined in a secret U.S. plan formulated during the Second World War.

Hiroshima in the wake of the atomic bomb attack, 6 August 1945

The document outlining this diabolical military agenda had been released in September 1945, barely one month after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (6 and 9 August, 1945) and two years before the onset of the Cold War (1947).

Video produced by South Front

The secret plan dated September 15, 1945 (two weeks after the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri, see image below) , however, had been formulated at an earlier period, namely at the height of World War II,  at a time when America and the Soviet Union were close allies.

It is worth noting that Stalin was first informed through official channels by Harry Truman of the infamous Manhattan Project at the Potsdam Conference on July 24, 1945, barely two weeks before the attack on Hiroshima.

The Manhattan project was launched in 1939, two years prior to America’s entry into World War II in December 1941. The Kremlin was fully aware of the secret Manhattan project as early as 1942.

Were the August 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks used by the Pentagon to evaluate the viability of  a much larger attack on the Soviet Union consisting of more than 204 atomic bombs? The key documents to bomb 66 cities of the Soviet Union (15 September 1945) were finalized 5-6 weeks after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings (6, 9 August 1945):

“On September 15, 1945 — just under two weeks after the formal surrender of Japan and the end of World War II — Norstad sent a copy of the estimate to General Leslie Groves, still the head of the Manhattan Project, and the guy who, for the short term anyway, would be in charge of producing whatever bombs the USAAF might want. As you might guess, the classification on this document was high: “TOP SECRET LIMITED,” which was about as high as it went during World War II. (Alex Wellerstein, The First Atomic Stockpile Requirements (September 1945)

The Kremlin was aware of the 1945 plan to bomb sixty-six Soviet cities.

The documents confirm that the US was involved in the “planning of genocide” against the Soviet Union.

Let’s cut to the chase. How many bombs did the USAAF request of the atomic general, when there were maybe one, maybe two bombs worth of fissile material on hand? At a minimum they wanted 123. Ideally, they’d like 466. This is just a little over a month after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Of course, in true bureaucratic fashion, they provided a handy-dandy chart (Alex Wellerstein, op. cit)

Pentagon Plans to Destroy Dozens of Soviet Cities and the So-called Cold War

The Nuclear Arms Race

Central to our understanding of the Cold War which started (officially) in 1947, Washington’s September 1945 plan to bomb 66 cities into smithereens played a key role in triggering the nuclear arms race.

The Soviet Union was threatened and developed its own atomic bomb in 1949 in response to 1942 Soviet intelligence reports on the Manhattan Project.

While the Kremlin knew about these plans to “Wipe out” the USSR, the broader public was not informed because the September 1945 documents were of course classified.

Today, neither the September 1945 plan to blow up the Soviet Union nor the underlying cause of the nuclear arms race are acknowledged. The Western media has largely focussed its attention on the Cold War US-USSR confrontation. The plan to annihilate the Soviet Union dating back to World War II and the infamous Manhattan project are not mentioned.

Washington’s Cold War nuclear plans are invariably presented in response to so-called Soviet threats, when in fact it was the U.S. plan released in September 1945 (formulated at an earlier period at the height of World War II) to wipe out the Soviet which motivated Moscow to develop its nuclear weapons capabilities.

The assessment of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists mistakenly blamed and continue to blame the Soviet Union for having launched the nuclear arms race in 1949, four years after the release of the September 1945 US Secret Plan to target 66 major Soviet cities with 204 nuclear bombs:

“1949: The Soviet Union denies it, but in the fall, President Harry Truman tells the American public that the Soviets tested their first nuclear device, officially starting the arms race. “We do not advise Americans that doomsday is near and that they can expect atomic bombs to start falling on their heads a month or year from now,” the Bulletin explains. “But we think they have reason to be deeply alarmed and to be prepared for grave decisions.” (Timeline of the Doomsday Clock, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 2017)

IMPORTANT: Had the US decided NOT to develop nuclear weapons for use against the Soviet Union, the nuclear arms race would not have taken place. 

Neither The Soviet Union nor the People’s Republic of China would have developed nuclear capabilities as a means of “Deterrence” agains the US which had already formulated plans to annihilate the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union lost 26 million people during World War II.

The Cold War List of 1200 Targeted Cities: 

This initial 1945 list of sixty-six cities was updated in the course of the Cold War (1956) to include some 1200 cities in the USSR and the Soviet block countries of Eastern Europe (see declassified documents below). The bombs slated for use were more powerful in terms of explosive capacity than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Source: National Security Archive

“According to the 1956 Plan, H-Bombs were to be Used Against Priority “Air Power” Targets in the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe. Major Cities in the Soviet Bloc, Including East Berlin, Were High Priorities in “Systematic Destruction” for Atomic Bombings.  (William Burr, U.S. Cold War Nuclear Attack Target List of 1200 Soviet Bloc Cities “From East Germany to China”, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015

Source: National Security Archive

Washington, D.C., December 22, 2015 – The SAC [Strategic Air Command] Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959, produced in June 1956 and published today for the first time by the National Security Archive www.nsarchive.org, provides the most comprehensive and detailed list of nuclear targets and target systems that has ever been declassified. As far as can be told, no comparable document has ever been declassified for any period of Cold War history.

The SAC study includes chilling details. According to its authors,  their target priorities and nuclear bombing tactics would expose nearby civilians and “friendly forces and people” to high levels of deadly radioactive fallout.  Moreover, the authors developed a plan for the “systematic destruction” of Soviet bloc urban-industrial targets that specifically and explicitly targeted “population” in all cities, including Beijing, Moscow, Leningrad, East Berlin, and Warsaw.  Purposefully targeting civilian populations as such directly conflicted with the international norms of the day, which prohibited attacks on people per se (as opposed to military installations with civilians nearby).National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015

List of Cities

Excerpt of list of 1200 cities targeted for nuclear attack in alphabetical order. National Security Archive, op. cit.

From the Cold War to Donald Trump

In the post Cold War era, under Donald Trump’s “Fire and Fury”, nuclear war directed against Russia, China, North Korea and Iran is “On the Table”.

What distinguishes the October 1962 Missile Crisis to Today’s realities:

1. Today’s president Donald Trump does not have the foggiest idea as to the consequences of nuclear war.

2, Communication today between the White House and the Kremlin is at an all time low. In contrast, in October 1962, the leaders on both sides, namely John F. Kennedy and Nikita S. Khrushchev were accutely aware of the dangers of nuclear annihilation. They collaborated with a view to avoiding the unthinkable.

3. The nuclear doctrine was entirely different during the Cold War. Both Washington and Moscow understood the realities of mutually assured destruction. Today, tactical nuclear weapons with an explosive capacity (yield) of one third to six times a Hiroshima bomb are categorized by the Pentagon as “harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground”.

4.  A one trillion ++ nuclear weapons program, first launched under Obama, is ongoing.

5. Today’s thermonuclear bombs are more than 100 times more powerful and destructive than a Hiroshima bomb. Both the US and Russia have several thousand nuclear weapons deployed.

Moreover, an all war against China is currently on the drawing board of the Pentagon as outlined by a RAND Corporation Report commissioned by the US Army  

“Fire and Fury”, From Truman to Trump: U.S Foreign Policy Insanity

There is a long history of US political insanity geared towards providing a human face to U.S. crimes against humanity.

Truman globalresearch.ca

On August 9, 1945, on the day the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, president Truman (image right), in a radio address to the American people, concluded that God is on the side of America with regard to the use of nuclear weapons and that

He May guide us to use it [atomic bomb] in His ways and His purposes”. 

According to Truman: God is with us, he will decide if and when to use the bomb:

[We must] prepare plans for the future control of this bomb. I shall ask the Congress to cooperate to the end that its production and use be controlled, and that its power be made an overwhelming influence towards world peace.

We must constitute ourselves trustees of this new force–to prevent its misuse, and to turn it into the channels of service to mankind.

It is an awful responsibility which has come to us.

We thank God that it [nuclear weapons] has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it [nuclear weapons] in His ways and for His purposes” (emphasis added)

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

Russophobia Goes Viral Again… And Fatally No Cure

Russophobia Goes Viral Again… And Fatally No Cure – The 21st Century
REUTERS Lucas Jackson

Source

July 31, 2020

This week saw U.S. media reports claiming that Russian military intelligence is spreading disinformation about the coronavirus to sow discord ahead of the November presidential election. Such reports are nothing but more bombast and reprehensible Russophobia as part of a chronic mental condition which seems to have no cure.

Meanwhile, British media reported claims that Russia and China were targeting Germany with interference campaigns in order to undermine the transatlantic alliance. More bombast and reprehensible Russophobia augmented with Sinophobia.

Hardly a week goes by without some such lurid Western media “report” of malign Russian or Chinese plot to subvert Western democracy. Suitably, in this time of global pandemic, the political phobia seems to be going viral.

It can be reasonably posited that as certain nations undergo severe political and economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic, there is a tendency to find a scapegoat as a means to “explain” the crisis. The United States and Britain stand out as the globe’s worst casualties from the pandemic. President Donald Trump in particular has seen his much-vaunted “economic success” turn to dust. Out of trauma to his ego, Trump has taken to blaming China for “the plague”. Trump’s cheap-shot politicization also resonates with a deeper political agenda to create a Cold War with China.

The pandemic has also exacerbated an explosion in popular protests across the U.S. over systemic police brutality and racism. The mix has created a climate of chaos and discontent in American society not seen for decades. Thrown into the mix is sharp partisan rivalry between supporters of this president and his opponents. The bitter factionalism is set to intensify as the nation heads to presidential elections in less than 100 days.

Given the upheaval and turmoil, it is all too tempting to find a distraction in the form of “foreign interference”. A Cold War legacy of Russophobia and Sinophobia is being resurrected to provide a convenient political escape route for deep-seated structural problems.

Both sides of the American political divide seem adept at playing the xenophobic interference card. Republican Trump this week claimed that foreign interference would abuse mail-in voting systems and suggested the election should be postponed. There is no evidence for such concern.

Likewise, Trump’s opponents in the Democratic party and their sympathetic news media outlets are adept at playing the same nefarious game.

Ever since Trump was elected to the White House in 2016, his opponents have obsessed over alleged Russian interference without ever providing any evidence for their outlandish speculations.

Chief among the exponents of such conspiratorial thinking is the New York Times, the so-called “newspaper of record”. The Times is a diehard pro-Democrat and “never-Trump” organ. The paper also has a long history of serving as a conduit for U.S. intelligence agencies. Its nadir of propagandist functioning was making the false case of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the genocidal U.S. and British war on that country. Indeed, some of the journalists who peddled that propaganda are still working at the paper and penning the most recent Russophobic articles.

In recent weeks, Russophobia at the Times has become feverish. On June 26, it launched a series of stories, amplified across U.S. media, claiming that Russian intelligence was operating a “bounty-hunter” scheme for assassinating American military in Afghanistan.

On July 16, the Times headlined with “Russian hackers trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research”.

This week, the “paper of record” announced “Russian intelligence agencies push disinformation on pandemic”.

The fiendish thing about such “stories” is the cleverly disguised lack of evidence. They all rely on unsubstantiated allegations made by anonymous sources who hide their vacuous “details” behind national security pretenses. This is an audacious affront to journalistic standard and ethics, but the one “advantage” is that the claims are sealed off from being definitely critiqued and disproven because the lack of evidence precludes a specific rebuttal. The upshot is the innuendo is permitted to linger and sow doubts.

The problem for the propagandists, however, is that the credibility of the “reporting” becomes threadbare with each cycle of unsubstantiated allegations. The increased frequency of the cycle indicates the propagandists are realizing their diminishing potency in the eyes of the public and hence try to compensate by narrating ever-more lurid stories.

In the final analysis, the political and economic problems facing the United States and Britain are endemic. The abysmal failure over the coronavirus pandemic is but one accelerant of a chronic collapse. The chaos and division in those societies is of their own making from the corruption of the political and economic system. Trying to resurrect a Cold War with Russia or China is a futile attempt to postpone a reckoning over inherent problems.

President Trump’s indulgence in conspiracies about China is consistent with his conspiracies about quack medical remedies. His conspiratorial psychosis is reflected in the derangement of his Democrat opponents and their media concerning alleged malign Russian interference. The chaos and division attributed to foreign powers is actually a bipartisan vice for avoiding the radical challenge facing the U.S. and its Western vassals like Britain.

A virus without a cure can become fatal. Russophobia is a virus without any cure as far as the Western political establishments are concerned. The result can be deadly. But deadly mainly for their own societies from not addressing real problems.The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

NATO 2020: A COALITION OF THE UNWILLING

 25.07.2020 

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

The problem with alliances is that they ultimately either become victims of their own success, or cannot figure out what to do with themselves once the original rationale disappears. The original Cold War-era NATO was a relatively cohesive entity led by one of the two superpowers, with most of its members being the industrialized democracies of Western Europe, with West Germany being its eastern-most European member, and alliance planning revolving around USSR. But even then there were cracks in the alliance. Italy, for example, had nearly no role to play as it did not border any Warsaw Pact country and did not practice deploying its forces to West Germany to practice its defense against the anticipated Warsaw Pact invasion. And while Greece and Turkey were ostensibly part of that alliance as well, in practice they spent more time clashing with one another than planning for joint action against USSR.

The end of the Cold War made the problem of alliance cohesion far worse, for two reasons. One, it quickly added as many members as possible thus greatly expanding its geographical extent, and two, it lost that single unifying factor in the form of USSR. Today’s NATO is a patchwork of mini-alliances revolving around the United States which is determined to replace the alliance aspect of NATO which assumes that all members have interests that are to be taken into consideration, by patron-client relationships.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the goal of the United States is global domination. This goal is shared by the entire political elite and major portions of the population, though it is nearly never discussed openly or directly. Instead, it is framed in terms of “American Leadership”, “New American Century”, and of course “American Exceptionalism” which is used to justify any policy that violates international law, treaties, or agreements. Given that every country which has not recognized “American Leadership” is described as a “regime”, there is no indication the US elite is interested in anything resembling peaceful coexistence with other sovereign states.

NATO plays a double role in achieving that goal. First, it is a military alliance that projects military power against anyone refusing to accept “American Leadership”. Military contributions by European member states are certainly important, not least by giving America the veneer of international legitimacy, but the presence of US bases on the European continent is far more so. US forces stationed in or staged out of European naval, air, and land bases are indispensable to its efforts to control the MENA region and to promote the US policy of driving a wedge between Europe on the one hand and Russia and China on the other. Secondly, a European country’s membership in NATO means a sacrifice of considerable portion of its sovereignty and independence to the United States. This is a wholly asymmetrical relationship, since US bases its forces in European countries and sells its weapons to them, not the other way around. The penetration of a European country thus achieved allows US intelligence service to develop agent networks and to employ the full range of lobbying techniques which have been particularly visible in the US efforts to press F-35 aircraft into the hands of NATO member states.

America’s self-appointed task is made not easier or harder by the fact that today’s NATO is therefore fragmented along both geographic and national power lines. The geographical divide is plainly easy to see: Norway and Denmark mainly care about the Arctic, Poland and Romania obsess about Russia, Mediterranean countries freak out about what’s happening in North Africa. The wrangling over sending more troops to Mali or to Estonia is the reflection of the differing security concerns of individual members of the far-flung pact. The power divide is less easy to see but more problematic for Washington. V_3 (A2) Of the European powers, only four—Germany, France, Italy, and Great Britain—may be considered to be powerful and independent political actors with which the US has to contend on anything like an equal basis. The first three form the core of the European Union, whereas Great Britain opted for Brexit, likely in part because of the looming big power struggle between the US and the EU that has the potential of degenerating into a destructive trade war. It is doubtful that the skirmishes over Huawei and North Stream 2 are anything but the opening salvoes in the confrontation over whether the EU will emerge as a political actor independent of the US, or be reduced to a collection of client states. Unfortunately, America’s task is made easier by the fact of the intra-European divisions mentioned above.

United States is pursuing development of several hypersonic missile systems with the aim of ultimately fielding very large numbers of them in order to be able to launch disarming first strikes against Russian and Chinese nuclear arsenals. Since the weapons themselves are relatively short-ranged (though that may change once the US allows New START to lapse), they require basing close to their intended targets. That means having to find countries willing to base them in Europe, where it is liable to provoke a  political debate of the magnitude comparable to that of the original Euromissile controversy of the 1980s. Since Germany is not interested in being reduced to the status of a US client, it has resisted the US on a variety of fronts, including the North Stream 2, the refusal to buy F-35s, and now also the lack of desire to host the new US missiles. Even the German defense spending increases are intended at least as much to counter US influence in Eastern Europe as the supposed Russian threat to NATO. The United States has responded using the usual array of tools: economic sanctions on any and all European entities participating in the project and even using the gas, apparently launching a cyber-attack that US-friendly German intelligence promptly blamed on Russia, and also threatening to move US troops out of Germany and possibly to Poland. There is even discussion and rumors that US nuclear weapons stationed in Germany might be moved to Poland.

The outcome of this so far is a power struggle between two NATO allies, US and Germany, over the political alignment of a third—Poland. While Germany has the power of EU institutions on its side and massive economic gravitational pull, US has cultivated a cadre of friends, possibly intelligence assets, as a result of post-9/11 collaboration in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in the realm of intelligence-sharing. This has produced a government more than willing to deploy US troops, missiles, and even nukes on Poland’s territory. The power of US influence is visible in Poland’s weapons procurement: Patriot, Javelin, HIMARS, F-35, and not a single comparable European system in recent years. The US weakness in this confrontation consists of the unwillingness to subsidize Poland economically which, combined with the ruling party’s fiscal irresponsibility, will make it difficult for the country to maintain its anti-German course in the longer term.

While in Eastern Europe US national security state is using Poland as a proxy against Germany, in the Mediterranean it has adopted Turkey as a proxy against France and Italy. After some hemming and hawing, the US hawks dropped the Kurds yet again, with Trump happily taking the blame, in order to piggy-back on Erdogan’s Libya ambitions to curtail French and Italian interests there. To be sure, Turkey retains far more autonomy in the relationship than Poland, which was unable or unwilling to play US and Russia and EU against one another in order to secure a measure of freedom of action. But the US Congress measures to allow the purchase of S-400 weapons from Turkey is an indicator that Turkey’s behavior is once again useful to the US. And even though Turkey was excluded from the F-35 program, its firms continue to make components for various assembly plants. The result has been a number of stand-offs between Turkish warships on one hand and French and Italian on the other off the coasts of Libya. And whereas France and Italy are backing the Marshal Haftar’s LNA, Turkey’s preferred proxy is the GNA, leading to a veritable “anti-Turkey” alliance being formed that includes Turkey’s old time NATO adversary Greece. While the US is officially aloof of the entire situation, in practice controlling Libya’s oil is part of the Washington strategy of “energy dominance” every bit as the North Stream 2 sanctions are.

The remarkable part of these two sets of conflicts among NATO powers is that in both cases Russia has sided with Germany and France against the US in both cases. It is Russia’s policies that are more beneficial to French and German interests than America’s, since Russia is not actually seeking to monopolize energy supplies to Europe in the way that the US clearly and openly is.

So far the US strategy consisted of steadily ratcheting up pressure through sanctions and proxies and occasional intelligence-generated anti-Russia provocations (sometimes helpfully delivered by British agencies), trying to find that happy middle of policies that actually force Germany, France, and Italy to change their policies and which do not force a permanent breach in the trans-Atlantic relationship. But the cracks in the relationship are clearly visible and they are not attributable to Trump’s erratic and brusque manner. It is the US Congress which passed the successive rounds of anti-North Stream 2 sanctions, with strong partisan majorities. It means the assertion of US control over European major powers is part of the US agenda. Since that agenda is motivated by a US political and economic crisis of a magnitude not seen since the 1930s, there is little likelihood Biden’s presidency would represent a radical departure from the current trend.

Of course, for Germany, France, and Italy to successfully resist US encroachment they would first need to transform the EU into something closer than a federation. The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis already providing considerable impetus for such a transformation, America’s insatiable appetites might provide the rest.

Diplomacy is reciprocal

July 25, 2020

Diplomacy is reciprocal

Chris Faure for the Saker Blog

The US suddenly ordered China to end operations from its embassy in Houston, Texas (remember when they did the same to Russia). However, diplomacy is reciprocal and the Chinese so far refrained from a further provocative reaction. They are implementing a fair tit for tat measure, closing the US Consulate in Chengdu, keeping options open for further retaliation. They could have fanned the flames and closed the US Consulate in Hong Kong, or even a bigger one in Beijing, but kept to a fair reciprocal closure – so far.

More about the Consulate spat https://www.moonofalabama.org/

China responded to Mr Pompeo’s highly advertised ‘very important’ speech this week in short, not giving Pompeo that attention that he so craves. The Chinese stance is that Mike Pompeo maliciously attacked the Communist Party of China (CPC) and China’s socialist system, and he made remarks that ignored the facts, were full of ideological bias and turned black into white, which showed his Cold War mentality. From the Chinese Foreign Ministry: “Some US politicians have deliberately stirred up ideological disputes, talked about changing China, denied China-US relations, and provoked China’s relationships with other countries. Their purpose is to suppress China’s development and divert the public’s attention from their own country. These tricks cannot fool the Americans and international community.”

The US have stopped all basic diplomatic standards in a grab for their self-delusional rules-based international order. Just recently, Pompeo announced that they will not respect or accept any of the agreements in the South China Sea. He must be thinking that all of the ASEAN countries like him enough to drop their raft of regional negotiated agreements.

Despite Chinese accusations that the US opens their diplomatic pouches, which is in flagrant violation of all Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular relations, the most important is the following which shows that China is still keeping to fair diplomatic and pragmatic standard:

“It must be emphasized that China has no intentions to change the US in terms of its social system, and the US cannot change China either.”

https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/2511_665403/t1800221.shtml

Having followed the Russian reactions on these types of actions by the US toward Russia, we have become accustomed to the frustratingly pragmatic and clinically diplomatic methods of dealing with western bullying. The Chinese are different and they enthusiastically take part in the war of words that is reaching cold war status if one adds in the trade war announced by Mr Trump +- two years ago and which he thought would be ‘easy to win’. What we see now as reaction to the US provocation to China in the US social sphere, many ordinary Americans are deeply into the ‘crush China’ rhetoric which attempts to blame China for all of the US ills.

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/202007241079970310-us-heading-towards-quagmire-in-the-south-china-sea-by-inciting-tensions-with-beijing-activist-warns/

While it remains unclear if this can be written off completely to electioneering and election rhetoric, what does clarify is that the harm done is not easily fixed, no matter the reason. It is however quite breathtaking how far Pompeo will push this, hoping for retaliation which he can then use to prove himself and the current US administration right. It is beyond a level of comprehension that Pompeo and Co could really think that they will make war against China.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202007/24/WS5f1a5b8da31083481725be24.html

In this time of ‘rhetorical cold war of words’, Godfree Roberts who regularly writes on China for the Unz Review started a new weekly newsletter, Here Comes China, Skulduggery, Good News, Offbeat Opinions, chock-a-block full of what is happening in China.

Godfree has offered the first four newsletters free to Saker readers. From economics, to space, to China-Iran Trade and Military Partnership, to the cleanup and recovering of the Yangtze river, a Hong Kong section, the media war on Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and an in-depth look at Human rights in China, this newsletter stands unique in its scope and its presentation of Western opinions and Eastern opinions.

Godfree’s new book on China is just about ready for release. The book is called:

Why China leads the world: Democracy at the bottom, Data in the middle, Talent at the top.
A preview: https://www.herecomeschina.com/why-china-leads-the-world-the-book/

I also want to draw the readers’ attention to a two part essay written on Mao, Mao Reconsidered, and published in greanvillepost.com. Part 1Part 2

China Sitrep – 5 selected topics from the Here Comes China newsletter:

Trump Empowers CIA to Launch Cyberattacks

The secret authorization, known as a presidential finding, gives the spy agency more freedom in both the kinds of operations it conducts and who it targets–including Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, which are mentioned directly in the document. The finding allows the CIA to more easily authorize its own covert cyber operations, rather than requiring the agency to get approval from the White House. The “very aggressive” finding “gave the agency very specific authorities to really take the fight offensively to a handful of adversarial countries,” said a former U.S. government official. The Central Intelligence Agency has conducted a series of covert cyber operations against Iran and other targets since winning a secret victory in 2018 when President Trump signed what amounts to a sweeping authorization for such activities. [MORE]

Belt and Road Finds New Life in Pakistan

China and Pakistan have signed deals for two hydro-power generation projects costing $3.9 billion in the disputed Kashmir region, and another to revamp the South Asian nation’s colonial-era railways for $7.2 billion — the most expensive Chinese project yet in Pakistan. The Chinese financing has helped rid Pakistan of an electricity deficit that left exporters unable to meet orders and major cities without electricity for much of the day. [MORE]

T.P. Wilkinson: The Yemen

The West encourages dissolution of state entities that could engage in normal relations with China or any other potential competitors. The Yemen is one of those long-term victims of British imperialism. When Britain nominally withdrew from Egypt, Nasser promoted his new government’s participation in his movement for Arab unity, opposed by British clients in Riyadh (the Saud family’s Wahhabi gangsters). The Saud family would like to have annexed the Yemen but could not without war against Egypt-against which the tiny mob had no chance. So David Stirling led a counter-insurgency funded by the British and Saudis to drive Egypt out of the Yemen and leave the country as a quasi-protectorate of Britain/US. Attempts to change that have been fought for decades but until a decade ago the client regime was well protected. Clearly chaos is profitable for the empire which between Somalia and Yemen prevent any stability in opposition to its interests. Not only do Somalia and Yemen lie close to the Suez route they also form part of the ancient East African trading basin that links Asia with Africa. As part of the overall strategy of Denial, this policy is aided by the designs of the mob in Riyad which lacks the population to occupy territories it would like to annex.

Xinjiang

This section from Here Comes China is an in-depth analysis. I suggest you read it in the newsletter itself. Main points:

Islam is neither the Uyghurs’ native religion nor their only one but, in its Wahhabi form, has caused problems around the world, for which we can thank to two fervent Christians, Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski,[2] who considered a united Eurasia, “The only possible challenge to American hegemony.” In 1979, months before the Soviet entry into Afghanistan, Brzezinski drafted and Carter signed a top-secret Presidential Order authorizing the CIA to train fundamentalist Muslims to wage Jihad against the Soviet Communist infidels and all unbelievers of conservative Sunni Islam and the Mujahideen terror war against Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan became the largest covert action in CIA history.[2] Brzezinski’s ‘Arc of Crisis’ strategy inflamed Muslims in Central Asia to destabilize the USSR during its economic crisis and, when Le Nouvel Observateur later asked if he had any regrets, Brzezinski snapped, “What is most important to the history of the world? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe?”

Twenty years later, in 1999, the CIA’s Islam strategist, Graham E. Fuller, announced, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Russians. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.”[3]

Today, NED money supports the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) which calls China’s Xinjiang Province ‘East Turkistan’ and China’s administration of Xinjiang as ‘Chinese occupation of East Turkistan,’ runs articles like, “Op-ed: A Profile of Rebiya Kadeer, Fearless Uyghur Independence Activist,” and admits that Kadeer seeks Uyghur independence from China.

Faced with an armed insurrection, most states impose martial law or a state of emergency, as Britain did in Malaya from 1945 to 1957 and the US did with the Patriot Act, but China decided–despite popular outrage–to write off its losses and play the long game and founded The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO),[1] a political, economic, and security alliance, with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, who stopped funneling money and providing corridors for Uyghur terrorists to move into and out of China. The SCO has since expanded to include India and Pakistan and Iran has begun the accession process, making it world’s largest security pact in both area and population and the only one whose membership includes four nuclear powers.

Forming the SCO was easier than assuaging public outrage. An unheard-of lawsuit by victims’ relatives accused the government of reverse discrimination so they stepped up security and published their objectives:

  1. restore law and order
  2. prevent terrorists from inflicting more violence
  3. use ‘high-intensity regulation’
  4. contain the spread of terrorism beyond Xinjiang
  5. purge extremists and separatists from society.

