Militarization of South America, Coup in Bolivia and Argentina’s rapprochement with the Eurasian powers

Militarization of South America, Coup in Bolivia and Argentina’s rapprochement with the Eurasian powers

By Fabio Reis Vianna for The Saker Blog

On October 29th, the Cycle of Seminars on World Economy Analysis, organized by professors Monica Bruckmann and Franklin Trein, received in the Noble Hall of the IFCS-UFRJ, in Rio de Janeiro, the illustrious presence of the former vice-president of the BRICS Development Bank, Professor Paulo Nogueira Batista.

In the midst of the peculiar moment of social upheavals that are spreading throughout the world, the New Silk Road was discussed, a major Chinese project of geo-economic integration of Eurasia through vast road networks, high-speed trains, gas pipelines, fiber optic cables and ports, and that will benefit millions of people (including Western Europe, and incidentally, the African continent and Latin America itself).

To this end, three institutions created in the orbit of this project would play a key role: the Silk Road Fund, the AIIB (Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank), and the NBD (BRICS Development Bank).

As the Brazilian State is a shareholder and founder of the NDB, many financing projects from this global institution could already have been approved and would be very welcome to the staggering Brazilian economy. However, despite the fact that in recent years, specifically from 2003 to June 2018, Chinese companies have invested almost 54 billion dollars in more than 100 projects, according to data from the Brazilian government itself, as of 2017, investments have fallen sharply.

According to a study by the Brazil-China Business Council (CBBC), Chinese investments in Brazil totaled 8.8 billion dollars in 2017 and no more than 3 billion dollars in 2018. A drop of 66%.

The deepening of the Brazilian framing of the US imperial orbit says a lot about this.

With the institutionalization of the New Defense Strategy of the United States, enacted on December 18, 2017, what had been happening in practice since mid-2012 was made official, with the acceleration of the interstate dispute and the escalation of global competition: the American repositioning in global geopolitical chess in an increasingly aggressive and unilateral manner.

Leaving aside the multilateralist rhetoric promoted over the last century, the Americans, faced with the strengthening of the “revisionist” powers Russia and China – questioners of the American centrality in the use of the rules and institutions created and managed unilaterally throughout the 20th century -, now seek to impose their will, without concessions, on the countries of the so-called Western Hemisphere. This is a region to which the United States rightfully attributes itself to the full exercise of sovereignty, for considering its zone of direct influence, thus inadmitting any contestation to its supremacy, not even any strategic alliance of countries that can create an alternative pole of power; much less in the Southern Cone of the continent.

Thus, the position of total alignment of the current Brazilian government with the interests of the Trump administration is very much related to this framing of the Western Hemisphere to the strategy of containing the expansionism of Eurasian actors.

If the deepening of the Eurasian project and the Sino-Russian strategic partnership – within Mackinder’s theory of heartland control – would already be inadmissible on its own, then the participation of a large Western Hemisphere country as a protagonist of an institution contesting old rules established and regulated by the hegemon would be too much: Brazil had to be separated from Russia and China at all costs, even if for this the country had to bear the price of seeing its institutions destroyed and involved in the labyrinth of a near military closure of the regime.

The last few months have been very hectic in many different parts of the world, particularly in South America.

Even if for not exactly similar reasons, especially in the specific cases of Peru and Bolivia, the popular protests that took place in Ecuador and Chile would have in common the characteristics of an almost natural reaction of self-protection of these societies to neoliberal restrictive policies.

As if it were an old irony of history, at the very moment when we are experiencing the shredding of interstate competition, there emerges a transmission belt spreading over several countries, as distant as they are disparate among themselves, the spark of social protests.

Curiously, this powerful and dangerous combination of social dissatisfaction and the escalation of conflicts between countries, in other periods of history, would end up being configured in that period of transition between the final cycles and of reconfiguration of the great board of the world system.

In view of this, it is important to highlight the risk of a characteristic in common that is gradually emerging in some South American countries: militarization.

With the escalation of global conflicts, the framing of South America to the North American strategy of containment of Eurasian adversaries and in the face of popular agitations to the deterioration of living standards, the lamentable option for the imposition of naked and crude order arises, bringing back to the political scenario of these countries the presence of the military as guarantors of institutional stability.

The region is moving towards a scenario in which elected governments, facing growing internal unrest, would depend on the military to survive.

The recent events in Peru, Ecuador and Chile do not allow us to lie. Apart from the fact that Brazil already lives under the shadow of a veiled military tutelage of its institutions.

The off-curve point of this story is Argentina and the impressive electoral victory of the Peronist opposition (at a time when the use of destabilizing tools has been frequent to interfere in electoral results, as in the case of the mass spread of fake news via Whatsapp in favor of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil).

Against all odds, in a region harassed by increasingly aggressive interference from the United States, Argentina is heading towards the resumption of a project of an autonomous and sovereign nation.

Faced with the successful destruction of the Brazil-Argentina strategic alliance, which had been strengthening since the re-democratization of the two nations in the mid-1980s, Argentina will face the complex challenge of seeking to expand its international insertion without its former Mercosur partner.

Something interesting said by Professor Paulo Nogueira Batista, in the Cycle of Seminars on Analysis of the World Economy, concerns the current Chinese position in the face of the aggressiveness and truculence of the Trump administration: paradoxically, such aggressiveness would be containing the Chinese expansionist impetus of recent years in South America, which, according to the professor, could open great opportunities for the countries of the region to bargain more favorable agreements for the Chinese. With the paralysis of Brazil and its blind alignment with the New Defense Strategy of the United States, Argentina has the opportunity not only to bargain for favorable trade agreements, but also to occupy the space left vacant by Brazil in the Eurasian integration project.

As Professor Paulo Nogueira Batista rightly said, the BRICS, and especially their development bank (NBD), would be heading toward a process of expansion of their participants.

In the new global geopolitical configuration, in which the intensification of the dispute increases the need of competing powers to guarantee their energy security, South America is already seen by many analysts as the new center of gravity of world oil production, replacing the Middle East. The Coup d’état in Bolivia is a very clear sign that the game will tend to be heavier from now on.

As Professor José Luís Fiori, Brazil’s leading expert on geopolitical issues, warned, “Oil is not the cause of all the conflicts in the international system. There is no doubt, however, that the great centralization of power that is underway in the interstate system is also transforming the permanent struggle for energy security of national states into a war between the great powers for the control of the new energy reserves that are being discovered in recent years. A war that is developing hand in hand, and in any corner of the world, be it in the tropical territory of Black Africa or in the icy lands of the Arctic Circle; be it in the turbulent waters of the mouth of the Amazon or in the inhospitable Kamchatka Peninsula”. https://jornalggn.com.br/geopolitica/geopolitica-e-fe-por-jose-luis-fiori/?fbclid=IwAR1IEPB6xbYL9BOpClmpyeUbonPPsIRPP-BQS7L_dqxZI0sr05jTHQ1Av64

Curiously, shortly before the violent classic coup d’état against President Evo Morales, the government of that country had announced plans to nationalize its production of Lithium.

Global demand for Lithium, essential in the production of cell phone batteries, laptops and electric cars, is expected to triple in the next 15 years.

Not coincidentally, Lithium’s world’s largest reserves are in Bolivia.

If this trend is confirmed, there is no other alternative for whale countries like Brazil and Argentina than to take over the South American strategic project at the risk of ending their days fragmented and swallowed up by the interests and disputes of powers outside the region.

For now, it is up to Argentina to walk alone and out of necessity, to expand economic and geopolitical ties with China and Russia because the tendency is for the country to become the target of the next destabilizing campaigns, “fourth generation” wars and economic suffocation caused by the hegemon.

Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor in law, writer and geopolitical analyst. He is currently a columnist in international politics for the printed version of the centennial Brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil.

 

عقوبات ترامب لن تغيّر الموازين وأميركا تفقد الهيمنة على العالم

أكتوبر 18, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

كل المؤشرات الميدانية بالجغرافيا كما بالسياسة تفيد بأن أميركا تفقد السيطرة على النظام العالمي رويداً رويداً والبداية من برّنا وبحرنا..!

وان قيام الرئيس الأميركي بفرض عقوبات على العديد من دول العالم لن يحوِّل الهزيمة الاستراتيجية الأميركية المدوية في غرب آسيا والتي كانت السبب الرئيسي وراء ذلك الى نصر. وذلك للأسباب التالية:

1- إن المشهد الذي نراه الآن، في شمال شرق سورية، ليس نتيجة لعدوان أردوغان على سورية ولعبه على الحبال، وإنما هو جزء من دلالات الهزيمة، التي تلقاها المحور الصهيوأميركي في مسرح عمليات الشرق الاوسط والذي يعتبر أردوغان حلقة من حلقاته. فلا ننسى أن جيش أردوغان ومرتزقته يستخدمون دبابات / إم 60/ الأميركية التي تم تحديثها في إسرائيل ومجموعها 460 دبابة.

2. إن الانسحاب الأميركي من شرق سورية هو أيضاً لم يكن نتيجة لقرار مزاجي اتخذه الرئيس الأميركي، وإنما هو قرار مدروس وانعكاس للهزيمة الاستراتيجية نفسها، المشار إليها أعلاه، ويندرج في إطار توجّهات ترامب لخفض الإنفاق العسكري الأميركي، على صعيد العالم.

وهذا يعني أن الانسحاب من سورية هو الخطوة الأولى لاستكمال الانسحاب من قواعد الجيش الأميركي كافة في المنطقة كلها، بما في ذلك تفكيك القاعدة العسكرية المقامة على أرض فلسطين والمسماة إسرائيل أو التخلي عنها في حال تعرّضها لهجوم مدمر .

1. وفِي هذا الصدد يجب التأكيد على ان الجانب الأميركي لم ولن يقدم أي ضمانات جديدة لـ إسرائيل بعد كل التطورات الدراماتيكية في شمال شرق سورية على وجه الخصوص، ذات البعد الاستراتيجي الدولي، والتي تؤذن ببدء عصر جديد، غير العصر الأميركي، يقوم على قاعدة العالم متعدّد الأقطاب.

2. وخير دليل على الهزيمة الاستراتيجية الأميركية في غرب آسيا هو ما نشرته صحيفة الإندبندنت البريطانية حول قيام الولايات المتحدة بسحب 50 قنبلة نووية / طراز B61 / من قاعدة انجرليك التركية، ونقلها الى قاعدة بوفيدزPowidz في بولندا /200 كم غرب وارسو / وقاعدة كونغالنيسيانو Michail Kongalniciano الرومانية الواقعة على بعد 30 كم إلى الشمال من ميناء كونستانسا الروماني الواقع على الساحل الغربي للبحر الأسود، حسب مصادر استقصاء صحافية متخصصة في هذا المجال.

