Can Maduro Emulate Cuba and Syria to Keep NATO’s Imperialist Hands Off Venezuela?

Global Research, February 18, 2019
Nicolas Maduro Moros

Imperial logic I: External crises distract from internal ones

Empires with internal problems tend to create external crises to distract the public opinion and unite their political and economical ruling class in a fictitious nationalistic fervor. The current United States policy of overt regime change in Venezuela, backed entirely by its NATO vassals, follows an evergreen imperial playbook of creating new crises to obscure failures and divisions.

In addition to the administration’s overall incompetence, the legal investigations through the Mueller inquiry, and the failure to deliver to its MAGA sycophants their big wall, it has passed unnoticed, and it will never be admitted by US officials or media that the US imperial wars in Afghanistan and Syria are in fact lost. Assad will remain in power, and the US administration has publicly admitted that it was negotiating with the Taliban. The temptation for the empire’s ideologues is too strong not to follow the precept: when you have lost a war, you declare victory and you leave. And next time around, you try to pick a weaker target.

Imperial logic II: A state of war must be permanent

A prime example of this in recent history was the way the events of September 11, 2001 were used internally to justify the emergence of a police state, using far-reaching legislation like the Patriot Act and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Externally, 911 was successfully used by the US to trigger, almost immediately, an invasion of Afghanistan with the entire NATO membership under the hospice of the military alliance’s Article 5, which stipulates that an attack on one member is an attack on all. This was the very first time, since the creation of NATO in 1949, that Article 5 was put into force.

With the US public opinion still largely revengeful, misinformed by media manipulations, and eager to wage war, two years later, in 2003, it was fairly simple for the Bush administration and its neocons to sell the invasion of Iraq as a war of necessity, and not for what it truly was: a war of choice, for oil and greater control of the Middle East. Cynically, the aftermath of 9/11/2001 gave the empire and its powerful military-industrial complex two wars for the price of one.

Imperial logic III: People are collateral damage of “Realpolitik”

Great moral principles of altruistic universal humanitarian concerns are almost never at stake in these instances. They are mainly smoke screens to hide the board of a cold, Machiavellian, and complex chess game where innocent bystanders often perish by the millions. They are the acceptable collateral damage of realpolitik’s grand strategists. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the true guiding principle of US imperial realpolitik, and all US foreign policy decisions that derived from it, was to stop the so-called communist domino effect.

Communist domino effect: three simple words for a game that killed millions of innocent people worldwide, first in Korea in the early 1950s, then in Vietnam in the 60s and 70s, and later, under the tutelage of some of the very same criminal architects, in Central and South American countries like Chile. Now in their golden years, most of these murderous policymakers, like Henry Kissinger, enjoy an active retirement with honors, respect and, unlike their colleague Robert McNamara, not a hint of remorse.

One of these policymakers, a veteran of US imperialism in Central America and also one of the staunchest advocates of Iraq’s invasion in 2003, has made a come back. He is neocon extraordinaire Elliot Abrams. Abrams has been rewarded for his actions in the Iran-Contra affair, El Salvador, and Nicaragua with a nomination as Special Envoy of the Trump administration for Venezuela. In other words, Abrams is in charge of the US-sponsored coup task force against Venezuela’s legitimately elected President Nicolas Maduro.

Defeating imperial logic: The Cuban and Syrian lessons

There are many others examples in history where in a David versus Goliath fight, the little guy who, on paper, did not stand a chance eventually through sheer determination, organization and vast popular support, won on the battlefield. Vietnam is obviously a special case in this regard, as the Vietcong of Ho Chi Minh managed to defeat, almost back to back, the old colonial masters of the French empire in the 1950s, and of course soon thereafter, the US empire.

In the early 1960s, during the Cuban missile crisis, Castro’s days seemed to be numbered. More recently, in Syria, all the lips of the NATO coalition, Israel and Gulf State allies were chanting in unison that as a precondition for resolving the Syrian crisis, “Assad must go!” By 2017, however, some coalition members such as Qatar, France and Germany were not so adamant about the “Assad must go” mantra. Not only did Bashar al-Assad not go, but also, as matter of fact, he is regaining control of his entire country, on his own terms.

Castro outsmarted the empire’s CIA hitmen 600 times

Nicolas Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chavez, had in Fidel Castro a source of inspiration and the guidance of a father figure. Chavez, like other neo-Marxists, looked up to Fidel for leading a successful revolution, through military action, which had toppled the corrupt regime of Fulgencio Batista. This regime was not only a docile servant of the US government but was also directly associated with the Mafia’s criminal activities in Cuba in the era of Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. With Batista’s complicity, American gangsters had turned Cuba into a gambling and prostitution paradise where the US’ unscrupulous rich went to play. Castro shut down the bordello that had become Cuba and proudly rebuilt his island, and he consciously set out to transform Cuba slowly and steadily into a socialist country.