Neighborhood community centres–labelled ‘concentration camps’ in the western press–educate rural Uyghurs about the perils of religious extremism and train them for urban jobs.
In 2013 President Xi toured Eurasia and proposed the Belt and Road Initiative for three billion people, designed to create the biggest market in the world with unparalleled development potential, and built a gas pipeline to China from Turkmenistan through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan which, like China’s other western pipelines, power lines, and rail and road networks, runs through the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Beijing then moved jobs to Xinjiang and opened vocational schools to train rural youth in literacy and job skills and swore to protect its neighbors from terrorism in exchange for their pledge to reciprocate. To create jobs in the province Xi directed investment from forty-five of China’s top companies and eighty Fortune 500 manufacturers to Urumqi. Corporate investment increased from $10 billion in 2015 to $15 billion in 2017 and infrastructure investments of $70 billion in both 2017 and 2018 lifted the annual goods shipments past 100 million tons with a goal of hourly departures to fifteen European capitals. Half a million Uyghurs have relocated from remote villages to cities and, as a result, 600,000 Uighurs were lifted out of poverty in 2016, 312,000 in 2017 and 400,000 in 2018. The last poor Uyghurs will join the cash economy in mid-2020.

The PBOC, China’s central bank, is partnering with ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing to test the use of its sovereign digital currency, AKA Central Bank Digital Currency, CBDC. The regulator is working with Didi to apply digital currency electronic payment (DCEP) to the ride-hailing app, which currently serves a total of over 550 million users and is often described as China’s Uber. According to Didi, “the government seeks to support the development of the real economy sectors with innovative financial services.” Didi has more than 30 million daily ride-sharing orders and its bike-sharing daily orders reached 10 million. Meituan and Bilibilibili are also cooperating with banks in the digital yuan project. Meituan’s service platform has over 240 million consumers and five million local merchants, and Bilibilibili is China’s largest video-sharing website.

Sign up for your free one month sub to Godfree’s very extensive newsletter here. At the Saker blog, only a fraction of all the material can be covered.

Victoria Nuland Alert

The foreign interventionists really hate Russia

PHILIP GIRALDI • JUNE 23, 2020 

It is difficult to find anything good to say about Donald Trump, but the reality is that he has not started any new wars, though he has come dangerously close in the cases of Venezuela and Iran and there would be considerable incentive in the next four months to begin something to bolster his “strong president” credentials and to serve as a distraction from coronavirus and black lives matter.

Be that as it may, Trump will have to run hard to catch up to the record set by his three predecessors Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Bush was an out-and-out neoconservative, or at least someone who was easily led, including in his administration Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, Reuel Gerecht, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Eliot Abrams, Dan Senor and Scooter Libby. He also had the misfortune of having to endure Vice President Dick Cheney, who thought he was actually the man in charge. All were hawks who believed that the United States had the right to do whatever it considered necessary to enhance its own security, to include invading other countries, which led to Afghanistan and Iraq, where the U.S. still has forces stationed nearly twenty years later.

Clinton and Obama were so-called liberal interventionists who sought to export something called democracy to other countries in an attempt to make them more like Peoria. Clinton bombed Afghanistan and Sudan as a diversion when the press somehow caught wind of his arrangement with Monica Lewinsky and Obama, aided by Mrs. Clinton, chose to destroy Libya. Obama was also the first president to set up a regular Tuesday morning session to review a list of American citizens who would benefit from being killed by drone.

So the difference between neocons and liberal interventionists is one of style rather than substance. And, by either yardstick all-in-all, Trump looks pretty good, but there has nevertheless been a resurgence of neocon-think in his administration. The America the exceptional mindset is best exemplified currently by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who personifies the belief that the United States is empowered by God to play only by its own rules when dealing with other nations. That would include following the advice that has been attributed to leading neocon Michael Ledeen, “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.

One of the first families within the neocon/liberal interventionist firmament is the Kagans, Robert and Frederick. Frederick is a Senior Fellow at the neocon American Enterprise Institute and his wife Kimberly heads the bizarrely named Institute for the Study of War. Victoria Nuland, wife of Robert, is currently the Senior Counselor at the Albright Stonebridge Group and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. That means that Victoria aligns primarily as a liberal interventionist, as does her husband, who is also at Brookings. She is regarded as a protégé of Hillary Clinton and currently works with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who once declared that killing 500,000 Iraqi children using sanctions was “worth it.” Nuland also has significant neocon connections through her having been a member of the staff assembled by Dick Cheney.

Nuland, many will recall, was the driving force behind efforts to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych in 2013-2014. Yanukovych, an admittedly corrupt autocrat, nevertheless became Prime Minister after a free election. Nuland, who was the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department, provided open support to the Maidan Square demonstrators opposed to Yanukovych’s government, to include media friendly appearances passing out cookies on the square to encourage the protesters.

Nuland openly sought regime change for Ukraine by brazenly supporting government opponents in spite of the fact that Washington and Kiev had ostensibly friendly relations. It is hard to imagine that any U.S. administration would tolerate a similar attempt by a foreign nation to interfere in U.S. domestic politics, particularly if it were backed by a $5 billion budget, but Washington has long believed in a global double standard for evaluating its own behavior.

Nuland is most famous for her foul language when referring to the potential European role in managing the unrest that she and the National Endowment for Democracy had helped create in Ukraine. For Nuland, the replacement of the government in Kiev was only the prelude to a sharp break and escalating conflict with the real enemy, Moscow, over Russia’s attempts to protect its own interests in Ukraine, most particularly in Crimea.

And make no mistake about Nuland’s broader intention at that time to expand the conflict and directly confront Russia. In Senate testimony she cited how the administration was “providing support to other frontline states like Moldova and Georgia.” Her use of the word “frontline” is suggestive.

Victoria Nuland was playing with fire. Russia, as the only nation with the military capability to destroy the U.S., was and is not a sideshow like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq or the Taliban’s Afghanistan. Backing Moscow into a corner with no way out by using threats and sanctions is not good policy. Washington has many excellent reasons to maintain a stable relationship with Moscow, including counter-terrorism efforts, and little to gain from moving in the opposite direction. Russia is not about to reconstitute the Warsaw Pact and there is no compelling reason to return to a Cold War footing by either arming Ukraine or permitting it to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Victoria Nuland has just written a long article for July/August issue of Foreign Affairsmagazine on the proper way for the United States manage what she sees as the Russian “threat.” It is entitled “How a Confident America Should Deal With Russia.” Foreign Affairs, it should be observed, is an establishment house organ produced by the Council on Foreign Relations which provides a comfortable perch for both neocons and liberal interventionists.

Nuland’s view is that the United States lost confidence in its own “ability to change the game” against Vladimir Putin, who has been able to play “a weak hand well because the United States and its allies have let him, allowing Russia to violate arms control treaties, international law, the sovereignty of its neighbors, and the integrity of elections in the United States and Europe… Washington and its allies have forgotten the statecraft that won the Cold War and continued to yield results for many years after. That strategy required consistent U.S. leadership at the presidential level, unity with democratic allies and partners, and a shared resolve to deter and roll back dangerous behavior by the Kremlin. It also included incentives for Moscow to cooperate and, at times, direct appeals to the Russian people about the benefits of a better relationship. Yet that approach has fallen into disuse, even as Russia’s threat to the liberal world has grown.”

What Nuland writes would make perfect sense if one were to share her perception of Russia as a rogue state threatening the “liberal world.” She sees Russian rearmament under Putin as a threat even though it was dwarfed by the spending of NATO and the U.S. She shares her fear that Putin might seek “…reestablishing a Russian sphere of influence in eastern Europe and from vetoing the security arrangements of his neighbors. Here, a chasm soon opened between liberal democracies and the still very Soviet man leading Russia, especially on the subject of NATO enlargement. No matter how hard Washington and its allies tried to persuade Moscow that NATO was a purely defensive alliance that posed no threat to Russia, it continued to serve Putin’s agenda to see Europe in zero-sum terms.”

Nuland’s view of NATO enlargement is so wide of the mark that it borders on being a fantasy. Of course, Russia would consider a military alliance on its doorstep to be a threat, particularly as a U.S. Administration had provided assurances that expansion would not take place. She goes on to suggest utter nonsense, that Putin’s great fear over the NATO expansion derives from his having “…always understood that a belt of increasingly democratic, prosperous states around Russia would pose a direct challenge to his leadership model and risk re-infecting his own people with democratic aspirations.”

Nuland goes on and on in a similar vein, but her central theme is that Russia must be confronted to deter Vladimir Putin, a man that she clearly hates and depicts as if he were a comic book version of evil. Some of her analysis is ridiculous, as “Russian troops regularly test the few U.S. forces left in Syria to try to gain access to the country’s oil fields and smuggling routes. If these U.S. troops left, nothing would prevent Moscow and Tehran from financing their operations with Syrian oil or smuggled drugs and weapons.”

Like most zealots, Nuland is notably lacking in any sense of self-criticism. She conspired to overthrow a legitimately elected democratic government in Ukraine because it was considered too friendly to Russia. She accuses the Kremlin of having “seized” Crimea, but fails to see the heavy footprint of the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq and as a regional enabler of Israeli and Saudi war crimes. One wonders if she is aware that Russia, which she sees as expansionistic, has only one overseas military base while the United States has more than a thousand.

Nuland clearly chooses not to notice the White House’s threats against countries that do not toe the American line, most recently Iran and Venezuela, but increasingly also China on top of perennial enemy Russia. None of those nations threaten the United States and all the kinetic activity and warnings are forthcoming from a gentleman named Mike Pompeo, speaking from Washington, not from “undemocratic” leaders in the Kremlin, Tehran, Caracas or Beijing.

Victoria Nuland recommends that “The challenge for the United States in 2021 will be to lead the democracies of the world in crafting a more effective approach to Russia—one that builds on their strengths and puts stress on Putin where he is vulnerable, including among his own citizens.” Interestingly, that might be regarded as seeking to interfere in the workings of a foreign government, reminiscent of the phony case made against Russia in 2016. And it is precisely what Nuland did in fact do in Ukraine.

Nuland has a lot more to say in her article and those who are interested in the current state of interventionism in Washington should not ignore her. Confronting Russia as some kind of ideological enemy is a never-ending process that leaves both sides poorer and less free. It is appropriate for Moscow to have an interest in what goes on right on top of its border while the United States five thousand miles away and possessing both a vastly larger economy and armed forces can, one would think, relax a bit and unload the burden of being the world’s self-appointed policeman.

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.

The Rise and Fall of Empires

Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

June 08, 2020

The Rise and Fall of Empires

I think that it would be true to say that sudden spurts of economic growth are often caused by preparation for war, war itself, and post-war reconstruction. This process in particular was occasioned by the end of WW1 which was succeeded by a restless and runaway period of economic growth based on the US Stock Market boom in 1929. Given the laws of capitalism and its immanent rhythm of boom-bust this break-down was entirely predictable.

The ensuing downturn migrated over the pond to a still weak Europe which had not really recovered from the carnage of 1914-18. The resulting depression in Europe was particularly acute in Germany since it was still attempting to pay its wartime reparations to the allies which had been foisted upon it as a result of the Versailles Treaty. This resulted in the great German inflation during the early to late 1920s.

As if this wasn’t enough, another blow to global economic and financial stability was to be delivered: this in the form of the Anstalt-Credit Bank failure of 1931. Credit-Anstalt was an exceptionally large bank based in Vienna. Given the interconnectedness of banking and finance, and the fragility of the European banking system at the time, one bank failure can give rise to multiple failures. In October 1929, the Austrian  Schober government compelled the allegedly well-financed Credit-Anstalt to assume liabilities, which together with the simultaneous Wall Street Crash led to the financial imbalance of the then-largest Austrian credit provider. Credit-Anstalt had to declare bankruptcy on 11 May 1931.

The collapse of the Credit-Anstalt in Vienna started the spread of the crisis in Europe and forced most countries off the Gold Standard within a few months. A feeling of financial distrust and insecurity spread from Vienna and led to runs on other banks in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland, and Germany. The collapse set off a chain reaction that led from the run on German banks to withdrawals in London and the devaluation of the pound to large-scale withdrawals from New York and another series of bank failures in the United States. So in brief the news of the crisis of the Credit-Anstalt, the most important bank in Central Europe, shook the whole economic structure of Europe and sent shock waves through the rest of the world.

POLITICAL AND STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS

All of which added even greater political and economic instability in both Europe and North America during the Interregnum. Crises of this type unsurprisingly gave rise to bitter class struggles between capital and labour, and various other social and political disequilibria. Revolution in Russia, the rise of the Nazis in Germany and earlier in Italy the new political movement of the black-shirted Fascisti led by one Benito Mussolini – this new political template being the counter-revolution from below. Coincidental with this there was, moreover, the fall of no less than four royal dynasties, the Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns, Romanovs, and Ottomans. The old order had gone, in Europe at least, but their empires still remained: Britain, France, and new kid to the imperialist club – the United States since it had got into the imperialist game in the late 19th century, and there it still remains.

The resulting collisions of interest between the rival nations and blocs with unfinished geopolitical business left over from WW1 seemed to take on an inexorable process – a process headed toward open military conflict between the Great Powers. And so it turned out. Germany was a powerful well-armed state with imperial ambitions but eventually was to be confronted by the combination of the USA, the USSR, and the British Empire, which meant it was bound to lose.

World War 2 was, with the exception of Latin America, a global war and had global ramifications. The major reconstruction of physical, economic, political, and geopolitical organizations and institutions had a number of distinct phases in both war-ravaged Europe and the Far East. The US was fortunate in this regard since apart from Pearl Harbour no major damage occurred on its own territory with the exception of Hawaii.

BRETTON WOODS 1944

The year 1942 was the turning point when the allied victory was more or less guaranteed. It was decided therefore to convene a meeting of the allied powers – excluding the USSR for geopolitical reasons – which was in the main conducted and overseen by the US and UK, with the US being the senior partner, of course. In 1944 the conference was to be held at the Washington Hotel in the small town of Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, USA; grandiosely titled, the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference. At the time Hitler would last another 10 months, and war continued to rage in the Far East and Japan would not surrender for another 13 months. The UN Charter was still a year away. The specific goals of the attendees was to create institutions that would promote a vision beyond the end of the war united in hopes for a world united through prosperity.

US FOREIGN POLICY & TWILIGHT OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE

All very noble and idealistic. However also in play were the usual motivations of nation states and their internal interest groups – groups who harboured their own concerns which were somewhat less idealistic. It was argued by some realist foreign relations theorists that the plan for these Bretton Woods institutions go back further to the 1930s and to the US Council of Foreign Relations. (1)

‘’Members of this group assessed early on that, at a minimum, the US national interest required free access to the raw materials of the Western hemisphere, the Far East, and the British Empire. On July 24, 1941, a council memorandum outlined the concept of a grand area: that part of the world which the United States dominated economically and militarily to ensure materials to its industries.’’ (2)

Of course it was tacitly understood by the Americans that the British Empire stood in the way of US imperial aggrandisement and ultimately it had to go. The British delegation were in fact being played by the Americans throughout these tortuous negotiations. But the British were semi-aware of what the Americans were up to. According to the principal British negotiator J.M.Keynes who wrote in a private letter to a colleague:

‘’The greatest cause of friction between the US and Great Britain over a very long period was the problem of what we used to call the old commitments, arising out of the fact that lend-lease* did not come into anything like full operation for some nine months after it had legally come into force … You do not emphasise the point that the US Administration was very careful not to take every precaution to see that the British were as near as possible bankrupt before any assistance was given … or appropriately abated whenever there seems the slightest prospect that leaving things as they are might possibly lead to a result in leaving the British at the end of the war otherwise than hopelessly insolvent.’’(3)

Thus the whole issue of lend-lease boiled down to this: The UK was broke, a supplicant, and did not have the wherewithal to pay back the loans made to the US. On the other hand the hard-nosed US ruling circles were not a registered charity and insisted on business reciprocity involving loan repayment. Moreover, the fact that this meant the virtual winding up of the British empire and the Sterling Area was judged in certain American quarters as being a good deal for the US. It should be noted that the parsimony of the US vis-à-vis the British loan contrasted sharply with the extension of Marshall Aid and the wiping out of post-war German debts.

‘’The first loan on the post-war agenda was the British Loan which, as President Truman announced in forwarding it to Congress, would set the course of American and British economic relations for many years to come. He was right, for the Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great Power.’’ (4)

POST-WAR AUSTERITY – POLITICS IN EUROPE

The post-war period was one of bitter austerity from the late 40s with rationing and austerity taking place among the ruins of war, and this continued until the early 1950s, to be exact 1954 in the UK, 1950 in Germany.

In the UK The Labour party was elected to power in 1945, which it is said, won the 1945 election by servicemen returning from the war and voting Labour in droves. The new government was given a political mandate to nationalise the core industries: Rail, Public Utilities (gas, electricity, water), Transport, Coal, Iron and Steel, and, most importantly, the setting up of the National Health Service, the jewel in the crown of a new social and political order as overseen by a determined social-democratic party

Over in Europe change was also on the agenda. There were open mass communist parties, the PCF in France, and PCI in Italy often supplemented with armed partisans in France, Italy, Yugoslavia, and the Balkans including Greece. Tito’s partisans gained power in 1946. But the civil war in Greece 1944-49 had a different outcome.(5) Also coming to power in the Balkans at this time were Albanian partisans led by the charismatic albeit demented figure of Enver Hoxha.

Things got better in the next phase of post-war recovery during the 1950s which marked the continuation of post-war reconstruction policies. This involved an end of rationing and a spurt of growth which had been pretty much flat for centuries until WW1 when the epoch of industrialisation of society evolved pari passu with mechanized industrial production; this was a feature of both civilian and military research which often involved a cross-fertilisation of both. Growth took off almost vertically in the 1950s and 60s. This was certainly true in the mid-20th century. But this was a political as well as a strategic/economic phenomenon. This was a period of acute internal political conflict and struggle.

POST-WAR BOOM AND COLD WAR

However from the middle 1950s the momentum of social and political developments moved to a more sustained and semi-tranquil path. The Trente Glorieuses as the French called it – a golden age of social and political peace: there were high levels of growth, low levels of unemployment, high wage levels, high levels of investment, not quite a social-democratic utopia, but at least the years of poverty, war and austerity had been left behind, it seemed for good. I think this unparalleled post-war economic boom had a great deal to do with post-war reconstruction. A point I made in the opening paragraph.

However, it should also be borne in mind that in international and strategic terms this was the Cold War era. A period of nuclear standoff, NATO, the Warsaw Pact, and the unstable division of Europe and colonial wars in Korea (UN under US control) Indo-China (French and American) Malaya, Kenya, Palestine (British). A situation which is still ongoing with the U.S. attempting (unsuccessfully) to carve out an empire.

BRETTON WOODS 2

These tendencies were highly visible and generally in the public realm. But perhaps the less contentious issues and decisions had been and were taking place in more recondite settings. Back in 1944, at the opening session of Bretton Woods, Henry Morgenthau, then Secretary of the US Treasury was to set forth one of the underlying assumptions that guided the work of the architects of the Bretton Woods system. Some were valid others less so. In particular the assumption that 1. Everyone would be the beneficiary of increased world trade, and 2. That economic growth would not be constrained by the limits of the planet.

The trouble with this mode of thinking is that the policy consensus and values among the powers that be (PTB) are also shared by everyone else. This is a very obvious and common shortcoming ‘groupthink’ among the ‘power elite’ of policy makers, and opinion formers, as was pointed out by the astute American intellectual, C Wright Mills way back in the 1950s.

All of this notwithstanding, by the end of the historic meeting, the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and IMF (International Monetary Fund) and GATT (the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) which was superseded by the WTO (World Trade Organization). If I may paraphrase the poet Robert Browning: Roosevelt was in the White House, God was in his Heaven and all was right with the world!

CONSOLIDATION AND NEW WORLD ORDER

Since that time these global organizations have been dutifully occupied over the years adhering faithfully to their mandate to promote economic growth through globalization – globalization being a catch-all term involving market liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation. Through Structural Adjustment Programmes/Policies (SAPs) the World Bank and the IMF have pressured countries of the Global South to open their borders and convert their economies from self-sufficiency to export production. Trade agreements negotiated through GATT/WTO have reinforced these policies and prized open economies in both the Global South and North opening the path to the increasingly free importation of goods and capital flows (usually ‘hot money’). These archaic trade theories are justified by reference to David Ricardo and his archaic concept of ‘comparative advantage’ which is still taught in economics departments of universities.

The American New World Order established in 1945 had a strategic-military component as well as an economic one. US occupation in 1945 became permanent through the imposition of NATO which has expanded incrementally all the way to the Russian border. This occupation has lasted for 7 decades and is barely noticed as such. Europe has essentially become a collection of vassal states unthinkingly loyal to its American masters. The situation has become so entrenched that – apart from a brief Gaullist opposition – Europeans are completely unaware of this silent annexation. An annexation which in large part was carried out by the CIA and its euro Quislings. These included Operations, Gladio, Mockingbird and Paperclip.

This Atlantic Military-Strategic bloc – NATO – is an aggressive intercontinental vehicle serving as the instrument for US strategy for global dominance. Hard power.

‘’The occupied and colonized can come to accept and adopt the system and ways of their occupiers and colonizers … In Western (and now a fortiori Eastern) Europe many have come to accept without challenge the primary role of the US over the affairs of their states and give little thought to NATO except as a foundation of their security architecture. They have been raised and socialised, with this as part of their world. In many instances it is not only a normal part of the status-quo for them, it is also invisible to them. This is why the post-Cold-War continuation of the Atlantic Alliance went mostly unchallenged at the societal level in NATO member states, leaving the US to slowly consolidate its influence in each and every state.’’(6)

Financial dominance has also been another weapon operationalised and used by the US in their quest for global hegemony. This is particularly relevant with the role of the US$. As the global reserve currency the dollar gives a number of trade advantages over its trade ‘partners’. These are easy enough to enumerate but taking one example:

‘’It costs only a few cents for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to produce a $100 bill, but other countries have to pony up $100 of goods and services in order to obtain one. (The difference between what it costs the government to print a note and a foreigner to procure it is known as seignorage after the right of the medieval Lord or seigneur to coin money and keep for himself some of the precious metal from which it was made.) About $500 billion of US currency circulates outside of the United States for which foreigners have had to provide the United States with $500 billion goods and services.’’(7)

But it is not a privilege which should be abused. Human Nature being what it is, however, it was abused. When the US left the Gold Standard in 1971 it could print dollars with abandon to pay its import bills. This meant it could accrue many advantages including the one mentioned by Eichengreen above. However, all was not as clear-cut as it seemed.

THE TRIFFIN DILEMMA AND THE DOLLAR RACKET

There was always a fundamental incompatibility between the attainment of global economic stability and possession of a single national currency to perform the role of the world’s reserve currency. As a global reserve currency the dollar has to be the anchor of the world’s trading system. However, as a domestic currency the dollar needs to have sufficient flexibility for internal policy. Thus at the heart of the dollar’s value and use there is this contradiction for the dual roles of this currency.

During the Bretton Woods ‘golden age’ which lasted from 1944 until 1971, the US$ was fixed against gold at $35 per oz. However the cost of US wars of choice in Korea and Indo-China, as well as ambitious social programmes like LBJ’s ‘Great Society’, saw a global build-up of surplus dollars accumulating in central banks around the world. These surplus dollar countries then began trading in their surplus dollars at the gold window at the Fed. This was a situation which the US could not tolerate as gold was flying out of the US to various overseas central bank venues.

Thus it was that on August 15, 1971, President Nixon suspended dollar/gold convertibility for a temporary period, which in fact morphed into a permanent arrangement – an arrangement which persists to this day. The gold standard was replaced with the US$ fiat standard. The dollar was to be regarded as being as good as gold, which was rather more like an act of faith than rational economic policy.

The maverick Belgian economist Robert Triffin first drew attention to this anomaly during the 1960s in his seminal work Gold and the Dollar Crisis: The Future of Convertibility. He observed that having the US dollar perform the role of the world’s reserve currency created fundamental conflicts of interest between domestic and international economic objectives.

On the one hand, the international economy needed dollars for liquidity purposes and to satisfy demand for reserve assets. But this forced, or at least made it easy, for the US to run consistently large current account deficits.

He argued that such a policy of running persistent deficits would eventually put pressure on the dollars convertibility and ultimately lead to the demise of the Bretton Woods system of international exchange which is exactly what happened in 1971.

This arrangement led to what in effect were tangible advantages for the US, at least to the current situation.

Nice work if you can get it. International trade as denominated in US$’s meant that the US$ qua world reserve currency could use its dollars to buy foreign assets and pay for them in dollars. These dollars were then held by foreigners who could no longer convert surplus dollars into gold but could only purchase US Treasuries and other US dollar-denominated assets which were never going to be repaid. Surplus dollar countries would sell their hard-earned dollars to purchase US Treasuries which pushed up the value of the dollar and kept US interest rates low; and the US in turn would buy goods and services from these same surplus countries. It worked rather like this: a foreign computer company – say ‘Japcom’ – sells you a computer by lending you the money to buy it! The ultimate free lunch.

But of course there’s always a catch! The effect of a strong dollar which raised domestic US industries costs, led to the hollowing out of the US domestic economy which ultimately could not compete with more efficient overseas competition. The last thing that the US rust belt needed was/is a strong dollar which had the effect of making its export industries less competitive. This left the US in an economic quandary. Namely, that the United States must on the one hand simultaneously run a strong/dollar, policy and on the other a weak/dollar policy, or put another way must allow for an outflow of dollars to satisfy the global demand for the currency, but must also engineer an inflow of dollars to make its domestic industries more competitive. As explained thus: when the Fed cuts interest rates, investors sell dollar-denominated assets and buy foreign assets, which tends to weaken the dollar’s exchange rate.

Having it both ways! Which of course is hardly possible.

Moreover, it is a moot point as to whether the rest of the world will continue to support this ‘exorbitant privilege’ in perpetuity. So far, the Vichy-Quisling-Petainst regimes in Europe and East Asia have to touch their forelocks and prostrate themselves before their Lord and Masters, but it would be wrong to imagine that this can continue as a permanent arrangement. Ironically, however, the US hegemon treats its friends and allies considerably worse than its putative enemies. Such is the nature of geopolitics.

WHAT NEXT?

The rise and fall of empires has always been a leitmotif for historians from Thucydidies and Herodotus, to Gibbon, Glubb and Hobsbawm in the modern period. It seems fairly obvious that the United States is in irreversible decline, and I think that the same is probably true of Europe given that Europe has been effectively Americanised. The American intellectual Morris Berman has perceptively got his finger on the pulse of the decay of modern-day America.

‘’As the 21st century dawns, American culture is, quite simply, in a mess … The dissolution of American corporate hegemony, when it does occur – and our own ‘Soviet Watershed’ is at least 40 or 50 years down the road as of this writing – will happen because of the ultimate inability of the system to maintain itself indefinitely. This type of breakdown which is a recurrent historical phenomenon is a long-range one and internal to the system.’’ (8)

The long decline as described by Berman is in general a cultural critique. A dumbing down so massive, relentless and comprehensive that is seems irresistible and sadly unstoppable. As Berman further writes:

‘’For a zoned-out, stupefied populace, ‘democracy’ will be nothing more than the right to shop, or to choose between Wendy’s or Burger King, or to stare at CNN and think that this managed infotainment is actually the news. As I have said, corporate hegemony, the triumph of global democracy/consumerism based upon the American model is the collapse of American civilization. So a large-scale transformation is going on, but it is one that makes triumph indistinguishable from disintegration.’’(9)

Add to this the hollowing out of the US productive economy (10) and the rise of a bloated financial sector which is kept going by infusions of money freshly printed by the Fed and which is more and more taking on the visage of an gigantic Ponzi scheme where existing debt levels are serviced by more debt, apparently without end. This is not going to be easy to reverse. The ongoing deindustrialisation of the US and its satellites seems to be irreversible.

The US political elites and the MSM seem little more than a monkey house of corrupt buffoons with not a political idea in their heads or what they are about and where they are going: but everything is fine as long as they get paid-off. It seems all very reminiscent of the last days of the French monarchy with America’s own Marie Antoinette, the air-head Nancy Pelosi, passing the time on TV by recommending the variety of ice-cream she keeps in her fridge during the current shut-down. The people have got no bread Nancy! Well let them eat ice-cream! Brilliant PR from Nancy Antionette.

Then of course there are the complete and certifiable lunatics (the neo-cons) who, along with Israel and its 5th column within the US, are intent on dragging the US into unwinnable wars which are slowly degrading the morale the civilian population and fighting capacity of the ‘invincible’ US military machine.

An historical analogy from history seems germane at this point.