3. اما دواعي ومسببات هذه الهرولة الأميركية، الى سحب قواتها من غرب آسيا وخفض نفقاتها العسكرية في هذه المنطقة من العالم، فتعود الى المأزق الاستراتيجي الأميركي الحقيقي والمتمثل في التحدي الاقتصادي والعسكري السياسي الصيني الروسي – وقريباً ستنضم إليهما الهند أيضاً – والمتمثل ليس فقط في النمو الاقتصادي الصيني الهائل وإنما في التقدم المرعب لصناعة السلاح الصينية الروسية ومعهما الهندية، والتي تستند الى قاعدة علمية – تكنولوجية تفتقر لها الولايات المتحدة، بسبب إهدار مواردها المالية في جبال طورا بورا افغانستان ورمال الكويت والعراق، في حروب عبثية بينما استثمر الثلاثي أعلاه موارده المالية في التطوير المعرفي العلمي التكنولوجي والذي هو قاعدة الصناعة الحديثة وعالم المستقبل.

وما إيران إلا مثال على نجاح هذه الاستراتيجية، العلم والمعرفة، والتي حوّلت الدولة الى دولة صناعية هامة وعملاق إقليمي في أربعين عاماً فقط.

1. كما لا بدّ أن نتذكر، في هذا السياق، أن أسباب القلق الأميركي من مواجهة العملاق الاقتصادي الصيني، ومعه روسيا والهند مستقبلاً، لا تقتصر على مظاهر القوة الاقتصادية الصينية الروسية الهندية الحاليّة وإنما تصل الى الخوف من الإمكانيات المستقبلية وعدم وجود أي فرصه، لا للولايات المتحدة ولا للاتحاد الأوروبي للإبقاء على سياسة الهيمنة على مقدرات العالم، كما كان عليه الوضع حتى الآن. اذ ان روسيا تمتلك 40 من احتياطات العالم اجمع من كل شيء، سواء النفط او الغاز او المعادن او الثروات الطبيعية الأخرى مثل الخشب… فإذا أضفنا الفائض المالي الصيني وما يعنيه ذلك من إمكانات استثمار هائلة مضافة اليها العقول والأسواق الهندية الى الثروات الروسية، فإننا لا بد ان نصل الى الحقيقة القائلة، بأن استمرار الولايات المتحدة في إنكار الهزيمة والحفاظ على مستوى انتشارها العسكري الحالي، على صعيد العالم، سوف يؤدي الى نهاية الولايات المتحدة بالضربة القاضية وليس بالتفكك التدريجي الذي توقعته مجلة ذي ناشيونال انترست الأميركية، قبل ايّام على موقعها الالكتروني، بتاريخ 12/10/2019، إذ توقعت أن يحصل ذلك في حدود عام 2045.

2. اذن فالأزمة أعمق من أن يحلها نائب الرئيس الأميركي، في زيارة عابرة الى تركيا، ولا هي قابلة للحل من خلال عدوان أردوغان على شمال شرق سورية، والذي من أهم مسبباته محاولة اردوغان إشغال جنرالات الجيش التركي في مشاكل حدودية للتغطية على قيامه باعتقال المئات من زملائهم والزجّ بهم في السجون خلال السنوات الثلاث الماضية.

وهذا يعني أن جوهر المأزق الأميركي هو جوهر بنيوي انعكس في صورة سلسلة هزائم، منذ بداية القرن الحالي وحتى اليوم، وكذلك الأمر في موضوع العلاقة الأميركية. فطبيعة الأزمة اكثر بنيوية من ان تكون أزمة او خلافاً بسبب موضوع محدد، مثل العدوان الأردوغاني على سورية او شراء منظومات الصواريخ الروسية او غير ذلك.

إنها أزمة خيارات تشير الى أن تركيا قد تكون بدأت تخط استراتيجية جديدة لتنجو بجلدها وتضمن مستقبلها بعيداً عن النهاية القاتمة للمعسكر الذي تنتمي له. وقد يكون هذ اهو السبب بالذات، الذي جعلها لم تعد محل ثقة الولايات المتحدة، التي ترى في التوجهات التركية الجديدة التفاهمات مع روسيا وايران حول سورية والسيل الجنوبي للغاز الروسي وشراء منظومات الصواريخ الروسية… قرائن وأدلة على أن تركيا لم تعد محل ثقة ولا بد من تدميرها.

وهذا ما يفسر سيل التهديدات الأميركية لها بفرض أقسى العقوبات عليها.

إنها السنن الكونية للتغيير.

ولن تجد لسنة الله تبديلا.

بعدنا طيبين، قولوا الله.

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إيران على رأس لائحة القوى الإقليمية !

أكتوبر 5, 2019

د. وفيق ابراهيم

أربعة عقود بدت كافية لتنتقل إيران من جمهورية اسلامية تتعرض لحروب ومقاطعات وحصار وبشكل متواصل الى دولة إقليمية وازنة تجيد الدفاع عن مسألتين: أراضيها وتحالفاتها وبالتالي إقليميتها.

لم تصل إيران الى هذا النجاح إلا بعد صراع مفتوح ومستمر مع الولايات المتحدة الأميركية التي استهدفتها منذ اعلان جمهوريتها الإسلامية في 1979، حتى استنفدت كامل آلياتها بدءاً من العراق في مرحلة 1980 1988 ومصر والسعودية و»إسرائيل» وتركيا وباكستان.

اليوم بعد 40 عاماً على ولادة جمهوريتها الإسلامية تشارك إيران اواخر هذا الشهر مع روسيا والصين في مناورات بحرية في المحيط الهندي المتصل ببحري الأحمر والخليج بما يشبه رسالة حادة لمن يهمه الأمر بولادة ائتلاف بين القطبين الروسي والصيني اللذين دخلا في نظام القوة الاساسية في العالم في اطار معادلة متعددة الرؤوس وبين إيران التي تمكنت من التربع على أعلى الدرجات في لائحة الدول الإقليمية في الشرق الاوسط.

كيف احتلت الجمهورية هذا الموقع؟

التأكيد على تميّزها، ليس مديحاً انشائياً ليس له ما يعادله، والدليل بدأ مع الحرب العراقية التي شنها الرئيس العراقي السابق صدام حسين عليها لثماني سنوات متتالية 1980 1988 مستغلاً حالة الضعف والإرباك التي عاشها بعد سقوط دولة الشاه في 1979.

اما خصائص هذه الحرب فعراقيتها عسكرياً وتغطيتها الأميركية وتمويلها الخليجي الكامل والتأييد العربي الإسرائيلي لها. سورية بمفردها وقفت ضد هذه الحرب، لكن إيران نجت بدفاع مستميت استلزم أعواماً ثمانية حتى دحرت العراقيين الى بلادهم في معارك عنيفة أوقفها الخميني عند حدود بلاده مع العراق.

وهكذا أسقطت إيران مشروعاً صدامياً كان يريد دوراً لبلاده في الإقليم.

كما منعت إيران مصر من نشر ثقافة الاستسلام باتفاق كمب ديفيد الذي عقدته مع «إسرائيل» 1979 فمولت وسلحت قوى فلسطينية ولبنانية مقاومة. ودخلت بشكل مباشر للدفاع عن عراق ما بعد صدام في وجه إرهاب مدعوم من تركيا وعالمياً وأميركياً فنجحت مع القوى العراقية المتحالفة معها في دحره وتحقيق توازن لمصلحتها في عراق لا يزال قسمٌ منه محتلاً من الأميركيين.

بذلك أعادت التوازن الى القضية الفلسطينية وحالت دون القضاء عليها، هذا بالإضافة الى دعمها المباشر لسورية تمويلياً وعسكرياً واستشارياً في وجه إرهاب دولي بمئات آلاف المسلحين 2001 2019.

لقد تمكنت إيران الإسلامية في الحروب على الارهاب من القضاء على ادوار قوتين إقليميتين هما تركيا و»إسرائيل» كما اصابت الدور الإقليمي السعودي في لبنان وسورية والعراق ومنعته من التمدد نحو الداخل الإيراني، كما كان يخطط ولي العهد محمد بن سلمان.

هناك اذاً دولٌ كانت تتمتع بأدوار إقليمية اساسية في الشرق الاوسط، وهي مصر والعراق والسعودية وتركيا تراجعت لمصلحة تقدم الدور الإيراني.

هذا الى جانب المجابهة الإيرانية الإسرائيلية في ميادين سورية والعراق والتي انتهت بدورها او على وشك ان تنتهي بعجز إسرائيلي عن إحداث اي تغيير في معادلة المنطقة.

لجهة تركيا فتحاول إيران استيعابها بتنظيم التباين في وجهات نظريهما في سورية والعراق، مقابل التعاون في وجه الحصار الأميركي المستهدف للبلدين معاً.

فلا يتبقى إلا باكستان من الدول القادرة على أداء دور إقليمي في الشرق الاوسط، لكنها تجنح تاريخياً لأداء هذه الادوار في آسيا الوسطى وتخشى من تحالف إيراني مع الهند العدو اللدود لباكستان.

لذلك اعتمدت إيران لتحييد باكستان النووية الخاضعة للنفوذ الأميركي وذات العلاقة المميّزة بالسعودية على عناصر عدة لمنع استغلال باكستان في حصارها.

أول هذه العناصر هو الغاز الإيراني الذي تستورد باكستان منه كميات كبيرة، الى جانب التبادل الاقتصادي بينهما الذي يصل الى 15 مليار دولار، أما العناصر الأخرى فتعرضهما المشترك لأخطار قومية «البلوش» الموجودين في مناطق حدودية بين البلدين ويريدون الانفصال عن إيران وباكستان. هذا بالاضافة الى ان 30 في المئة من الباكستانيين هم من الشيعة.

لذلك فضلت باكستان عدم الانجرار في إطار الخطة الأميركية السعودية لمهاجمة إيران. واكتفت بحياد دقيق حرصاً على أمنها الخارجي والداخلي.

بذلك تكون الجمهورية الإسلامية استهلكت بالكامل معظم الآليات الشرق اوسطية العاملة في اطار الخطة الأميركية، وهي مصر والسعودية وعراق صدام وتركيا و»إسرائيل» وباكستان. وهذا لا يعني انها انهتها كافة في المنطقة، لكنها استوعبت خطرها بوسائل عسكرية وسياسية واقتصادية واسهمت بتشكل حلف كبير يساندها من افغانستان الى اليمن فالعراق وسورية ولبنان.

فهل يمكن نسيان إسقاطها طائرة مسيرة أميركية واحتجازها بارجة بريطانية ونجاح حلفائها اليمنيين في تفجير مصافي أرامكو وتحرير 500 كيلومتر مربع في أعالي الحدود اليمنية، وسيطرة حلفائها في العراق وسورية ولبنان على السياسة في بلدانهم.

في إطار هذه المعطيات التي تؤكد على الدور الإقليمي الكبير لإيران وتفوقها على المنافسين، يمكن استيعاب اسباب الإصرار الروسي الصيني على التحالف مع إيران وتنظيم مناورات عسكرية معها في المحيط الهندي.

