Iran And The Great War

Jun 4, 2021

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May 08, 2021

Washington Is Misreading Russia at the World’s Peril

See the source image

April 6, 2021 

Paul Craig Roberts

On August 31, 2018, I wrote:

“So, the questions for Andrei Martyanov, The Saker, and for Putin and the Russian government is: How long does turning your other cheek work? Do you turn your other cheek so long as to allow your opponent to neutralize your advantage in a confrontation? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you lose the support of the patriotic population for your failure to defend the country’s honor? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you are eventually forced into war or submission? Do you turn your other cheek so long that the result is nuclear war?

“I think that Martyanov and The Saker agree that my question is a valid one. Both emphazise in their highly informative writings that the court historians misrepresent wars in the interest of victors. Let’s give this a moment’s thought. Both Napoleon and Hitler stood at their apogee, their success unmitigated by any military defeat. Then they marched into Russia and were utterly destroyed. Why did they do this? They did it because their success had given them massive arogance and belief in their “exceptionalism,” the dangerous word that encapsulates Washington’s belief in its hegemony.

“The zionist neoconsevatives who rule in Washington are capable of the same mistake that Napoleon and Hitler made. They believe in “the end of history,” that the Soviet collapse means history has chosen America as the model for the future. Their hubris actually exceeds that of Napoleon and Hitler.

“When confronted with such deluded and ideological force, does turning the other cheek work or does it encourage more provocation?

“This is the question before the Russian government.”  https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/08/31/can-war-be-avoided-and-the-planet-saved/ 

Andrei Martyanov answered on September 4, 2018: https://www.unz.com/article/russia-as-a-cat/   He argued that Washington is aware that its military power is limited and will not risk nuclear annihilation.

On April 5, 2021, the Saker has reached agreement with my point: “Russia cannot and will not retreat further, she won’t meekly declare that the Donbass or Crimea belong to the Nazi regime in Kiev.  Russia is ready, capable and willing to fight US/NATO forces if needed, including by using tactical and even strategic nukes.” https://thesaker.is/what-will-the-empire-do-to-support-the-ukronazis-open-thread-4/ 

Like myself the Saker concludes that Washington’s hubris means that “The biggest danger right now is that western politicians are completely misreading not only Putin, but all of Russia.”  

Martyanov believes that Washington’s guarantee to Ukraine is a temptest in a teacup as Washington will not really risk confronting Russia militarily.  https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com 

I wonder if Martyanov is giving Washington too much credit for awareness.  If Washington were reading the situation correctly, would the US Secretary of Defense have given Ukraine a guarantee against Russian intervention if Ukraine, now better armed by Washington, renews its assault on Donbass?  Washington wants conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the purpose of giving the guarantee is to produce conflict.  

Martyanov might be correct that Ukraine is too wary to trust the guarantee, and that Washington would not stand behind it.  But escalation can have momentum of its own. The publicized guarantee could result in extreme elements pushing the Ukrainian president into foolhardy action.  Neocons and liberal interventionists could insist Washington’s word and reputation are at stake and demand that Biden go to Ukraine’s aid.  I agree with Martyanov that it would be a war based on stupid nonsense, but these things do happen.

I only raise questions. Saker and Martyanov are better informed on these matters than I. Nevertheless, I think the risk is high that the American people are going to be very regretful that they permitted the military/security complex to use the dumbshit Democrats to prevent President Trump from normalizing relations with Russia. 

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FM Sergey Lavrov gave an extensive interview to the RBK Media Holding – Communication between Brussels and Moscow has completely fallen apart

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FM Sergey Lavrov gave an extensive interview to the RBK Media Holding – Communication between Brussels and Moscow has completely fallen apart

February 20, 2021

A good sub-title for this interview could be “Lavrov Unplugged”.

A quote from the transcript (which incidentally was available faster than any other transcript from the The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation ):

“… when it became clear that Russia did not want to live in the house of “a self-appointed boss,” all these complications began to emerge.

….

All this started when this signal was not perceived (to be more precise, Russia was seen again as a “hoodlum” in the world arena and they were again going to teach it “good manners”). In any event, the West began its ideological preparations, for its current actions, at that time.”

Video in Russian without subtitles or English voiceover as yet.

Question: There is a feeling that the West is very annoyed by the appearance of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. At first, they were very aggressive and wouldn’t let it go. When I talked with Minister of Trade and Industry Dmitry Manturov, he called it “the vaccine war.” Now the opinion has changed. Is this about the quality of the vaccine or is politics involved in this?

Sergey Lavrov: I think it is possible to use the logic of the Russian proverb that can be translated into English as “love it so but mother says no.” Western experts know that the Sputnik V vaccine is definitely one of the best, if not the very best. Otherwise, there would not be such a stream of requests for it, which is growing geometrically.

On the other hand, they realise that the spread of Sputnik V and other Russian vaccines that will soon enter the international market, will enhance our authority and status in the world. They do not want this to happen. But they have come to realise that their first response was simply outrageous in the context of the facts and medical science. When President Vladimir Putin announced the development of the vaccine in August 2020, the offensive was completely undiplomatic. Their response just betrayed their irritation, you are perfectly right.

And now many countries (the Czech Republic and others) are saying they can’t wait for the certification of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency. In Hungary, they believe they are ready to start vaccination and supplies are now underway. The number of requests from Europe is steadily on the rise. Just the other day, Prince Albert II of Monaco sent a request for the vaccine for the entire population of his principality.

After independent agencies published their scientific evaluations, the West had to admit that the vaccine was good. Yet, attempts to discredit it continue.

Just yesterday I read a somewhat ambiguous statement by President of France Emmanuel Macron. He put us and the Chinese into the category of those who are trying to gain advantages in the world arena at the expense of their medical achievements. The day before yesterday, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen spoke with an emphatically negative connotation about the supplies of the Russian vaccines to foreign countries.

We must follow the correct position of principle, first voiced by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, notably, that we were the first to develop the vaccine, and we will continue to increase its production. This is not easy, we do not have enough capacities, and this is why we are negotiating with India, South Korea and other countries. At the same time, he said we are open to the broadest possible cooperation.

There is one more important point. When this issue was discussed at the UN the other day, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the countries that have this vaccine or have the money to buy it, not to forget about the poor. In the meantime, attempts are being made to accuse us of trying to gain geopolitical favour by supplying it abroad. This is an obvious discrepancy. It is clear that the West is poorly prepared for this discussion.

Question: So, it’s about the same as when President Putin said at the Davos Forum that the world cannot continue creating an economy that will only benefit the “golden billion,” and we are actually accused of supplying the vaccine for the benefit of the “golden billion.” Still, are they talking about the vaccine like this just because it was made in Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t see any other reason, because no one even tried to conduct a medical or a scientific test. They just said right away that it was impossible just because it’s impossible, meaning that “no one can do this that quickly.” It was only in October 2020, when the West said they would be able to report on their achievements. President Putin announced in August that the Russian-made vaccine was ready for rollout.

Unfortunately, I often see that the response to everything we do, say or offer is, at best, questioned right off the bat. Usually, they say that “the Russians are playing their geopolitical games again.”

Question: EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, who was here recently and met with you, said that Russia is distancing itself from the West. At the same time, Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said we are open to cooperation with Europe. You said we are ready to break up, but we are not breaking off our relations. What really stands in the way of normal relations between the EU and Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: A biased attitude, by and large. I worked with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, a good colleague of mine, when he was Spanish Foreign Minister. Now many, in an attempt to give a controversial dimension to the High Representative’s visit to Russia, forget how it all began. In May 2019, Mr Borrell said: “Our old enemy, Russia, says again ‘here I am,’ and it is again a threat.” We then asked his protocol service to confirm what he said. We were told that it was a figure of speech and that he was misunderstood. However, this attitude shows.

We are seen as a stranger. In my interview with Vladimir Solovyov, replying to his question as to whether we are ready to break off with the EU, I gave an affirmative answer because there are no relations to talk about. As former US President Barack Obama once said (although he said it about the Russian economy), relations have been “torn to shreds.”

Indeed, the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement [between the EU and Russia] entered into force in 1997. It contained a number of declarative goals for moving towards common economic, humanitarian and cultural spaces. For many years, we used a mechanism of summits, which were held every six months in Russia and in the EU alternately. In fact, our entire Government held annual meetings with the European Commission to discuss the participants’ responsibilities in the context of over 20 sector-specific dialogues. We were building four common spaces and roadmaps for each of them. These were 100 percent substantive and specific projects. It was all destroyed, just like the Partnership and Cooperation Council, within which the Russian Foreign Minister and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy reviewed the entire range of relations. This disappeared long before the Ukraine crisis.

Many in our country are just waiting for a chance to pounce on the Russian Government’s foreign policy. We are being asked how we can say that we are ready to break off with the EU when it is our largest trade and economic partner. If we take the EU as a collective partner, it is our largest partner in terms of gross trade. For example, in 2013 (before the Ukraine events) Russia became a WTO member. From that moment, our trade relations were built on the principles advocated by that organisation rather than the EU’s principles. As a single trade bloc, the EU also participated in the WTO. We traded with member countries based on WTO guidelines. If you think the EU is a valuable trade and economic partner, here are some statistics for you: in 2013, the United States was the EU’s biggest trading partner with about $480 billion, followed by China with $428 billion and Russia with $417 billion. That is, these numbers are of the same order of magnitude. Where do we stand now? In 2019, EU’s trade with the United States stood at $750 billion, with China $650 billion, and with Russia at about $280 billion. In 2020, it was $218 billion, if counting with Great Britain, and $191 billion without it.

The reason? It’s the sanctions imposed by our “valued” and largest economic partner for reasons that have never relied on any facts whatsoever. At least, no facts have ever been presented to us. We understand Crimea. We understand Donbass as well. It’s just that the EU admitted its inability, or perhaps, unwillingness, to prevent the anti-constitutional coup with an open Russophobic slant and chose to turn things upside down. Brussels shifted the blame to us and imposed sanctions on Russia rather than the putschists, who, by and large, spat on the guarantees of the European Union, which signed the corresponding agreements, totally ignoring, as I said, the fact that the actions of the government, which they supported, were openly and violently anti-Russian.

Question: Without the events in Ukraine, would our relations with the West have sunk to where they are now?

Sergey Lavrov: It is difficult for me to talk about this. After all, later there were other events linked with the accusations of “the poisoning in Salisbury.” No facts were presented. We were not allowed to meet with our citizens. No evidence was offered. Everything was similar to what is happening now with the alleged poisoning of Alexey Navalny.

Question: It seems the West is looking for a pretext to spoil our relations.

Sergey Lavrov: They are looking but there are many pretexts: it’s always possible to use something as an excuse to put the relationship on the required track. But it’s not that they want to spoil relations. I don’t think this is their main goal. They want to bolster their self-esteem. Now they are starting to act like the US, revealing the mentality of an exclusive group of states. I quoted German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. When asked why they continue discussing sanctions against Russia and what goals they had achieved by imposing sanctions, he replied that he didn’t believe sanctions should be used for any purpose. What matters is that they don’t leave any action by the Russian Federation unpunished.

The concealment of facts that could somehow confirm accusations against us started long before the crisis in Ukraine. We can recall 2007 – the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in the hospital. There was a coroner’s inquest. Later this trial was declared “public.” In George Orwell’s logic, in Britain this means a “secret trial” during which no inquisitorial procedures of the secret services may be presented. You know, these are system-wide problems.

I listed what we used to have in our relations with the European Union. Nothing is left now, not even sporadic contacts on some international issues. As regards the Iran nuclear programme, we are taking part in the work of the collective group of countries, which are trying to somehow put this programme back on track. This is not part of our relations with the EU proper. In the Middle East, we have a Quartet of mediators consisting of Russia, the US, the EU and the UN. In other words, this is multilateral cooperation rather than our relations with just the EU.

With regard to who is taking steps to prevent our relations from further decline, at least a little, we were thinking about that when Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, was getting ready to visit Moscow. He suggested cooperating in healthcare and vaccines. We have already discussed this here. As a Brussels institution, the EU will hardly be allowed to contact Russian agencies or companies independently regarding the vaccines. We would sooner cooperate directly with the producers of AstraZeneca, as this is already taking place.

On the eve of Mr Borrell’s visit, we invited his experts to make a joint statement on the Middle East by the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Our positions are nearly identical on the matter and we thought it would be appropriate to urge the Quartet to resume its activities and call for direct Palestinian-Israeli talks, respect for the relevant UN resolutions, and so on.

We gave them a page and a half text that was easy to approve after the first reading. Several days prior to his arrival, we were told that “it did not work out.” I will reveal a secret because this is a blatant example. I asked Mr Borrell at the negotiating table: “What about this statement? Why didn’t it work out?” He started turning his head all around. It was clear from his reaction, and he confirmed this later, that nobody had even told him about it. These are the people that deal with what some of our liberals call “relations with the EU.”

Question: Concluding this theme, I’d like to say that as a man born in the USSR, I understand that during the Soviet-Western confrontation we had different ideologies, economies and so on. Later, I thought that everything was the same on both sides. They were for democracy and we were for democracy; they had a market economy and we had a market economy. So what are the differences? Why do we fail to find a common language to this day? I thought we found it in the 1990s? Why did we find it then?

Sergey Lavrov: We found it at that time because nobody in the Russian Federation disputed the answer to the question of who was ruling the show. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has talked about this many times. We decided that was it – the end of history. Francis Fukuyama announced that from now on liberal thought would rule the world. Now there are attempts to push this liberal thought to the fore again in a bid to gain international influence. But when it became clear that Russia did not want to live in the house of “a self-appointed boss,” all these complications began to emerge.

Initially, having become President, Vladimir Putin and his team tried to convey this message through diplomatic signals that educated and smart people would be bound to understand. But nobody listened. Then the explanations had to be made politely but openly in the Munich speech. All this started when this signal was not perceived (to be more precise, Russia was seen again as a “hoodlum” in the world arena and they were again going to teach it “good manners”). In any event, the West began its ideological preparations, for its current actions, at that time.

Question: Regarding the sanctions. Bloomberg posted a news item today that new sanctions against Russia are planned concerning the Nord Stream 2, however, they are not going to be tough but rather “soft.” On the other hand, they report that the Americans want to thwart the Nord Stream project but without irritating Germany. Where are we in this situation?

Sergey Lavrov: We are a country that completely complies with the contractual obligations undertaken by our companies that are part of the project, along with the EU companies that joined it. The current situation is largely due to a decision taken by what we call the European Union, a decision that proves beyond doubt what sort of alliance it is. A few years ago, when the Poles, and others sharing their attitude, attempted to impede the Nord Stream project, the Legal Service of the European Commission was asked for legal advice, official opinion. The service presented a document which stated in no uncertain terms that the investment project had been launched long before amendments were made to the EU’s gas directive, the Third Energy Package. That’s it. Period. This issue should be closed for any person who has respect for the law. But no, the European Commission took this opinion and launched its own quasi-legal procedure which resulted in the conclusion that the project had indeed been launched much earlier, yet it fell under this third energy package and the gas directive. That’s what kind of a partner we have in this “relationship.”

This is about how we can “pounce” on them and express readiness to break relations with them when they are our main economic partner – that’s what kind of a partner they are. Meanwhile, now Germany alone is fighting for the project.

And in fact, Joe Biden’s administration will not cancel anything which was done by Donald Trump except for leaving the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Democrats are returning there now.

The NATO defence ministers meeting has just ended. But there was no let-up in US demands to pay 2 percent of a country’s GDP for defence needs, i.e. for purchasing US weaponry. There was no backing off the demands on Europe regarding Nord Stream 2 – to stop participating in some matters that undermine European security. They see it better from across the ocean, right? This is about who is the boss. Europe also wants to run the house but it was taken down a peg. The situation around Nord Stream 2 is straightforward.

For now they are saying publicly that bargaining is underway and possible agreements between Washington and Berlin are being discussed, including that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline may be allowed to be completed and even start operating. However, if at the same time gas transiting via Ukraine is going to be falling, then Nord Stream 2 must be shut off. I cannot decide for Germany, however, it is obvious to me that this proposal is humiliating. As Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his meeting with parliamentary party leaders, this is yet further evidence that they want Russia to pay for their Ukraine geopolitical venture.

Question: Do we have to pay for this geopolitical project?  Why do they think we have to pay for it?

Sergey Lavrov: Because they don’t feel like lashing out on it. They need the Ukrainian regime for the sole purpose of constantly irritating Russia and finding new reasons to support their Russophobic policy. They want to weaken anything around us – Belarus, Central Asia, and now also the South Caucasus, as they got nervous after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s successful mediation mission between Armenia and Azerbaijan: why was this done without them? They are now trying to infiltrate this region and step up their activities there. All of that has nothing to do with the Cold War-era ideology of a showdown between the two systems you talked about a few minutes ago. It has to do with the fact that our Western partners are unwilling, unprepared and unable to speak on an equal footing, whether with Russia, China, or whoever. They need to create a system where they will be the boss regardless. This is why they are taking an increasing dislike to the United Nations since they cannot have total control of it.

Question: Do you see the EU as a monolith, or as something more loose, with certain processes unfolding inside and some countries, no matter what, starting to talk about their willingness to be friends with Russia? In the case of the sanctions, the key figures behind them are, strange as it may seem, the Baltic States, which do not play a prominent role in the EU but, for some reason, everyone is listening to them.

Sergy Lavrov: It sounds inappropriate to refer to the EU as a monolith a mere couple of months after Brexit. This “monolith” is not the same as before. If you mean a monolith in a figurative sense, my answer is no. Quite a few countries are maintaining relations with Russia. The visit of Josep Borrell was the first trip by an EU official of this level to Russia in three years. In the same three years, about two dozen ministers from European Union member countries have visited Russia. We are having a great dialogue, without wasting too much time on confrontation and moralising. Indeed, all of them do have their assignments – a couple of sheets of paper from which they read a script approved by the “party committee” in Brussels.

Question: Do you mean they bring a notebook with instructions with them?

Sergey Lavrov: Certainly. They do not dare to veer off course. This, for example, goes for Alexey Navalny, or the Skripals as in the previous case, or human rights. Now scientist Yury Dmitriyev from Karelia is in the spotlight. They flatly refuse to accept evidence of his involvement in crimes, like pedophilia. They read from their notebook and I would adduce my arguments to the contrary and describe our vision of this or that situation and wonder why we cannot obtain evidence on the Navalny case or the Skripal case. In response they simply read again from their notebook. Apart from this discipline induced by the bloc member states’ solidarity, we discuss things normally. Yes, the EU sets the terms on which [its member countries] participate in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), while we are trading with these countries in the WTO on the terms that were agreed on for Russia to join this organisation. But the EU has nothing to do with this cooperation in trade and investment activity, except for its attempts to restrict trade and economic ties with the sanctions.

You mentioned the Baltic States. Indeed, they run the show in this respect to a great extent. I have talked to your colleagues about this on more than one occasion. When in 2004 there were hectic activities to drag them into the EU, Russia and Brussels maintained a very frank dialogue. The President of the European Commission at the time was Romano Prodi. In 2005, the objective was set to move to visa-free travel.

Question: Nobody has any memories of this today.

Sergey Lavrov: We remember this when we reply to those who ask how we dare say that we are ready to break relations with the EU. You mentioned the Baltic States. We had long been negotiating an updated version of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Russia and the EU, which the EU terminated in 2014. It was expected to go a bit beyond the boundaries of the WTO rules and allow us to negotiate additional trade preferences. At one time there was an objective to establish a free trade zone, but this has long since fallen into oblivion. However, there were plans to update the agreement in order to liberalise trade even more, in addition to the WTO rules. In 2014, they ceased to exist – another example of breaking down our relations.

A visa-free travel agreement was also finalised back in 2013. We had met all of the EU requirements: we agreed that only people with biometric passports would be eligible for visa-free travel and that those who violated EU entry rules or any other EU rules while in an EU country during a visa-free period would be subject to readmission. We signed the relevant agreement. Everything they asked for, and that suited us, was done. Later, when it was time to sign the agreement and then ratify it, the EU said: “Let’s wait.” It did not take us long to learn why they had said this, all the more so as they did not try to conceal their motives. This Brussels team decided that it was politically incorrect to approve a visa-free travel agreement with Russia prior to offering it to Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.

Question: In other words, Russia was made dependent on other countries?

Sergey Lavrov: It sure was, at the Baltic States’ initiative. This is also important for understanding the nature of our relations. This is an attitude from people who decided that they were European, which is not at all the case. Russia sees Europe in all its diversity. If the “party committee” in Brussels does not like it, we cannot force them to.

Question: Europe stretches at least to the Urals.

Sergey Lavrov: Correct. In 2009, when Jose Manuel Barroso was President of the European Commission, we held a Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk. Our European colleagues arrived later in the day. We went out for a walk along the embankment. We were showing them around the city and Mr Barroso said: “It’s amazing. It took us 13 hours to get here from Brussels, and it’s still Europe.” This is the key message behind the slogan “Europe from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”

Question: I’m going to ask you about one other country, Belarus. There will be a presidential summit on February 22. President Lukashenko will come to Russia. Recently, Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei gave an interview to the RBC media holding and mentioned Belarus’ multi-directional foreign policy. Do you think we have managed to work well with Minsk on integration? What should we expect from these talks?

Sergey Lavrov: The term “multi-directional” should not be used as a profanity. Most normal states want it. Russia, too, has used a multi-directional approach as the basis of its foreign policy since 2002. In our understanding, a multi-directional approach is possible only if based of equality, respect and a balance of interests, as well as mutual benefit. This is the only way it can work.

First, they threaten us with sanctions, and then the same people are saying that we “had it coming” and impose unilateral restrictions on us, and then say that we are “bad” because “we are looking to the East.” Everything has been turned upside down.

Russia is a Eurasian country. We have close contacts with Europe, which have been cultivated for centuries, before anyone even thought of a European Union, and the Europeans fought and competed against each other. By the way, we often helped them achieve peace and fair outcomes in wars.

Question: We even saved the monarchies?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, and they are aware of it. The republic in the United States, too, to a certain extent.

However, our European neighbours have severed almost all of our ties and left only sporadic contacts on international crises that are of interest to the EU in order to keep a profile on the international arena. In many ways, the EU is driven by a desire to be seen as an important operator in Syrian and other matters. If we are not welcome here, we will simply continue to work with our other neighbours who are not prone to whims like that.

Objectively, our trade with the EU is almost half of what it was in 2013. Our trade with China has doubled over the same period.

Question: Back to Minsk. What can we expect from talks between President Putin and President Lukashenko on February 22?

Sergey Lavrov: There are some who want to interpret Minsk’s words about the multi-directional nature of its foreign policy as proof of its “unreliability” as a partner and ally. I do not think so.

In the Council of Europe, of which Belarus is not a member yet, we advocate the CoE establishing relations with Minsk. We supported the accession of Minsk to a number of Council of Europe conventions. We have always been in favour of Belarus enjoying normal relations with its western neighbours. I’m not sure what the CoE will do next. Russophobia has swept over most of the EU countries, and the most “violent” ones are in charge of the agenda.

I read the remarks by President Lukashenko (not all his interviews, but they were cited) to the effect that he sees no obstacles to deepening integration. Progress will depend on how President Vladimir Putin and President Lukashenko agree on things.

There are two more days to go before the talks. I don’t think we should be speculating on the outcome of the summit. We will know everything soon.

Question: Recently, US President Joseph Biden said the United States will no longer be “rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions” (ostensibly, Donald Trump did this). How can we build our relations now? Are there subjects we can discuss with Washington? Are they ready to talk with us?

Sergey Lavrov: These comments on who is rolling over or will be rolling over in the face of someone’s actions illustrate a very deep split in US society. It reached a level of personal enmity that is aggressive and contrary to American political culture. The politicians did not particularly mince their words during previous presidential campaigns or prior to elections to Congress, but I don’t remember anything comparable to what is being said now.