It has been recorded that the most important battle that the Roman Army fought was The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Three crack Roman legions crossed the Rhine to engage the Germanic tribes; a cake walk, or so they thought. Unfortunately, they were overconfident and badly led. Strung out on the march and unable to get into their customary Roman battle formations – the dreaded testudo (tortoise) – and were attacked on all sides by hordes of Germanic tribesmen and unceremoniously put to the sword: three crack legions, 20,000 men, one tenth of the Roman Army. This was in 9 CE. The Roman Empire lasted approx. another 400 years, but its reputation had suffered a blow from which it never recovered. The beginning of the end came when the Visigoths crossed the Danube 376 AD into the Roman Empire properly. When Rome was sacked it was the definitive end of empire. The US seems set on the same course, or one similar perhaps, although it is difficult if not impossible to put a date on its final demise.

Who can tell the future? We shall wait and we shall see.

NOTES

(1) The Council of Foreign Relations founded in 1921, is a United States non-profit think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. It is headquartered in New York City, with an additional office in Washington, D.C. This somewhat bland description does not explain the reality. In fact the CFR is made up of a number of notables drawn from the American political and financial nomenklatura, an incubator of leaders and ideas unified in their vision of a global economy dominated by US corporate interests.

(2) The Failures of Bretton Woods – David C Korten – The Case Against the Global Economy – 1996 – p.21

* Under the Lend-Lease program, from 1941 to 1945 the United States provided approximately $50 billion in military equipment, raw materials, and other goods to thirty-eight countries. About $30 billion of the total went to Britain, with most of the remainder delivered to the Soviet Union, China, and France

(3) Robert Skidelsky – John Maynard Keynes – Fighting for Britain – 1937-46- collected works and letters – xxiv 28/29 letter to E.R.Stettinuis, 18 April 1944

(4) Michael Hudson – Super Imperialism – pp.268/269

(5) The British Labour government of 1945-40 actually took sides in the Greek Civil War fought between the Greek government army (supported by the United Kingdom and the United States)and the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) — the military branch of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) supported by YugoslaviaAlbania and Bulgaria. This lasted from 1946 to 1949. The Soviet Union avoided sending aid. The fighting resulted in the defeat of the DSE by the Hellenic Army. The Labour party, social-democratic as it may have portrayed itself, was nonetheless pro-imperialist to the core and a founder member of 1940.

(6) Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – The Globalization of NATO p.334.

(7) Barry Eichengreen – Exorbitant Privilege – pp.3/4

(8) Morris Berman – The Twilight of American Culture – p.21. Published in 2000.

(9) Berman – ibid. – p.132

(10) The Auto-vehicle industry which was pioneered by Henry Ford was dominant up until recently when it produced 50% of motor vehicles. But this is no longer the case. Currently global auto-vehicle producers can be ranked as follows:

1. Toyota (Japan) Annual Output: 10,455,051 2. Volkswagen (Germany) Annual Output: 10,382,384 3. Hyundai/Kia (South Korea) Annual Output: 7,218,391. 4. General Motors (United States) Annual Output: 6,856,880. 5. Ford (United States) Annual Output: 6,386,818. 6. Nissan (Japan) Annual Output: 5,769,277. 7. Honda (Japan) Annual Output: 5,235,842. 8. FCA (Italy, USA) Annual Output: 4,681,457. 9. Renault (France) Annual Output: 3,373,278. Group PSA (France) Annual Output: 3,152,787

AMERICA FAILS PANDEMIC STRESS TEST

05.06.2020 

South Front

America Fails Pandemic Stress Test

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

It is well established in scholarly literature on international conflict that whenever a country behaves in an erratic, aggressive manner, it is nearly always a reflection of deep-seated internal social, political, and economic problems which the country’s leadership is unable or unwilling to address. United States is an example of what happens when that country is a superpower facing not only international decline, but also internal decay. Zbigniew Brzezinski infamously described the Soviet Union as “Upper Volta with rockets”. That was never a fair comparison, since USSR lacked the massive pockets of poverty, social exclusion, and downright police repression that the United States boasts. Likewise the Soviet health care system could have coped with a pandemic better than the US one or even the current Russian Federation one. Today’s America, however, is that country Brzezinski spoke about. Expanding its global influence through direct, proxy, and hybrid wars became the most attractive policy tool intended to restore the health of the US economy which, since the end of the Cold War, was kept alive mainly by extremely permissive monetary policies of the US Federal Reserve which in the end inflated several stock market bubbles. Even today the Federal Reserve’s main concern is keeping the Dow Jones rally going, because a collapse on the markets would permanently cripple the US economy.

This is Philly around 5:30 today. There is just no defense for this behavior. At all.


11.1K people are talking about this

However, at risk of mixing metaphors, an economy built on equity bubbles is a house of card that will collapse at the slightest shock. COVID-19 proved to be that shock, a “Black Swan” event that has been predicted for many years  that would precipitate a radical transformation of domestic political systems and of the balance of power in the international system. The pandemic became a test of not just public health systems, but of the strength of each country’s economy, the cohesion of its society, and the ability of its government to govern. Even though we are still in the early stages of the crisis, we can already see that some states are passing the test (so far) with flying colors, while others are being wracked by internal turmoil. To quote Warren Buffett, when the tide recedes you see who has been swimming naked. The United States has been revealed to be quite wardrobe-challenged in this instance.

America Fails Pandemic Stress Test

The callous slow-motion torture and murder of George Floyd in the Democratic Party stronghold of Minneapolis by four police officers with long histories of brutality against ethnic minorities was the spark that ignited the powder keg of US race relations. It certainly did not help that the United States created forty million new unemployed and failed to provide them with adequate financial support, due to the infamously miserly US social safety net. And just as COVID-19 is disproportionately lethal to US ethnic minorities who suffer from a higher level of underlying medical conditions due to poverty, malnutrition, and stress, so did the job losses disproportionately affect African Americans. The average black worker does not “work from home” on his laptop computer. Rather, the average black worker is employed in food service, hospitality, and retail, all of which have been crushed by the pandemic and, especially, the lockdown measures. It is no wonder that the conservatives wanted to “re-open” the economy as quickly as possible. Chasing millions of African Americans back to their menial jobs, even when it involved them facing greater risk of infection and death, would at least deprive them of the free time they have available to protest.


Just about an hour ago, police officers shove man in Niagara Square to the ground (WARNING: Graphic). Video from: @MikeDesmondWBFO


66.2K people are talking about this

The Fuel

The speed with which the protests spread across the country, affecting every state and most large cities, is a reflection of the universality of the problem that the events in Minneapolis revealed. In the face of slow-motion economic collapse and the destruction of the American middle class, the US political system at both state and federal levels has subtly but effectively sought to shift the economic pain to the minorities, in order to preserve the standard of living of the white middle class on whose support the legitimacy of the US political and economic system still rests. The armed white militias that protested at several state legislatures only a month earlier are an expression of that fear. The “don’t tread on me” Gadsden Flags quite clearly express who is to be tread upon, and who is not. They are a warning that should US elites attempt to economically marginalize the white middle class, they may expect a forceful response. The weak police response to law-breaking perpetrated by armed white militias was not lost on most commentators, either. But these politics of “economic triage” where the pain is shifted to the communities of color also implies the need for heavy-handed police repression which US police forces are all too happy to deliver. US law enforcement should not be seen as a collection of politically-neutral guardians of law and order. Rather, it skews heavily toward the right, even the far-right, and it is no surprise that Donald Trump enjoys the overwhelming support of American police unions and organizations. While these trends were evident for the last decade at least, since the 2008 crisis to which the US government never found an adequate response, the pandemic accelerated it to the point of the tensions and grievances finally boiling over.

The Firehose

Whenever a fire breaks out, it is ultimately either put out or burns itself out due to lack of fuel. It is doubtful this is going to burn itself out on its own, given that the US law enforcement is now providing more provocation with its heavy-handed tactics on daily basis, and moreover neither the pandemic nor the economic crisis are going anywhere any time soon. Since the United States is now in the throes of domestic unrest not seen since the days of Vietnam War, it raises the question of what is to be done about it? Which leaders, which policies, might definitively address the grievances of the masses?

We can safely say Donald Trump will not be the one, because to the extent he is wielding a fire hose, it seems to be mostly spraying gasoline on the fire. Literally every action, every statement, every tweet, has served to polarize and exacerbate the problems. It may be Trump is doing this deliberately, hoping to replicate Richard Nixon’s “silent majority” strategy, an idea that is supported by Trump himself tweeting these words. Yes, the riots polarize, but the hope is that, when the smoke clears, Trump’s half is the bigger of the two and, like Nixon, he secures his re-election. Richard Nixon won his re-election by a landslide, even though after the fact almost nobody admitted ever voting for him. However, few things motivate voting for conservatives in the US more than the sight of black rioters and looters.

Of course, the problem Trump faces here is that Joe Biden has impeccable “law and order” credentials, complete with the ability to “dog whistle” to white conservatives. Biden, after all, is the politician who said in the 1970s he did not want his children to “grow up in a racial jungle”, and his support of anti-crime legislation which led to the mass incarceration of African-Americans in the last few decades suggests he is willing to put his money where his mouth is. Thanks to his role as Obama’s vice president, he also has certain sway among the African American community that has served him well in the primaries and obscured his previous racist record. But in the end Biden is no Obama, whose combination of personality and politics was just enough to keep America from blowing up. Biden does not have the same combination, and moreover he is presiding over an economic catastrophe that will not be as easy to rectify by throwing money at banks the way the 2008 crisis was.

The one politician who correctly identifies both problems and solutions and who also commands considerable popular support, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has been effectively sidelined by the Democratic Party which is utterly uninterested in adopting policies of economic and social justice. It means that, in the longer term, America will move toward greater police repression which will be far more easily accepted by the white public when it is done during a Biden presidency. Given that neither Biden’s nor Obama’s public appearances were effective at demobilizing the protests, it means the United States is facing the prospect of its own Yellow Vest-style uprising, namely a continuous low-level anti-government uprising that will ebb and flow but never entirely disappear.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

The new cold war; The Industrial Dependence War:

May 25, 2020

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

The world does not need a new cold war, or does it?

The Cold War started before the hot war was over. It was put into motion when America dropped the ‘bomb’ and Stalin declared that the USSR should ramp up its efforts to have this technology as soon as possible. And even though the Soviet Atomic Bomb Project was initiated in 1942, the first Soviet test was conducted in 1949, four years after Hiroshima.

The blame here is not on Stalin. After all, if Stalin did not take this ‘pre-emptive’ move, the West was planning to take him down next. It’s quite likely that Stalin and the USSR were saved from a Western invasion by the nukes they developed.

If the USA had the wisdom to learn from history, it should have realized that the moment it revealed to the rest of the world that it has a new cutting-edge super weapon, a rival will come and demand to have the same. In retrospect therefore, the ‘Manhattan Project’ was the real underlying trigger point for initiating the Cold War.

With both the US and the USSR, and later on Britain and France and other nations becoming nuclear powers, overtly or secretively, the deterring effect of a major direct confrontation between superpowers became obvious, though not strong enough to prevent major regional conventional proxy and hybrid wars all over the globe.

Nations of the Middle East together with Korea, Vietnam and many others, cannot claim any benefit from the deterring effect of the Cold War, but perhaps the USA, Europe (including Russia) and even Cuba can.

Unlike the story that the West wishes to peddle to the rest of the world, America did not win the Cold War neither did the USSR lose it. In reality, this was a negotiated agreement that happened prior to the breakup of the USSR; not afterwards.

With all the fear, tension, nuclear pollution, waste and plundering of resources that the Cold War generated, the world community has by-and-large won it with flying colours. It did stop WWIII from eventuating and definitely did not allow for more A-Bombs to be dropped on more cities after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Upon the breakup of the USSR, the United States had an opportunity to change direction and embark on a trajectory of demonstrating good leadership and innovation in the international community. Instead it set about promoting and installing a self-declared New-World Order that rendered the USA the sole superpower, and at all costs, ensured it stayed that way by whatever means necessary.

Nearly thirty years on, there is definitely a new cold war underway even though no one wants to give it this name. The encroachment of NATO into Eastern Europe and stationing missiles in former Warsaw Pact countries, which resulted in the development of hypersonic Russian weapons, followed by America’s unilateral cancelation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, China’s home-built aircraft carriers, not to mention fighter jets, state-of-the art weaponry and rising tension in the South China Sea are all indicative of a new cold war irrespective what name the media and politicians want to give it.

Enter COVID-19.

I will not argue for or against the numerous theories that make different readings about its nature, scope, extent of danger and what mileage some parties are allegedly trying to achieve from it. COVID-19 however did expose a previously unseen and unspoken-about form of cold wars; the industrial dependence war.

Growing up in the Middle East in the 1960’s, I clearly remember how the then Egyptian President Nasser took great pride in industrializing Egypt. As a matter of fact, when Egypt built its car-assembly plant under license from Italian manufacturer Fiat, the brand name given to Egyptian product was Nasr; meaning victory.

On a much larger scale of course, who could forget the insatiable desire for Chairman Mao to industrialize China? I remember going to a Chinese industrial expo in Beirut in 1973. The manufacturing of heavy machinery in China was still in its infancy, but the Chinese officials manning the expo, as well as local supporters of Communist China, could not hide their broad smiles and feelings of pride and rejoice seeing the Chinese achievements.

And long before any of this, the manner in which European nations were able to conquer the rest of the world and turn it into colonies was because Europe was technologically advanced and industrialized; otherwise nations like Britain and the Netherlands would have never been able to conquer and rule much larger nations like India and Indonesia.

Presently whilst it is still a guarantee of quality to see the words ‘Made in Germany’ on a manufactured product, there was a time not long ago when similar assurance came from labels such as ‘Made in England’, or ‘Made in Great Britain’.

Isn’t this what the industrial revolution was all about, or has the world forgotten?

When Asian products began to appear in the Western markets, their quality was shockingly inferior. They were competing on price and price only. Japan took the lead, and in a short time produced high quality goods, especially in the areas of photography, sound equipment and motor vehicles; and the rest is history.

The West often ridicules ‘totalitarian regimes’ and advocates the principles of capitalism, private enterprise, and recently globalism. These principles, alongside democracy, are considered sacrosanct. Criticizing them is tantamount to blasphemy and reflects tendencies of Communism and even Fascism.

For fairness, for as long as the Western nations had viable economies that were underpinned by highly developed industrial prowess, the above doctrines proved to be successful. However, it seems that the initial efforts behind the Western rise were forgotten and that Westerners in general expect on-going success to come effortlessly.

