Time to end Apartheid Israel’s genocidal oppression of Gaza

 SEPTEMBER 11, 2022 

PROTESTOR HOLDS SIGNS SUPPORTING BDS, THE MOVEMENT FOR BOYCOTTS, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL, AT ‘TEL AVIV SUR SEINE’ IN PARIS, AUGUST 13, 2015. (PHOTO: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

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By Haider Eid

“If only it (Gaza) would just sink into the sea
– Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, 1992

In 2008 Gaza was bombed by Israeli Apache helicopters and American-made F16 fighter planes for 22 days, ultimately causing the deaths of more than 1,400 civilians. Israel, with the impunity it has enjoyed since its establishment, decided to come back into Gaza four times since then and repeat the same crimes by launching areal strikes, killing more than 4000 civilians, including hundreds of children, women, elderly, and injuring thousands. In fact, over the past 15 months alone, apartheid Israel has carried out two extensive military assaults on Gaza, killing hundreds, including more than 80 children, and injuring thousands, destroying vital infrastructure, while maintaining its 15-year illegal siege on the 2.4 million Palestinians here.

Israel’s airstrikes which always damage essential infrastructure and terrify the civilian population are a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian people and are war crimes which are forbidden under international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prescribes the manner in which armies must treat civilians during times of conflict. 

But Israel continues to get away with these war crimes and crimes against humanity. The “international community” does not seem seriously interested in the suffering of the native Palestinians. Neither does it even try to show concrete sympathy with those children who get killed in broad day light. After all, they are not Ukrainians, i.e., white.  In fact, while the American president apparently thinks that while “Israel has the right to defend itself,” the same right does not apply to Palestinians. This is in spite of the multi-tiered oppression of Palestinians by Israel, from apartheid to military occupation and colonization, and in spite of the deadly, hermetic siege imposed on Gaza for more than 15 years, so much so that Israel has even been using ‘calorie count’ to limit Gaza food during the blockade. 

This, however, has been Israel’s policy for a long time. In 1992, the late Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin wished that Gaza “would just sink into the sea.” The Oslo Accords, signed by Rabin, brought more misery into the lives of the 2 million inhabitants of this besieged, impoverished, occupied, small strip of land. The fact that Gazans are not born to Jewish mothers is enough reason to deprive them of their right to live equally with the citizens of the state of Israel. Hence, the Israeli logic goes, like the Black natives of South Africa, they should be isolated in a Bantustan, in accordance with the Oslo terms, without calling it so; and if they show any resistance to this plan, they must get punished severely by transforming the entire strip into an “open-air prison.” 

Both the US and the European Union display ignorance in the face of the brutal reality caused by Israel to GazaAs a result of Israel’s blockade on most imports and exports and other policies designed to punish Gazans, about 70% of Gaza’s workforce is now unemployed or without pay, according to the United Nations, and about 80% of its residents live in grinding poverty. About 1.2 million of them are now dependent for their day-to-day survival on food handouts from U.N. or international agencies; an increasing number of Palestinian families in Gaza are unable to offer their children more than one meager meal a day, often little more than rice and boiled lentils. Fresh fruit and vegetables are beyond the reach of many families. Meat and chicken are impossibly expensive. And fish is unavailable in its markets because the Israeli navy has curtailed the movements of Gaza ‘s fishermen. No wonder, a report by the UN predicted that by 2020, Gaza would become “unlivable.” 

We are left with one option: people’s power. This remains the only power capable of counteracting the massive power imbalance between the oppressed Palestinians and their Israeli oppressors.

The UN, EU and the international community by and large have remained silent in the face of atrocities committed by Apartheid Israel. The corpses of hundreds of dead children and women have failed to convince them to act. We are, therefore, left with one option; an option that does not wait for the United Nations Security Council, namely, the option of people’s power. This remains the only power capable of counteracting the massive power imbalance between the oppressed Palestinians and their Israeli oppressors.

The horror of the racist apartheid regime in South Africa was challenged with a sustained campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions initiated in 1958 and given new urgency in 1976 Soweto Uprising. This campaign ultimately contributed to the collapse of white rule in 1994 and the establishment of a multi-racial, democratic state.

Similarly, the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions has been gathering momentum since 2005. Gaza, like Soweto and Sharpeville, cannot be ignored: it demands a response from all who believe in a common humanity. Now is the time to boycott the apartheid Israeli state, to divest and to impose sanctions against it until it complies with international law. Like black South Africans, Palestinians deserve freedom, justice and equality.  Time to end Apartheid Israel’s genocidal oppression of Gaza

Putin’s speech at the Eastern Economic Forum

September 07, 2022

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, Mr Min Aung Hlaing, Mr Pashinyan, Mr Oyun-Erdene, Mr Li Zhanshu, ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to greet all participants and guests of the Eastern Economic Forum. Russia and Vladivostok are again hosting a forum of business leaders, experts, politicians, public figures and members of government from dozens of countries across the world.

As per tradition, the programme of the Eastern Economic Forum includes discussions on the projects and initiatives that are extremely important for the development of the regions in Russia’s Far East and for strengthening Russia’s cooperation and production ties with Asia Pacific countries, both our old, traditional partners and countries that are only developing dialogue with Russia in a broad range of areas and business projects.

Of course, this meeting in Vladivostok is a good opportunity to once again review the situation in the global economy and to exchange views on its main trends and risks.

Last year, the Eastern Economic Forum was held after a long pause caused by the coronavirus pandemic. At that time, the majority of experts agreed that global business activity was beginning to recover and that it would normalise soon after the lifting of the coronavirus restrictions, However, the pandemic has given way to new challenges, global ones that are threatening the world as a whole. I am referring to the Western sanctions frenzy and the open and aggressive attempts to force the Western mode of behaviour on other countries, to extinguish their sovereignty and to bend them to its will. In fact, there is nothing unusual in that: this policy has been pursued by the “collective West” for decades.

The waning dominance of the United States in the global economy and politics, as well as the stubborn unwillingness or even inability of the Western elites to see, let alone recognise objective facts, acted as a catalyst for these processes.

I have already mentioned that the entire system of international relations has recently undergone irreversible, or should I say, tectonic, shifts. Emerging states and regions around the world, primarily, of course, in the Asia-Pacific region, now play a substantially bigger role. Asia-Pacific countries emerged as new centres of economic and technological growth, attracting human resources, capital and manufacturing.

Despite all that, the Western countries are seeking to preserve yesterday’s world order that benefits them and force everyone to live according to the infamous “rules”, which they concocted themselves. They are also the ones who regularly violate these rules, changing them to suit their agenda depending on how things are going at any given moment. At the same time, other countries have not been forthcoming when it comes to subjecting themselves to this dictate and arbitrary rule, forcing the Western elites, to put it bluntly, to lose grip and take short-sighted, irrational decisions on global security, politics, as well as economics. All these decisions run counter to the interests of countries and their people, including, by the way, the people in those Western countries. The gap separating the Western elites from their own citizens is widening.

Europe is about to throw its achievements in building up its manufacturing capability, the quality of life of its people and socioeconomic stability into the sanctions furnace, depleting its potential, as directed by Washington for the sake of the infamous Euro-Atlantic unity. In fact, this amounts to sacrifices in the name of preserving the dominance of the United States in global affairs.

Back in spring, many foreign corporations rushed to announce their withdrawal from Russia, believing that our country will suffer more than others. Today, we see one manufacturing site after another shutting down in Europe itself. One of the key reasons, of course, lies in the severed business ties with Russia.

The competitive ability of European companies is in decline, for the EU officials themselves are essentially cutting them off from affordable commodities and energy, as well as trade markets. It will come as no surprise if eventually the niches currently occupied by European businesses, both on the continent and on the global market in general, will be taken over by their American patrons who know no boundaries or hesitation when it comes to pursuing their interests and achieving their goals.

More than that, in an attempt to obstruct the course of history, Western countries have undermined the pillars of the global economic system, built over centuries. It is in front of our eyes that the dollar, euro and pound sterling have lost trust as currencies suitable for performing transactions, storing reserves and denominating assets. We are taking steps to shed this dependence on unreliable and compromised foreign currencies. By the way, even allies of the United States are gradually reducing their dollar assets, as we can see from statistics. Step by step, the volume of transactions and savings in dollars is diminishing.

I want to note here that yesterday, Gazprom and its Chinese partners decided to switch to 50/50 transactions in rubles and yuan with respect to gas payments.

I want to add that with their short-sighted actions, Western officials have triggered a global inflation. In many developed economies, the inflation rate has reached a record-high level that had not been seen in many years.

Everybody is aware of this but I will reiterate: as of late July, inflation in the United States reached 8.5 percent. Russia has just over 14 percent (I will speak about this further) but it is declining, unlike in Western economies. The inflation there is on the rise, and in our country it is declining. I believe that as of the end of the year, we will have around 12 percent and, as many of our experts think, in the first quarter or by the second quarter of 2023, we will most likely reach the target inflation rate. Some say it will be 5–6 percent. Others say it will go down to 4 percent. We will see. In any case, the trend is positive. Meanwhile, what is happening with our neighbours? The inflation in Germany has reached 7.9 percent, in Belgium 9.9 percent, in the Netherlands 12 percent, Latvia 20.8 percent, Lithuania 21.1 percent and Estonia 25.2 percent. And it is still on the rise.

Rising prices in the global markets can be a real tragedy for most of the poorest countries, which are facing shortages of food, energy, and other vital goods. I will cite a few figures that underline the danger: while in 2019, according to the UN, 135 million people in the world were facing acute food insecurity, their number has soared by 2.5 times to 345 million by now – this is just horrible. Moreover, the poorest states have completely lost access to the most essential foods as developed countries are buying up the entire supply, causing a sharp increase in prices.

Let me give you an example. Most of the ships – you all know very well how high passions have been running, how much has been said about the need to facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain at all costs, to support the poorest countries. And we certainly had no other choice but to respond, despite all the complicated developments taking place around Ukraine. We did everything to ensure that Ukrainian grain was exported, and we certainly assumed – I met with the leaders of the African Union, with the leaders of African states and I promised them that we would make every effort to uphold their interests and would facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain.

Russia did it together with Turkiye. We did it. And I would like to report the result to you, colleagues: if we exclude Turkiye as an intermediary, all the grain exported from Ukraine, almost in its entirety, went to the European Union, not to the developing and poorest countries. Only two ships delivered grain under the UN World Food Programme – the very programme that is supposed to help countries that need help the most – only two ships out of 87 – I emphasise – transported 60,000 tonnes out of 2 million tonnes of food. That’s just 3 percent, and it went to the developing countries.

What I am saying is, many European countries today continue to act as colonisers, exactly as they have been doing in previous decades and centuries. Developing countries have simply been cheated yet again and continue to be cheated.

It is obvious that with this approach, the scale of food problems in the world will only increase. Unfortunately, to our great regret, this could lead to an unprecedented humanitarian disaster, and perhaps, exporters need to think about limiting their exports of grain and other food to this destination. I will certainly consult with President of Turkiye, Mr Erdogan, because together with him we were the ones who developed a mechanism for the export of Ukrainian grain, primarily, I repeat, to help the poorest countries. But what happened in practice?

I would like to stress once again that this situation has been caused by the reckless steps taken by the United States, the UK and the European Union, which are obsessed with illusory political ideas. As for the wellbeing of their own citizens, let alone people outside the so-called golden billion, they have been pushing it to the backburner. This will inevitably lead Western countries into a deadlock, an economic and social crisis, and will have unpredictable consequences for the whole world.

Colleagues,

Russia is coping well with the economic, financial and technological aggression of the West. I am talking about a real aggression; there is no other word for it. Russia’s currency and financial market has stabilised, inflation is going down, as I have already mentioned, and the unemployment rate is at an all-time historical low of less than 4 percent. The assessments and forecasts of our economic performance, including by businesspeople, are more optimistic now than in early spring.

I would like to say that our economic situation has stabilised overall, but we also see a number of problems in some sectors, regions and individual enterprises, especially those that relied on supplies from Europe or supplied their products there.

It is important to continue working with businesses to take prompt decisions and launch effective targeted support mechanisms. I would like to ask the Government Commission to Increase the Sustainability of the Russian Economy under the Sanctions to keep track of the situation. It is true that we are doing this almost on a daily basis. Nevertheless, despite the evidence of stabilisation I have mentioned, we are also aware of the risks and so we must keep an eye on them.

Russia is a sovereign state. We will always protect our national interests while pursuing an independent policy, and we also appreciate this quality among our partners, who have demonstrated their reliability and responsible attitude in the course of our trade, investment and other types of cooperation over many years. I am referring, as you are aware, to our colleagues from the Asia Pacific countries.

An absolute majority of Asia Pacific countries reject the destructive logic of sanctions. Their business relations are focused on mutual advantage, cooperation and the joint use of our economic capabilities to the benefit of our countries’ citizens. This adds up to a huge competitive advantage of the regional countries and a guarantee of their dynamic long-term development, which has been growing faster than the world’s average for a long time.

You are aware of this, but I would like to remind everyone that over the past 10 years Asian countries’ GDP has been increasing by approximately 5 percent every year, while the figure is 3 percent in the world, 2 percent in the US and 1.2 percent in the EU. But it is even more important that this trend persists. What will this ultimately lead to? As a result, the share of Asian economies in global GDP will grow from 37.1 percent in 2015 to 45 percent in 2027, and I am sure that this trend will persist.

It is important for Russia that the economy of the Russian Far East grows together with Asia Pacific economies, that this region provide modern living conditions, boost people’s incomes and well-being, and that it create high-quality jobs and cost-effective production facilities.

We have already tested unique national tax, administrative and customs privileges in the Far East. They help implement landmark projects, even by global standards, in such fields as natural gas conversion and the shipbuilding sector, bioengineering technologies and clean energy.

In the past seven years, industrial production volumes in the Far East have increased by about 25 percent. This exceeds nationwide levels by one third. I want to stress this: growth rates of industrial production in the Far East greatly exceed similar nationwide growth rates.

We will continue to promote the priority development of the Far Eastern regions by using new advanced state support measures and by creating the best and highly competitive business environment. For example, we intend to continue adjusting the mechanism of priority development areas for modern and joint projects with other countries, to create the best possible business climate for attracting the most advanced technologies to Russia and for manufacturing high value-added goods in the Far East.

Events of this year confirm the special significance of such a factor as accessible and affordable raw materials without which it is impossible to organise any production process or to set up co-production chains. Russia is just about the only country that is completely self-sufficient in terms of natural resources, and the Far East plays a substantial role here. This region is a highly important supplier of crude oil and natural gas, coal, metals, timber and marine biological resources to the domestic market and our foreign partners.

We are staking on the prudent and rational development of Russia’s natural riches under the most stringent environmental standards. First of all, we will refine all extracted raw materials domestically as much as possible. We will also use these raw materials to strengthen the sovereignty of this country, to ensure industrial security, to raise incomes and to develop the regions.

We have already protected the resource extraction industry from unfriendly actions. From now on, only companies with Russian jurisdiction have the right to develop natural resources in Russia.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and leading business associations has determined the national economy’s demand for strategic raw materials. This information will become the foundation of the revised Strategy for the Development of Russia’s Mineral Resources Base with an extended planning horizon up to 2050.

At the same time, special focus should be placed on geological exploration and processing of rare raw materials (such as titanium, manganese, lithium, and niobium), which are used in metallurgy, medical and chemical industries, microelectronics, aircraft manufacturing and other industries, as well as in new energy storage and transmission technologies.

I would like to separately ask the Government to have a look at the bioresources harvesting sphere, where we have a mechanism of investment quotas. Here, it is important to achieve balanced growth and full utilisation of production capacities, as well as to ensure the harmonious development of the regions’ infrastructure.

I would like to stress that the funds the state receives from the utilisation of water bioresources must above all be allocated for developing the infrastructure of rural areas, employment support, and increasing incomes of local residents. I ask the Government to take specific measures on this. We have discussed this many times.

Next, over the past years Russia has implemented big plans for the development of transport infrastructure, railways and roads, seaports and pipelines. These timely decisions have made it possible for businesses to quickly rebuild logistics in today’s conditions, and redirect cargo flows to those countries that are ready and willing to trade with Russia and prefer civilised and predictable business relations.

It is noteworthy that despite the attempts of external pressure, the total cargo of Russian seaports has only slightly decreased over the seven months of this year; it has remained at the same level as a year earlier, which is about 482 million tonnes of cargo. Last year there were 483 million, so the figure is practically the same.

At the same time, Far Eastern ports are seeing a real logistics boom. The volume of cargo transhipment and container handling is such that specialists are working 24/7 to handle the workload. In a word, no matter how much someone might like to isolate Russia, it is impossible to do it, as we have always said so. It is enough just to look at the map.

We will use natural competitive advantages to build up our further transport capabilities, expand the road and railway network, build new access roads to sea terminals and expand their capacity.

I mentioned earlier that our focus is on building the eastward infrastructure and developing the North-South international corridor and ports of the Azov-Black Sea basin which we will keep working on. They will open up more opportunities for Russian companies to enter the markets of Iran, India, the Middle East and Africa and, of course, for reciprocal deliveries from these countries.

The total volume of freight and cargo transportation along these routes and arteries will be able to grow by about 60 percent by 2030. We are absolutely realistic about our predictions, and this is how it will be. To achieve these numbers, the Government has drafted specific “roadmaps” in the three areas I outlined earlier, which will enable us to make this work consistent, consolidate and coordinate our efforts in terms of deadlines and capacity to break up the bottlenecks and upgrade border checkpoints and related infrastructure.

In addition to our plans to expand transport corridors, it is important to put in place new rolling stock and railway traction vehicles, to provide Russian shipyards with orders for modern high-quality tankers, dry cargo ships and container vessels, including ice-class ships, for the further expansion of the Northern Sea Route as a potent transport corridor of national and global importance with, I want to stress this, year-round navigation. The state-of-the-art icebreakers that we are designing and building make it possible for us to do this already now.

This year, a container vessel made its first run between Murmansk and Kamchatka along the Northern Sea Route to reaffirm the reliability and safety of shipping operations in the Arctic zone.

Notably, the point is not just about authorising the passage of ships in the Arctic or simply connecting two destinations. What we need to do is make sure that ships are properly serviced and cargo is properly handled at each port along the route, and the traffic schedule is sustainable, predictable and reliable. Then, every Northern Sea Route waypoint and region will benefit from the logistics corridor. That is what we should be striving for.

The Government has approved a development plan for the Northern Sea Route until 2035 with plans to allocate 1.8 trillion rubles from various sources to implement it. As forecasted, the cargo traffic along this corridor will go from the current 35 million tonnes per year to the targeted 220 million tonnes per year.

The availability of freight vehicles is certainly a key factor in the transportation of goods to and from the Russian Far East. This means we need to offer economically justified and competitive freight rates. I am asking the Government to study all these issues carefully.

Aviation is a special issue for the Far East. Here, the availability of flights from the European part of Russia to the Far East is not the only issue, but connectivity between the Far Eastern regions themselves also matters – air services should cover as many destinations, cities and regions of the Far East as possible.

That is why we have established a single Far Eastern airline. It offers almost 390 destinations, some of them subsidised by the state. In the next three years, this airline’s traffic should increase, and the number of destinations will exceed 530. And as we could see after those flights were opened, these destinations are in great demand.

To implement these plans, we need to expand the company’s fleet, to make sure it has modern aircraft, including small aircraft. A decision has been made in this regard, and I ask the Government to strictly implement it.

I would like to note that in general, Russian air carriers will soon be thoroughly re-equipped. Our airlines, including Aeroflot, have placed the largest order package in modern history, for about 500 Russian-made mainline aircraft. By the way, as far as I know, the United Aircraft Corporation and Aeroflot have signed a respective agreement on the sidelines of this Eastern Economic Forum, and the figures in there are quite impressive – over a trillion, I think.

This high demand should become a powerful incentive for aircraft factories and design bureaux, for many related industries, including electronics and aircraft components, and, of course, for the schools training professional personnel including engineers and skilled blue-collar workers in the aviation industry.

I would like to add that a decision has been made on another sensitive issue for the Far East. I am referring to the development of air medical services and increasing the availability of medical care for people living in remote areas. Starting next year, we will more than double federal funding for these purposes, which means that the number of flights will also increase, and there will be faster and better provision of healthcare in the region.

Friends, colleagues,

All our decisions involving the economy and social sphere, all the mechanisms that we are implementing in the Far East have the same important purpose – to make this region a truly attractive place for living, studying, working, for starting families, to ensure that more children are born.

Several important initiatives in this regard have been included in the package of measures that the Government is now considering. One of them is to create an up-to-date environment for living, to improve the local cities and towns.

Let me remind you that at the last forum, we set a task to develop master plans for the development of the largest Far Eastern cities. These include all administrative centres of the regions, and cities with a population of over 50,000 people, as well as Tynda and Severobaikalsk, the key stations on the Baikal-Amur Mainline railway.

We had in mind an integrated approach to the development of communities, where plans for the modernisation of infrastructure, social facilities, and creation of public spaces and so on would be combined competently and conveniently, and economic and industrial projects would rely on thoroughly calculated business models.

In all cities, the initial task was to make strategic development plans. Master plans are already being actively developed on the basis of those strategic plans in 17 cities and metropolitan areas. One of them has to do with the development of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky urban area, and the day before yesterday, we discussed this issue with our colleagues on the spot. Once again, I ask the Government to provide maximum assistance in implementing this and other master plans in order to have them unconditionally implemented.

Here, among other things, it is important to use tools such as the Far Eastern concession, the government’s infrastructure loans and infrastructure bonds. It is necessary to determine target limits for the Far East in these programmes. The funds should be used for urban development and improvement, and of course, for infrastructure, including the upgrade of existing networks and connections to utilities.

I would like to add that at the recent St Petersburg Economic Forum, I instructed the Government to allocate an additional 10 billion rubles annually for improvement projects in Russian cities. I think it would be right to channel half of this financing, that is, 5 billion a year, towards upgrading Far Eastern cities and towns with populations below 250,000.

Separate resources should also be allocated under all our main infrastructure development programmes for projects to modernise Far Eastern cities. I have already given such an instruction, and I ask you to ensure its implementation as quickly as possible. Target limits should be stipulated in the federal budget for the next three years.