Needless to say, the shutdown of their depraved and lucrative tropical paradise was unacceptable for the US empire’s ruling elites. Against all odds, the Cuban communist leader managed to defy one US administration after another, and without compromise remained at the helm of the Cuban revolution. It was not for a lack of trying either to invade Cuba, as in the Bay of Pigs botched invasion episode, or to cook up countless assassination attempts on Castro’s person. Starting almost immediately after he took power in 1959, Castro was the target of CIA assassination attempts. From the Kennedy era all the way to the Clinton administrations, Fidel Castro survived more than 600 plots to kill him. Some of the attempts involved collaborations of the Mafia with the CIA. Castro once said, “if surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal!” It has to be added that, at least so far, Fidel Castro has also won a posthumous gold medal for ensuring the legacy of the Cuban revolution.

Assad: military might and striking the right alliances

Almost eight years ago, some people in quiet mansions, regal palaces or discrete offices in Washington, Riyadh, Doha, London, Paris, and Tel Aviv or undisclosed locations came up with what appeared to be an excellent plan. They would hijack some of the genuine energy of the Arab Spring then quickly sponsor it with a huge arsenal, while hiring some supposed good Djihadists soldiers-of-fortune as the main muscle to get rid of the uncooperative Bashar al-Assad. In what I called in May 2013, an “unholy alliance to wreck and exploit,” the Western and Gulf States coalition to topple Assad was born. In the US, the late Senator John McCain was one of the cheerleaders of the so-called Free Syrian Army.

Eight years later, with Syria in ruins, 350,000 people dead, around 4.5 million refugees still scattered principally in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, Assad has prevailed in a bittersweet victory, considering that his country has been wrecked as a battleground for proxy wars. Bashar al-Assad did not win on his own. He managed to retain complete loyalty from the Syrian army during the past eight gruesome years. Assad also could count on the military involvement of dependable allies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran and, of course, a critical impact of Russia once Putin’s administration decided to commit military assets and troops.

Maduro can keep Uncle Sam’s hands off Venezuela

One can only hope that Venezuela’s US-sponsored coup attempt using the subterfuge of a phony revolution does not follow the track of Syria in terms of the mayhem. However, the analogies are numerous between Maduro’s situation today and that of Assad in 2011. First, Maduro has at his disposal a reasonably well-equipped military as well as the Chavista militia. To defeat the unfolding coup attempt, the loyalty of the armed forces has to be ironclad. Second, just as Assad has done, Maduro must work to cultivate, in pragmatic ways, both regional and worldwide alliances.

Cuba will do a lot to help. But will Mexico, Bolivia, and Uruguay go beyond diplomatic posturing in their solidarity with Maduro against NATO’s imperialism? How involved and how far, either economically or, in a worse-case scenario, militarily are Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran willing to go? In geopolitics, unlike diplomacy, only actions talk. Venezuela has a massive bargaining chip in the form of the mostly untapped biggest oil reserve in the world. This is Maduro’s ultimate ace in this game, and it should be used shrewdly. In realpolitiks, friends might be temporary, and they always want something. This is not an altruistic environment.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: News Junkie Post.

Gilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire.

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.Trump Finds Re-Election Slogan – ‘Evil Socialism’

Trump Finds Re-Election Slogan – ‘Evil Socialism’

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 15.02.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Trump Finds Re-Election Slogan – ‘Evil Socialism’

The 2020 US presidential elections are well underway with at least six Democrat contenders so far throwing their hats into the ring. For his part, incumbent President Donald Trump has newly minted a cause for his re-election – saving America from creeping socialism.

During his State of the Union speech last week, Trump conspicuously warned “fellow Americans” of the putative evil of socialism. He lambasted the “socialist dictatorship” of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, then fatuously and falsely leveled all the economic misery of the South American country on the alleged failings of socialism. As if years of US economic sanctions against the country and recent confiscation of oil assets have nothing to do with Venezuela’s turmoil.

In the next lines of his annual nationwide address, Trump then linked US political opponents with Venezuela’s socialist President Maduro, retorting: “And some people want to bring socialism to the United States!”

The logic is revealing. First, that the president should even mention socialism in this Union address in such a pointed way shows that there is a foreboding concern among the American oligarchy – of which supposed “maverick” Trump is a consummate insider – that there is a surging interest in working class rights, propelled by a popular disdain towards capitalism and a growing affinity with socialism.

Secondly, the pejorative bracketing of political opponents in the US with the “Maduro regime” in Venezuela is a tried-and-trusted method of political smearing. Any would-be contender for the White House who speaks out about class issues and the systematic social failings of capitalism will be, it is calculated, denigrated as a “socialist stooge” in league with Venezuela’s Maduro.

For the 2016 election, Trump ran on the ticket of “Make America Great Again”. For the 2020 campaign, the emerging re-election slogan will be along the line of “Keep Socialism out of America”.

Trump’s erstwhile promises to salvage the “American carnage” and reinvent American greatness have transpired to be empty gimmicks of a sales conman. More than halfway into his presidency, the vast majority of ordinary working Americans are no better off, maybe even worse off. Trump’s bragging about overseeing the world’s “hottest economy” is all hot air, as detailed by American economics professor Richard Wolff. The boost in stock market indicators rather than a reinvigoration of the real productive economy is very much down to the massive tax giveaways to the super-rich and corporate executives that this real-estate-magnate-turned-president has bestowed.