وهذا اعتراف واضح بنجاح الجمهورية الإسلامية في تثبيت دور إقليمي كبير يقف غير بعيد عن أبواب القوى العالمية المتعددة القطب، في معظم القارات التي أصبحت متيقنة من أن إيران باب رئيسي وازن للشرق الأوسط الجديد

We are all hostages of 9/11

Pakistanis raise their weapons in the border town of Bajour as they shout anti-US slogans before leaving for Afghanistan in October 2001. Thousands from this tribal area go to join the Taliban in its ‘holy war’ against the US. Photo: AFP /Tariq Mahmood

September 11, 2019

BWe are all hostages of 9/11y Pepe Escobar – Posted with permission

After years of reporting on the Great War on Terror, many questions behind the US attacks remain unresolved

Afghanistan was bombed and invaded because of 9/11. I was there from the start, even before 9/11. On August 20, 2001, I interviewed commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the “Lion of the Panjshir,” who told me about an “unholy alliance” of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the ISI (Pakistani intel).

Back in Peshawar, I learned that something really big was coming: my article was published by Asia Times on August 30. Commander Massoud was killed on September 9: I received a terse email from a Panjshir source, only stating, “the commander has been shot.” Two days later, 9/11 happened.

And yet, the day before, none other than Osama bin Laden, in person, was in a Pakistani hospital in Rawalpindi, receiving treatment, as CBS reported. Bin Laden was proclaimed the perpetrator already at 11am on 9/11 – with no investigation whatsoever. It should have been not exactly hard to locate him in Pakistan and “bring him to justice.”

In December 2001 I was in Tora Bora tracking bin Laden – under B-52 bombers and side by side with Pashtun mujahideen. Later, in 2011, I would revisit the day bin Laden vanished forever.

One year after 9/11, I was back in Afghanistan for an in-depth investigation of the killing of Massoud. By then it was possible to establish a Saudi connection: the letter of introduction for Massoud’s killers, who posed as journalists, was facilitated by commander Sayyaf, a Saudi asset.

Saudi-born alleged terror mastermind Osama bin Laden is seen in a video taken at a secret site in Afghanistan. This was aired by Al-Jazeera on Oct. 7, 2001, the day the US launched bombing of terrorist camps, airbases and air defense installations in its campaign against the Taliban for sheltering bin Laden. Photo: AFP

For three years my life revolved around the Global War on Terror; most of the time I lived literally on the road, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Brussels. At the start of ‘Shock and Awe’ on Iraq, in March 2003, Asia Times published my in-depth investigation of which neo-cons concocted the war on Iraq.

In 2004, roving across the US, I re-traced the Taliban’s trip to Texas, and how a top priority, since the Clinton years all the way to the neo-cons, was about what I had baptized as “Pipelineistan” – in this case how to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, bypassing Iran and Russia, and extending US control of Central and South Asia.

Later on, I delved into the hard questions the 9/11 Commission never asked, and how Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign was totally conditioned by and dependent on 9/11.

Michael Ruppert, a CIA whistleblower, who may – or may not – have committed suicide in 2014, was a top 9/11 analyst. We exchanged a lot of information, and always emphasized the same points: Afghanistan was all about (existent) heroin and (non-existent) pipelines.

In 2011, the late, great Bob Parry would debunk more Afghanistan lies. And in 2017, I would detail a top reason why the US will never leave Afghanistan: the heroin rat line.

Now, President Trump may have identified a possible Afghan deal – which the Taliban, who control two-thirds of the country, are bound to refuse, as it allows withdrawal of only 5,000 out of 13,000 US troops. Moreover, the US ‘Deep State’ is absolutely against any deal, as well as India and the rickety government in Kabul.

But Pakistan and China are in favor, especially because Beijing plans to incorporate Kabul into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and have Afghanistan admitted as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, thus attaching the Hindu Kush and the Khyber Pass to the ongoing Eurasia integration process.

Praying for a Pearl

Eighteen years after the game-changing fact, we all remain hostages of 9/11. US neocons, gathered at the Project for the New American Century, had been praying for a “Pearl Harbor” to reorient US foreign policy since 1997. Their prayers were answered beyond their wildest dreams.

Already in The Grand Chessboard, also published in 1997, former National Security Adviser and Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, nominally not a neocon, had pointed out that the American public “supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”

So, Brzezinski added, America “may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”

As an attack on the homeland, 9/11 generated the Global War on Terror, launched at 11pm on the same day, initially christened “The Long War” by the Pentagon, later sanitized as Overseas Contingency Operations by the Obama administration. This cost trillions of dollars, killed over half a million people and branched out into illegal wars against seven Muslim nations – all justified on “humanitarian grounds” and allegedly supported by the “international community.”

Year after year, 9/11 is essentially a You Have The Right to Accept Only The Official Version ritual ceremony, even as widespread evidence suggests the US government knew 9/11 would happen and did not stop it.

Three days after 9/11, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that in June 2001, German intelligence warned the CIA that Middle East terrorists were “planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture.”

In August 2001, President Putin ordered Russian intel to tell the US government “in the strongest possible terms” of imminent attacks on airports and government buildings, MSNBC revealed in an interview with Putin that was broadcast on September 15 that year.

No US government agency has released any information on who used foreknowledge of 9/11 in the financial markets. The US Congress did not even raise the issue. In Germany, investigative financial journalist Lars Schall has been working for years on a massive study detailing to a great extent insider trading before 9/11.

While NORAD sleeps

Discrediting the official, immutable 9/11 narrative remains the ultimate taboo. Hundreds of architects and engineers engaged in meticulous technical debunking of all aspects of 9/11’s official story are summarily dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.”

In contrast, skepticism rooted in Greek and Latin tradition came up with arguably the best documentary on 9/11: Zero, an Italian production. Just as arguably the most stimulating book on 9/11 is also Italian: The Myth of September 11, by Roberto Quaglia, which offers a delicately nuanced narrative of 9/11 as a myth structured as a movie. The book became a huge hit in Eastern Europe.

Serious questions suggest quite plausible suspects to be investigated regarding 9/11, far more than 19 Arabs with box cutters. Ten years ago, in Asia Times, I asked 50 questions, some of them extremely detailed, about 9/11. After reader demand and suggestions, I added 20 more. None of these questions were convincingly addressed – not to mention answered – by the official narrative.

World public opinion is directed to believe that on the morning of 9/11 four airliners, presumably hijacked by 19 Arabs with box cutters, traveled undisturbed – for two hours – across the most controlled airspace on the planet, which is supervised by the most devastating military apparatus ever.

American Airlines Flight 11 deviated from its path at 8.13am and crashed into the first World Trade Center tower at 8.57am. Only at 8.46am did NORAD – the North American Aerospace Defense Command – order that two intercepting F-15s take off from Otis military base.

A hijacked commercial plane crashes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 in New York. Photo: AFP / Set McAllister

By a curious coincidence a Pentagon war game was in effect on the morning of 9/11 – so air-controllers’ radars may have registered only ‘ghost signals’ of nonexistent aircraft simulating an air attack. Well, it was much more complicated than that, as demonstrated by professional pilots.

‘Angel was next’

World public opinion is also directed to believe that a Boeing 757 – with a wingspan of 38 meters – managed to penetrate the Pentagon through a six-meter-wide hole and at the height of the first floor. A Boeing 757 with landing gear is 13 meters high. Airliners electronically refuse to crash – so it’s quite a feat to convince one to fly five to 10 meters above the ground, landing gear on, at a lightning speed of 800 kilometers an hour.

According to the official narrative, the Boeing 757 literally pulverized itself. Yet even after pulverization, it managed to perforate six walls of three rings of the Pentagon, leaving a two-meter wide hole in the last wall but only slightly damaging the second and third rings. The official narrative is that the hole was caused by the plane’s nose – still quite hard even after pulverization. Yet the rest of the plane – a mass of 100 tons traveling at 800 kilometers an hour – miraculously stopped at the first ring.

All that happened under the stewardship of one Hani Hanjour, who three weeks before had been judged by his flight instructors to be incapable of piloting a Cessna. Hanjour, nonetheless, managed to accomplish an ultra-fast spiral descent at 270 degrees, aligning at a maximum 10 meters above ground, minutely calibrating the trajectory, and keeping a cruise speed of roughly 800 kilometers an hour.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, left, and US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brief reporters at the Pentagon on Oct. 8, 2001 following the US bombing raids on Afghanistan in response to 9/11 attacks. Photo: AFP / Luke Frazza

At 9.37am, Hanjour hit precisely the Pentagon’s budget analysts’ office, where everyone was busy working on the mysterious disappearance of no less than $2.3 trillion that Defense Secretary Donald “Known Unknowns” Rumsfeld, in a press conference the day before, said could not be tracked. So, it’s not only Boeings that get pulverized inside the Pentagon.

World public opinion is also directed to believe that Newtonian physics was suspended as a special bonus for WTC 1 and 2 on 9/11 (not to mention WTC 7, which was not even hit by any plane). The slower WTC tower took 10 seconds to fall 411 meters, starting from immobility. So it fell at 148 kilometers an hour. Considering the initial acceleration time, it was a free fall, not the least impeded by 47 massive, vertical steel beams that composed the tower’s structural heart.

World public opinion is also directed to believe that United Airlines Flight 93 – 150 tons of aircraft with 45 people, 200 seats, luggage, a wingspan of 38 meters – crashed in a field in Pennsylvania and also literally pulverized itself, totally disappearing inside a hole six meters by three meters wide and only two meters deep.

Suddenly, Air Force One was “the only plane in the sky.” Colonel Mark Tillman, who was on board, recalled: “We get this report that there’s a call saying ‘Angel’ was next. No one really knows now where the comment came from – it got mistranslated or garbled amid the White House, the Situation Room, the radio operators. ‘Angel’ was our code name. The fact that they knew about ‘Angel,’ well, you had to be in the inner circle.”

This means that 19 Arabs with box cutters, and most of all their handlers, surely must have been “in the inner circle.” Inevitably, this was never fully investigated.

Already in 1997, Brzezinski had warned,

“it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.”

In the end, much to the despair of US neocons, all the combined sound and fury of 9/11 and the Global War on Terror/Overseas Contingency Operations, in less than two decades, ended up metastasized into not only a challenger but a Russia-China strategic partnership. This is the real “enemy” – not al-Qaeda, a flimsy figment of the CIA’s imagination, rehabilitated and sanitized as “moderate rebels” in Syria.