Something else I would like to stress – we need to increase the volume of housing construction in the Far East, while also widely applying the most advanced ‘green’ and energy-efficient construction technologies.

This year, the Far Eastern Quarters programme was launched. Under this programme, developers will be able to take advantage of priority development areas, including tax and infrastructure benefits, which will reduce the cost of flats and the price of finished housing. This will increase the availability of housing for people. The plan is to build about 2.5 million square metres of housing by 2030 using this cost-reduction mechanism. I ask the regional authorities and the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East to hold the first tenders by the end of the year, to select developers and start designing and developing the residential buildings.

Next, the Far Eastern residents are entitled to special, preferential mortgage terms. As many as 48,000 families have already purchased new housing using mortgages with a rate of 2 percent. This year, we have expanded the Far Eastern mortgage programme so that doctors and teachers, regardless of their age, can apply for it along with young Far Easterners.

Let me remind you that the programme is planned until 2024. But given the demand and efficacy – and this programme is working effectively – I propose extending it until at least 2030. I hope that the Far Eastern residents will also appreciate this.

(Applause.)

A separate decision concerns the support of young professionals who come to the Far East or graduate from local educational institutions, get a job and consider local accommodation. As many as 10,000 rental apartments will be built for them. The rental rate will be significantly below the market level due to subsidies from the regional and federal budgets. The Government has already envisaged such a measure. I ask you to work out all the details in order to start building rental housing for young professionals without delay. And I would like to specifically point out that the location of this housing should be included in the development master plans for Far Eastern cities, which means all the necessary infrastructure should be available – in short, such accommodation should be convenient and enjoy demand.

I would like to note that the Far Eastern regions, like many other regions of the Russian Federation, are experiencing a shortage of workers today. We will also take several important steps to intensify personnel training in key competencies. Over 900 modern workshops will be opened in Far Eastern colleges by 2030, and in the near future, until the end of 2025, we will launch 29 production and educational clusters. In addition, businesses will receive compensation for employing young workers.

Another important area is improving the quality of higher education in the Russian Far East. The goal is to attract qualified instructors, upgrade facilities and equipment in higher education institutions, and provide grants to stimulate academic research and prospective developments in the crucial areas of the technological agenda.

There are network programmes for Far Eastern universities that connect education institutions in the region with the country’s leading universities such as St Petersburg State Marine Technical University, Moscow Aviation Institute and others. We will undoubtedly support this area of cooperation.

Finally, branches of the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts (GITIS), the National State Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) and the Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute will open in 2025 in the Russian Far East to train cultural and art workers. I would like to ask the Government to provide all necessary assistance.

I would like to note that the Far Eastern regions offer their own professional development initiatives. For example, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives in the Sakhalin Region supports a pilot project called Earning Money Together. Participants in the project will be able to undergo free additional training, receive career guidance and get help with starting a business. Based on the outcome of these pilot projects we will think about scaling up.

I also want to mention a training programme for a new generation of managers in the Far East. The programme focuses on cultivating a local pool of talent, and on integrating study programmes and internships in public offices and development institutions. This programme is already running and I suggest that the heads of all regions in the Far Eastern Federal District get involved.

Colleagues, I want to conclude my remarks by stressing once again that the modern global economy and the entire system of international relations is going through challenges. However, I believe that the logic of cooperation, aligning the potentials and mutual benefits that our countries and our friends in the region adhere to, will prevail no matter what. By reasonably taking advantage of the competitive sides and strengths of the Asia-Pacific countries, by creating constructive partnerships we will open new colossal opportunities for our peoples. We are ready to work together for the sake of a successful future. And we are grateful to our partners for participating in this work.

Thank you.

The Futility of Dialogue with Idiots and Liars

August 26, 2022

Source

The entire crisis could have been avoided with much less loss of life if the NATO powers had responded to Russia’s long-held security concerns.

Two weeks ago, the Strategic Culture Foundation proposed an urgent, simple test: stop the artillery shelling on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. The ZNPP – Europe’s largest nuclear power station – continues to come under military attack thereby risking a nuclear catastrophe.

It is an incredible siege situation. And one that illustrates – for anyone willing to see it, that is – the profound criminality of the NATO-backed war in Ukraine against Russia. There is nothing that the NATO powers and their lying media will stoop to. In a related illustration, the British would-be next Prime Minister Liz Truss this week said she was willing to use nuclear weapons even if it caused global annihilation. This is the same psychopathic mentality that the world has to endure from such Western regimes.

This week, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations presented photographic evidence to the Security Council that showed irrefutably that the ZNPP is being shelled by the NATO-backed Kiev regime. The trajectory of fire is from the territory held by the Ukrainian military and the weaponry includes M777 howitzers supplied by the United States.

The Kiev regime’s claims are patently absurd. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claims that Russian forces are attacking the ZNPP despite the obvious fact that the Russian military took over the station in early March, days after it launched its security operation on February 24 to neutralize mounting NATO threats from Ukraine. The Western governments and news media continue to indulge Zelensky’s blatant lie by amplifying the perverse accusations of “self-sabotage” by Russia. The United Nations’ chief António Guterres has also shamefully indulged the nonsense by pretending to “not know the truth” about “conflicting claims”.

There are no “conflicting claims”. It is starkly evident that the NATO-backed Kiev regime is engaging in nuclear terrorism by willfully attacking the ZNPP. NATO and its Ukrainian proxy are using the threat of nuclear catastrophe to demand that Russian forces withdraw from the ZNPP. It is entirely fortunate that Russia’s military secured the ZNPP at an early stage. Otherwise, the Kiev regime and its NATO handlers would have had a free hand to use nuclear blackmail.

Not for the first time, this week the Western powers abused the Security Council by allowing the Ukrainian leader to address the forum. The Council’s rules stipulate that addresses can only be made by in-person attendees. Yet, for the second time, Zelensky was permitted to speak to the Council via video link. His speech was a travesty of lies, accusing Russia of nuclear terrorism among other hysterical claims of causing world hunger and global inflation.

When Russia’s ambassador Vassily Nebenzia took his turn to set the record straight at the Security Council hearing, the Ukrainian leader refused to listen, his video link conveniently cut off.

Nevertheless, the Russian envoy presented the evidence of NATO-backed military strikes on the ZNPP and went on to cogently state that the crisis in Ukraine has been systematically instigated by the NATO powers and its Kiev proxy over the past eight years since the CIA-backed coup in 2014. Nebenzia remarked on how Western powers and the Kiev regime are living in a “parallel reality”.

It is common to hear these days how the world is subjected to a post-truth condition. In plainer language that means a world of lies, falsehoods, distortions, misinformation and disinformation. The crisis in Ukraine, the NATO powers and the Kiev regime are an embodiment of this fiendish reality.

Western regimes accuse Russia of unprovoked aggression in Ukraine. (The same regimes that have slaughtered their way through Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and continue to illegally bomb Syria, to name but a few victim nations.) They declare they are defending sovereignty and democracy. This is a preposterous charade that flies in the face of facts that the Western powers weaponized a Nazi regime in Ukraine to destabilize Russia. (An echo of how they weaponized Hitler’s Third Reich for the same purpose more than eight decades ago.) The Kiev regime has been killing its own people for eight years and committed countless war crimes. The relentless attacks on the ZNPP are totally consistent with the depraved conduct. Elsewhere, the NATO-backed regime has shelled chemical and oil plants in the Donbass territory. The Western media decline to report on these violations because that would reveal the criminal mentality and practice of the Kiev regime and its NATO sponsors.

Russia’s military operation to neutralize the growing NATO threat in Ukraine has been effective. The poisonous boil has been lanced and NATO’s decades-long aggressive expansionism against Russia has been checked. Yet Western media – the propaganda ministry that it is – claim that Russia’s intervention has been a failure. The United States and its NATO allies continue to flood Ukraine with offensive weapons even while the Kiev regime is using nuclear terrorism with these weapons and while Russian forces are destroying the Ukrainian military. That’s not a contradiction; it is a green light for more war and profits for the American military-industrial complex that underpins U.S. capitalism.

The entire crisis could have been avoided with much less loss of life if the NATO powers had responded to Russia’s long-held security concerns. But that assumes the NATO powers would have been interested in avoiding war. The damning conclusion is that the United States and its imperialist allies have always wanted the present war in order to pursue a geopolitical ambition of confronting Russia. In the same way that the U.S.-led axis wants to precipitate a war with China over Taiwan and other bogus issues.

American-led Western capitalism is addicted to war for its own ghoulish survival. A world of peaceful relations is fundamentally anathema to Washington and its vassals. But the ruling regimes can’t very well admit that pernicious motive, so they have to cover up their criminal agenda with deceptions about democracy, rules-based order, human rights and other laughable pretensions. Western media provide the necessary cosmetics for the ghoulish reality. The fact is wars and destruction are the oxygen for U.S. global power and its imperial lackeys. Dozens of wars since World War II waged by the U.S. and its international crime syndicate of NATO accomplices, especially its British henchman, attest to that naked, ugly truth.

The Ukrainian comedian-turned-president Zelensky is a liar and idiot. But he is only a bit-player in a bigger circus of imperial kabuki. His regime has used human shields and civilian centers as cover for its despicable ends. It has committed false-flag massacres in a vile attempt to blame Russia. It has diverted Russian gas from European markets while refusing to pay its energy debts. And it continues to extort Western taxpayers to foot the bill for its depredations – all too willingly obliged by Western regimes. To pay for the global-scale extortion racket, the Western public is being told to take cold showers and get used to “the end of abundance”, as France’s President (and former bankster) Emmanuel Macron haughtily advised this week.

The farce this week at the UN Security Council in which Western powers brazenly snubbed the evidence of their own criminality while giving a platform to Zelensky to peddle his ridiculous lies demonstrates a profound dilemma. Any attempt to engage idiots and liars through reasoned dialogue is doomed to fail. When dialogue and diplomacy are made futile then conflict is made all but inevitable. That dilemma has been a constant hallmark of relations with Western powers for many years. The present crisis in Ukraine is the tragic outcome. Lamentably, more such crises can be expected because the idiots and liars never stop.

Western regimes are collapsing from their own inherent loss of legitimacy. That loss is entirely due to their lies becoming more manifest despite their servile media facade. Collapse can be good. It is incontestably good in the case of ending endemic corruption. The ineffable danger, however, is what Western elites will do to avoid historic collapse. As the NATO-backed Kiev regime is demonstrating through its nuclear terrorism and as Britain’s idiotic politician Liz Truss revealed by her demonic embrace of global annihilation.

Yemen: “We Are the Terrorists.”

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Phil Butler
We are the terrorists. Americans are the terrorists creating tremendous suffering and tragedy around the world. And no, I am not the only one admitting to this. Deep down, all of my fellow citizens know what we are up to. A recent incident in Yemen drives home the hegemony my country has created, having looted, and still looting the whole.

I watched talk show host Jimmy Dore a few moments ago, laying out how the US, France, and other nations are robbing other people of this world to prop up failed super-capitalism. Dore, who has an uncanny ability to drive at the heart of matters, was interviewing Ethiopian-American Journalist Hermela Aregawi in a story about the French Foreign Legion securing Yemeni natural gas for sale to the EU. The story begins something like this from The New Arab:

“France could be gearing up to help protect a gas facility in Yemen to allow for exports in a bid to cut Europe’s reliance on Russia, according to an ex-Yemeni foreign minister.”

Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, told reporters the other day that the French Foreign Legion has arrived in Yemen’s Shabwah province to secure control of the Balhaf gas facility. He said the French are making “preparations being made to export gas from the Balhaf facility.”

Hermela Aregawi commented with Dore about how current American policies are building up massive resentment toward the United States, even in countries that were once highly favorable towards us. I know from my experience here in Greece too. As recently as three years ago, criticizing the US in any way at all brought about a look of shock among the Greek population. Today, many Greeks question our role not only in Greece but in Ukraine and other lands where proxy wars over resources burn.

The larger Yemen story also reveals the meaning of a July Paris – Abu Dhabi LNG cooperation that depends on securing Yemen’s gas resources via the Balhaf facility, owned by French multinational oil and gas company Total.

Abdulaziz Saleh bin Habtoor, Yemen’s Prime Minister, has called the world’s attention to the recent looting by the Saudi-led coalition under the watch of the United States. He says Washington is bent on getting control of the resources through Gulf proxies.

Yemeni forces have been in deadly clashes with UAE-backed southern separatist forces in Shabwa province, where Balhaf is located. Looked at in the broader scope, the Yemen situation is just a facet of a much larger looting program underway. Syria, where U.S. forces have essentially taken over the eastern oil-producing region, and the Ukraine conflict reveal the larger canvas. Looking from outer space, the battle for Earth has been raging for decades. But now, the conflict and competition have reached a crisis stage. America and the Europeans are out of gas, literally. And no matter who has to suffer and die, the liberal order cannot let the big lie slip out. Worse, the people in the so-called west don’t want to know or admit our role in pirating the whole world.

Finally, On 22 August, Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein al-Ezzi warned that the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf of Aden or any part of Yemeni waters is illegal. The minister was speaking in response to US Fifth Fleet Admiral Charles Bradford Cooper’s announcement that the US will deploy unmanned drones in the Gulf of Aden. However, the entire Yemen situation is easier to break down by revealing what all these nations want there. And, of course, the answer is precious oil and gas. I’ve discussed this before and the nature of so-called “peak oil.”

To fully cordon off Russia, Europe needs oil, gas, and plenty of it. The US cannot supply enough. It’s too far away, and America has her own needs. Yemen, however, is a relatively untapped source. Only two of the 12 significant basins on and offshore have been developed. The other ten are what’s known as “frontier basins,” according to readily available data. I believe, however, that Total and other significant players know full well another bonanza is offshore of Yemen. This GEOExPro report hints at this. The information puts current Yemen recoverable oil reserves at 4.731 Bbo, and proven gas reserves at 18.6 Tcfg. But this is 2010 estimates.

We do not need to establish the oil and gas reserves the Yemeni people are entitled to benefit from. The fact the United States, France, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the EU have their militaries, bureaucrats, and energy corporations sinking their teeth in is proof enough that the blood of Yemen children will be spilled not for some high romantic future, but so that the same people bleeding Syria, Ukraine. So much of the rest of the world dry can thrive. The French Foreign Legion defending an oil depot in the middle of nowhere says it all. We, the collective “west,” are the real terrorists.

All the way to Odessa

August 27, 2022

by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

Dmitry Medvedev, relishing his unplugged self, has laid down the law on the Special Military Operation (SMO). Bluntly, he affirmed there is a “one and a half” scenario: either to go all the way, or a military coup d’Etat in Ukraine followed by admitting the inevitable. No tertium applies.

That’s as stark as it gets: the leadership in Moscow is making it very clear, to internal and international audiences, the new deal consists in slow cooking the Kiev racket inside a massive cauldron while polishing its status of financial black hole for the collective West. Until we reach boiling point – which will be a revolution or a putsch.

In parallel, The Lords of (Proxy) War will continue with their own strategy, which is to pillage an enfeebled, fearful, Europe, then dressing it up as a perfumed colony to be ruthlessly exploited ad nauseam by the imperial oligarchy.

Europe is now a runaway TGV – minus the requisite Hollywood production values. Assuming it does not veer off track – a dicey proposition – it may eventually arrive at a railway station called Agenda 2030, The Great Narrative, or some other NATO/Davos denomination du jour.

As it stands, what’s remarkable is how the “marginal” Russian economy hardly broke a sweat to “end the abundance” of the wealthiest region on the planet.

Moscow does not even entertain the notion of negotiating with Brussels because there’s nothing to negotiate – considering puny Eurocrats will only be hurled away from their zombified state when the dire socio-economic consequences of “the end of abundance” will finally translate into peasants with pitchforks roaming the continent.

It may be eons away, but inevitably the average Italian, German or Frenchman will connect the dots and realize it is their own “leaders” – national nullities and mostly unelected Eurocrats – who are paving their road to poverty.

You will be poor. And you will like it. Because we are all supporting freedom for Ukrainian neo-nazis. That brings the concept of “multicultural Europe” to a whole new level.

The runaway train, of course, may veer off track and plunge into an Alpine abyss. In this case something might be saved from the wreckage – and “reconstruction” might be on the cards. But reconstruct what?

Europe could always reconstruct a new Reich (collapsed with a bang in 1945); a soft Reich (erected at the end of WWII); or break with its past failures, sing “I’m Free” – and connect with Eurasia. Don’t bet on it.

Get back those Taurian lands

The SMO may be about to radically change – something that will drive the already clueless denizens of US Think Tankland and their Euro vassals even more berserk.

President Putin and Defense Minister Shoigu have been giving serious hints the only way for the pain dial is up – considering the mounting evidence of terrorism inside Russian territory; the vile assassination of Darya Dugina; non-stop shelling of civilians in border regions; attacks on Crimea; the use of chemical weapons; and the shelling of Zaporizhzhya power plant raising the risk of a nuclear catastrophe.

This past Tuesday, one day before the SMO completing six months, Crimea’s permanent representative to the Kremlin, Georgy Muradov, all but spelled it out.

He stressed the necessity to “reintegrate all the Taurian lands” – Crimea, the Northern Black Sea and the Azov Sea – into a single entity as soon as “in the next few months”. He defined this process as “objective and demanded by the population of these regions.”

Muradov added, “given not only the strikes on Crimea, but also the continuous shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the dam of the Kakhovka reservoir, peaceful facilities on the territory of Russia, the DNR and LNR, there are all preconditions to qualify the actions of the Banderite regime as terrorist.”

The conclusion is inevitable: “the political issue of changing the format of the special military operation” enters the agenda. After all, Washington and Brussels “have already prepared new anti-Crimean provocations of the NATO-Bandera alliance”.

So when we examine what the “restoration of the Taurian lands” implies, we see not only the contours of Novorossiya but most of all that there won’t be any security for Crimea – and thus Russia – in the Black Sea without Odessa becoming Russian again. And that, on top of it, will solve the Transnistria dilemma.

Add to it Kharkov – the capital and top industrial center of Greater Donbass. And of course Dnipropetrovsk. They are all SMO objectives, the whole combo to be later protected by buffer zones in Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts.

Only then the “tasks” – as Shoigu calls them – of the SMO would be declared fulfilled. The timeline could be eight to ten months – after a lull under General Winter.

As the turbo-charged SMO rolls on, it’s a given the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder will continue to prop up and weaponize the Kiev racket till Kingdom Come – and that will apply especially after the Return of Odessa. What’s unclear is who and what gang will be left in Kiev posing as the ruling party and doing specials for Vogue while duly fulfilling the mass of imperial diktats.

It’s also a given the CIA/MI6 combo will be refining non-stop the contours of a massive guerrilla war against Russia in multiple fronts – crammed with terror attacks and all sorts of provocations.

Yet in the Bigger Picture it’s the inevitable Russian military victory in Donbass and then “all the Taurian lands” that will hit the collective West like a lethal asteroid. The geopolitical humiliation will be unbearable; not to mention the geoeconomic humiliation for vassalized Europe.

As Eurasian integration will become an even stronger vector, Russian diplomacy will be solidifying the new normal. Never forget that Moscow had no trouble normalizing relations, for instance, with China, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Israel. All these actors, in different ways, directly contributed to the fall of the USSR. Now – with one exception – they are all focused on The Dawn of the Eurasian Century.

Six months into Ukraine’s collapse, the world has changed forever

The inevitable transfer of power away from the west is leading to a surge in state-sponsored terrorism, but this will do little to reverse the trend

August 24 2022

By Pepe Escobar

Six months after the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) by Russia in Ukraine, the geopolitical tectonic plates of the 21st century have been dislocated at astonishing speed and depth – with immense historical repercussions already at hand.

To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is the way the (new) world begins, not with a whimper but a bang.

The cold-blooded assassination of Darya Dugina – terrorism at the gates of Moscow – may have fatefully coincided with the six-month intersection point, but will do nothing to change the dynamics of the current, work-in-progress, historical shift.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) appeared to have cracked the case in a little over 24 hours, designating the perpetrator as a neo-Nazi Azov operative instrumentalized by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) – itself a mere tool of the CIA/MI6 combo that de facto rules Kiev.

The Azov operative is just a patsy. The FSB will never reveal in public the intel it has amassed on those that issued the orders, and how they will be dealt with.

One Ilya Ponomaryov, an anti-Kremlin minor character granted Ukrainian citizenship, boasted he was in contact with the outfit that prepared the hit on the Dugin family. No one took him seriously.

What is manifestly serious, however, is how oligarchy-connected organized crime factions in Russia would have a motive to eliminate Alexander Dugin, the Christian Orthodox nationalist philosopher who, according to them, may have influenced the Kremlin’s pivot to Asia (he didn’t).

These organized crime factions blamed Dugin for a concerted Kremlin offensive against the disproportional power of Jewish oligarchs in Russia. So these actors would have both the motive and the local know-how to mount such a coup.

If that’s the case, it potentially spells out a Mossad-linked operation – especially given the serious schism in Moscow’s recent relations with Tel Aviv. What’s certain is that the FSB will keep their cards very close to their chest – and retribution will be swift, precise and invisible.

The straw that broke the camel’s back

Instead of delivering a serious blow to Russia’s psyche that could impact the dynamics of its operations in Ukraine, the assassination of Darya Dugina only exposed the perpetrators as tawdry killers who have exhausted their options.

An IED cannot kill a philosopher – or his daughter. In an essential essay, Dugin himself explained how the real war – Russia against the US-led collective west – is a war of ideas. An existential war.

Dugin correctly defines the US as a “thalassocracy,” heir to “Britannia rules the waves.” Yet now the geopolitical tectonic plates are spelling out a new order: The Return of the Heartland.

Russian President Vladimir Putin himself first spelled it out at the Munich Security Conference in 2007. China’s Xi Jinping put it into action by launching the New Silk Roads in 2013. The Empire struck back with Maidan in 2014. Russia counter-attacked by coming to the aid of Syria in 2015.

The Empire doubled down on Ukraine, with NATO weaponizing it non-stop for eight years. At the end of 2021, Moscow invited Washington for a serious dialogue on “indivisibility of security” in Europe. That was dismissed with a non-response response.