The continuing deterioration in social conditions for most Americans has resulted in an increased popular hostility towards corporate capitalism, Wall Street and what more and more citizens correctly perceive as a plutocracy masquerading as “democracy”. The alienation from capitalism and the myth of the “American Dream” has resulted in a growing openness among ordinary citizens to socialism. The corruption and misery of capitalism is driving people to search for alternatives. Polls have shown majorities of US public expressing a positive identity with socialist politics. It is no longer a taboo concept. This is quite a shocking achievement in the US, where decades of government, news media and academic propaganda have tried to expunge any notion of socialism from the American mind.

A reflection of the trend is seen in the increasingly critical rhetoric among certain Democrat politicians about economic injustice. The Bernie Sanders wing of the party, which includes new wave Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Tulsi Gabbard, have openly articulated the word “socialism” – which again is something of a dramatic development in the US after decades of McCarthyite witch-hunting and Edgar J Hoover-like demonization of socialists as “traitorous Reds”.

The latest Democrat to announce their bid for the White House is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. During her contender speech last weekend at a rally for Blue Collar communities, Warren spoke scathingly of “the failure of the American system”. She talked about the chasm between the oligarchic one per cent in American society and the massive poverty of the rest. It was an implicitly radical speech.

Trump is very much in that top one per cent of super-rich who have siphoned off America’s wealth during decades of neoliberal capitalism, overseen by both Republican and Democrat administrations belonging to the two parties of Big Business.

There is, however, an awareness among the more leftwing side of the Democrats that the party has to break from its sponsorship links to Big Business and Wall Street – as epitomized by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race – if it is to win the White House in 2020.

Trump should be an easy target for a genuine contender who can expose his empty conman talk about caring for “American workers”. Trump’s blatantly pro-rich tax banditry would also be a field day for a socialist candidate to make huge political hay. So too would his continuation of American imperialist warmongering, as most clearly manifested in the Trump administration’s outrageous interference in Venezuela’s democracy.

Donald J Trump, the big-mouth realtor, knows that he is vulnerable to a genuine political offensive from the left. There is a groundswell of opposition to “the system” among ordinary citizens – if it can harnessed by a confident socialist candidate. That would explain why Trump has lately “discovered” the threat of socialism to “our great country”.

The trouble is that it is doubtful if such a counter-candidate exists in the present US political landscape. In Elizabeth Warren’s rally at the weekend, she seemed to studiously avoid using the words “capitalism” or “socialism”. Her rival Democrat candidate, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, reportedly distanced herself in media interviews from being identified as a socialist following Trump’s Red-baiting State of the Union speech last week.

Over the next year in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, we can expect more such withering attempts by Trump and the establishment political class to find common cause in denigrating any opponent who sounds too much like a socialist, even if that opponent doesn’t actually use the word themselves.

The irony is rich, or maybe that should be super-rich. Trump has complained about opponents in Washington and the corporate media for waging a witch-hunt against him over his alleged links to Russia. Yet this oligarchic conman has no scruples or hesitation in using witch-hunt tactics to defile opponents who are labelled as “evil socialists”.

This desperate maneuver by Trump to use socialism as a bogeyman is unwittingly a signal that America’s plutocracy does actually view the resurgence in class politics and socialism as a real threat to its privileged siphoning off of wealth under capitalism.

Can American voters find a candidate who courageously takes up their cause? That is the kind of breakthrough that America and the rest of world needs.

Civil War Coming to America?

February 12, 2019

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“World Changing, World Powers Becoming More Fragile”

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi's

February 10, 2019

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi the world is changing and moving in a direction where major powers are becoming more fragile, allowing other countries an opportunity to take control of their own destinies.

Bahram Qassemi made the remarks in an interview with Mehr news agency on the achievements of the Islamic Revolution in the field of foreign policy.

“I believe that the world is moving in the direction where great powers are becoming more fragile every day, and other countries can take hold of their own destiny through wisdom, consensus and unity,” he said.

He went on to add, “we have to believe the fact that the world is changing. As you can see, the US today is not the same as it was yesterday, and the future US will certainly not be what it is today.”

Qassemi then explained the concept of ‘No to East, No to West’ as one of the slogans of the Islamic Revolution, adding “in my opinion, the meaning of the slogan is that interaction with the East and West is acceptable, but without being under the influence of either of them. We should have cooperation and engagement with them while maintaining our independence, and today this objective has been achieved.”

He stressed that the notion of ‘independence’ has been the most important factor in Iran’s foreign policy in the past forty years after the Revolution.

“The Islamic Revolution of Iran was not only a source of inspiration for neighboring countries and the region, but also for all other countries across the globe,” he added.

SourceMehr News Agency

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Interesting message by Tulsi Gabbard

February 09, 2019

Saker note: I just to this in my email (I did sign up to Gabbard’s mailing list) and I wanted to share it with you.  No, I am *NOT* endorsing Gabbard and nor am I saying that she could be a good President.  But I think that she is worth keeping an eye on, if only because she is so refreshingly different from all the other US politicians.  Besides, I have always liked and admired smart and strong-willed women who have also kept their femininity – something exceedingly rate in the West nowadays (I have no use for feminists or cheerleaders).  Anyway, here is what she sent out:

Lead with love

Aloha friend,

“I come to you with an open heart, with love, respect, and compassion.”

This is what we mean when we greet each other this way. Aloha means deep, heartfelt respect and love, love for each other, love for our country. It means placing service before self.

Our country is being torn apart by self-serving leaders who seek to cement their own power and influence at the expense of the people. Driven by greed and a corruption of spirit, they betray the trust that has been granted to them as protectors of the people.

It is with a clear mind, a deep sense of purpose, and a heart full of aloha for our people and for our country that I’m offering to serve you as President of the United States of America. To take on the corruption and greed which have their hold on our political leaders, we’re relying only on your support — not the support of PACs. I’m asking you to commit $5 or whatever you’re able to afford right now.

Love should not be mistaken for weakness. There is no force more powerful than love. When you love someone, you will stop at nothing to protect them. We need leaders who love our country — our freedom, our people, our land, our air, our water — and who have the courage to fight for peace and prosperity for all.

Will you join me in this fight?

Our country is being torn apart, divided by race, religion, and party loyalty. Instead of bringing us together, our country’s politicians deepen these divides for their own political gain, and to distract from the very real and lasting damage they are doing to our planet, our freedoms, and our children’s future.

When we stand united, motivated by our love for each other and for our country, there is no challenge we cannot overcome.

We can heal our nation, unite our divided country, put people before profit and before party, and combat corruption with compassion — but only if we make a conscious choice, together, to do this urgent work.

There’s no time to waste. Are you with me?

Aloha,

Tulsi

The Corruption of the American Republic

By Michael Howard
Source

Capitol Hill a3e76

According to Gallup Poll, record numbers of American citizens—16 percent—are eager to permanently move to another country. For Americans aged 15-29, the figure nearly doubles to 30 percent. Likewise for the poorest fifth of the country, 13 percent of whom wished to emigrate under Obama. A quarter of these dreamers would reportedly select Canada as their new home, in spite of universal healthcare and other egalitarian horrors. And yet, Gallup also reports that the United States remains the number one destination for “potential migrants” in other parts of the world, mostly Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, not, alas, Scandinavia, Trump’s preferred source of immigrants.

What do we know that they don’t? For starters, life expectancy in The Land of the Free has been trending down for the last two years, which is more or less unheard of in a developed country not at war. Drug overdoses and suicides are way up, the latter by more than 30 points since 1999. Of the more than 39,000 deaths via gunshot in 2017 (the most in five decades), almost two-thirds were self-inflicted. There were more than 300 mass shootings in the US in 2018. Happiness, indeed, is a warm gun.

In other news, the richest 1 percent of Americans own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. About 40 percent of American families owe debt worth far more than the sum of their assets. Wages for working people, when adjusted for inflation, haven’t risen in more than four decades, and in fact peaked in 1973. The supposed unemployment rate is only “low” because it doesn’t factor in the untold numbers of people who have given up looking for decent jobs that don’t exist, shipped abroad thanks to bipartisan “free trade” agreements. The routinely cited figure of 4 percent is meaningless. Food insecurity, or “a lack of available financial resources for food at the level of the household,” affects over 40 million Americans, including 12 million children, per the USDA. Roughly the same number live without health insurance, unable to afford the extravagant premiums and deductibles.

At the same time, our corporate masters get fatter off wealth, not that they create, but rather fish out of the economy using rent-seeking tactics and horde in offshore tax havens. Economist Michael Hudson employs the term “fictitious capital,” which he describes as

purely extractive claims for income, as distinct from profits and wages earned from tangible means of production. Real capital referred to factories, machinery and tools, things that were used to produce output, as well as education, research and public infrastructure. But an ownership privilege like a title to land and other real estate, a patent or the monopoly privilege to charge whatever the market will bear for a restricted patent, without reference to actual production costs, does not add anything to production. It is purely extractive, yielding economic rent, not profits on real capital investment.

We the People, of course, must remain in blissful ignorance of these realities, lest we all immigrate to Canada or, better yet, come together and form a common front against corporate power and its marionettes on Capitol Hill. The latter prospect must never be allowed to materialize. Hence the identity politics game, in which all sides happily participate, egged on by the corporate media. Politicians play the game because it’s the only way they can appeal to their base. Subsidizing the rich, kicking working people into the gutter, destroying the planet and starting wars for all kinds of ulterior motives—all bipartisan projects—aren’t likely to mobilize voters. They require diversionary issues: guns, gay marriage, abortion, immigration, gender, patriarchy, white privilege, racism, statues, sexual misconduct, pronouns, Jesus, etc. Many are serious subjects worthy of attention and debate, but it’s important to recognize that they’re being exploited by the owners of the economy, and thus the country, as instruments of deflection and division.

These topics are permitted a place in the national discourse via the major media because they have nothing to do with class—indeed, they completely obscure the issue of class, pushing it beyond the margins of public consciousness. While we squabble about whether this or that building ought to be renamed, the ruling class is picking our pockets and using the money to populate Congress with loyal servants.

Bernie Sanders threatened to explode this long-standing architecture of psychological manipulation. Therefore he had to be stopped. And he was. But then Clinton got Trumped. There’s the rub. Trump the (Enfant) Terrible ascended to the throne, and the Crisis of Democracy commenced. Or so the crafty Dems would have us believe. In reality, Trump, with his deranged jingoism and petulant narcissism, is only marginally worse than the majority of miscreants infesting Washington, which is saying an awful lot. He’s a nasty scourge on what was already a deeply corrupted and diseased republic, no doubt God’s judgment on the US for all the bloody horrors it has unleashed upon the rest of the world.

Don says he has accomplished more in his first two years in office than any other president. Let’s take a look. So far he has used unilateral military force against a sovereign state twice, hacked the corporate tax rate down to 21 percent, quit the Paris climate accord, started a trade war with China, moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, stopped funding the UN program for Palestinian refugees, condemned the International Court of Justice, tried to pass a healthcare bill that would have thrown millions of Americans off their insurance, unilaterally voided the Iran nuclear deal, unilaterally imposed sanctions on Iran, Cuba and Venezuela, etc., threatened to militarily attack Venezuela, deployed more troops to Afghanistan, attacked migrants at the US-Mexico border, separated migrant children from their parents, enlarged the military budget to more than $700 billion, sent armaments to Kiev, expelled Russian diplomats over the dubious Skripal affair, negotiated a contract to sell billions of dollars’ worth of munitions to the barbaric regime in Riyadh, refused to condemn the cold-blooded murder of Jamal Khashoggi, blackmailed Africa by threatening to stop funding peacekeeping missions, hired reptiles Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, promised to terminate the INF, and promised to expand the US’ nuclear arsenal.

All of which is appalling; all must be opposed. As it happens, Trump’s main opposition, led by the Democratic Party and their toadies in the media, and known formally by their cultish name, The Resistance, are every bit as repellent and, yes, dangerous as he is. Even before Hillary Clinton lost the election, her campaign had an excuse up their sleeve: it was them Russians. Four months after the election, Clinton’s former propaganda minister Jennifer Palmieri revealed the new Democratic agenda in the Washington Post. “If we make plain that what Russia has done is nothing less than an attack on our republic, the public will be with us. And the more we talk about it, the more they’ll be with us.””Democrats should push for this relentlessly and above all else. They should talk about it in every interview.””If those Republicans feel enough heat for helping Vladi­mir Putin attack the United States to assist Trump, they will abandon the White House and support an independent commission.”

Let the neo-McCarthyism begin! Clinton’s formula worked like a charm. Soon a strident anti-Russia groupthink had solidified among the mainstream liberal media. Blind, deaf and dumb as a result of their personal hatred of Trump, readers of the New York Times and viewers of MSNBCswallowed every Trump-Putin collusion story whole, no matter how wild or unsubstantiated. Many turned out to be, literally, fake news. Glenn Greenwald wrote about this phenomenon at length for The Intercept. Journalists challenging or simply asking questions about the veracity of the official narrative were, are, dismissed as “useful idiots” and “Kremlin stooges” (ouch!). A long list of alternative media were slyly smeared in the Washington Post as pro-Russian propaganda websites. Maniacal conspiracy theorists became Collusion Gurus on Twitter and have since gained a degree of mainstream legitimacy, popping up now and then on cable news. War criminal George Bush was rehabilitated after giving a piece of candy to Michelle Obama. Neoconservative screwballs like Billy Kristol and Max Boot were embraced by The Resistance for their valiant anti-Putin conformity.

Moreover, the alleged Russian hack was likened to both 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, so often that the outrageous analogy grew banal and laughable—though not perhaps for those who lost friends and family in those genuine attacks on the United States. “This is our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11,” is how one particularly demented analysis in Politico concluded. “In the past, we have risen to the defense of our values, our ideologies and our institutions. It’s time for another fight.” Bomb’s away!

Therein lies the danger of The Resistance. Like all cults, its single-minded purpose, in this case confronting and provoking and isolating Russia, overrides all other considerations. Most cult members celebrated Trump’s most egregious doings, like attacking Syria and shipping weapons to Ukraine, both of which had the potential to ignite a major military crisis. This is what The Resistance craves. Conflict with nuclear Russia. What would you rather have: A president with a mind to collude with Russia, or one with a mind to invade Russia? I think, and fear, that a considerable percent of the American public would oft for the latter now. For that we can thank The Resistance.

New START, the treaty reducing and limiting active warheads stockpiled by the US and Russia, is set to expire in 2021. Putin spoke about it during his annual press conference in December, asserting that there “have not been any negotiations” with Washington to renew the agreement. “We know how to secure our safety. But, in general, it’s very bad for humanity as it takes us closer to a very dangerous line. It is a very serious question and it is a shame it is being underestimated … We are now witnessing the collapse of the international system of nuclear containment.” He’s been issuing these warnings for years. In 2016 he said: “You people in turn do not feel a sense of the impending danger—this is what worries me. How do you not understand that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction? I don’t know how to get through to you anymore.” Indeed.

In their pathological mission to avenge their humiliating loss to Donald Trump, the Democrats and their mindless followers have completely lost the plot and are turning the entire world into a powder keg. Every candidate in the 2020 primary will have to have as a central pillar of his or her campaign a fanatic hostility to Putin and Russia generally. They’ll have to talk tough about taking Putin on, about defending NATO from nonexistent Russian aggression, about protecting the homeland from further Pearl Harbor-like attacks. Forget about rapprochement—how likely is an extension of New START? As we’ve seen, merely having a conversation with Vladimir Putin is now akin to high treason. Heaven forbid we open a line of diplomacy with Moscow and cooperate on issues of international security.

Regardless of who wins the White House in 2020, US-Russia relations will worsen—hard to envisage—and the risk of nuclear war will increase. Upgraded and modernized tactical nukes, designed for use on the battlefield, as they’ll only vaporize 10,000 instead of 100,000, are being manufactured and added to our weapons systems as I write. It’s a miracle we got out of the first Cold War alive. Now we’re marching, to the beat of the liberal war drum, headlong into another.

Meantime, the republic will continue to go to rot that the empire may live a little longer, all discretionary money going to the Pentagon and containing The Russian Threat. Infrastructure and education will decay, healthcare will remain a corporate racket, suicides will keep going up, life expectancy down, wages will stay static and, most consequentially, society will continue pulling itself apart, an organized fight for real equality more remote than ever before. All will be subordinated to the imperatives of corporate domination and military hegemony. Nothing else matters.

On September 17, 1787, Benjamin Franklin addressed the Constitutional Convention with the following words:

I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.

Two-hundred and thirty-one years later, have we become so corrupted?

Disparity of security necessities among allies America, Turkey, Europe, and Israel تفاوت مقتضيات الأمن بين الحلفاء: أميركا وتركيا وأوروبا و«إسرائيل»

Disparity of security necessities among allies America, Turkey, Europe, and Israel

يناير 15, 2019

Written by Nasser Kandil,

It is surprising that some analysts in the world and the region accept to consider the decision of the US President’s withdrawal from Syria as an expression of the mood of Donald Trump. The issue is not in discussing the presidential powers constitutionally; rather it is the ability of the President to deal practically alone with such decision. The US debate about the benefit of the military presence in Syria is neither new, nor governed by considerations related to Syria alone. The principle of the withdrawal from the whole Asian mainland was in circulation in the US decision-making centers for ten years after Baker Hamiliton report 2006 and after the decision of the President Obama in 2010 to withdraw from Iraq in 2011 and the deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2013, which was extended twice to 2016 and to the end of 2018 according to the requirements of the war on Syria and the new bets to win it.

The absolute American consensus on refusing the engagement in a military confrontation with Russia and Iran led to the thinking of how to manage the failure in wars between narrow equations, their first aspect is the turning into a boxing bag that receives blows respectively without a decision to go to war, while their second aspect is the withdrawal, imposing sanctions, and linking the engagement into settlements with conditions that meet the US interests. This aspect is more effective than the military presence according to many in Washington. Since the Battle of Aleppo and the fall of the bet on the Turkish disruption of the geographical expansion of the Syrian army supported by Russia, Iran, and the resistance forces the US decision of withdrawal has become ready, but it was delayed by another bet entitled Saudi-Israeli bilateral that is militarily capable of blowing in Syria and Yemen, and able to launch a political qualitative path entitled ending the Palestinian cause through the deal of the century that besieges Iran and the resistance forces in order to make a settlement with Russia that ends with the exit of Iran and the resistance forces from Syria as a condition for its stability and the Western involvement.

With the emergence of the limited Israeli ability to protect the aggressive interventions on Syria after the Russia decisions to deploy the S-300 missiles network, the development of the Syrian ability to combat the Israeli raids, the abject failure of Saudi Arabia in the war on Yemen and its turning into a burden militarily and politically, the fall of the bet on the credibility of the success of the deal of century in finding a Palestinian partner, the emergence of a collective Palestinian will to refuse it, and the expansion of the popular and military Palestinian resistance movement and its imposing new equations, America had to decide to stay militarily face –to-face against Russia, Iran, and Syria in protecting the project of the Kurdish secession, although this project provokes a crisis with Turkey, the Atlantic ally of Washington, but it wants to protect the Israeli desire to barter the US withdrawal with the Iranian withdrawal.

The years of war led by Washington on Syria and its failure led to disparity in the requirements of security between it and its allies. Europe’s understanding of the concept of security starts with the issue of the displaced and the threat of its targeting through the infiltration of terrorists groups from the burning Middle East, while it ends with the concern about any open confrontation with Iran, whether through its military repercussions or its risks to the energy market. Europe did not hesitate to talk publicly about the US policies as a source of concern, whether through the withdrawal from the nuclear understanding with Iran or in managing the Palestinian cause. Turkey tried to search for new positioning that expresses its privacies; it found in Astana path its target through the cooperation with Russia and Iran and what was called by the Turks as the “Third option”. Therefore, the Turkish role in Syria was linked with a ceiling entitled “the concept of the national security” that considers the American –Kurdish relationship the first danger.

Washington lost its European and Turkish allies, while it stoke to its Saudi and Israeli allies. It found that it has to pay costly bills with imminent benefits, the most prominent of which is the American security which starts from Afghanistan. The American intervention was not as tactical as the American presence in Syria. Moreover, the condition of the Iranian cooperation with the requirements of the American security in Afghanistan in ensuring a secure withdrawal is governed by a political equation that was set at the Russian-Chinese- Pakistani- Iranian- Afghani meeting three weeks ago and which was related to the abandonment of the insistence on the Iranian withdrawal from Syria. This led to a set of American decisions under the title of a new concept of the national security that is not governed by the Saudi and Israeli ceilings, rather it sees that the security of Israel and Saudi Arabia is something and the concept of security according to Saudi Arabia and Israel is something else. The Yemeni settlement was the most prominent outcome of these decisions, because it means the acceptance of Iranian gains in the Gulf. This step has been followed by the withdrawal from Syria under the title of handing over the security in the Asian mainland to Russia to ensure the security of Israel and Saudi Arabia which differs from the concept of security to Israel and Saudi Arabia, this will be illustrated later maybe through the withdrawal from Iraq, and then American strict administration of the  negotiation on settlements and lifting of sanctions  and the moving to fight from inside the political and economic structures resulting from settlements.

It is a new stage in the crystallization of the new concepts of security, where the West is no longer a west and the Atlantic is no longer the Atlantic, rather they are separated issues according to interests, where Europe as Turkey has privacies and where Iran as a European and Turkish necessity it turned into American necessity in Afghanistan despite the Saudi and Israeli reservations. It is important to understand the speech of the Turkish President about the turning of the challenge of the American sanctions on Iran into an opportunity for negotiations between them and where Turkey is betting on playing a role of mediator in.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

تفاوت مقتضيات الأمن بين الحلفاء: أميركا وتركيا وأوروبا و«إسرائيل»

ديسمبر 21, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– من المستغرب أن يرتضي بعض المحللين في العالم والمنطقة، إلا لاعتبارات التوظيف السياسي، النظر لقرار الرئيس الأميركي بسحب قواته من سورية، كتعبير عن مزاجية وانفعالية دونالد ترامب، فالمسألة ليست في مناقشة حدود الصلاحيات الرئاسية دستورياً، بل في قدرة الرئيس عملياً وواقعياً على التصرف منفرداً بقرارات بهذا الحجم، والنقاش الأميركي حول جدوى البقاء العسكري في سورية ليس وليد اليوم، ولا تحكمه حسابات مرتبطة بسورية وحدها، بل إن مبدأ الانسحاب من البر الآسيوي برمته ملف مطروح في التداول في دوائر صنع القرار الأميركي منذ أكثر من عشرة أعوام، بعد تقرير بايكر هاملتون عام 2006، وقرار الرئيس أوباما في عام 2010 الانسحاب من العراق عام 2011 وتحديد موعد الانسحاب من أفغانستان في 2013 الذي جرى تمديده مرتين لعام 2016 ثم لنهاية العام 2018، وفقاً لمقتضيات الحرب على سورية والرهانات الجديدة للفوز بها.

– الإجماع المطلق أميركياً على رفض الدخول في مواجهة عسكرية مع روسيا ومع إيران، يحصر البحث الأميركي في كيفية إدارة الفشل في الحروب، بين معادلات ضيقة، قطبها الأول التحول كيس ملاكمة يتلقى الضربات تباعاً دون قرار حرب، وقطبها الثاني الاحتماء وراء الجدار، وهذا يعني الانسحاب، وبناء جدار العقوبات وربط الانخراط بالتسويات التي تزيلها بشروط تلبي المصالح الأميركية، وهو جدار أشد متانة وفعالية من جدار الوجود العسكري، بنظر الكثيرين في واشنطن، ومنذ معركة حلب وسقوط الرهان على التعطيل التركي لمسار التوسع الجغرافي للجيش السوري مدعوماً من روسيا وإيران وقوى المقاومة، صار قرار الانسحاب الأميركي على الطاولة، والذي أخّره رهان آخر عنوانه ثنائية سعودية إسرائيلية مقتدرة عسكرياً في الضرب بقسوة في سورية واليمن، وقادرة على إطلاق مسار سياسي نوعي عنوانه إنهاء القضية الفلسطينية عبر ما سُمّي بصفقة القرن يحاصر إيران وقوى المقاومة. والهدف لهذه المعادلة المفترضة الذهاب لتسوية مع روسيا تنتهي بخروج إيران وقوى المقاومة من سورية كشرط لاستقرارها، وارتضاء الدخول الغربي على خط التسوية فيها.

– مع ظهور محدودية القدرة الإسرائيلية على حماية التدخلات العدوانية على سورية بعد القرارات الروسية بتوضيع شبكة صواريخ الـ»أس 300»، وتبلور القدرة السورية على التصدي للغارات الإسرائيلية، وظهور الفشل الذريع للسعودية في حرب اليمن وتحولها عبئاً عسكرياً وسياسياً، وسقوط الرهان على صدقية نجاح صفقة القرن في إيجاد الشريك الفلسطيني، وتبلور إرادة فلسطينية جامعة في رفضها، واتساع حركة المقاومة الفلسطينية الشعبية والعسكرية وفرضها معادلات جديدة، صار على أميركا أن تقرّر البقاء عسكرياً للوقوف وجهاً لوجه امام روسيا وإيران وسورية في حماية مشروع الانفصال الكردي. وهو مشروع يثير أزمة موازية مع تركيا الحليف الأطلسي لواشنطن، وذلك فقط لحماية الرغبة الإسرائيلية بفرض مقايضة الانسحاب الأميركي بالانسحاب الإيراني.

– بعد سنوات الحرب التي قادتها واشنطن على سورية، ترتب على الفشل ظهور تفاوت في مقتضيات الأمن بينها وبين حلفائها، سواء أوروبا التي باتت نظرتها لمفهوم الأمن تبدأ بقضية النازحين وتمر بخطر استهدافها عن قرب من تسلل الجماعات الإرهابية من الشرق الأوسط المشتعل، وتنتهي بالقلق من أي مواجهة مفتوحة مع إيران، سواء بمترتباتها العسكرية إذا حصلت، أو بمخاطرها على سوق الطاقة، ولم تتردد أوروبا بالتحدث علناً عن النظر للسياسات الأميركية كمصدر قلق، سواء بالانسحاب من التفاهم النووي مع إيران أو بطريقة إدارة الملف الفلسطيني، بينما ذهبت تركيا تبحث عن تموضع يعبر عن خصوصيتها، ووجدت في مسار أستانة ضالتها المنشودة، بالتعاون مع روسيا وإيران وما يسميه الأتراك بالخيار الثالث، وربط الدور التركي في سورية بسقف عنوانه مفهوم للأمن القومي يرى العلاقة الكردية الأميركية خطراً أول.

– خسرت واشنطن حليفيها الأوروبي والتركي وبقيت متمسكة بالحليفين السعودي والإسرائيلي، ووجدت أن عليها دفع فواتير باتت مكلفة مع استحقاقات داهمة، أبرزها الأمن الأميركي الذي يبدأ من أفغانستان، حيث التدخل الأميركي لم يكن تكتيكياً كما هو حال البقاء الأميركي في سورية، وحيث شرط التعاون الإيراني مع مقتضيات الأمن الأميركي في أفغانستان بتأمين انسحاب آمن تظلله معادلة سياسية ظهرت في الاجتماع الخماسي الروسي الصيني الباكستاني الإيراني الأفغاني قبل ثلاثة اسابيع، يرتبط عضوياً بالتخلي عن وهم الإصرار على انسحاب إيراني من سورية، فرأينا حزمة قرارات أميركية عنوانها التموضع على خطوط مفهوم جديد للأمن القومي لا يتبع السقوف السعودية والإسرائيلية، ويرى أن أمن «إسرائيل» والسعودية شيء ومفهوم السعودية و»إسرائيل» للأمن شيء آخر، وكانت التسوية اليمنية العلامة البارزة في هذه الحزمة، وما تحمله من تقبل لفكرة تحقيق مكاسب إيرانية في الخليج، وتبعتها خطوة الانسحاب من سورية بصورة موازية ومشابهة، والعنوان هو تسليم الأمن في البر الآسيوي لروسيا بما فيه ضمان أمن «إسرائيل» والسعودية بغير مفهوم «إسرائيل» والسعودية للأمن، وهو ما ستوضحه المراحل اللاحقة، ربما بالاستعداد للانسحاب من العراق، وبعدها إدارة أميركية أشد صعوبة للتفاوض على شروط التسويات ورفع العقوبات، والانتقال للقتال من داخل البنى السياسية والاقتصادية الناشئة عن التسويات.

– هي مرحلة جديدة في تبلور مفاهيم جديدة للأمن، لم يعد فيها الغرب غرباً، ولا الأطلسي أطلسياً، بل محاور منفصلة وفقاً لحسابات المصالح في كليهما، حيث لأوروبا كما لتركيا خصوصيات، وحيث إيران كضرورة أوروبية وتركية تتحول في أفغانستان ضرورة أميركية، رغم التحفظات السعودية والإسرائيلية، ولعله من المهم قراءة كلام الرئيس التركي عن تحويل تحدي العقوبات الأميركية على إيران إلى فرصة للتلاقي بينهما بمفاوضات تراهن تركيا على لعب دور الوسيط فيها..

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