Western manufacturers were eventually unable to compete, and many of them either closed down or moved their manufacturing base to Asia.

The model that the West developed over the last three decades or so was structured on turning its economy into one that is based on finance and service. In almost no time at all, the concept of manufacturing took a backstep and was regarded as something that only developing nations need to do in order to develop their own economies. This in fact reflects a Western covert arrogant elitist supremist vision of manufacturing as being tantamount to slavery; something that should only be done in foreign cheap labour camps. And a new type of slavery did develop indeed. Sports shoes sold in the West for $200 a pair were manufactured in sweat shops in Asia by workers paid around $2 a day.

Western industrialists were drawn to the benefits of paying for manufacturing in Yuans and Rupees and selling the goods in Green Backs. And when an imported T-shirt bought from Asia for $1 gets sold in the West for $20, it makes its own humble contribution to the national economy, and it is little wonder therefore as to why Western governments were joyful to partake in the spoils, after all, such arrangements produced high GDP’s, albeit that they were not based on actual domestic productivity.

Once again, enter COVID-19.

All of a sudden, the West found that it was crippled and unable to provide its citizens with basic hygiene necessities any faster that it could import them from China. But importation meant having to compete with other importers, and ‘begging’ suppliers for priority status, and when all failed, shipments going to other clients were confiscated and hijacked.

In an instant, the Western economic giant found itself in dire need of the manufactured goods it had considered itself too superior to produce.

Unable to produce ventilators, unable to provide facial masks for its citizens; the repercussions of the downfall of Western de-industrialization have never before been made so obvious for all to see.

And when President Trump enacted the Defense Production Act to demand that 3M should produce more masks, the production had to be done in 3M’s factories in China. How ridiculous is this!

These revelations certainly indicate that the West may not only be dependent on China for imports of the above. Certainly, this should shock the West into urgently examining the multi-faceted vulnerable position it has put itself in.

COVID-19 has exposed the West as a paper tiger with dependence on China on multiple levels. But the real questions to ask are the ones that haven’t yet surfaced.

What other vital supplies does the West depend on China for? And if the West was unable to deal with COVID-19 -related supplies in peacetime, how will it be able to deal with supplying its citizens with basic needs in wartime?

What about food security? What about pharmaceutical security?

Fleets, aircraft carriers, air-forces and off-shore military bases do not put food on the tables of citizens in wartime.

And speaking of military hardware, how do we know for certain whether or not Western military hardware does not use imported components? After all, even in peacetime, the USA buys Russian-made rockets to put satellites into orbit because it is unable to manufacture its own. But what other simple commodities is America no longer able to produce? This begs the question of what would America have to rely on for China in wartime? Socks? Blankets?

What is interesting to note here is that whilst the West was scrambling to import its needed supplies from China, almost overnight Russia was able to reach self-sufficiency and even be able to extend aid to other nations. And when Italy was expecting to receive such aid from its EU and NATO allies, those allies were too inept to even be able to look after themselves, and the aid ended up coming from Russia. Russian aid included the USA, with little appreciation from the receiver.

With free economy and free enterprise considered sacred in the dictionary of Western modus operandi, Western governments can neither fill in the missing industrial gap nor coerce private companies to do so. Will the West reflect on where they went wrong with their once successful model? Such self-examination is unlikely to happen because any Western political party that evaluates and proposes solutions to this failure will be accused of Socialism and even Fascism. One of the biggest ironies here is that Western political rivals are only interested in making political scores against each other; scores that can get them elected. They are not at all necessarily interested in what is good for their nations.

The world certainly does not need a new cold war, but the West is unknowingly deeply engaged in one already. If lessons are to be learnt is for the future to reveal. COVID-19 did not trigger a war. It did however expose the reality of an existing and on-going war, a cold war, a war no one paid much attention to before, one not based on buildup of military arsenals, but rather one of industrial dependence; a war the West has already lost to China.

Victory Day – As Franklin Roosevelt Would Have Seen It

The Big Three -- WW2 Leaders Hand Towel for Sale by War Is Hell Store

Martin Sieff May 9, 2020

A Cold War or global competition was NOT U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vision for the post World War II world. He saw the Soviet Union and the United States, the Russian and American peoples as the two best and most reliable partners to maintain the peace of the world. 75 years have proven his prescient vision was right. Yet American leaders of the Fake Right and the Fake Left alike have now abandoned it for the policies of chaotic globalism and unending eternal war.

It is always forgotten that Franklin Roosevelt was a personal eyewitness to the catastrophic Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. FDR was no child. He was by then almost 40 years old and had been as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the civilian chief operating official of the entire United States Navy for more than six years including through a world war.

Roosevelt recognized at the time very clearly that megalomaniac President Woodrow Wilson had completely destroyed the future peace and happiness of the entire world on the rocks of his blasphemous arrogance and sheer incompetence. Decades of observation and reflection combined to show how Wilson’s airy visions of a world remade on the principles of national self determination was only a recipe for endless bloodbaths and more chaos.

Wilson’s monumental mess up at Versailles also led the United States to withdraw from the world stage for more than 20 years.

Roosevelt had a very different vision of the world to come after 1945. Central to it was his understanding that the United States and the Soviet Union did not have to love each other or ignore their very different national interests but that they had to remain partners in the great task of maintaining world peace. But tragically, this vision did not survive the president’s death from a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945.

Roosevelt’s successor Harry Truman suddenly, immediately and without even giving a courtesy warning shut down all Lend Lease aid to the Soviet Union: it was the decision that truly started the Cold War.

Then Truman abandoned Roosevelt’s wise and visionary determination to force the old European powers of Britain, France and the Netherlands to immediately grant independence, or at least initiate a phased process towards that goal in most of their old colonies across Africa and Asia.

Instead, Truman threw U.S. financial and military support behind frantic British and French attempts to keep most of their empires. This decision led directly to two of the most terrible post-colonial wars waged by the French to hold on to Algeria and Indo-China – modern Vietnam, along with Cambodia and Laos.

Thirty more years of wars and oceans of innocent blood would flow before the inevitable outcomes that Franklin Roosevelt reached in 1945 came about anyway.

It has been an almost unanimous consensus among Western historians that Roosevelt was a naive and childish appeaser of Josef Stalin and international communism. Instead, FDR’s successor Truman has been elevated as a far greater figure and the great hero in supposedly saving the West from Soviet conquest.

However, two outstanding recent histories by Susan Butler (“Roosevelt and Stalin”) and Nigel Hamilton “War and Peace: FDR’s Final Odyssey”) document and present a far different picture.

For all their myriad differences, Roosevelt had succeeded in forging an effective partnership with Stalin to create as table, long-lasting new world system in which the two dominant superpowers could work together to maintain world peace.

Indeed, far from manipulating Roosevelt as so many neoconservative and neoliberal Western writers have mindlessly claimed for so many decades, Stalin was emotionally shocked and deeply depressed by FDR’s s passing, Being Stalin, his first reaction was to task the formidable Soviet espionage apparatus to investigate whether FDR had actually been assassinated by hardliners in his own government.

That was not the case. On the contrary, as Hamilton documents, FDR suffered a catastrophic health collapse following his return from the October 1943 Tehran conference with Stalin and Winston Churchill. It was almost certainly brought on by the rigors suffered by an already seriously ill man flying in unpressurized aircraft higher than 10,000 feet for extended periods of time.

Indeed, as Hamilton step by step shows, Roosevelt’s chief cardiologist Dr. Howard Bruenn performed prodigies to keep a dying man alive and as leader of the United States for another 18 months almost to the victorious conclusion of the war against Nazi Germany.

Franklin Roosevelt died at the age of 63 after years of remorselessly developing heart problems. His father James had died from the same fundamental causes. His cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt had died at the age of 61 after years of comparable health problems. The extraordinary fact of FDR’s final years was not that he died so soon but that he lived so long.

It was tragic that FDR did not live to celebrate the Victory Day over the Nazi evil he had done so much achieve. He missed it by only four weeks.

It was vastly more tragic that FDR died before he could take the crucial steps to institutionalize the crucial partnership of the U.S. and the USSR on a lasting basis and force the Europeans to allow their emerging colonies a clear, honest path to freedom.

If the leaders of today’s Democratic Party truly wished to revive the great achievements and heritage of their greatest leader, they would immediately end all the unnecessary wars they have cheered, demanded and plunged into around the world: And they would immediately restore the vital partnership with Russia that was the key to his war success.

Were FDR permitted to return today, he would be horrified, raging and contemptuous of those who claimed to be his successors needlessly demonizing a non-communist and non-aggressive Russia, free and open to a degree no-one in the West in his own day could have possibly imagined.

Most of all, he would have been disgusted beyond reason to see the United States committed so deeply to fighting needless, meaningless unending wars across the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe – wars with no conceivable goal and therefore with no possible end, eternal wars – exercises only in exhaustion and futility.

Franklin Roosevelt would not have celebrated Victory Day 75 years after his death with his customary loud and generous laughter. He could only have wept.

AMERICAN PRAVDA: OUR CORONAVIRUS CATASTROPHE AS BIOWARFARE BLOWBACK?

A

Opinion

Nearly 30,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus during the last two weeks, and by some estimates this is a substantial under-count, while the death-toll continues to rapidly mount. Meanwhile, measures to control the spread of this deadly infection have already cost 22 million Americans their jobs, an unprecedented economic collapse that has pushed our unemployment rates to Great Depression levels. Our country is facing a crisis as grave as almost any in our national history.

For many weeks President Trump and his political allies had regularly dismissed or minimized this terrible health threat, and suddenly now faced with such a manifest disaster, they have naturally begun seeking other culprits to blame.

The obvious choice is China, where the global outbreak first began in late 2019. Over the last week or two our media has been increasingly filled with accusations that the dishonesty and incompetence of the Chinese government played a major role in producing our own health catastrophe.

Even more serious charges are also being raised, with senior government officials informing the media that they suspect that the Covid-19 virus was developed in a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan and then carelessly released upon a vulnerable world. Such “conspiracy theories” were once confined to the extreme political fringe of the Internet, but they are now found in the respectable pages of my morning New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Whether plausible or not, such accusations carry the gravest international implications, and there are growing demands that China financially compensate our country for its trillions of dollars in economic losses. A new global Cold War along both political and economic lines may rapidly be approaching.

I have no personal expertise in biowarfare technology, nor access to the secret American intelligence reports that seem to have been taken seriously by our most elite national newspapers. But I do think that a careful exploration of previous Sino-American clashes over the last couple of decades may provide some useful insight into the relative credibility of those two governments as well as that of our own media.

During the late 1990s, America seemed to reach the peak of its global power and prosperity, basking in the aftermath of its historic victory in the long Cold War, while ordinary Americans greatly benefited from the record-long economic expansion of that decade. A huge Tech Boom was at its height, and Islamic terrorism seemed a vague and distant thing, almost entirely confined to Hollywood movies. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the possibility of large scale war seemed to have dissipated so political leaders boasted of the “peace dividend” that citizens were starting to enjoy as our huge military forces, built up over nearly a half-century, were downsized amid sweeping cuts in the bloated defense budget. America was finally returning to a regular peacetime economy, with the benefits apparent to the everyone.

At the time, I was overwhelmingly focused on domestic political issues, so I only paid slight attention to our one small military operation of those years, the 1999 NATO air war against Serbia, intended to safeguard the Kosovar Muslims from ethnic cleansing and massacre, a Clinton Administration project that I fully endorsed.

Although our limited bombing campaign seemed quite successful and soon forced the Serbs to the bargaining table, the short war did include one very embarrassing episode. The use of old maps had led to a targeting error that caused one of our smart bombs to accidentally strike the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, killing three members of its delegation and wounding dozens more. The Chinese were outraged by this incident, and their propaganda organs began claiming that the attack had been deliberate, a reckless accusation that obviously made no logical sense.

In those days I watched the PBS Newshour every night, and was I shocked to see their U.S. Ambassador raise those absurd charges with host Jim Lehrer, whose disbelief matched my own. But when I considered that the Chinese government was still stubbornly denying the reality of its massacre of the protesting students in Tiananmen Square a decade earlier, I concluded that unreasonable behavior by PRC officials was only to be expected. Indeed, there was even some speculation that China was cynically milking the unfortunate accident for domestic reasons, hoping to ignite the sort of jingoist anti-Americanism among the Chinese people that would finally help bind the social wounds of that 1989 outrage.

Such at least were my thoughts on that matter more than two decades ago. But in the years that followed, my understanding of the world and of many pivotal events of modern history underwent the sweeping transformations that I have described in my American Pravda series. And some of my 1990s assumptions were among them.

Consider, for example, the Tiananmen Square Massacre, which every June 6th still evokes an annual wave of harsh condemnations in the news and opinion pages of our leading national newspapers. I had never originally doubted those facts, but a year or two ago I happened to come across a short article by journalist Jay Matthews entitled “The Myth of Tiananmen” that completely upended that apparent reality.

According to Matthews the infamous massacre had likely never happened, but was merely a media artifact produced by confused Western reporters and dishonest propaganda, a mistaken belief that had quickly become embedded in our standard media storyline, endlessly repeated by so many ignorant journalists that they all eventually believed it to be true. Instead, as near as could be determined, the protesting students had all left Tiananmen Square peacefully, just as the Chinese government had always maintained. Indeed, leading newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post had occasionally acknowledged these facts over the years, but usually buried those scanty admissions so deep in their stories that few ever noticed. Meanwhile, the bulk of the mainstream media had fallen for an apparent hoax.

Matthews himself had been the Beijing Bureau Chief of the Washington Post, personally covering the protests at the time, and his article appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, our most prestigious venue for media criticism. This authoritative analysis containing such explosive conclusions was first published in 1998, and I find it difficult to believe that many reporters or editors covering China have remained ignorant of the truth, yet the impact has been absolutely nil. For over twenty years virtually every mainstream media account I have read has continued to promote the Tiananmen Square Massacre Hoax, usually implicitly but sometimes explicitly.

Even more remarkable were the discoveries I made regarding our supposedly accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in 1999. Not long after launching this website, I added former Asia Times contributor Peter Lee as a columnist, incorporating his China Matters blogsite archives that stretched back for a decade. He soon published a 7,000 word article on the Belgrade Embassy bombing, representing a compilation of material already contained in a half-dozen previous pieces he’d written on that subject from 2007 onward. To my considerable surprise, he provided a great deal of persuasive evidence that the American attack on the Chinese embassy had indeed been deliberate, just as China had always claimed.