 

New World Order in Meltdown, But Russia Stronger Than Ever

New World Order in Meltdown, But Russia Stronger Than Ever

August 30, 2019

by Jon Hellevig for The Saker Blog

Last week was full of portentous events. Only somebody who has not been awake for the last few years will fail to realize how these at first sight unconnected events are part of the same matrix. There was the ever louder talk in mainstream media about an approaching global recession, inverted yield curves and the negative yields, which tell us that the Western financial system is basically in coma and kept alive only by generous IV injections of central bank liquidity. By now it has dawned on people that the central bankers acting as central planners in a command economy and printing money (aka quantitative easing) to fuel asset bubbles are about to wipe off the last vestiges of what used to be a market economy.

Then we saw Trump taking new twitter swipes at China in his on-and-off “great trade deal” and the stock markets moving like a roller coaster in reaction to each new twitter salvo. Also, we had both Trump and Macron sweet talking about getting Russia back and again renaming their club G8. Last Tuesday at a G7 presser in Biarritz, the Rothschild groomed Macron took it one step further opening up about the reasons why they all of a sudden longed for friendship with Russia: “We are living the end of Western hegemony.” In the same series, Britain’s new government under Boris Johnson was telling his colleagues in Biarritz that he is now decisively going for a no-deal Brexit, after which he went back to London and staged a coup d’état by suspending parliament to ensure no elected opposition interfered with it.

Perhaps the weirdest news to crown it all, came from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the Western central bankers were holed up for their annual retreat. The president of Bank of England Mark Carney shocked everybody (at least those not present) by announcing that the US dollar was past its best-before and should be replaced with something the central bankers have up their sleeves.

The New World Order is in its death throes

What these events have in common is that they amount to an admission that the globalist New World Order project in its present form is dead, or at least in its death throes. It has bumped its head against an impenetrable Sino-Russian wall of resistance. The heated totalitarian propaganda against Russia since 2001 (when the NWO realized that Putin wasn’t their man); regime change and color revolutions in neighboring countries; attempts at Maidan style coups in Moscow; and finally the sanctions since 2014 were key to the Anglo-Zionist empires strategy. They needed to take over either China or Russia to gain absolute world hegemony. Taking over either one, they would have checkmated the remaining one, and after that the entire world. They rightly deemed Russia as the weaker piece and went all out in that direction. The NWO wanted to take advantage of Russia’s weakness in form of its Western minded comprador class and a shell-shocked liberal intelligentsia (dominating media, culture and business, just like in Hong Kong, BTW), which is constitutional uncapable of thinking with their own brains to liberate themselves from Soviet era stereotypes (“Soviet Union/Russia bad, West good”).

They then figured that economic and cultural sanctions (e.g. Olympic ban) coupled with doubling down on the propaganda would break the country. Luckily, the Russian narod, the common people saw through it all and would not play along with the enemy. At the same time, Russia paraded its resurrected military in Crimea and Syria as well as its formidable new hypersonic doomsday weapons. The military option to take over Russia was not in the cards any longer.

Russian economy from strength to strength

And the Russian economy. Believing their own propaganda, they had got that totally wrong. Endlessly repeating their own self-serving talking points they must have truly fancied that Russia’s economy amounted to nothing else than export of fossil fuels, that “Russia’s economy is the size of Holland’s,” that “Russia does not produce anything,” and that Russia was “nothing but a gas station with nukes” (somehow managing to ignore the significance of the nukes part). I seriously believe, that the propaganda had become so complete that the Western leaders and the intelligence people actually had come to adapt their own propaganda as the truth. What is for sure, is that all Western media, including what should be the most respected business journals and all those think tanks, had not published one honest appraisal of the Russian economy in 15 years. Every single piece I read over the years had clearly been written with the aim to denigrate Russia’s achievements and economic development. Nowhere to be found were reports on how Putin by 2013 had totally overhauled the economy transforming Russia into the most self-sufficient diversified major country in the world with all the capabilities of the foremost industrial powers. In fact, I tend to think that even the US presidents from Bush to Obama were fed in their intelligence briefings cooked up fake reports about the Russian economy and the whole nation. Actually, I would go one step further. I bet that the CIA itself in the end believed the propaganda it had given birth to. (It has been said that at some point the genuine Russia analysts had all been dismissed or demoted and replaced with a team specializing in anti-Russian propaganda).

But actually all the data was there in plain view. I myself took the trouble to compile a report on the real conditions of Russia’s economy fresh at the onset of the 2014 crisis. In the report, I set out to show that Russia indeed had modernized and diversified its economy; that it had a vibrant manufacturing industry in addition to its energy and minerals sector; and that its budget revenues and economy at large were not at all as dependent on oil and gas as it was claimed. Among other things, we pointed out that Russia’s industrial production had by then grown more than 50% (between 2000 and 2013) while having undergone a total modernization at the same time. In the same period, production of food had surged by 100% and exports had skyrocketed by almost 400%, outdoing all major Western countries. Even the growth of exports of other than oil and gas products had been 250%.

The gist of the study https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/putin-midterm-interim-results/ may be summarized with this quote from it: “The crisis-torn economy battered by years of robber capitalism and anarchy of the 1990’s, which Putin inherited in 2000, has now reached sufficient maturity to justify a belief that Russia can make the industrial breakthrough that the President has announced.” Events have borne out this insight. And it is therefore that Russia won the sanctions battle.

The report represented an appeal to the Western leaders to give up on their vain hope of destroying Russia through their sanctions and risking nuclear war at it. Russia was invincible even in this respect. For that purpose I expressly added this missive in the introduction to the report:

“We strongly believe that everyone benefits from knowing the true state of Russia’s economy, its real track record over the past decade, and its true potential. Having knowledge of the actual state of affairs is equally useful for the friends and foes of Russia, for investors, for the Russian population – and indeed for its government, which has not been very vocal in telling about the real progress. I think there is a great need for accurate data on Russia, especially among the leaders of its geopolitical foes. Correct data will help investors to make a profit. And correct data will help political leaders to maintain peace. Knowing that Russia is not the economic basket case that it is portrayed to be would help to stave off the foes from the collision course with Russia they have embarked on.”

A follow-up report https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-2014-2016-the-years-of-sanctions-warfare/ of June 2017 covering the sanctions years 2014 – 2016, showed how Russia went from strength to strength never mind the Western attempts at isolation. This report stressed that Russia’s economy had now become the most diversified in the world making Russia the most self-sufficient country on this earth.

In this report we exposed the single biggest error of the propaganda driven Russia analysis. This was the ridiculous belief that Russia supposedly was totally dependent on oil and gas just because those commodities made up the bulk of the country’s exports. Confusing exports with the total economy, they had foolishly confused the share of oil and gas in total exports – which was and remains at the level of 60% – with the share of these commodities of the total economy. In 2013 the share of oil and gas of Russia’s GDP was 12% (today 10%). Had the “experts” cared to take a closer look they would have realized that on the other side of the equation Russia’s imports were by far the lowest (as a share of GDP) of all major countries. The difference here is that while Russia does not export a great deal of manufactured goods, it produces by far a bigger share of those for the domestic market than any other country in the whole world. Taking the 60% of exports to stand for the whole economy was how the “Russia produces nothing” meme was created.

Finally in a November 2018 report https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-strong-and-stable/#chapter2, I could declare that Russia had won hands down the sanctions war having emerged from it as a quadruple superpower: industrial superpower, agricultural superpower, military superpower and geopolitical superpower.

Macron et co. realizes that Russia actually is a superpower

These facts have now finally dawned on certain key stakeholders of the globalist regime can be discerned from the fact that they have tasked their handpicked puppet president Macron to make up with Russia. Trump has got the same assignment, which is evident from the siren calls of the two leaders in Putin’s address. Both want to invite Putin to their future G7-8 get-togethers.

As it was said, Macron went as far as unilaterally capitulating and declaring the decline of the West. He went on to spell out that the reason for this spectacular geopolitical about-face was the rise of the Beijing – Moscow (de facto) alliance that has caused a terminal shift on the world scene. Curiously, he also openly blamed the errors of the United States for the dire state of affairs pointing out that “not just the current administration” were to be blamed. No doubt, the foremost of these errors, Macron had in mind, was the alienation of Russia and pushing the country into the warm embrace of China. It is quite clear, that this is what they want to remedy, snatch the bear back from the dragon. Fortunately, that won’t happen. Good if there will be rapprochement and good if the West will try, but after all what Russia has learnt by now it will not sell out on China under any circumstances. I think Putin and the Russian powers that be have clearly opted for a multipolar world order. That is definitely not what Macron’s and Trump’s employers have in mind but let them try.

Until Trump took office, the strategy of the US regime had been to pursue only Russia in its geopolitical ambitions, but by then it had dawned on them that Russia was invincible especially in the de facto alliance with China. In a sign of desperation, the empire then opened big time another front with China. Essentially going from bad to worse.

The world order is being shaken like never before

“The world order is being shaken like never before…”, that’s another quote from Macron. Obviously, it refers to the military and geopolitical strengths of the Sino-Russian alliance, but certainly also to the economic shifts as the West has lost – and will keep losing – its economic domination. This brings us back to Mark Carney of Bank of England and his unprecedented attack on the US dollar (*1) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-24/why-mark-carney-thinks-dollar-can-no-longer-be-worlds-reserve-currency arguing that it was time to end its global reserve currency status. As one option Carney brought up that the major Western central banks would instead issue a digital cryptocurrency. That is to say, a NWO currency controlled by the central banks. That would effectively mean the replacement of the Federal Reserve cartel with a cartel of the Western central banks (the Fed obviously being a part of it). That’s yet one step further north from any kind of democratic control and a giant step towards world government.

What could possibly have prompted such a radical US hegemony puncturing idea to be put forward? One reason obviously is that the Western economies really are in that extreme critical condition that more and more analysts caution about. (We shall look at the economic facts further down). There’s a very real possibility that we will be hit by a doomsday recession. What’s sure is that Carney’s bizarre speech could possibly not have occurred in a normal economic environment (any more than Macron’s admission that the Western hegemony is done with). According to Zerohedge (*2) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-26/things-will-never-be-same-again-here-are-20-questions-central-banks-admit-defeat Financial Times, the party organ of the globalist elite, admitted as much in its report on the Jackson Hole meeting. The central bankers “acknowledged they had reached a turning point in the way they viewed the global system. They cannot rely on the tools they used before the financial crisis to shape the economic environment, and the US can no longer be considered a predictable actor in economic or trade policy — even though there is no imminent replacement for the US dollar in sight.” There was an effective admission that the central bankers had run out of tricks to pull the economies out of the everything-bubble mess, not to mention the looming doomsday recession. According to FT, Carney went as far as flashing the war card saying: “past instances of very low rates have tended to coincide with high risk events such as wars, financial crises, and breaks in the monetary regime.” On the one hand this can be seen as an admission on how deeply tormented they are about the financial situation and what could happen when it comes crashing down. On the other hand, it can be seen as a sales pitch, “only we can fix it, trust us, give us a carte blanche.” Or more probably, both.

Note from above Carney saying: “the US can no longer be considered a predictable actor in economic or trade policy.” Bank of England President here directly attacking President Trump.

And just a couple of days later William Dudley an ex-president of New York Federal Reserve Bank (the most influential of the 12 federal reserve banks that comprise the Federal Reserve System) followed up on a direct attack on Trump. But as they say about spies, there are no ex-spies, and I would think the same applies for the global financial elite. And yes indeed, Dudley is a card carrying member of the Council of Foreign Relations. Dudley had penned an op-ed for Bloomberg titled “The Fed Shouldn’t Enable Donald Trump.” (*3) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-28/member-elite-bill-dudley-could-open-can-worms-quite-staggering , where he openly lobbies for the Fed to deliberately damage the economy in order to neutralize the policies (namely trade wars) of the sitting president and prevent his reelection chances by willfully ruining the economy.

One thing is for sure, the elite is desperate and in serious disarray. Very probable that the elite is split, too. It seems as if there were two globalist factions competing with each other and wanting to follow vastly different strategies. One faction supports Trump and the other is against him. Possibly, one that wants to do things with force and another that wants to gain by stealth. That could be Pentagon and the military-industrial complex vs. the financial elite, who also owns the media. My argument does not hinge on the veracity of those division lines, but that some rupture exists among the elites must be taken for granted, otherwise Trump would have been ousted by now with all that pressure on him.

To summarize this introduction. The Western world is in turmoil: the previous overwhelming geopolitical domination is gone and over with; military solutions against the main adversaries – China and Russia – are off the books; hybrid wars against them have failed; China and Russia are economically stronger than ever, too strong for the adversary; and to boot the domestic Western economies are in extraordinary bad shape, risking a depression of epic proportions.

Further down in this report, I will look at the one aspect of the question I am best equipped to handle, namely the economy. I will outline just in how bad shape the Western debt-fueled casino economies are. Having that as the background, I will then show how surprisingly strong the Russian economy is, at least in comparison with the Western gambling nations. Most importantly, Russia is virtually debtless, and that’s really the clue to survival in this extraordinary economic environment. In addition to the solid finances, Russia has other things going for it, too, as we will see below. I will not provide comparative data on China. One reason for that is, that China is not an economic risk. China does not have the debt problem that it is frequently touted in Western press to have. China, as the world’s number one export country, would of course take a hit in a serious global crisis, but that would not kill the economy. Although, China is the biggest exporter, there has been a shift from export-led growth towards domestic investment and consumption. The share of exports of goods and services in the country’s GDP was by 2018 down to 19.5%, half of the 2006 peak of 36%. On the contrary, the Chinese economy would stay vivid and therefore also help to sustain Russia’s exports.

I may add as one more piece of background, that it is my firm belief that the approaching economic disaster has long been evident to the central bankers and the globalist elite decision makers. Most likely the game plan was to establish the absolute world hegemony – which they not long ago thought was within early reach – and then after that deal with the debts as they saw fit as democratic dissent would not matter a bit anymore by then. That’s why they felt confident in building up the asset bubbles to carry them over to the final solution. Reminds me about a story told about Moscow’s so-called Khrushchyovka tenement buildings. These are low-cost three- to five-storied houses built quickly and cheap during the Khrushchev era to address the dire housing shortages of the 1960s. According to the story, the planners knew they would serve only for a few decades, but that would not matter all that much because by that time there would be Communism and everything would be perfect anyway. No Communism materialized, but presently the Moscow government under Mayor Sobyanin has initiated a program to tear them all down and erect new buildings where flats with title will be given for free to house the 1.5 million present residents of those buildings slated for replacement. – Well, that’s sort of Communism, isn’t it? – This kind of wishful thinking must have kept the globalist elite going, too. Unfortunately for the dreamers, though, their plans hit a snag in form of Russia and China.

Central bank fueled asset bubbles

Russia is low in debt, but you can’t say the same about the US and other Western nations. And that debt really is what got the world in the present mess and brought it teetering on the brink of financial collapse. Since the late 80s, the US central bank, the Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan developed an addiction to cure any downward tick on Wall Street with easy credit, eventually requiring after every downturn ever bigger central bank liquidity injections to keep the stock indices on a growth curve. Greenspan was experimenting with a policy aimed at creating a “wealth effect” aka “trickle-down.” The idea being that Wall Street bankers and big corporations be stuffed with all the free money they can swallow for the purpose of keeping stock and bond prices high. The theoretical frame told that doing so something would eventually trickle down to the real economy, and everybody would live happily ever after. After stocks and bonds, Greenspan’s wealth effect policy was addressed to inflate home prices and all real estate with that. That was the road that eventually led to the 2008 subprime loan crisis, which took down Lehman Brothers and then all of Wall Street and the whole global economy.

But Wall Street recovered soon, because Greenspan’s successor Ben Bernanke had set forth to blow up an even bigger asset bubble. And the Europeans followed suit. The Fed fueled the market frenzy with creating money out of thin air (aka quantitative easing) in favor of governments, banks and corporations to the tune of $3.5 trillion in the decade following the 2008 collapse.

The European Central Bank has done the same for Europe in volumes more than 2.5 trillion euro to date. All the other Western central banks joined the gambling by flooding the markets with fiat money at same levels relatively speaking.

But anyway this astronomic leverage and the humongous budget deficits of the Western countries didn’t get the real economy anywhere. They have blown up asset bubbles of phantasmagorical proportions with preciously little trickle-down. Since the pre-crash peak in October 2007, the broadest US stock index (Wilshire 5000) has gained 95% (on top of covering the nearly 60% crash from in between). In the same 12-year period industrial production (manufacturing, mining, energy, utilities) has grown only 5% combined over all those years. (*4) https://www.deepstatedeclassified.com/heres-what-happens-when-the-fed-cuts-rates/ Deduct – the in itself lossmaking – shale oil and gas and there is barely no growth left in the 12 years. In fact, the US manufacturing sector was in June still 1.6% below the pre-crisis peak in December 2007. (*5) https://www.deepstatedeclassified.com/industrial-production-is-punk/ So we have a 5% gain in the most important part of the real economy vs. 95% in stock market gambling. The absurdity of the stock market growth is further evidenced by the gap between growth of real final sales and stock valuations since 2007 peak. Since then, the former has grown on an average 1.6% per year, while the stock market has delivered annualized growth at levels of 15%. Total industrial production share of the GDP in the US has sunk to 18%. (For comparison, the figure for Russia was 32% and growing.)

Trickle-down, anyone?

It would be false to claim there has not been any trickle-down at all. Millions of people have kept their jobs because of it. But at the same time they have had their real wages squeezed and the overwhelming majority have seen their standards of living drop. Only massive loads of consumer credits and ultra-cheap mortgages have kept up an illusion of superficial prosperity among the middle classes. This debt-fueled prosperity and it’s cursory result, the artificial real estate asset bubble will prove a wolf in sheep’s clothing when the everything-bubble bursts.

There’s been another form of trickle-down, too, a much more real and actually beneficial one. By creating the debt-fueled illusion of prosperity, the Western central banks have actually subsidized China, Russia and all of the emerging world as they have flushed their export goods on the global markets where the Western nations have picked it all up on borrowed money. Thanks for that, though. At the same time, that has driven production costs up in the West with the consequence that their own industries have been priced out.

The humongous borrowings fail to produce GDP growth

Every year since the last bout of the crisis in 2008, growth of debt in the national economies of each Western country has far exceeded the growth of economic output measured as GDP. Below chart shows just how bad it has been in the US.

The debt and GDP growth curves started to diverge in the late 70s, but from 2000 debt has spiraled out of control delivering preciously little incremental GDP. Deduct the wasteful debt and wasteful spending and there would be no growth whatsoever.

Not only has there been no real GDP growth but even the nominal growth has to a crucial extent been provided for by means of the enormous government borrowings. We see from below table that that in each year from 2008 to 2017 even the nominal GDP growth has been less than the growth of government debt, with 2015 and 2015 as the only exceptions when they were on par.

In the peak crisis years 2008 and 2009, debt growth was a staggering 5.7 and 6.3 times that of GDP growth.

The debt game has been equally miserable all over the West, perhaps with the only exception of Germany, who has wisely refrained from participating, even when egged on by liberal economists calling Germany’s more prudent policy unfair to the gambling nations. Below chart shows how much more the Western governments have borrowed than produced economic growth. The chart covers years 2004 to 2013, but the trend has been the same ever since. GDP growth has been vastly less than the growth of the colossal debtberg.

Note Russia there as the shining exception.

Below chart ranks countries according to their debt burden relative to GDP. And again you see how debtless Russia is compared with the squandering nations.

These charts concerned only government debt, when we add private debt to it, the picture is doubly worse. From the point of view of a national economy it really doesn’t matter in which form the excess debt expands, public or private. In fact, on an average in the West the situation with household debt is equally dire. Below chart tells you just how bad. And again note Russia as the one shining exception.

And it’s no better with corporations, which have throughout the last decade been enjoying mindboggling levels of central bank largesse in form of virtually unlimited interest-free financing. For example, compared to earnings, US bond issuers are about 50% more leveraged now than in 2007. (*6) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-24/corporate-debt-risk-flash-crash

Finally, there is the black hole containing trillions and trillions of bankers derivative risks. Deutsche Bank – which was recently placed in emergency care – alone is said to have 49 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives. These risks alone could take down the whole global financial system. (*7) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-20/bank-49-trillion-derivatives-exposure-melting-down-our-eyes

First no real interest, then on to negative yields

One of the many deadly side effects of the central bankers’ practice on gambling with the national economies is that they first eliminated real interest rates (pushed rates below inflation) and then doubled down on the destruction of sound economic principles by cooking up a system with negative yielding bonds (bonds which yield below zero). By now $30 trillion of the $60 trillion US bond market yield below inflation (no real interest) and nearly $17 trillion worth of bonds are in negative yield territory. That’s mostly made up by sovereign debt of Japan and European governments (12 at the moment) but recently the mass of negative yielding corporate bonds has also doubled to $1.2 trillion. Half of the $5 trillion worth of European government bonds sport a negative yield as well as 20% of European investment grade corporate bonds.

Inflation risk

Normally, this kind of excess liquidity artificially put on the market (aka money printing) would have led to high inflation if not hyperinflation. Several factors have helped to keep prices in check. First, it needs to be pointed out, though, that inflation is actually a lot higher than what the government reports. This has been pretty convincingly proven in the case of the United States. (See, for example, (*8) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-17/cpi-constantly-understates-inflation-why-will-lead-catastrophe?fbclid=IwAR0byF4lMciG77ItFvkFhftV9qEnkXAuKaj9oYLmnZn5c8C4ds4E8mie7rk). Official statistics may not see it, but people sure feel it.

Secondly, the asset price bubbles in real estate and financial markets in fact represent inflation, it’s just not officially recorded as such. As it is only the 10% (and increasingly, the 1%) who get the money, they spend it on the stuff that counts for them, stocks and real estate. Keeping their loot offshore also helps to dampen inflation at home. The squeeze on the middle classes and stagnating wages, is sadly an important factor in keeping inflation down. Ordinary people just can’t afford to buy.

One should also note, that resulting from the illusionary debt-fueled prosperity and its effect on keeping the local Western currencies artificially high, there has actually been an inflation in wages and production costs, but only in relative terms in comparison with the emerging world. This in turn has led to further offshoring of manufacturing jobs.

A crucial factor, which in the crazy money printing environment has kept consumer goods from hyperinflating has been imports from the emerging Asia and especially China. Huge growth of the Chinese manufacturing industry coupled with massive influx of cheap labor from the rural countryside into the cities enabled China for a couple of decades to constantly increase its exports to the US and Europe and these countries to keep prices down. (Including by domestic industries having to lower prices in competition). With the Trump trade wars and dramatically increasing protectionism, this will change. And it could get very ugly.

Finally, there is an important consideration that few if anyone seem to understand. That is the fact that the US and other Western countries have been able to print the stupendous amounts of money while keeping rates down and without the currency values crashing only because they enjoy local currency monopolies in their respective territories. The USD has of course been enjoying a global monopoly, but that is fast fading. All the other factors mentioned above (and several other ones), have enabled to prop up and prolong these currency monopolies, but there is a limit to everything. In the coming recession, I would expect some of the lesser currencies to lose their monopoly trust and that would shatter the position of the bigger currencies USD and Euro and force them to raise interest rates. I have earlier written more in detail about this in a report titled How the Dollar and Euro Monopolies Destroyed the Real Market Economy. https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/dollar-euro-monopolies-destroyed-market-economy/

The below chart suggests that the Western countries are already on the way to lose their respective currency monopolies. The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) now have a combined GDP (measured in PPP, which is the only correct way to measure the relative size of national economies) larger than not only the G7 countries, but the US and Eurozone economies combined.

At its foundation in 1973, the G7 countries had a combined GDP PPP of 50% of the world economy, by today it is down to 30%. In the same time the nominal GDP share of world economy has crashed from 80% to 40%. The currency monopolies came with the economic superiority, it is therefore only natural that with the economic domination goes the currency domination, too. If we haven’t reached the tipping point yet, then that will happen within 5 to 10 years.

In summary, everything else unchanged, the risk of inflation picking up with just a few percentage points could have the entire Western financial systems coming crashing down due to the pressure on interest rates growing. The Fed and the ECB are continuously speaking about their inflation targets and how they want to pump the markets with more liquidity to raise inflation. There could yet be a big surprise in store for them. Interest rates as such could also be the primary trigger (even without inflation first rising), as nations would have to protect their currencies and attract financing for their colossal debtbergs.

Must add as a P.S. that the incipient flight to gold might well be one of the trigger events for those currencies to lose their monopolies. (Gold price is up 20% since May).

Deleveraging will come

These massive borrowings have delivered nothing of tangible value. Now, when the party is nearly over all there is left are the debt bubbles that have hit the roof. The real values of all the assets below bear no relation to the money that went into inflating the balloons. What’s left is economic hardship for 80% of the people, a crumbling infrastructure and simmering social tensions.

The debt saturation point has been reached, therefore this time it will be different, the central bankers have lost their magic wand and won’t be able to renew the debt binge and extend it with one more decade. Instead, there will be a day of reckoning. Governments and corporations will have to put their act together and let the market weed out the failed entities. Those who cannot carry the debt, will have to shed it. There will be bloodbath with defaults, bankruptcies and massive unemployment. – Perhaps a revolution here and there. – There will be no choice, deleveraging must happen.

Now, whether this system will come crashing down or just slowly die as it trundles downhill will not matter all that much. It will eventually die either way. Most people would prefer the slow motion option, but only with the crash would a cure come. Whatever, it has become increasingly difficult to stave off the crash and this time around, the financial markets would take the real economy down with them big time.

The impressive figures on Russia

The question then is, who would be left standing? Naturally, those who are less leveraged. Now, scroll back to have a new look at the above charts on government and household debt. Find the position of Russia there? That’s right. Russia is the country with – by far – the least debt, both public and private. Having after 2014 following sanctions been cut off from the Western debt orgy, even Russian corporations are shielded against a possible Western debt apocalypse.

In a global recession, no country is safe, but Russia looks to have quite a lot going for it in terms of economic advantages. Russia’s national balance sheet is next to none with by far the lowest debt of all major countries. All economic actors, the government, corporations and households are economically solid and minimally leveraged. Not only is the government virtually debtless, but it has again replenished its spectacular forex and sovereign wealth fund reserves. On top of that comes a hefty budget surplus. – Yes, you heard that right, surplus. In a time when all Western countries are in a chronic fight against deficits, you rarely even hear the term budget surplus. And more, Russia runs the world’s third biggest trade surplus. Add to that the current account surplus, and there’s the hat trick in form of your classic triple surpluses. Russia has a lot more going for it, too, as we will see.

Let’s look at Russia’s present financial health report.

Thanks to import substitution (domestic production instead of imports to neutralize sanctions) Russia’s industrial production rose 2.6% year-on-year in June. (USA +1.1%, UK +0.8%, Japan -2.4%, Germany -5.9%). Above, we mentioned that US industrial production was up with as little as a cumulative 5% since 2008 to date. In the same period Russia’s industry grew 18% notwithstanding the hardships of sanctions and sharp drop in oil price. In fact, since 2014 when the sanctions were first imposed, Russia’s industry has grown 12%.

Russia’s merchandise trade surplus for the first half of 2019 was $93 billion, ranking third in the world after China and Germany and before South Korea. Imports were down by 3%, the other side of the coin of growing domestic manufacturing. Even when exports also were slightly down, lower imports will keep the surplus on track to reach levels near $200 billion for the full year, just under last year’s record $212 billion.

Q1 current account surplus clocked in at $33 billion, up 10% over the year.

In this connection, it might be helpful to remind that Russia’s economy is nowhere near as dependent on fossil fuel extraction as it is habitually believed in the West. In fact, oil and gas only account for 10% of Russia’s GDP according to World Bank statistics. (In 2017, total natural resources share of GDP was 10.7%, but that includes minerals and forest, too).

We also need to point out that Russia has an enormous strength by way of being the world’s most self-sufficient major country. Russia has the by far lowest level of imports relative to GDP of all countries, as evidenced by below table. It shows that Russia’s imports as a share of GDP was as low as 7.2%, while the corresponding level for Western European countries was between 30 to 40%. The extraordinary low levels of imports in a global comparison obviously signifies that Russia produces domestically a much higher share of all that it consumes (and invests), this in turn means that the economy is superbly diversified contrary to the claims of most so-called Russia experts.

Despite initial scares, inflation has remained low even when the VAT rate was from the new year raised from 18% to 20%. The rolling 12-month inflation runs at 4.6% but with the declining trend the full year inflation is expected to hit the central bank’s target 4%.

The job market continues strong with record low unemployment levels, while the job participation rate has not deteriorated (so no tricks here). The July reading of 4.6% translates to 3.4 million unemployed, which is low for a country with a population of 146 million. The strength of the labor market was underscored by an increase of real salaries by 3.5% by July. This while disposable income otherwise has remained subdued.

Whereas the US is combating persistent budget deficits (latest reading, a deficit of 4.5% of GDP) – likewise the EU countries – Russia mustered a huge budget surplus equal to 3.4% of the GDP by July this year.

Russia’s foreign exchange and gold reserves have also done a spectacular comeback reaching $520 billion.

The Russia sovereign wealth fund surged in July to reach a value equal to 7.2% of GDP.

Despite the wholesome macroeconomic environment and impressive figures, Russia’s GDP growth has been less than 1% so far this year (year-on-year 0.6% in Q1 and 0.9% in Q2). However, by the looks of it the fundamental economy seems to be growing and modernizing, while the drag on the growth comes from depressed household consumption. What’s more important, though, is that while Russia’s growth is hovering around the 1%, so is that of all of the Western world. (Accuse me of whataboutism if you will, but these things need to be put in perspective). Q2 growth in the Eurozone was 1.1%, with Germany even about to slide into recession. UK clocked in at 1.2% and Japan at 0.4%. (All figures, year-on-year). The US showed only 2% (revised down 28 August) even when fueled by a mountainous budget deficit set to reach $1 trillion for the fiscal year and despite all that easy money the Fed keeps pumping out. Only China remained firmly in growth territory with 6.2%.

But, the real conundrum is, how can Russia produce the same GDP as all the Western countries with their seemingly limitless injections of give-away money? How is it possible that all those trillions and trillions that the Western central bankers have thrown on the economy do not produce any real incremental economic output?

The big disadvantage Russia has compared with the Western countries is the exorbitant real interest rate that the central bank maintains. The steering rate is presently 7.25%, with inflation predicted to be 4%, that translates into a primary real interest of 3.25%. Compare that with the negative real interest – and even negative yields – of competitor countries. As, the Russian central bank has failed to create a real banking sector which would lend according to international standards to the country’s businesses, the ones that are lucky to get a loan at all would look to pay interest at the level of 15% of more (save the largest corporations). The Governor of the Russian Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina does not see this as a problem, though. She has said that instead she would pin her hopes on improving the countries investment climate (sic!). (She calls for improvement of corporate governance, development of human capital, and all kinds of nice things. That would sure do it). (*9) http://ibcongress.com/en/news/nabiullina-nazvala-glavnye-ogranichenija-dlja-razvitija-ekonomiki-rossii/

Just this week, Putin called a high profile meeting with Nabiullina, the minister for economic development Maxim Oreshkin, and the finance minister Anton Sulanov, to express his deep concern with the sluggish GDP growth and stagnating income. No doubt, that the depressed income is not only a drag on the economy but on the president’s popularity. There is only one quick fix for it. The government and the CBR must ditch their overzealous austerity programs. It’s good that Russia is not over leveraged with debt, but certainly some debt would be in order to finance the infrastructure and other national strategic development programs instead of ripping it off people’s backs. Free the funds for raising pensions and public service salaries instead. And most importantly, Nabiullina must lower the rates and not run real interests in excess of 3% when the rest of the developed world is in negative territory. There is no other quick remedy for raising people’s income. That’s Putin’s choice. Hope somebody tells that to him.

In conclusion, we are not saying that Russia would not be hurt by the coming recession, we merely express our confidence that Russia is among the world’s countries best placed to cope with it.

Jon Hellevig, originally from Finland, works and lives in Moscow since the early 1990s. By education lawyer and MBA, Hellevig first worked in Moscow as a financial controller for a Russia-American joint venture engaged in shipment of oil and later became founder together with Russian partners of a business administration and consulting firm. Hellevig has written several books on Russian taxation and labor law. From mid-2000, Hellevig has written books on philosophy and social practices. The combination of his experience of actual life and governance in Russia with the theoretical framework pushed Hellevig to engage in the public debate about Russia’s development path including by way of writing articles for the part of the media, which is interested in the truth. Having at least a working knowledge of seven languages (English, Russian, Finnish, Swedish, Spanish, German, and French), Hellevig has been able to follow first-hand the news across the Western hemisphere. Doing so, he realized a decade or so ago, that all the Western media in unison report the same stories about Russia and circulate the same fabricated scandals in the same words at the same time. Frustrated with the totalitarian style propaganda lies about Russia, Hellevig began to regularly produce fundamental analysis reports on the Russian economy in the wake of the sanctions that the Western powers imposed on Russia following the Ukrainian crisis in 2014

The last western Empire?

The Saker

The last western Empire?

August 01, 2019

[this column was written for the Unz Review]

“Missing the forest for the trees” is an apt metaphor if we take a look at most commentary describing the past twenty years or so. This period has been remarkable in the number of genuinely tectonic changes the international system has undergone. It all began during what I think of as the “Kristallnacht of international law,” 30 August September 1995, when the Empire attacked the Bosnian-Serbs in a direct and total violation of all the most fundamental principles of international law. Then there was 9/11, which gave the Neocons the “right” (or so they claimed) to threaten, attack, bomb, kill, maim, kidnap, assassinate, torture, blackmail and otherwise mistreat any person, group or nation on the planet simply because “we are the indispensable nation” and “you either are with the terrorists or with us“. During these same years, we saw Europe become a third-rate US colony incapable of defending even fundamental European geopolitical interests while the USA became a third-rate colony of Israel equally incapable of defending even fundamental US geopolitical interests. Most interestingly looking back, while the US and the EU were collapsing under the weight of their own mistakes, Russia and China were clearly on the ascend; Russia mostly in military terms (see here and here) and China mostly economically. Most crucially, Russia and China gradually agreed to become symbionts which, I would argue, is even stronger and more meaningful than if these two countries were united by some kind of formal alliance: alliances can be broken (especially when a western nation is involved), but symbiotic relationships usually last forever (well, nothing lasts forever, of course, but when a lifespan is measured in decades, it is the functional equivalent of “forever”, at least in geostrategic analytical terms). The Chinese have now developed an official, special, and unique expression to characterize that relationship with Russia. They speak of a “Strategic, comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era.”

This is the AngloZionists’ worst nightmare, and their legacy ziomedia goes to great lengths to conceal the fact that Russia and China are, for all practical purposes, strategic allies. They also try hard to convince the Russian people that China is a threat to Russia (using bogus arguments, but never-mind that). It won’t work, while some Russians have fears about China, the Kremlin knows the truth of the matter and will continue to deepen Russia’s symbiotic relationship with China further. Not only that, it now appears that Iran is gradually being let in to this alliance. We have the most official confirmation possible of that fact in words spoken by General Patrushev in Israel after his meeting with US and Israeli officials: “Iran has always been and remains our ally and partner.”

I could go on listing various signs of the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire along with signs that a new, parallel, international world order is in the process of being built before our eyes. I have done that many times in the past, and I will not repeat it all here (those interested can click here and here). I will submit that the AngloZionists have reached a terminal stage of decay in which the question of “if” is replaced by “when.” But even more interesting would be to look at the “what”:

what does the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire really mean?

I rarely see this issue discussed and when it is, it is usually to provide all sorts of reassurances that the Empire will not really collapse, that it is too powerful, too rich and too big to fail and that the current political crises in the USA and Europe will simply result in a reactive transformation of the Empire once the specific problems plaguing it have been addressed. That kind of delusional nonsense is entirely out of touch with reality. And the reality of what is taking place before our eyes is much, much more dramatic and seminal than just fixing a few problems here and there and merrily keep going on.

One of the factors which lures us into a sense of complacency is that we have seen so many other empires in history collapse only to be replaced pretty quickly by some other, that we can’t even imagine that what is taking place right now is a much more dramatic phenomenon: the passage into gradual irrelevance of an entire civilization!

But first, let’s define our terms. For all the self-aggrandizing nonsense taught in western schools, Western civilization does not have its roots in ancient Rome or, even less so, in ancient Greece. The reality is that the Western civilization was born from the Middle-Ages in general and, especially, the 11th century which, not coincidentally, saw the following succession of moves by the Papacy:

These three closely related events are of absolutely crucial importance to the history of the West. The first step the West needed was to free itself from the influence and authority of the rest of the Christian world. Once the ties between Rome and the Christian world were severed, it was only logical for Rome to decree that the Pope now has the most extravagant super-powers no other bishop before him had ever dared contemplate. Finally, this new autonomy and desire for absolute control over our planet resulted in what could be called “the first European imperialist war”: the First Crusade.

To put it succinctly: the 11th century Franks were the real progenitors of modern “Western” Europe and the 11th century marked the first imperialist “foreign war” (to use a modern term). The name of the Empire of the Franks has changed over the centuries, but not its nature, essence, or purpose. Today the true heirs of the Franks are the AngloZionists (for a truly *superb* discussion of the Frankish role in destroying the true, ancient, Christian Roman civilization of the West, see here).

Over the next 900 years or more, many different empires replaced the Frankish Papacy, and most European countries had their “moment of glory” with colonies overseas and some kind of ideology which was, by definition and axiomatically, declared the only good (or even “the only Christian”) one, whereas the rest of the planet was living in uncivilized and generally terrible conditions which could only be mitigated by those who have *always* believed that they, their religion, their culture or their nation had some kind of messianic role in history (call it “manifest destiny” or “White man’s burden” or being a Kulturträger in quest of a richly deserved Lebensraum): the West Europeans.

It looks like most European nations had a try at being an empire and at imperialist wars. Even such modern mini-states like Holland, Portugal or Austria once were feared imperial powers. And each time one European Empire fell, there was always another one to take its place.

But today?

Who do you think could create an empire powerful enough to fill the void resulting from the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire?

The canonical answer is “China.” And I think that this is nonsense.

Empires cannot only trade. Trade alone is simply not enough to remain a viable empire. Empires also need military force, and not just any military force, but the kind of military force which makes resistance futile. The truth is that NO modern country has anywhere near the capabilities needed to replace the USA in the role of World Hegemon: not even uniting the Russian and Chinese militaries would achieve that result since these two countries do not have:

1) a worldwide network of bases (which the USA have, between 700-1000 depending on how you count)

2) a major strategic air-lift and sea-lift power projection capability

3) a network of so-called “allies” (colonial puppets, really) which will assist in any deployment of military force

But even more crucial is this: China and Russia have no desire whatsoever to become an empire again. These two countries have finally understood the eternal truth, which is that empires are like parasites who feed on the body which hosts them. Yes, not only are all empires always and inherently evil, but a good case can be made that the first victims of imperialism are always the nations which “host the empire” so to speak. Oh sure, the Chinese and the Russians want their countries to be truly free, powerful and sovereign, and they understand that this is only possible when you have a military which can deter an attack, but neither China nor Russia have any interests in policing the planet or imposing some regime change on other countries.

All they really want is to be safe from the USA, that’s it.

This new reality is particularly visible in the Middle-East where countries like the United States, Israel or Saudi Arabia (this is the so-called “Axis of Kindness”) are currently only capable of deploying a military capable of massacring civilians or destroy the infrastructure of a country, but which cannot be used effectively against the two real regional powers with a modern military: Iran and Turkey.

But the most revealing litmus test was the US attempt to bully Venezuela back into submission. For all the fire and brimstone threats coming out of DC, the entire “Bolton plan(s?)” for Venezuela has/have resulted in a truly embarrassing failure: if the Sole “Hyperpower” on the planet cannot even overpower a tremendously weakened country right in its backyard, a country undergoing a major crisis, then indeed the US military should stick to the invasion of small countries like Monaco, Micronesia or maybe the Vatican (assuming the Swiss guard will not want to take a shot at the armed reps of the “indispensable nation”). The fact is that an increasing number of medium-sized “average” countries are now gradually acquiring the means to resist a US attack.

So if the writing is on the wall for the AngloZionist Empire, and if no country can replace the USA as imperial world hegemon, what does that mean?

It means the following: 1000 years of European imperialism is coming to an end!

This time around, neither Spain nor the UK nor Austria will take the place of the USA and try to become a world hegemon. In fact, there is not a single European nation which has a military even remotely capable of engaging the kind of “colony pacification” operations needed to keep your colonies in a suitable state of despair and terror. The French had their very last hurray in Algeria, the UK in the Falklands, Spain can’t even get Gibraltar back, and Holland has no real navy worth speaking about. As for central European countries, they are too busy brown-nosing the current empire to even think of becoming an empire (well, except Poland, of course, which dreams of some kind of Polish Empire between the Baltic and the Black Sea; let them, they have been dreaming about it for centuries, and they will still dream about it for many centuries to come…).

Now compare European militaries with the kind of armed forces you can find in Latin America or Asia? There is such a knee-jerk assumption of superiority in most Anglos that they completely fail to realize that medium and even small-sized countries can develop militaries sufficient enough to make an outright US invasion impossible or, at least, any occupation prohibitively expensive in terms of human lives and money (see herehere and here). This new reality also makes the typical US missile/airstrike campaign pretty useless: they will destroy a lot of buildings and bridges, they will turn the local TV stations (“propaganda outlets” in imperial terminology) into giant piles of smoking rubble and dead bodies, and they kill plenty of innocents, but that won’t result in any kind of regime change. The striking fact is that if we accept that warfare is the continuation of politics by other means, then we also have to admit, that under that definition, the US armed forces are totally useless since they cannot help the USA achieve any meaningful political goals.

The truth is that in military and economic terms, the “West” has already lost. The fact that those who understand don’t talk, and that those who talk about this (denying it, of course) have no understanding of what is taking place, makes no difference at all.

In theory, we could imagine that some kind of strong leader would come to power in the USA (the other western countries are utterly irrelevant), crush the Neocons like Putin crushed them in Russia, and prevent the brutal and sudden collapse of the Empire, but that ain’t gonna happen. If there is one thing which the past couple of decades have proven beyond reasonable doubt is that the imperial system is entirely unable to reform itself in spite of people like Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Ross Perrot, Ron Paul, Mike Gravel or even Obama and Trump – all men who promised meaningful change and who were successfully prevented by the system of achieving anything meaningful. Thus the system is still 100% effective, at least inside the USA: it took the Neocons less than 30 days to crush Trump and all his promises of change, and now it even got Tulsi Gabbard to bow down and cave in to Neocons’ absolutely obligatory political orthodoxy and myths.

So what is likely to happen next?

Simply put, Asia will replace the Western World. But – crucially – this time around no empire will come to take the place of the AngloZionist one. Instead, a loose and informal coalition of mostly Asian countries will offer an alternative economic and civilizational model, which will be immensely attractive to the rest of the planet. As for the Empire, it will very effectively disband itself and slowly fade into irrelevance. Both US Americans and Europeans will, for the very first time in their history, have to behave like civilized people, which means that their traditional “model of development” (ransacking the entire planet and robbing everybody blind) will have to be replaced by one in which these US Americans and Europeans will have to work like everybody else to accumulate riches. This notion will absolutely horrify the current imperial ruling elites, but I wager that it will be welcomed by the majority of the people, especially when this “new” (for them) model will yield more peace and prosperity than the previous one!

Indeed, if the Neocons don’t blow up the entire planet in a nuclear holocaust, the USA and Europe will survive, but only after a painful transition period which could last for a decade or more. One of the factors which will immensely complicate the transition from Empire to “regular” country will be the profound and deep influence 1000 years of imperialism have had on the western cultures, especially in the completely megalomaniac United States (Professor John Marciano’s “Empire as a way of life” lecture series addresses this topic superbly – I highly recommend them!): One thousand years of brainwashing are not so easily overcome, especially on the subconscious (assumptions) level.

Finally, the current rather nasty reaction to the multi-culturalism imposed by the western ruling elites is no less pathological than this corrosive multi-culturalism in the first place. I am referring to the new theories “revisiting” WWII and finding inspiration in all things Third Reich, very much including a revival of racist/racialist theories. This is especially ridiculous (and offensive) when coming from people who try to impersonate Christians but who instead of prayers on their lips just spew 1488-like nonsense. These folks all represent precisely the kind of “opposition” the Neocons love to deal with and which they always (and I really mean *always*) end up defeating. This (pretend) opposition (useful idiots, really) will remain strong as long as it remains well funded (which it currently is). But as soon as the current megalomania (“We are the White Race! We built Athens and Rome! We are Evropa!!!”) ends with an inevitable faceplant, folks will eventually return to sanity and realize that no external scapegoat is responsible for the current state of the West. The sad truth is that the West did all this to itself (mainly due to arrogance and pride!), and the current waves of immigrants are nothing more than a 1000 years of really bad karma returning to where it came from initially. I don’t mean to suggest that folks in the West are all individually responsible for what is happening now. But I do say that all the folks in the West now live with the consequences of 1000 years of unrestrained imperialism. It will be hard, very hard, to change ways, but since that is also the only viable option, it will happen, sooner or later.

But still – there is hope. IF the Neocons don’t blow up the planet, and IF mankind is given enough time to study its history and understand where it took the wrong turn, then maybe, just maybe, there is hope.

I think that we can all find solace in the fact that no matter how ugly, stupid and evil the AngloZionist Empire is, no other empire will ever come to replace it.

In other words, should we survive the current empire (which is by no means certain!) then at least we can look forward to a planet with no empires left, only sovereign countries.

I submit that this is a future worth struggling for.

The Saker

ماذا يعني الاختراق الروسي لبحار الخليج؟

يوليو 31, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

تتحضّر روسيا لإرسال بوارجها الى المحيط الهندي وبحر عدن حتى حدود مضيق هرمز الفاصل بين المجالات البحرية لإيران وعمان، بذريعة إجراء مناورات عسكرية مشتركة مع البحرية الإيرانية.

لا بدّ هنا من الإشارة الى الطابع الجيوبوليتيكي لهذا الدخول باعتبار أن الاتحاد السوفياتي السلف الذي ورثته روسيا الحالية، لم تكن لديه مرافئ صديقة في الخليج، للرسو والتموين من التزوّد بالوقود. فإيران كانت شاهنشاهية معادية له في ما كان الجانب العربي من الخليج خاضعاً لهيمنة أميركية كاملة تمسك بالأجواء والبحر الى درجة الخنق وتحت شعارات العداء للإلحاد الشيوعي.

ما هي مصلحة روسيا في هذا التطوّر؟

يملأ أولاً حاجة روسيا لحيازة مكان هام في قلب حركة الصراع على الشرق الأوسط من بوابة بحاره وأمن الملاحة فيه، متحالفاً مع إيران التي تقف في وجه المحاولات الأميركية لتدميرها كطريقة لإنعاش تفرّدها بالقرار الدولي لذلك فإن هذا الدخول الروسي له أهداف تبدأ بتقليص قوة الضغط الأميركية على عنف إيران، ما يعني استتباعاً، المزيد من تقهقر الأحادية الأميركية مقابل الاستمرار في الصعود الروسي والصيني.

لكن لروسيا حساباتها الخاصة الإضافية المؤدية الى الأهداف نفسها، وتتعلق اولاً بنمو حاجتها للدخول الى اليمن عبر الصراع اليمني مع الأميركيين والسعوديين على الساحل الغربي والحديدة، أي المنطقة المشرفة على باب المندب الذي لا يقل أهمية استراتيجية عن مضيق هرمز، بما يعني مراكمة أهميات جيوبوليتيكية عند الذي يهيمن على حركته البحرية أو يشارك في جزء من إدارته.

وهكذا تبدو الحركة الروسية الجديدة، وكأنها تتدحرج على هدي العلاقة مع إيران فتطمح لدور يمني يخترق موانئ الحديدة من زوايا الصراع الأميركي ـ السعودي والإيراني من جهة ثانية.

للإشارة فإن سياسة الرئيس الروسي بوتين تتحاشى أي سوء في علاقاتها مع السعودية، ما يجعلها تكتفي بالتحرك البحري حتى حدود هرمز الإيراني أي بعيداً عن الساحل السعودي المطلّ على الخليج.

أما الأسباب فعلى ارتباط بالتنسيق الروسي ـ السعودي الذي أدّى حتى الآن الى استقرار النفط أسعاراً وأسواقاً بمواكبة نمو تدريجي لعلاقات اقتصادية واعدة تشمل احتمالات شراء السعودية لمنظومة سلاح روسي جوّي وبرّي.

هذا ما يجعل التحرك الروسي في الخليج حذراً ولن يتقدم بسرّعة إلا بعد صدور صرخات استغاثة أميركية نتيجة فشل مرتقب لعقوباتها على إيران. وهناك احتمال آخر وهو نجاح الأميركيين بتركيب حلف ما يزعمون أنه لأمن الملاحة في الخليج مع الأوروبيين وبلدان عربية ودول من آسيا وأوستراليا.

عند هذا الحد لن يكتفي الروس بالتدحرج التدريجي نحو بحار الشرق الأوسط بل يرفعون من عيار سرعتهم بمعونة صينية مع دول أخرى من منظمتي البريكس وشانغهاي، فالصراع في الخليج ليس على مياه بحاره، بل على اقتصاده وثرواته من النفط والغاز وقدرته على استهلاك أي نوع من السلع، لأنه لا ينتج شيئاً.

تكفي الإشارة هنا إلى أن صحراء الربع الخالي تحتوي بمفردها على أضعاف عدة من الغاز الموجود في العالم، وربما أكثر حسب ما يتسرّب من مراكز أبحاث الطاقة في الغرب الذي يبرر اندلاع جزء من الصراع الدولي على الشرق الأوسط تحت مسمّيات أمن الملاحة فيه.

هناك إذاً خشية روسية من الإمساك الأميركي بالشرق الأوسط مجدداً فتتجاوز واشنطن بلعبة أمن الملاحة خسائرها في سورية والعراق واليمن، فتستعيده بتشكيل هذا الحلف الملاحي الماخر عباب الأمواج بحثاً عن الغاز والنفط.

كما تُجهض بذلك محاولات أوروبية للخروج من هيمنتها التي امسكت بتلابيب القارة العجوز منذ 1945 وأجلستها على المقاعد الخلفيّة لنفوذها، ترى الثروات وقد تشارك في جبايتها، إنما من الحق باقتطاع أي شيء منها باستثناء الفتات المتساقط جراء تعثر قوة الهضم الأميركية.

لكن موسكو لا تتوقع نجاحاً أميركياً بتشكيل تحالف دولي ملاحي لغايات أبعد، وتراهن على التردّد الأوروبي الباحث عن استقلالية واستمرار الصمود الإيراني والإحباط الذي يسري في المشاريع السياسية للدول العربية في الخليج، التي كانت تعتقد أن واشنطن عازمة على تدمير إيران بضربة ساحقة ماحقة، لا تحتاج لقصف لمدة أسبوع، لكنها ترى وبعد أشهر على بدء التوتير الحربي أن إيران تتمرد على الجبروت الاميركي وبعض التلاعب الأوروبي وتهديدات «إسرائيل»، وهذا ما استولد إحباطاً عميقاً عند عرب الخليج، كما يراهن بوتين أيضاً على تأجيج الصراع التركي ـ الأميركي، بما يخدم الصعود الروسي نحو القرار الدولي وبالتالي التراجع الأميركي عن السيطرة المطلقة على العالم.

لذلك، فإن ما أعلنه الادميرال قائد القوات البحرية الإيرانية حسين خان زاده في موسكو منذ يومين حول بدء المناورات المشتركة بين البحريتين الإيرانية والروسية من المحيط الهندي، إلى مضيق هرمز، انما هو رسالة الى الأوروبيين وبضرورة الحياد عن المشروع الأميركي في الخليج، ويشبه تهديداً الى الأميركيين بأن روسيا لن تتخلى عن إيران بحسابات خاصة تتعلّق بطموحها لدور في القرار الدولي، ولن تسمح بالتالي بعودة الأحادية الاميركية الى خنق روسيا والصين وأوروبا والاستئثار بالاقتصاد العالمي كما فعلت في مرحلة 1990 ـ 2018 هذه المرحلة التي جعلت الأميركيين يمسكون بمفاصل العالم ثقافياً وسياسياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً، مواصلين احتفاظهم بجزء كبير منها حتى اليوم.

هذه إذاً رسالة، لكنها قابلة للتنفيذ وما الدليل على انها رسالة إلا توسيعها لمدة المناورات حتى بدء السنة الفارسية الجديدة في آذار 2020.

وهذا يكشف أن التحرك الاميركي الفعلي في بحر الخليج لن يبدأ إلا بعد الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية في 2020 أيضاً كما يعتقد الروس، بما يشير إلى أن الصراعات البحريّة في الخليج الدائرة ضمن أحلاف تتطلّب وقتاً وظروفاً خاصة بها.

أما الذي لا شك فيه، فهو مشروع ولادة حلف صيني روسي إيراني قد تنضم إليه الهند وتركيا، بوسعه إعادة نصب صراع دولي متوازن يقلّص من حجم الهيمنة الأميركية، معيداً شيئاً من الاحترام للقانون الدولي وليس «قانون الأقوى»، لكن العرب بمفردهم لإعلانه لهم بما يجري لأنهم لا يزالون على متن النوق في القرون الوسطى.

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