Our liberal media promote a tough pro-Western line. In looking for objects of criticism in Russia, they are infringing on the threshold of decency and getting personal. They are very crude, and behave not like journalists but like inveterate propagandists, accusing others of propaganda.

The fact that the New Start Treaty was extended in time is a very positive step. This shouldn’t be overrated, but it shouldn’t be underrated, either. In his election speeches Joseph Biden mentioned his willingness to extend it, but these were election speeches after all. His promise could be interpreted differently later, but he extended this important document for five years without any conditions, like we suggested. If this had not happened, there would not have been a single instrument of international law, not only in Russian-US relations but in the entire range of multilateral ties, that contained any restrictions in the sphere of disarmament, arms control and nuclear weapons non-proliferation.

It is very important that just a few days prior to February 5, 2021, the date the treaty was extended for five years, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and US President Joseph Biden reaffirmed their intention to promote talks on strategic stability in these new conditions, in their first telephone conversation after the US presidential election. The situation has changed substantially since 2010: We and the Americans have acquired new weapons some of which are covered by the treaty. We announced this last year. We said that they must be taken into account. Some other weapons are not covered by the treaty – they are basically very different because of their physical characteristics.

Question: Are you talking about hypersonic weapons?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, the United States also has such weapons. Hypersonic weapons are partly covered by the New START Treaty, if these are ballistic missiles.

The New START Treaty already covers some weapons systems, so we now have to include these weapons systems in the Treaty for the next five years and see how all this will be verified. But it does not cover some weapons.

The United States has developed a new system called the Prompt Global Strike (PGS). By the way, this system implies a non-nuclear strike. We have suggested negotiating all issues without exception that have an impact on strategic stability and the legitimate interests of the contracting parties.

Question: Did they agree to this? Are they ready?

Sergey Lavrov: In October 2020, we submitted draft joint understandings to the Trump administration. This rough outline shows how we can sit down and start negotiating the agenda. We have received no reply from them. Instead of addressing this matter, Marshall Billingslea, the Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, mostly made vocal statements that the United States was all for it but that the Russians did not want to do this.

When I spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, I reminded him that Russia had submitted its proposals to the Trump administration, which dealt with this matter and many other issues, including cybersecurity and concerns over interference in each other’s domestic affairs. We would like to get back to them, and to hear the Biden administration’s opinions in this regard. We realise that they now need some time to settle down in the White House and the Department of State. I hope that this will not take too long.

There are still some questions on disarmament, for example, the lineup of participants in the disarmament process. The US position on China, approved by Donald Trump, remains unchanged; the same concerns a number of other matters.

Regarding multilateral talks, first of all, this should not annul Russian-US agreements because we have several times more nuclear weapons than other nuclear countries. Second, if we make this a multilateral process, then all prospective participants, primarily the five nuclear powers, should reach a voluntary agreement. We will never try to persuade China. We respect the position of Beijing, which either wants to catch up with us or proposes that we first reduce our arsenals to China’s levels and then start on the talks. All circumstances considered, if this is a multilateral process, then we will get nowhere without the United Kingdom and France. The Trump administration insisted that China should take part and at the same time said about its allies that they were the good guys, literally. This sounds funny. Apart from the complicated and lengthy disarmament process, we do not have so many promising spheres where we can cooperate constructively.

Question: Does this mean that their vision of the issue is entirely different or that they are reluctant to negotiate?

Sergey Lavrov: They think that they are the boss, and this mentality is still here and it determines the perception of their enemies. So far, they have not designated China as an enemy, but they have called us an enemy a couple of times. Democrats have an additional motivation for expanding this policy. Their position is that, supposedly unlike with Donald Trump, they will be “no Russian tail wagging the dog.”

Question: Don’t you think that Democrats have come to power with the intention of taking revenge against Russia, and that they will implement Donald Trump’s anti-Russia plans that he failed to accomplish in four years.

Sergey Lavrov: They made such statements during the election campaign. Joe Biden and his supporters said openly that the Trump administration had gone soft, that it was constantly making advances and working for the Russian intelligence. Donald Trump said that he was conducting the toughest policy with regard to Russia. He said that he liked Vladimir Putin, but he introduced more sanctions than all of his predecessors taken together.

We are also witnessing a cowboy-style showdown there. But this is normal for US politics, especially today. Disagreements between liberals who considered liberalism an irreversible trend have become aggravated to the greatest possible extent. Donald Trump, who did not like liberal principles and approaches, suddenly took over. He tried to think more about the basic interests of the American founders, the people who moved there (and it has always been a nation of immigrants), and who accepted its laws. So, the big question is whether people should remain loyal to the country that has accepted them, or do they want to erode its principles?

Question: Should they try to fit in?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, and they want to be the boss. Everything boils down to this once again.

Question: Karabakh, the subject of that. Fortunately, the war is over and a peace agreement has been inked. We covered extensively the role Russia and Azerbaijan played. I have a question to do with Turkey. I was in Azerbaijan during the war and heard many people say that the Azerbaijanis are supportive of the Great Turan idea (a state that covered the territory from Turkey to Central Asia). Is Moscow concerned by Turkey becoming a stronger state?

Sergey Lavrov: This opinion is entertained by a portion of the society. I’m not going to give a percentage of how many people support this idea. I’m not sure many of those who informed you about this really know what “Great Turan” is all about.

The relations between Turkic-speaking peoples have become an integral part of cooperation between Turkey and the corresponding countries, including Azerbaijan and a number of Central Asian states.

There is the Cooperation Council of the Turkic-Speaking States, in which we participate as observers. A number of our republics are interested in contacts with it and are promoting their specific projects.

There is TURKSOY  ̵  the International Organisation of Turkic Culture. There’s also the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries. All of them have been functioning for a long time now. They draft their own plans and hold functions. Their cooperation is mainly based on cultural, linguistic and educational traditions.

Speaking about the Great Turan as a supranational entity in a historical sense, I don’t think that this is what Turkey is after. I don’t see how former Soviet and now independent countries can be supportive of this idea in any form. On the contrary, their foreign policies and practices focus on strengthening their national states.

Turkey has its interests which include its fellow tribesmen who speak the same language. We also want the Russian World to communicate. We have created an extensive network of organisations of our compatriots living abroad; we are opening Russian World centres at universities in different countries with purely linguistic, educational and scientific goals.

The Centre for the Russian Language and Culture created by the Russkiy Mir Foundation was recently closed in Krakow. This is an obvious step for Poland, as well as for the Baltic States, which are fighting everything that is Russian. Ukraine followed in their footsteps and shut down several media outlets and imposed a language ban. We are well aware of all this. We will keep raising this matter at the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the corresponding UN agencies. One cannot pretend that this comes with the “growth” and the “coming of age” of the Ukrainian nation, which, as they say, is an “ill-fated” one. The Ukrainians claim that they are the descendants of Alexander the Great. In that case, they should be responsible for the orders they introduce. The EU, and Germany and France as the Normandy format participants, avoid performing their duties when it comes to “educating” Ukraine in terms of making it comply with the Minsk agreements, and this has become a chronic behaviour pattern which does not reflect well on Germany or France.

Question: It was announced that Ukraine was recognised an unfriendly state. How will this affect relations between us?

Sergey Lavrov: This is just a descriptive attribute. What’s friendly about it? Russian schools are being closed, customers and shop assistants are not allowed to speak their native language, and the Nazis are burning Russian flags.

Question: This is reminiscent of the Baltic States 20 to 30 years ago.

Sergey Lavrov: Back when the Baltic States were about to be admitted to the EU, we asked the Brussels bureaucrats, the Eurogrands, whether they were sure they were doing the right thing. The problems that are at odds with the membership criteria persist, including non-observance of the rights of the Russian-speaking minorities in Latvia and Estonia. We were told that the Baltic States are phobic of Russia (war, the so-called occupation, etc.), the EU will bring it into its fold, it will calm down and ethnic minorities will be happy and contented. Things turned out the other way round. The Russians were not granted any rights, and statelessness is still there.

Question: Let’s go back to Turkey: Ankara’s stronger position, its active role in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, President Erdogan’s visit to Northern Cyprus (which a Turkish leader has not done for quite a while). What does Moscow think about it?

Sergey Lavrov: As far as Turkey and Northern Cyprus are concerned, we see it as Ankara’s relations with its “fellow countrymen.” I have not heard about Turkey refusing to honour the UN obligations accepted by the conflicting parties. These obligations include seeking a mutually acceptable solution and creating a bicommunal bizonal federation. There is a discussion of whether the federation will be strong or weak. But there is no disagreement about the fact that it must be one state. Although not so very long ago, it was the common opinion that the entire project would fail and they would have to create two states. We understand that Ankara is interested in Cypriot Turks living in equality and their rights being observed. We support the idea that the same motives with which Turkey explains its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, including with respect to hydrocarbons, should determine its dialogue with Greece and Turkey.

On February 17, 2021, I spoke with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias who told me that on January 25, 2021, he had had a probing conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. They did not iron out all issues. But it is good news that a dialogue was established. They agreed to continue it. On February 18, 2021, I spoke with Mevlut Cavusoglu. We continued sharing opinions following the telephone conversations between President Putin and President Erdogan on Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh and our bilateral relations. New power units of a nuclear power station are under construction; the TurkStream project is ongoing. There is much common ground between our countries when it comes to energy.

In October 2019, the first Russia-Africa Summit in history was held in Sochi. A record number of heads of state and heads of government attended. In the course of the preparations for the summit, we reviewed the development of our relations with African countries and the current state of affairs, including from the perspective of expanding our presence on the continent which political scientists consider to be the most promising in the long term. We reviewed other countries’ presence in Africa. Since 2002, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has increased from 12 to 42. Turkey’s trade with the region is estimated at around 20 billion dollars a year and Russia’s trade is around 15 billion dollars. This is to say that Turkey has an eye for potential.

Question: Perhaps Turkey is disappointed with the EU because nobody accepted it?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe it could partially be the case. In its contacts with the EU, Ankara continues to insist that the EU promised it accession. Turkey is spreading its wings and gaining weight despite the existing economic problems at home. Turkey mainly goes on by accumulating its national debt but this model is widely common around the world.

Question: 2020 is the year of the pandemic. During such times, countries should join forces and help each other. Do you think that this was the case? Or did the world fail to put aside disagreements and rally together even when it came to the COVID-19 infection?

Sergey Lavrov: Now this conversation is back to square one. There are no ideologies anymore. But this ideology-based, politicised perception of the Russian vaccine was not a very good signal. The Sputnik V vaccine was announced in August 2020, many months after the G20 summit (March 2020) where Vladimir Putin strongly advocated cooperation in vaccine production. Even then, we were ready to create joint scientific teams. But Western countries and their companies, unwilling to help competitors, did not respond to that proposal. So much for unification in this purely medical field.

There is also the humanitarian sphere. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet made calls during the pandemic to suspend all unilateral sanctions in fields directly affecting food, the supply of medicine and medical equipment, in order to alleviate the suffering of the population in countries that were under unilateral sanctions (regardless of their reasons). There was no reaction from the initiators of those sanctions (primarily the US and the EU). Also, there was no response to President Vladimir Putin’s proposal, at the G20 summit, to create ‘green corridors’ for the period of the pandemic, to move goods under the most relaxed rules – without tax, duties, tariffs, delays, or special customs inspections.

We are all in the same boat, and it’s not so big. Some forecasts say this situation will continue for a long time, and the coronavirus will be a seasonal infection, and it is not at all the same as the flu or other diseases, so we will have to use precautions permanently, use PPE. This realisation should somehow prod countries to more open cooperation, especially those that up until recently had some doubts.

True, there have been some good shifts. One of them is the United States’ return to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Some hotheads in Washington believe that, now that they have returned, they will make others do their bidding. There are fewer than 50 Chinese people in the WHO Secretariat, 25 Russians, over 200 Americans, and more than 2,000 NATO representatives. The past US administration said China was manipulating the WHO. That is not true. Otherwise, we are admitting the complete helplessness of 2,000 NATO members who should be the majority in the WHO Secretariat.

Nevertheless, there are some positive results though. This problem has been recently considered at the UN General Assembly and the Security Council. It is important now to focus on equitable collaboration within the WHO. Besides the attempts at carrying out “soft coups” and establishing their own rules in the organisation, hardly based on consensus, an idea has been suggested to move the main decision-making on global health policies outside the universal organisation. We have been pointing out this tendency for some time now – the one to replace international law with a rules-based world order. As it turns out in reality, those rules boil down to working out all decisions in a circle of those who agree with you rather than in a group with universal representation where you have to argue your case and search for balances and compromises. And then you just present the decision as ‘the ultimate truth’ and demand that everyone respect it.

This underlies the Franco-German initiative for a new multilateralism and some limited partnerships in the West. For example, Paris has launched an International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons. Under this non-universal, non-UN partnership, the EU creates the so-called ‘horizontal’ regime of sanctions to be imposed on anyone that France-initiated partnership points at. A similar sanctions regime is being created for cybersecurity. Instead of any open-ended discussion, the French are promoting some partnership to defend freedom in cyberspace. This is another example of rules on which ‘order’ will be based.

There are attempts to start similar groups outside the WHO. But people’s health is not a field where one can play geopolitics. Unless there is a conspiracy behind this to reduce the population of the Earth. Many are now starting to develop such theories and concepts.

Iran: Keeper of mankind’s anti-imperialist flame amid the ‘end of history’

Source

Thursday, 04 February 2021 3:33 AM  

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Islamic Revolution, February 1979. (Photo by Reuters)
Iran at 42: Keeper of mankind’s anti-imperialist flame amid the ‘end of history’
Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2) is currently covering the US election. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea, and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China,’ which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with The Saker

At 42 years the Iranian Islamic Revolution has endured so long that it has seen the reactionary force which rose to counter it – Reaganism – partially defeated by a new faction: Trumpism.

With the return to power – via Joe Biden – of the three decade-long Clintonista ideology Iran hasn’t lasted so very long as to witness a total sea change in US politics, but revolutionary Iran continues to vex, undermine and even defeat mighty Washington precisely because of a key pillar of the Islamic Republic: anti-imperialism.

It’s difficult for me to take Biden and his supporters seriously because even though they claim to represent a progressive leap forward politically one never hears them utter the phrase “anti-imperialism”. In fact, nowhere in US mainstream discourse is this phrase ever heard, and that should be very telling about the true nature of the political factions here.

Anti-imperialism. Indeed, it is a complete sentence. It is a definitive answer to so many questions and problems.

It’s so big that even Wikipedia’s scant page on anti-imperialism relates how it has five different axes: “the moral, the economic, the systemic, the cultural and the temporal”. In one column I cannot discuss all five axes, but I can relate how the phrase is never discussed in both polite and impolite American society. That’s worth repeating because the US is so very aggressive militarily, still.

The single greatest cardinal sin in politics is to attack another country, so from a political point of view the dominant concept behind “anti-imperialism” is an anti-war stance: To be anti-imperialist is to be pro-peace. Therefore, in its political sense “anti-imperialism” is a phrase which implies an inherently internationalist viewpoint which sees weaker – or maybe just less warlike –  countries bound together against any colonising aggressor.

The sad reality is that “anti-imperialism” is not what it used to be.

As I have often related, an accurate analysis of modern human history is that precisely as Iran emerged victorious from the Western-orchestrated War of Holy Defense (also referred to as the Iran-Iraq War) the global anti-imperialist struggle completely collapsed, due to the fall of the USSR and Europe’s Eastern Bloc.

Almost universally anti-imperialism had a crisis of intellectual confidence. This even allowed Western pro-imperialists to insist that Iran was in a laughable condition: it went from being a revolutionary country to an outdated country almost overnight! The sad, but partial, truth of this historical era is not widely understood even in 2021.

It’s an important rejoinder that Iran’s revolutionary mix of anti-imperialism, state economic management and a modern, late-20th century political structure mixed with the revolutionary addition of clerical democratic inclusion has also still not been fully understood by most non-Iranians on both the left and the right.

But for pro-imperialists understanding was not necessary because in 1992 they infamously, abruptly and arrogantly declared the “end of history”, and that anti-imperialism had permanently lost. This explains Washington’s philosophy towards Iran for the last 30 years: waste time – and make things as difficult as possible via illegal and murderous sanctions – until Iran catches up with “history”. Or to put it in the exact terms used today by the Biden administration, which is struggling to gain domestic legitimacy after a deeply-disputed election: wait for Iran to accept “reality” (a “reality” defined by pro-imperialists, of course).

After 42 years Iran is still waiting for many to understand the political and economic modernity of its culture, but most with open eyes have at least partially come to understand Iran thanks to its actions. They see that Iran is consistently a top 10 country in the acceptance of refugees; they see that Iran puts its best and most beloved, like QasemSoleimani, in harm’s way in foreign nations in order to aid their struggles; they see that Iran supports righteous Sunni countries like Palestine; they see that Iran takes major and daring risks to send help to Latino countries like Venezuela; they see that Iran followed all the rules of the JCPOA pact on Iran’s nuclear energy program even when Western signatories did not.

Anyone with open eyes sees that Iran is an internationalist country, an anti-imperialist fighter, a peacemaker and a supporter of righteous global cooperation . Anyone with a modicum of imagination has also wondered just how very successful Iran could be and would have been – with their natural and human resources, and with the exact system they have had in place for 42 years – if the West would end its decades of imperialist blockades on Iran.

In the modern digital age – dominated by Western corporations who undoubtedly support pro-imperialist ideologies – eyes are not allowed to be opened, sadly. The pen is not mightier than the sword of deplatforming, censorship and endless Western propaganda.

And yet anti-imperialism remains an ever-powerful sword, because defense of one’s home and sovereignty is always legitimate.

In the post-1991 world who has wielded this sword more than Iran? This is not mere boasting, and proof of humility can be shown by quickly recounting the history of modern anti-imperialist struggles:

Only a know-nothing would say that the USSR, with its 25 million martyrs, didn’t primarily defeat German imperialism. China gave so very much to protect Korea from American invasion, but not as much as North Koreans gave, of course. The sacrifices of the Vietnamese were the most globally galvanising anti-imperialist force in the 20th century – who could ever forget that? Ending South African Apartheid can never be forgotten, but Western media certainly does obscure the role played by Cuban soldiers in repelling attacks from the Western-backed South African Defense Force, which ultimately resulted in the discrediting of the entire South African system and led to the freedom of Angola and modern-day Namibia. And who can forget when Algiers was the “Mecca of revolutionaries”, following the victory of its incredibly inspiring anti-imperialist struggle which overturned 132 years of Algeria “being France”?

Yet Iran’s contributions to the global and supremely humane anti-imperialist movement have been easily obscured by the West’s post-2001 state-sponsored ideology: Islamophobia.

Islamophobia was a very good ideology for pro-imperialists to promote because it has no troublesome economic or class components – it is mere xenophobia. Islamophobia explains why even the few committed Western anti-imperialists so often dismiss Iran’s anti-imperialism with a dismissive wave of their hand: they feel that because of the presence of the religion of Islam Iran is too difficult to even be understood. Sadly, Western pro-imperialists – via the promotion of Islamophobia – have won in many areas for decades.

Iran is concerned with Islam, of course, but Islam differs from Christianity in that there is no possibility for forced conversion, for proselytising monks or nuns or for the forcing of faith on others. Islam, from a political, economic and geopolitical perspective, is simply an insufficient tool with which to define all of modern Iran (believing that it is sufficient is Islamophobic, of course).

Because anti-imperialism cannot die as long as countries are conquered and colonised (openly or via puppets), it must have a center somewhere, no?

It’s laughable to say that the centre of the anti-imperialist movement in 2021 – which began in politics with Lenin and his critiques of Western-style capitalism – could be located anywhere in the United States. Or in Western Europe, for that matter.

I think it is perhaps fair to say the centre in 2021 is in Iran.

If that seems strange to your ears: Isn’t it true that Western Islamophobia has made modern Iran seem to be totally inscrutable, or even not even worth serious analysis? At the very same time, hasn’t the huge reductions in the anti-imperialist movement – which was a global cultural force for nearly a century – made Iran even more atypical? Is Iran so hard to place on the global and historical political spectrums because it is so very revolutionary, or is it that many simply don’t make the effort to accurately understand it’s structures, ideals and actions?

After 42 years Iran’s actions are clear, even if – to some – their motivations and methods are not yet comprehended.

There are other established anti-imperialist nations, as I have noted, and I am not accusing them of resting on their laurels – I simply note here that since 1979 Iran has undoubtedly joined their company in the history of modern mankind. Given the importance of anti-imperialism in establishing global peace, goodwill and cooperation – who wouldn’t thank God for that?

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


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

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

واشنطن تحت وطأة الانقلاب الفاشل وأميركا تتآكل من الداخل..!

محمد صادق الحسيني

لم يعُد هناك أي مجال للشك والترديد أو الارتياب بأنّ ما كان يدّعيه الأميركيون بأنّ ديمقراطيتهم هي نهاية التاريخ كما ادّعى وزعم منظّرهم فوكوياما، باتت اليوم على شفير الهاوية وذاهبة لتأخذ أميركا الى الخراب الشامل..!

وما جرى في واشنطن قبل أيام من أحداث عنف دامية دليل وبرهان قاطع لا يقبل الدحض أو النقض..!

والذي أكد في ما أكد اشتراك شخص الرئيس الأميركي المنتهية ولايته في كلّ ما جرى من خراب…!

وفي هذا السياق فقد أكدت مصادر واسعة الاطلاع من مراكز صنع القرار الأميركي بأنّ الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب قاد كلّ عمليات التظاهر والتمرّد الأخيرة في واشنطن من خلال غرفة عمليات مخصصة لهذا الغرض كانت تضمّه مع بعض من افراد عائلته وعدد من رهطه (الأمن الخاص لديه تقارير مصوّرة عن ذلك) والذي يثبت أنّ ترامب هو شخصياً كان متورّطاً بعملية قيادة الجموع المقتحمة لمجمع الكاپيتول هيل في إطار عملية انقلابية كانت تهدف الى ما يلي:

1

ـ منع الكونغرس من التصديق على انتخاب بايدن.

2

ـ حرق الكونغرس بعد العبث بكلّ محتوياته.

3

ـ أخذ رهائن من مجلسي النواب والشيوخ وتعطيل الكونغرس لفترة طويلة بهدف ضمان بقائه في البيت الأبيض. إن جهاز الشرطة التابع للكونغرس متورط بإدخال المقتحمين.

هذا وقد ثبت من خلال التحقيقات الاولية بأنّ كلاً من ابن سلمان وابن زايد متورّطين بضخ أموال لترامب وأنصاره لعمل هذه الفوضى في الكونغرس وفي الشارع الأميركي لجرّ الشعب الأميركي إلى مربع الصراع ومربع العنف.

ويبدو أنّ هذه المعلومات كانت متوفرة لدى قيادة الحزب الديمقراطي والسيدة نانسي بيلوسي بشكل خاص والتي تعتبر من الرموز المخابراتية من الوزن الثقيل.

وهذا الأمر بالذات هو الذي دفع رئيسة المجلس الى اتخاذ إجراءات سريعة كانت مأخوذة بعين الاعتبار سلفاً، حيث تمّ أخذ كافة الأعضاء في المجلسين الى قاعات آمنة ومن ثم قامت بالاتصال العاجل بالخدمة السريّة للبيت الأبيض وهي قوة تعتبر تابعة للقوة الخفيّة التي تحمي أميركا الدولة القوية وكذلك بالـ وسائر القوى المعنية فقامت بتطويق كل المربع الخاص بالكونغرس والبالغة مساحته نحو 13 هكتاراً واقتحامه وإخلاء القاعات من الرعاع والمتمردين من جماعة ترامب بمهنيّة عالية جداً وإعادة الأوضاع الى ما قبل الاقتحام في مدة لم تتجاوز 4 ساعات..!

تصاعد التوتر داخل مباني الكاپيتول وخوف الدولة العميقة من انفلات الوضع وانتقاله الى سائر الولايات، وهو ما كان يتمناه ترامب هو الذي دفع بالدولة العميقة بالعمل سريعاً لإنقاذ العاصمة واشنطن من خلال الدفع بقوات دعم أمنية وصلت إليها من فرجينيا ونيوجيرسي وميريلاند.. ولما اشتدّ الوطيس وصار الخطر اكبر دخلت قوات «الخدمة السرية» الخاصة على الخط فوراً وهي القوة التي تشكلت في العام 1865 بعد انتهاء الحرب الأهلية الأميركية والتابعة لوزارة الامن الداخلي، والمكلفة بحماية كبار الشخصيات والرؤساء، وذات المهمات الخاصة في الملمات لتطلب من ترامب التوقف فوراً عن مغامرته والقيام بتسجيل صوتي – وليس الظهور الحر على التلفزيون – لسحب جماعاته فوراً تحت طائلة التهديد بالعقاب الصارم، مجبرة إياه على القيام بالمهمة فور انتهاء خطاب الرئيس المنتخب جو بايدن من دون تأخير (والذي طلب منه ايضاً للخروج بخطابه الى الرأي العام للغرض نفسه)…!

وهكذا رضخ ترامب للأمر وقرّر التراجع مكرهاً، ففشل الانقلاب..!

هذا السيناريو الترامبي والسيناريو المضاد الذي قضى على التمرّد وأحبط الانقلاب في واشنطن العاصمة لن يمرّ بشكل عادي على الحياة السياسية الأميركية، بل انّ تداعياته خطيرة جداً وهي التي ربما ستجعل أميركا توضع على جادة إما الحرب الأهلية وإما التآكل من الداخل والانهيار رويداً رويداً…!

ما حصل ليلة الانقلاب الفاشل لم يكن ابن ليلته، بل هو تراكم فعل وفعل مضاد لفساد النظام السياسي الحاكم في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية …!

أميركا بانت على حقيقتها ديمقراطية فاشلة وهشة وكاذبة!

انها إعجاز نخل خاوية وهشيم تذروه الرياح.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

Biden won? 2016-2020 showed what the US does to even mild reformers

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Friday, 18 December 2020 11:21 AM  [ Last Update: Friday, 18 December 2020 12:07 PM ]

Biden won? 2016-2020 showed what the US does to even mild reformers
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

What the four-year epoch of Donald Trump has made staggeringly clear to non-Americans is that no one – not even a democratically-elected American – will be able to even moderately alter the US capitalist-imperialist foreign policy trajectory without undergoing a no-holds barred attack aimed at bringing that person down.

What the election of Joe Biden (although “installation” is clearly more accurate) shows is that the current American elite is wrongly yet firmly guided by the the self-serving and evangelical ideas which have dominated US foreign policy since the implosion of the USSR in 1991: “the end of history”, unipolar dominance and “humanitarian interventionism”.

Trump’s defeat is still an assumption, but – given that the Supreme Court will likely continue to sidestep the issue of state executive orders for mail-in ballots that bypassed a democratic check and balance by the legislative branch – the staggering burden of proof on those who claim a criminal conspiracy of electoral fraud have a lot of proving to do, and in a very short period of time.

What’s certain is that Trump was undoubtedly the one person who put fear into the all-smothering US establishment in my lifetime, and probably yours. He dared to cast mainstream doubt on the elites’ versions of free trade (neoliberal capitalism) and foreign policy (imperialism), and he progressed the American conversation from Eisenhower’s seemingly technocratic “military-industrial complex” to the far more nefarious yet accurate “Deep State”.

Yes, Trump has weakened America domestically via his policies of deregulation and liberal (not neoliberal) capitalism, but this column talks about the new post-Trump realisations now breaking over the non-American world:

Trump has irrevocably changed foreign perceptions of America – in it’s cultural, social, political and economic totality – because the world witnessed the shocking extremism the US establishment/1%/Deep State/military-industrial-media complex/etc. was willing to use day after day just to take him down.

Trump showed the world who they are really dealing with: forces much stronger than even the US executive

Few Americans wanted to openly admit that what Trump initially suggested to the world was actually a new type of global competition, instead of one predicated on the usual American, “You’re either with us and for goodness and progress, or against us and for the terrorists”. But that was a major change, and it was predicated on Trump’s non-mainstream politician admission that America had fallen so far that people had to actually do some work to “Make America Great Again” – he essentially admitted it was no longer a unipolar world.

Trump openly promised death to Iran, Palestine and Cuba, but in 2016 part of his shock was that he clearly had accepted a multipolar world as he shockingly talked about extending an olive branch to Russia and a purchase order to China.

Trump saw that because of the financial crimes and corruption of the US elite, as well as their failed neoliberal response to the Great Recession, it was undeniable that America (and it’s European allies) had degraded and been equalled, or in some areas surpassed by, China and Russia. Trump admitted this, and thus the businessman wanted to “do business” with America’s two recalcitrant peers while still crushing revolutionary, sovereignty-demanding or just smaller nations with the competitive might the US still had held on to.

Trump – of course – was not just unhindered but applauded by the US Deep State in expanding upon the existing policy of crushing revolutionary countries, but he was clearly forced into antagonising those two American equals when initially he obviously did not want to.

So what does Trump’s ousting now mean for those two major countries? It means normal, peaceful relations with the US are now impossible for at least four years. How can they possibly conclude otherwise?

Why would China, Russia, or the other undoubted enemies of Washington possibly expect any detente with the US from 2021 onwards when the Trump era has unequivocally proven to them that such detente will never be permitted by the US elite at any cost?

It is now crystal clear that the US president does not shape foreign policy – he only implements it. If he doesn’t we see what happens: the US establishment was aghast at his calls to prosecute “crooked Hillary”, but Trump looks like he will be the first ex-president to ever face prosecution.

Who is actually giving the foreign policy orders? Feel free to guess my opinion, but we know it is certainly not public opinion. Trump obviously tried to please public opinion and pull out of Afghanistan, Somalia and elsewhere and we all saw what happened – he was absolutely vilified for it in all the US power circles.

There are countless articles in American mainstream media which prove this analysis right; which confirm that Biden will be even more belligerent to China and Russia; which confirm he will use the same drones and sanctions on all “un-invadable” nations as Trump did. It’s clear from Biden’s statements and cabinet choices that – in policies towards non-Americans – he is going to deploy the worst of Trump’s tools but, crucially, combine them with the worst of phony Clintonian “humanitarian interventionism”.

So why would China or Russia kowtow to Biden when the 2016-2020 era shows that total belligerence is the only possibility Washington permits? Why would China or Russia expect Biden to extend mutually-beneficial cooperation? It’s not going to arrive, and part of Trump’s downfall was that he even tried.

One must look at it from the perspective of non-Americans: 2016-2020 has been incredibly shocking in the way that a political newcomer who seemed to want peace in some places was pulled down by a myriad of rabid and hysterical monkeys. Biden and the US establishment wants the non-American to act as if 2016-2020 never happened, but who could possibly forget what shockingly terrible actions were on display in the US over the past four years to prevent any new policies, especially in foreign relations?

Obama was a successful ‘brand change’, but Biden will not be

In 2016 the US was already so weakened by its Great Recession-inducing financial crimes that Trump came to the fore. In 2020 the US is even more gutted, due to this spectacularly awful year. So why would Russia and China not meet the confrontations which Washington is clearly still intent on posing to them?

Biden has none of Obama’s charisma, youth, acting ability, etc. He behaves like an old grandfather who will do anything to earn the attention and admiration of his grandchildren, not someone who can credibly back up claims of being the competent leader of the self-appointed “leader of the free world”.

That is why China is now showing a shocked Australia who really needs who economically via unprecedented tariffs. It’s why Russia is sending the S-400 defense system to Turkey and is having their ambassador to Israel stick up for Iran no matter who it offends. It’s not a question of America being too “weak” nor realpolitik but common sense – the fall of Trump emphatically proves detente with the US is simply not going to be permitted.

More of these challenges to the US will occur in the next four years because that is all Washington wants. Of course the American people don’t want that: half the American people voted for Trump, after all, and we know that they meant nothing to the American elite for four years; the half-leftist Bernie Sanders supporters were similarly shut out once their vote has been used to push out Trump.

When we consider that 2016-2020 was more an American cultural era of “Trump, the ousting” rather than “Trump, the democratically-elected leader” it’s clear that for non-Americans Trump truly heralded the end of global cultural domination by the US, which started after World War II. Didn’t everybody say that would happen in 2016, after all? They were right, but usually for the wrong reasons. It’s no coincidence that the Iranian term gharbzadegi – or “Westoxification” – goes back to the 1940s.

Yet despite their increased division and overall weakness Washington still expects non-American nations to accept the exact same amount of smothering domination as in 1991, 2001, 2007 and even 2015.

But why?

The US is trending in the right direction economically and culturally? The election of Biden has restored US prestige? The manner in which he won inspires confidence? Biden has a foreign policy agenda which is going to be less belligerent than Trump’s unprecedented call to end America’s endless foreign wars? The US has a Belt and Road Initiative which I don’t know about?

Let’s take this moment to realise that an unprecedented, four-year confusion has come to an end: It’s clear that US reformism lost.

It wasn’t a great reformism, but it was something different and positive in some ways. To stop it the US elite gutted their own nation’s psyche, culture, integrity, friendships, families and communities.

On a visceral level, which is not yet registered intellectually, the world saw that proposing changes away from US unipolar domination inspired shocking, debasing cultural war every day for the last four years – is that a system to have faith in, or a system to give in to?

The weakest nations of the world will be pushed into line with post-Trump US leadership, but the strong nations wouldn’t be strong if they had faith in the restoration of the Washington establishment, which Biden represents. Biden is certain to keep challenging strong nations, no matter how unjust or foolish that is.

However, it’s obviously incredibly unfortunate that the moderate reforms suggested by Trump – especially the peaceful ones in foreign policy – could not even be attempted. Maybe some other American will try, but they should now be prepared to undergo the Trump treatment.

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

Dispatches from the United States after the presidential election

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (1/2) – November 5, 2020

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (2/2) – November 6, 2020

4 years of anti-Trumpism shaping MSM vote coverage, but expect long fight – November 7, 2020

US partitioned by 2 presidents: worst-case election scenario realized – November 9, 2020

A 2nd term is his if he really wants it, but how deep is Trump’s ‘Trumpism’? – November 10, 2020

CNN’s Jake Tapper: The overseer keeping all journalists in line (1/2) – November 13, 2020

‘Bidenism’ domestically: no free press, no lawyer, one-party state? (2/2) – November 15, 2020

Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem – November 17, 2020

The 4-year (neoliberal) radicalisation of US media & Bidenites’ ‘unradical radicalism’ – November 22, 2020

80% of US partisan losers think the last 2 elections were stolen – December 3, 2020

Trump declares civil war for voter integrity in breaking (or broken) USA – December 5, 2020

Mess with Texas via mail-in ballot? States secede from presidential vote – December 8, 2020

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

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.

From 9/11 to the Great Reset

From 9/11 to the Great Reset

September 11, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission from the author and first posted at Asia Times

9/11 was the foundation stone of the new millennium – ever as much indecipherable as the Mysteries of Eleusis. A year ago, on Asia Times, once again I raised a number of questions that still find no answer.

A lightning speed breakdown of the slings and arrows of outrageous (mis)fortune trespassing these two decades will certainly include the following. The end of history. The short unipolar moment. The Pentagon’s Long War. Homeland Security. The Patriot Act. Shock and Awe. The tragedy/debacle in Iraq. The 2008 financial crisis. The Arab Spring. Color revolutions. “Leading from behind”. Humanitarian imperialism. Syria as the ultimate proxy war. The ISIS/Daesh farce. The JCPOA. Maidan. The Age of Psyops. The Age of the Algorithm. The Age of the 0.0001%.

Once again, we’re deep in Yeats territory: “the best lack all conviction/ while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

All along, the “War on Terror” – the actual decantation of the Long War – proceeded unabated, killing Muslim multitudes and displacing at least 37 million people.

WWII-derived geopolitics is over. Cold War 2.0 is in effect. It started as US against Russia, morphed into US against China and now, fully spelled out in the US National Security Strategy, and with bipartisan support, it’s the US against both. The ultimate Mackinder-Brzezinski nightmare is at hand: the much dread “peer competitor” in Eurasia slouched towards the Beltway to be born in the form of the Russia-China strategic partnership.

Something’s gotta give. And then, out of the blue, it did.

A drive by design towards ironclad concentration of power and geoconomic diktats was first conceptualized – under the deceptive cover of “sustainable development” – already in 2015 at the UN (here it is, in detail).

Now, this new operating system – or technocratic digital dystopia – is finally being codified, packaged and “sold” since mid summer via a lavish, concerted propaganda campaign.

Watch your mindspace

The whole Planet Lockdown hysteria that elevated Covid-19 to post-modern Black Plague proportions has been consistently debunked, for instance here and here, drawing from the highly respected, original Cambridge source.

The de facto controlled demolition of large swathes of the global economy allowed corporate and vulture capitalism, world wide, to rake untold profits out of the destruction of collapsed businesses.

And all that proceeded with widespread public acceptance – an astonishing process of voluntary servitude.

None of it is accidental. As an example, over then years ago, even before setting up a – privatized – Behavioral Insights Team, the British government was very much interested in “influencing” behavior, in collaboration with the London School of Economics and Imperial College.

The end result was the MINDSPACE report. That was all about behavioral science influencing policymaking and most of all, imposing neo-Orwellian population control.

MINDSPACE, crucially, featured close collaboration between Imperial College and the Santa Monica-based RAND corporation. Translation:

the authors of the absurdly flawed computer models that fed the Planet Lockdown paranoia working in conjunction with the top Pentagon-linked think tank.

In MINDSPACE, we find that, “behavioral approaches embody a line of thinking that moves from the idea of an autonomous individual, making rational decisions, to a ‘situated’ decision-maker, much of whose behavior is automatic and influenced by their ‘choice environment’”.

So the key question is who decides what is the “choice environment’. As it stands, our whole environment is conditioned by Covid-19. Let’s call it “the disease”. And that is more than enough to beautifully set up “the cure”: The Great Reset.

The beating heart

The Great Reset was officially launched in early June by the World Economic Forum (WEF) – the natural habitat of Davos Man. Its conceptual base is something the WEF describes as Strategic Intelligence Platform: “a dynamic system of contextual intelligence that enables users to trace relationships and interdependencies between issues, supporting more informed decision-making”.

It’s this platform that promotes the complex crossover and interpenetration of Covid-19 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution – conceptualized back in December 2015 and the WEF’s choice futuristic scenario. One cannot exist without the other. That is meant to imprint in the collective unconscious – at least in the West – that only the WEF-sanctioned “stakeholder” approach is capable of solving the Covid-19 challenge.

The Great Reset is immensely ambitiousspanning over 50 fields of knowledge and practice. It interconnects everything from economy recovery recommendations to “sustainable business models”, from restoration of the environment to the redesign of social contracts.

The beating heart of this matrix is – what else – the Strategic Intelligence Platform, encompassing, literally, everything: “sustainable development”, “global governance”, capital markets, climate change, biodiversity, human rights, gender parity, LGBTI, systemic racism, international trade and investment, the – wobbly – future of the travel and tourism industries, food, air pollution, digital identity, blockchain, 5G, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI).

In the end, only an all-in-one Plan A applies for making these systems interact seamlessly: the Great Reset – shorthand for a New World Order that has always been glowingly evoked, but never implemented. There is no Plan B.

The Covid-19 “legacy”

The two main actors behind the Great Reset are Klaus Schwab, the WEF’s founder and executive chairman, and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. Georgieva is adamant that “the digital economy is the big winner of this crisis”. She believes the Great Reset must imperatively start in 2021.

The House of Windsor and the UN are prime executive co-producers. Top sponsors include BP, Mastercard and Microsoft. It goes without saying that everyone who knows how complex geopolitical and geoeconomic decisions are taken is aware that these two main actors are just reciting a script. Call the authors “the globalist elite”. Or, in praise of Tom Wolfe, the Masters of the Universe.

Schwab, predictably, wrote the Great Reset’s mini-manifesto. Over a month later, he expanded on the absolutely key connection: the “legacy” of Covid-19.

All this has been fully fleshed in a book, co-written with Thierry Malleret, who directs the WEF’s Global Risk Network. Covid-19 is described as having “created a great disruptive reset of our global, social, economic and political systems”. Schwab spins Covid-19 not only as a fabulous “opportunity”, but actually as the creator (italics mine) of the – now inevitable – Reset.

All that happens to dovetail beautifully with Schwab’s own baby: Covid-19 “accelerated our transition into the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. The revolution has been extensively discussed at Davos since 2016.

The book’s central thesis is that our most pressing challenges concern the environment – considered only in terms of climate change – and technological developments, which will allow the expansion of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In a nutshell, the WEF is stating that corporate globalization, the hegemonic modus operandi since the 1990s, is dead. Now it’s time for “sustainable development” – with “sustainable” defined by a select group of “stakeholders”, ideally integrated into a “community of common interest, purpose and action.”

Sharp Global South observers will not fail to compare the WEF’s rhetoric of “community of common interest” with the Chinese “community of shared interests” as applied to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is a de facto continental trade/development project.

The Great Reset presupposes that all stakeholders – as in the whole planet – must toe the line. Otherwise, as Schwab stresses, we will have “more polarization, nationalism, racism, increased social unrest and conflicts”.

So this is – once again – a “you’re with us or against us” ultimatum, eerily reminiscent of our old 9/11 world. Either the Great Reset is peacefully established, with whole nations dutifully obeying the new guidelines designed by a bunch of self-appointed neo-Platonic Republic sages, or it’s chaos.

Whether Covid-19’s ultimate “window of opportunity” presented itself as a mere coincidence or by design, will always remain a very juicy question.

Digital Neo-Feudalism

The actual, face-to-face Davos meeting next year has been postponed to the summer of 2021. But virtual Davos will proceed in January, focused on the Great Reset.

Already three months ago, Schwab’s book hinted that the more everyone is mired in the global paralysis, the more it’s clear that things will never be allowed (italics mine) to return to what we considered normal.

Five years ago, the UN’s Agenda 2030 – the Godfather of the Great Reset – was already insisting on vaccines for all, under the patronage of the WHO and CEPI – co-founded in 2016 by India, Norway and the Bill and Belinda Gates foundation.

Timing could not be more convenient for the notorious Event 201 “pandemic exercise” in October last year in New York, with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security partnering with – who else – the WEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. No in-depth criticism of Gates’s motives is allowed by media gatekeepers because, after all, he finances them.

What has been imposed as an ironclad consensus is that without a Covid-19 vaccine there’s no possibility of anything resembling normality.

And yet a recent, astonishing paper published in Virology Journal – which also publishes Dr. Fauci’s musings – unmistakably demonstrates that “chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread”. This is a “relatively safe, effective and cheap drug” whose “significant inhibitory antiviral effect when the susceptible cells were treated either prior to or after infection suggests a possible prophylactic and therapeutic use.”

Even Schwab’s book admits that Covid-19 is “one of the least deadly pandemics in the last 2000 years” and its consequences “will be mild compared to previous pandemics”.

It doesn’t matter. What matters above all is the “window of opportunity” offered by Covid-19, boosting, among other issues, the expansion of what I previously described as Digital Neo-Feudalism – or Algorithm gobbling up Politics. No wonder politico-economic institutions from the WTO to the EU as well as the Trilateral Commission are already investing in “rejuvenation” processes, code for even more concentration of power.

Survey the imponderables

Very few thinkers, such as German philosopher Hartmut Rosa, see our current plight as a rare opportunity to “decelerate” life under turbo-capitalism.

As it stands, the point is not that we’re facing an “attack of the civilization-state” . The point is assertive civilization-states – such as China, Russia, Iran – not submitted to the Hegemon, are bent on charting a quite different course.

The Great Reset, for all its universalist ambitions, remains an insular, Western-centric model benefitting the proverbial 1%. Ancient Greece did not see itself as “Western”. The Great Reset is essentially an Enlightenment-derived project.

Surveying the road ahead, it will certainly be crammed with imponderables. From the Fed wiring digital money directly into smartphone financial apps in the US to China advancing an Eurasia-wide trade/economic system side-by side with the implementation of the digital yuan.

The Global South will be paying a lot of attention to the sharp contrast between the proposed wholesale deconstruction of the industrial economic order and the BRI project – which focuses on a new financing system outside of Western monopoly and emphasizes agro-industrial growth and long-term sustainable development.

The Great Reset would point to losers, in terms of nations, aggregating all the ones that benefit from production and processing of energy and agriculture, from Russia, China and Canada to Brazil, Indonesia and large swathes of Africa.

As it stands, there’s only one thing we do know: the establishment at the core of the Hegemon and the drooling orcs of Empire will only adopt a Great Reset if that helps to postpone a decline accelerated on a fateful morning 19 years ago.

‘The God That Failed’: Why the U.S. Cannot Now Re-Impose Its Civilisational Worldview

Source

Alastair Crooke

June 29, 2020

The God That Failed': Why The U.S. Cannot Now Re-Impose Its ...

It was always a paradox: John Stuart Mill, in his seminal (1859), On Liberty, never doubted that a universal civilisation, grounded in liberal values, was the eventual destination of all of humankind. He looked forward to an ‘Exact Science of Human Nature’, which would formulate laws of psychology and society as precise and universal as those of the physical sciences. Yet, not only did that science never emerge, in today’s world, such social ‘laws’ are taken as strictly (western) cultural constructs, rather than as laws or science.

So, not only was the claim to universal civilisation not supported by evidence, but the very idea of humans sharing a common destination (‘End of Times’) is nothing more than an apocalyptic remnant of Latin Christianity, and of one minor current in Judaism. Mill’s was always a matter of secularized religion – faith – rather than empiricism. A shared human ‘destination’ does not exist in Orthodox Christianity, Taoism or Buddhism. It could never therefore qualify as universal.

Liberal core tenets of individual autonomy, freedom, industry, free trade and commerce essentially reflected the triumph of the Protestant worldview in Europe’s 30-years’ civil war. It was not fully even a Christian view, but more a Protestant one.

This narrow, sectarian pillar was able to be projected into a universal project – only so long as it was underpinned by power. In Mill’s day, the civilisational claim served Europe’s need for colonial validation. Mill tacitly acknowledges this when he validates the clearing of the indigenous American populations for not having tamed the wilderness, nor made the land productive.

However, with America’s Cold War triumph – that had by then become a cynical framework for U.S. ‘soft power’ – acquired a new potency. The merits of America’s culture, and way of life, seemed to acquire practical validation through the implosion of the USSR.

But today, with America’s soft power collapsed – not even the illusion of universalism can be sustained. Other states are coming forward, offering themselves as separate, equally compelling ‘civilisational’ states. It is clear that even were the classic liberal Establishment to win in the November U.S. elections, America no longer has claim to path-find a New World Order.

Yet, should this secularised Protestant current be over – beware! Because its subterranean, unconscious religiosity is the ‘ghost at the table’ today. It is returning in a new guise.

The ‘old illusion’ cannot continue, because its core values are being radicalised, stood on their head, and turned into the swords with which to impale classic American and European liberals (and U.S. Christian Conservatives). It is now the younger generation of American woke liberals who are asserting vociferously not merely that the old liberal paradigm is illusory, but that it was never more than ‘a cover’ hiding oppression – whether domestic, or colonial, racist or imperial; a moral stain that only redemption can cleanse.

It is an attack – which coming from within – forecloses on any U.S. moral, soft power, global leadership aspirations. For with the illusion exploded, and nothing in its place, a New World Order cannot coherently be formulated.

Not content with exposing the illusion, the woke generation are also tearing down, and shredding, the flags at the masthead: Freedom and prosperity achieved via the liberal market.

‘Freedom’ is being torn down from within. Dissidents from the woke ideology, are being ‘called out’, made to repent on the knee, or face reputational or economic ruin. It is ‘soft totalitarianism’. It recalls one of Dostoevsky’s characters – at a time when Russian progressives were discrediting traditional institutions – who, in a celebrated line, says: “I got entangled in my data … Starting from unlimited freedom, I conclude with unlimited despotism”.

Even ‘science’ has become a ‘God that failed’; instead of being the path to liberty, it has become a dark soulless path toward unfreedom. From algorithms that ‘cost’ the value of human lives, versus the ‘costing’ of lockdown; from secret ‘Black Box’ algos that limit distribution of news and thinking, to Bill Gates’ vaccination ID project, science now portends despotic social control, rather than a fluttering standard, hoist as the symbol of freedom.

But the most prominent of these flags, torn down, cannot be blamed on the woke generation. There has been no ‘prosperity for all’ – only distortions and warped structures. There are not even free markets. The Fed and the U.S. Treasury simply print new money, and hand it out to select recipients. There is no means now to attribute ‘worth’ to financial assets. Their value simply is that which Central Government is willing to pay for bonds, or grant in bail-outs.

Wow. ‘The God who failed’ (André Gide’s book title) – a crash of idols. One wonders now, what is the point to that huge financial eco-system known as Wall Street. Why not winnow it down to a couple of entities, say, Blackrock and KKR (hedge funds), and leave it to them to distribute the Fed’s freshly-printed ‘boodle’ amongst friends? Liberal markets no more – and many fewer jobs.

Many commentators have noted the wokes’ absence of vision for the future. Some describe them in highly caustic terms:

“Today, America’s tumbrils are clattering about, carrying toppled statues, ruined careers, unwoke brands. Over their sides peer those deemed racist by left-wing identitarians and sentenced to cancelation, even as the evidentiary standard for that crime falls through the floor … But who are these cultural revolutionaries? The conventional wisdom goes that this is the inner-cities erupting, economically disadvantaged victims of racism enraged over the murder of George Floyd. The reality is something more … bourgeoisie. As Kevin Williamson observed last week, “These are the idiot children of the American ruling class, toy radicals and Champagne Bolsheviks, playing Jacobin for a while, until they go back to graduate school”.

Is that so? I well recall listening in the Middle East to other angry young men who, too, wanted to ‘topple the statues’; to burn down everything. ‘You really believed that Washington would allow you … in’, they taunted and tortured their leaders: “No, we must burn it all down. Start from scratch”.

Did they have a blueprint for the future? No. They simply believed that Islam would organically inflate, and expand to fill the void. It would happen by itself – of its own accord: Faith.

Professor John Gray has noted “that in The God that failed, Gide says: ‘My faith in communism is like my faith in religion. It is a promise of salvation for mankind’’. “Here Gide acknowledged”, Gray continues, “that communism was an atheist version of monotheism. But so is liberalism, and when Gide and others gave up faith in communism to become liberals, they were not renouncing the concepts and values that both ideologies had inherited from western religion. They continued to believe that history was a directional process in which humankind was advancing towards universal freedom”.

So too with the wokes. The emphasis is on Redemption; on a Truth catharsis; on their own Virtue as sufficient agency to stand-in for the lack of plan for the future. All are clear signals: A secularised ‘illusion’ is metamorphosing back into ‘religion’. Not as Islam, of course, but as angry Man, burning at the deep and dark moral stain of the past. And acting now as purifying ‘fire’ to bring about the uplifting and shining future ahead.

Tucker Carlson, a leading American conservative commentator known for plain speaking, frames the movement a little differently: “This is not a momentary civil disturbance. This is a serious, and highly organized political movement … It is deep and profound and has vast political ambitions. It is insidious, it will grow. Its goal is to end liberal democracy and challenge western civilization itself … We’re too literal and good-hearted to understand what’s happening … We have no idea what we are up against … These are not protests. This is a totalitarian political movement”.

Again, nothing needs to be done by this new generation to bring into being a new world, apart from destroying the old one. This vision is a relic – albeit secularised – of western Christianity. Apocalypse and redemption, these wokes believe, have their own path; their own internal logic.

Mill’s ‘ghost’ is arrived at the table. And with its return, America’s exceptionalism has its re-birth. Redemption for humankind’s dark stains. A narrative in which the history of mankind is reduced to the history of racial struggle. Yet Americans, young or old, now lack the power to project it as a universal vision.

‘Virtue’, however deeply felt, on its own, is insufficient. Might President Trump try nevertheless to sustain the old illusion by hard power? The U.S. is deeply fractured and dysfunctional – but if desperate, this is possible.

The “toy radicals, and Champagne Bolsheviks” – in these terms of dripping disdain from Williamson – are very similar to those who rushed into the streets in 1917. But before dismissing them so peremptorily and lightly, recall what occurred.

Into that combustible mass of youth – so acultured by their progressive parents to see a Russian past that was imperfect and darkly stained – a Trotsky and Lenin were inserted. And Stalin ensued. No ‘toy radicals’. Soft became hard totalitarianism.

Paradigm Shifts

source

by Francis Lee for The Saker Blog

Paradigm Shifts

INTRODUCTION:

I first wrote this article in 2012 and have had to make a number of minor alterations. Of course a great deal has happened since that time, most of it bad. We now seem to stand on the threshold of an even bigger and deeper crisis than in 2008, plus additional worrying features, viz. the pandemic and possible future pandemics as well as increasing and widespread economic and geopolitical instability. The crisis portents were always there but both the PTB and the populations at large did not seem unduly concerned about these developments which were taking place and maturing through the post-2008 period.

Paradigm Shifts

Some years ago I reviewed a book – State Building – by one Francis Fukuyama. This was one of Mr Fukuyama’s lesser known works, he is more famous for being the theorist of the ‘end of history’ – a view promulgated during the halcyon days of the neo-liberal counter-revolution circa the 1980s. After the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, and with social-democracy effectively throwing in the towel in Western Europe, Mr F postulated that liberal, deregulated, market capitalism was now the historical norm, and if countries had not arrived at this terminal point in their history, then in the fullness of time they surely would. In short this is when one paradigm or epoch ends and another one begins. Certainly, the world underwent a both quantitative and qualitative paradigm shift in 1980s an historical shift which has lasted for at least 4 decades.

This current view was to become the received wisdom in official circles, and I would argue that in a contingent sense still is, at least among the political, financial and media elites. But it could be plausibly argued that this current paradigm is in secular decline and a new paradigm seems to be emerging. That is why we study history. Epochs come and go. Whether this will be for good or ill is an open question. Paradoxically, the established paradigm – let’s call it the Thatcher/Reagan settlement – represented almost a theoretical mirror image of the cruder types of Marxist historical materialism. Of course, both were extremely contestable since the human agency was excised from the historical process; a process apparently beyond human volition and control; almost a force of nature. It followed from this, therefore, that politics was no longer about choice, according to the post-modernist fraternity, the grand political narratives were at an end; henceforth politics was to be simply about administration: the relevant question being who could run the system more efficiently. How simplistic and facile these notions now seem.

To be fair Fukuyama has now admitted that he was wrong, and the more humanistic interpretation of Marxism – as espoused by inter alia Georgy Lukacs and Antonio Gramsci – does allow for human intervention in the historical process, in fact it insists upon this. Marx also, at least in his early years, put forward the famous dialectic. ‘Men make history, but they do not do it as they please.’ This is to say that they were creatures of their time and made political choices, but these choices were historically conditioned and constrained.

However, it seems commonplace among the journalistic types and other jobbing mediocrities to think that history is something in the past and that the present is the point of arrival; a tendency to take the empirically given as somehow natural and inevitable; its permanence taken for granted. And of course those who have most to gain from the present dispensation will fight tooth and nail against any attempt to change this state of affairs. Reforms are possible – even though these will be generally opposed by these same entrenched interests – but the fundamental structures and institutions of the system will be left broadly unchanged. This is true at all times and in all places, including our own.

We can say, therefore, that the world crisis of 2008 and its various explanations were thus all based upon the notion that the neo-liberal capitalist order is inevitable and permanent. Even erstwhile radicals like Will Hutton of the Guardian and Paul Krugman of the New York Times believed this to be the case. These are essentially mainstream Keynesians, who argue for a more regulated capitalism which they regard as viable, whilst their opponents the free-market Hayekians – Peter Schiff and US libertarian Ron Paul – believe in less or even no regulation. But of course both schools are committed to the capitalist system so the argument has been something of an in-house debate between the two establishment viewpoints.

That the system is in a protracted and long-term crisis is self-evident. But the contending viewpoints above are posited in a rather narrow and orthodox spectrum of economic theories which I think fail to address the depth of the predicament.

The Hayekian/Von Mises Austrian school

For a long time after the Second World War these particular theorists were exiled to a virtual leper colony of macro-economic theory. This was a period of the Roosevelt/Attlee settlement, the spread of communism over Eastern Europe, China and Indo-China. The catastrophe of depression/fascism/war, all emanating from uncontrolled markets and market crashes, followed by trade wars of the 1930s and then the shooting wars, was rejected absolutely by the electorates of the western world as well as by their leaders. But Von Mises, Hayek, et al. bided their time until their moment came. This moment came in the 1970s when the post-war boom petered out. They found a populariser of their beliefs – albeit in crude form – in Milton Friedman of the Chicago School and what was called monetarism. These ideas then migrated from academe via the broadsheet press and finally to the right-wing political parties at the time headed by Thatcher and Reagan.

The Austrian school believe that attempts to control capitalism through state intervention will fail and will in fact be positively counter-productive. This is because such interventions distort the price mechanism leading to misallocation of resources, inflation, and asset price bubbles. A good example of this would be the credit/property boom (2008) which was enabled by the accommodative actions of the Central Banks and Treasuries around the world, but particularly by the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve Board. Interest rates were kept low and both heads of the two respective central banks as well as Treasury officials, in the UK’s Labour government, Gordon Brown and Edward ‘light touch regulation’ Balls in the UK, and the Fed boss Alan Greenspan in the US. Thus the natural cyclical tendencies immanent in the capitalist system were given an additional push by government monetary policy. Why? The answer is disarmingly simple: booms and bubbles (at least during the up-phase) are popular with the masses and are therefore good politics. Who can ever forget ‘the-end-of-boom-and-bust’ triumphalism of the period? However, the Austrians continued to argue that booms and busts are intrinsic to the system. One cannot exist without the other. During the boom phase of the cycle investors and consumers tend to become overconfident and make foolish investment and purchasing decisions. Prices start to rise due to the continual demand for factor inputs, growth becomes more and more febrile, banks make foolish loans and acquisitions (Northern Rock and the Royal Bank of Scotland come to mind), and then, when rises in income can no longer support rises in asset prices, the whole thing collapses. This is what happened in 2008; the bust part of the cycle then begins. All the bad investments and overspending now come to light. Companies go bust, unemployment mounts, debts are written down simply because debtors cannot pay, and all the misallocations of resources can clearly be seen with half-finished empty houses standing as the self-evident physical symbols of the manic bubble period which preceded them. Here Andrew Gamble explains:

‘’For the Austrians, the business cycle had a necessary and important function within capitalism. The crisis phase of the cycle was crucial if capitalism were to renew itself and purge itself of the false values and the misallocation of productive resources which had grown up during the boom phase. The crisis was a moment of truth, when suddenly the plans, the claims and the expectations which had been formed during the upswing were put to the test. Many of them would be found wanting, and those responsible for them would have to face the consequences. The process was not just to keep capitalism efficient; it was also necessary to keep capitalism moral. Only if agents bore full responsibility for their actions would the values of prudence, reliability and sound judgement and trust, on which capitalism relied, be upheld. The crisis purged capitalism in a double sense: both practically and morally. To many of its defenders the two were equally important. It was what gave capitalism its moral legitimacy and its practical dynamism.’’ (1)

It was argued that full recovery would not be achieved by bail-outs, Keynesian deficit spending, or by rescuing companies which were simply inefficient or did not supply consumers or investors with their preferences as demonstrated by the market price mechanism. Such policies would simply create ‘moral hazard’ a tendency for investors and consumers to carry on as usual with their losses being underwritten by the state; in this situation there was no intention or incentive for improving their business efficiency. These bailed-out entities were the economy’s living dead, kept alive on state support – zombie banks as in Europe and Japan and zombie auto companies like Fiat, Kia, and GM, or insurance companies like AIG, all of which should have been allowed to fail. With their failure more competitive efficient companies would arise in their place.

Recovery could only get underway when, as during classical depressions, prices fell, which meant that if wages and interest rates fell more slowly – if at all – then disposable income would start to increase. This being the case consumers would start to spend again and businesses start to invest. Similarly bankrupted and distressed firms would be bought out at fire–damage prices by the more efficient and larger firms with more up to date equipment. Growth now resumes given the destruction of existing capital values. The process of accumulation can restart.

What is striking about this (Austrian) theory is its similarity to Marx’s view of trade cycles, and also to those views espoused by Schumpeter. But much of both theories were formulated in an earlier phase of capitalism. But for all that the Austrian theory’s analysis of the bust is quite plausible and sophisticated.

‘’The anti-deflation policies which have been adopted (i.e., Keynesian demand management) is largely a policy of price-fixing, a policy of preventing the market from exposing capital misallocations and then liquidating them. The root causes of the crisis remain in place and the underlying problems unaddressed … The economy cannot realistically be expected to rectify itself if the market is not allowed to liquidate capital misallocations. The state has erected a protective fence around the most dislocated sectors of the economy (house prices for example) trying to keep market forces outside. As long as it lasts no true recovery is possible.’’ (2)

Summing up the Austrian view, capitalism is intrinsically cyclical. The Growth periods tend to run out of control resulting in bad investments and resource misallocation. This process is fed by easy credit and excess liquidity. Asset price inflation rises to a level which can no longer be sustained by rises in income or further borrowing. The boom turns into a bubble and the bubble bursts. Then the whole process swings into reverse – the bust has arrived. However, the bust rectifies the situation by liquidating all the mal-investments and making way for a reconfiguration of the system on a more sustainable and efficient basis. Capitalism restructures itself through these types of crises.

Prescriptions

Although the Austrian (and indeed Marxist) analysis of the bust is, I would argue broadly speaking correct, but the future policy prescriptions of the Hayekians seem frankly alarming. The scope and interdependence of the system is such that the notion of simply letting the bust take its course would lead to quite massive economic, political, and social dislocations on a global scale – as would have been the case had world governments simply let the coronavirus pandemic rampage through societies and run its course in 2020 – such a policy would dwarf the depression of the 1930s and 2008. In a strictly logical sense the reasonings of the Austrian school are correct, but their policy prescriptions are simply too terrible to contemplate.

‘’The Libertarians are actively promoting policies sure to bring about immediate economic hell, in the faith that punishment and suffering are the prerequisites to an economic afterlife in a better world. While in the end their philosophy of economic karma may ultimately prove correct, before accepting the remedy through collapse, other approaches should be put to the test. Economic reincarnation could take a lot longer than the Libertarians anticipate. The Renaissance did follow the fall of Rome – but only after 10 centuries.’’ (3)

So what about the alternatives?

John Maynard Keynes and his followers

Well I think we need to clear up one or two things about Lord Keynes before we start. Keynes was emphatically not a socialist, if anything he was actively hostile to socialism. He opined that: ‘’The class struggle will find me on the side of the educated bourgeoisie.’’ (4) We might legitimately enquire who, apart from Keynes himself, might be the ‘educated bourgeoisie’ exactly! Further, The Labour party is a class party, and that class is not my class. Again, How can I adopt a creed – Socialism – which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeois and intelligentsia who, with whatever faults, are the quality in life and surely carry the seeds of all human advancement. It seems necessary to state this because of the widespread belief on the left that Lord Keynes was indeed some sort of (closet)-socialist. This could not be further from the truth: Keynes main aim in life was to save capitalism from itself.

His magnum opus, ‘’The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money’’ first published in 1936, represented the culmination of his earlier writings in which he elaborated what he believed to be the problem situation which had arisen in the world economy during the 1930s, and what he believed to be the solutions. But Keynesianism is not really a theory of the trade cycle, nor is it a general theory (more of which later) it is more a theory of boom/bust and possible ways out of economic depressions. The bust period in a capitalist economy generally follows a period of excess credit and hence debt-fuelled growth. This was the case during the roaring 20s with runaway credit (debt) fuelling growth until – pop went the weasel! Credit duly contracted as the defaults multiplied, and so the Roaring 20s transmuted into the depressed 30s.

‘’In 1930 the US money supply comprised currency held by the public (9%) and deposits held at commercial banks (91%). Banks used these deposits to fund their loans. When the credit that fuelled the Roaring 20s could not be repaid, the banks began to fail. When a borrower defaults it not only destroys credit, it also destroys the deposits which funded the credit. Between 1930 and 1933, 9,000 US banks failed. The corresponding destruction of deposits caused the country’s money supply to contract by a third from $46 billion in 1928 to $31 billion in 1933. As the money supply shrank the happy economic dynamic that expanding credit had made possible, went into reverse, and the global economy spiralled into catastrophe.’’ (5)

Post-crash, the problem was not excess demand but insufficient demand. This became known as debt-deflation. This is where Keynes and his co-thinkers entered the scene. With consumers and investors not spending, aggregate demand in deflationary conditions is flat, or even falling. Therefore the solution could only be increased spending by the government. This to be carried out by a mixture of monetary policy (lowering interest rates and Open Market Operations, and now Quantitative Easing – QE) and/or fiscal policy (taxation and public spending). This is of course something of an oversimplification of Keynes’ theories which were somewhat more radical than most of his enthusiasts found to their taste, but it broadly captures the gist of what he said. The increase in aggregate demand would feed through to the rest of the economy and so induce an increase in output which would be eventually self-sustaining. Governments would find it necessary therefore to run budget deficits during this period. Q.E.D.

This approach was taken up by the Roosevelt administration when it came to office in 1933. At that time unemployment in the US stood at the alarming figure of 25%. A raft of policy measures including the Works Programme Administration (WPA), National Recovery Act (NRA), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Civilian Conservation Corps, were implemented. Unemployment fell to 14% by 1936, but then rose again during a new recession in 1937/38 to 20%. So the track record of Keynes policies seems patchy to say the least.

The Long Boom and its collapse 1980-2008

In our own time we have seen almost a repeat of the 1930s debacle. The long boom of 1980-2007 was floated on a sea of debt. But even this period was punctuated by blow-outs, first in the Savings and Loans episode of the 80s and 90s, then the Long-Term Capital Management collapse in the 90s, and finally the dot.com bubble in 2001. The 2008 crisis was, however, seemingly worse than these events and more global than that of the 1930s. In 2008 the whole credit/property induced boom came to a shuddering halt when the sub-prime borrowers in the US defaulted. House prices, which, had been rising by double digit percentages since the early 90s collapsed in 2006 and have been falling, apart from one or two transient minor upturns, ever since.

The same was to also happen in Iceland, Ireland the UK and Spain who had also built their policies around house-price inflation. Mortgage backed derivatives – i.e., those financial products which were based upon these repackaged dubious mortgages were parcelled up and sold as new financial products to brain-dead investors around the world after being given the triple AAA seal of approval by the ratings agencies. These derivatives were only producing a stream of income so long has the mortgagees continued to pay their instalments – when they defaulted the derivatives became worthless, the banks, who among others such as pension funds who had been purchasing these debt instruments, then found that their newly acquired ‘assets’ had turned into liabilities overnight. Many banks were effectively insolvent, and the great bank panic of 2008 spread around the world.

Governments found it necessary to bail-out these institutions in order to avoid a global meltdown. So the banks happily transferred their junk ‘assets’ onto the sovereign nations’ balance sheets courtesy of the Central Banks. Needless to say this was only the opening of the great recession of 2008/09 which in spite of its putative ‘recovery’ still drags on. The crisis was to cross the pond from the US – whose fundamental problems still seem unresolved – to Europe where the problem became more acute.

Stabilisation and low growth 2009-onwards

Since the nadir of 2008/09 there has been a stabilisation rather than what we might meaningfully call a recovery in the global economy. Growth is flat or falling in Europe, although there are very marked regional disparities, and very weak (and as I write, beginning to actually stall) in the USA, again with regional disparities. Interestingly, perhaps with all the clamour regarding austerity in the eurozone, no mention was made in the 40 or so US states – some effectively insolvent – which oversaw swingeing austerity programmes, California and Wisconsin come to mind, as does Detroit, famous for Tamla Motown and auto-vehicle production. A one time industrial city of 2 million people became a ghost town of 700,000.

Concomitant with this there were high levels of unemployment on both sides of the pond. Official figures for US unemployment, as found in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) are completely fraudulent and always have been since whole swathes of de facto unemployed have been disappeared off the register simply by definition. (The same disappearing trick was used with the core inflation figures.) The BLS gives three levels of unemployment according to how the word is defined. In fact there are six definitions ranging from U1-U6. The BLS uses U3 but the figure for U6 is double. And if the same definition were applied as used to be the case then unemployment would be almost 4 times the official account. The same jiggery-pokery is used when defining inflation. Each redefinition gives a lower figure.

Regarding this universal practise, it was the late Conservative Member of Parliament and at one time member of Mrs. Thatcher’s Cabinet, Lord Gilmour, who once said of his government’s unemployment reduction programme: ‘’Now we have reduced the unemployment figures, perhaps we can make a start on reducing unemployment.’’ I am afraid the pollution of statistics is the same for inflation, GDP growth and various other economic statistics. These statistics are not some measurements of objective facts, but simply political constructions. (6)

In passing we should become aware of a new economic development which came into being after 2008 and persists to this day. This was the genesis of the so-called ‘gig’ sometimes called ‘sharing’ economy. It should be made clear that this sector of the economy is generally very much ’off the books.’ The modern workforce has become increasingly stratified. There are well-paid jobs for a small portion with the requisite skills, but the vast majority of new employment is in the low-paid service sector, such as retail, leisure, hospitality, age-care and health-care. The sharing-economy is generally part of the informal sector but requires abundant cheap contract labourers to be available at the touch of a smartphone screen. Fulltime employees with normal benefits would make the model unworkable. This ‘gig’ or sharing economy exploits low-wage workers in a weak economic environment. This new ‘eke-onomy’ consists of individuals renting out their houses, cars, or labour make only a fraction of what they would receive in traditional full-time jobs, without any employment benefits. This is what Marx/Engels termed the industrial reserve army consisting of the unemployed and under-employed. Moreover, in the UK at least most of the workforce engaged in this low-paid, insecure drudgery are for the most part, immigrant labour, often illegal, from Romania, Spain, Portugal, Poland, the English-speaking part of Africa and even as far as China. Welcome to the ‘smart’ economy.

Keynesian policies … and debt levels

The general Keynesian response to the downturn has been a hue and cry for stimulus at all costs. Keynesian counter-cyclical policies traditionally consisted of 1. Monetary policy. This comes under the remit of the Central Bank and consists of control of interest rates and money supply. 2. Fiscal policy, which is the remit of the Treasury consisting of taxation and public expenditure. Sotto Voce It should be noted at this point that the Central Banks became the source of economic policy. This was a new departure since it meant that fiscal policy was relegated to a secondary role in economic planning. Monetary – i.e., central bank – policy now ruled the roost. The rigidly orthodox European Central Bank (ECB) – more catholic than the Pope – adopted hard-nosed monetary policies in the eurozone with alacrity, whilst the Anglo-American approach involving monetary and second-tier fiscal policies were partially adopted in the UK and more rigorously in the US.* The ECB put the weaker economies in the eurozone – Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Latvia – through the wringer of a grinding depression. No stimulus policies were undertaken, since it is argued this would pile more debt onto unprecedented levels already extant. Results have to say the least, not been exactly encouraging, particularly in the southern European periphery. This situation has received press coverage ad infinitum much of it justified, but much incredibly biased and ignorant, but hey, this is the white noise of democracy in action.

Given that the eurozone crisis has received saturation coverage we will move on to the UK. Here we have a bizarre mismatch of policies: a loose monetary policy with the Bank of England lowering the base rate to 0.5% and engaging in money printing – otherwise known as Quantitative Easing – and a tight fiscal policy with the Treasury cutting back on public spending. The result? The worst of both worlds, inflation, and – good old 1970s stagflation.

The poster child for the Keynesians was the United States which threw everything but the kitchen sink at the problem in both fiscal and monetary terms. This produced some low growth and a slight fall in unemployment, albeit from an extremely high level, and recently reversed, but each additional stimulus has had less of an impact than the one preceding it. A sort of diminishing returns was to set in, whereby more and more of the ‘fix’ is needed to get any sort of result.

‘’ … in the 1970s the increase in GDP was about 60 cents for every dollar of increased debt. By the early 2000s this had decreased to close to 20% of GDP growth for every new dollar of debt.’’ (7)

The Federal Reserve had already initiated 2 rounds of QE injecting literally trillions of $s into the economy. In addition it lowered interest rates to 0.25% – zero to all intents and purposes. The Fed’s purchase of paper assets was facilitated with the printing of paper monies. These paper assets consisted of US Treasury bonds and junk securities from government sponsored enterprises such as Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, the two government agencies whose remit was to issue mortgages to prospective US homebuyers. This meant that the assets purchased by the Fed were nothing more than debt, unredeemable debt at that. This is a weird situation where the Fed was buying US bonds issued by the Treasury department so that the US Federal government could pay its current bills. And where did the Fed get its money from? Out of thin air apparently, it simply printed the stuff! When the stage is reached where governments have to pay their current expenditures by printing money then the alarm bells should start ringing. An idea of the monies involved was described as follows:

‘’Before the first round of QE began, the Fed held roughly $900 billion of assets. When it ended on March 31, 2010 the Fed’s balance sheet had more than doubled to $2.3 trillion. There is no precedent for fiat money creation on this scale in the US during peacetime.’’(8)

Suffice it to say that money printing has continued and massively expanded to the present day 2020. Increasing the supply of paper money in the economy in the absence of demand for it can only produce one result – inflation, albeit after a time lag. (But this works on the assumption that the velocity of circulation of such monies remains constant. If the circulation falls to zero, then there will be no inflation. Deflation is more likely if the money supply does not reach the real economy. If the rate of money circulation does not alter, we can expect inflation to appear.) It will be objected, however, that the US rate of inflation was at the time of the 2008 episode only 2.3%. True. But bear in mind that both food and fuel price increases are left out of the calculation in what is termed US ‘core inflation’; another egregious example of officialdom’s statistical sleight of hand. Were those price rises added in then at the very least the US inflation figures would almost certainly double. Moreover, the global effects of the Fed’s policies has been to export this inflation around the world as a mass of greenbacks flew out of the US looking for more favourable investment outlets. The global supply of these Eurodollars (i.e., US$s circulating outside of the US) had ballooned, and this led to an inflationary impact globally as food and commodity prices (notably oil) had spiked. This in turn led to food riots and political disturbances throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East. A sort of unforeseen justice was done, however, when higher oil prices hit the price of gasoline in the US – a boomerang effect. The inflationary effect of the Fed’s money printing also meant that local currencies were put under pressure. When the $ tsunami entered a country their own currency was subject to an upward revaluation, which meant a higher exchange rate. They were therefore faced with two choices: one, do nothing and let their export markets contract since their currency was now more expensive, or two, maintain the value of their currency against the US$ by purchases of more of these dollars with their own currency. This would mean that their own money supply would expand and become inflated. Thus US inflation had become global inflation. Yes, devaluation is a great way to start a currency war.

As far as fiscal policy goes the US has consistently run budget deficits since the 1990s when it actually recorded a small surplus. The cost of the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the cost of ongoing wars in the middle east, the cost of bailouts to various financial institutions, the cost of fiscal transfers to cash-strapped states and various stimulus programmes has raised the US budget deficit (2008 figures) to $15.5 trillion, which given that the Gross Domestic Product of the US as of May 2012 was $15.6 trillion, makes the ratio close to 100%. Even before the economic crisis, the U.S. debt grew 50% between 2000-2007, ballooning from $6-$9 trillion. Now the implications of this are indeed sobering.

According to the authors Reinhart and Rogoff when debt to GDP ratio reaches 90% this will constitute a drag on future growth. And bear in mind that this figure of debt-to-GDP has risen to 107% in 2020. Longer term implications of America’s chronic debt problem are manifest. Sure the Fed can print unlimited monies, but it can’t guarantee that these greenbacks will have any value.

Over the next 20 years, the Social Security Trust Fund won’t have enough funds to cover the retirement benefits promised to Baby Boomers. That means higher taxes since the high U.S. debt rules out further loans from other countries. Unfortunately, it’s most likely that these benefits will be curtailed, either to retirees younger than 70, or to those who are high income and therefore aren’t as dependent on Social Security payments to fund their retirement.

Second, many of the foreign holders of U.S. debt are investing more in their own economies. Over time, diminished demand for U.S. Treasuries could increase interest rates, thus slowing the economy. Furthermore, anticipation of this lower demand puts downward pressure on the dollar. That’s because dollars, and dollar-denominated Treasury Securities, may become less desirable, so their value declines. As the dollar declines, foreign holders get paid back in currency that is worth less, which further decreases demand.

The bottom line is that the large Federal debt is like driving with the emergency brake on, further slowing the U.S. economy.

Now if we add in private debt to the equation – i.e., the debts of household sector corporate sector, business sector, non-corporate businesses, State, and local government – then the debt soars to something like $50 trillion, or 363% of GDP. Then of course there is the chronic deficit on current account which adds a further dimension to the problem, and all of these seemingly intractable processes are still ongoing but hey, let’s not labour the point.

The seriousness of the situation is only matched by the complacency of the US authorities who seem to think they can go on raising the budget borrowing ceiling and that overseas investors will simply keep on buying their Treasury bonds forever. If ever there was a definition of unsustainable this is it.

In fact the structural problems in the US economy could well be fatal if these colossal debt levels are not reined in or simply stabilised. The US is being kept afloat by their ownership of the global reserve currency and the willingness (for now) of investors, mainly China, Japan and the oil-rich states in the middle-east to keep purchasing US Treasury paper – paper assets of dubious value and paltry yields. Overseas investors are aware of this situation and have begun to lower their exposure to the US$s and dollar denominated assets by diversifying into other assets and have also started to trade in their own currencies rather than the dollar. Straws in the wind perhaps, but indicative of future trends.

Taken by themselves Keynesian demand-side policies of stimulating the economy hardly begin to grapple with the problem. This is because deeper problems are on the supply-side not the demand-side of the economy. They can be classified as follows. Deindustrialisation as the manufacturing base is hollowed out or emigrates to cheaper venues; ageing populations; rising energy costs and scarcity; saturation of markets; lack of leadership at the political level; finance running amok; the ability to create paper money and assets without limit; an inadequately trained workforce; skills and investment deficit; and structural unemployment brought about by new technologies. And to crown it all there is the dreaded ‘Triffin Paradox’ to be factored into the equation, but this would take another article. Moreover, I could also have added in the issue of climate change but didn’t want to depress my readers unduly.

Keynesianism is fixated on the demand-side. But in a world beset by the sort of supply-side problems listed above traditional demand-management policies used since the war will not be effective. It is also worth adding that both Germany and Japan, where the wartime devastation was manifest both recovered strongly without Keynesian demand management. This actually serves to validate the Austrian and Marxist theory that upturns and booms in a capitalist economy are the result of the destruction of existing capital values. Japan and Germany roared ahead because their own industries and infrastructure was decimated, and they had to install the most modern up to date capital equipment and technologies and again start from scratch. Economies which start from a low base tend to have extremely high rates of growth.

I did mention earlier that Keynes’ General Theory is in fact not a general theory at all but a special theory. Such policies may have been appropriate for the post-war period with the usual cyclical movements of the trade cycle, but dare I say, this time it’s different. What we are now confronted with is a systemic global crisis of capitalism. In the present situation Keynesian policies – which are commonly understood and promulgated by his epigones – are unlikely to have the desired effect for the following reasons.

‘’Keynes’ theory that government spending could stimulate aggregate demand turns out to be one that works in limited conditions only, making it more of a special theory than a general theory which he had claimed. Stimulus programmes work better in the short run than in the long run. Stimulus works better in a liquidity crisis than in an insolvency crisis, and better in a mild recession than a severe oneStimulus also works better for economies that have entered recessions with relatively low levels of debt at the outset … None of these favourable conditions for Keynesian stimulus was present in the United States in 2009.’’ (9)

It has been calculated that growth would have to be at the rate of 6% per annum which when inflation is factored in reduces to actual growth of 2% to make any inroads into the huge debts. This seems very, very unlikely, although this is what the US authorities will attempt to do.

One final point with regard to Keynesian policies: They are often thought of as an alternative to austerity, when in fact they are simply austerity by other means. It is an open secret, though never admitted, that both the Fed and the Bank of England are attempting to monetize the debt levels in both countries. This entails keeping inflation one or more jumps ahead of wages, pensions, benefits, and interest rates. This inflation is engineered by the Central Bank which devalues the currency – supposedly to make exports more ‘competitive’ and printing money through QE. Devaluation leads to an increase in import prices which will tend to feed through the rest of the economy causing domestic inflation. The time-honoured claim made by the then British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, in 1967 that the proposed 17% devaluation of the £ ‘would not affect the pound in your pocket’ was simply a barefaced lie. When a country devalues its currency it makes itself poorer (‘competitive’ is of course the preferred description). That is its whole raison d’être, and in this respect, it is no different from a policy of deflation.

Thus the disposable income of the mass of the population is effectively pushed down as prices rise, and the most acutely affected will be the poorer sections of the community or anyone who keeps their assets in cash. The more opulent, however, will be able to switch into stronger currencies, and physical assets such as precious metals, property, L’Objets d’Art which will appreciate in price. Inflation will help debtors since their debts will be effectively amortized, i.e. grow less as inflation lowers the magnitude of the debt. Of course the principal debtor is the government.

Forcing down interest rates to near zero in an inflationary environment gives savers two options. Do nothing and watch their savings melt away, or just go out and blow the lot. Similarly investors will be forced into more risky investments as they see the paltry return to safer bolt holes such as gilts being eaten away by inflation. It all rather sounds like a re-run of 2002-2007 credit-fuelled growth madness. And paradoxically, because disposable income is crimped by such a policy, aggregate demand falls, and this gives another push to deflation – the law of unintended consequences.

Keynesians see the problems of past and present capitalism as purely technical. They apparently believe that capitalism can be ‘fixed’ using appropriate tools and that it would therefore be possible to have permanent semi-boom conditions. This is clearly expounded by economists such as the American Keynesian, Paul Krugman in his book Peddling Prosperity, first published in 1994. Having spent most of his life during the post-war boom, he is apparently dumbfounded that it suddenly ended in the early 1970s. He intoned that … In 1973 the magic went away. Well ‘magic’ had nothing to do with it. Capitalism was beginning to enter into a periodic systemic convulsion which is now reaching its climax.

After Keynes – What to Do?

‘’Can Capitalism survive? No I do not think it can … Can Socialism work? Of course it can.’’ (10)

On the first point Schumpeter was at that time wrong, but it is now a question which needs to be raised again. On the second point, he has to be right. But this is a political rather than a purely technical question. The present crisis will be solved sooner or later (preferably sooner) but the question is how, by whom, and for whom?

The question for socialists, or for that matter any oppositionists to the present regime, is what should the strategy be for the coming struggles with this system – a system which cannot go on in its present form for the simple reason that it needs to grow at a compound rate of 3% forever – this is not possible for both political, economic and environmental reasons. (My emphasis) Socialism or a collapse into semi-barbarism seems to be on the agenda once again. But we shouldn’t be surprised by this; it is surely what we have been expecting since the trouble started brewing in the late 60s. After all capitalism moves in huge cyclical convulsions, and this is one of them.

This is a colossal question and I can only allude to possible areas of political action. The first thing to realise is that the historical window for a social-democratic Keynesian solution to the crisis is now closed. It was only made possible by a specific conjuncture of political and economic circumstances. The Thatcher-Reagan settlement and globalization marked the death-knell of the Keynes/Beveridge consensus. (11) Does this mean that socialists should not support a policy of reform within the system? Not at all. But this support must perforce have in view the objective of forcing a paradigm shift away from what has been a trade unionist approach of simply gaining and defending reforms – to a struggle for real political and economic power. (My emphasis).

The programme of the liberal-left – the type of journalism which we see in the Guardian and Independent and Labour party publications – actually advocates reform of a system which is beyond reformIt should also be clearly understood that such reforms as advocated by most of the liberal-left such as public spending on work creation programmes, investment in green technology, a national investment bank will only provide a temporary fix, and may well have negative downsides, such as inflation.

‘’A short-run revival of growth, as opposed to proliferating distress, can … buy time for longer term solutions to the transition to be worked out. But bought time is only useful if it is put to good use.’’ (My Emphasis – FL)(12)

Keynesian reform will not be a long-term solution, but it can alter the political balance of power and shift the argument in favour of the 99%. The politicisation of the mass of ordinary folk can begin with such an approach. Socialists, however, need to go much further than the type of Keynesian stimulus programme as advocated by Hutton, Krugman, Elliott, et al. Such a programme might consist of the following set of workable policies.

  1. Public works programmes to reduce unemployment. Or full maintenance for the unemployed.
  2. Nationalization of all deposit taking institutions and the setting up of a national bank.
  3. Strict rules on credit creation and the Shadow banking system.
  4. More transparency and an end to over-the-counter (OTC) trading.
  5. Closure of tax havens. Stop tax avoidance scams such as Transfer Pricing.
  6. Withdrawal from overseas conflicts and NATO.
  7. Harmonisation of corporate tax rates within the EU.
  8. End of the global reserve status of the US dollar.
  9. Indexation of wages, pensions, benefits, interest rates to inflation
  10. A move away from indirect to direct taxation, and higher tax rates for the upper quintile of the population.
  11. Tax harmonisation in Europe to prevent tax competition and the race to the bottom.

These represent the economic demands. But capitalism also works at a political micro-level. The power relations in the work-place are such that employees and consumers have no say in how the business is run, by whom and for whom. Shareholder value is all that matters. This should be replaced by a stakeholder approach were all the interest groups have a say in the running of the organization.

Of course there is no possibility that such demands as these will be met, there is a war going on after all, and at the moment the class enemy have the power and the veto, notwithstanding the democratic will of the people. Moreover, some of these questions can only be raised at regional and/or global levels. This opens up several additional cans of worms. There is the seemingly intractable issue of Europe and the euro? Reversion to national currencies (as advocated by the Guardian’s economics team) may only lead to devaluation and trade and currency wars. Then there are global currency and trade issues: What replaces the dollar as the basis for a global currency? The IMFs Special Drawing Rights? A new gold standard? Or Keynes’ idea of a global currency – Bancor – to replace national currencies, in international trade. Then there is the massive question of climate change and the massive ecological damage and negative externalities which is the corollary of consumer capitalism. The problem we face is that politics are national, but capitalism and economics are global. But reforms of this type can obviously only be carried out at international level (13) but the starting place must be national. Co-ordinated global action is not going to happen any time soon, but regional action, whether in Europe, North and Latin America as well as the ASEAN bloc is a possibility – in fact it is the only option for supra-national policy making at the present time.

The task seems truly Herculean, the point is, however, that these issues must sooner or later (preferably sooner) be raised. They cannot be evaded. We do not choose history, history chooses us. And this is the labour of Hercules which history has bequeathed.

‘’An alternative (to capitalism – FL) will have to be found. And it is here that the emergence of a global co-revolutionary movement becomes critical not only to stemming the tide of self-destructive capitalistic behaviour … but also to our re-organizing ourselves and beginning to build new collective organizational forms, knowledge banks and mental conceptions, new technologies and systems of production and consumption, all the while experimenting with new institutional arrangements, new forms of social and natural relations, and with the redesign of an increasingly urbanized daily life …

While capital has provided us with an abundant means with which to approach the task of anti-capitalist transition, the capitalists, and their hangers on will do all in their power to prevent such a transition no matter how imperative the circumstances may be. But the task of transition lies with us not the plutocrats. As Shakespeare once advised: ‘’The fault … is not in our stars, that in ourselves that we are underlings.’ Right now, as Warren Buffet (the famous American investor – FL) asserts his class is winning (the class war) our immediate task is to prove him wrong.’’ (14).

NOTES

(1) Andrew Gamble – The Spectre at the Feast.

(2) Detlev Schlichter – Paper Money Collapse.

(3) Richard Duncan – The New Depression p.105

( 4) JMK – Essays in Persuasion – 1925 – Am I a Liberal, A short view of Russia. Ibid

(5) Richard Duncan -The New Depression – p.121

(6) In this connection see ChrisMartenson.com Crash Course, Fuzzy Numbers and John Williams Shadow Government Statistics – passim.

(7) Foster and Magdoff – The Great Financial Crisis – p.49

(8) Richard Duncan Ibid.

(9) James Rickards – Currency Wars –pp.186/187 – My emphasis FL

(10) Joseph Alois Schumpeter – Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy – 1943

(11) William Henry Beveridge, 1st Baron Beveridge, KCB was a British economist and Liberal politician who was a progressive and social reformer. His 1942 report Social Insurance and Allied Services served as the basis for the

post-World War II welfare state put in place by the Labour government elected in 1945

(12) David Harvey -The Enigma of Capital– p.278

(13) I have since revised this view and would argue that that starting place for the sweeping reforms which are necessary at the global world system must include and start at the national level. This is not the EU we signed up to in 1976, and there comes a time in politics where it is judicious to give up flogging a dead horse. A progressive Labour government under Corbyn would not have been allowed by EU law to implement its economic reforms, cancel Trident, leave, or even modify its NATO membership. Democracy is impossible without some measure of sovereignty, and nations must get control of their own foreign and economic policies since if they don’t the globalisers and Bilderbergers will and have done

(14) David Harvey, op.cit

*The Federal Reserve Act of 1977 modified the original act establishing the Federal Reserve in 1913 and clarified the roles of the Board of Governors. The Federal Reserve has two mandates: maintaining maximum employment and maintaining stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates. Congress explicitly stated the Fed’s goals should be “maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates. It is these goals that have come to be known as the Fed’s “dual mandate’’. All of which was enabled to act in both monetary and stimulus capacities.

Francis Lee

Updated from 2012 to 2020

النسخة الأميركيّة من بو عزيزي ونهاية التاريخ

سعاده مصطفى أرشيد

ينظر كثيرٌ من البشر عبر العالم، بمن فيهم نحن، للنظام الأميركي على انه النظام الأمثل والأكثر كفاءة ومقدرة على الإنتاج والإبداع وعلى رعاية المواطن صحياً واجتماعياً واقتصادياً، وهذه الرعاية لا تشمل المواطن الأميركي داخل بلادة فحسب، وإنما تمتدّ لترعاه أينما كان في العالم الفسيح، النموذج الأميركي لطالما بدا لامعاً وجاذباً، فهو مجتمع الفرص الفرص للأذكياء وأصحاب الحظ السعيد، مجتمع الحرية والمساواة والمواطنة. لقد كان لهذه الرؤية منظروها من أكاديميين وفلاسفة ورجال أعمال وسياسة ونجوم سينما، ولعلّ مَن يستحق أن يذكر من بين هؤلاء اليوم هو الفيلسوف الأميركي ذو الأصل الياباني فرنسيس فوكوياما الذي قدّم واحدة من أشهر وأقوى التعبيرات عن هذه الرؤيا من خلال نظريته التي شغلت أوساط الساسة والمثقفين في نهاية الألفية الراحلة والتي أسماها نهاية التاريخ.

رأى فوكوياما أنّ أنظمة الحكم عبر التاريخ الواضح والجلي قد أثبتت فشلها وتهافتها، من الأنظمة البدائية الرعوية المغرقة بالقدم وشيوخ الجماعات القبليّة مروراً بالملكيات الوراثية المطلقة المستبدّة أو الدستورية، إلى الأنظمة التي اعتمدت المشروعيّة الدينية الإلهية، وكذلك الأنظمة القوميّة والاشتراكيّة والشيوعيّة على أنواعها، فيما يرى أن النظام الراسخ والعصي على الزلل والفشل، إنْ هو إلا نظام الديمقراطية الليبرالية وفق النموذج الأميركي، فالديمقراطية الليبرالية تمثل لديه العقيدة (الايدولوجيا) الوحيدة الصالحة والعادلة والتي لا يمكن تجاوزها باعتبارها قد حققت حاجات الإنسان الفرد والمجتمع على حد سواء، لقد اعتبرها النظام الأكمل والذي لم ولن يأتي المستقبل بما هو خير منه، هذه القطعيّة المطلقة والتي تتسم بالمبالغة الشديدة لا تنسجم مع جميع نظريات التاريخ التي ترى أن للتاريخ حركة دائبة ودائمة لا تتوقف.

أعادني حادث مصرع جورج فلويد لأعود بذاكرتي إلى فوكوياما ونظريّته، ومع أن عمليات القتل والتنكيل بالسود وأبناء الأقليّات العرقيّة أمر يكاد أن يكون يومياً ودائم الحدوث، إلا أن عناصر ومستجدات غير محسوبة قد دخلت على خطوط مصرع جورج فلويد وأدّت إلى التداعيات المتدحرجة كما حصل في حادثة انتحار المواطن التونسي بوعزيزي والتي كانت عود الثقاب الذي أشعل الشارع التونسيّ المحتقن بسبب سياسات وفساد الرئيس الأسبق زين العابدين بن علي، هذه الأحداث ما لبثت أن انتشرت بسرعة إذ كان قد أعدّ لها على مدى سنوات بصمت، لتطبيق نظرية الفوضى الخلاقة التي أطلق عليها تعسفاً اسم الربيع العربي، وكما قال المثل الدارج إن (طابخ السم لا بدّ له من تناوله)، كان لا بدّ للغرب أن يضرس بحوامضه ومراراته، في أوروبا كانت البداية على شكل موجات من اللاجئين والهاربين من جحيم تلك الفوضى، وفي الولايات المتحدة التي ظنت أن المحيط الأطلسي سوف يقيها شرّ زوارق المهاجرين، جاء حادث مصرع جورج فلويد ليمثل عود ثقابها الذي أشعل موجة الاحتجاجات العابرة لكامل الولايات، وهو الأمر الذي لم يكن بحسبان مراكز دراساتها واستطلاعاتها ومجسّاتها الاستخباريّة أن تتوقعه وبهذا الحجم، وبهذا المقدار من العنف الذي يتهدّد النظام (النموذج) الأميركي برمّته لا الحزب الجمهوري والرئيس دونالد ترامب فقط، هكذا أصبح النظام النموذج والأكثر تفوقاً ومنعة على مستوى العالم عسكرياً واقتصادياً عاجزاً عن التعامل مع فوضى داخلية ستقوده حكماً إلى أن لا يبقى على حاله، وقد يكون من المبكر الحديث بالأماني عن أفول هذه الشمس الأميركيّة المحرقة التي لطالما اكتوينا بنارها ومعنا العالم أجمع، فإن ذلك يبقى أمنية عزيزة على قلوب شعوب وأمم كثيرة.

مصرع جورج فلويد وما تلاه من أحداث له جذوره التاريخية التي تعود إلى الأيام الأولى لاكتشاف العالم الجديد والطريقة التي تعامل بها المستكشف الأوروبي الأبيض مع أهل البلاد الأصليين، ولاحقاً مع مَن تمّ استجلابهم مصفّدين بسلاسل الحديد من أفريقيا للعمل في مزارع القطن التي تزود مصانع مانشستر الإنجليزية بالقطن الخام، فمع كل مظاهر الديمقراطية ونظريات المساواة والمواطنة وأدبيات الحرب الأهلية وتحرير الرقيق، فإن التفرقة العنصرية تجاه ما هو غير أبيض بقيت قائمة ومتجذّرة في أعماق النفس الأميركية البيضاء، وهي إذ تنعكس داخلياً باتجاه معاداة السود والأقليات، فإنها تنعكس خارجياً تجاه العالم بأسره (ربما مع بعض الاستثناءات تجاه أوروبا الغربية)، كما أن عمليات القتل والتنكيل بأبناء العرق الأسود من قبل الشرطة تحدث بشكل دائم، ولكنها تحدث أيضاً على يد العنصريين وعصابات متطرفة مثل كولوكس كلان والتي وإن تراجعت حيناً فإنها كامنة لتنقض حيناً آخر.

اعتقدت المؤسسة الأميركية في العقد الماضي أنها تستطيع تجاوز الاحتقان الشعبي أو تأجيله أو على الأقل التخفيف من حدته بوجود رئيس أسود في البيت الأبيض، ولعل رئاسة اوباما استطاعت بالفعل تأجيل ذلك الانفجار، ولكنها لم تكن قادرة على أن تحول دونه خاصة وقد ترافق ذلك مع كساد اقتصادي وتراجع في أسعار النفط، وانعدام الرؤية الجمعية الأميركية التي تستطيع معالجة مشاكل البطالة وتسريح العمال والموظفين وتراجع خدمات الرعاية الصحية والمجتمعية وافتقاد القدرة على تلبية حاجات الطبقات الفقيرة والمهمّشة، ثم جاءت جائحة كورونا لتزيد من الأزمة الاقتصاديّة تدهوراً، وانتشر الوباء وتصاعدت أرقام المصابين والموتى، فيما الرئيس الأميركي ينحو باللائمة على الصين، ولم تستطع المؤسسات والمراكز الطبية والصيدلانية أن تجد دواء أو لقاحاً للوباء، مع ذلك يرفع الرئيس ترامب من سقف أزمته بقرع طبول الحرب على الصين وإيران وفنزويلا وسيف العقوبات القصوى (قانون قيصر) على دمشق وما إلى ذلك من هوس سياسي على غير هذه الدول بمقبلات الأيام.

على أحد ما أن يخبر فرنسيس فوكوياما أنّ مصرع جورج فلويد، المواطن الأميركي الفقير والمهمش والمجهول، قد أثبت تهافت نظريته، فالتاريخ لم ينتهِ بعد، ولن ينتهي، وأن النظام الأمثل والأكمل الذي حدث عنه قد أخذ يتهاوى على وقع دماء الضحية، وسوف تحدث انعكاسات خطيرة وربما سريعة على الدول التي تستظل بتلك الحماية، ومنها دول عربية لذلك علينا نحن أن نتذكر أن في عالمنا العربي أنظمة من هذا النوع يحكمها ملوك وأمراء ورؤساء هم خارج التاريخ وخارج الجغرافيا، فضائياتهم التي تنقل الأخبار وهي في الحقيقة ليست إلا ترجمة أخبار من فوكس نيوز( FOX NEO ) إذ تصور للمشاهدين أن ما يجري في أميركا وكأنها معركة أولئك الحكام لا معركة النظام الأميركي، وهم لا يدركون متى يأتي الدور عليهم ويطيح بعروشهم وتيجانهم على أيدي شعوبهم المقهورة.

*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في فلسطين المحتلة.

The deeper roots of Chinese demonization

The deeper roots of Chinese demonization

May 03, 2020

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

Hegel saw history moving east to west – ‘Europe thus absolutely being the end of history, Asia the beginning’

Fasten your seat belts: the US hybrid war against China is bound to go on frenetic overdrive, as economic reports are already identifying Covid-19 as the tipping point when the Asian – actually Eurasian – century truly began.

Immanuel Kant was the first thinker to actually
come up with a theory of the yellow race. Photo: Google Images

The US strategy remains, essentially, full spectrum dominance, with the National Security Strategy obsessed by the three top “threats” of China, Russia and Iran. China, in contrast, proposes a “community of shared destiny” for mankind, mostly addressing the Global South.

The predominant US narrative in the ongoing information war is now set in stone: Covid-19 was the result of a leak from a Chinese biowarfare lab. China is responsible. China lied. And China has to pay.

The new normal tactic of non-stop China demonization is deployed not only by crude functionaries of the industrial-military-surveillance-media complex. We need to dig much deeper to discover how these attitudes are deeply embedded in Western thinking – and later migrated to the “end of history” United States. (Here are sections of an excellent study, Unfabling the East: The Enlightenment’s Encounter with Asia , by Jurgen Osterhammel).Only Whites civilized

Way beyond the Renaissance, in the 17th and 18th centuries, whenever Europe referred to Asia it was essentially about religion conditioning trade. Christianity reigned supreme, so it was impossible to think by excluding God.

At the same time the doctors of the Church were deeply disturbed that in the Sinified world a very well organized society could function in the absence of a transcendent religion. That bothered them even more than those “savages” discovered in the Americas.

As it started to explore what was regarded as the “Far East,” Europe was mired in religious wars. But at the same time it was forced to confront another explanation of the world, and that fed some subversive anti-religious tendencies across the Enlightenment sphere.

It was at this stage that learned Europeans started questioning Chinese philosophy, which inevitably they had to degrade to the status of a mere worldly “wisdom” because it escaped the canons of Greek and Augustinian thought. This attitude, by the way, still reigns today.

So we had what in France was described as chinoiseries — a sort of ambiguous admiration, in which China was regarded as the supreme example of a pagan society.

But then the Church started to lose patience with the Jesuits’ fascination with China. The Sorbonne was punished. A papal bull, in 1725, outlawed Christians who were practicing Chinese rites. It’s quite interesting to note that Sinophile philosophers and Jesuits condemned by the Pope insisted that the “real faith” (Christianity) was “prefigured” in ancient Chinese, specifically Confucianist, texts.

The European vision of Asia and the “Far East” was mostly conceptualized by a mighty German triad: Kant, Herder and Schlegel. Kant, incidentally, was also a geographer, and Herder a historian and geographer. We can say that the triad was the precursor of modern Western Orientalism. It’s easy to imagine a Borges short story featuring these three.

As much as they may have been aware of China, India and Japan, for Kant and Herder God was above all. He had planned the development of the world in all its details. And that brings us to the tricky issue of race.

Breaking away from the monopoly of religion, references to race represented a real epistemological turnaround in relation to previous thinkers. Leibniz and Voltaire, for instance, were Sinophiles. Montesquieu and Diderot were Sinophobes. None explained cultural differences by race. Montesquieu developed a theory based on climate. But that did not have a racial connotation – it was more like an ethnic approach.

The big break came via French philosopher and traveler Francois Bernier (1620-1688), who spent 13 years traveling in Asia and in 1671 published a book called La Description des Etats du Grand Mogol, de l”Indoustan, du Royaume de Cachemire, etc. Voltaire, hilariously, called him Bernier-Mogol — as he became a star telling his tales to the royal court. In a subsequent book, Nouvelle Division de la Terre par les Differentes Especes ou Races d’Homme qui l’Habitent, published in 1684, the “Mogol” distinguished up to five human races.

This was all based on the color of the skin, not on families or the climate. The Europeans were mechanically placed on top, while other races were considered “ugly.” Afterward, the division of humanity in up to five races was picked up by David Hume — always based on the color of the skin. Hume proclaimed to the Anglo-Saxon world that only whites were civilized; others were inferiors. This attitude is still pervasive. See, for instance, this pathetic diatribe recently published in Britain.

Two Asias

The first thinker to actually come up with a theory of the yellow race was Kant, in his writings between 1775 and 1785, David Mungello argues in The Great Encounter of China and the West, 1500-1800.

Kant rates the “white race” as “superior,” the “black race” as “inferior” (by the way, Kant did not condemn slavery), the “copper race” as “feeble” and the “yellow race” as intermediary. The differences between them are due to a historical process that started with the “white race,” considered the most pure and original, the others being nothing but bastards.

Kant subdivided Asia by countries. For him, East Asia meant Tibet, China and Japan. He considered China in relatively positive terms, as a mix of white and yellow races.

Herder was definitely mellower. For him, Mesopotamia was the cradle of Western civilization, and the Garden of Eden was in Kashmir, “the world’s paradise.” His theory of historical evolution became a smash hit in the West: the East was a baby, Egypt was an infant, Greece was youth. Herder’s East Asia consisted of Tibet, China, Cochinchina, Tonkin, Laos, Korea, Eastern Tartary and Japan — countries and regions touched by Chinese civilization.

Schlegel was like the precursor of a Californian 60s hippie. He was a Sanskrit enthusiast and a serious student of Eastern cultures. He said that “in the East we should seek the most elevated romanticism.” India was the source of everything, “the whole history of the human spirit.” No wonder this insight became the mantra for a whole generation of Orientalists. That was also the start of a dualist vision of Asia across the West that’s still predominant today.

So by the 18th century we had fully established a vision of Asia as a land of servitude and cradle of despotism and paternalism in sharp contrast with a vision of Asia as a cradle of civilizations. Ambiguity became the new normal. Asia was respected as mother of civilizations — value systems included — and even mother of the West. In parallel, Asia was demeaned, despised or ignored because it had never reached the high level of the West, despite its head start.

Those Oriental despots

And that brings us to The Big Guy: Hegel. Hyper well informed – he read reports by ex-Jesuits sent from Beijing — Hegel does not write about the “Far East” but only the East, which includes East Asia, essentially the Chinese world. Hegel does not care much about religion as his predecessors did. He talks about the East from the point of view of the state and politics. In contrast to the myth-friendly Schlegel, Hegel sees the East as a state of nature in the process of reaching toward a beginning of history – unlike black Africa, which he saw wallowing in the mire of a bestial state.

To explain the historical bifurcation between a stagnant world and another one in motion, leading to the Western ideal, Hegel divided Asia in two.

One part was composed by China and Mongolia: a puerile world of patriarchal innocence, where contradictions do not develop, where the survival of great empires attests to that world’s “insubstantial,” immobile and ahistorical character.

The other part was Vorderasien (“Anterior Asia”), uniting the current Middle East and Central Asia, from Egypt to Persia. This is an already historical world.

These two huge regions are also subdivided. So in the end Hegel’s Asiatische Welt (Asian world) is divided into four: first, the plains of the Yellow and Blue rivers, the high plateaus, China and Mongolia; second, the valleys of the Ganges and the Indus; third, the plains of the Oxus (today the Amur-Darya) and the Jaxartes (today the Syr-Darya), the plateaus of Persia, the valleys of the Tigris and the Euphrates; and fourth, the Nile valley.

It’s fascinating to see how in the Philosophy of History (1822-1830) Hegel ends up separating India as a sort of intermediary in historical evolution. So we have in the end, as Jean-Marc Moura showed in L’Extreme Orient selon G. W. F. Hegel, Philosophie de l’Histoire et Imaginaire Exotique, a “fragmented East, of which India is the example, and an immobile East, blocked in chimera, of which the Far East is the illustration.”

To describe the relation between East and West, Hegel uses a couple of metaphors. One of them, quite famous, features the sun: “The history of the world voyages from east to west, Europe thus absolutely being the end of history, and Asia the beginning.” We all know where tawdry “end of history” spin-offs led us.

The other metaphor is Herder’s: the East is “history’s youth” — but with China taking a special place because of the importance of Confucianist principles systematically privileging the role of the family.

Nothing outlined above is of course neutral in terms of understanding Asia. The double metaphor — using the sun and maturity — could not but comfort the West in its narcissism, later inherited from Europe by the “exceptional” US. Implied in this vision is the inevitable superiority complex, in the case of the US even more acute because legitimized by the course of history.

Hegel thought that history must be evaluated under the framework of the development of freedom. Well, China and India being ahistorical, freedom does not exist, unless brought by an initiative coming from outside.

And that’s how the famous “Oriental despotism” evoked by Montesquieu and the possible, sometimes inevitable, and always valuable Western intervention are, in tandem, totally legitimized. We should not expect this Western frame of mind to change anytime soon, if ever. Especially as China is about to be back as Number One.

اشتباك فلسطين المقبل: ليس هناك وسيلة إلا المسير للقتال!

صادق النابلسي

سير الأحداث الحالية تنسج خيطاً نتابعه جميعاً بأبصارنا. ليس «كورونا» إلا جزءاً من اشتباك عالمي كبير يهدف في مكان ما للوصول ببعض الدول إلى النتيجة المقرّرة. يعكس هذا الأمر مفاد الفكرة القائلة: بأنّ «النتيجة التي تحققها القوة بوسائلها المتنوّعة، ستكون هي النتيجة الملائمة إذا ما تحققت في الواقع». هكذا إذاً. فماذا عن صفقة القرن؟ هل تدّل على منتهى الدهاء والتخطيط والذكاء البشري أم على تعاويذ سحرة «الويكا»؟

في الشكل تبدو الصفقة تبادلاً للهدايا الانتخابية. نتنياهو وترامب بحاجة إلى بعضهما البعض للفوز بفترات رئاسية جديدة. كلاهما يختنق بمشاكله الخاصة ويسعى للهروب منها إلى الأمام ولو كان هذا (الأمام) مغامرة محفوفة بالمخاطر، لكن «الجيوبولتيكا التاريخية» التي تجعل الأساطير مركز تصوراتها، تدفع بأحدهما ليغزو المدى الفلسطيني مبشراً بيهودية الدولة، ومن الثاني ليغزو المدى العالمي مبشراً بنهاية التاريخ!

ينطلق الاثنان من أفقين لتعزيز رؤيتها وروايتهما للمستقبل. الأول مكاني (جغرافي)، والثاني زماني (تاريخي). ينعكس العامل الجغرافي في القدرة على التوسع والتموضع والاستحواذ على المزيد من الأعماق المكانية، أما العامل التاريخي فينعكس في قوة الإنسان وحضوره ودوره في صياغة القيم المستحدثة وخلق الوقائع الجديدة.

وعلى الرغم من كلّ العثرات والإخفاقات في سياسات الرئيس الأميركي ورئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي لكن الاثنين يسعيان لامتلاك الوضعية التي تتيح لأحدهما تصدّر المشهد العالمي والآخر لتصدّر المشهد الإقليمي.

قد يبدو ما تمّ الإعلان عنه في 29 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2020 لحظة تفوّق أميركي إسرائيلي غير مسبوق. أو أنّ التطورات في المنطقة والعالم تقترب بنا أكثر من معادلة جيبولتيكية حتمية صارمة تتمكّن من خلالها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية ومعها الكيان الصهيوني من تحقيق السيطرة العالمية على التاريخ والجغرافيا معاً. ولا شك أنّ الدعاية ساعدت كثيراً في إبراز التآكلات العربية، وموقعية العرب التي إن لم تكن في الهاوية فهي على حافة الهاوية، وكنتيجة منطقية لهذا المسار العربي الرسمي يجب أن يتقلص بصورة نهائية وحاسمة ما دار عليه الصراع منذ مطلع القرن الماضي وتبلّور تحت مسمّى «القضية الفلسطينية». لكن الحقيقة تحجب عمداً التراجعات البنيوية لكلّ من الحليفين على مساحة العالم والمنطقة. «أميركا هذه ليست التي كنّا نعرفها» كما يقول الكاتب الأميركي ديفيد أغناتيوس. ولا «إسرائيل» هي «إسرائيل» التي تعيش هواجس التطويق، والبيئة المحيطة «الغنية بالأسلحة»، والصواريخ الدقيقة و«المتوحشة» لمحور المقاومة، وأزمات الكيان التي تقول عنها الكاتبة ياعيل دايان: «من يقرأ ويتقصّى الحقائق ويتعمّق في الداخل الإسرائيلي ويطّلع على التناقضات والمشاكل الداخلية يدرك ضعف هذا المجتمع… ما بين التصدّع القومي والتصدّع الديني والطائفي والطبقي، تتشكل عوامل انهيار دولة «إسرائيل» في المستقبل».

من الواضح أنّ فكرة الهروب إلى الأمام لدى كلّ من نتنياهو وترامب، تقاطعت مع بيئة الصراع الحالية في المنطقة التي تتميّز بالحركة والتغيّر الشديدين، وأيضاً مع التأسيسات الدينية والاستعمارية التاريخية، وكذلك مع الحسابات الاستراتيجية المتعلقة بالمنافسة العالمية على موارد وثروات الوطن العربي. من هذا المنطلق تعكس الصفقة في جوهرها التصور الأميركي الإسرائيلي لحلّ القضية الفلسطينية. فلا تشير إلى شريك فلسطيني وإنما إلى شريك عربي، ولا هي معروضة للتفاوض وإنما للتطبيق. وهذا التطوّر يشير أولاً، إلى أنّ الحاجة إلى الفلسطينيين في بلورة هذا التصوّر لم تعد ضرورية. وثانياً، إنّ كلّ مسارات التسوية والتفاوض حول قضاياها كاللاجئين والدولة والقدس والحدود والأمن أصبحت من زمن سابق، وحتى مرجعية الأمم المتحدة وقراراتها لم تعد ذا بال. قبل هذه الصفقة يمكن الإشارة إلى أنّ مركب التآمر لحذف فلسطين من الجغرافيا والتاريخ، وإنهاء القضية الفلسطينية كقضية إنسانية عربية إسلامية مرت بصياغات أربع:

الأولى: سياسة الاستعمار البريطاني المتمثلة بتصريح بلفور عام 1917.

الثانية: إجراءات الأمم المتحدة التي أوصت بترسيخ شرعية الاحتلال عبر قرار التقسيم 181.

الثالثة: استخدام القوة الخشنة في محاولات فرض الوقائع الجغرافية الإحلالية عبر النار أعوام 1973 -1967 – 1956 – 1948.

الرابعة: مسارات التسوية التي هدفت إلى تحويل الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي من صراع وجود إلى نزاع حدود.

لقد كان واضحاً من خلال المسارات التفاوضية مع الفلسطينيين أنّ الولايات المتحدة الأميركية لم تكن من الأساس تدعم مبدأ الحلول التوافقية، فقد مرّت على اتفاقية «أوسلو» ما يقارب 27 عاماً من دون نتيجة على الرغم من إجحافها الكبير بحقوق الفلسطينيين، وإنما هدفت إلى أن تحصل (ربيبتها إسرائيل) على ثمار «التسوية» من دون تقديم استحقاقاته، ورسمت إطاراً سياسياً وجغرافياً جديداً تحت مسمّى «الشرق الأوسط الموسع» في سياق عملية يُستعمل فيها عامل الزمن لتغيير معادلة القوة، وإنتاج بنية نفسية وسياسية يقبل فيها العرب بـ (إسرائيل) كياناً طبيعياً في هذه المنطقة، هذا من جانب، ومن جانب آخر، يصل معها الفلسطينيون إلى حالة اليأس من إمكانية استرداد الأرض التاريخية وحتى أجزاء أساسية منها لبناء دولتهم، بل إنّ الزمن عندما يُستفاد منه، بحسب الرؤية الإسرائيلية، بدرجة قصوى سيدفع الفلسطينيين إلى الإعراض عن كثير من مطالبهم السابقة ومبادئهم التي من أجلها قدّموا الدماء، وحينها سينتزع الصهاينة من الفلسطينيين الاعتراف بشرعية وجودهم. وقد كان ملاحظاً منذ «أوسلو» كيف أنّ إسرائيل كانت تتعمّد شراء الوقت وتصطنع الاتفاق تلو الاتفاق وتخترع البروتوكولات والمذكرات حول أيّ قضية جزئية لتواصل عملية توسعة المستوطنات وشقّ الطرق وتغيير معالم القرى والمدن الفلسطينية وصولاً إلى هذا اليوم الذي لم يعد يحق فيه للفلسطينيين إلا ما هو معروض عليهم من فتات!

إنّ محدّدات هذه الصفقة تاريخياً تنطلق من التالي:

أولاً: الحاجة الملحة لتطهير الأرض من السكان الأصليين عبر عمليات الإبادة والطرد أو العزل الجغرافي. فليس لدى «إسرائيل» سوى معادلة واحدة تقوم على أساس محو الوجود الفلسطيني مادياً ومعنوياً وهوية وانتماء.

ثانياً: العدوان يعتبر خاصية سلوكية أيّ سمة تميّز الشخصية الإسرائيلية العميقة التي تتوثب للعدوان وتتحفز له وتهيّئ مقدّماته ولا تأسف لنتائجه، وعلى امتداد السنين الماضية كانت هذه الشخصية محمية ومدعومة بإطار قانوني إداري يسمح لها بالتعبير عن نفسها حتى لو تخطت كلّ الحدود الأخلاقية والإنسانية والقوانين الدولية.

ثالثاً: السلوك الإسرائيلي في التوّسع وسرقة الأرض وبناء المستوطنات يشير إلى هدف أكثر فساداً من مجرد إرضاء حاجة للأمن، على الرغم من خطورة هذا العامل في السنوات الأخيرة، وهو منع إقامة كيان فلسطيني. فقد كانت المدرسة المتطرفة داخل الكيان تعتبر أنّ مثل هذه «الحلول الانهزاميّة» سوف تعطي شرعية للفلسطينيين ولو كانت نسبيّة ومحدودة، كذلك من شأنها أن تثبّت الوجود الفلسطيني البشري. فما من تفاهم، بحسب تلك المزاعم، إلا وسينتهي بقنبلة ديمغرافية لا يمكن منع انفجارها في المستقبل!

رابعاً: الصفقة انعكاس لفكرة «البقاء للأقوى». فالمعادلة بين دولة متقدمة (إسرائيل) ومجموعة من البشر المتخلفين (الفلسطينيون) تُثبت انتصاراً للمتمدّنين على المتخلفين بفعل الهوة الحضارية التي تفصل بينهما. فقد آن الأوان لإعلان هذا الانتصار الساحق لدولة إسرائيل المتقدّمة على الصعد التكنولوجية والعسكرية والاقتصادية والصناعية. وهذا الأمر يؤكد صلاحية نظرية داروين البيولوجية التي أكدت على أنّ البقاء للأصلح والأقوى وانطباقها، بحسب المزاعم الإسرائيلية، على الظواهر التاريخية والاجتماعية أيضاً!

خامساً: تشكل الإمكانات التي يمتلكها الكيان الإسرائيلي أمراً هاماً في إطار عملية إدارة الصراع. هو الأقدر والأكفأ على توظيفها واستثمارها بالطريقة التي تحقق له أهدافه.

أي الضغط بها على العدو( العربي أو الفلسطيني) وابتزازه حتى يرضخ بتسليمه لهزيمة لا مفرَّ منها. فالهدف الأقصى هو جعل الأنظمة والجماهير في حالة اقتناع جذرية من أنّ تحدي القوة التي تمثلها إسرائيل مستحيلة!

سادساً: تدني سقف المطالب العربية. فلم يعد النظام الرسمي العربي يريد للفلسطينيين أن يحصلوا حتى على أبسط حقوقهم. عند هذا النظام انتهت القضية. المرحلة هي للتطبيع والتعامل مع الوقائع والموازين بطريقة «واقعية». وهذا ما يريده الصهاينة، أيّ أن يُقرّ العرب أنّ الصراع قد حُسم لصالح «إسرائيل» وأن ليس أمامهم إلا تبني نظرية المنتصرين والاستسلام لترتيبات وإجراءات المرحلة!

لا شك أنّ «صفقة القرن» هي رمز جديد من رموز هزيمة النظام الرسمي العربي، الذي حكم على نفسه بالهزيمة عندما امتنع عن استخدام جزء من وسائله في الوقت الذي صمّم فيه «العدو» على استخدام وسائله كلها.

لكن قوى المقاومة تملك مقاربة مختلفة للمرحلة وإن كانت ضاغطة بتحدياتها. فعلى الرغم من حالة الإحباط التي سرت في نفوس الجماهير من استمرار مسلسل الهزائم والنكبات، فإنّ الضغط يستدعي المزيد من الأمل لا العكس.

ويمكن أن نسجل الملاحظات السريعة التالية:

أولاً: قوى المقاومة تخوض اليوم معركة دفاعية حقيقية على مستوى المنطقة بأسرها، ومع ذلك قد تشتمل أفعالها على حركة هجومية خصوصاً أنّ موقع العدو الدفاعي ليس قوياً جداً بشهادة الخبراء العسكريين الإسرائيليين أنفسهم.

ثانياً: تعمل قوى المقاومة إلى نقل المعركة إلى قلب الضفة الغربية. المكان الذي طلب فيه جمال عبد الناصر من الفلسطينيين «رصاصة واحدة تدوي كلّ يوم» لجعل العدو في حالة استنزاف وهلع وتراجع وجودي.

ثالثاً: الطاقة المعنوية الهائلة التي تمتلكها قوى المقاومة المرتكزة على الإيمان الديني والوطني والقومي. وهي أداة أساسية من أدوات الحرب لا يمكن إغفال أهميتها في حسم الصراع. ولا شك أنّ قوى المقاومة متفوقة في هذا المضمار وهي تحقق من خلال هذه الأداة تناسباً ضرورياً تحتاجه وهي تخوض صراعاً تسعى للفوز به.

رابعاً: جميع خيوط النشاط التاريخي الحضاري مؤدّية إلى الاشتباك. والنشاط هذا لا يهدف إلى تدمير القدرات القتالية للعدو وإنما إلى إزالة العدو من الوجود. إنّ ضخامة هذا التحدي لا يرتبط بسيرورة التطورات والتحولات في المنطقة وإنما تقديراً لنتيجة الاشتباكات المحمومة حالياً على مستوى العالم بأسره.

صفقة القرن تعكس في وجه من وجوهها العملانية مَن استخدم موارده بمهارة وقوة، ومَن تخلّى عن موارده بخفة وسذاجة، فوصل العرب إلى ما وصلوا إليه! لكن في قصتنا، فالأمر لا يُحسب على قاعدة جيش يجابه جيشاً آخر بمجرد اختبار صارم للقوة، وإنما قيمة أيّ فعل تُقاس بالنتائج. أيّ بنتائج الصفقة وتأثيرها الحاسم على مجمل القضية. ويكفي اليوم أن نفحص التأثير الناجم عن تشكل محور المقاومة لنلحظ مخاوف العدو الذي تقترب الهزيمة منه أكثر ما تزايد النشاط العسكري عند هذا المحور ورجحان وقوع الحرب.

هذه المرة نحن لا نعتمد على حاسة سادسة أو مجرد شعور عاطفي زائف بأنّ الصفقة ستموت كما قال الإمام الخامنئي، وإنما على مقدّمات عقلية، وملاحظات منطقية مُشَاهَدة من داخل فلسطين وخارجها، ودلائل متناثرة في فوضى هذا العالم وتناقضاته الواسعة، تدّل على شيء ما. شيء لم نره بعد ولكن متأكدون أنّه آت!

دونالد ترامب وحروب «الأمة المختارة»

توفيق شومان

انقلبت أفكار أبي الطب اليوناني أبقراط (460 ق.م ـ 370 ق.م) رأساً على عقب، حين اجتاح وباء الطاعون بلاد الإغريق في عام 430 ق. م، إذ ربط أبقراط علم الطبابة بالأخلاق وجعلهما متكاملين غير منفصلين، فحين رأى الناس يموتون صرعى الطاعون، قرّر إخراج الطب من عالم مغلق على الكهنة والتوارث والاحتكار، إلى عالم مفتوح لكلّ راغب ومريد ومريض.

بعد هذا الانقلاب ورث أبقراط لقباً إنسانياً سامياً، لعله الأرفع، وغدا يُعرف بأبي الطب في العوالم القديمة والحديثة.

ماذا يمكن أن يُقال عن الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب حين يحظر مستلزمات الوقاية من وباء كورونا عن إيران أو يحجرها عن الإيرانيين؟

الرئيس ترامب يقول إنه يخوض حروبه ويمارس سياساته في الخارج والداخل وفقاً لـ «مشيئة الله».

هكذا قال عن حربه التجارية مع الصين، فـ «الله اختارني لخوض هذه الحرب وإنجاز هذه المهمة».

وهكذا قال في تجمع انتخابي مع الإنجيليين قبل فترة قصيرة فـ «الله يقف إلى جانبنا وكلّ مذبح شيطاني يُرفع ضدّنا سيسقطه الله».

وقال مراراً وتكراراً إنّ إيران تقود «محور الشر».

هذا الخطاب الإيمانيّ ـ القدريّ وفقاً لتأويلات المستوطنين الأميركيين الأوائل، وعلى الرغم من مخالفته الصريحة لما تورده الأناجيل المقدّسة عن السيد المسيح وقوله على سبيل المثال: «إن ألقيتم السلام على إخوانكم وحدهم، فأيّ زيادة تفعلون؟ أوَليس الوثنيون يفعلون ذلك؟»، أو قوله: «إن أحببتم من يحبكم فأيّ أجر لكم؟»، فإنه يعيد إلقاء الضوء على مفهوم «الأمة الرسالية وأرض الميعاد» التي أسبغها أوائل الأميركيين على أنفسهم، واعتبارهم الأرض الأميركية المكتشفة حديثاً منحة من الله بهدف إقامة «الأمة الفاضلة».

قليل من التاريخ المعاصر والقريب قد يفيد:

أكثر الكتب المعروفة على المستوى العالمي، تناول نشوء الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، كتاب للفرنسي ألكسيس دو توكفيل (1805ـ 1859) بعنوان «الديمقراطية في أميركا» يقول فيه إنّ مؤرّخ السنوات الأولى للولايات المتحدة ناثانيل مورتون كتب عن مستوطنة «نيو إنيجلند» فقال: «إنه لواجب مقدس علينا، نحن الذين نال آباؤهم كثيراً من نعم الله، بإلهامهم إنشاء هذه المزرعة، أن نقوم بتخليد ذكراها، حتى نبيّن للأجيال المقبلة أنّ الواجب عليهم أن يحمدوا الله على ما أتاهم، وكيف أمر الله بنقل هذه الكروم وغرسها في الصحراء، وكيف طرد الوثنيين منها»، وفي الفترة نفسها كتب فرنسيس هيجنسون قائلاً: «نحن هنا نعلم الدين الحق والوصايا المقدسة، ولا نشك أن الله معنا، وحين يكون الله معنا، فمن يستطيع أن يكون ضدنا؟».

مثل هذه الكتابات المتحوّلة إلى عقيدة لدى شريحة من المستوطنين الأميركيين، ستجد لها مماثلات عدة في كتاباتهم وعقائدهم وممارسات أصحاب القرار السياسي والاقتصادي، وبحسب فرانك لامبرت في كتابه «الدين في السياسة الأميركية» أنّ أقوى الأساطير في الثقافة الشعبية الأميركية «أن الله اختار البراري الأميركية لإنزال نعمه عليها»، ويعتبر جاي باريني في كتابه «أرض الميعاد» أنّ من بين الكتب الثلاثة عشر التي غيّرت أميركا وشكلت عقلها الجمعي، كتاب لماري آنتين عن «أرض الميعاد» (1912)، وهو كتاب يحتلّ مكانة مرموقة في الثقافة الأميركية العامة، وعلى ما يقول ألمع المؤرّخين الأميركيين في القرن العشرين دانيال بورستين (1914ـ 2004) في كتابه الذائع الصيت «الأميركيون» إن جماعات من المهاجرين الآوائل كان لديها اليقين بأنها تسير على «الصراط المستقيم لبناء صهيون جديدة في الأرض الأميركية الجديدة».

قد يصعب حصر الكتابات والمؤلفات المتحدثة عن «الرسالية الأميركية»، غير أنّ هذه «الرسالية» كما يصفها ميشال بوغنون ـ موردان في كتاب «أميركا التوتاليتارية» أدّت بالولايات المتحدة إلى انتهاج سلوك سياسي على المستوى العالمي انطلاقاً من قاعدة إيديولوجية تقوم على محورين:

ـ الأول: الاقتناع بأنّ الولايات المتحدة مكلفة برسالة إلهية.

ـ الثاني: الاقتناع بأنّ تنفيذ هذه الرسالة يستلزم استخدام كلّ الوسائل بلا تحريم.

هنا بالضبط، يمكن العثور على خلفيات «تحريم» دونالد ترامب تزويد الإيرانيين بالوسائل الطبية المفترضة أو الإفراج عن أموالهم المجمّدة.

ومن هنا بالضبط يمكن فهم ما قالته المتحدثة باسم وزارة الخارجية الأميركية مورغان أورتاغوس ـ قبل تفشي وباء كورونا في الولايات المتحدة: «إننا نرى قادة إيرانيين يموتون»، وكذلك تصريح وزير التجارة الأميركية ويلبر روس حين قال: إنّ تفشي فيروس كورونا في الصين قد يفيد الاقتصاد الأميركي وينعش فرص العمل في الولايات المتحدة.

كلّ هذا يعيد عقارب إيديولوجيا الرؤساء الأميركيين إلى الوراء بعض الشيء:

ـ الرئيس بنيامين فرانكلين (1706ـ 1790) وقوله: إنّ مصلحة أميركا هي مصلحة الإنسانية.

ـ الرئيس جون آدامز (1735ـ 1826) حيث يقول: أميركا هي وطن وأرض السعادة البشرية.

تلك شواهد من الماضي البعيد نسبياً

ماذا عن الماضي المعيش والحاضر؟

المفكر الأميركي فرانسيس فوكويوما صاحب الكتاب الشهير «نهاية التاريخ»، يقول في كتاب له بعنوان «أميركا على المفترق» إنّ الأميركيين رأوا في هزيمة ألمانيا واليابان في الحرب العالمية الثانية «نتيجة أخلاقية» وأنّ كثيرين منهم أدرجوا الحرب الأميركية على العراق في عام 1991 في سياق «الهيمنة الخيّرة التي تقدّم خيراً كونياً عاماً».

ينقل رئيس التحرير الأسبق لصحيفة «الحياة» جهاد الخازن في كتابه: «المحافظون الجدد والمسيحيون الصهيونيون» أنّ الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس قال له نقلاً عن الرئيس الأميركي الأسبق جورج بوش الإبن: «إنّ الله أمره بمحاربة حركة طالبان وبقتال الرئيس العراقي صدام حسين».

آنذاك قال الرئيس بوش أيضاً: إنّ النصر حتمي في هذه الحرب لأنّ الله يقف إلى جانب قوى الخير التي تمثلها الولايات المتحدة».

الرئيس بوش قال: إنّ الله يقف إلى جانب أميركا، تماماً كما قال الرئيس ترامب: «إنّ الله يقف إلى جانبنا» في المجمع الانتخابي الإنجيلي، كما سبق القول.

ومثلما قال ترامب في المجمع نفسه: «كلّ مذبح شيطاني يُرفع ضدّنا سيسقطه الله»، كان قاله فرنسيس هيجنسون قبل مئتي عام: «لا نشك أنّ الله معنا، وحين يكون الله معنا، فمن يستطيع أن يكون ضدّنا؟».

القناعة نفسها والمفردات نفسها كأنها صراط لغوي واحد، وهو الأمر عينه الذي أبدع به الرئيس الأميركي رونالد ريغان في ولايتيه الرئاسيتين (1981ـ1989)، وإليه يعود سبق تقسيم العالم إلى فسطاطين: محور الشر ومحور الخير، علماً أنّ عتبة ولايته الرئاسية الثانية كانت بدأت تشهد تفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي، ومع ذلك أخذه الإصرار إلى العقيدة الفسطاطية، والهدف من ذلك التأكيد على «خيرية» الولايات المتحدة ونصرة الله لها على أعدائها الأشرار، فهي «الأمة الطاهرة»، ولذلك يجب تعميم هذه «الطهرانية» على كلّ مفاصل الدولة الأميركية، فـ «الرب ألزمهم بذلك، وأنّ من واجبهم أن يطيعوا أمر الرب»، مثلما ورد في كتاب كيمبرلي بلاكر المعنون بـ «أصول التطرّف اليميني في أميركا».

تقدّم القول إنّ حروب الولايات المتحدة لا تعرف التحريم كما قال ميشال بوغنون ـ موردان، وفي ذلك تقول جين كيركباتريك السفيرة الأميركية لدى الأمم المتحدة في عهد الرئيس ريغان في كتاب حرّره آرون سيلزر بعنوان «المحافظون الجدد» وأورد فيه مقالات ومحاضرات لرئيسي الوزاء البريطانيين الأسبقين مارغريت تاتشر وطوني بلير ووزيرة الخارجية الأميركية السابقة كوندوليزا رايس وآخرين: «إنّ من شأن الدفاع عن مصلحتنا القومية ألا يكون مرتبطاً عضوياً بالدفاع عن حقوق الإنسان أو أيّ قضية أخرى جديرة أخلاقياً».

في هذا الكلام لجين كيركباتريك، يتمّ التقاط أبعاد أخرى في الحروب الأميركية على العالم، ومن ضمنها الحرب الدوائية والمالية على إيران، فطالما أنّ هذه الحروب تصبّ في مصلحة الولايات المتحدة، فهي «حروب خيّرة»، حتى لو رآها كلّ العالم مغايرة لذلك، فإيديولوجيا الخير حصرية بالمكان والزمان الأميركيين، وما يقوله الآخرون لغو وشطط.

هو تعريف غير مسبوق للخير.

تعريف يستند إلى المصلحة الذاتية والنفعية وليست المصلحة الإنسانية.

ولكن من الإنصاف القول إنّ الحرب الدوائية والمالية على إيران، بالرغم من كونها تتخذ واقعاً أكثر سفوراً في جانبه غير الأخلاقي، إلا أنّ سياسات التطرف الأميركي، لم تبق ولم تَذَر أحداً، لا روسيا ولا الصين، ولا حتى الحليف الأوروبي العجوز كما وصفه الرئيس ترامب ذات مرة، ونقاش «الحرب الباردة» بين الولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الأوروبي مفتوح على جوانب عدة منذ تسعينيات القرن العشرين، ولعلّ كتاب «الفردوس والقوة» لروبرت كيغن، والذي خرج من المطابع في عام 2003، يشكل نموذجاً صارخاً لنمط التفكير الأميركي تجاه القارة الأوروبية.

هي «الأمة الخيّرة» كما اعتقد بها الأميركيون السابقون والأميركيون اللاحقون ومن ضمنهم الرئيس ترامب.

هذه «الأمة» ماذا تريد؟

هذه «الأمة» تريد كلّ شيء: أن تكون القوة العسكرية الأقوى ـ أن تكون الاقتصاد الأقوى ـ أن تكون مركز المال والأعمال ـ أن تتجاوز الأمم المتحدة ولا تأبه لقراراتها (نموذج صفقة القرن) ـ أن تقبض على صندوق النقد والبنك الدوليّين ـ أن تهيمن على منظمة التجارة العالمية ـ أن تنسحب من اتفاقية المناخ ـ أن تخوض حروباً نفطية ومالية ودوائية ويميل نحوها الآخرون حيث تميل، وكلّ ذلك تحت شعار «أميركا أولاً» لأنها «الأمة المختارة».

كيف هي «مختارة»؟ ويقودها الرئيس ترامب ومن «أقواله المأثورة»:

ـ منافستي على الرئاسة هيلاري كلينتون محتالة ـ رئيسة مجلس النواب نانسي بيلوسي جرو مريض ـ وزير خارجيتي ريكس تيلرسون كان كسولاً وغبياً ـ وزير دفاعي جيمس ماتيس وقح وسيّئ أجبرته على الاستقالة ـ مستشاري للأمن القومي جون بولتون شحاذ ومتسوّل ـ «نيويورك تايمز» كذابة ـ «وول ستريت جونال» غير شريفة.

تقول صحيفة «واشنطن بوست» (1ـ 1ـ 2019) في تحليل لمواقف وتصريحات الرئيس ترامب: «إنه كذب 5600 كذبة في عام 2018، وبمعدل 15 كذبة في اليوم الواحد».

لم يتمّ تحليل مواقف الرئيس ترامب في عام 2019، بسبب انشغال الصحافة الأميركية بجائحة كورونا في عام 2020، إلا أنّ هذه الصحافة نقلت عنه مواقف وتغريدات في غاية السوء، ومنها: «أودّ أن أرى الكنائس تكتظ بجمهور المصلين، في عيد الفصح فهذا سيحرك اقتصادنا».

هو يعلم أنّ جائحة كورونا مستمرة، ومع ذلك يدعو الناس إلى الموت. يدعو كبار السنّ إلى القبور.

ما لم يقله ترامب حرفياً، قاله نصيره في الحزب الجمهوري، جيف دان باتريك، نائب حاكم ولاية تكساس، حيث دعا المعمّرين والكبار في السنّ لأن يضحّوا بأنفسهم إنقاذاً للاقتصاد والأحفاد!

«قادة مختارون» لـ «أمة مختارة» يحجبون الدواء عن الناس في إيران، و»قادة مختارون» لـ «أمة مختارة» يدعون إلى ترك كبار السن في بلادهم في عراء الموت!

هؤلاء «القادة المختارون»: هل قرأوا ما قاله السيد المسيح: «أكرم أباك وأمك كما أوصاك الرب… أكرم أباك وأمك كي تطول أيامك»؟

هؤلاء «القادة المختارون»: هل يقرأون الأناجيل المعروفة أم يقرأون أناجيل غير معروفة؟

في أية أناجيل يقرأون…؟

Sayyed Nasrallah Salutes Healthcare Team, Calls for Joining “Union of Hearts”

Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah

Sara Taha Moughnieh

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah called upon Muslims around the world to participate in the “Union of Hearts” campaign which will take place Wednesday 8:30 pm, the eve of 15th Shaaban, and the supplications that will be recited are the seventh supplication in As-Sahifa Al-Sajjadiyya “O He through whom…” and the Supplication of Preservation “Allahuma kun li-waliyyik…”.

In a speech he delivered Tuesday night in which he tackled the latest developments on the health and cultural levels, Sayyed Nasrallah also talked about the coming Islamic occasion, the birth of Imam Mahdi on the 15th of Shaaban.

His eminence initiated his speech by sending a message of gratitude to the healthcare team for all their efforts in fighting the Coronovirus. He addressed them with the same words he addressed the mujahedeen with in July 2006 war, considering that they are fighting a life threatening enemy just as the mujahedeen did in the war against the Israeli enemy back then.

Sayyed Nasrallah further assured that the battle against this virus is humanitarian in the first place and it is not related to any religion, political side, or race.

His statement came in response to a letter he received from the Muslim Doctors Committee which included “…We are where you want us to be… We vow to defend our people with our souls – which is under your leadership – and become idols in sacrifice, firmness, courage and scientific qualification…”.

On another level, Sayyed Nasrallah remembered the great martyred Imam Sayyed Mohammad Baqer Al-Sadr and his sister Bint-Alhuda as today marks the day of their martyrdom.

His eminence brought back quotes in which Imam Al-Sadr expressed full faith in Imam Khomeini’s leadership, as well as his spiritual and influential role in establishing the resistance movements.

Moving on to the main topic of his speech, the 15th of Shaaban, Sayyed Nasrallah stated a hadeeth by Imam Mohammad Al-Baqer (as) in which he said that the eve of the 15th of Shaaban was the best eve after Al-Qadr stressing that “we need to focus our prayers on this eve for all our supplications regarding both this life and the afterlife.”

Sayyed Nasrallah referred to the presence of the savior in all the religious books but under different names {And We have already written in the book [of Psalms] after the [previous] mention that the land is inherited by My righteous servants} Al-Anbiya:105.

“They are the virtuous, faithful ones who never oppress… they are the people of knowledge, awareness and responsibility…” he said.

“The term “will inherit the land” is present in the “Book of Psalm” 37:9, 37:11, 37:22, and 37:29,” his eminence added.

Sayyed Nasrallah further explained that while all the religions agree on the awaited arrival of a savior, they disagree on his identity.

The Jews believe he is Jesus, but not Jesus, son of Lady Mary (as), who had come in the past and they hurt… The Christians believe in the return of Jesus, son of Mary (as)… and Muslims believe in the return of two men, first is from the children of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), and he is Imam Mahdi (as) and second is Jesus Christ (as) son of Mary (as).

Sayyed Nasrallah assured that people must have awareness today, specifically due to presence of social media which helps in spreading false information much faster, and must not believe everything published concerning quotes and references about the current situation that are far from reality.

“It is true that we are in the end of time, but the end of time could be tens or hundreds or thousands of years. It is said that Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) is the prophet of the end of time,” his eminence asserted.
Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that none of the signs of the arrival of Imam Mahdi (as) set a specific timing for his appearance except for one which is the “Heavenly Cry” (Assayha). It is a call by Gabriel (as) from the sky in which he announces the arrival of Imam Mahdi (as), and every human being – without any exception – will hear this call with the language that he understands. This is the only clear sign that puts a timing for Imam Mahdi’s arrival, which is shortly after it.

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah assured that “the more the crises increase the more people of all religions believe that the arrival of a savior is approaching,” adding that “there is no doubt that what is happening today is strange and it had never happened before that 4 billion people all around the world are in quarantine in their homes…”

Yet, he stressed that it is religiously prohibited to put or expect a specific timing for the appearance of the savior because this will only have negative consequences on the faith level of those who expected it to be close in case the arrival did not occur.

In conclusion, his eminence assured that humanity will arrive on its own to what God has drawn.
“Humanity will arrive on its own and not with the power of weapons. As an outcome of all the wars, viruses, hunger, oppression… humanity will get tired, and with the fall of the ideologies, intellectual systems and cultures, humanity will give up on any solution offered by people, so they will return to God. Then, God will allow those (saviors) to appear.”

Source: Al-Manar

الكسندر دوغين فيلسوف الجيل الرابع

سبتمبر 28, 2019

ناصر قنديل

تشكل الجيل الأول للفلاسفة المعاصرين بعد الجيلين الإغريقي والإسلامي، أمثال سقراط وأرسطو وأفلاطون، وابن رشد والغزالي وابن عربي وابن خلدون، في ألمانيا وفرنسا بالتوازي مع صعود الثورة الصناعية. وظهر أمثال روسو وفولتير وكانت وهيغل وكثيرون من ورائهم يبشّرون بالفلسفة كخلفية للعلم والسياسة والاقتصاد والعلوم الإنسانية. وجاء الجيل الثاني مع كارل ماركس وفريدريك أنغلز وفلاديمير لينين وروزا لوكسمبورغ وليون تروتسكي يتوزّعون بين ألمانيا وروسيا، ليتشكل الجيل الثالث من فرنسا مجدداً في محاولات لرد الروح للفلسفة كمرجعية للسياسة والاستراتيجية، بمفهوم النظرية الكاملة، القادرة على تشكيل معادلات تصلح في العلوم الإنسانية والتطبيقية وفي قراءة التاريخ وصناعة السياسة وإدارة الاقتصاد، فكان جون بول ساتر ولويس التوسير.

بقيت الليبرالية التي شكلت عنوان صعود الثورة الصناعية بلا فلسفة، تصرّ على اعتماد البراغماتية التي تأسست على معادلات الواقعية والتجريبية والبحث عن المصلحة، وعند انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي، وسيادة نظرية نهاية الفلسفة، دخلت الليبرالية على عالم الفلسفة، فكان صموئيل هنتنغتون ونظرية صدام الحضارات، وفرانسو فوكوياما ونهاية التاريخ، لتعلن الليبرالية اكتمال مهمتها بالتزامن بين السيطرة على العالم الواقعي والسيطرة على الفلسفة أو الانتقام منها، خصوصاً أن الفلسفة الوحيدة التي قيّض لها أن تبني نموذجها السياسي والاقتصادي كانت الماركسية بنسختيها اللينينة والماوية. وقد تسنى لليبرالية أن تحسم معركتها مع واحدة وراحت تستعدّ للبطش بالثانية.

تشكل من ثلاثي قطبه الأول انتصار الثورة الإيرانية عام 1979 ونموذجها المنتمي للخلفية الإسلامية وبروح ثوريّة عالية، وقطبه الثاني انتصار المقاومة التي مثلها حزب الله على كيان الاحتلال لمرتين وهو الكيان الذي يختزن كل مصادر قوة الغرب السياسية والاقتصادية والعسكرية والثقافية ويشكل طليعته المتقدّمة في الحوض الآسيوي الأفريقي، وقطبه الثالث صمود نموذج الدولة الوطنية المستقلة القائمة على اقتصاد وطني ونظام خدمات صحي وتعليمي شبه مجاني، الذي قدّمته سورية بوجه مشاريع العولمة المتوحشة وجوهرها الخصخصة، مصادر لرسم استراتيجية نهوض روسيا على يد فلاديمير بوتين، لينتكس مشروع نهاية التاريخ ونهاية الفلسفة. وفي منتصف الطريق مع الحرب التي شنت على سورية في قلب السعي للتقرب من موسكو وبكين، والسعي لإطلاق رصاصة الرحمة عليهما كقوتين عالميتين، بعد الفوز باسترداد أوروبا من بوابة حرب اليوغوسلافيا، وتطويعها في حرب العراق، كان اللقاء الروسي مع قوى المثلث الجديد الصاعد الذي يثبت قدرته وأهليته على تحدي زعامة القرن الحادي والعشرين التي بشّر بها المحافظون الجدد، كعنوان للهيمنة الأميركية الكاملة على العالم، وعبر النهوض الروسي كان الاستشعار الصيني لضرورة مواجهة الخطر، لكن السياسة بقيت دون فلسفة، تفسّر التاريخ وترسم مستقبل الصراع بأدوات غير سياسية، وغير براغماتية. يحاول الفيلسوف وأستاذ التاريخ الروسي إطلاق موجة جديدة في الثقافة والفكر داعياً لفلسفة جديدة، لا يدّعي امتلاك مفاتيحها بتواضع الأساتذة الكبار، لكنه يعتبرها حاجة ملحة لمنح معنى حقيقي لمشروع مواجهة الهيمنة، والاستعداد لمنازلة الليبرالية التي يراها تحتضر كمدرسة فلسفية، تعجز عن الإجابة على تساؤلات قامت هي بوضع أسسها، حتى باتت سمتها الأصلية هي اللاليبرالية، وتحوّلت إلى ما يشبه فرق التبشير الديني والعنصري التي شهدتها القرون الوسطى، ويُعيد دوغين الاعتبار للجغرافيا السياسية في حديثه عن البعد الأوراسي، وينبش تاريخ الأعراق والأديان، لتفسير تلاقي الكتلة التاريخية للأوروآسيوية، متطلعاً لنظام متعدّد الأقطاب يُعيد لكتابته عنه والتنظير له الدور في جعله منتجاً سياسياً روسياً في التداول، لكنه يراه ضبابياً يحتاج لمزيد من التوضيح، والتحديد، وأسس التشكيل.

يفتح دوغين نظريته عن الحقيقة الرابعة كمدخل للنقاش حول الفلسفة الجديدة، حيث يقول، مقابل الليبرالية خصمان تتقن منازلتهما هما الشيوعية والفاشية، فكل ما ليس ليبرالي هو فاشي أو شيوعي، ومصدر ارتباكها اليوم أنها لا تتقاتل مع شيوعيين ولا مع فاشيين، بل مع الناس وحاجاتهم الطبيعية للكرامة والاستقلال والحق بالعيش الكريم. والناس ليست تعبيراً عابراً عند دوغين، بل هي مفردة يصر دوغين على تمييزها عن مفاهيم الوطنية والعرقية التي أسست للفاشية، أو الفرد الذي تقيم الليبرالية هندستها الفكرية على محوريّته، أو الطبقة التي تتشكل منها قاعدة النظرية الشيوعية. والحقيقة الرابعة هي حقيقة مناهضي مشروع الهيمنة، بالاستناد إلى حقائق قائمة وصارخة تجمعهم، وهم ليسوا ليبراليين ولا فاشيين ولا شيوعيين، عليهم الانطلاق من هذا التعريف السلبي لجمعهم التاريخي، باباً لصياغة تعريف إيجابي، قادر على تفسير التاريخ ويلاقي الحركات المناهضة للمشروع الليبرالي في الغرب نفسه.

في الغرب معركة ضروس ضد دوغين، مقالات في الواشنطن بوست والنيويورك تايمز، وحظر كتبه في أمازون، وتهجّمات عليه كعنصري وفاشي وشيوعي في آن واحد، ورأس بوتين الجديد، تلميحاً لقربه من الرئيس بوتين، ولدور راسبوتين كاهن العهد القيصري، ويخشى الكثيرون من المتابعين في منطقتنا من تركيز دوغين على تاريخ الإمبراطوريات كأرضيّة للعالم الجديد بنيت ركائزها في العالم القديم، بصورة قد تضعه في حال وهم حول دور تركيا أو سعي لاستنهاض حركات أصولية دينية من نوع جديد،، كركيزة لمعادلات العالم الجديد، لكن دوغين ينفي تمسكه بأي تعصب نظري، مؤكداً انفتاحه على أي أجوبة وتحديدات قابلة للفوز في تقديم التفسيرات والوصفات الأكثر غنى ودقة، معتبراً أن المهمة مطروحة على جمع فلسفي ونخبوي مناضل، يجب أن يولد من قلب هذه الجبهة المقاتلة بوجه مشروع الهيمنة.

في بعض قراءات دوغين قد تحسّ بعضاً من نبض أنطون سعاده، سواء لجهة الارتكاز على تاريخ تشكل الجماعات الإنسانية في أمم تاريخية، رغم تمسكه بالبعد الإسلامي لحضارة شعوب الشرق، أو لجهة دعوته لرفض وضع الفلسفة والدين في مواجهة يراها مفتعلة، واعتباره لمفهوم الدولة كصيغة للحكم قادراً على الجمع بين التصالح مع الديانات التي تفقد بدونها الشعوب روحها وذاكرتها، وبين الإطلالة على كل مخرجات العلم الحديث، لتجديد ماهية وكيفية إدارة شؤون الحكم بين الناس بمعزل عن دياناتهم، داعياً للتساؤل الجدي حول صلاحية الديمقراطية كأساس لشكل نظام الحكم الجديد، دون ادعاء امتلاك البديل. الفيلسوف بعرف دوغين هو صاحب أسئلة، والمناضلون أصحاب أجوبة عملية في جبهات الاشتباك، والمؤرخون يصوغون النظريات من وحي حركات الصراع كأجوبة قادرة على حمل تفسير للتاريخ ووصفة للمستقبل.

في اللقاء الذي جمعنا في زيارته لصحيفة البناء ، قدّم دوغين نموذجاً عن تواضع الفلاسفة، وشرحاً للكثير من معتقداته وقناعاته، وجذبنا إلى مشاركته التفكير بصوت عالٍ بحثاً عن أجوبة على الأسئلة الكبرى.

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World at a Crossroads and a System of International Relations for the Future

Source

September 21, 2019

World at a Crossroads and a System of International Relations for the Future

World at a Crossroads and a System of International Relations for the Future” by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for “Russia in Global Affairs” magazine, September 20, 2019

These days, the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly opens up. So does a new international “political season”.

The session begins at a highly symbolic historical moment. Next year we will celebrate two great and interconnected anniversaries – the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic and Second World Wars, and the establishment of the UN.

Reflecting on the spiritual and moral significance of these landmark events, one needs to bear in mind the enormous political meaning of the Victory that ended one of the most brutal wars in the history of mankind.

The defeat of fascism in 1945 had fundamentally affected the further course of world history and created conditions for establishing a post-war world order. The UN Charter became its bearing frame and a key source of international law to this day. The UN-centric system still preserves its sustainability and has a great degree of resilience. It actually is kind of a safety net that ensures peaceful development of mankind amid largely natural divergence of interests and rivalries among leading powers. The War-time experience of ideology-free cooperation of states with different socioeconomic and political systems is still highly relevant.

It is regrettable that these obvious truths are being deliberately silenced or ignored by certain influential forces in the West. Moreover, some have intensified attempts at privatizing the Victory, expunging from memory the Soviet Union’s role in the defeat of Nazism, condemning to oblivion the Red Army’s feat of sacrifice and liberation, forgetting the many millions of Soviet citizens who perished during the War, wiping out from history the consequences of the ruinous policy of appeasement. From this perspective, it is easy to grasp the essence of the concept of expounding the equality of the totalitarian regimes. Its purpose is not just to belittle the Soviet contribution to the Victory, but also to retrospectively strip our country of its historic role as an architect and guarantor of the post-war world order, and label it a “revisionist power” that is posing a threat to the well-being of the so-called free world.

Interpreting the past in such a manner also means that some of our partners see the establishment of a transatlantic link and the permanent implanting of the US military presence in Europe as a major achievement of the post-war system of international relations. This is definitely not the scenario the Allies had in mind while creating the United Nations.

The Soviet Union disintegrated; the Berlin Wall, which had symbolically separated the two “camps,” fell; the irreconcilable ideological stand-off that defined the framework of world politics in virtually all spheres and regions became a thing of the past – yet, these tectonic shifts unfortunately failed to bring the triumph of a unifying agenda. Instead, all we could hear were triumphant pronouncements that the “end of history” had come and that from now on there would be only one global decision-making center.

It is obvious today that efforts to establish a unipolar model have failed. The transformation of the world order has become irreversible. New major players wielding a sustainable economic base seek to increase their influence on regional and global developments; they are fully entitled to claim a greater role in the decision-making process. There is a growing demand for more just and inclusive system. The overwhelming majority of members of the international community reject arrogant neocolonial policies that are employed all over again to empower certain countries to impose their will on others.

All that is greatly disturbing to those who for centuries have been accustomed to setting the patterns of global development by employing exclusive advantages. While the majority of states aspire to a more just system of international relations and genuine rather than declarative respect for the UN Charter principles, these demands come up against the policies desighned to preserve an order allowing a narrow group of countries and transnational corporations to reap from the fruits of globalization. The West’s response to the ongoing developments reveals true worldview of its proponents. Their rhetoric on liberalism, democracy and human rights goes hand in hand with the policies of inequality, injustice, selfishness and a belief in their own exceptionalism.

“Liberalism”, that the West claims to defend, focuses on individuals and their rights and freedoms. This begs the question: how does this correlate with the policy of sanctions, economic strangulation and overt military threats against a number of independent countries such as Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea or Syria? Sanctions directly strike at ordinary people and their well-being and violate their social and economic rights. How does the bombing of sovereign nations, the deliberate policy of destroying their statehood leading to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and condemning millions of Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians and representatives of other peoples to innumerable suffering add up to the imperative of protecting human rights? The reckless Arab Spring gamble destroyed the unique ethnic and religious mosaic in the Middle East and North Africa.

In Europe, the proponents of liberal concepts get along quite well with massive violations of the Russian-speaking population rights in a number of EU and EU-neighboring countries. Those countries violate multilateral international conventions by adopting laws that infringe language and education rights of ethnic minorities.

What is “liberal” about visa denials and other sanctions imposed by the West on residents of Russia’s Crimea? They are punished for their democratic vote in favour of reunification with their historical homeland. Does this not contradict the basic right of the people to free self-determination, let alone the right of the citizens to freedom of movement enshrined in international conventions?

Liberalism, or rather its real undistorted essence, has always been an important component of political philosophy both in Russia and worldwide. However, the multiplicity of development models does not allow us to say that the Western “basket” of liberal values has no alternative. And, of course, these values cannot be carried “on bayonets” – ignoring the history of states, their cultural and political identities. Grief and destruction caused by “liberal” aerial bombings are a clear indication of what this can lead to.

The West’s unwillingness to accept today’s realities, when after centuries of economic, political and military domination it is losing the prerogative of being the only one to shape the global agenda, gave rise to the concept of a “rules-based order.” These “rules” are being invented and selectively combined depending on the fleeting needs of the people behind it, and the West persistently introduces this language into everyday usage. The concept is by no means abstract and is actively being implemented. Its purpose is to replace the universally agreed international legal instruments and mechanisms with narrow formats, where alternative, non-consensual methods for resolving various international problems are developed in circumvention of a legitimate multilateral framework. In other words, the expectation is to usurp the decision-making process on key issues.

The intentions of those who initiated this “rules-based order” concept affect the exceptional powers of the UN Security Council. A recent example: when the United States and its allies failed to convince the Security Council to approve politicized decisions that accused, without any proof, the Syrian government of using prohibited toxic substances, they started to promote the “rules” they needed through the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). By manipulating the existing procedures in flagrant violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, they managed (with the votes of a minority of the countries participating in this Convention) to license the OPCW Technical Secretariat to identify those responsible for the use of chemical weapons, which was a direct intrusion in the prerogatives of the UN Security Council. One can also observe similar attempts to “privatize” the secretariats of international organizations in order to advance interests outside of the framework of universal intergovernmental mechanisms in such areas as biological non-proliferation, peacekeeping, prevention of doping in sports and others.

The initiatives to regulate journalism seeking to suppress media freedom in an arbitrary way, the interventionist ideology of “responsibility to protect”, which justifies violent “humanitarian interventions” without UN Security Council approval under the pretext of an imminent threat to the safety of civilians are part of the same policy.

Separately, attention should be paid to the controversial concept of “countering violent extremism”, which lays the blame for the dissemination of radical ideologies and expansion of the social base of terrorism on political regimes that the West has proclaimed undemocratic, illiberal or authoritarian. This concept provides for direct outreach to civil society over the head of legitimate governments. Obviously, the true goal is to withdraw counterterrorism efforts from beneath the UN umbrella and to obtain a tool of interference in the internal affairs of states.

The introduction of such new concepts is a dangerous phenomenon of revisionism, which rejects the principles of international law embodied in the UN Charter and paves the way back to the times of confrontation and antagonism. It is for a reason that the West is openly discussing a new divide between “the rules-based liberal order” and “authoritarian powers.”

Revisionism clearly manifests itself in the area of strategic stability. The US torpedoing first the ABM Treaty and now the INF Treaty (a decision that enjoys unanimous NATO members’ support) have generated risks of dismantling the entire architecture of nuclear arms control agreements. The prospects of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (The New START) are vague – because the US has not given a clear answer to the Russian proposal to agree to extend the New START beyond its expiry date in February 2021.

Now we are witnessing alarming signs that a media campaign in the United States is being launched to lay the groundwork for abandoning the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (which has not been ratified by the United States). This calls into question the future of this treaty, which is vital for international peace and security. Washington has embarked upon the implementation of its plans to deploy weapons in outer space, rejecting proposals to agree on a universal moratorium on such activities.

There is one more example of introducing revisionist “rules”: the US withdrawal from the  Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program, a multilateral agreement approved by the UN Security Council that is of key importance for the nuclear non-proliferation.

Yet another example is Washington’s open refusal to implement unanimous UN Security Council resolutions on the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the economic field, the “rules” consist of protectionist barriers, sanctions, abuse of the status of the US dollar as the principle means of payment, ensuring competitive advantages by non-market methods, and extraterritorial use of US laws, even towards the United States’ closest allies.

At the same time, our American colleagues are persistently trying to mobilise all of their foreign partners to contain Russia and China. Simultaneously they do not conceal their wish to sow discord between Moscow and Beijing and undermine multilateral alliances and regional integration projects in Eurasia and Asia-Pacific that are operating outside of the US oversight. Pressure is exerted on those countries that do not play by the rules imposed on them and dare make the “wrong choice” of cooperating with US “adversaries”.

So, what do we have as a result? In politics, erosion of the international legal basis, growth of instability and unsustainability, chaotic fragmentation of the global landscape and deepening mistrust between those involved in the international life. In the area of security, blurring of the dividing line between military and non-military means of achieving foreign policy goals, militarization of international relations, increased reliance on nuclear weapons in US security doctrines, lowering the threshold for the use of such armaments, the emergence of new hotbeds of armed conflicts, the persistence of the global terrorist threat, and militarization of the cyberspace. In the world economy, increased volatility, tougher competition for markets, energy resources and their supply routes, trade wars and undermining the multilateral trade system. We can add a surge of migration and deepening of ethnic and religious strife. Do we need such a “rules-based” world order?

Against this background, attempts by Western liberal ideologues to portray Russia as a “revisionist force” are simply absurd. We were among the first to draw attention to the transformation of the global political and economic systems that cannot remain static due to the objective march of history. It would be appropriate to mention here that the concept of multipolarity in international relations that accurately reflects emerging economic and geopolitical realities was formulated two decades ago by the outstanding Russian statesman Yevgeny Primakov. His intellectual legacy remains relevant now as we mark the 90th anniversary of his birth.

As is evident from the experience of recent years, using unilateral tools to address global problems is doomed to failure. The West-promoted “order” does not meet the needs of humankind’s harmonious development. This “order” is non-inclusive, aims to revise the key international legal mechanisms, rejects the principle of collective action in the relations between states, and by definition cannot generate solutions to global problems that would be viable and stable in the long term rather than seek a propaganda effect within an electoral cycle in this or that country.

What is being proposed by Russia? First of all, it is necessary to keep abreast of the times and recognise the obvious: the emergence of a polycentric world architecture is an irreversible process, no matter how hard anyone tries to artificially hold it back (let alone send it in reverse). Most countries don’t want to be held hostage to someone else’s geopolitical calculations and are determined to conduct nationally oriented domestic and foreign policies. It is our common interest to ensure that multipolarity is not based on a stark balance of power like it was at the earlier stages of human history (for example, in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century), but rather bears a just, democratic and unifying nature, takes into account the approaches and concerns of all those taking part in the international relations without an exception, and ensures a stable and secure future.

There are some people in the West who often speculate that polycentric world order inevitably leads to more chaos and confrontation because the “centers of power” will fail to come to terms among themselves and take responsible decisions. But, firstly, why not try? What if it works? For this, all that is necessary is to start talks on the understanding that the parties should seek a balance of interests. Attempts to invent ones’ own “rules” and impose them on all others as the absolute truth should be stopped. From now on, all parties should strictly comply with the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, starting with the respect for the sovereign equality of states regardless of their size, system of government or development model. Paradoxically, countries that portray themselves as paragons of democracy actually care about it only as they demand from other countries to “put their house in order” on a West-inspired pattern. But as soon as the need arises for democracy in intergovernmental relations, they immediately evade honest talk or attempt to interpret international legal norms at their own discretion.

No doubt, life does not stand still. While taking good care of the post-WWII system of international relations that relies on the United Nations, it is also necessary to cautiously though gradually adjust it to the realities of the current geopolitical landscape. This is completely relevant for the UN Security Council, where, judging by today’s standards, the West is unfairly overrepresented. We are confident that reforming the Security Council shall take into account interests of the Asian, the African and the Latin American nations whilst any such design must rest upon the principle of the broadest consensus among the UN member states. The same approach should apply to refining the world trade system, with special attention paid to harmonizing the integration projects in various regions.

We should use to the fullest the potential of the G20, an ambitious, all-encompassing global governance body that represents the interests of all key players and takes unanimous decisions. Other associations are playing a growing role as well, alliances projecting the spirit of a true and democratic multipolarity, based on voluntary participation, consensus, values of equality and sound pragmatism, and refraining from confrontation and bloc approaches. These include BRICS and the SCO, which our country is an active member of and which Russia will chair in 2020.

It is evident that without collective effort and without unbiased partnership under the central coordinating role of the UN it is impossible to curb confrontational tendencies, build up trust and cope with common threats and challenges. It is high time to come to terms on uniform interpretation of the principles and norms of international law rather than try to follow the old saying “might goes before right”. It is more difficult to broker deals than to put forward demands. But patiently negotiated trade-offs will be a much more reliable vehicle for predictable handling of international affairs. Such an approach is badly needed to launch substantive talks on the terms and conditions of a reliable and just system of equal and indivisible security in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasia. This objective has been declared multiple times at the top level in the OSCE documents. It is necessary to move from words to deeds. The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) have repeatedly expressed their readiness to contribute to such efforts.

It is important to increase our assistance to the peaceful resolution of numerous conflicts, be it in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America or the post-Soviet space. The main point is to live up to the earlier arrangements rather than to invent pretexts for refusing to adhere to the obligations.

As of today, it is especially relevant to counter religious and ethnic intolerance. We urge all the nations to work together to prepare for the World Conference on Interfaith and Inter-Ethnic Dialogue that will be held in Russia in May 2022 under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the UN. The OSCE that has formulated a principled position condemning anti-Semitism should act with equal resolve toward Christianophobia and Islamophobia.

Our unconditional priority is to continue providing assistance to the unhindered formation of the Greater Eurasian Partnership, a broad integration framework stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific that involves the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and all other countries of the Eurasian continent, including the EU countries. It would be unwise to contain the unifying processes or, worse still, to put up fences. It would be a mistake to reject the obvious strategic advantages of the common Eurasian region in an increasingly competitive world.

Consistent movement towards this constructive goal will allow us not only to keep up the dynamic development of the national economies and to remove obstacles to the movement of goods, capital, labor and services, but it will also create a solid foundation of security and stability throughout the vast region from Lisbon to Jakarta.

Will the multipolar world continue to take shape through cooperation and harmonization of interests or through confrontation and rivalry? This depends on all of us. Russia will continue to promote a positive and unifying agenda aimed at removing the old dividing lines and preventing the appearance of new ones. Russia has advanced initiatives to prevent an arms race in outer space, establish efficient mechanisms for combating terrorism, including chemical and biological terrorism, and to agree upon practical measures to prevent the use of cyberspace for undermining national security or for other criminal purposes.

Our proposals to launch a serious discussion on all aspects of strategic stability in the modern era are still on the table.

There have been ideas floated recently to modify the agenda and update the terms. The proposed subjects for discussion vary between “strategic rivalry” and “multilateral deterrence.” Terminology is negotiable, but it is not terms but the essence that really matters. It is now much more important to start a strategic dialogue on the existing threats and risks and to seek consensus on a commonly acceptable agenda. Yet another outstanding statesman from our country, Andrey Gromyko (his 110th birth anniversary we mark this year) said wisely: “Better to have ten years of negotiations than one day of war.”

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العالم في مفترق طرق ونظام العلاقات الدولية من أجل المستقبل

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