Moscow took no time to assess that a dangerous US-led trifecta was instead in the works: an imminent Kiev blitzkrieg against Donbass; Ukraine flirting with acquiring nuclear weapons; and the work of US bioweapon labs. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

A consistent analysis of Putin’s public interventions these past few months reveals that the Kremlin – as well as Security Council Yoda Nikolai Patrushev – fully realize how the politico/media talking heads and shock troops of the collective west are directed by the rulers of Finance Capitalism.

As a direct consequence, they also realize how western public opinion is absolutely clueless, Plato cave-style, totally captive to the ruling financial class, who cannot tolerate any alternative narrative.

So Putin, Patrushev, and their peers will never presume that a senile teleprompter reader in the White House or a cokehead comedian in Kiev “rule” anything.

As the US rules global pop culture, it is fitting to borrow from what Walter White/Heisenberg, an average American channeling his inner bad, states in Breaking Bad: “I’m in the Empire business.” And the Empire business is to exercise raw power, maintained with ruthlessness, by all means necessary.

Russia broke that spell. But Moscow’s strategy is way more sophisticated than leveling Kiev with hypersonic weapons, something that could have been done at any moment, starting six months ago.

Instead, what Moscow is doing is talking to virtually the entire Global South, bilaterally or to groups of actors, explaining how the world-system is changing right before our eyes, with the key actors of the future configured as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), BRICS+, the Greater Eurasia Partnership.

And what we see is vast swathes of the Global South – or 85 percent of the world’s population – slowly but surely becoming ready to engage in expelling the finance capitalists from their national horizons, and ultimately taking them down: a long, tortuous battle that will imply multiple setbacks.

The facts on the ground

On the ground in soon-to-be rump Ukraine, Khinzal hypersonic weapons launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or Mig-31 interceptors  will continue to be employed.

Piles of HIMARS will continue to be captured. TOS 1A Heavy Flamethrowers will keep sending invitations to the gates of hell. Crimean Air Defense will continue to intercept all sorts of small drones with IEDs attached. Terrorism by local SBU cells will eventually be smashed.

Using essentially a phenomenal artillery barrage – cheap and mass-produced – Russia will annex Donbass, very valuable in terms of land, natural resources and industrial power. And then on to Nikolaev, Odessa, and Kharkov.

Geoeconomically, Russia can afford to sell its oil with fat discounts to any Global South customer, not to mention strategic partners China and India. Cost of extraction reaches a maximum of $15 per barrel, with a national budget based on $40-45 for a barrel of Urals, whose market value today is almost double that.

A new Russian benchmark is imminent, as well as oil in rubles following the wildly successful gas for rubles scheme.

The assassination of Darya Dugina provoked endless speculation about the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense finally breaking their discipline. That’s not going to happen. Russian advances along the enormous 1,800-mile battle front are relentless, highly systematic, and deeply invested in a Greater Strategic Picture.

A key vector is whether Russia stands a chance of winning the information war with the west. That will never happen inside NATO’s realm – even as success after success is unfolding across the Global South.

As Glenn Diesen has masterfully demonstrated in his latest book, Russophobia, the collective west is viscerally impervious to admitting any social, cultural, historical merits by Russia.

They have already catapulted themselves into the irrationality stratosphere: the grinding down and de facto demilitarization of the imperial proxy army in Ukraine is driving the Empire’s handlers and its vassals literally nuts.

But the Global South should never lose sight of the ‘Empire business.’ That industry excels in producing chaos and plunder, always supported by extortion, bribery of local elites, and assassinations on the cheap. Every trick in the Divide and Rule book should be expected at any moment. Never underestimate a bitter, wounded, deeply humiliated, declining Empire.

Fasten your seat belts for more of this tense dynamic for the remainder of the decade.

But before that, all along the watchtower, get ready for the arrival of General Winter, whose riders are fast approaching. When the winds begin to howl, Europe will be freezing in the dead of dark nights, lit up occasionally by its finance capitalists puffing on fat cigars.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Geopolitical tectonic plates shifting, six months on

August 24, 2022

by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

Six months after the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) by Russia in Ukraine, the geopolitical tectonic plates of the 21st century have been dislocated at astonishing speed and depth – with immense historical repercussions already at hand. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is the way the (new) world begins, not with a whimper but a bang.

The vile assassination of Darya Dugina – de facto terrorism at the gates of Moscow – may have fatefully coincided with the six-month intersection point, but that won’t change the dynamics of the current, work-in-progress historical drive.

The FSB may have cracked the case in a little over 24 hours, designating the perpetrator as a neo-Nazi Azov operative instrumentalized by the SBU, itself a mere tool of the CIA/MI6 combo de facto ruling Kiev.

The Azov operative is just a patsy. The FSB will never reveal in public the intel it has amassed on those that issued the orders – and how they will be dealt with.

One Ilya Ponomaryov, an anti-Kremlin minor character granted Ukrainian citizenship, boasted he was in contact with the outfit that prepared the hit on the Dugin family. No one took him seriously.

What’s manifestly serious is how oligarchy-connected organized crime factions in Russia would have a motive to eliminate Dugin as a Christian Orthodox nationalist philosopher who, according to them, may have influenced the Kremlin’s pivot to Asia (he didn’t).

But most of all, these organized crime factions blamed Dugin for a concerted Kremlin offensive against the disproportional power of Jewish oligarchs in Russia. So these actors would have the motive and the local base/intel to mount such a coup.

If that’s the case that spells out a Mossad operation – in many aspects a more solid proposition than CIA/MI6. What’s certain is that the FSB will keep their cards very close to their chest – and retribution will be swift, precise and invisible.

The straw that broke the camel’s back

Instead of delivering a serious blow to Russia in relation to the dynamics of the SMO, the assassination of Darya Dugina only exposed the perpetrators as tawdry operatives of a Moronic Murder Inc.

An IED cannot kill a philosopher – or his daughter. In an essential essay Dugin himself explained how the real war – Russia against the collective West led by the United States – is a war of ideas. And an existential war.

Dugin – correctly – defines the US as a “thalassocracy”, heir to “Britannia rules the waves”; yet now the geopolitical tectonic plates are spelling out a new order: The Return of the Heartland.

Putin himself first spelled it out at the Munich Security Conference in 2007. Xi Jinping started to make it happen when he launched the New Silk Roads in 2013. The Empire struck back with Maidan in 2014. Russia counter-attacked coming to the aid of Syria in 2015.

The Empire doubled down on Ukraine, with NATO weaponizing it non-stop for eight years. At the end of 2021, Moscow invited Washington for a serious dialogue on “indivisibility of security” in Europe. That was dismissed with a non-response response.

Moscow took no time to confirm a trifecta was in the works: an imminent Kiev blitzkrieg against Donbass; Ukraine flirting with acquiring nuclear weapons; and the work of US bioweapon labs. That was the straw that broke the New Silk Road camel’s back.

A consistent analysis of Putin’s public interventions these past few months reveals that the Kremlin – as well as Security Council Yoda Nikolai Patrushev – fully realize how the politico/media goons and shock troops of the collective West are dictated by the rulers of what Michael Hudson defines as the FIRE system (financialization, insurance, real estate), a de facto banking Mafia.

As a direct consequence, they also realize how collective West public opinion is absolutely clueless, Plato cave-style, of their total captivity by the FIRE rulers, who cannot possibly tolerate any alternative narrative.

So Putin, Patrushev, Medvedev will never presume that a senile teleprompter reader in the White House or a cokehead comedian in Kiev “rule” anything. The sinister Great Reset impersonator of a Bond villain, Klaus “Davos” Schwab, and his psychotic historian sidekick Yuval Harari at least spell out their “program”: global depopulation, with those that remain drugged to oblivion.

As the US rules global pop culture, it’s fitting to borrow from what Walter White/Heisenberg, an average American channeling his inner Scarface, states in Breaking Bad: “I’m in the Empire business”. And the Empire business is to exercise raw power – then maintained with ruthlessness by all means necessary.

Russia broke the spell. But Moscow’s strategy is way more sophisticated than leveling Kiev with hypersonic business cards, something that could have been done at any moment starting six months ago, in a flash.

What Moscow is doing is talking to virtually the whole Global South, bilaterally or to groups of actors, explaining how the world-system is changing right before our eyes, with the key actors of the future configured as BRI, SCO, EAEU, BRICS+, the Greater Eurasia Partnership.

And what we see is vast swathes of the Global South – or 85% of the world’s population – slowly but surely becoming ready to engage in expelling the FIRE Mafia from their national horizons, and ultimately taking them down: a long, tortuous battle that will imply multiple setbacks.

The facts on the ground

On the ground in soon-to-be rump Ukraine, Khinzal hypersonic business cards – launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or Mig-31 interceptors – will continue to be distributed.

Piles of HIMARS will continue to be captured. TOS 1A Heavy Flamethrowers will keep sending invitations to the Gates of Hell. Crimean Air Defense will continue to intercept all sorts of small drones with IEDs attached: terrorism by local SBU cells, which will be eventually smashed.

Using essentially a phenomenal artillery barrage – cheap and mass-produced – Russia will annex the full, very valuable Donbass, in terms of land, natural resources and industrial power. And then on to Nikolaev, Odessa, and Kharkov.

Geoeconomically, Russia can afford to sell its oil with fat discounts to any Global South customer, not to mention strategic partners China and India. Cost of extraction reaches a maximum of $15 per barrel, with a national budget based on $40-45 for a barrel of Urals.

A new Russian benchmark is imminent, as well as oil in rubles following the wildly successful gas for rubles.

The assassination of Darya Dugina provoked endless speculation on the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense finally breaking their discipline. That’s not going to happen. The advances along the enormous 1,800-mile front are relentless, highly systematic and inserted in a Greater Strategic Picture.

A key vector is whether Russia stands a chance of winning the information war with the collective West. That will never happen inside NATOstan – even as success after success is ramping up across the Global South.

As Glenn Diesen has masterfully demonstrated, in detail, in his latest book, Russophobia , the collective West is viscerally, almost genetically impervious to admitting any social, cultural, historical merits by Russia.

And that will extrapolate to the irrationality stratosphere, as the grinding down and de facto demilitarization of the imperial proxy army in Ukraine is driving the Empire’s handlers and its vassals literally nuts.

The Global South though should never lose sight of the “Empire business”. The Empire of Lies excels in producing chaos and plunder, always supported by extortion, bribery of comprador elites, assassinations, and all that supervised by the humongous FIRE financial might. Every trick in the Divide and Rule book – and especially outside of the book – should be expected, at any moment. Never underestimate a bitter, wounded, deeply humiliated Declining Empire.

So fasten your seat belts: that will be the tense dynamic all the way to the 2030s. But before that, all along the watchtower, get ready for the arrival of General Winter, as his riders are fast approaching, the wind will begin to howl, and Europe will be freezing in the dead of a dark night as the FIRE Mafia puff their cigars.

The Conflict Between The West And Russia Is A Religious One

August 23, 2022

Source

by Emmet Sweeney

The war currently underway in Ukraine, which pits Ukraine as a proxy for the collective West against Russia, is primarily an ideological or religious one, with Russia representing what is left of Christian Europe, and “the West” representing a totalitarian ideology that abhors religion in general and Christianity in particular. This statement may sound strange, given the fact that some Westerners – though fewer every day – still see “the West,” (basically Europe and North America) as Christian, and Russia as Communist, or crypto-Communist. But this is no longer the case, and has not been for some considerable time. In fact, the thirty years that have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union, has seen a complete reversal of roles; the collective West is now a totalitarian and aggressively anti-religious power-block that seeks to export its anti-Christian and anti-human ideology onto the rest of the world. And Russia is loathed by the West’s ruling elite precisely because it has resisted this process and moreover has gone in the opposite direction: having once been an active proponent of “scientific materialism” and atheism, Russia has reverted to its Orthodox Christian roots and has rolled back the more pernicious policies and attitudes of the Soviet era.

In order to demonstrate the truth of this, we need to look at the history of Russia and its interaction with the West since the early 1990s.

By 1991, when the Soviet Union was officially abolished, it was clear that the West had won the Cold War. Russia itself, under its new president Boris Yeltsin, openly proclaimed the end of all hostilities. Russia’s satellites in Eastern Europe were permitted to go their own way, and autonomous republics within the Soviet Union were allowed to declare themselves independent countries. The old Soviet system of state ownership was officially abolished, and almost everything was privatised. The press and media in general were freed of all censorship and could now say whatever they wanted. Russia under Yeltsin reached out the hand of friendship to the West – a gesture that was not reciprocated and ultimately snubbed by the West.

The euphoria of 1991 soon gave way and the1990s turned out to be a catastrophic decade for Russia and her people. First and foremost, the policy of privatisation turned out to be disastrous. A law was passed which forbade foreigners from buying Russian utilities and industries; only Russians could do so. Unfortunately, nobody in Russia, hitherto a Communist country, had any money. However, certain groups within the country – mainly ethnic Jews – had important and wealthy connections abroad. These arranged to have funds sent into Russia for the purpose of purchasing the country’s state-owned industries. Desperate for any dollars and euros it could lay its hands on, the Yeltsin administration sold these industries for a tiny fraction of their true value. (Russia’s natural resources alone make it potentially one of the wealthiest countries on the planet). The buyers of said industries became the notorious “oligarchs,” who systematically plundered the country for almost ten years, in what has been described as the biggest act of looting in history. Rather than plow some of the profits back into the businesses, the oligarchs exported almost all of them, impoverishing both their employees and the country in general. The result was that large segments of the population began to experience severe hardship. Many came close to starvation and many died of hypothermia during the bitter Russian winters. Some state employees were paid in cabbages, and it is estimated that Russia suffered over five million excess deaths between 1991 and 2000. The majority of these were caused by simple diseases such as influenza, which developed into pneumonia for want of funds to buy an antibiotic. But deaths from all causes, including murder, suicide, alcoholism, and drug addiction, rocketed. Russia was a country falling apart, and the population began to plummet.

During this time, a Chechen independence movement, spurred on by funds from Saudi Arabia and (allegedly) the West, launched a violent campaign against the Russian authorities. A savage war followed, which claimed tens of thousands of lives, and eventually resulted in 1997 in Yeltsin’s recognition of a semi-independent Chechnya. Independence movements began to appear in other autnomous regions and it was clear that Russia itself stood on the verge of disintegration.

During all of this, the attitude of the West, or of those who control the West, was striking. Western media, by that time in the hands of a few mega-corporations, was almost gleeful in its reporting of Russia’s trauma. In their suffering, the Russian people became the butt of the West’s shadenfreude. And it should be borne in mind that it was precisely in the 1990s that American corporations commenced massive “outsourcing” of their industries to other, and less expensive, locations. Entire factories, together with their machinery and technology, were exported en masse, primarily to China. Almost nothing went to Russia. This in spite of the fact that China continued to be a Communist and indeed totalitarian country. Not even the massacre of Tiananmen Square (1989) and the subsequent brutal repression could halt the American plutocracy’s enthusiasm for exporting work and business. So Russia, which had held out the hand of friendship to the West, and had permitted the subjugated peoples to go free, continued to be treated as an enemy, and was effectively plundered by Western interests, whereas China, which did no such thing, was now treated as a favored trading and business partner. How to explain such an astonishing disparity?

There seems to be no logical explanation other than to assume an underlying cultural/religious antipathy towards Russia and her people on the part of a very large segment of the West’s ruling plutocracy. I suggest that this is the case, and it is Russia’s religion that is at the root of it.

During the Communist era, Christianity was suppressed in Russia and throughout the Soviet block. At its worst, under Lenin and Stalin, the Communist regime massacred millions of Christians. Victims were mainly Orthodox, but Christians of every denomination suffered. Even after the death of Stalin and into the 1980s religion continued to be persecuted. All children were required to attend lessons in atheism, during which Christianity and religious faith in general was mocked. By the end of Communism, the Orthodox Church was a small remnant of its former self under the Tsars, but that soon began to change. Hardship birthed a spiritual revival; by the mid-1990s the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as other branches of Christianity, began to experience noticeable growth. It was not however until the first decade of the twenty-first century, and the presidency of Vladimir Putin, that this movement became really significant.

Putin had occupied a senior position in the Yeltsin administration, and he was no doubt viewed by the oligarchs, at that time the real rulers of Russia, as a safe pair of hands who could be relied upon to continue the policies which had allowed them to plunder the country for almost a decade. He was appointed Prime Minister on 9th August 1999 and, just four months later, in December, acting President of Russia, following the unexpected resignation of Boris Yeltsin. A presidential election on 20th March 2000 was easily won by Putin with 53% of the votes. One reason for Putin’s popularity was that he was seen as a strong leader during the Second Chechen War, which commenced on 7th August 1999, just two days before his appointment as Prime Minister. The war ended in April 2000, with Chechnya again part of the Russian Federation, a victory which enhanced Putin’s reputation as a strongman, willing and able to restore stability and enforce the law.

Over the next five years, Putin showed that the ruling plutocrats were very much deceived had they imagined him to be under their control and part of their team. On the contrary, the new president set about breaking their power. The next decade witenessed a series of legal cases and trials which left some of the oligarchs in prison and others forced to pay substantial compensation. Others, arguably the most criminal, fled the country and their assets were confiscated. The breaking of the oligarchs’ power, together with that of the “Russian mafia” which enforced their corrupt rule, began to restore some form of normality.

In parellel with his economic reforms, Putin oversaw a revival of the Russian Orthodox faith. In an act heavy with symbolic import, he made a visit to the great Orthodox monastic settlement of Mount Athos in Greece in 2001, just one year into his presidency. Although this attempt had to be aborted owing to a storm which grounded his helicopter, and a second attempt in 2004 similarly shelved when he had to return to Russia to deal with the Beslan School siege, he finally made it to the Holy Mountain in 2005. There he established a bond with the monks that transformed their community and impacted the lives of ordinary Russians. A major program of church-construction commenced, and the numbers attending church began to grow. Putin made it clear that he regarded Orthodoxy as Russia’s national religion and the Church was accorded a favored legal position. And such symbolic gestures were backed by new legislation which began to transform Russian society: the country’s abortion laws, hitherto some of the most liberal in the world, were tightened. In October 2011, the Russian Parliament passed a law restricting abortion to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, with an exception up to 22 weeks if the pregnancy was the result of rape. The new law also made mandatory a waiting period of two to seven days before an abortion could be performed, to allow the woman to “reconsider her decision.”

During this period, the portrayal of Russia in the Western media moved from one of condescension to outright hostility. As early as 2005, scholars Ira Straus and Edward Lozansky remarked upon a pronounced negative coverage of Russia in the US media, contrasting negative media sentiment with largely positive sentiment of the American public and US government. As Russia displayed increasing signs of a Christian revival, so the media reporting in the West became increasingly hostile. Only rarely however did journalists openly attack Russia for its “Christianization”; normally, columnists, conscious of the fact that large numbers of people in the West continued to describe themselves as Christian, portrayed their anti-Russian commentary as a result of Russia’s “aggression,” “corruption,” or “lack of democracy.” All that however changed with the new abortion law of 2011. Now the attacks against Russia became explicitly ideological. The Russians, we were told, were oppressing women and turning their backs on “progress.”

It was not until 2013 however that the anti-Russian rhetoric went hyperbolic. In that year, the Russian parliament passed its so-called “Gay Propaganada” law. The bill, described as “Protecting Children from Information harmful to their Health and Development,” explicitly banned Gay Pride parades, as well as other forms of LGBT material, such as books and pamphlets, which attempted to normalize homosexuality and to influence children in their attitudes to homosexuality. In actual fact, since around 2006 many districts in Russia had been imposing their own local bans on such material, though these rules had no power outside their own jurisdiction. The bill, which was signed into law by Putin on June 30 2013, was extremely popular, and passed through the Russian Parliament unanimously, with just one abstention. But the impact upon the Western nomenklatura who form the gatekeepers of acceptable opinion, was immediate. Almost unanimously, Western media outlets now began to compare Putin with Adolf Hitler; he was a “thug,” a “fascist,” a “murderer.” Between bouts of seething rage, he became the butt of scathing satire. He was cast in the role of a caricature James Bond villain, routinely murdering and torturing those he held a grudge against. There is even evidence, admittedly somewhat circumstantial, that Western Intelligence bodies, such as the CIA and MI5, became actively involved in anti-Russian propaganda.

The effect of this deluge of demonization upon ordinary Westerners soon began to show: Whereas in 2006 only 1% of Americans listed Russia as “America’s worst enemy” by 2019 32% of Americans, including 44% of Democrat voters, shared this view. Only 28% of Republicans however agreed; a remarkable reversal of opinion. During the Cold War, Republican voters, traditionally the more religious and nationalistic element of the American political divide, viewed the Russians as the major threat; now it was the less or non-religious (and more pro-LGBT) Democrats who held this opinion.

But the Western elites did not confine its efforts to irate editorials in the London Times or the Washington Post: Economic sanctions now began to be discussed. There were immediate calls to boycott the Winter Olympics, held in February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Whilst the call to boycott was generally resisted by athletes, many Western politicians refused to attend, and the Russophobic temperature in the Western media ratcheted up. And things were about to get much worse.

In 2010 Viktor Yanukovych, a native of Russian-speaking Donetsk, was elected President of Ukraine, defeating Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, in what was judged by international observers to be a free and fair election. In November 2013 Yanukovych delayed signing a pending European Union association agreement, on the grounds that his government wished to maintain economic ties with Russia, as well as with the European Union. Russia had in fact offered a more favorable loan bailout than the European Union was prepared to offer. This led to protests and the occupation of Kiev’s Independence Square, a series of events dubbed the “the Euromaidan” by those in favor of aligning Ukraine with the European Union. Whilst at times it looked as if the protests would fizzle out, there is no question that almost from the beginning there was a concerted effort on the part of Western politicians to keep them going. Beginning early in December, several politicians from Berlin and Brussels paid “morale-boosting” trips to the square, and these were followed, on December 15, by the arrival of American Senators John McCain and Chris Murphy. To the assembled crowds, McCain announced that “we are here to support your just cause.” The Russians, for their part, condemned America’s “crude meddling” in Ukraine’s affairs.

Victoria Nuland, at that time Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the Obama administration, arrived in Ukraine shortly afterwards, and immediately set about fanning the flames of an already volatile situation. In speech after speech she promised the protestors and rioters that America was behind them. The result was the by early February 2014 Ukraine appeared to be on the brink of civil war; violent clashes between anti-government protestors and police left many dead and injured. Fearing for his life, on February 21 Yanukovych fled the capital, initially travelling to Crimea and ultimately to Russia. A new interim government, handpicked by Nuland, and virulently anti-Russian, was immediately installed in Kiev.

When considering the actions of America and the collective West at this time we have to remember that Ukraine was and is a deeply divided society. Half the country, roughly the north and west, regards itself as Ukrainian and is historically antagonistic towards Russia. The other half, predominantly the south and east, is pro-Russian and views itself as simultaneously Ukrainian and Russian. A glance at the electoral map of the country demonstrates this division in a most graphic way, for it was the Russian part of the country, the south and east, which overwhelmingly put Yanukovych into power. In supporting a violent overthrow of the latter, the American government quite deliberately threw its weight behind the anti-Russian half of the population. And it is impossible to believe that the political elite in Washington did not understand what they were doing. They had to have known that they were making civil strife – if not outright civil war – an absolute certainty.

The civil strife was not long in coming. As the anti-government mobs in Kiev were in the process of throwing out Yanukovych, major protests against the coup began to occur in the south and east. Crimea, which was overwhelmingly Russian and had only been transferred to the jurisdiction of Kiev in 1954 by Khruschev, held a referendum, resulting in a 97% vote for reunion with Russia. Putin, infuriated by American actions in Kiev, accepted the result of the vote, and formally announced the return of Crimea to the Russian Federation. Simultaneous with this, cities and towns throughout the south and east of the country, saw massive “anti-Maidan” protests, with many people calling for secession from Ukraine and union with Russia. The new Washington-appointed regime in Kiev reacted with force. Forty-seven pro-Russian demonstrators in Odessa were besieged in the city’s Trade Union building and burned to death by a Neo-Nazi mob. Seeing the way things were going, the ethnically-Russian provinces (“Oblasts”) of Lugansk and Donetsk declared independence and prepared to defend themselves. This quickly escalated into full-scale war, and over the next two years or so around 14,000 people, mainly ethnic Russian civilians, died, as the Kiev government fought to return the two provinces to Ukraine.

The fighting in Lugansk and Donetsk (the “Donbas”) de-escalated after the signing of the so-called Minsk 2 Accord in 2015. This deal, brokered by Russia, the US and the UN, provided for a degree of autonomy for the two breakaway provinces, as well as recognition and respect for their Russian language and culture. The deal also called for the immediate halting of all military action.

Had the Minsk agreement been fully implemented, it is quite possible that all hostilities would have ended, but this was never the case. The new government in Kiev, which from May 2014 was headed by Petro Poroshenko, made no attempt whatsoever to abide by the Accord’s provisions. On the contrary, the Russian language, hitherto one of the official languages of Ukraine, was demoted, and Russian culture in general denigrated. Even worse, none of those who had committed murder in Odessa and elsewhere were brought to justice, and the Neo-Nazi militias responsible for these atrocities were actually integrated into the Ukrainian army. Worst of all, sporadic shelling of civilian targets in Lugansk and Donetsk continued – for the next six years.

To repeat; the collective “West” could not have been unaware of the dangers of its interference in the affairs of Ukraine. This was a deeply divided country; to intervene on behalf of one section of the country at the expense of the other could not fail to deepen divisions and ultimately cause the disintegration of the state. That the West took the side of the anti-Russian half of the population was entirely in harmony with the increasingly hysterical tone of anti-Russian rhetoric in the Western media in the years leading up to the Maidan Revolution. And we can take with a pinch of salt the idea that Nuland and the Obama Adminstration was concerned with “corruption” in the Yanukovych regime: America is and always has been on very friendly terms with governments far more corrupt, violent and totalitarian than that of Yanukovych.

I would suggest that the real reason, or certainly an extremely important though unspoken reason, for Nuland’s mission was that Yanukovych’s pivot towards Russia was seen by the “woke” establishment in Washington as a sign that Ukraine would follow Russia into adopting an increasingly Christian-friendly social culture; one that the “liberals” and “progressives” in Washington despised. We should note too that one of Poroshenko’s first actions as President of Ukraine was to provide openings for George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, and to simultaneously support the establishment of LGBT input into the educational system. Gay “Pide” parades became a regular feature of life in Kiev where, though distinctly unpopular with the great majority of the population, they received massive support and protection from the security forces.

Emmet Sweeney is the author of several works dealing with problems in the history of the ancient Near East.

Western ruling elites have Dariia Dugina’s blood on their hands

August 23, 2022

The murder of Dariia Dugina triggered the now quite predictable reaction from the collective West: total indifference.  This is hardly something new.  The West not only put a Nazi regime in power in Kiev, it supported it by all means possible while that regime did all of the following:

  1. Used its armed forces in an internal civil war, which is (was?) banned under the Ukrainian constitution which resulted in about 14’000 dead over eight years.
  2. “Ze” has crushed any and all internal opposition, not only putatively “pro-Russian” parties and politicians (many of them members of the Ukrainian Rada), but also clearly pro-Ukrainian parties (say the “Party of Sharii”).
  3. “Ze” also banned any alternative/free media inside the Ukraine.  Western journos did not notice or object.
  4. The Ukrainian armed forces have now shelled/bombed the civilian infrastructure of the LDNR for years (and tried to cut off water from the Crimean Peninsula).  Latest example here.
  5. The Ukronazis have repeatedly tried attack nuclear and chemical plants.
  6. The Kiev regime has also repeatedly attacked the civilian power grid.
  7. Nazi special forces have conducted numerous assassinations in the LDNR and they even tried to do so in Crimea and Russia (as the case of Dugina proves).
  8. Thousands of people in the Ukraine have been disappeared in CIA-style torture centers.
  9. Torture is now a regular practice of the Ukronazi military and security services.
  10. Most Russian POW have been systematically tortured and murdered.
  11. Russian military personnel has been the object of chemical attacks (see here and here)
  12. The Ukronazis have also killed hundreds (if not more) Ukrainian soldiers who refused to be used as cannon fodder and fight the Russians in hopeless, suicidal, attacks.
  13. The Ukrainian forces systematically hid behind civilians in schools, shopping malls, hospitals and even kindergartens.
  14. Ukrainian politicians have repeatedly referred to the Russian people as “subhumans” “pigdogs” “biomaterial” and they have openly called for the killing of as many Russians (including non combatants) as possible (latest example here).
  15. The Nazis have made massive use of forbidden cluster munition, including cluster munition containing illegal anti-personnel mines which have maimed scores of civilians.

And I could go on and on.  But I think the image is rather clear.  It shows that:

  1. The West will support absolutely any atrocity committed by its Ukronazi proxies.
  2. The West hates Russia deeply and viscerally: against the accursed and hated russkies anything, absolutely anything goes.
  3. The West will not only speak up against Ukronazi atrocities, it will conduct an open and quite unapologetic campaigns to silence any disagreeing voices (latest example here).  Amnesty International now apologized for its report about human rights violations in the Ukraine.
  4. In fact, and in one of the most hypocritical statements in world history, the US Senate declared that Russia was a sponsor of terrorism which is rather ironic considering that the US is, by far, the main sponsor of terrorism worldwide and domestically!
  5. Western state actors have also organized and financed PSYOP/Cyberwarfare centers which have attacked even personal blogs (like the Saker blog) to try to shut down any dissenting voice.
  6. The West is doubling down over and over again and giving even MORE support to the Ukraine after each Nazi atrocity (the US just added another 3 BILLION dollars of “aid” for all of the actions described above)

I submit that two things are really essential here: the pattern described above has been unchanging since at least the Crusades and this pattern is unanimously shared by all western governments today.  This is no fluke, no mistake, but the core of a worldview shared by all the western ruling elites, especially northern Europeans (the reality of southern Europe and the Mediterranean cultural real to which southern Europe used to belong is more nuanced and complex).

Dariia Dugina was murdered by a single Ukronazi terrorist, directed by the SBU which, in turn, is just a proxy for the CIA/MI6.  But Dariia Dugina’s innocent blood, like the blood of MILLIONS of other innocent people throughout the history is on the hands of the ruling class which pretends to see nothing while being directly involved in it all.  As for the people of the West, they have to decide whether they will continue meekly accept to be ruled my murderous, racist, thugs or whether they will resit them (or, at least, not support them and, at the very least, have the decency to decide to never knowingly support any lie)

So far, I have to sadly admit that I am not very impressed.  I see a post-truth society in which the very concept of truth has lost any meaning.  That utter and total indifference to the very notion of truth is the only true “western value” left.

Andrei

The Second Coming of the Heartland

August 14, 2022

by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

It’s tempting to visualize the overwhelming collective West debacle as a rocket, faster than free fall, plunging into the black void maelstrom of complete socio-political breakdown.

The End of (Their) History turns out to be a fast-forward historical process bearing staggering ramifications: way more profound than mere self-appointed “elites” – via their messenger boys/girls – dictating a Dystopia engineered by austerity and financialization: what they chose to brand as a Great Reset and then, major fail intervening, The Great Narrative.

Financialization of everything means total marketization of Life itself. In his latest book, No-Cosas: Quiebras del Mundo de Hoy (in Spanish, no English translation yet), the foremost German contemporary philosopher (Byung-Chul Han, who happens to be Korean), analyzes how Information Capitalism, unlike industrial capitalism, converts also the immaterial into merchandise: “Life itself acquires the form of merchandise (…) the difference between culture and commerce disappears. Institutions of culture are presented as profitable brands.”

The most toxic consequence is that “total commercialization and mercantilization of culture had the effect of destroying the community (…) Community as merchandise is the end of community.”

China’s foreign policy under Xi Jinping proposes the idea of a community of shared future for mankind, essentially a geopolitical and geoeconomic project. Yet China still has not amassed enough soft power to translate that culturally, and seduce vast swathes of the world into it: that especially concerns the West, for which Chinese culture, history and philosophies are virtually incomprehensible.

In Inner Asia, where I am now, a revived glorious past may offer other instances of “shared community”. A glittering example is the Shaki Zinda necropolis in Samarkand.

Afrasiab – the ancient settlement, pre-Samarkand – had been destroyed by the Genghis Khan hordes in 1221. The only building that was preserved was the city’s main shrine: Shaki Zinda.

Much later, in the mid-15th century, star astronomer Ulugh Beg, himself the grandson of Turkic-Mongol “Conqueror of the World” Timur, unleashed no less than a Cultural Renaissance: he summoned architects and craftsmen from all corners of the Timurid empire and the Islamic world to work into what became a de facto creative artistic lab.

The Avenue of 44 Tombs at Shaki Zinda represents the masters of different schools harmoniously creating a unique synthesis of styles in Islamic architecture.

The most remarkable décor at Shaki Zinda are stalactites, hung in clusters in the upper parts of portal niches. An early 18th century traveler described them as “magnificent stalactites, hanging like stars above the mausoleum, make it clear about the eternity of the sky and our frailty.” Stalactites in the 15th century were called “muqarnas”: that means, figuratively, “starry sky”.

The Sheltering (Community) Sky

The Shaki Zinda complex is now at the center of a willful push by the Uzbekistan government to restore Samarkand to its former glory. The centerpiece, trans-historical concepts are “harmony” and “community” – and that reaches way beyond Islam.

As a sharp contrast, the inestimable Alastair Crooke has illustrated the death of Eurocentrism alluding to Lewis Carroll and Yeats: only through the looking glass we can see the full contours of the tawdry spectacle of narcissistic self-obsession and self-justification offered by “the worst”, still so “full of passionate intensity”, as depicted by Yeats.

And yet, unlike Yeats, the best now do not “lack all conviction”. They may be few, ostracized by cancel culture, but they do see the “rough beast, its hour come out at last, slouching towards…” Brussels (not Jerusalem) “to be born”.

This unelected gaggle of insufferable mediocrities – from von der Leyden and Borrell to that piece of Norwegian wood Stoltenberg – may dream they live in the pre-1914 era, when Europe was at the political center. Yet now not only “the center cannot hold” (Yeats) but Eurocrat-infested Europe has been definitely engulfed by the maelstrom, an irrelevant political backwater seriously flirting with reversion to 12th century status.

The physical aspects of the Fall – austerity, inflation, no hot showers, freezing to death to support neo-Nazis in Kiev – has been preceded, and no Christianized imagery need apply, by the fires of sulphur and brimstone of a Spiritual Fall. The transatlantic masters of those parrots posing as “elites” could never come up with any idea to sell to the Global South centered on harmony and much less “community”.

What they sell, via their Unanimous Narrative, actually their take on “We Are the World”, is variations of “you will own nothing and be happy”. Worse: you will have to pay for it – dearly. And you have no right to dream of any transcendence – irrespective if you’re a follower of Rumi, the Tao, shamanism or Prophet Muhammad.

The most visible shock troops of this reductionist Western neo-nihilism – obscured by the fog of “equality”, “human rights” and “democracy” – are the thugs being swiftly denazified in Ukraine, sporting their tattoos and pentagrams.

The dawn of a new Enlightenment

The Collective West Self-Justification Show staged to obliterate its ritualized suicide offers no hint of transcending sacrifice implied in a ceremonial seppuku. All they do is to wallow in the adamant refusal to admit they could be seriously mistaken.

How would anyone dare to deride the set of “values” derived from the Enlightenment? If you don’t prostrate yourself in front of this glittering cultural altar, you’re just a barbarian set to be slandered, law-fared, canceled, persecuted, sanctioned and – HIMARS to the rescue – bombed.

We still do not have a post-Tik Tok Tintoretto to depict the collective West’s multi-wallowing in Dante-esque chambers of pop Hell. What we do have, and must endure, day after day, is the kinetic battle between their “Great Narrative”, or narratives, and pure and simple reality. Their obsession with the need for virtual reality to always “win” is pathological: after all the only activity they excel in is manufacturing fake reality. Such a pity that Baudrillard and Umberto Eco are not among us anymore to unmask their tawdry shenanigans.

Does that make any difference across vast swathes of Eurasia? Of course not. We just need to keep up with the dizzying succession of bilateral meetings, deals, and progressive interaction of BRI, SCO, EAEU, BRICS+ and other multilateral organizations to get a glimpse of how the new world-system is being configured.

In Samarkand, surrounded by mesmerizing instances of Timurid art coupled with a development boom that brings to mind the East Asian miracle of the early 1990s, it’s plain to see how the heart of the Heartland is back with a vengeance – and is bound to dispatch the pleonexia-afflicted West to the swamp of Irrelevancy.

I leave you with a psychedelic sunset facing the Registan, at the razor’s edge of a new sort of Enlightenment that is leading the Heartland towards a reality-based version of Shangri-La, privileging harmony, tolerance and most of all, the sense of community.

A Tale of Two Cities

August 13, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

(With Apologies to Charles Dickens)

Moscow and Washington

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

The opening words of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’

It is the best of times. That which some in Moscow and in the Orthodox Christian world in general have been awaiting for a thousand years is coming to pass. Just as it has been prophesied again and again down the centuries: the West and its ruthless Imperialism are collapsing in the face of the resistance of the long-suffering and long-exploited Rest. This struggle is being led by Russia. What a time to be alive. We did not think we would live to see it. After the disaster of the Western and Russophobic ideology of Parliamentary Democracy, which was imposed by Great Britain and others on the old Russian Empire in February 1917, and then, as a prime example to the West of blowback, those incompetents passed power into the hands of the equally Western and Russophobic ideology of Marxism, which began genociding its subject peoples in October 1917.

It is the worst of times. Nobody likes this Washington-imposed war. People are dying, people are being mutilated both in their bodies and in their souls, people are being exploited and manipulated. Still worse is our pain for the Western peoples, on whom their wealthy elites are about to threaten with death by hunger and death by freezing, with all the civil strife that is hanging over them like black Doomsday.

It is the age of wisdom. Some in Moscow and elsewhere know that this is an existential war not just for the Russian Federation, but for the whole world. Either we will have a One World Dictatorship imposed on us by the Western elites, or else we will have Freedom and Peace, Justice and Prosperity.

It is the age of foolishness. The gerontocracy in Washington has imposed a choice. From 330 million Americans, all they could find as candidates to be US President, him who has charge of the nuclear button, is two very elderly men, an ill-reputed, viagra-charged businessman-clown and an ill-reputed double-dealer of dubious personal morality, clearly suffering from the onset of dementia.

It is the epoch of belief. There are those in Moscow and elsewhere who believe that the values of traditional faiths can vanquish the great Satan and his depravity.

It is the epoch of incredulity. There are those in Washington and elsewhere who are unwilling or unable to believe that the Western world is utterly corrupted and are so deluded that they are convinced of their own lies.

It is the season of Light. At last in Moscow and elsewhere the possibility of freedom and new life for the peoples of the once-enslaved world dawns.

It is the season of Darkness. The CIA-controlled Western media, fed from the judases in Washington, is striving to spread the darkness of its tentacular lies all over the world.

It is the spring of hope. On 24 February 2022 (new style), 105 years to the day after it was enslaved by the West (old style), Moscow proclaimed the springtime of liberation for the Ukraine, physical liberation for Russian-speakers, and spiritual liberation of the whole country from the twin yoke of Militarism and Nazism.

It is the winter of despair. Only a few weeks away from the first cold nights, nobody in Washington or in the Western European world with a mind that still works is looking forward to this winter. Hunger and cold, bankruptcy and unemployment, with ensuing mass civil disobedience, beckon to the Western peoples. Can you hear the demons laughing? They are laughing at you, the naïve, gullible, hoodwinked, zombified Western masses, gaslit by your narcissistic, egomaniac elite.

Hope

I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done…

From the closing paragraph of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’

If we can win against the Mordor of the Collective West and its weapons of destruction, sanction and propagandisation, all three of which the Allies are wearing down in the Ukraine, then nothing from the above prophecy is beyond us.

There are those who can see the struggles to be truly free, triumphs and defeats, through long years to come. There are those who can see the evil of this time of 2022, and of the previous time, the thousand years which preceded it, of which the present is only the logical result. There are those who can see that here at last is the chance for the Western elites to make amends for their millennial crimes towards the rest of the world, first of all to their own peoples, then to the peoples of Eastern Europe and Russia, of the Middle East, and North Africa, of Central and South America, of North America, of Central and Southern Africa, of Asia and Oceania. This repentance, in mind and heart and deed, would indeed be a far, far better thing that the Western world could do than anything it has ever done before.

12 August 2022

Will the West’s greed and hatred lead to the end of the world?

August 12, 2022

Source

By Aram Mirzaei

It can certainly be said that the risk for nuclear war is far greater today than it was less a year ago. Ever since the conflict in Ukraine began, the collective West and its vassals, also known as the “international community” have been engaged in a hybrid war against Russia, stopping just short of direct confrontation. Although some EU leaders like Borrell seem to think that the West is an active combatant in the conflict. “We must explain to our citizens that this is not someone else’s war,” Borrell said in an interview published by newspaper El Pais on Thursday. “The public must be willing to pay the price of supporting Ukraine and for preserving the unity of the EU.”

We are at war. These things are not free,” he added.

The same Borrell offered his thoughts on Western hypocrisy and double standards in international affairs, with regards to the Zionist slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza this past week. “We are often criticized for double standards. But international politics is to a large degree about applying double standards. We do not use the same criteria for all problems,” he told El Pais newspaper, as cited on Thursday. A rare piece of honesty for a man who makes his living by lying and deceiving others. Yet he failed to mention why those double standards exist. International politics is only about applying double standards when you’re an imperialist and colonizer. Of course he wouldn’t mention that they don’t “use the same criteria for all problems” when it is his masters in Tel Aviv that are the ones waging war on defenceless people.

So this proves that the West throwing tantrums to the left and right over Ukraine really has nothing to do with concern for civilian lives lost. Because when the Zionists massacre children with impunity, the “international community” is pretty silent.

Illegal sanctions, rabid Russophobia, and supplying Kiev with heavy weaponry despite the known dangers of doing so, all show the West’s deeply rooted hatred of Russia. If anyone was still delusional to think that this hatred had anything to do with President Putin only, then these past months should’ve proven that it is Russia and the Russians that the “international community” hates with a passion. Why else would they ban Russian athletes, journalists and even ordinary citizens? Of course, the case would’ve been much different had Russia given up on its sovereignty and offered its territory to Washington. Only a non-sovereign and non-independent Russia can be considered “democratic” in the eyes of this “international community.”

The same hatred can be seen towards any country that has chosen independence over subservience to the West. The self-worshipping and racist West has always hated those who resist Western attempts to colonize and ravage their countries. This is why they also hate China and Iran with a passion. Yes, yes, I am also aware that they even hate their own non-Western allies because of the racist nature of the West.

Over the years since the fall of the Eastern Bloc, China and Russia, adopted a policy of cooperation with the United States and tried to make the Americans understand that it is possible to interact instead of confronting each other. It can be said that the peak of this policy was when Putin even proposed Russia’s membership in NATO. Putin’s purpose in bringing up Russia’s membership in NATO was to determine whether NATO is still seeking to destroy Russia or not. Well, it quickly became completely clear to Russia that the Americans are looking for Russia’s destruction through the expansion of NATO right up to Russia’s borders.

The Americans are doing the same thing in East Asia, and despite the fact that China has tried to engage with them through interaction and not confrontation, they are officially and unofficially seeking to destroy China. Nancy Pelosi’s childish attempt to create tensions between China and Taiwan and setting the stage for war in this region is an example of the same type of animosity that Washington has engaged in with Russia. Maybe if there was no war in Europe, the Americans would have done something to start a war in East Asia, but it seems that they saw that currently, they cannot fight on two fronts and they preferred to delay the process of starting a war in East Asia.

This American policy is no different from the policies that caused the start of World War I and II, and the continuation of these policies can lead the world to a third world war, which due to the existence of weapons that can destroy the world many times over, it is possible to imagine that the start of such a war may be the end of humanity.

Today, it is no longer a secret or a “crazy delusion” that the West is in a state of decline. It has been for some time but the average person wouldn’t have noticed this years ago. There’s no hiding it today, and the only ones left to deny this reality are die-hard liberals – or rather die-hard Empire supporters. These people, often journalists in the West, have gone on full denial mode and make up stories and fantasy scenarios of “Russia’s imminent collapse”. Try watching German or British coverage of Ukraine and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
In their desperation, they’ve reached such pathetic lows that they are now speculating over Putin’s health, presenting sad lies made up by “anonymous former MI6 agents” with “deep insight” into what’s going on the Kremlin, as absolute truth. The same desperation can be seen among Western politicians. They don’t live under any illusions and are fully aware of the imminent collapse that the West is facing. We observers shouldn’t be under any illusions either: the West won’t just accept defeat , especially not to those it considers to he inferior.

As the West declines, concurrently new powers are rising in the world. A multi-polar world is emerging with Russia, China and Iran leading it. But with the emergence of a multi-polar world, the dangers of nuclear war also grows.

Whenever the US is desperate to prove its “superiority”, it always resorts to Hollywood style showboating in an attempt to remind the world of its “awesome powers.” Take Nancy Pelosi’s provocative and dangerous stunt in Taiwan recently, or the concurrent “assassination” of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the Al-Qaeda leader who according to the Taliban had been dead for months before the US, in true Hollywood fashion claimed to have killed him while he was on a balcony. Washington was quick to emphasize that no other person was killed and that the building wasn’t even destroyed, despite being allegedly hit by a missile. Biden took to the press and basically threatened the entire world: “No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you’re a threat to our people, the US will find you and take you out.”

The problem with these stunts is that sooner or later nobody is going to take them seriously anymore. Thus begins a dangerous and vicious spiral where the US constantly must take more risks to project its supposed power, leading it directly into confrontation with China, Russia or Iran as Washington keeps crossing more and more red lines.
Washington’s bruised ego, together with rabid racism and self-worship is a dangerous combo for an empire that is desperate to preserve its hegemony. Remember that it is the same regime that did not hesitate to use nuclear weapons against Japan, and still takes pride in doing so.

As the West is declining and possibly collapsing, one has to wonder if their hatred for the rest of the world is greater than their sense of self-preservation. If their “world order” isn’t going to prevail, will they allow humanity to even exist?

Why have I stopped posting maps of the situation in the Ukraine and a few other questions

August 10, 2022

A reader recently asked me why I have not posted any maps of the military situation in the Ukraine, and that is a fair question which I will answer below.

There are a few reasons for this, but the main and most obvious one is this: unlike the first month or two of the SMO, there are very few changes worth showing on a map.  That is NOT to say that there are no changes on the frontlines, there are, plenty, but they just don’t translate into nice looking maps.

recent post on Moon of Alabama quoted what appears to be a leak from the Ukrainian command and which I will repost here:

Ukrainian channels are discussing what might be a leaked data from AFU General Staff:

 The AFU are only at 43-48% strength
– medical workers at their limit
– small arms and armor are not enough
 191 thousand soldiers were killed and wounded (only AFU, not including others)
– there is not enough hydraulics and liquid nitrogen for M777 howitzers
– no one cares about the missing – there are no statistics
– the equipment transferred by the West is running out
– western weapons are operated by amateurs, since there are no qualified specialists
– no way to repair weapons on the spot due to the lack of spares and specialists – everything is sent to Poland

BTW, even with this dire report, I would caution against predicting a decisive break in morale. As with Peski, the walking wounded are sent straight back into the trenches

I would just add here that Peski has been taken.

But the key factoids here are “The AFU are only at 43-48% strength” and “191 thousand soldiers were killed and wounded (only AFU, not including others)“.

Figures might change from country to country, and it all depends on the type of warfare which is being conducted, but the rule of thumb I was taught is that any unit which loses over 30% of its strength is not capable of fulfilling its theoretical combat missions.  Now, in history, there are plenty of examples of units with 30% or even more losses, but such units can only hold their ground, not operate an orderly withdrawal nevermind a counterattack.  The eventual outcome is always the same, eventually such units collapse and disappear (dead, prisoner or escape).

Put otherwise, at this current stage of the war, statistics such as the one above tell the story, maps don’t.

That being said,

The truth is that the Ukrainian forces in the Donbass have been in a de-facto operational cauldron since the first week of the SMO.  That is not the result of any special Russian military move, but a factor of geography.  Simply put, the eastern Ukraine is a gigantic cauldron.  True, it as not a locked cauldron, meaning that the Ukrainian side still could move forces into and out of the cauldron, but it was already “locked by fire” meaning that Russian forces could, and did, attack the forces moving in and out with devastating effectiveness.

Quick reminder: the Ukrainians, supported by billions of dollars from the combined West did have eight years to prepare very strong fortifications along the towns and cities they controlled before the SMO.  Maybe somebody expected the Russians to move in frontally, carpet bomb the Ukie-controlled Donbass (as the USA would do) and then frontally attack taking huge casualties in the process.  The Russians, wisely, did not oblige.  Instead, they chose to slowly grind down the Ukrainian defenses.

These tactics did, by the way, result in quite a few towns and villages being liberated by Russia (Izum, Peski and others), and quite a few tactical “cauldrons” which eventually were absorbed.  But, again, the maps did not reflect the nature of what was taking place.

One question I get a lot is: how come the Russian can’t even stop the shelling of Donetsk from, say, Avdeevka?  They have a much stronger and larger artillery force and they have very good counter-battery capabilities, so what is the problem here?

Simple, the Ukrainians position their artillery right next to buildings occupied by civilians.  So when a Ukrainian mortar, howitzer or MLRS fires at Donetsk or Makeevka, the Russians DO see where it fired from, but they cannot simply reply with a volley of their own, because that would be killing tens if not hundreds of innocent civilians.  That would also give the West the “Russian massacre” they so badly wanted in Bucha.  So, instead of firing back, the Russians then refine their firing data, which not only takes time, but also allows the Ukrainians to move, not necessarily by much, just a few tens or hundreds of meters, sometimes just on the other side of a building.

So the Russians decided that moving in slow makes much more sense than to frontally storm the Ukrainian fortifications.  This is better for both the LDNR and Russian forces and it is much better for the civilians.

Look, why do you think that the entire civilian infrastructure of, say, Kiev or Kharkov is fully functioning?  If you really sincerely believe that the Russians could not destroy it on day 1 of the SMO, you might as well stop reading and never revisit this blog again.  For the rest, here is the truism which really explains it all

==>>The Russians do not fight wars the way the USA does<<==

What do I mean by that?

Here is the basic US war plan:

  1. Attack a basically defenseless country
  2. Achieve air supremacy (in the absence of any modern air defenses)
  3. Fire a large amount of cruise missiles, followed by massive air strikes
  4. If that is not enough, deliberately target and destroy the entire civilian infrastructure
  5. Then send in ground forces whose basic tactic is this: advance and shoot defenseless people, and when meeting any resistance, call in an airstrike.  Then continue.
  6. Declare victory and leave (ideally while leaving a comprador puppet regime in control)

The result is well over a million dead in Iraq, the total devastation of Libya, the massive bombing of Serbian civilians in Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo, etc. etc. etc.

The Russians simply reject that “logic” on moral and pragmatic grounds.  Remember the #6 above!  That is *not* a viable option for Russians.

Historically, genocide has ALWAYS been the western way of war, this is especially true of the British and the US Americans.  You don’t have to believe me, simply read this book: The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier, 1607–1814 by John Grenier, who retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2009 after a twenty year career in which he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and served two tours as a professor at the Air Force Academy. He currently serves as the senior professor in American military history for Norwich University’s on-line Masters of Art in Military History (MMH) program.  Really, I mean it, get his book, read it, and lose any naive illusions you might have about “western democracy” and how “liberals” wage war on others.

Another question I get is this: why do the Russian not bypass the Ukronazi towns and villages in the Donbass and push on deeper inside the Ukraine?  The answer is simple:  because that would place Russian forces in between the still existing Ukrainian positions which the Russians are slowly grinding down now and the Ukrainian forces in the Central Ukraine.  It is hardly surprising that the Russians do not want to have their forces fighting on two fronts, one to the West and one to the East.  So what about the famous “deep armor operations” or the use of battalion tactical group as a tactical-operational maneuver group? These are all parts of a regular, full-scale, combined arms operation, yes, but the SMO is NOT, repeat, NOT a regular combined arms operation.  One example, when the Russians initiated their SMO the Ukrainians had a pretty substantial numerical superiority over the Russians, combined with specific military technological elements (such as advanced secured communications) which the LDNR forces did not have at all, and which the Russian military did have, but not down to the same subunit levels as the Ukrainians.  What do we see today?  The numerical superiority is gone, and the advanced technologies given to the Ukronazis by the West have only made things more difficult for the Russians, but failed to affect the outcome.

And, of course, the “favorite” one: you (and others) have said many times that Russia could and would defeat the Ukraine in days, a few week max.  So now do you admit that you were totally wrong?

First, let’s begin with the assumption of that question, that is to say that Russia did not defeat the Ukraine in days or weeks.  Is that even true?

I would argue that is is not.  The Russians *DID* successfully basically disable the Ukrainian armed forces in the first few days and weeks of the war: almost the entire Ukrainian air force was destroyed and so were much of the Ukrainian air defenses.  As for the ground forces, they have failed to execute a single effective counter-attacks, at most they claimed that every Russian retreat was a result of their counter-attacks, but let me ask a simple question here: if those counter-attacks were successful, where is the result???  Nothing, well, other that the utterly fictitious fairy tales coming out of Kiev, of course.  And since Kiev has been wall-to-wall lying about everything from Day 1 of the SMO, how can anybody take their grandiose statements seriously?

So what really happened?

Number of foreign mercenaries in the Ukraine

What happened is that the untied West decided to throw its full military might behind the Nazi regime in Kiev.  Not only have BILLIONS of dollars worth of equipment been made available to the Ukrainian forces, there were also THOUSANDS of “volunteers” sent to the Ukraine to support the Ukronazi forces (see chart of the right, click here for higher resolution. Quick translation of the main terms: Страна: country; Прибыло: arrived; Уничтожено: destroyed; Убыло: departed; Всего: total).

Last, but most certainly not least, the US and NATO are making use of all their C4ISR capabilities in support of the Ukronazi forces.  In fact, it would be accurate to say that the US+NATO have now taken full control of all the military operations in the Ukraine (they have also presided over the total crackdown on any and all forms of internal Ukrainian opposition!).

Once this is understood, let me ask you three simple questions:

  • Have I or anybody else declared that Russia would militarily defeat the combined forces of the US+NATO in days or weeks?
  • How long would YOU estimate it would take the Russians to achieve such a goal?
  • Do you really not see that IN SPITE of that massive and total support of the West, Russia is well on her way to do just that, to defeat not only the best and biggest proxy force in US history, but also all the efforts of the combined West to defeat Russia militarily and economically?

If you did not see this, say, even one month or two ago, I could understand.  But if you STILL don’t smell the coffee, then I declare you hopeless, encourage you to stop reading this article and stay away from this blog 🙂

Seriously, if the combined West had left the Ukronazi regime in Kiev to its own devices “Ze” would have had to capitulate about 10 days into the SMO, if only to spare the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.

Did the Russians expect such a massive reaction from the West?  The term “expect” is very misleading.  That is not how these things work.  Operational and strategic plans are not based on a single scenario which you “hope” will materialize.  Here are also two things which we should always remember:

  • It is the job of the intelligence agencies and the operations planning departments to prepare and model for as many possible scenarios (or scenarii?) as reasonably imaginable.
  • Operational and strategic plans do not deal with tactical issues and they CONSTANTLY change depending on a feedback and decision making loop.

One example: Putin admitted during a TV interview that when the Russians moved into Crimea he had placed Russian nuclear forces on maximal alert.  Does that meant that anybody in the Kremlin or the General Staff “expected” the US to nuke Russia?  Of course not!  But they DID consider that possibility and took the needed action to try to prevent it.

Same here.  I am very confident that the Russians were fully prepared for the West’s insane and, frankly, suicidal reaction to the SMO.  In fact, that “maximal” response was one of the MANY contingencies which the Russians must have prepared for.  As a former intelligence analyst, I can tell you that military analysis does look at as many options as possible and then the operational planning folks make their own preparations for any contingency.

It is now abundantly clear that the West is determined to fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian.  Hence the truly idiotic order given to the best and most capable Ukrainian forces to not engage in a mobile defense but to hold their ground in the Donbass until they are totally destroyed.

Furthermore, it is also abundantly clear that the western countries are willing to destroy not only its own economies, but the entire international financial system to try to hurt Russia (and China) as much as possible.

In other words, Russia is not engaged in a war against the Ukraine, but against the entire united and consolidated West.

==>>Have I not been saying just that since at least 2013?<<==

How long will this war last?

I cannot answer that because the answer depends entirely on: how suicidally stupid the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire are?

The Ukrainian forces in the eastern Ukraine have no hopes for an orderly retreat anymore, so they will be destroyed.  How soon?  I don’t know, that depends on the folks in the trenches and how strong a grip the Nazis have over that force.

Will there be a Ukrainian counter-attack towards Kherson?  I sure hope not.

Why? Because currently the Ukrainian forces are dug in inside the city of Nikolaev, and if they decide to attack, they will not only have to get into their pre-battle order formation outside the protective confines of the city, but then they will also have then cross a mostly empty plain.  In other words, it will be a massacre.

Might they still try?  Sure!  ALL the orders given to the Ukrainian forces by the USA+NATO are de facto suicidal and make no military sense.  No Neocon will ever give a damn about more massacred Ukrainians.

What else could the Ukrainians do?

Mostly, what they have been doing so far, including:

  • Massacring as many civilians in the liberated areas as possible, including with the use of banned weapons (anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions).
  • Organize effective terrorist attacks not only in the liberated areas of the Donbass, but also inside Russia (that the Ukrainians have proven pretty good at)
  • They might conduct further attacks against Russia, Crimea and the Crimean bridge.  None of them will make any military difference or even have much of an impact, but it will be good PR, especially with the full support of the AngloZionist propaganda machine aka “the free press”.
  • They are trying hard to bomb the nuclear power station in Zaporozhie.  The power plant at Chernobyl might become a target again.  Finally, the Ukronazis still have access to plenty of spent nuclear waste which they could use as a “dirty bomb” against their own population and blame Russia (think of it as a “nuclear Bucha”).
  • The steady flow of fixed and rotary wing aircraft from Poland, Romania and other countries will continue, giving the Ukronazi propaganda the illusion that Russia does not have air superiority over the entire Ukraine.

There is also a very real possibility that Poland and Hungary might move into the western Ukraine to “protect” their nationals.  They have, so far, refrained from doing so, at least openly, probably because US/NATO commanders do not want to risk a Russian strike on NATO forces (even these idiots Biden and Stoltenberg have publicly said that!).  However, if done intelligently, Poland and Hungary might well obtain by entirely non-official channels, a Russian promise to “look away” and not take any action.  Why?  Because Russia has no need whatsoever for these territories and because Russia will be more than happy to let the Poles and Hungarians deal with the Ukronazi nutcases of the western Ukraine.

I hope that the above answers at least some questions you might have had.

I will mention one last thing: while the collapse of the international financial system is already well underway, its effects have, so far, not been fully felt, most definitely not in the USA and not even fully in the EU.  Once the magnitude of this self-inflicted disaster become absolutely undeniable, not even by the Neocon-run “free press” things in the West will began to change politically.  So now is the time to wait and see, not speculate.

Andrei

Finance Capitalism’s Self-Destructive Nature

July 20, 2022

Posted with Michael Hudson’s permission

Transcript of Interview on The Left Lens with Danny Haiphong May 25th, 2022

DANNY HAIPHONG: Good afternoon, everyone. Happy Wednesday, May 25th, welcome to the stream, to another left lens. Today we have a very special guest so as you’re coming in make sure you are liking the stream sharing it, make sure that you are subscribing to the channel and hitting that notifications bell, and as always you know please do support this work here at this channel and all the work that I do at patreon.com/dannyhaiphong. But with that said I want to introduce our guests because we have a lot to talk about over the next hour and it is economist Michael Hudson.

He is the author of the new book, The Destiny of Civilization: Finance capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism and I’ll pull that up from his website very soon but I want to just say about Michael Hudson is that he’s been someone I’ve been following for quite some time. He has been making the rounds on various programs talking about political economy and he’s one of the foremost voices of understanding political economy today. Hi Michael, good to be with you thanks so much for joining us today

MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to meet you, Danny.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Very very good to meet you. So I’m going to pull up your new book in a second just on your website so people know where to go and I’ll make sure to link that in the chat so people know where to get it but I want to talk about first, so I mean we’re in an economic catastrophe in a lot of ways currently and there’s a lot of talk about, inflation and money, prices are skyrocketing, and one thing I really appreciate about your work is that you really do focus on political economy and you have been talking a lot about finance capital and something called super imperialism which you’ve written a book about and that has been updated several times even just last year so I wanted to get your take on the role of finance capital uh under this imperialist arrangement and in this time of the neo-liberal era in the united states and across much of the West in the world.

What is finance capital’s role? It seems so dominant now, it seems like the dominant class at this moment that really does control the levers of economic development. Could you talk about what role it plays and how it has spurred the crises that we’re going through today and you could talk about inflation but I definitely want to just kick it to you there so our viewers can get an understanding of the economics and an analysis of this.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, most people think of all kinds of capitalism as being the same and the assumption is that industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century somehow was always financialized because there were always banks but financial capitalism is you just pointed out is a political system and as a political system it’s very different from the industrial capitalism dynamic. In industrial capitalism, the whole aim or the hope of the industrial capitalists in the late nineteenth century, especially in Germany and central Europe was that banking would no longer be just usury, it wouldn’t be just consumer lending to exploit labor, and it wouldn’t be lending to the government somehow.

The financial system  would recycle the economy savings and money creation and credit into industrial production and would finance the means of production to make that productive instead of predatory and parasitic as it became and that seemed to be the way that industrial capitalism was evolving up until World War I. Everything changed after that all of a sudden you had the financial system take over as a result of the crisis caused in the 1920s by the German reparations debt that couldn’t be paid and the inter-ally debt that was insisted upon to repay the United States for the arms that have supplied Europe for a century into World War I. Well, the result was a huge depression.

The allies said, well, we didn’t expect to actually have to pay the United States. If we have to pay the United States, then we have to charge reparations on Germany and for a decade there was a debate between John Maynard Keynes and Harold Moulton and others saying that these debts can’t be paid. How are you going to handle a situation where the debts can’t be paid?

The finance capitalists then were the basically the ancestors of today’s neoliberals and they said any amount of debt can be paid by any country if it just lowers the living standards and squeezes labor enough and that’s what basically the philosophy of the IMF ever since world war II when third world countries can’t pay the debt, the IMF comes in with an austerity program and say you have to lower wages, you have to break up labor unions, if necessary you have to have a democracy, and you can’t have a democracy unless you’re willing to assassinate and arrest the labor leaders and the advocates of land redistribution because a democracy means basically rule by the financial sector  centered in the united states. And so finance capitalism ever since WWI and especially WWII and especially since 1980 is the nationalistic doctrine of American banks and the American one percent, and the American financial sector that is sort of merged into a symbiotic unit with the finance insurance and real estate.

In other words, finance capitalism instead of trying to promote overall economic growth for the 99 percent, instead of financing the industrialization of an economy with rising productivity and rising living standards, is now cannibalizing the industrial sector, cannibalizing the corporate sector. As you’re seeing in the U.S., finance capitalism is the economic doctrine of deindustrialization that has occurred in America in England and is now occurring in Europe.

Well, the problem is how do you survive if you’re not industrializing, if you’re not producing your own means of subsistence and how are you going to get this from other countries? Well, the answer is you don’t go to war with them like countries used to go to war with each other to grab their money and their land, you use finance as the new means of war so finance capitalism is the tactic of economic warfare by the United States against Europe and the global south to sort of draw all of the economic surplus of these countries in the form of debt service and the debt service is supplied by basically economic rent seeking from land rent, natural resource rent,  and just plain interest charges on economy. So, none of these are really the result of industrial profits that are made by employing labor and uh selling its products at a markup.

Finance capitalism is not based on surplus value like industrial capitalism was. In fact, it destroys industry and in this cannibalizing of industrial capital, it basically dries out the economy and makes it unable to break even or even to function and in the United States today, for instance, if you look at the balance sheets of corporate revenue much of it is spent on stock buybacks. You buy back your own stock or dividend payouts. Only eight percent of corporate earnings are spent on new capital investment research and development: factories, machinery, and means of production to employ labor.

How did General Electric (GE) go broke? Basically, Jack Welch said let’s use our income not to continue to invest in making more electronic goods and services and appliances, let’s use it to buy our own stock that’ll push up our stock and essentially, we’ll just sell off our divisions and we’ll use the money of selling off our washing machine companies and stoves and sell it off and we’ll just pay it to the stockholders. That’ll push it up and by the way his salary was based on how much he could push up the stock of GE and he was paid in the form of stock options. Well, all of this is now the normal corporate behavior in the United States and corporations are no longer led by industrial engineers as they were a few centuries ago in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

They’re led by financial engineers of the chief financial officer and the ideal of these corporations is to make money financially not by industrial investment….. so on the narrow microeconomic level finance capitalism is a way of basically selling out a company and giving the proceeds to the stockholders and the bondholders but as a political system, because it is so destructive of the economy as you’ve seen in the United States and you’ve seen in Britain through de-industrializing it, it becomes belligerent in an attempt to make other countries just as equally paralyzed by making these countries pay tribute to the U.S. and England and the financialized economies by means of financial engineering, by means of debt service, by means of selling their mineral resources, their public utilities, their land, their roads all to foreign investors–basically to who borrows the money that’s just simply created in the U.S.  and to save all of their money in their central bank reserves in the forms of loans to the U.S. treasury holding treasury bonds which is how the international monetary system worked until just a few months ago when everything changed.

So if you’re England and America right now you can look at President Biden’s speeches and he said well, China is our number one enemy because it’s competing unfairly. China is actually subsidizing industrial development by having its own infrastructure. It gives free education instead of privatizing education and making its labor pay for it. It has public health instead of privatizing social medicine like we do in the United States and making employers and workers pay for it.

Well, industrial capitalism in the nineteenth century was all in favor of strong government infrastructure. The ideal of industrial capitalism was to keep the wage costs of production down not by reducing wages but having government provide a basic infrastructure to cover the basic
needs of employees. The governments would provide free education so that employers didn’t have to pay for it. The governments would provide medical care so that employees didn’t have to pay for it and employers wouldn’t have to pay employees enough money to cover the education costs and to cover the medical care costs. The government would build roads and infrastructure and everything to facilitate the overall cost of doing business by industrial capital.

Well finance capitalism is just the reverse. Finance capitalism wants to privatize and take education, medical care, roads, turn the roads into toll roads, and take all of these and privatize them and make them financial  corporations that will essentially pay out their economic rent to the bondholders and the stockholders and this economic rent adds to the cost of education and everything else that workers need to live on so the result is to make it a high cost economy and that’s why Biden has said China and Russia are America’s enemies because the only way that America can succeed given our privatized economy, given the fact that Americans have to pay up to forty three percent of their income for rent, given the fact that eighteen percent of America’s GDP is for medical care, given the heavy student loan debt–only if other countries tie themselves in the same knot, only if other countries impose the same economic overhead on their labor force and on their industry can there be equal competition.

If other countries have a mixed economy and are more efficient because they have an active government providing basic needs, that’s “autocracy” and that’s the opposite of “democracy.” Democracy is where everything is privatized and ultimately the one percent own everything.

Autocracy is any government that’s strong enough to have its own public investment. Any government strong enough to tax or regulate the financial sector is called “autocracy” so the U.S. in the 19th century would be called an autocracy as I guess the Austrian school called it  – civilization is basically an “autocracy.”

There never has been an unmixed economy without government regulation, without a government investment, although Rome began to get to that point at the end of its empire and we all know what happened to it. So basically, finance capitalism is a predatory international economic policy aimed at draining the rest of the world all to pay the leading one percent of wealth holders in the U.S. and their satellite oligarchy in England and a few European countries.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Well, I mean that was an incredible summary with so much in there. I mean what you describe reminds me of what we have called at Black Agenda Report, this Great Race to the Bottom, like that is what finance capital facilitates because it’s you know there’s a lot of talk about outsourcing and production going from the U.S. and the West to other places, the global south, poor countries, oppressed nations, and all of it is underwritten by finance capital because it’s this international monetary system that you describe which is actually plundering the Global South for super profits and also plundering the United States and the West’s economic base for super profits.

So it’s like the super profits come rolling in from all sides and oftentimes the jingoists and the chauvinists will frame things as oh well China is taking our jobs. They rarely say Bangladesh or some other country that is actually being super exploited. So in many ways it’s framed like that to distract us from everything that you described. The fact that this class and this policy are plundering from all sides.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, you use the word super profit and, in a way, what is super profit? Super profit is what the classical economists called economic rent. It’s over and above profit. Profits are made by employing labor and basically that’s not how most wealth is created in today’s world. A financialized economy sees wealth is not created by making profits by investing in factories and plant and equipment and employing labor to make a profit, it’s made on getting a third world country, a global south country in debt and saying well if you can’t pay the debt yeah that we’ve given you then you have to sell off your raw materials, your land, all of your natural monopolies and the way to make money in finance capitalism is to buy up the monopolies and the whole idea of industrial capitalism was to get rid of economic rent.

The main aim was to get rid of the landlord class that was the carryover from feudalism, the warrior warlords that had conquered England and France and other countries. Land was to be brought into the public domain. That was the first item in the communist manifesto. You tax the land rent and then nationalize and socialize the land. The idea was to get rid of monopoly rent because monopoly rent is unearned income and to get rid and essentially to get rid of financial rent of interest that is just made as John Stewart Mill said and you ‘make it in the sleep’ if you’re a bond holder or a landlord. You get the rents not from playing any productive service at all but making this money in the sleep and so that has nothing to do with profits.

Unfortunately, the national income accounts don’t label economic rent as a distinct category they call any income that someone makes whether it’s a Goldman Sachs and Citibank or GE or any country and call it earnings and the theory is that everybody earns what they make but that wasn’t the idea of industrial capitalism.

The idea of industrial capitalism is from the physiocrats and Adam Smith and John Stewart Mill and Marx was that earnings were something that was actually made productively with money by employing labor to produce a surplus that would be reinvested but economic rent was unearned and that’s why natural monopolies should all be kept in the public domain instead of being available to be monopolized. So, like in America when Indiana ran into trouble it privatized and sold out the roads to be made into a toll road and now almost everybody avoids the toll roads and drives on the side roads.

When Chicago had problems paying its local debt, they sold the rights to the sidewalk and parking meters causing vast increases in the cost of living and doing business if you live in downtown Chicago where you have to park a car. So the ideal of industrial capitalism was I guess what Schumpeter called creative destruction by lowering the cost of production the way that a country would, an industrial country would win out in the world market, first England then the United States, Germany, Japan, and the way that they went out was by underselling competitors.

But finance capitalism adds as much as it can to the cost of production. It adds as much as it can to the cost of living because instead of treating education and healthcare and transportation as a public right, a natural human right, it’s all privatized by the one percent.

DANNY HAIPHONG:  Yeah, I mean it’s so true. Even in the Communist Manifesto there’s a section where Marx outlines the very idea of what socialism would look like and in it, it’s explicit how socialism will begin with the commanding heights of the economy, as you said these natural monopolies, they were going to be public owned like that’s the only way that you can have anything remotely socialist and now we’ve gotten to the point where finance capital has usurped them, has completely privatized them or is attempting to with whatever is left of the public domain, the public sector so to speak globally. And you bring up this really interesting point about the cost of everything going up, especially the cost of production.

I mean that’s just seen in how a lot of these big corporations have enormous amounts of debt now, corporate debt is at this astronomical level and you think well, look at all these super profits they’re making, look at all these huge profits they’re making. We always hear about all these corporations making these huge profits but we rarely hear about all the debt that these corporations are accumulating because of finance capital and so it’s really incredible.

I love talking about this because it’s these things that we don’t hear about because finance capital really is writing the rules and they have such undue influence over the media and over so many things. So I wanted to ask though about China so let’s just jump there because I want to ask you a question because I recently got into a debate with this, I don’t even know if I want to call a journalist but he’s a commentator, Matt Stoller. He’s very anti-China and this is a talking point especially on the far right but I would say that a lot of people think this, a lot of people think China and Wall Street are merged together, that they work together to undermine workers across the world especially in the capitalist epicenters, of the finance capitalist epicenters so to speak, U.S. and the Western countries.

Could you talk about China and its monetary system? You mentioned it briefly about why the U.S. is so hostile right now, why Biden can’t stop talking about competition and autocracy versus democracy. You talk about the differences in the monetary systems and how China treats finance because I think this is not really well understood and it has global implications. I think it has huge implications because I think there’s a general shift in a direction of how we address this flailing dollar-led economy, the global economy of imperialism and China is really at the center of this so could you speak on this if you would?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, what gets Americans so upset is that China’s getting rich by doing
exactly what the United States did in the 19th century. I’ve written a book America’s protectionist takeoff where I described the whole idea of American protectionism was tariff protection for its industry, government subsidized research and development, government subsidy of industry by having infrastructure as a fourth factor of production alongside land labor and capital – and it was supposed to have public banking.

So basically China, like the United States, said we want to raise the living standards of labor not because of an abstract ideal but because highly paid labor is more efficient labor, a highly paid labor is more educated, it’s better fed, it’s healthier and the Americans in the nineteenth century pointed out that America was the highest paid labor in the world but it was also the most productive and high paid labor outsold pauper labor.

Well China began under Mao with, you’d look at pictures back in the fifties, and even early sixties and you’d see masses of beggars and I’d look at the pictures and I said how on earth are they going to solve this problem? Well, they actually did it and China realized that in order to survive in the modern world you had to have uh well-paid, well-housed, well-fed, well-educated labor and they’ve done it.

The difference is that America had kept money creation in the hands of the treasury ever since the greenbacks in America’s Civil War. Basically, the government created money but in 1913, JP Morgan and the financial sector got together and they said we’ve got to get the government out of money and credit. If we can control money and credit, we can control the economy so they convinced President Wilson to have the Federal Reserve. They said we’re not even going to let a treasury official be on the Federal Reserve.

We’re going to move the Federal Reserve banks out of Washington. We’re going to have the key bank in New York where Wall Street is the ideal of a Federal Reserve to make a centrally planned economy and America is a much more centralized planned economy than China but its centralized planning is on Wall Street by the financial sector, by the leading financial corporations instead of the government.

So, where America took economic forward planning out of the hands of the government in 1913, China has kept the financial system in the hands of the government. Let’s look at how these two countries create money in a different way since the Obama depression began in 2008.

The Federal Reserve has created a tidal wave of credit, all into the stock market, in the bond market, all of this recent zero interest policy. This flood, these nine trillion dollars of federal reserve credit has only been to support banks, real estate prices, bond and stock prices, to support property prices. That’s not what they do in China, although the prosperity that China has created has increased uh housing prices and there has been private credit increasing housing prices. China has kept money creation in the hands of the government itself so that when the government creates money it can finance the creation of factories plant and equipment, dams, transportation infrastructure, public housing.

It doesn’t create money to lend to financial speculators and stockholders to increase their holdings, it creates actual tangible means of production. Now of course, if you create tangible means of production and employ labor and have high speed railroads and research laboratories,  you’re going to overtake countries that are busy closing down the factories and cutting back research and development because they want quick payouts.

So the chief public utility to be kept in the public domain, (China realizes and has realized from the beginning) is the banking system and credit creation even so there’s still private credit creation to some extent. They’ve also let some participation by American Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs because it’s hoped, it wants to avoid war and it hopes that it can by providing opportunities for financial profit to American companies that will somehow uh convince Wall Street to resist the Biden administration’s race hatred of China and the attempt to move towards a new war against China.

Obviously, the assumption that China made that seemed rational at the time was well the American economy is run by Wall street so if we can have Wall Street say we’re doing just fine with China, everything’s going to be okay. But Wall Street and the Federal Reserve bank and the  treasury have not even been consulted on this year’s war, NATO’s war with Russia in Ukraine at all. It’s Blinken and Biden and the neocons basically are waging a war that has sidelined finance and the result is to create the present crash in stock market prices and the parallel decline in bond prices.

So, finance capitalism is intrinsically self-destructive whereas industrial capitalism is self-expansive. Finance capitalism is self-destructive and that’s exactly what’s happening today and that’s what China wants to avoid by basically following the logic of what used to be called industrial capitalism.

By the 19th century, everybody used the word socialism and it wasn’t only the Marxists that were using the word socialism. There were Christian socialists, libertarian socialists, anarchist socialists and all different kinds of socialists. They recognized that you have to have the government sponsorship of a balanced and fair economic development. You have to prevent people from getting rich not by providing any productive service at all but just by being good rip-off artists and that’s basically what finance capitalism is: opportunity for rip-off artists to get rich uh by taking money away from the 99 percent, into their own hands.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Yeah, and that’s exactly what has happened and we’ve seen the differing results between China and the United States since that crash. China was able to sustain growth despite the worldwide economic crisis. As you said, living standards still rose. I think wages were going up something like seven to ten percent every year after the financial crisis and a lot of that was because of investment in jobs.

I’ve spoken to people in China and they say well in China if you go work for a factory, wages tend to rise and actually workers want to go there and sometimes they don’t want to leave even though China is trying to move more into the high-tech sector and the service sector. A lot of people want to stay in the factory jobs because it’s paying and it has some of these benefits and subsidies that are very alien here now.

I tell people there’s a housing allowance and they’re like what’s that? Like how could you say that? It’s China! China’s horrible! It’s like, well, you know factory workers have a housing allowance. How are you going to reproduce labor? We look at Marx and China’s very big on Marx. Look at what Marx was saying you got to reproduce the worker, you got to make sure that the worker has what they need, like that’s the bare minimum of what any economy should do but that’s what capitalism was originally supposed to do.

You reproduce the worker so you can extract the surplus. Finance capital is a great race to the bottom that workers oftentimes are not reproducing themselves. There’s a huge crisis of life expectancy and all sorts of things that didn’t used to be characteristic of capitalism. Standards used to rise as capitalism developed more advanced productive forces.

You mentioned this current crisis of the dollar and finance capital kind of being sidelined in the Ukraine crisis. I find this very interesting because finance capital is so hegemonic and it has so much influence over Washington and Europe but what you’re saying is very true because and we just see it that there’s just a catastrophe. There’s this huge inflation and there’s the crisis of the dollar like what’s happening here?

How come it seems that the further and further the United States gets into this proxy war with Russia over Ukraine, the more and more it deepens its involvement, and it’s been a long involvement, it’s not just since February, but ever since this period we’ve seen just this impending economic collapse. So, what’s happening here? Why is it that finance capital is sidelined and how do you see this going with the Ukraine crisis especially around the dollar?

MICHAEL HUDSON:  What do you mean by crisis of the dollar?

DANNY HAIPHONG: Well, it seems like what the United States is trying to impose its hegemony through its foreign sanctions, is having this blowback effect where now you have countries seeking alternatives to the dollar and the U.S. seems to be more economically vulnerable even though it’s expanding and trying to dominate. It’s this very strange contradiction that feels very unstable and it feels like the dollar is artificially inflating itself as it is also dealing with the fact that there is no end game here in Ukraine. It seems like messing with a big country like Russia and its relationship to Europe is moving us toward economic catastrophe, an economic crisis if there’s not already one underfoot.

MICHAEL HUDSON:  No that’s not what’s happening with the dollar at all. People with all of the emphasis on America’s war against Russia to try to break it away from China before going to war with China, the first thing that America wanted to do was to lock in its control over Europe because that’s the easiest way to get things is you want to take over the richest economies in the
world and lock them into the United States and that means taking over the Eurozone, England and Japan. And the dollar has been soaring against these currencies.

To put it another way, the Euro has been plunging toward one dollar per Euro. The pound sterling has been plunging to one dollar per sterling. The Japanese yen has been plunging even more so there’s a huge movement to safety into the dollar.

The Americans have successfully destroyed the basis of European industry. They’ve finally beaten Germany. They’ve left Germany without energy and GDP in any country compared to energy per worker and basically the productivity that makes goods is basically embodied energy and Europe has been getting its energy from Russia in the form of gas and oil.

Well, the United States has asked Europe to commit economic suicide basically by saying, “don’t buy Russian gas, wait three or four years, spend five billion dollars on building new ports so that you can import American liquefied natural gas at seven or eight times the price and meanwhile let your chemical industry, your car industry, your basic industries go bankrupt.  Take it on the chin for America and Europe said, “okay not Europe but the politicians that America have meddled in European politics to promote to sign on the dotted line for treaties” made that decision so even if the Europeans don’t want to commit suicide, America has its proxy politicians in its Tony Blairs, in the head of the social Democratic Party in the advocates of pollution and global warming at the head of the Green Party.

You have in England you have a Boris Yeltsin and in Japan you have leaders who are willing to continue to sacrifice Japan’s growth to serve the United States. So these countries, the investors in Europe, England, and Japan are moving their money into the United States especially because the United States is raising its interest rates through the Federal Reserve and that’s telling Japan and Europe not to do it so the Eurozone has very low rates.

People are borrowing at under one percent and moving it into the United States to make two, two and a half percent. Japan has almost interest-free money from the central bank. It’s moved its money into the U.S. so the dollar, while I won’t say it’s soaring against these currencies, other currencies in the U.S. orbit are collapsing against the dollar because they’re following U.S. advice.

So, I think when you say other countries are breaking away, you’re talking about the bulk of the world, Central Asia and Latin America and China and the key to the present New Cold War is America has to achieve its almost dictatorial dominance over Europe and Japan. It’s the client oligarchies and client dictatorships and without realizing that this is American democracy, where the leaders of the whole world follow what the United States tells them to do because the United States identifies itself as the democratic center.

So democracy no longer means a political system where voters get to determine who is in charge, democracy is the policy dictated by the United States State Department. Any country that goes its own way or develops the power potentially to go its own way such as China and Russia is called an autocracy. So, you have to realize in today’s world democracy is autocracy and autocracy is democracy.

You could say yeah, the question is of course will the world really break into two halves and it looks like it is breaking into parts and there will be the U.S. and its allies, the U.S., Europe, and Japan against a Eurasian core that will go hand in hand with Africa and Latin America and other Asian countries who are able to rely on trade and investment among themselves. And the United States by seeming to isolate Russia and China and Iran and other countries actually is isolating its own dollar from the rest of the world. So, there is an iron curtain but it’s not to keep other countries out, it’s to keep its own allies within.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Do you see this succeeding? We’ve been hearing a lot about Russia’s relationship with Europe and just how deep its energy sector is with Europe and how that relationship is a very difficult relationship to break economically. Although Europe is doing everything it can, everything you’ve described. It made me think about how throughout this crisis Europe, because of the dominance of the U.S. and just listening to whatever the U.S. said, was actually going way above and beyond what the U.S. would commit to in terms of Russia and how economically they would wage this kind of warfare. But China and Russia, with Russia’s energy and its natural resources but China I think in a broader kind of portfolio, have so much to offer to Europe, do you think that this will succeed?

Europe has been going the road of austerity for many years but this seems like such a huge step in that direction. Europe could look very much like the United States very soon. Do you see this working given how China has so much to offer it and already has a lot of countries in Europe maybe not the biggest of the clients like the UK for example but a lot of European countries have big relationships with China even the UK does despite all of the nonsense, all the New Cold War stuff. What do you think? Do you think this will work?

MICHAEL HUDSON: There’s a lot of crap that futurists tend to fall into and that’s imagining that countries are going to act in their self-interest. This is the mistake Stalin made with Hitler. He thought if Germany attacks Russia in World War II, it’s obviously going to lose. No sane country would attack Russia just as winter’s coming but Hitler attacked Russia. You’d think that if you tried to say what is a logical future.

Let’s go back to 1991 when the Soviet Union self-dissolved. The whole idea, the dream at that point according to Russia’s leaders was well, if we can have peace, we’re not going to have a war budget anymore. Europe is going to invest in us and help us rebuild a rationalized, efficient industry and we will trade with Europe and we’ll both get rich on mutual trade.

Well, this terrified the United States. It said, “oh my! We want it, we Americans want to be the beneficiaries of Russia.” We don’t want to trade with it. We want to carve it up and privatize it and take over. Basically, have Wall Street take over its oil resources, its gas resources, its nickel resources, its electric utilities. The last thing America wanted was this symbiotic mutual gain between Europe and Russia and I think that Putin and most of the leaders at that time expected that Europe would act in its self-interest and they could both end up gaining.

But that’s not what happened obviously. Europe followed American dictates and continues to because it’s, again, its leaders follow, its leaders are really just like Zelensky in Ukraine, they’re just as dependent on what the State Department dictates to them to do as Zelensky is. And there’s something evangelistic about it.

The Europeans I’ve spoken to really believe that America is the land of the future and that neoliberalism, that finance capitalism, somehow is going to be an ideal of private enterprise. They’ve bought the rat poison, they’ve eaten the rat poison, and they actually believe it and think of themselves not simply as servants of the United States following what it’s doing. As the Pakistan former Prime Minister said a few weeks ago, slaves of the United States policy, they actually are evangelistic promoters of neoliberalism and as sort of disciples, just as bishops you could say really. It’s like a religion and they treat the American-centered neoliberalism as the new religion . It’s literally a crusade against Russia and Europe and I think this has shocked Putin.

I would imagine the Chinese leadership also thinking: How can Europe be so completely unrealistic? How can its media lie so constantly about what’s really happening in Ukraine? How can Europe deify the neo-Nazis in Ukraine as freedom fighters, as heroes, as wonderful people to be supported? I think this has been such a shock to the Russian leadership that they realize finally that, well, Europe is not going to act in its self-interest.

There is not going to be any mutual gain.  Europe again and again is just going to grab any money that we have there like they’ve grabbed our whatever was in European or American banks. There’s really nothing we can do. So there’s been a fundamental reorganization with Russia and the rest of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), meaning not only with China but with Iran, with India, with all of the other Eurasian countries. So, in that sense the United States has brought about exactly what it feared. The whole rest of the world is going its own way productively in a capital investment way, raising living standards, things that democracies are supposed to do well.

In the United States, we really don’t have democracy because the political parties are controlled by the donor class, the one percent, that’s what the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling meant. The United States is left without any means of self-support and Europe will be left without any means and self-support at some point. Europe may say, gee we made a mistake, maybe we should have tried to profit from Russia because everybody else is profiting with and getting Russian gas and nickel and China and other countries are rebuilding Russian industry and we could have had our car industry build up Russia but we don’t have a car industry anymore because it doesn’t have the gas that it needs and the raw materials and titanium it needs from Russia so now, we’ve seen other countries replace us.

And so, Europe has been rendered pretty much obsolete and even if it says we made a mistake, let’s be friends again, I don’t think Russia or other countries will trust it mainly because they can afford not to trust it.

They say, why take a risk with trusting Europe may not just continue to be America’s poodle?

Why take a risk? Why not just say, we’re doing just fine the way we are? Why not just work with each other peacefully? And all that the United States can do about this is threaten to bomb it and the way to stay away from this threat is simply to say look, you go your way, we’ll go our way and to have enough of the military between them to defend themselves against the American potential military attack despite the almost eight hundred military bases the United States has. If the United States is not getting foreign exchange from these countries anymore, the dollar with the euro and the yen and the sterling will all go way down against the Eurasian currency block and they’re going to move into a common block with their own counterpart to the IMF, their own counterpart to the World Bank, their own trade organization and the world will be split into two parts – just like the world split when the Roman empire fell apart and the east went forward, Western Europe went down. This is really the final submergence of western Europe.

DANNY HAIPHONG:  Yeah, I mean you have more activity now in the BRICS plus, right. The BRIC countries are trying to move forward and add more partners and expand their financial operations. I mean there’s so many multilateral institutions mainly led by China with Russia’s heavy involvement and in other countries that are building a kind of independent monetary system and economic development system that can as you said ‘avoid the risks’.

The Ukraine crisis is such a huge deal in part because of how geopolitics like you were saying, geopolitics plays such a big role. What the United States has done and what Europe has done during this Ukraine crisis is show countries like Russia and China that they not only cannot be trusted but it’s almost a guarantee that not only will this Ukraine situation have no quick ending right, there’s no like, we’re pulling out! The ball is rolling and they can’t catch it. They’re not going to be able to stop what they’re doing. There’s so many issues with that but they’ve even escalated the situation. You have countries like Finland and Sweden saying we’re going to join NATO. You have just so many, just all of these points that show that the United States and Europe can’t be trusted.

What are you to do other than make sure that you can keep the right, as China says, to sovereign economic development safe? And the only way you do that is by increasing that sovereign part, sovereignty, and I think Russia learned a big lesson here. I mean you mentioned those assets that were stolen. They were just stolen. It was bigger than Afghanistan which had the same situation happen to it but with Russia it was probably the biggest problem with all the economic moves that were made against Russia, the assets being stolen right out from under it. That’s a huge blow economically and it facilitated so much change.

But I wanted to and you know this is the last question because I feel like a lot of these developments are leading to a positive thing that we see countries like China and Russia increase the sovereignty of their economic development models. Can you end with talking about socialism and you know, where do you see this concept of socialism going as an economy, as
a political economy?

We know China has its model, other countries are trying their own models, but what do you think are its prospects now in this environment because China has its particular model, it seems like a lot of countries want to emulate that. You see Cuba and other countries wanting to understand how to do what China has done because it is an economic miracle in a lot of ways.

You were talking about how China was living, how people were living in China just in the sixties and seventies, it’s just a completely different situation. What do you see the prospects of it in this a very chaotic environment, the geopolitics imperialist finance capital it’s creating all this chaos, what do you think the prospects are and could you I guess enlighten our audience about socialism and your work on it?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well socialism is really how industrial capitalism of the 19th century was
supposed to evolve. Everybody thought that it was going to evolve into a more democratic system because the first aim of industrial capitalism, what it really needed politically was to get rid of the landlord class because there’s no way that, as David Ricardo pointed out, there’s no way that England could become the workshop of the world if you let the landlord class continue to get more and more land rent and force labor to pay more and more for its food.

Today, it’s housing as well as food. There’s no way that it could be competitive so in order to get rid of the landlord class, you had to get rid of the house of lords in England and the upper house in every European country because the upper house and the senate were controlled by the hereditary landlords and so industrial capitalism backed democracy.

Already by 1848, the year that the Communist Manifesto was written, that led to revolutions all over European countries getting rid of the old aristocracy. Well, the rentiers fought back and actually it was wasn’t until World War I that the monarchies were overthrown and the aristocracies connected to the monarchies and land no longer was owned by a hereditary class. It was democratized but it was democratized on credit and that you had the banking system replay the role that the landlord class had played out before and the bankers were the new rentier class. The bankers were the new people whose interest charges and debt services and privatization of economic rents prevented economies from underselling non-rentier economies.

So, socialism was basically getting rid of the free lunch. Marx described capitalism as being revolutionary because he said what was revolutionary was getting rid of all of the unnecessary cost of production and that meant the unnecessary rentiers, the rent seekers, the coupon clippers, the financiers, and the monopolists. Everybody could agree that socialism was getting rid of this parasitic class that was not necessary for economies to grow and actually whose takings slowed the economy.

Socialism was to free economies and free markets from rent seeking, not freedom for rent seeking. After the 1890s, socialism was to get rid of a free lunch income whereas finance capitalism is all about how to get a free lunch if you’re a member of the one percent.

So in one sense, socialism is freeing economies from the legacy of feudalism which fought back in the modern world into a kind of neo-feudalism operating through financial control, not simply land ownership and monopoly ownership. And China has been able to get rid of this and at the same time avoid the central planning that gave socialism a bad name under Stalinism because China said well, let one hundred flowers bloom and we’re going to we realize that we can’t plan all sorts of innovations because there are so many possibilities of productive innovations.

We’re going to let people get rich by being creative, by being productive, by adding but we’re not going to let them get super rich. They can get pretty rich but then at a certain point they’re so rich that they’re getting rid of a monopoly we’re going to sort of cut down the high grains of wheat as they say so they’ve got a sort of consensus government where this occurs.

Other countries will have great difficulty putting this in place because there really isn’t any economic doctrine of socialism that’s been developed recently. There’s been just an out of hand rejection of all discussion of what socialism really was and what makes a socialist economy more efficient than a finance capitalist economy and that really is the key.

If countries, if economic theory, would talk about what makes a socialist country more efficient- lower cost with higher living standards-then it wouldn’t be economics anymore because economics are what gets published in the University of Chicago economic journals. I don’t know what you should call it, futurism or reality economics. There has to be a new discipline that our countries are going to develop to try to explain how to think about developing a world that doesn’t have parasites in it.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Right, so true. I mean what you were saying about all this, it just gets you thinking about what China has done to be able to control these forces. You see it in the tech sector especially, now you see it with this common prosperity drive. Like there is a drive to control these forces that can, as industrial capitalism found out of the old in America and Europe, you let those forces get out of control and then finance capital turns around and takes everything. And China has prevented that and you don’t hear it, even in like the Bernie Sanders social democracy milieu, you don’t hear them talk about this.

They’ll say like socialism is when you have Medicare for All but it’s not just that, it’s how as you were saying, what are the forces that need to be arrested? What are the forces that need to be strengthened to be able to ensure that the public good and public wealth is protected? That’s not in the discussion. It’s still not in the discussion.

I mean, it’s not on discussion even among the most so-called progressives. But they don’t talk about it like that because as you said earlier, it’s like autocracy or authoritarianism or something when a government is strong in the interests of economic development for people. It’s almost like finance capital has dominated even just the idea of it and the idea of what socialism is and what it could be.

But Michael, do you have like five to ten more minutes for a couple of questions? We had some in the audience and I think one of them is very good and I wanted to know your take on it.
Thank you for the super chat. So, they said that the People’s Republic of China has three trillion in USD foreign exchange reserves. What measures, I know that you’ve done a lot of work in China and you’ve done a lot of work around this. This person’s asking, what measures should the central government take to ensure they don’t get seized just like how the U.S. seized Russia’s foreign exchange reserves but I’ll let you answer that because I think that’s a great question.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, I bet this is just what they’re discussing right now in China. Because of COVID, I haven’t gone there since 2019 because I’d have to be isolated in a hotel room for two weeks so I’m not party to their discussion but they’re obviously worried that the Americans can do to them what they did to Russia. What are they going to do?

They need to keep some dollars just to intervene in the foreign exchange market to stabilize their exchange rate but they don’t need too many dollars and in fact in the third edition of my book Super Imperialism, which is coming out in Chinese now, the first edition sold about sixty thousand copies there and it is the first book of mine translated in China. So that was all about this question that you asked. This is very much in discussion now.

How do they run down their dollar holdings and what are they going to replace it with? Well, in principle they can replace it with holding each other’s currencies: Rubles, Indian currency and Pakistan currency and with gold because gold doesn’t have a liability attached to it. It’s a pure asset.

The world, the whole world is now de-dollarizing. America has, or Biden has, killed the dollar standard. This was America’s free lunch, being able to print dollars and never have to pay them back and now countries are all going to be dumping the dollars. They realize that America is just a gangster state financially and obviously they’re going to dump the dollars and this probably will push up China’s exchange rate and countries selling the dollars will increase their exchange rate against the dollar and that will hurt their relative exports. So, I think they’re trying to figure out how we can all do this together and keep a rough parity among our own currencies while really de-dollarizing. I don’t know what they’re doing but you can be sure this is what is on the forefront of everybody’s mind there.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Indeed indeed. It’s a huge question. I mean it really is trying to unravel and get oneself out of this hegemonic system, the dollar system. It’s something that you cannot escape and there’s been so much unfair, I feel like unfair condemnation and criticism of China and other countries trying to go their own path, for just their participation, it’s something you need to participate in right now to survive absent of another system.

Last question and I mean this isn’t so related to what we’re talking about but it is I think a good super chat question and I think it gets into economics too. What are the chances that China will simply not open back up for the next ten years or so looking at this long term because of COVID-19. I don’t know what you think Michael. My opinion of that from what I’ve learned about China there is a huge domestic tourism industry and foreign tourism is very important but I don’t know for me it feels like it’s going to open up before that. It seems like the economic situation that COVID-19 restrictions are difficult to continue on permanently but what do you think? Do you think that China could maintain these kinds of hard travel restrictions for a long period? I hope not. I want to go back; I need to go back and learn more but what do you think?

MICHAEL HUDSON:  Well, I asked that very question of the universities that I’m associated with yesterday. We had a long discussion and the answer is nobody has a clue. They’ve been criticized in the West for avoiding COVID-19 but there’s no discussion in America or Europe of
long COVID and now that there’s a report that a million Americans have long COVID and it really seems awful, your IQ goes down by ten percent and it’s almost like inheriting a trust fund. You’re stupefied. As a result of that they’re also tired. Some professors I know there say that they still have not fully recovered from COVID months and months ago. They still had very low energy. There’s no way of knowing. This doesn’t look good and if the thought of staying in you know traveling all the way over there, staying in an isolated hotel for two weeks just to have a few days of meetings and then come back and be isolated again, nobody has a clue but it doesn’t look good.

DANNY HAIPHONG: No, it doesn’t and I myself, I’ve avoided COVID unironically like the plague like I am so lucky not to have caught it and part of it is U don’t want, exactly what you’re saying, long COVID. I don’t want that. I don’t want that in my life and I feel like you know I know so many people who have gotten COVID-19 and they lived through it and while they had it, it was awful. It was bad but they lived but now they have all of these other symptoms like I know people who had their whole lives kind of turned upside down because they just can’t get the energy back or the motivation or whatever it is.

It has an effect on your breathing and mental health and there’s so many aspects of long COVID that are difficult to understand and I think China you know at one point it was like a twenty one day quarantine. I know people who are traveling there and who go there often and they were staying twenty-one days you know in a quarantine hotel. I mean you know China has done such a great job containing and addressing COVID as best that they can under these circumstances. And so well of course I have my own deep desires to go back, but I totally understand why the government and why the people there who support this policy would be very careful because you have in China a population so huge. If they did what the United States did, I think the recent estimates are like one point seven million would die and then how many would have long COVID? Millions upon millions more because the case numbers would be astronomical through the roof.

MICHAEL HUDSON I am sure they’re watching what happens in North Korea which is just experiencing its first outbreak. I mean that’s sort of an example. The difference of course is that China is inoculating people and there are also pills the Chinese have sent me and many kinds of medicine in case I get COVID.

DANNY HAIPHONG: That’s great. Amazing, so before we depart Michael, I’ll stay on for another fifteen minutes or so but I definitely want you to plug whatever you’d like to plug now I will pull up the book again and your website. So, if there’s anything you’d like to plug please everyone, keep liking the stream, keep sharing and subscribing to the channel all that good stuff supporting the work at patreon.com/dannyhaiphong but Michael is there anything you would like to plug?

MICHAEL HUDSON: All of my articles are on my website michael-hudson.com and I’m also on patreon and they can join on patreon and I have an ongoing discussion there so the website, patreon are my favorite sites where I publish, and Naked Capitalism, the Saker, Counterpunch, my articles are usually on a lot of these different websites and you’re showing it now so yeah and the books are available on Amazon or Xlibris and you can all buy them and they’re well printed and priced not very expensively.

DANNY HAIPHONG: Great conversation Michael. Thanks so much for coming. We will have to talk again as things continue to develop so thanks so much.

MICHAEL HUDSON. It’s good to be here Danny. Thanks for having me.

Russia and China haven’t even started to ratchet up the pain dial

July 13, 2022

by Pepe Escobar and posted with the author’s permission

The Suicide Spectacular Summer Show, currently on screen across Europe, proceeds in full regalia, much to the astonishment of virtually the whole Global South: a trashy, woke Gotterdammerung remake, with Wagnerian grandeur replaced by twerking.

Decadent Roman Emperors at least exhibited some degree of pathos. Here we’re just faced by a toxic mix of hubris, abhorrent mediocrity, delusion, crude ideological sheep-think and outright irrationality wallowing in white man’s burden racist/supremacist slush – all symptoms of a profound sickness of the soul.

To call it the Biden-Leyen-Blinken West or so would be too reductionist: after all these are puny politico/functionaries merely parroting orders. This is a historical process: physical, psychic and moral cognitive degeneration embedded in NATOstan’s manifest desperation in trying to contain Eurasia, allowing occasional tragicomic sketches such as a NATO summit proclaiming Woke War against virtually the whole non-West.

So when President Putin addresses the collective West in front of Duma leaders and heads of political parties, it does feel like a comet striking an inert planet. It’s not even a case of “lost in translation”. “They” simply aren’t equipped to get it.

The “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” part was at least formulated to be understood even by simpletons:

“Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield, well, what can I say, let them try. We have heard many times that the West wants to fight us to the last Ukrainian – this is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people. But it looks like it’s all coming to this. But everyone should know that, by and large, we haven’t really started anything yet.”

Fact. On Operation Z, Russia is using a fraction of its military potential, resources and state of the art weapons.

Then we come to the most probable path ahead in the war theater:

“We do not refuse peace negotiations, but those who refuse should know that the longer it drags, the more difficult it will be for them to negotiate with us.”

As in the pain dial will be ratcheted up, slowly but surely, on all fronts.

Yet the meat of the matter had been delivered earlier in the speech: “ratcheting up the pain dial” applies in fact to dismantling the whole “rules-based international order” edifice. The geopolitical world has changed. Forever.

Here’s the arguably key passage:

“They should have understood that they have already lost from the very beginning of our special military operation, because its beginning means the beginning of a radical breakdown of the World Order in the American way. This is the beginning of the transition from liberal-globalist American egocentrism to a truly multipolar world – a world based not on selfish rules invented by someone for themselves, behind which there is nothing but the desire for hegemony, not on hypocritical double-standards, but on international law, on the true sovereignty of peoples and civilizations, on their will to live their historical destiny, their values and traditions and build cooperation on the basis of democracy, justice and equality. And we must understand that this process can no longer be stopped.”

Meet the trifecta

A case can be made that Putin and Russia’s Security Council are implementing a tactical trifecta that has reduced the collective West to an amorphous bunch of bio headless chickens.

The trifecta mixes the promise of negotiations – but only when considering Russia’s steady advances on the ground in Novorossiya; the fact that Russia’s global “isolation” has been proved in practice to be nonsense; and tweaking the most visible pain dial of them all: Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.

The main reason for the graphic, thundering failure of the G20 Foreign Ministers summit in Bali is that the G7 – or NATOstan plus American colony Japan – could not force the BRICS plus major Global South players to isolate, sanction and/or demonize Russia.

On the contrary: multiple interpolations outside of the G20 spell out even more Eurasia-wide integration. Here are a few examples.

The first transit of Russian products to India via the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) is now in effect, crisscrossing Eurasia from Mumbai to the Baltic via Iranian ports (Chabahar or Bandar Abbas), the Caspian Sea, and Southern and Central Russia. Crucially, the route is shorter and cheaper than going through the Suez Canal.

In parallel, the head of the Iranian Central Bank, Ali Salehabadi, confirmed that a memorandum of interbank cooperation was signed between Tehran and Moscow.

That means a viable alternative to SWIFT, and a direct consequence of Iran’s application to become a full BRICS member, announced at the recent summit in Beijing. The BRICS, since 2014, when the New Development Bank (NDB) was founded, have been busy building their own financial infrastructure, including the near future creation of a single reserve currency. As part of the process, the harmonization of Russian and Iranian banking systems is inevitable.

Iran is also about to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the upcoming summit in Samarkand in September.

In parallel, Russia and Kazakhstan are solidifying their strategic partnership: Kazakhstan is a key member of BRI, EAEU and SCO.

India gets even closer to Russia across the whole spectrum of trade – including energy.

And next Tuesday, Tehran will be the stage for a crucial face-to-face meeting between Putin and Erdogan.

Isolation? Really?

On the energy front, it’s only summer, but demented paranoia is already raging across multiple EU latitudes, especially Germany. Comic relief is provided by the fact that Gazprom can always point out to Berlin that eventual supplying problems on Nord Stream 1 – after the cliffhanger return of that notorious repaired turbine from Canada – can always be solved by implementing Nord Stream 2.

As the whole European Suicide Spectacular Summer Show is nothing but a tawdry self-inflicted torture ordered by His Master’s Voice, the only serious question is which pain dial level will force Berlin to actually sit down and negotiate on behalf of legitimate German industrial and social interests.

Rough and tumble will be the norm. Foreign Minister Lavrov summed it all up when commenting on the Declining Collective West Ministers striking poses like infantile brats in Bali to avoid being seen with him: that was up to “their understanding of the protocols and politeness.”

That’s diplo-talk for “bunch of jerks”. Or worse: cultural barbarians, as they were even unable to respect the hyper-polite Indonesian hosts, who abhor confrontation.

Lavrov preferred to extol the “joint strategic and constructive” Russian-Chinese work when faced with a very aggressive West. And that brings us to the prime masterpiece of shadowplay in Bali – complete with several layers of geopolitical fog.

Chinese media, always flirting with the opaque, tried to put its bravest face ever depicting the over 5-hour meeting between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Secretary Blinken as “constructive”.

What’s fascinating here is that the Chinese ended up letting something crucial out of the bag to slip into the final draft of their report – obviously approved by the powers that be.

Lu Xiang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences went through previous readouts – especially of “Yoda” Yang Jiechi routinely turning Jake Sullivan into roasted duck – and stressed that this time Wang’s “warnings” to the Americans were “the sternest one in wording”.

That’s diplo-code for “You Better Watch Out”: Wang telling Little Blinkie, “just look at what the Russians did when they lost their patience with your antics.”

The expression ”dead end” was recurrent during the Wang-Blinken meeting. So in the end the Global Times had to tell it like it really is:  “The two sides are close to a showdown.”

“Showdown” is what End of Days fanatic and Tony Soprano wannabe Mike Pompeo is fervently preaching from his hate pulpit, while the combo behind the senile “leader of the free world” who literally reads teleprompters actively work for the crashing of the EU – in more ways than one.

The combo in power in Washington actually “supports” the unification of Britain, Poland, Ukraine and The Three Baltic Midgets as a separate alliance from NATO/EU – aiming at “strengthening the defense potential.” That’s the official position of US Ambassador to NATO Julian Smith.

So the real imperial aim is to split the already shattering EU into mini-union pieces, all of them quite fragile and evidently more “manageable”, as Brussels Eurocrats, blinded by boundless mediocrity, obviously can’t see it coming.

What the Global South is buying

Putin always makes it very clear that the decision to launch Operation Z – as a sort of pre-emptive “combined arms and police operation”, as defined by Andrei Martyanov – was carefully calculated, considering an array of material and socio-psychological vectors.

Anglo-American strategy, for its part, lasers on a single obsession: damn any possible reframing of the current “rules-based international order”. No holds are barred to ensure the perpetuity of this order. This is in fact Totalen Krieg – featuring several hybrid layers, and quite worrying, with only a few seconds to midnight.

And there’s the rub. Desolation Row is fast becoming Desperation Row, as the whole Russophobic matrix is shown to be naked, devoid of any extra ideological – and even financial – firepower to “win”, apart from shipping a collection of HIMARS to a black hole.

Geopolitically and geoeconomically, Russia and China are in the process of eating NATOstan alive – in more ways than one. Here, for instance, is a synthetic road map of how Beijing will address the next stage of high-quality development via capital-driven industrial upgrading, focused on optimization of supply chains, import substitution of hard technologies, and “invisible champions” of industry.

If the collective West is blinded by Russophobia, the governing success of the Chinese Communist Party – which in a matter of a few decades improved the lives of more people than anyone, anytime in History – drives it completely nuts.

All along the Russia-China watchtower, it’s been not such a long time coming. BRI was launched by Xi Jinping in 2013. After Maidan in 2014, Putin launched the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) in 2015. Crucially, in May 2015, a Russia-China joint statement sealed the cooperation between BRI and EAEU, with a significant role assigned to the SCO.

Closer integration advanced via the St. Petersburg forum in 2016 and the BRI forum in 2017. The overall target: to create a new order in Asia, and across Eurasia, according to international law while maintaining the individual development strategies of each concerned country and respecting their national sovereignty.

That, in essence, is what most of the Global South is buying. It’s as if there’s a cross-border instinctual understanding that Russia-China, against serious odds and facing serious challenges, proceeding by trial and error, are at the vanguard of the Shock of the New, while the collective West, naked, dazed and confused, their masses completely zombified, is sucked into the maelstrom of psychological, moral and material disintegration.

No question the pain dial will be ratcheted up, in more ways than one.

Putin: Russia has not even started its military campaign in Ukraine

7 Jul 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen Net 

While the West cries invasion, Putin delivers a shocking remark: Russia has not even started.

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service handout released on Sunday, June 5, 2022, showing a Pion 203 mm artillery system of the Russian military fires at a target in an undisclosed location in Ukraine (Russian MoD)

On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin challenged the West to attempt to defeat Russia “on the battlefield” and said that the action by Moscow in Ukraine signaled the emergence of a “multi-polar world.”

Putin also spoke against “totalitarian liberalism,” which he said the West has tried to impose on the entire world, in one of his most powerful speeches since he sent troops to Ukraine on February 24.

Putin spoke to senior lawmakers on the 134th day of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine: “Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. Well, what can you say here? Let them try.”

He asserted that “the collective West” was responsible for starting the “war” in Ukraine and that Russia’s intervention in the pro-Western nation signaled the transition to a “multi-polar world.”

He continued, “This process cannot be stopped.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Kiev and their Western allies that Moscow has not even started its military campaign in Ukraine “in earnest.”

“Everyone should know that we have not started in earnest yet,” he told senior lawmakers. “At the same time we are not refusing to hold peace negotiations but those who are refusing should know that it will be harder to come to an agreement with us” at a later stage. 

The Russian President said that the majority of nations don’t wish to adopt the West’s “totalitarian liberalism” and “hypocritical double standards.”

“People in most countries do not want such a life and such a future,” he said.

“They are simply tired of kneeling, humiliating themselves in front of those who consider themselves exceptional.”

On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the West continues to supply Kiev with weapons on a large scale, hoping to prolong the conflict in Ukraine, noting that the volume of military shipments supplied to Ukraine exceeded 28 thousand tons.

During a conference call, Shoigu said that the collective West, “hoping to prolong the conflict in Ukraine”, continues to supply weapons to Kiev on a large scale, noting that more than 28 thousand tons of military shipments have already been delivered to the country.

The Russian Defense Minister stressed that part of the weapons supplied by the West to Ukraine goes to the Middle East and the black market.

Behind the Tin Curtain: BRICS+ vs NATO/G7

June 28, 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

The west is nostalgically caught up with outdated ‘containment’ policies, this time against Global South integration. Unfortunately for them, the rest of the world is moving on, together.

The Cradle

Once upon a time, there existed an Iron Curtain which divided the continent of Europe. Coined by former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the term was in reference to the then-Soviet Union’s efforts to create a physical and ideological boundary with the west. The latter, for its part, pursued a policy of containment against the spread and influence of communism.

Fast forward to the contemporary era of techno-feudalism, and there now exists what should be called a Tin Curtain, fabricated by the fearful, clueless, collective west, via G7 and NATO: this time, to essentially contain the integration of the Global South.

BRICS against G7

The most recent and significant example of this integration has been the coming out of BRICS+ at last week’s online summit hosted by Beijing. This went far beyond establishing the lineaments of a ‘new G8,’ let alone an alternative to the G7.

Just look at the interlocutors of the five historical BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa): we find a microcosm of the Global South, encompassing Southeast Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, Africa and South America – truly putting the “Global” in the Global South.

Revealingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s clear messages during the Beijing summit, in sharp contrast to G7 propaganda, were actually addressed to the whole Global South:

– Russia will fulfill its obligations to supply energy and fertilizers.

– Russia expects a good grain harvest – and to supply up to 50 million tons to world markets.

– Russia will ensure passage of grain ships into international waters even as Kiev mined Ukrainian ports.

– The negative situation on Ukrainian grain is artificially inflated.

– The sharp increase in inflation around the world is the result of the irresponsibility of G7 countries, not Operation Z in Ukraine.

– The imbalance of world relations has been brewing for a long time and has become an inevitable result of the erosion of international law.

An alternative system

Putin also directly addressed one of the key themes that the BRICS have been discussing in depth since the 2000s — the design and implementation of an international reserve currency.

“The Russian Financial Messaging System is open for connection with banks of the BRICS countries.”

“The Russian MIR payment system is expanding its presence. We are exploring the possibility of creating an international reserve currency based on the basket of BRICS currencies,” the Russian leader said.

This is inevitable after the hysterical western sanctions post-Operation Z; the total de-dollarization imposed upon Moscow; and increasing trade between BRICS nations. For instance, by 2030, a quarter of the planet’s oil demand will come from China and India, with Russia as the major supplier.

The “RIC” in BRICS simply cannot risk being locked out of a G7-dominated financial system. Even tightrope-walking India is starting to catch the drift.

Who speaks for the ‘international community?’

At its current stage, BRICS represent 40 percent of world population, 25 percent of the global economy, 18 percent of world trade, and contribute over 50 percent for world economic growth. All indicators are on the way up.

Sergey Storchak, CEO of Russian bank VEG, framed it quite diplomatically: “If the voices of emerging markets are not being heard in the coming years, we need to think very seriously about setting up a parallel regional system, or maybe a global system.”

A “parallel regional system” is already being actively discussed between the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and China, coordinated by Minister of Integration and Macroeconomics Sergey Glazyev, who has recently authored a stunning manifesto amplifying his ideas about world economic sovereignty.

Developing the ‘developing world’

What happens in the trans-Eurasian financial front will proceed in parallel with a so far little known Chinese development strategy: the Global Development Initiative (GDI), announced by President Xi Jinping at the UN General Assembly last year.

GDI can be seen as a support mechanism of the overarching strategy – which remains the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), consisting of economic corridors interlinking Eurasia all the way to its western peninsula, Europe.

At the High-level Dialogue on Global Development, part of the BRICS summit, the Global South learned a little more about the GDI, an organization set up in 2015.

In a nutshell, the GDI aims to turbo-charge international development cooperation by supplementing financing to a plethora of bodies, for instance the South-South Cooperation Fund, the International Development Association (IDA), the Asian Development Fund (ADF), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Priorities include “poverty reduction, food security, COVID-19 response and vaccines,” industrialization, and digital infrastructure. Subsequently, a Friends of the GDI group was established in early 2022 and has already attracted over 50 nations.

BRI and GDI should be advancing in tandem, even as Xi himself made it clear during the BRICS summit that “some countries are politicizing and marginalizing the developmental agenda by building up walls and slapping crippling sanctions on others.”

Then again, sustainable development is not exactly the G7’s cup of tea, much less NATO’s.

Seven against the world

The avowed top aim of the G7 summit in Schloss Elmau at the Bavarian Alps is to “project unity” – as in the stalwarts of the collective west (Japan included) united in sustainable and indefinite “support” for the irretrievably failed Ukrainian state.

That’s part of the “struggle against Putin’s imperialism,” but then there’s also “the fight against hunger and poverty, health crisis and climate change,” as German chancellor Scholz told the Bundestag.

In Bavaria, Scholz pushed for a Marshall Plan for Ukraine – a ludicrous concept considering Kiev and its environs might as well be reduced to a puny rump state by the end of 2022. The notion that the G7 may work to “prevent a catastrophic famine,” according to Scholz, reaches a paroxysm of ludicrousness, as the looming famine is a direct consequence of the G7-imposed sanctions hysteria.

The fact that Berlin invited India, Indonesia, South Africa and Senegal as add-ons to the G7, served as additional comic relief.

The Tin Curtain is up

It would be futile to expect from the astonishing collection of mediocrities “united” in Bavaria, under de facto leader of the European Commission (EC), Fuehrer Ursula von der Leyen, any substantial analysis about the breakdown of global supply chains and the reasons that forced Moscow to reduce gas flows to Europe. Instead, they blamed Putin and Xi.

Welcome to the Tin Curtain – a 21st century reinvention of the Intermarium from the Baltic to the Black Sea, masterminded by the Empire of Lies, complete with western Ukraine absorbed by Poland, the Three Baltic Midgets: Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Czechia and even NATO-aspiring Sweden and Finland, all of whom will be protected from “the Russian threat.”

An EU out of control

The role of the EU, lording over Germany, France and Italy inside the G7 is particularly instructive, especially now that Britain is back to the status of an inconsequential island-state.

As many as 60 European ‘directives’ are issued every year. They must be imperatively transposed into internal law of each EU member-state. In most cases, there’s no debate whatsoever.

Then there are more than 10,000 European ‘rulings,’ where ‘experts’ at the European Commission (EC) in Brussels issue ‘recommendations’ to every government, straight out of the neoliberal canon, regarding their expenses, their income and ‘reforms’ (on health care, education, pensions) that must be obeyed.

Thus elections in every single EU member-nation are absolutely meaningless. Heads of national governments – Macron, Scholz, Draghi – are mere executants. No democratic debate is allowed: ‘democracy,’ as with ‘EU values,’ are nothing than smokescreens.

The real government is exercised by a bunch of apparatchiks chosen by compromise between executive powers, acting in a supremely opaque manner.

The EC is totally outside of any sort of control. That’s how a stunning mediocrity like Ursula von der Leyen – previously the worst Minister of Defense of modern Germany – was catapulted upwards to become the current EC Fuhrer, dictating their foreign, energy and even economic policy.

What do they stand for?

From the perspective of the west, the Tin Curtain, for all its ominous Cold War 2.0 overtones, is merely a starter before the main course: hardcore confrontation across Asia-Pacific – renamed “Indo-Pacific” – a carbon copy of the Ukraine racket designed to contain China’s BRI and GDI.

As a countercoup, it’s enlightening to observe how the Chinese foreign ministry now highlights in detail the contrast between BRICS – and BRICS+ – and the imperial AUKUS/Quad/IPEF combo.

BRICS stand for de facto multilateralism; focus on global development; cooperation for economic recovery; and improving global governance.

The US-concocted racket on the other hand, stands for Cold War mentality; exploiting developing countries; ganging up to contain China; and an America-first policy that enshrines the monopolistic “rules-based international order.”

It would be misguided to expect those G7 luminaries gathered in Bavaria to understand the absurdity of imposing a price cap on Russian oil and gas exports, for instance. Were that to really happen, Moscow will have no problems fully cutting energy supply to the G7. And if other nations are excluded, the price of the oil and gas they import would drastically increase.

BRICS paving the way forward

So no wonder the future is ominous. In a stunning interview to Belarus state TV, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov summarized how “the west fears honest competition.”

Hence, the apex of cancel culture, and “suppression of everything that contradicts in some way the neoliberal vision and arrangement of the world.” Lavrov also summarized the roadmap ahead, for the benefit of the whole Global South:

“We don’t need a new G8. We already have structures…primarily in Eurasia. The EAEU is actively promoting integration processes with the PRC, aligning China’s Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian integration plans. Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are taking a close look at these plans. A number of them are signing free trade zone agreements with the EAEU. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is also part of these processes… There is one more structure beyond the geographic borders of Eurasia.”

“It is BRICS. This association is relying less and less on the Western style of doing business, and on Western rules for international currency, financial and trade institutions. They prefer more equitable methods that do not make any processes depend on the dominant role of the dollar or some other currency. The G20 fully represents BRICS and five more countries that share the positions of BRICS, while the G7 and its supporters are on the other side of the barricades.”

“This is a serious balance. The G20 may deteriorate if the West uses it for fanning up confrontation. The structures I mentioned (SCO, BRICS, ASEAN, EAEU and CIS) rely on consensus, mutual respect and a balance of interests, rather than a demand to accept unipolar world realities.”

Tin Curtain? More like Torn Curtain.

‘Rationality is Not Permitted’: Chomsky on Russia, Ukraine and the Price of Media Censorship

June 23, 2022

By Ramzy Baroud

One of the reasons that Russian media has been completely blocked in the West, along with the unprecedented control and censorship over the Ukraine war narrative, is the fact that western governments simply do not want their public to know that the world is vastly changing.

Ignorance might be bliss, arguably in some situations, but not in this case. Here, ignorance can be catastrophic as western audiences are denied access to information about a critical situation that is affecting them in profound ways and will most certainly impact the world’s geopolitics for generations to come.

The growing inflation, an imminent global recession, a festering refugee crisis, a deepening food shortage crisis and much more are the kinds of challenges that require open and transparent discussions regarding the situation in Ukraine, the NATO-Russia rivalry and the responsibility of the West in the ongoing war.

To discuss these issues, along with the missing context of the Russia-Ukraine war, we spoke with Professor Noam Chomsky, believed to be the greatest living intellectual of our time.

Chomsky told us that it “should be clear that the (Russian) invasion of Ukraine has no (moral) justification.” He compared it to the US invasion of Iraq, seeing it as an example of “supreme international crime.” With this moral question settled, Chomsky believes that the main ‘background’ of this war, a factor that is missing in mainstream media coverage, is “NATO expansion”.

“This is not just my opinion,” said Chomsky, “it is the opinion of every high-level US official in the diplomatic services who has any familiarity with Russia and Eastern Europe. This goes back to George Kennan and, in the 1990s, Reagan’s ambassador Jack Matlock, including the current director of the CIA; in fact, just everybody who knows anything has been warning Washington that it is reckless and provocative to ignore Russia’s very clear and explicit red lines. That goes way before (Vladimir) Putin, it has nothing to do with him; (Mikhail) Gorbachev, all said the same thing. Ukraine and Georgia cannot join NATO, this is the geostrategic heartland of Russia.”

Though various US administrations acknowledged and, to some extent, respected the Russian red lines, the Bill Clinton Administration did not. According to Chomsky, “George H. W. Bush … made an explicit promise to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand beyond East Germany, perfectly explicit. You can look up the documents. It’s very clear. Bush lived up to it. But when Clinton came along, he started violating it. And he gave reasons. He explained that he had to do it for domestic political reasons. He had to get the Polish vote, the ethnic vote. So, he would let the so-called Visegrad countries into NATO. Russia accepted it, didn’t like it but accepted it.”

“The second George Bush,” Chomsky argued, “just threw the door wide open. In fact, even invited Ukraine to join over, despite the objections of everyone in the top diplomatic service, apart from his own little clique, Cheney, Rumsfeld (among others). But France and Germany vetoed it.”

However, that was hardly the end of the discussion. Ukraine’s NATO membership remained on the agenda because of intense pressures from Washington.

“Starting in 2014, after the Maidan uprising, the United States began openly, not secretly, moving to integrate Ukraine into the NATO military command, sending heavy armaments and joining military exercises, military training and it was not a secret. They boasted about it,” Chomsky said.

What is interesting is that current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “was elected on a peace platform, to implement what was called Minsk Two, some kind of autonomy for the eastern region. He tried to implement it. He was warned by right-wing militias that if he persisted, they’d kill him. Well, he didn’t get any support from the United States. If the United States had supported him, he could have continued, we might have avoided all of this. The United States was committed to the integration of Ukraine within NATO.”

The Joe Biden Administration carried on with the policy of NATO expansion. “Just before the invasion,” said Chomsky, “Biden … produced a joint statement … calling for expanding these efforts of integration. That’s part of what was called an ‘enhanced program’ leading to the mission of NATO. In November, it was moved forward to a charter, signed by the Secretary of State.”

Soon after the war, “the United States Department acknowledged that they had not taken Russian security concerns into consideration in any discussions with Russia. The question of NATO, they would not discuss. Well, all of that is provocation. Not a justification but a provocation and it’s quite interesting that in American discourse, it is almost obligatory to refer to the invasion as the ‘unprovoked invasion of Ukraine’. Look it up on Google, you will find hundreds of thousands of hits.”

Chomsky continued, “Of course, it was provoked. Otherwise, they wouldn’t refer to it all the time as an unprovoked invasion. By now, censorship in the United States has reached such a level beyond anything in my lifetime. Such a level that you are not permitted to read the Russian position. Literally. Americans are not allowed to know what the Russians are saying. Except, selected things. So, if Putin makes a speech to Russians with all kinds of outlandish claims about Peter the Great and so on, then, you see it on the front pages. If the Russians make an offer for a negotiation, you can’t find it. That’s suppressed. You’re not allowed to know what they are saying. I have never seen a level of censorship like this.”

Regarding his views of the possible future scenarios, Chomsky said that “the war will end, either through diplomacy or not. That’s just logic. Well, if diplomacy has a meaning, it means both sides can tolerate it. They don’t like it, but they can tolerate it. They don’t get anything they want, they get something. That’s diplomacy. If you reject diplomacy, you are saying: ‘Let the war go on with all of its horrors, with all the destruction of Ukraine, and let’s let it go on until we get what we want.’”

By ‘we’, Chomsky was referring to Washington, which simply wants to “harm Russia so severely that it will never be able to undertake actions like this again. Well, what does that mean? It’s impossible to achieve. So, it means, let’s continue the war until Ukraine is devastated. That’s US policy.”

Most of this is not obvious to western audiences simply because rational voices are “not allowed to talk” and because “rationality is not permitted. This is a level of hysteria that I have never seen, even during the Second World War, which I am old enough to remember very well.”

While an alternative understanding of the devastating war in Ukraine is disallowed, the West continues to offer no serious answers or achievable goals, leaving Ukraine devastated and the root causes of the problem in place. “That’s US policy”, indeed.

(The interview with Noam Chomsky was conducted jointly with Italian journalist, Romana Rubeo)

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Exile on Main Street: The Sound of the Unipolar World Fading Away

June 22, 2022

The future world order, already in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states. The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back.

By Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

Let’s cut to the chase and roll in the Putin Top Ten of the New Era, announced by the Russian President live at the St. Petersburg forum  for both the Global North and South.

The era of the unipolar world is over.

The rupture with the West is irreversible and definitive. No pressure from the West will change it.

Russia has renewed with its sovereignty. Reinforcement of political and economic sovereignty is an absolute priority.

The EU has completely lost its political sovereignty. The current crisis shows the EU is not ready to play the role of an independent, sovereign actor. It’s just en ensemble of American vassals deprived of any politico-military sovereignty.

Sovereignty cannot be partial. Either you’re a sovereign or a colony.

Hunger in the poorest nations will be on the conscience of the West and euro-democracy.

Russia will supply grains to the poorer nations in Africa and the Middle East.

Russia will invest in internal economic development and reorientation of trade towards nations independent of the U.S.

The future world order, already in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states.

The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back.

How does it feel, for the collective West, to be caught in such a crossfire hurricane? Well, it gets more devastating when we add to the new roadmap the latest on the energy front.

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, in St. Petersburg, stressed that the global economic crisis is gaining momentum not because of sanctions, but exacerbated by them; Europe “commits energy suicide” by sanctioning Russia; sanctions against Russia have done away with the much lauded “green transition”, as that is no longer needed to manipulate markets; and Russia, with its vast energy potential, “is the Noah’s Ark of the world economy.”

For his part Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller could not be more scathing on the sharp decline in the gas flow to the EU due to Siemens’ refusal and/or incapacity to repair the Nord Stream 1 pumping engine: “Well, of course, Gazprom was forced to reduce the volume of gas supplies to Europe by 20%+. But you know, prices have increased not by 20%+, but by several times! Therefore, I’m sorry if I say that we don’t feel offended by anyone, we are not particularly concerned by this situation.”

If this pain dial overdrive was not enough to hurl the collective West – or NATOstan – into Terminal Hysteria, then Putin’s sharp comment on possibly allowing Mr. Sarmat to present his business card to “decision-making centers in Kiev”, those that are ordering the current shelling and killing of civilians in Donetsk, definitely did the trick:

“As for the red lines, let me keep them to myself, because this will mean quite tough actions on the decision-making centers. But this is an area that shouldn’t be disclosed to people outside the military-political leadership of the country. Those who deserve appropriate actions on our part should draw a conclusion for themselves – what they may face if they cross the line.”

Baby please, stop breaking down

Alastair Crooke has masterfully outlined  how the collective West’s zugzwang leaves it lumbering around, dazed and confused. Now let’s examine the state of play on the opposite side of the chessboard, focusing on the BRICS summit this Thursday in Beijing.

As much as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and ASEAN, now it’s time for a reinvigorated BRICS to step up its game. In conjunction, these are the key organizations/instruments that will be carving the pathways towards the post-unipolar era.

Both China and India (which between them were the largest economies in the world for centuries before the brief Western colonial interregnum) are already close and getting closer to “the Noah’s Ark of the world economy”.

The G20 – hostages of the Michael Hudson-defined FIRE scam that is the core of the financialized neoliberal casino – is slowly fading away, while a potential new G8 ramps up: and that is directly connected to BRICS expansion, one of the key themes of this week’s summit. An expanded BRICS with a parallel G8 configuration is bound to easily overtake the Western-centric one in importance as well as GDP by purchasing power parity (PPP).

BRICS in 2021 already added Bangladesh, Egypt, the UAE and Uruguay to its New Development Bank (NDB). In May, at Foreign Ministry-level debates, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Thailand were added to the 5 BRICS members. Leaders of some of these nations will be connected to the Beijing summit.

BRICS plays a completely different game from the G20. They aim for the grassroots, and it’s all about slowly “building trust” – a very Chinese concept. They are creating an independent Credit Rating Agency – away from the Anglo-American racket – and deepening a Currency Reserves Arrangement. The NDB – including its regional offices in India and South Africa – has been involved in hundreds of projects. Time will tell: one day the NDB will make the World Bank superfluous.

Comparisons between BRICS and the Quad, a U.S. concoction, are silly. Quad is just another crude mechanism to contain China. Yet there’s no question India treads on tightrope walker territory, as it’s a member of both BRICS and Quad, and made a vastly misguided decision to walk out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – the largest free trade deal on the planet – opting instead to adhere to the American pie-in-the-sky Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

Yet India, long term, skillfully guided by Russia, is being steered to find essential common ground with China in several key issues.

BRICS, especially in its expanded BRICS+ version, is bound to increase cooperation on building truly stable supply chains, and a settlement mechanism for resources and raw material trade, which inevitably has to be based in local currencies. Then the path will be open for the Holy Grail: a BRICS payment system as a credible alternative to the weaponized U.S. dollar and SWIFT.

Meanwhile, a torrent of bilateral investments from both China and India in the manufacturing and services sector around their neighbors is bound to lift up smaller players in both Southeast Asia and South Asia: think Cambodia and Bangladesh as important cogs in a vast supply wheel.

Yaroslav Lissovolik had already proposed a BEAMS concept as the core of this BRICS integration drive, uniting “the key regional integration initiatives of BRICS economies such as BIMSTEC, EAEU, the ASEAN-China free trade agreement, Mercosur and SADC/SACU.”

It’s only (BRICS) rock’n roll

Now Beijing seems eager to promote “an inclusive format for dialogue spanning all the main regions of the Global South via aggregating the regional integration platforms in Eurasia, Africa and Latin America. Going forward this format may be further expanded to include other regional integration blocks from Eurasia, such as the GCC, EAEU and others.”

Lissovolik notes how the ideal path from now on should be “the greater inclusivity of BRICS via the BRICS+ framework that allows smaller economies that are the regional partners of BRICS to have a say in the new global governance framework.”

Before he addressed the St. Petersburg forum on video, President Xi called Putin personally to say, among other things, that he’s got China’s back on all “sovereignty and security” themes. They also, inevitably, discussed the relevance of BRICS as a key platform towards the multipolar world.

Meanwhile, the collective West plunges deeper into the maelstrom. A massive national demonstration of trade unions this past Monday paralyzed Brussels – the capital of the EU and NATO – as 80,000 people expressed their anger at the rising and rising cost of living; called for elites to “spend money on salaries, not on weapons”; and yelled in unison “Stop NATO.”

It’s zugzwang all over again. The EU’s “direct losses”, as Putin stressed, provoked by the sanctions hysteria, “could exceed $400 billion a year”. Russia’s energy earnings have hit record levels. The ruble is at a 7-year high against the euro.

It’s a blast that arguably the most powerful cultural artifact of the entire Cold War – and Western supremacy – era, the perennial Rolling Stones, is currently on tour across a “caught in a crossfire hurricane” EU. On every show they play, for the first time live, one of their early classics: ‘Out of Time’.

Sounds much like a requiem. So let’s all sing, “Baby baby baby / you’re out of time”, as one Vladimir “it’s a gas, gas, gas” Putin and his sidekick Dmitry “Under My Thumb” Medvedev seem to be the guys really getting their rocks off. It’s only (BRICS) rock’n roll, but we like it.

Andrei Martyanov: Artillery of June

June 20, 2022

Please visit Andrei’s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/
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