According to Lee, Beijing had allowed its embassy to be used as a site for secure radio transmission facilities by the Serbian military, whose own communications network was a primary target of NATO airstrikes. Meanwhile, Serbian air defenses had shot down an advanced American F-117A fighter, whose top-secret stealth technology was a crucial U.S. military secret. Portions of that enormously valuable wreckage were carefully gathered by the grateful Serbs, who delivered it to the Chinese for temporary storage at their embassy prior to transport back home. This vital technological acquisition later allowed China to deploy its own J20 stealth fighter in early 2011, many years sooner than American military analysts had believed possible.

Based upon this analysis, Lee argued that the Chinese embassy was attacked in order to destroy the Serbian retransmission facilities located there, while punishing the Chinese for allowing such use. There were also widespread rumors in China that another motive had been an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the stealth debris contained there. Later Congressional testimony revealed that the among all the hundreds of NATO airstrikes, the attack on the Chinese embassy was the only one directly ordered by the CIA, a highly-suspicious detail.

I was only slightly familiar with Lee’s work, and under normal circumstances I would have been very cautious in accepting his remarkable claims against the contrary position universally held by all our own elite media outlets. But other sources he cited completely shifted that balance.

Although the American media dominates the English-language world, many British publications also possess a strong global reputation, and since they are often much less in thrall to our own national security state, they have sometimes covered important stories that were ignored here. And in this case, the Sunday Observer published a remarkable expose in October 1999, citing several NATO military and intelligence sources who fully confirmed the deliberate nature of the American bombing of the Chinese embassy, with a US colonel even reportedly boasting that their smartbomb had hit the exact room intended.

This important story was immediately summarized in the Guardian, a sister publication, and also covered by the rival Times of London and many of the world’s other most prestigious publications, but encountered an absolute wall of silence in our own country. Such a bizarre divergence on a story of global strategic importance—a deliberate and deadly US attack against Chinese diplomatic territory—drew the attention of FAIR, a leading American media watchdog group, which published an initial critique and a subsequent follow-up. These two pieces totaled some 3,000 words, and effectively summarized both the overwhelming evidence of the facts and also the heavy international coverage, while reporting the weak excuses made by top American editors to explain their continuing silence. Based upon these articles, I consider the matter settled.

Few Americans remember our 1999 attack upon the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, and if not for the annual waving of a bloody June 6th flag by our ignorant and disingenuous media, the “Tiananmen Square Massacre” would also have long since faded from memory. Neither of these events has much direct importance today, at least for our own citizens. But the broader media implications of these examples do seem quite significant.

These incidents represented two of the most serious flashpoints between the Chinese and American governments during the last thirty-odd years. In both cases the claims of the Chinese government were entirely correct, although they were denied by our own top political leaders and dismissed or ridiculed by virtually our entire mainstream media. Moreover, within a few months or a year the true facts became known to many journalists, even being reported in fully respectable venues. But that reality was still completely ignored and suppressed for decades, so that today almost no American whose information comes from our regular media would even be aware of it. Indeed, since many younger journalists draw their knowledge of the world from these same elite media sources, I suspect that many of them have never learned what their predecessors knew but dared not mention.

Most leading Chinese media outlets are owned or controlled by the Chinese government, and they tend to broadly follow the government line. Leading American media outlets have a corporate ownership structure and often boast of their fierce independence; but on many crucial matters, I think the actual reality is not so very different from that in China.

I tend to doubt that the Chinese leadership has any overwhelming commitment to the truth, and the reasons for their greater veracity are probably practical ones. American news and entertainment completely dominate the global media landscape and they face no significant domestic rival. So China recognizes that it is vastly outmatched in any propaganda conflict, and so as the far weaker party must necessarily try to stick closer to the truth, lest its lies be immediately exposed. Meanwhile, America’s overwhelming control over information may lead to considerable hubris, with the government sometimes promoting the most outrageous and ridiculous falsehoods in the confident belief that a supportive American media will cover for any mistakes.

These considerations should be kept in mind as we attempt to sift the accounts of our often unreliable and dishonest media to extract the true circumstances of the current global coronavirus epidemic. Unlike careful historical analysis, we are working in real-time with our analysis greatly hindered by the ongoing fog of war, so that any conclusions are necessarily very preliminary ones. But given the high stakes, the attempt should be made.

When my morning newspapers first began mentioning the appearance of a mysterious new illness in China during mid-January, I paid little attention, absorbed as I was in the aftermath of our sudden assassination of Iran’s top military leader and the dangerous possibility of a yet another Middle Eastern war. But the reports persisted and grew, with deaths occurring and evidence growing that the viral disease could be transmitted between humans. China seemed unsuccessful in its initial efforts to halt the spread of the disease using convention methods.

Then on Jan. 23rd and after only 17 deaths, the Chinese government took the astonishing step of locking down and quarantining the entire 11 million inhabitants of the city of Wuhan, a story that drew worldwide attention. They soon extended this policy to the 60 million Chinese of Hubei province, and not longer afterward shut down their entire national economy and confined 700 million Chinese to their homes, a public health measure probably a thousand times larger than anything previously undertaken in human history. So either China’s leadership had suddenly gone insane, or they regarded this new virus as an absolutely deadly national threat, which they must take all possible steps to control.

Given these dramatic Chinese actions and the international headlines that they generated, the current accusations by Trump Administration officials that China had attempted to minimize or conceal the serious nature of the disease outbreak is so ludicrous as to defy rationality. In any event, the record shows that on December 31st, the Chinese had already alerted the World Health Organization about the strange new illness, and Chinese scientists published the entire genome of the virus on Jan. 12th, allowing diagnostic tests to be produced worldwide.

Unlike other nations, China had had no advance warning of the nature or existence of the deadly new disease, and therefore faced unique obstacles. But their government implemented public health control measures unprecedented in the history of the world and managed to almost completely eradicate the disease with merely the loss of a few thousand lives.

Meanwhile, many other Western countries such as the US, Italy, Spain, France, and Britain dawdled for months and ignored the potential threat, consequently now suffering well over 100,000 dead, with the numbers still rapidly mounting. For any of these nations or their media to criticize China for its ineffectiveness or slow response represents an absolute inversion of reality.

Some governments took full advantage of the early warning and scientific information provided by China. Although nearby East Asian nations such as South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore had been at greatest risk and were among the first infected, their competent and energetic responses allowed them to almost completely avoid any major outbreak, and they have suffered minimal fatalities. But America and several European countries largely ignored adopting these same early measures such as widespread testing, quarantine, and contact-tracing, and have paid a terrible price for their insouciance.

A few weeks ago British Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that his own coronavirus plan for Britain was based upon rapidly achieving “herd immunity”—essentially encouraging the bulk of his citizens to become infected—then quickly backed away after his desperate advisors recognized that the result might entail a million or more British deaths.

By any reasonable measure, the response to this global health crisis by China and most East Asian countries has been absolutely exemplary, while that of many Western countries has been equally disastrous. Maintaining reasonable public health has been a basic requirement of functional governments since the days of the city-states of Sumeria, and the sheer and total incompetence of our own government and those of many of its European vassals has been breathtaking. If the Western media attempts to pretend otherwise, it will permanently forfeit whatever remaining international credibility it still possesses.

I do not think these particular facts are much disputed except among the most blinkered partisans, and the Trump Administration probably recognizes the hopelessness of arguing otherwise. This probably explains their recent shift towards a far more explosive and controversial narrative, namely claiming Covid-19 may have been the product of Chinese research into deadly viruses at a Wuhan laboratory, thereby suggesting that the blood of hundreds of thousands or millions of victims around the world will be on Chinese hands. Dramatic accusations backed by overwhelming international media power may deeply resonate across the globe.

News reports appearing in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are reasonably consistent, and cite senior Trump Administration officials pointing to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a leading Chinese biolab, as the possible source of the infection, with the deadly virus having been accidentally released and then spreading first throughout China and later worldwide. Trump himself has publicly voiced similar suspicions, as did Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo in a FoxNews interview. Private lawsuits against China in the multi-trillion-dollar range have already been filed by rightwing activists and Republican senators Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham have raised similar governmental demands.

I obviously have no personal access to the classified intelligence reports that have been the basis of these charges by Trump, Pompeo, and other top administration officials. But in reading these recent news accounts, I noticed something rather odd.

Back in January, few Americans were paying much attention to the early reports of a disease outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which was hardly a household name. Instead, overwhelming political attention was focused upon the battle over Trump’s impeachment and on the aftermath of our dangerous military confrontation with Iran. But towards the end of that month, I discovered that the fringes of the Internet were awash with claims that the disease was caused by a Chinese bioweapon accidentally released from that same Wuhan laboratory, with former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and ZeroHedge, a popular right-wing conspiracy-website, playing leading roles in backing the theory. Indeed, the stories became so widespread in those ideological circles that Sen. Tom Cotton, a leading Neocon, began promoting them on Twitter and FoxNews, thereby provoking an article in the NYT on those “fringe conspiracy theories.”

I suspect that it may be more than purely coincidental that the biowarfare theories which erupted in such concerted fashion on political websites and Social Media accounts back in January so closely match those now publicly advocated by top Trump Administration officials and supposedly based upon our most secure intelligence sources. Perhaps a few intrepid citizen-activists managed to replicate the findings of our multi-billion-dollar intelligence apparatus, and did so in days while the latter required weeks or months. But a more likely scenario is that the wave of January speculation was driven by private leaks and “guidance” provided by exactly the same elements that today are very publicly leveling similar charges in the elite media. Initially promoting controversial theories in less mainstream sources is supposedly a fairly standard intelligence practice.

Regardless of the origins of the idea, does it seem plausible that the coronavirus outbreak might have originated as an accidental leak from that Chinese laboratory? I am not privy to the security procedures of Chinese government facilities, but applying a little common sense may shed some light on that question.

Although the coronavirus is only moderately lethal, apparently having a fatality rate of 1% or less, it is extremely contagious, including during an extended pre-symptomatic period and also among asymptomatic carriers. Thus, portions of the US and Europe are now suffering heavy casualties, while the means taken to control the spread has devastated their national economies. Although the virus is not likely to kill more than a small sliver of the population, we have seen to our dismay how a major outbreak can easily wreck our entire economic life.

During January, the journalists reporting on China’s mushrooming health crisis regularly emphasized that the mysterious new viral outbreak had occurred at the worst possible place and time, in the major transport hub of Wuhan just prior to the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of Chinese usually travel to their homes for the celebration, thereby potentially spreading the disease to all parts of the country and producing a permanent, uncontrollable epidemic. The Chinese government avoided that grim fate by the unprecedented decision to shut down the entire national economy and confine 700 million Chinese to their homes for many weeks. But the outcome seems to have been a very near thing, and if Wuhan had remained open for just a few days longer, China might easily have suffered long-term economic and social devastation.

The timing of an accidental laboratory release would obviously be entirely random. Yet the outbreak seems to have begun during the precise period of time most likely to damage China, the worst possible ten-day or perhaps thirty-day window. As I noted in January, there seemed no solid evidence that the coronavirus was a bioweapon, but if it were, the timing of the release seemed very unlikely to have been accidental.

If the virus was released intentionally, the context and motive for such a biowarfare attack against China could not be more obvious. Although our disingenuous media continues to pretend otherwise, China’s economy surpassed our own in size several years ago, and has continued to grow much more rapidly. Chinese companies have also taken the lead in several crucial technologies, with Huawei becoming the world’s leading telecommunications equipment manufacturer and dominating the important 5G market. And China’s sweeping Belt and Road Initiative has threatened to reorient global trade around an interconnected Eurasian landmass, greatly diminishing the leverage of America’s own control over the seas. I have closely followed China for over forty years, and these trend-lines had never been more apparent. Back in 2012, I published an article bearing the provocative title “China’s Rise, America’s Fall?” and I have seen no reason to reassess my verdict.

For three generations following the end of World War II, America had stood as the world’s supreme economic and technological power, while the collapse of the Soviet Union thirty years ago left us as the world’s sole remaining superpower, with no conceivable military challenger. A growing sense that we were rapidly losing that unchallenged position had certainly inspired the anti-China rhetoric of many senior figures in the Trump Administration, and sparking the major trade war that they launched soon after coming into office. The increasing misery and growing impoverishment of large sections of the American population naturally left these voters searching for a convenient scapegoat, and the prosperous, rising Chinese made a perfect target.

Despite America’s growing economic conflict with China over the last couple of years, I had never considered the possibility that matters might take a military turn. The Chinese had long ago deployed advanced intermediate range missiles that many believed could easily sink our carriers in the region, and they had also generally improved their conventional military deterrent. Moreover, China was on quite good terms with Russia, which itself had been the target of intense American hostility for several years; and Russia’s new suite of revolutionary hypersonic missiles had drastically reduced any American strategic advantage. Thus, a conventional war against China seemed an absolutely hopeless undertaking, while China’s outstanding businessmen and engineers were steadily gaining ground against America’s decaying and heavily-financialized economic system.

Under these difficult circumstances, an American biowarfare attack against China might have seemed the only remaining card to play in hopes of maintaining American supremacy. Plausible deniability would minimize the risk of any direct Chinese retaliation, and if successful, the terrible blow to China’s economy would set it back for many years, perhaps even destabilizing the social and political system. Using alternative media to immediately promote theories that the coronavirus outbreak was the result of a leak from a Chinese biowarfare lab was a natural means of preempting any later Chinese accusations along similar lines, thereby winning the international propaganda war for America before China had even begun to play.

A decision by elements of our national security establishment to wage biological warfare in hopes of maintaining American world power would certainly have been an extremely reckless act, but extreme recklessness had become a consistent American pattern since 2001, especially under the Trump Administration. Just a year earlier we had kidnapped the daughter of Huawei’s founder and chairman, who also served as CFO and ranked as one of China’s most top executives, while at the beginning of January we suddenly assassinated Iran’s top military leader.

These were the thoughts that came to mind during the last week of January once I discovered the widely circulating theories suggesting that China’s massive disease epidemic had been the self-inflicted consequence of its own biowarfare research. I saw no solid evidence that the coronavirus was a bioweapon, but if it were, there seemed an overwhelming likelihood that China was the innocent victim of the attack, presumably carried out by elements of the American national security establishment.

At that point, someone brought to my attention a very long article by an American ex-pat living in China who called himself “Metallicman” and held a wide range of eccentric and implausible beliefs. I have long recognized that flawed individuals can often serve as the vessels of important information otherwise unavailable, and this case constituted a perfect example of that. His piece denounced the outbreak as a likely American biowarfare attack, and provided a great wealth of factual material I had not previously considered. Since he authorized republication elsewhere I did so, and by the end of January his 15,000 word analysis, although somewhat raw and unpolished, was attracting an enormous amount of readership on our website, probably being one of the very first English-language pieces to suggest that the mysterious new disease was an American bioweapon. Many of his arguments appeared doubtful to me or have been obviated by later developments, but several seemed quite telling.

He pointed out that during the previous two years, the Chinese economy had already suffered serious blows from other mysterious new diseases, although these had targeted farm animals rather than people. During 2018 a new Avian Flu virus had swept the country, destroying large portions of China’s poultry industry, and during 2019 the Swine Flu viral epidemic had devastated China’s pig farms, destroying 40% of the nation’s primary domestic source of meat, with widespread claims that the latter disease was being spread by small drones. My morning newspapers had hardly ignored these important business stories, noting that the sudden destruction of China’s domestic food sources might constitute a huge boon to American farm exports at the height of our trade conflict, but I had never considered the obvious implications. So for three years in a row, China had been severely impacted by strange new viral diseases, though only the most recent had been deadly to humans. Although this evidence was merely circumstantial, the pattern seemed highly suspicious.

The writer also noted that shortly before the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, that city had hosted 300 visiting American military officers, there to participate in the 2019 Military World Games, an absolutely remarkable coincidence of timing. As I pointed out at the time, how would Americans react if 300 Chinese military officers had paid an extended visit to Chicago, and soon afterward a mysterious and deadly epidemic had suddenly broken out in that city? Once again, the evidence was merely circumstantial but certainly raised dark suspicions.

Scientific investigation of the coronavirus had already pointed to its origins in a bat virus, leading to widespread media speculation that bats sold as food in the Wuhan open markets had been the original disease vector. Meanwhile, the orchestrated waves of anti-China accusations had emphasized Chinese laboratory research on that same viral source. But we soon published a lengthy article by investigative journalist Whitney Webb providing copious evidence of America’s own enormous biowarfare research efforts, which had similarly focused for years on bat viruses. Webb was then associated with MintPress News, but that publication had strangely declined to publish her important piece, perhaps skittish about the grave suspicions it directed towards the US government on so momentous an issue. So without the benefit of our platform, her major contribution to the public debate might have attracted relatively little readership.

Around the same time, I noted another extremely strange coincidence that seemed to attract no interest from our somnolent national media. Although his name had meant nothing to me, in late January my morning newspapers carried major stories on the sudden arrest of Prof. Charles Lieber, one of Harvard University’s top scientists and Chairman of its Chemistry Department, sometimes characterized as a potential future Nobel Laureate.

The circumstances of that case seemed utterly bizarre to me. Like numerous other prominent American academics, Lieber had had decades of close research ties with China, holding joint appointments and receiving substantial funding for his work. But now he was accused of financial reporting violations in the disclosure portions of his government grant applications—the most obscure sort of offense—and on the basis of those accusations, he was seized by the FBI in an early-morning raid on his Cambridge home and dragged off in shackles, potentially facing decades of federal imprisonment.

Such government action against an academic seemed almost without precedent. During the height of the Cold War, numerous American scientists and technicians were rightfully accused of having stolen our nuclear weapons secrets for delivery to Stalin, yet I had never heard of any of them treated in such a manner, let alone a scholar of Prof. Lieber’s stature, who was merely charged with technical disclosure violations. Indeed, his treatment recalled accounts of NKVD raids during the Soviet purges of the 1930s.

Although Lieber was described as a chemistry professor, a few seconds of Googling revealed that some of his most important work had been in virology, including technology for the detection of viruses. So a massive and deadly new viral epidemic had broken out in China and almost simultaneously, a top American scholar with close Chinese ties and expertise in viruses was suddenly arrested by the federal government, yet no one in the media expresses any curiosity at a possible connection between these two events.

I think we can safely assume that Lieber’s arrest by the FBI had been prompted by the coronavirus epidemic, but anything more is mere speculation. Those now accusing China of having created the coronavirus might surely suggest that our intelligence agencies discovered that the Harvard professor had been personally involved with that deadly research. But I think a far more likely possibility is that Lieber began to wonder whether the epidemic in China might not be the result of an American biowarfare attack, and was perhaps a little too free in voicing his suspicions, thereby drawing the wrath of our national security establishment. Inflicting such extremely harsh treatment upon a top Harvard scientist would greatly intimidate all of his lesser colleagues elsewhere, who would surely now think twice before broaching certain possible theories to any journalists.

By the end of January, our webzine had published seven articles and columns on the coronavirus outbreak, totaling tens of thousands of words, and probably established itself as the primary English-language source for a particular perspective on the deadly epidemic, with our coverage eventually attracting many hundreds of thousands of pageviews. A few weeks later, the Chinese government began gingerly raising the possibility that the coronavirus may have been brought to Wuhan by the 300 American military officers visiting that city, and was fiercely attacked by the Trump Administration for spreading anti-American propaganda. But I strongly suspect that the Chinese had gotten that idea from our own publication.

As the coronavirus gradually began to spread outside China’s own borders, another development occurred that greatly multiplied my suspicions. Most of these early cases had occurred exactly where one might expect, among the East Asian countries bordering China. But by late February Iran had become the second epicenter of the global outbreak. Even more surprisingly, its political elites had been especially hard-hit, with a full 10% of the entire Iranian parliament soon infected and at least a dozen of its officials and politicians, some of them quite senior, soon dying of the disease. Indeed, Neocon activists on Twitter began boasting that their hatred Iranian enemies were now dropping like flies.

Let us consider the implications of this. Across the entire world the only political elites that have yet suffered any significant human losses have been the Iranians, and they died at a very early stage, before significant outbreaks had even occurred almost anywhere else in the world outside China. Thus, we have America assassinating Iran’s top military commander on Jan. 2nd and then just a few weeks later large portions of the Iran’s ruling elites became infected by a mysterious and deadly new virus, with many of them soon dying as a consequence. Could any rational individual possibly regard this as a mere coincidence?

Biological warfare is a highly technical subject, and those possessing such expertise are unlikely to candidly report their classified research activities in the pages of our major newspapers, perhaps even less so after Prof. Lieber was dragged off to prison in chains. My own knowledge is nil. But in mid-March I came across several extremely long and detailed comments on the coronavirus outbreak that had been posted on a small website by an individual calling himself “OldMicrobiologist” and who claimed to be a retired forty-year veteran of American biodefense. The style and details of his material struck me as quite credible, and after a little further investigation I concluded that there was a high likelihood that his background was exactly as he had described. I made arrangements to republish his comments in the form of a 3,400 word article, which soon attracted a great deal of traffic and 80,000 words of further comments.

Although the writer said that he had absolutely no proof, he said that his experience led him to strongly suspect that the coronavirus outbreak was indeed an American biowarfare attack against China, probably carried out by agents brought into that country under cover of the Military Games held at Wuhan in late October, the sort of sabotage operation our intelligence agencies had sometimes undertaken elsewhere. One important point he emphasized was that high lethality was often counter-productive in a bioweapon since debilitating or hospitalizing large numbers of individuals may impose far greater economic costs on a country than a biological agent which simply inflicts an equal number of deaths. In his words “a high communicability, low lethality disease is perfect for ruining an economy,” suggesting that the apparent characteristics of the coronavirus were close to optimal in this regard. Those so interested should read his analysis and assess for themselves his credibility and persuasiveness.

One intriguing aspect of the situation was that almost from the first moment that reports of the strange new epidemic in China reached the international media, a large and orchestrated campaign had been launched on numerous websites and Social Media to identify the cause as a Chinese bioweapon carelessly released in its own country. Meanwhile, the far more plausible hypothesis that China was the victim rather than the perpetrator had received virtually no organized support anywhere, and only began to take shape as I gradually located and republished relevant material usually drawn from very obscure sources and often anonymously authored. So it seemed that only one side was waging an active information war, and that side was not China’s. The nearly simultaneous launch of such a major propaganda campaign may not necessarily demonstrate that an actual biowarfare attack had occurred, but I think it tends to support such a notion.

When considering the hypothesis of an American biowarfare attack, certain natural objections come to mind. The major drawback to biological warfare has always been the obvious fact that the self-replicating agents employed are not prone to respect national borders, raising the serious risk that the disease might eventually return to the land of its origin and inflict substantial casualties. For this reason, it seems quite doubtful that any rational and half-competent American leadership would have unleashed the coronavirus against China.

But as we absolutely see demonstrated in our daily news headlines, America’s current government is grotesquely and manifestly incompetent, more incompetent than one could almost possibly imagine, with tens of thousands of Americans having now already paid with their lives for such extreme incompetence. Rationality and competence are obviously nowhere to be found among the Deep State Neocons that President Donald Trump has appointed to so many crucial positions throughout our national security apparatus.

Moreover, the extremely lackadaisical notion that a massive coronavirus outbreak in China would never spread back to America might have seemed plausible to individuals who carelessly assumed that past historical analogies would exactly apply. As I wrote a few weeks ago:

Reasonable people have suggested that if the coronavirus was a bioweapon deployed by elements of the American national security apparatus against China (and Iran), it’s difficult to imagine why they didn’t assume it would naturally leak back in the US and start a huge pandemic here, as is currently happening.

The most obvious answer is that they were stupid and incompetent, but here’s another point to consider…

In late 2002 there was the outbreak of SARS in China, a related virus but that was far more deadly and somewhat different in other characteristics. The virus killed hundreds of Chinese and spread into a few other countries before it was controlled and stamped out. The impact on the US and Europe was negligible, with just a small scattering of cases and only a death or two.

So if American biowarfare analysts were considering a coronavirus attack against China, isn’t it quite possible they would have said to themselves that since SARS never significantly leaked back into the US or Europe, we’d similarly remain insulated from the coronavirus? Obviously, such an analysis was foolish and mistaken, but would it have seemed so implausible at the time?

As some must have surely noticed, I have deliberately avoided investigating any of the scientific details of the coronavirus. In principle, an objective and accurate analysis of the characteristics and structure of the virus might help suggest whether it was entirely natural or rather the product of a research laboratory, and in the latter case, possibly indicating whether the source was China, America, or some third country.

But we are dealing with a cataclysmic world event and those questions obviously have enormous political ramifications, so the entire subject is shrouded by a thick fog of complex propaganda, with numerous conflicting claims being advanced by interested parties. I have no background in microbiology let alone biological warfare, so I would be hopelessly adrift in evaluating such conflicting scientific and technical claims. I suspect that this is equally true of the overwhelming majority of other observers as well, though committed partisans are loathe to admit that fact, and will eagerly seize upon any scientific argument that supports their preferred position while rejecting those that contradict it.

Therefore, by necessity, my own focus is on evidence that can at least be understood by every layman, if not necessarily always accepted. And I believe that the simple juxtaposition of several recent disclosures in the mainstream media leads to a rather telling conclusion.

For obvious reasons, the Trump Administration has become very eager to emphasize the early missteps and delays in the Chinese reaction to the viral outbreak in Wuhan, and has presumably encouraged our media outlets to focus on this topic.

As an example of this, the Associated Press Investigative Unit recently published a rather detailed analysis of those early events purportedly based upon confidential Chinese documents. Provocatively entitled “China Didn’t Warn Public of Likely Pandemic for 6 Key Days”, the piece was widely distributed, running in abridged form in the NYT and elsewhere. According to this reconstruction, the Chinese government first became aware of the seriousness of this public health crisis on Jan. 14th, but delayed taking any major action until Jan. 20th, a period of time during which the number of infections greatly multiplied.

Last month, a team of five WSJ reporters produced a very detailed and thorough 4,400 word analysis of the same period, and the NYT has published a helpful timeline of those early events as well. Although there may be some differences of emphasis or minor disagreements, all these American media sources agree that Chinese officials first became aware of the serious viral outbreak in Wuhan in early to mid-January, with the first known death occurring on Jan. 11th, and finally implemented major new public health measures later that same month. No one seems to have disputed these basic facts.

But with the horrific consequences of our own later governmental inaction being obvious, sources within our intelligence agencies have sought to demonstrate that they were not the ones asleep at the switch. Earlier this month, an ABC News story cited four separate government sources to reveal that as far back as late November, a special medical intelligence unit within our Defense Intelligence Agency had produced a report revealing than an out-of-control disease epidemic was occurring in the Wuhan area of China, and widely distributed that document throughout the top ranks of our government, warning that steps should be taken to protect US forces based in Asia. After the story aired, a Pentagon spokesman officially denied the existence of that November report, while various other top level government and intelligence officials refused to comment. But a few days later, Israeli television revealed that in November American intelligence had indeed shared such a report on the Wuhan disease outbreak with its NATO and Israeli allies, thus seeming to independently confirm the complete accuracy of the original ABC story and its several government sources.

It therefore appears that elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency were aware of the deadly viral outbreak in Wuhan more than a month before any officials in the Chinese government itself. Unless our intelligence agencies have pioneered the technology of precognition, I think this may have happened for the same reason that arsonists have the earliest knowledge of future fires.

Back in February, before a single American had died from the disease, I wrote my own overview of the possible course of events, and I would still stand by it today:

Consider a particularly ironic outcome of this situation, not particularly likely but certainly possible…

Everyone knows that America’s ruling elites are criminal, crazy, and also extremely incompetent.

So perhaps the coronavirus outbreak was indeed a deliberate biowarfare attack against China, hitting that nation just before Lunar New Year, the worst possible time to produce a permanent nationwide pandemic. However, the PRC responded with remarkable speed and efficiency, implementing by far the largest quarantine in human history, and the deadly disease now seems to be in decline there.

Meanwhile, the disease naturally leaks back into the US, and despite all the advance warning, our totally incompetent government mismanages the situation, producing a huge national health disaster, and the collapse of our economy and decrepit political system.

As I said, not particularly likely, but certainly a very fitting end to the American Empire…


By Ron Unz
Source: Unz Review

%d bloggers like this: