Talking Reality Theories, With Airika Dollner, the Amazing Creative Mind of Art With Aim

 

Eva Bartlett

Some months ago, while chatting about world events, media lies, and how people who dare to think critically are often dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”, we joked about being “reality theorists”, and I liked the sound of that term. Our plans to have a conversation got delayed, but finally came about the other morning.

In our first conversation, Airika and I discussed a variety of things, from Palestine to Syria to Ukraine and more. Airika is a phenomenal researcher & very expressive, articulate, woman. We’ll be having these conversations a lot more frequently, on a wide range of issues, particularly things she has researched deeply.

Russian military is no joke either: Shock waves across US?

21 Mar 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Ruqiya Anwar 

When it comes to the Ukraine crisis, US citizens are stressing: “We don’t have a dog in the fight.”

The crisis in Ukraine is raising considerable anxiety and rising global uncertainty. It appears that neither war nor heavy economic penalties would bring a sustainable solution to the current situation, which extends beyond Russia and Ukraine. The only way out is through diplomacy. That possibility was squandered when the US and NATO, in response to Russia’s concerns, limited NATO’s eastward expansion.

However, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The special military operation will strive to “denazify” Russia’s sovereign neighbor, its mission is to protect citizens who have been bullied and subjected to genocide for the past eight years. And to do this, Russia will work to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine.

Even as President Joe Biden imposes more sanctions and promises a greater response that could draw retaliation from Moscow, there is little interest among Americans for a US involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. President Joe Biden has been criticized by a faction of the Republican Party for opposing Putin’s plans for Ukraine, with some even suggesting that Russia has the right to invade. 

As history has shown, economic sanctions would only harm innocent civilians, particularly women and children. The rising oil costs owing to the Ukraine-Russia conflict and the economic sanctions the West has imposed on Russia are affecting the entire world, particularly the poor nation-states.

With the general public’s memories of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and subsequent Taliban takeover still fresh, much of the worry on both the right and left is centered on the US avoiding military involvement in Europe. Members of the House Freedom Caucus have indeed been particularly loud in their opposition to US intervention in Ukraine, and stressed that “In the Ukraine conflict, we don’t have a dog in the fight”. There should not be a single American soldier killed there. There should not be a single American bullet fired there.

Significantly, Ukraine has no legitimate reason to be a member of NATO, and NATO, as a Cold War relic, may have no present purpose or goal. Getting involved in a military crisis is not in the best interests of the United States.

Similarly, many Americans prefer that the US stay out of the crisis, the escalating violence, and political ramifications are already hitting their budgets. As traders reacted to geopolitical tensions, the price of oil, which has been climbing for the past year, hit an eight-year high this week. According to experts, if US lawmakers pass another round of sanctions, gas prices will certainly rise considerably more.

Moreover, the restriction on wheat or metals, on the other hand, might push the worst spell of inflation in decades even higher. Consumers in the United States will pay more for gasoline and other necessities as commodity prices rise, leaving less money for discretionary expenditure. As costly as another European conflict would be inhuman and economic terms, the financial strain would fall disproportionately on the lower and middle classes in the United States.

Furthermore, the US economic growth could be cut by 1% as a result of tougher sanctions on Russia. Stock market turbulence can also have a psychological impact, undermining consumer confidence and reducing expenditure, thus, slowing down US economic growth. Sanctions implemented by the United States and other countries may worsen inflation in the United States, and stock prices in the United States have collapsed already.

Consumer pricing and consumer confidence in the United States are likely to be affected by the sanctions. Gas prices in the United States have reached new highs, and Biden warned that they will go up even more.

Notably, the issue of “who are they?” lies at the heart of much of the doubt about America’s intervention in Ukraine. Who are they to lecture about national sovereignty and international law when they have a significant history of invasions and interventions? Who are they to set themselves up as paragons of freedom and human rights, given the record of slavery and discrimination, their foreign record of supporting sympathetic tyrants, and the continued injustices of American life? People on the left frequently pose such concerns. Only about one out of every three Americans can locate Ukraine on a map of Europe.

Biden’s presidency is already on the verge of collapsing. His approval rating has dropped to 41%. His grip on the White House is already tightening. Therefore, Presidents in such dire trouble have a history of suffering crushing defeats in midterm elections during their first term.

The US and Europe have already become major victims of the crisis, both economically and geopolitically, and the worsening of the conflict could spell disaster for the continent and the world. Europe, as the continent that saw two previous World Wars erupt, must demonstrate greater foresight and courage in stepping up its efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

أزمة أوكرانيا تثبت: حياد لبنان أمر غير قابل للتطبيق

الجمعة 4 آذار 2022

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

منذ فترة من الزمن يروّج في لبنان مع اندلاع العدوان على سورية بحرب كونية قادتها الولايات المتحدة، ابتدع لبنان شعار النأي بالنفس حتى يتنصّل من موجباته التي يفرضها العديد من المعاهدات المعقودة بينه وبين الدولة السورية ويؤمّن لأميركا ما تبتغيه من حصار.

 شعار رفعته آنذاك الحكومة التي كان يرأسها نجيب ميقاتي رئيس الحكومة الحالي الذي يجاهر اليوم بانّ «السعودية هي قبلته السياسية كما هي قبلته الدينية»، رغم انه يُصرّ أو يتظاهر بأنه ملتزم بسياسة النأي بالنفس وهو كلام تنفيه الوقائع.

بيد أنّ الشعار المرفوع الذي يوحي بأنّ لبنان لن يكون مع طرف دون آخر في الحرب على سورية، هذا الشعار لم يطبّق في الميدان من قبل أحد فلا الحكومة عملت به ولا مكونات السياسة اللبنانية احترمته، حيث انّ الحكومة انصاعت لأوامر الغرب بالقيادة الأميركية في أكثر من ملف يعني سورية، بخاصة في مسألة النازحين السوريين كما وفي مسائل مالية وسياسية أخرى ولم يسجل من النأي بالنفس سوى بعض المواقف اليتيمة التي اتخذها مندوب لبنان في الجامعة العربية وما عدا ذلك فقد كان انحياز لبنان الرسمي الى خصوم الحكومة السورية واضحاً من غير التباس.

أما اللبنانيون فقد كان انقسامهم واضحاً أيضاً حيال المسألة، ففي حين ذهب فريق منهم للقتال الى جانب الدولة السورية قتالاً رأى فيه انه من طبيعة العمل الاستباقي للدفاع المشروع عن النفس، فقد التزم أطراف آخرون يعملون بأوامر وإملاءات أميركية موقع العداء للحكومة السورية ونصرة من يقاتلها من مجموعات داخلية مسلحة او إرهابية استقدمت من الخارج او حتى تشكيلات عسكرية احتلت أرضاً سورية، كما هو حال القوات الأميركية والتركية. مواقف متناقضة أظهرت انّ الانقسام عمودي حادّ بين اللبنانيين دون أن يكون هناك بين الطرفين مساحة مشتركة للتفاهم.

في ظلّ هذا الوضع الخلافي أطلق البطريرك الماروني الدعوة الى حياد لبنان وأيّده في دعوته معظم الأطراف الذين جاهروا بالعداء للدولة السورية والعداء للمقاومة التي وقفت الى جانب سورية في حربها الدفاعية ضدّ الإرهاب والاحتلال الأجنبي لأراضيها، وكان بديهياً أن تنظر المقاومة الى الدعوة هذه بعين الريبة والحذر خاصة أنها ترى في سلوك من أطلقها ومن أيّده كامل الانحياز الى الغرب بقيادة أميركية وكامل الانصياع للإملاءات الأميركية وكامل الانبطاح أمام دول الخليج المنصاعة أصلاً لأميركا والتي تنفذ عدواناً تدميرياً على اليمن.

في ظلّ هذا المشهد انفجر الوضع في أوكرانيا وبدأت روسيا بتنفيذ عملية عسكرية خاصة عبر حدودها، عملية حددت أهدافها بأنها ذات طبيعة دفاعيّة من أجل ضمان حياد أوكرانيا وعدم تحوّلها الى منصة للحلف الأطلسي الذي يجاهر بالعداء لروسيا وبأنها لا تنوي احتلالاً للدولة تلك بل جلّ ما تريده ضمان أمنها القومي الذي ينتهك بالخطط الأطلسية بقيادة أميركية. أما الغرب فقد نظر الى العملية العسكرية الروسية بأنها عدوان موصوف، وأنه سيواجهه بشتى الوسائل السياسية والإعلامية والاقتصادية وتقديم المساعدات العسكرية لحكومة كييف من غير التورّط بإرسال تشكيلات من جيوش الغرب خشية الانزلاق الى حرب عالمية أطرافها دول نووية.

لقد ظهر الصراع في أوكرانيا وحولها انه صراع بين روسيا التي تبرّر أعمالها العسكرية بحق الدفاع عن النفس بأسلوب استباقي وبين الغرب بقيادة أميركا التي جهدت لاستدراج روسيا الى هذا الموقع من أجل الإجهاز عليها وتفكيكها بتكرار ما قامت به ضدّ الاتحاد السوفياتي بعد احتلال أفغانستان. ورغم هذا الوضوح في طبيعة الصراع فإنّ لبنان سارع وفي الساعات الأولى لبدء العملية العسكرية الروسية، لإدانة روسيا والمطالبة بوقف عمليتها ثم صوّت في الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة لصالح مشروع قرار أميركي أوروبي اعتمد ضدّ روسيا، مؤكداً في مواقفه بأنه ليس على الحياد ولا يتقيّد بما ورد في البيان الوزاري للحكومة من شعار النأي بالنفس، فهل أصاب لبنان أم أخطأ في مواقفه؟ وهل الحياد ممكن والنأي بالنفس مستطاع؟

من البديهي أن يكون لبنان وهو من الدول المؤسسة للأمم المتحدة صاحب سياسة تدعو الى الأمن والسلام وحلّ النزاعات بالطرق السلميّة بعيداً عن الاحتكام الى القوة والسلاح مع ما يستتبعه من قتل وتدمير وتشريد وهو الدولة التي عانت ولا تزال تعاني من العدوان والاحتلال «الإسرائيلي» وعلى أرضها وحقوقها وسيادتها. ولكن على لبنان قبل ان يتخذ موقفاً من صراع دولي أن يتحقق ويمحّص انعكاسات موقفه وتداعياته عليه وعلى سياسة الحياد التي يدّعيها. ولكن هل يستطيع لبنان أن يصمد أمام الضغوط الأجنبية عامة والأميركية ـ الأوروبية ـ الخليجية خاصة؟

لقد أثبتت التجربة في لبنان أنّ القول شيء والفعل والممارسة شيء آخر، والأمر رهن بمن يتولى زمام الأمور في البلاد، فإذا تذكرنا أيام تلت طرد «إسرائيل» من جنوب لبنان في العام ٢٠٠٠ وكم صمد لبنان أمام الضغط الأميركي الرامي لحمله على التنازل امام «إسرائيل» عن حقوقه في أرضه، لوصلنا الي نتيجة مفادها انّ لبنان المتمسك بحقه وبجيشه وبمقاومته قادر على مواجهة الضغوط الأميركية، فقد حاولت مادلين أولبريت وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية وعبر مكالمات هاتفية لمدة أربع ساعات ان تثني لبنان عن مواقفه ولم تستطع وانتزع لبنان حقه في أرضه كما رآه.

بيد انّ نتائج الضغط الأميركي على لبنان في المسألة الأوكرانية جاءت بنتيجة معاكسة، حيث إنّ هاتف او زيارة من سفيرة أميركا الى المسؤولين أنتجت بيان إدانة لروسيا بسرعة قياسية سبق لبنان فيها كلّ الدول العربية ومعظم الدول الأوروبية، ثم كانت زيارة أخرى حملت لبنان على دعم الموقف الأميركيّ في مجلس الأمن ضدّ روسيا.

وهنا قد يروق للبنانيين الذين اتخذوا هذه المواقف من غير العودة الى مجلس الوزراء الذي هو حسب الدستور السلطة التنفيذية التي ترسم وتنفذ سياسات الدولة، قد يروق لهم القول بأنّ موقف لبنان منسجم مع مبادئه الرافضة للعدوان والاحتكام للقوة في حلّ النزاعات. ولكن أيضاً من مبادئ لبنان دعم الحق المشروع بالدفاع عن النفس، وهنا يجب ان نأخذ بالاعتبار الهواجس المشروعة لكلّ من الطرفين، الامر الذي لم يعمل به لبنان بنتيجة الضغط الأميركي.

هذه الوقائع تفضي بنا الى نتيجة واحدة وهي انّ الحياد المطلوب هو أمر غير مضمون في بلد كلبنان في ظلّ ضعف الدولة ووهنها ووجود ساسة لديهم مصالح يخشون عليها، فالحياد موقف لا يمكن ان يتخذه إلا قوي لا يخشى تهديداً ولا يستجيب لإملاء، أما الضعيف الخائف على مصلحة مالية او سواها، فإنه ينظر الي مصلحته ويتخذ الموقف الذي يحفظها دون التوقف عند تأثير ذلك على الدولة والوطن الذي يتولى مسؤولية فيه، وأخيراً نذكر بشروط الحياد التي هي الى جانب القوة الذاتية، هناك القبول الخارجيّ فهل يقبل الخارج بحياد لبنان ويدعه وشأنه أم يريد لبنان منصة ومسرحاً وقاعدة لعملياته وسياسته؟ الواقع يثبت انّ من يطلب حياد لبنان هو كمن يبحث عن النجوم في رابعة النهار. فتحوّلوا الى امتلاك القوة والبحث عمن يتولى الشأن العام ويقدّمه على أموره الخاصة.

*أستاذ جامعيّ ـ باحث استراتيجيّ

A matter of self-defence

MARCH 03, 2022

Source

by Ghassan Kadi

I am not here to write about historic, strategic and military details pertaining to the issues surrounding the Ukraine crisis. Apart from those fabricating Hollywood material, there are many excellent analysts covering these areas competently.

But as a Syrian/Lebanese, within my limited capacity, I have a duty to show support and reciprocate Russia’s support to Syria where it is due and, in this case, it is as it is one that is based on truths and moral issues that cannot be overlooked, even if Russia did not support Syria at all.

What I want to discuss is the justification and morality of self-defence.

War is a heavily-loaded word, a word that implies man killing man, humanity fighting humanity, armies pillaging nations, creating orphans and widows, refugees, sex slaves, destroying civilizations, economies, beautiful ancient architectural icons and a whole hoard of other atrocities that often are never repaired or resolved.

But there are wars and there are wars.

One cannot place the actions of the USA’s invasion of Iraq in the same basket as that of resistance against Nazi occupation.

People, and nations, have the right of self-defence. Self-defence is not an act of aggression. It is an act to prevent further aggression.

Not surprisingly, when the rules of the jungle prevail, just like in La Fontaine’s fables, aggressors on one hand conjure up for themselves the justification to kill, and on the other hand, they vilify the victims of their aggression when they try to exercise their right of self-defence.

The USA has been engaged in wars ever since WWII ended. Beginning with the Korean War, the West moved the theatre to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq I and Iraq II, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria; not to mention other smaller wars. In reality, there was never ever any justification for any of them and the national security of the United States of America was never under threat by any of those much pooper and much less equipped nations.

What is ironic is the fact that even though the odds were always in favour of America, and this is an understatement, America never won any of those wars. Some cynics argue that America’s objectives were not about winning wars but about leaving mess and destruction behind. Whilst I partially agree with this sentiment, I cannot accept that America has intentionally invaded Iraq to hand it on a silver platter to Iran any more that it invaded Taliban’s Afghanistan to hand it back to the Taliban. Those who believe that America has always been successful in achieving its target of havoc seem to give it more kudos than it deserves. I genuinely believe that America has been a total failure and that its performance as the world’s self-appointed custodian of the post WWII era had been abysmal to put it mildly.

Perhaps America could be excused for it actions during the hot Cold-War era. It was a period of uncertainty, fear, and what was behind the ‘dreaded’ ‘Iron Curtain’ left little surprises to be desired.

But, using American administration rhetoric, with the dismantling of the USSR this hot-cold War era was also supposed to cease.

Contrary to the commonly-held belief in the West, America did not win the Cold War. The Cold War ended when Gorbachev negotiated with Raegan the terms of disengagement. https://sputniknews.com/20190402/gorbachev-nato-expansion-reasons-1073764558.html

The rest is history. The manner in which America broke all of its promises to never encroach into Eastern Europe, how it coaxed former Warsaw Pact nations to join NATO, how it positioned missiles close to Russian borders, how it pillaged Serbia, how it tried to create a puppet regime in Georgia in 2008, how it sponsored a coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014 putting Neo-Nazis in charge, how it bombarded the Eastern provinces for eight long years, how it reneged on the Minsk Agreements, how it refused to reach a deal on Ukraine in Jan 2022, a deal that took into consideration Russia’s legitimate security concerns, are all acts of provocation that can only lead to war; a Russian war of self-defence.

Western arrogance remains high despite the fact that Russia has clearly demonstrated red lines in Georgia and Syria. But Kiev is not Damascus. Kiev was the capital of the Russian Empire long before Texas was a state of the Union.

Furthermore, Russia is not Afghanistan or Somalia. Russia is not only a nuclear superpower, but also one with weaponry that is far more advanced than the West’s.

The Western bully has been picking on the wrong would-be adversary, and for a very long time.

What is most unbelievable about the current situation is the Western European compliance with America’s stance. Americans may well be distanced from the history and internal politics of Europe, but Germany, France, Italy and Spain must surely know better, but they are behaving in a manner as if they are either totally ignorant or extremely callous.

Puppet states of Eastern Europe should look over their shoulders and see what real support Ukraine is receiving from America after America promised Ukraine the world and then hung it out to dry.

This brings us back to the issue of drawing the line between instigating war for no reason other than imperial gain and fighting legitimately for self-defence.

The West and its media are taking the line of presenting Russia as the aggressor, portraying Putin as a crazed Tzar who wants to rebuild the USSR; not only ignoring the events of 2014 onwards, but also ignoring past and present atrocities of the West that had no justification at all.

Have we forgotten Iraq’s WMD blunder?

Russia did all it could to avert a military confrontation in Ukraine.

For eight long years, Russia refused to acknowledge the independence of the eastern provinces.

Russia continued to keep all bridges of communication with the West open in the hope of reaching an agreement to end the impasse.

Russia made it clear to America time after time, that it has red lines that cannot be crossed, including not accepting Ukraine to join NATO.

But all that America did was to ignore and continue to intimidate. When the talk about the impending Russian invasion of Ukraine was flagged on Western media, it was because America had the full intention to make sure that the January 2022 Switzerland talks with Russia must fail leaving the military option alone on the table.

The actions of Russia to neutralize and de-Nazify Ukraine are acts of self-defence. Any fair and proper court of justice would attest to this, but not in the West, where media is the echo chamber of the Western globalists and the only key to the hearts and minds of people in the West who unquestionably believe what their media dishes out.

But why are some of Russians so surprised and dismayed now by the new wave of anti-Russian propaganda? Lucky enough to visit Russia a few years ago, I found myself in an alternative paradigm; not a ‘Truman Show’ little bubble, but a huge world that did what it believed was right and didn’t give a pig’s butt (excuse the French) about what the West and Western media thought and decreed.

I was able to see the so-called ‘iron curtain’, way after the USSR was no longer, but not from a Western xenophobic vantagepoint, but from a Russian one that did not seem to care much at all about the views and the attitude of the West.

It was disappointing to see Western franchises like Starbucks and McDonald’s, but Russia looked like a proud stand-alone nation that is big enough, strong enough and rich enough to dictate its own directive and destiny.

If anything, a few years later, Russia is now in a much stronger position to dictate what it wants to the old ailing West and the stronger sanctions today are not going to be any more effective than previous milder ones.

President Biden now represents the West in many more ways than one. Not only he is meant to be the leader of the so-called ‘Free World’, but at his old age, a mental state that borders dementia, he represents the global hemisphere that has lost its technical edge and rationality; not to mention economic clout.

It is very sad that the once developed West that paved the rest of the world in technology and innovation has put its leadership under the hands of short-sighted impotent leaders like Biden, Merkel (formerly), Johnson and Macron. Those weak and shortsighted leaders are pushing the West into the corner of cultural suicide.

They represent the political legacy that led to the exodus of Western manufacturing base.

They are the legacy that destroyed family values, cultural values as well as moral values.

They are the ones forcing Russia to create an alternative global power with China; the West’s main and primary competitor.

But the problem with Western political leaders is that they are not serving their own people; they are serving their sponsors and their own profit and loss statements.

Nations are not corporations, and the corporate aspect of Western political leadership is bursting its own bubble. It is not ready to confront the challenges of either Russia or China, let alone both of them combined. The West continues to live in the euphoria of a bygone era in which it had the upper hand by way of being a leader in technological advances and manufacturing which are the basic foundations for strong economies. It has lost its technical edge, placing itself in a conflict it can neither win, let alone be able to fight.

The West needs to learn to accept humility as a desired value. For the sake of humanity as a whole, it needs to learn this lesson before its obstinance and arrogance leads the world into further and deeper wars and disasters.

%d bloggers like this: