القطار الروسي المدرّع والمظلة النووية الروسية فوق إيران

 الخميس 2 شباط 2023

محمد صادق الحسيني

يتجه التحالف الروسي الإيراني في المواجهة المشتركة ضدّ “الغرب الجماعي” الى مراحل متقدمة جداً في الصراع.
وفي هذا السياق، كان من اللافت جداً التحوّل النوعي في مسرح العمليات المشتعلة في أوكرانيا، المترافقة مع تصريحات رئيس الديبلوماسية الروسية اللافتة أيضاً…

فقد تناقلت وكالات الأنباء المختلفة، يوم 31/1/2023، إعلان القوات المسلحة الروسية عن نقل/ إرسال/ قطار عسكري مدرّع الى منطقة الدونباس، ايّ الى منطقة العملية العسكرية الروسية الخاصة في هذا الإقليم.

فما هو هذا القطار وما هي أهميته؟

قبل الدخول في الإضاءة على ماهية هذا القطار لا بدّ من التنويه او الإشارة الى تاريخ هذه القطارات، وطبيعة المهمات التي تقوم بها، عندما يصدر لها التكليف بذلك، من قبل هيئة الأركان العامة الروسية (السوڤياتية سابقاً).

ومن بين أهمّ عناصر التعرّف على هذه القطارات هي العناصر التالية:

أولاً: هي قطارات عسكرية مدرّعة/ مصفحة/ بطريقة تحميها من كلّ أنواع القذائف المضادة للدروع، بما في ذلك مدافع المدفعية الثقيلة.
وهي بالإضافة الى ذلك تدخل في عداد الأسلحة الاستراتيجية، وهو ما سنتطرّق إليه في النقاط التالية.

ثانياً: تقود قطارات كهذه قاطرتان عملاقتان، ذات محركات قوية جداً، ويتألف القطار الواحد من عشرات العربات المدرّعة، الأمر (عدد العربات) الذي تحدّده طبيعة المهمة التي يقوم بها هذا القطار او ذاك.
وهي مهمات متعددة، تبدأ بالاستطلاع العسكري بالنيران، مروراً بتطويق قوات العدو في قواطع معينة من قواطع الجبهة، وصولاً الى حمل أسلحة ذات طبيعة استراتيجية، قد تكون تقليدية وقد تكون نووية.

ثالثاً: هنا تكمن أهمية هذه القطارات، التي أعلنت القوات المسلحة الروسية عن إدخالها الخدمة، في منطقة الدونباس.
إذ انّ هذه القطارات، وعلى عكس ما تنشره وسائل الإعلام الأجنبية والعربية، غير المتخصصة، حول طبيعة مهمات هذه القطارات، والتي تختصرها هذه الوسائل بكون هذه القطارات عبارة عن ورشة إصلاح متنقلة، لإصلاح السكك الحديدية التي تتعرّض لأضرار، نتيجة لعمليات القصف المدفعي/ الصاروخي المعادي.

رابعاً: إلا انّ المهمة المذكورة أعلاه قد تكون مهمة جانبية جداً، لمثل هذه القطارات، التي استخدمتها الجيوش السوفياتية، خلال الحرب العالمية الثانية، لاقتحام خطوط الدفاع الألمانية وإقامة رؤوس جسور للقوات المدرّعة والمشاة الميكانيكية السوفياتية، خلف خطوط الجيوش الألمانية.

خامساً: كما أنّ القوات المسلحة السوڤياتية قد واصلت استخدام هذه القطارات، وأدخلت عليها العديد من التعديلات والتقنيات العسكرية المتقدّمة جداً، الامر الذي جعلها تتحوّل الى مكوّن رئيسي من مكوّنات الردع النووي السوڤياتي والروسي لاحقاً.

سادساً: لكن كيف تحوّلت هذه القطارات من وسيلة نقل الى سلاح ردع استراتيجي لدى الاتحاد السوفياتي ومن ثم الدولة الروسية الاتحادية، الوريث القانوني للاتحاد السوفياتي؟
الجواب على هذا السؤال يكمن في انّ الجيوش السوڤياتية قد سلحت هذه القطارات بفئة الصواريخ الاستراتيجية النووية، من طراز في التسمية السوڤياتية/ حسب تسمية حلف شمال الاطلسي.

سابعاً: نختصر مواصفات هذا الصاروخ بما يلي:
ـ دخل الخدمة سنة 1987.
ـ يبلغ وزنه القتالي (عندما يكون مجهّزاً لتنفيذ عمليات قتالية ومحمّلاً بالرؤوس النووية) مائة واربعة أطنان.
ـ يبلغ مدى هذا الصاروخ أحد عشر ألف كيلومتر.
ـ يحمل هذا الصاروخ عشرة رؤوس حربية،
وهي رؤوس حربية قادرة على ضرب عشرة أهداف مختلفة.
ـ تبلغ القوة التدميرية لكلّ واحد من هذه الصواريخ النووية اربعمائة كيلو طن، علماً انّ كلّ كيلو طن يساوي ألف طن من المواد المتفجرة التقليدية، ايّ انّ القوة التدميرية لهذا الصاروخ تبلغ اربعمائة ألف طن من المواد المتفجرة.

ثامناً: تمتلك القوات المسلحة الروسية، في ترسانتها الاستراتيجية الحالية، ستة وثلاثين صاروخاً من هذا الطراز، وهي محمولةً على قطارات مدرعة ودائمة الحركة، على سكك الحديد الروسية، المنتشرة على مساحة الدولة الروسية، البالغة أكثر من سبعة عشر مليون كيلومتر مربع، ما يجعل اكتشاف مثل هذه القواعد الصاروخية الدائمة الحركة من سابع المستحيلات.

تاسعاً: كما يجب ان يتمّ تقييم هذه الخطوة العسكرية الروسية، بإرسال هذه القطارات المدرّعة الى مناطق الدونباس في هذا الوقت بالذات، في ضوء تصريحات وزير الخارجية الروسية، حول إيران ايضاً، والتي قال فيها انّ روسيا تنظر بقلق الى الوضع حول إيران والتصريحات الغربية، التي توحي بانّ الغرب يتجه الى إلغاء الاتفاق النووي مع إيران .

لا شك بأنّ إرسال هذه القطارات الى الدونباس في هذه اللحظة التاريخية من الصراع والحرب يحمل رسالة ردع روسي استراتيجي، تجاه الغرب الجماعي، واذا أضفنا الى هذه الرسالة كلام الوزير لاڤروف، والمتعلق بإيران، فانّ معاني وأبعاد إرسال هذه القطارات تأخذ حيّزاً كبيراً جداً، لا بل توسيعاً للمظلة النووية الروسية لتشمل إيران، التي يواصل الساسة الأميركيون والأوروبيون باطلاق التهديدات ضدها.

وفي ذلك معانٍ استراتيجية عظمى، تأخذ الصراع بين محور مقاومة الهيمنة الاميركية ومحور الغرب الجماعي العدواني، الى آفاق جديدة، تقول فيها روسيا إنها جاهزة للمضيّ قدُماً في عمليتها العسكرية الخاصة في أوكرانيا، بهدف تحقيق أهدافها المحلية المعلنة من قبل روسيا، إضافة الى جاهزية روسيا للوصول الى المستوى الاستراتيجي في هذا الصراع، مع الغرب الجماعي، وحتى إنهاء أحلام قدماء المستعمرين الغربيين، الحالمة بالحفاظ على هيمنتهم على مقدرات العالم .

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

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Trials and Tribulations of the Collective West

February 01, 2023

by Pepe Escobar, widely distributed on the Internet and posted with the author’s permission

Sit back, relax and enjoy a race to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The only question is who will get there first: the EU, NATO, or both. 

One may be excused to imagine all sorts of amusement games unrolling at the HQ of the Russian General Staff as The Empire and NATO go literally bonkers. What crazy stunt will they come up with next – short of WWIII?

Here is a delightful put down of NATO’s dementia praecox. Everything so far has failed, from “crippling sanctions” to all sorts of wunderwaffen, while the whole Global South marvels at the exploits of Wagner PMC – now configured as the planet’s top urban fighting machine.

CIA mouthpiece Washington Post duly released how Washington, once again, had the Liver Sausage Chancellor Scholz for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The idea was floated by Secretary of State Tony Blinken: let’s announce we will deliver M1 Abrams to Ukraine in a hazy, unspecified future, thus providing cover for Scholz to release the Leopards now.

Don’t you just love German sovereignty in action?

Every military analyst with an IQ over room temperature knows all those Leopards will be duly incinerated – or better yet, captured, and dissected by Russian military specialists.

So what happens next is yet another vector of the – very successful so far – U.S.-unleashed German de-industrualization racket: the Americans will invade the German industrial military complex with their “much improved” Abrams – which may perhaps arrive in 2024, when only a rump Ukraine may still exist, or never arrive at all. So no need for the Abrams to prove themselves in actual combat – as in being captured and/or incinerated.

Rumors in Washington advance that the U.S. “strategy” in Ukraine – extensively detailed by endless think tank reports – had to be adapted. It’s not about “defeating Russia” anymore, but providing Kiev with the means to “scare” Russia. The Russian General Staff must be trembling in their boots.

Meanwhile, in real life, nearly every possible scenario gamed in Washington and Brussels finishes with NATO like a giant, armoured version of Wile E. Coyote plunging to the depths of the Grand Canyon. And that happens even if the much ballyhooded “Big Arrow” Russian offensive starts in a few days or weeks, or never starts at all.

Arguably the Russian General Staff has concluded a long time ago there’s no point in reducing Ukraine to rubble in a matter of hours – something they could easily accomplish. Thus the fabled mincing machine approach – offering no excuses for NATO to “escalate” (which they continue to do anyway, as Jens “War is Peace” Stoltenberg is so fond of parroting).

The trick is that NATO’s escalation overdrive, as it happens, is somewhat controlled by the Russian General Staff, which is always calculating which optimal maneuvers will consume NATO’s military hardware faster. Call it a Russian version of the popular axiom “frog in a boiling pot doesn’t realize it’s being cooked until it croaks.”

Attacking Russia-China-Iran

Absolute desperation is now graphically extrapolating into attacks on Iran. Both Russia and China have Iran as their key ally in West Asia for the whole, complex process of Eurasia integration; strategic partnerships interlink the trio.

So attacking the Ministry of Defense in Isfahan with drones – total fail – and bombing an IRGC convoy of humanitarian aid crossing from Iraq to Syria is a serious U.S.-Israel-coordinated provocation.

Essentially these are also attacks against Russia and China. Israel cannot lift its hand or foot without U.S. permission. Iranian intel may be able to establish how the Straussian neo-con and neoliberal-con cabal in charge of U.S. foreign policy authorized if not ordered these attacks, which of course are directly connected to NATO’s desperation in Ukraine.

When in doubt, just come back to Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski: “Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia and perhaps, Iran, an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by contemporary grievances. It would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge once posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc.”

And mirroring Ukraine/Russia there’s of course Taiwan/China.

As Credit Suisse strategist Zoltan Pozsar has extensively explained, if Taiwan manufactures chips for U.S. missiles Washington then sends to Taiwan for its “self-defense”, but Taiwan needs to wait because the missiles are needed in Ukraine instead, or chips can’t be shipped to the U.S. owing to a possible sea and air blockade imposed by China, the Americans will be operationally ill-equipped to support their two-front war against peer competitors Russia and China.

Bye bye Pax Americana. It’s the fear, actually paranoia, of a destroyed Taiwan – and the destruction in every scenario would be provoked by the Americans themselves – that has led the Straussian neo-con and neoliberal-con cabal to demand their chips be Made in USA.

On the energy front, since U.S. energy costs are low, Washington gambled that much of the deindustrialization of Germany would revert to American benefit. Yet since Iranian, Russian and Venezuelan oil prices are lower than the U.S., not much production may be shifting to the Hegemon: it will go to China.

To the bottom of the Grand Canyon!

The January 10 joint declaration between EU-NATO graphically shows how the EU is no more than the P.R. arm of NATO.

This NATO-EU joint mission consists in using all economic, political and military means to make sure the “jungle” always behaves according to the “rules-based international order” and accepts to be plundered ad infinitum by the “blooming garden”.

So in the end what’s left of “Europe”, when it’s NATO – actually Washington – that really rules?

“Europe”, according to relentless propaganda, means defending “our values” – as in peace, democracy and prosperity. The trick is that unelected elites forced the implicit identification of this imagined, practically sacred “Europe” with the European Union. And that’s how the EU has acquired a mythical identity.

Of course, in real life the EU – as in the real, politically organized “Europe” – has performed as a toxic instrument of division among European peoples.

Instead of peace, it has invested in all-out rabid war against Russia. The EU is arguably the most democratically irresponsible institution on the planet: spend a day in Brussels and you understand everything. And instead of prosperity, the EU has institutionalized austerity.

So sit back, relax and enjoy a race to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The only question is who will get there first: the EU, NATO, or both.

‘Doomsday clock’: 90 seconds to midnight

Thursday, 26 January 2023 11:08 AM  [ Last Update: Thursday, 26 January 2023 11:17 AM ]

By Pepe Escobar

The Doomsday Clock, set by the US-based magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, has been moved to 90 seconds to midnight.  

That’s the closest ever to total nuclear doom, the global catastrophe.

The Clock had been set at 100 seconds since 2020. The Bulletin’s Science and Security Board and a group of sponsors – which includes 10 Nobel laureates – have focused on “Russia’s war on Ukraine” (their terminology) as the main reason.

Yet they did not bother to explain non-stop American rhetoric (the US is the only nation that adopts “first strike” in a nuclear confrontation) and the fact that this is a US proxy war against Russia with Ukraine used as cannon fodder.

The Bulletin also attributes malignant designs to China, Iran and North Korea, while mentioning, only in passing, that “the last remaining nuclear weapons treaty between Russia and the United States, New START, stands in jeopardy”.

“Unless the two parties resume negotiations and find a basis for further reductions, the treaty will expire in February 2026.”

As it stands, the prospects of a US-Russia negotiation on New START are less than zero.

Now cue to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov making it very clear that war against Russia is not hybrid anymore, it’s “almost” real.

“Almost” in fact means “90 seconds.”

So why is this all happening?

The Mother of All Intel Failures

Former British diplomat Alastair Crooke has concisely explained how Russian resilience – much in the spirit of Iranian resilience past four decades – completely smashed the assumptions of Anglo-American intelligence.

Talk about the Mother of All Intel Failures – in fact even more astonishing than the non-existent Iraqi WMDs (in the run-up to Shock and Awe in 2003, anyone with a brain knew Baghdad had discontinued its weapons program already in the 1990s.) 

Now the collective West “committed the entire weight of its financial resources to crushing Russia (…) in every conceivable way – via financial, cultural and psychological war, and with real military war as the follow-through.”

And yet Russia held its ground. And now reality-based developments prevail over fiction. The Global South “is peeling away into a separate economic model, no longer dependent on the dollar for its trading needs.”

And the accelerated collapse of the US dollar increasingly plunges the Empire into a real existential crisis.

All that hangs over a South Vietnam scenario evolving in Ukraine after a rash government-led political and military purge. The coke comedian – whose only role is to beg non-stop for bags of cash and loads of weapons – is being progressively sidelined by the Americans (beware of traveling CIA directors). 

The game in Kiev, according to Russian sources, seems to be that the Americans are taking over the Brits as handlers of the whole operation.

The coke comedian remains – for now – as a sock puppet while military control over what is left of Ukraine is entirely NATO’s.

Well, it already was – but now, formally, Ukraine is the world’s first de facto NATO member without being an actual member, enjoying less than zero national sovereignty, and complete with NATO-Nazi Storm troopers weaponized with American and German tanks in the name of “democracy”.

The meeting last week of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group – totally controlled by the US – at the US Air Force base in Ramstein solidified a sort of tawdry remix of Operation Barbarossa.

Here we go again, with German Panzers sent to Ukraine to fight Russia.

Yet the tank coalition seems to have tanked even before it starts.  Germany will send 14, Portugal 2, Belgium 0 (sorry, don’t have them). Then there’s Lithuania, whose Defense Minister observed, “Yes, we don’t have tanks, but we have an opinion about tanks.”

No one ever accused German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of being brighter than a light bulb. She finally gave the game away,  at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg:

“The crucial part is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe because we are fighting a war against Russia.”

So Baerbock agrees with Lavrov. Just don’t ask her what Doomsday Clock means. Or what happened after Operation Barbarossa failed. 

The NATO-EU “garden”

The EU-NATO combo takes matters to a whole new level. The EU essentially has been reduced to the status of P.R. arm of NATO.

It’s all spelled out in their January 10 joint declaration.

The NATO-EU joint mission consists in using all economic, political and military means to make sure the “jungle” always behaves according to the “rules-based international order” and accepts to be plundered ad infinitum by the “blooming garden”.

Looking at The Big Picture, absolutely nothing changed in the US military/intel apparatus since 9/11: it’s a bipartisan thing, and it means Full Spectrum Dominance of both the US and NATO. No dissent whatsoever is allowed. And no thinking outside the box.

Plan A is subdivided into two sections.

1. Military intervention in a hollowed-out proxy state shell (see Afghanistan and Ukraine).

2. Inevitable, humiliating military defeat (see Afghanistan and soon Ukraine). Variations include building a wasteland and calling it “peace” (Libya) and extended proxy war leading to future humiliating expulsion (Syria).

There’s no Plan B.

Or is there? 90 seconds to midnight?

Obsessed by Mackinder, the Empire fought for control of the Eurasian landmass in World War I and World War II because that represented control of the world.

Later, Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski had warned: “Potentially the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition between Russia, China and Iran.”

Jump cut to the Raging Twenties when the US forced the end of Russian natural gas exports to Germany (and the EU) via Nord Stream 1 and 2.

Once again, Mackinderian opposition to a grand alliance on the Eurasian landmass consisting of Germany, Russia and China.

The Straussian neo-con and neoliberal-con psychos in charge of US foreign policy could even absorb a strategic alliance between Russia and China – as painful as it may be. But never Russia, China and Germany.   

With the collapse of the JCPOA, Iran is now being re-targeted with maximum hostility. Yet were Tehran to play hardball, the US Navy or military could never keep the Strait of Hormuz open – by the admission of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Oil price in this case would rise to possibly thousands of dollars a barrel according to Goldman Sachs oil derivative experts – and that would crash the entire world economy.

This is arguably the foremost NATO Achilles Heel. Almost without firing a shot a Russia-Iran alliance could smash NATO to bits and bring down assorted EU governments as socio-economic chaos runs rampant across the collective West. 

Meanwhile, to quote Dylan, darkness keeps dawning at the break of noon. Straussian neo-con and neoliberal-con psychos will keep pushing the Doomsday Clock closer and closer to midnight.   

Pepe Escobar is a Eurasia-wide geopolitical analyst and author. His latest book is Raging Twenties.

(The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV)


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‘Fragmented world’ sleepwalks into World War III

Wednesday, 18 January 2023 10:31 AM  [ Last Update: Wednesday, 18 January 2023 10:31 AM ]

By Pepe Escobar

The self-appointed Davos “elites” are afraid. So afraid. At this week’s World Economic Forum meetings, mastermind Klaus Schwab – displaying his trademark Bond villain act – carped over and over again about a categorical imperative: we need “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”.

While his diagnosis of “the most critical fragmentation” the world is now mired in is predictably somber, Herr Schwab maintains that “the spirit of Davos is positive” and in the end we may all live happily in a “green sustainable economy.”

What Davos has been good at this week is showering public opinion with new mantras. There’s “The New System” which, considering the abject failure of the much ballyhooed Great Reset, now looks like a matter of hastily updating the current – rattled – operating system.

Davos needs new hardware, new programming skills, even a new virus. Yet for the moment all that’s available is a “polycrisis”: or, in Davos speak, a “cluster of related global risks with compounding effects.”

In plain English: a perfect storm.

Insufferable bores from that Divide and Rule island in northern Europe have just found out that “geopolitics”, alas, never really entered the tawdry “end of history” tunnel: much to their amazement it’s now centered – again – across the Heartland, as it’s been for most of recorded history.

They complain about “threatening” geopolitics, which is code for Russia-China, with Iran attached.

But the icing on the Alpine cake is arrogance/stupidity actually giving away the game: the City of London and its vassals are  livid because the “world Davos made” is fast collapsing.

Davos did not “make” any world apart from its own simulacrum.

Davos never got anything right, because these “elites” were always busy eulogizing the Empire of Chaos and its lethal “adventures” across the Global South.

Davos not only failed to foresee all recent, major economic crises but most of all the current “perfect storm”, linked to the neoliberalism-spawned deindustrialization of the Collective West.

And, of course, Davos is clueless about the real Reset taking place towards multipolarity.

Self-described opinion leaders are busy “re-discovering” that Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain was set in Davos – “against the backdrop of a deadly disease and an impeding world war” – nearly a century ago.

Well, nowadays the “disease” – fully bioweaponized – is not exactly deadly per se. And the “impending World War” is in fact being actively encouraged by a cabal of US Straussian neo-cons and neoliberal-cons: an unelected, unaccountable, bipartisan Deep State not even subject to ideology. Centennary war criminal Henry Kissinger still does not get it.

A Davos panel on de-globalization was rife on non-sequiturs, but at least a dose of reality was provided by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

As for China’s vice-premier Liu He, with his vast knowledge of finance, science and technology, at least he was very helpful to lay down Beijing’s five top guidelines for the foreseeable future – beyond the customary imperial Sinophobia.

China will focus on expanding domestic demand; keeping industrial and supply chains “smooth”; go for the “healthy development of the private sector”; deepen state enterprise reform; and aim for “attractive foreign investment.”

Russian resistance, American precipice

Emmanuel Todd was not at Davos. But it was the French anthropologist, historian, demographer and geopolitical analyst who ended up ruffling all the appropriate feathers across the collective West these past few days with a fascinating anthropological object: a reality-based interview.

Todd spoke to Le Figaro – the newspaper of choice of the French establishment and haute bourgeoisie. The interview was published last Friday on page 22, sandwiched between proverbial Russophobic screeds and with an extremely brief mention on the bottom of the front page. So people really had to work hard to find it.   

Todd joked that he has the – absurd – reputation of a “rebel destroy” in France, while in Japan he’s respected, featured in mainstream media, and his books are published with great success, including the latest (over 100,000 copies sold): “The Third World War Has Already Started”.

Significantly, this Japanese best seller does not exist in French, considering the whole Paris-based publishing industry toes the EU/NATO line on Ukraine.

The fact that Todd gets several things right is a minor miracle in the current, abysmally myopic European intellectual landscape (there are other analysts especially in Italy and Germany, but they carry much less weight than Todd).

So here’s Todd’s concise Greatest Hits.

– A new World War is on: By “switching from a limited territorial war to a global economic clash, between the collective West on one side and Russia linked to China on the other side, this became a World War”.

– The Kremlin, says Todd, made a mistake, calculating that a decomposed Ukraine society would collapse right away. Of course he does not get into detail on how Ukraine had been weaponized to the hilt by the NATO military alliance.

– Todd is spot on when he stresses how Germany and France had become minor partners at NATO and were not aware of what was being plotted in Ukraine militarily: “They did not know that the Americans, British and Poles could allow Ukraine to fight an extended  war. NATO’s fundamental axis now is Washington-London-Warsaw-Kiev.”

– Todd’s major give away is a killer: “The resistance of Russia’s economy is leading the imperial American system to the precipice. Nobody had foreseen that the Russian economy would hold facing NATO’s ‘economic power’”.

– Consequently, “monetary and financial American controls over the world may collapse, and with them the possibility for the US of financing for nothing their enormous trade deficit”.

– And that’s why “we are in an endless war, in a clash where the conclusion is the collapse of one or the other.”

– On China, Todd might sound like a more pugnacious version of Liu He at Davos: “That’s the fundamental dilemma of the American economy: it cannot face Chinese competition without importing qualified Chinese work force.”

– As for the Russian economy, “it does accept market rules, but with an important role for the state, and it keeps the flexibility of forming engineers that allow adaptations, industrial and military.”

– And that bring us, once again, to globalization, in a manner that Davos roundtables were incapable of understanding: “We have delocalized so much of our industrial activity that we don’t know whether our war production may be sustained”.

– On a more erudite interpretation of that “clash of civilizations” fallacy, Todd goes for soft power and comes up with a startling conclusion: “On 75 percent of the planet, the organization of parenthood  was patrilineal, and that’s why we may identify a strong understanding of the Russian position. For the collective non-West, Russia affirms a reassuring moral conservatism.”

– So what Moscow has been able to pull off is to “reposition itself as the archetype of a big power, not only “anti-colonialist” but also patrilineal and conservative in terms of traditional mores.”

Based on all of the above, Todd smashes the myth sold by EU/NATO “elites” – Davos included – that Russia is “isolated”, stressing how votes in the UN and the overall sentiment across the Global South characterizes the war, “described by mainstream media as a conflict over political values, in fact, on a deeper level, as a conflict of anthropological values.”      

Between light and darkness

Could it be that Russia – alongside the real Quad, as I defined them (with China, India and Iran) – are prevailing in the anthropological stakes?  

The real Quad has all it takes to blossom into a new cross-cultural focus of hope in a “fragmented world”.

Mix Confucian China (non-dualistic, no transcendental deity, but with the Tao flowing through everything) with Russia (Orthodox Christian, reverencing the divine Sophia); polytheistic India (wheel of rebirth, law of karma); and Shi’ite Iran (Islam preceded by Zoroastrianism, the eternal cosmic battle between Light and Darkness).

This unity in diversity is certainly more appealing, and uplifting, than the Forever War axis.

Will the world learn from it? Or, to quote Hegel – “what we learn from history is that nobody learns from history” – are we hopelessly doomed?

Pepe Escobar is a veteran journalist, author and independent geopolitical analyst focused on Eurasia.

(The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


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

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

The Goldilocks War

December 02, 2022

by Dmitry Orlov for the Saker blog

Are you happy with the way the war in the former Ukraine is going? Most people aren’t—for one reason or another. Some people hate the fact that there is a war there at all, while others love it but hate the fact that it hasn’t been won yet, by one side or the other. Bounteous quantities of both of these kinds of haters are found on both sides of the new Iron Curtain that is hastily being built across Eurasia between the collective West and the collective East. This seems reasonable; after all, hating war is standard procedure for most people (war is hell, don’t you know!) and by extension a small war is better than a big one and a short war is better than a long one. And also such reasoning is banal, trite, platitudinous, vapid, predictable, unimaginative and… bromidic (according to the English Thesaurus).

Seldom is to be found a war-watcher who is happy with the progress and the duration of the war. Luckily, Russian state television shows a very significant one these almost daily. It is Russia’s president, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Having paid attention to him for over twenty years now, I can confidently state that never has he been so imbued with calm, self-assured serenity leavened with droll humor. This is not the demeanor of someone who feels at any risk of losing a war. The brass at the Ministry of Defense appear dour and glum on camera—a demeanor befitting men who send other men to fight and possibly to be wounded or to die; but off-camera they flash each other quick Mona Lisa smiles. (Russian men don’t give stupid American-style fish-eyed toothy grins, rarely show their teeth when smiling, and never in the presence of wolves or bears).

Given that Putin’s approval rating stands firm at around 80% (a number beyond reach of any Western politician), it is reasonable to assume that he is just the visible tip of a gigantic, 100-million-strong iceberg of Russians who calmly await the successful conclusion of the special military operation to demilitarize and denazify the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (so please don’t even call it a war). These 100 million Russians are seldom heard from, and when they do make noise, it is to protest against bureaucratic dawdling and foot-dragging or to raise private funds with which to remedy a shortage of some specialty equipment requested by the troops: night vision goggles, quadrocopters, optical sights, and all sorts of fancy tactical gear.

A great deal more noise is being made by the one or two percent whose entire business plan has been wrecked by the sudden appearance of the New Iron Curtain. The silliest of these thought that fleeing west, or south (to Turkey, Kazakhstan or Georgia) would somehow magically fix their problem; it hasn’t, and it won’t. The people we would expect to scream the loudest are the LGBTQ+ activists, who thought that they were going to use Western grant money to build East Sodom and East Gomorrah. They’ve been hobbled and muzzled by new Russian laws that label them as foreign agents and prohibit their sort of propaganda. In fact, the very term LGBTQ+ is now illegal, and so, I suppose, they will have to use PPPPP+ instead (“P” is for “pídor”, which is the generic Russian term for any sort of sexual pervert, degenerate or deviant). But I digress.

It can be observed rather readily that those who are the least happy with the course of the Russian campaign are also the least likely to be Russian. Least happy of all are the good folks at the Center for Informational and Political Operations of the Ukrainian Security Service who are charged with creating and maintaining the Phantom of Ukrainian Victory. These are followed by people in and around Washington, who are quite infuriated by Russian dawdling and foot-dragging. They have also been hard-pressed to show that the Ukrainians are winning while the Russians are losing; to this end, they have portrayed every Russian tactical repositioning or tactical withdrawal as a huge, humiliating defeat personally for Putin and every relentless, suicidal Ukrainian attack on Russian positions as a great heroic victory. But this PR tactic has lost effectiveness over time and now the Ukraine has become a toxic topic in the US that most American politicians would prefer to forget about, or at least keep out of the news.

To be fair, the Russian tactical cat-and-mouse games in this conflict has been nothing short of infuriating. The Russians spent some time rolling around Kiev to draw Ukrainian troops away from the Donbass and prevent a Ukrainian attack on it; once that was done, they withdrew. Great Ukrainian victory! They also spent some time tooling around the Black Sea coastline near Odessa, threatening a sea invasion, to draw off Ukrainian forces in that direction, but never invaded. Another Ukrainian victory! The Russians occupied a large chunk of Kharkov region that the Ukrainians left largely undefended, then, when the Ukrainians finally paid attention to it, partially withdrew behind a river to conserve resources. Yet another Ukrainian victory! The Russians occupied/liberated the regional capital of Kherson, evacuated all the people who wanted to be evacuated, then withdrew to a defensible position behind a river. Victory again! With all these Ukrainian victories, it is truly a wonder that the Russians have managed to gain around 100km2 of the former Ukraine’s most valuable real estate, over 6 million in population, secured a land route to Crimea and opened up a vital canal that supplies irrigation water to it and which the Ukrainians had blocked some years ago. That doesn’t seem like s defeat at all; that looks like an excellent result from a single, limited summer campaign.

Russia has achieved several of its strategic objectives already; the rest can wait. How long should they wait? To answer this question, we need to look outside the limited scope of Russia’s special operation in the Ukraine. Russia has bigger fish to fry, and frying fish takes time because eating undercooked fish can give you nasty parasites such as tapeworm and liver fluke. And so, I would like to invite you to Mother Russia’s secret kitchen, to see what’s on the cutting board and to estimate how much thermal processing will be required to turn it all into a safe and nutritious meal.

Mixing our food metaphors, allow me to introduce Goldilocks with her three bears and her porridge not to hot and not too cold. What Russia seems to be doing is keeping their special military operation moving along at a steady pace—not to fast and not too slow. Going too fast would not allow enough time to cook the various fish; going too fast would also increase the cost of the campaign in casualties and resources. Going too slow would give the Ukrainians and NATO time to regroup and rearm and prevent the proper thermal processing of the various fish.

In an effort to find the optimal pace for the conflict, Russia initially committed only a tenth of its professional active-duty soldiers, then worked hard to minimize the casualty rate. It opted to start turning off the lights all over the former Ukraine only after the Kiev regime tried to blow up the Kerch Strait bridge that linked Crimea with the Russian mainland. Finally, it called up just 1% of reservists to relieve the pressure from the frontline troops and potentially prepare for the next stage, which is a winter campaign—for which the Russians are famous.

With this background information laid out, we can now enumerate and describe the various ancillary objectives which Russia plans to achieve over the course of this Goldilocks War. The first and perhaps most important set of problems that Russia has to solve in the course of the Goldilocks War is internal. The goal is to rearrange Russian society, economy and financial system so as to prepare it for a de-Westernized future. Since the collapse of the USSR, various Western agents, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the US State Department, various Soros-owned foundations and a wide assortment of Western grants and exchange programs have made serious inroads into Russia. The overall goal was to weaken and eventually dismember and destroy Russia, turning it into a compliant servant of Western governments and transnational corporations that would supply them with cheap labor and raw materials. To help this process along, these Western organizations did whatever they could to drive the Russian people toward eventual biological extinction and replace them with a more docile and less adventurous race.

Starting well over 30 years ago, Western NGOs set to corrupting the minds of Russia’s young. No effort was spared to denigrate the value of Russian culture, to falsify Russian history and to replace them both with Western pop culture and propaganda narratives. These initiatives achieved limited success, and the USSR, and Soviet-era culture, has remained ever-popular even among those who were too young to have experienced life in the USSR firsthand. Where the damage has been most severe is in education. Excellent Soviet-era textbooks that taught students how to think independently were destroyed and replaced with imports. These were at best useful for training experts in narrowly defined fields who can follow previously defined procedures and recipes but can’t explain how these procedures and recipes were arrived at or to create new ones. Russian teachers, who saw their job not just in educating but in bringing up their students to be good Russians who love and cherish their country, were replaced by Western-trained educationalists who saw their mission as providing a competitive, market-based service in bringing up qualified, competent… consumers! Who are these people? Well, luckily, the Internet remembers everything, and there are plenty of other jobs for these people such as shoveling snow and stoking furnaces. But identifying and replacing them takes time, as does finding, updating and reproducing the older, excellent textbooks.

But what of the young people left behind by this wave of destruction? Luckily, not all is lost. The special military operation is providing them with some very valuable lessons that their ignorant educationalists left out: that Russia—a unique, miraculous agglomeration of many different nations, languages and religions—has been preserved and expanded over the centuries through the efforts of heroes whose names are not just remembered but venerated. What’s more, some of them are alive today, fighting and working in the Donbass. It is one thing to visit museums, read old books and hear stories about the great deeds of one’s grandfathers and great-grandfathers during the Great Patriotic War; it is quite another to watch history unfold through the eyes of your own father or brother. Give it another year or two, and Russia’s young people will learn to look with disdain on the products of Russia’s Western-oriented culture-mongers. Their elders do already: opinion polls show that a large majority of Russians see Western cultural influence as a negative.

And what of these Russian culture-mongers who have been worshiping all things Western for as long as they can remember? Here, a most curious thing happened. When the special military operation was first announced, they spoke out against it and in favor of the Ukrainian Nazis—a stupid thing to do, but they thought it good and proper to keep their political opinions harmonized with those of their Western patrons and idols so as to stay in their good graces. Some of them protested against the war (ignoring the fact that it had been going on for eight long years already). And then quite a few of them fled the country in unseemly haste.

Keep in mind that these are neither brain surgeons nor rocket scientists: these are people who prance around on stage while making noises with their hands and mouths; or they are people who sit there while makeup artists do things to their faces and hair, then endlessly repeat lines written for them by someone else. These are not people who have the capacity to analyze a tricky political situation and make the right choice. In an earlier, saner age their opinions would be steadfastly ignored, but such is the effect of the Internet, social media and all the rest, that any hysterical nincompoop can shoot a little video and millions of people, having nothing better to do with their time, will watch it on their phones and make comments.

The fact that these people are voluntarily cleansing the Russian media space of their presence is a positive development, but it takes time. If the special military operation were to end tomorrow, there is no doubt that they would attempt to come back and pretend that none of this ever happened. And then Russian popular culture would remain a Western-styled cesspool full of vacuous personae who seek to glorify every single deadly sin for the sake of personal notoriety and gain. Russia has plenty of talented people eager to take their place—if only they would keep out long enough for everyone to forget about them!

Particularly damaging to Russia’s future has been the emergence and preeminence of pro-Western economic and financial elites. Ever since the haphazard and in many cases criminal privatization of state resources in the 1990s, there was brought up an entire cohort of powerful economic agents who does not have Russia’s interests in mind. Instead, these are purely selfish economic actors who until quite recently thought that their ill-gotten gains would allow them to enter into posh Western society. These people usually have more than one passport, they try to keep their families in some wealthy enclave outside of Russia, they send their children to schools and universities in the West, and their only use for Russia is as a territory they can exploit in creating their wealth extraction schemes.

When in response to the start of Russia’s special military operation the West mounted a speculative attack on the ruble, forcing Russia’s central bank to impose strict currency controls, these members of the Russian elite were forced to start thinking about making a momentous choice. They could stay in Russia, but then they would have to cut their ties to the West; or they could move to the West and live off their savings, but then they would be cut off from the source of their wealth. Their choice was made easier by Western governments which worked hard to confiscate the property of rich Russian nationals, freeze their bank accounts and subject them to various other indignities and inconveniences.

Still, it’s a hard choice for them to make—realizing that, in spite of their sometimes fabulous wealth, for the collective West they are just some Russians that can be robbed. Many of them are mentally unprepared to throw in their lot with their own people, whom they have been taught to despise and to exploit for personal gain. A quick victory in Russia’s special military operation would allow them to think that their troubles were temporary in nature. Given enough time some of them will run away for good while others will decide to stay and work for the common good in Russia.

Next in line are various members of the Russian government who, having been schooled in Western economics, are incapable of understanding the economic transformation that is occurring in Russia, never mind helping it along. Most of what passes for economic thought in the West is just an elaborate smokescreen over this fundamental dictum: “The rich must be allowed to get richer, the poor must be kept poor and the government shouldn’t try to help them (much).” This worked while the West had colonies to exploit, be it through good old-fashioned imperial conquest, plunder and rapine, or through financial neocolonialism of Perkins’s “economic hit men,” or, as has recently been grudgingly admitted by several top EU officials, by taking advantage of cheap Russian energy.

That doesn’t work any more—not in the West, not in Russia or any place else, and mindsets have to adjust. There is a great deal of inertia in appointments to government positions, where there are many vested interests vying for power and influence. It takes time for such basic ideas to percolate through the system as the fact that the US Federal Reserve no longer has a planet-wide monopoly on printing money. Therefore, it is no longer necessary for Russia’s central bank to have dollars in reserve to cover their ruble emissions to defend it against speculative attack since it is no longer necessary for Russia’s central bank to allow foreign currency speculators to run rampant and stage speculative attacks.

But some results have already been achieved, and they are nothing short of spectacular: over the past few months, just a few well-chosen departures from Western economic orthodoxy have made the ruble the world’s strongest currency, have allowed Russia to earn more export revenue by exporting less oil, gas and coal, and have allowed it to drive inflation down to almost zero. Since the start of the special military operation, Russia has been able to reduce its national debt by a large amount and increase government revenues. A swift end to Russia’s special military operation may spell the end of such miracles and a most unwelcome return to the untenable status quo ante.

Beyond the intangible world of finance, equally significant changes have been occurring throughout the physical Russian economy. Previously, many economic sectors, including car sales, construction and home improvement, software development and many others, were foreign-owned and the profits from these activities left the country. And then a decision was made to block the expatriation of dividends. In response, foreign companies sold off their Russian assets, taking a huge loss and depriving themselves of access to the Russian market. The change has been quite stunning. For example, at the beginning of 2022, Western car companies owned a large share of the Russian auto market. Many of the cars that were sold had been assembled within Russia at foreign-owned plants and the profits from these sales were expatriated. Now, less than a year later, European and American automakers are pretty much gone from Russia, replaced by a swiftly reborn domestic auto industry. Chinese automakers have immediately grabbed a large market share for themselves, while South Korea continued to trade with Russia and has held on to its market share.

Equally stunning have been changes in the aircraft industry. Previously, Russian airlines were flying Airbuses and Boeings, most of them leased. After the start of the special operation Western politicians demanded that these leases be rescinded and the aircraft returned to their owners, neglecting to take into account the fact that this would be ruinous financially (glutting the market for used aircraft for years to come and destroying demand for new aircraft) and, furthermore, physically impossible, given that there was no way to effect the transfer of the aircraft. In response, the Russian airlines nationalized the aircraft registry, stopped flying to hostile destinations where their aircraft might be arrested, and started making lease payments in rubles to special accounts at the Russian central bank.

Then came the news that Aeroflot is panning to buy over 300 new passenger jets, all Russian МС-21s, SSJ-100s and Tu-214s, all before 2030, with the first deliveries slated for 2023. There has been a scramble to replace almost all Western-sourced components, such as composites for the carbon fiber wing of the MC-21 and jet engines, avionics and much else for all of the above. Over this period many of the previously leased Boeings and Airbuses will be phased out, but these companies’ market share in the largest country on Earth will be gone forever. Damage to Western aircraft manufacturers will be matched by the damage to Western airlines. At the outset of hostilities, the collective West closed its airspace to Russia, and Russia reciprocated. The problem is that Europe is small and easy to fly around while Russia is huge and flying around it takes a whole day. European airlines suddenly found that theу can’t compete on routes to Japan, China or Korea.

Following the closing of the airspace came other sanctions, from both the European Union and from the United States, all of them illegal, since the UN Security Council is the only body empowered to impose sanctions. Right now the European Union is working on the ninth packet of sanctions, all of which have been dubbed “sanctions from hell”. Speaking of hell, Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno” there are nine circles of hell, so perhaps the sanctions juggernaut is about to run its course.

These sanctions were supposed to have swiftly destroyed the Russian economy and have caused so much social upheaval and suffering that the people would gather on Red Square and overthrow the dread dictator Putin (or so thought Western foreign policy experts). Clearly, nothing of the sort has happened and Putin’s approval rating is as high as ever. On the other hand, the good people of the European Union are indeed starting to suffer. They can no longer afford to heat their homes or to take regular hot showers, food has become outrageously expensive for them, and so much else is going wrong that huge crowds of protestors have been gathering all across Europe and demanding, among other things, an end to anti-Russian sanctions, normalization of relations with Russia and a return to business as usual. Their demands are unlikely to be met, since this would mean a major loss of face for the European leaders.

But there is a more important reason why the sanctions will stay: a return to business as usual would mean that Russia would once again provide energy and raw materials to Europe cheaply while allowing European companies to profit from the labor of Russians. This is quite unappealing and is therefore unlikely to happen. Russia is using the sanctions as an opportunity to rebuild its domestic industry and reorient its trade away from hostile nations and toward friendly nations that are fair and sympathetic in their dealings with Russia. It is also working hard to phase out the use of currencies that Dmitry Medvedev called “toxic”; namely, the US dollar and the euro.

Add to this list a wonderful new Russian innovation called “parallel import.” If some company, in complying with anti-Russian sanctions, refuses to sell its products to Russia or to service or upgrade its products in Russia, then Russia will buy these products and upgrades from a third or fourth or fifth party without permission from the US, the EU or the manufacturer. If a certain brand-name product becomes unavailable, the Russians simply rename the brand and make the same product themselves, or have the Chinese or another trade partner do it for them. And if the West refuses to license its intellectual property to Russia, then that intellectual property becomes free in Russia.

This works particularly well with software: free copies of brand-name software are just as good as the paid-for copies, and if tech support, training or other associated services become unavailable from the West, the Russians simply organize their own. Intellectual property of various sorts makes up a large portion Western notional wealth, and Western sanctions are having the effect of letting Russia make use of it free of charge. Thanks to modern digital technology, it works rather well with hardware too. Instead of painstakingly reverse-engineering products, now the same effect can be achieved by buying the 3D models on a thumb drive and 3D-printing them or automatically generating the mill and drill paths to create them on an NC mill. Putin likes to use the expression “tsap-tsarap” to describe this process. It is hard to translate directly but pertains to the act of a cat snatching its prey with its claws. The short of it is, what Russia previously had to pay for is now, thanks to sanctions, free to it.

Since the Goldilocks War is, after all, a sort of war, we need to briefly discuss its military aspects. Here, too, a steady-as-she-goes approach seems to be the most copacetic. The stated goal is to demilitarize and denazify the former Ukraine, and to some extent this has already been achieved: most of the armor and artillery that the Ukraine had inherited from the USSR has already been destroyed; most of the diehard Nazi battalions are either dead or a shadow of their former selves. Gone too are most of the volunteers that once fought on the Ukrainian side. After over 100000 Ukrainian soldiers “have been killed” since February 2022 (as forthrightly stated, then sheepishly denied, by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen), and after perhaps as many as half a million casualties, scores of service-age men bribing their way out of the country and several rounds of the draft, it is slim pickings. With well over a hundred Ukrainian casualties a day the pickings are bound to get even slimmer over time. Foreign mercenaries have been used to fill the gap—Anglos, Poles, Romanians—but there is a major problem with them: as Julius Caesar pointed out, lots of people are willing to kill for money but nobody wants to die for money—except an idiot, I would add. And on NATO’s Russian front an idiot and his life are soon parted. Up-to-date information on Russian casualties is a state secret and the only number divulged by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in late September 2022 was 5937 killed since the start of the campaign. Casualty rates are said to have been significantly lower since then.

At present, there is still no shortage of idiots on the Ukrainian side—yet—and neither is there a shortage of donated Western weaponry. First came used Soviet-era tanks and other weapons systems donated from all over Eastern Europe; then came actual Western weapons systems. And now throughout NATO one hears plaintive cries that they have nothing left that they can give to the Ukrainians: the cupboard is empty. Nor can they manufacture more weapons in a hurry. To start churning out weapons at the same rate as Russia is doing, these NATO members would first need to reindustrialize, and there are neither the human resources, nor the money to do so. And so the Russian army grinds away, demilitarizing the Ukraine, and the rest of NATO with it. In the process, it is perfecting the art of fighting a land war against NATO—not that a single NATO country would even entertain such an idea.

Perhaps this is mission creep, or perhaps this has been the plan all along, but what Russia is doing at this point is destroying NATO. You may recall that a year ago Russia demanded that the US honor certain security guarantees it made as a condition for allowing the peaceful reunification of Germany; namely, that NATO would not expand eastward. “Not an inch to the east” was how the official record of the meeting reads. Gorbachev and Shevardnadze failed to get this deal on paper and signed, but a verbal deal is a deal. A year ago Russia’s offer was quite moderate: that NATO withdraw to its pre-1997 borders, when it expanded to Eastern Europe.

But, as usually happens when negotiating with the Russians, their initial offer is usually the best. For all we know, based on how things are going in the Ukraine, Russia’s best and final offer may require NATO to disband altogether. After all, the Warsaw Pact disbanded 31 years ago but NATO is still around and bigger than ever; what for? To fight Russia? Well, then, what are they waiting for? Come and get it! This may not even take the form of a negotiation. For example, Russia could say, take a quick whack at Latvia (it richly deserves a whack or two for abusing its large native Russian population Nazi-style) and then stand back and say, “Come on, NATO, come and die heroically on our doorstep for poor little Latvia!” At this, NATO officials will stand united but very quiet, thoughtfully examining their own and each others’ shoes. Once it becomes clear that there will be no offers to launch World War III to avenge Latvia, NATO will quietly dry up and blow away.

Finally, we come to what is perhaps the least important reason for the Goldilocks War: the former Ukraine itself. In view of Russia’s other strategic goals, it seems more of the nature of a sacrificial piece in a chess gambit. Given what Russia has already achieved over the past nine months—four new Russian regions, six million new Russian citizens, a land bridge to Crimea, irrigation water supply to Crimea—there isn’t much left for Russia to achieve militarily before its military campaign reaches the stage of diminishing returns. The addition of Nikolaev and Odessa regions and full control of the Black Sea coastline would, of course, be most valuable; control of Kharkov and Kiev somewhat less so. Control of the entire Dniepr hydroelectric cascade is a definite nice-to-have. As for the rest, it could be left to languish for ages as a deindustrialized, depopulated wasteland, labeled “Mostly harmless.”

Let me divulge a personal detail or two. Two of my grandparents were from Zhitomir, my father was born in Kiev, my first romantic interest was a girl from Odessa, and over the years I’ve had as many friends from Odessa, Kharkov, Lvov, Kiev, Donetsk, Vinnitsa and elsewhere as anywhere else in Russia. Russia? You read that right: there is no way to convince me that so-called “Ukrainian territory” somehow isn’t Russia or that the people who live there somehow aren’t Russian—regardless of what some of them have been recently brainwashed to think. What’s more, none of these people I have known over the years ever thought of themselves as the least bit Ukrainian and they would probably view the very idea of a Ukrainian nationalist identity as symptomatic of a mental condition. The label “Ukrainian” was to them some Bolshevik nonse; since then, Ukrainianness has been turned into a Western method for exploiting minor ethnic variations in order to make one group of Russians fight another group of Russians.

In case you are doubtful, let’s apply the good old duck test: Do the people there walk, quack and look like Russians? All of that territory, with one minor exception in the far west, was part of Russia for anywhere between ten and three centuries; most of the people there, and virtually the entire urban population, speaks Russian as their native language; their religion is predominantly Russian Orthodox; they are genetically indistinguishable from the rest of the Russian population. So, what happened to them?

Unfortunately, a small piece of this Russian land spent three centuries in captivity to the Austro-Hungarian Empire or as part of Greater Poland, and this poisoned their minds with foreign ideas such as Catholicism and ethnic nationalism. Unlike Russia, which is a multinational, multi-ethnic, religiously diverse monolith, the West is a mosaic of ethnic nationalisms, and where there are nationalists there may be Nazis, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

As one drop of poison infects the whole tun of wine, these Western Ukrainians, with lots of help and funds from the German Nazis, then the Americans and the Canadians, managed to infect a large part of the formerly Ukrainian territory with a fake nationalism based on a forged history and a haphazardly concocted culture. Official bans on the teaching and, eventually, the use of Russian have brought up a generation of young people who are essentially illiterate in their native Russian. They are taught in Ukrainian, but Ukrainian literacy is close to an oxymoron, since nothing of any great consequence has ever been written or published in that language and the vast majority of Ukrainian literary works are, you guessed it, in Russian.

The Russian special military operation that’s been ongoing since February 2022 has polarized the entire population. Those who had decided to be with Russia back in 2014 were, obviously, overjoyed to finally get some help from Russia. The now Russian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson gladly voted to join Russia. But as far as the rest of the former Ukrainian territory, the polarization is mostly in the opposite direction. Those who wanted to be with Russia mostly voted with their feet and are now living somewhere in Russia.

This is something that time alone can fix. Eventually the population of the former Ukraine will be forced to make a choice: they can be Russian, or they can be refugees somewhere in Europe, or they can die fighting Russians at the front. Note that even Donetsk and Lugansk didn’t make this choice right away, the way Crimea did. At that time, only some 70% of their population was in favor of leaving the Ukraine and rejoining Russia. It took eight years of relentless Ukrainian bombing to convince them to make this choice.

Over these intervening years, the diehard “Ukrainians” filtered out, leaving behind a population that was close to 100% pro-Russian. It was only then that the Kremlin granted them official recognition, sent in troops to defend them from imminent invasion and, soon after, accepted them into the Russian Federation. And now the same sort of sorting operation has to take place throughout the rest of the former Ukraine. How long will it take? Only time will tell, but it is already clear that, as far as Russia is concerned, there is no compelling reason to rush.

Please download my books of essays:

Ready… Set… Bolt!, 2022
The Arctic Fox Cometh, 2021
The Meat Generation, 2020
Collapse and the Good Life, 2018
Collapse Chronicles, Volume V, 2017
Everything is Going According to Plan, 2016
Emergency Eyewash, 2015
Societies that Collapse, 2014
Absolutely Positive, 2012

Russia withdraws from the Western project

December 02, 2022

translated by the Saker community

source

The world elite is not ready to compromise with Moscow
by
Alexander Khramchikhin

The training of Australian submariners on the British nuclear submarine Anson is being carried out as part of the effort to put together a new Anglo-Saxon coalition on a world-wide scale. Photo from http://www.gov.uk
The most important political outcome of the outgoing year should become a radical change in Russia’s relations with the West. Not at the level of propaganda for the “plebeian multitudes”, but at the political, economic and, most importantly, mental level.

BEFORE AND NOW

At present, Russia’s complete and final break with the “collective West” (which means the countries of NATO, the EU, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and, with some reservations, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Singapore) is becoming not only an objective reality, but also an objective necessity. Over the past half century, the Western model of development has undergone a very serious degradation, and this degradation continues to deepen.

Half a century ago, the West, with its classical democracy, was qualitatively superior to the then Soviet Union in all respects – both in terms of the living standards and quality of life, and in terms of democratic freedoms (competitive elections, real pluralism of opinions, equality of all before the law). If a Soviet person had the opportunity to emigrate, only two things could stop them – patriotism (in relation to the country and its culture, and not to the system) or sincere adherence to communist ideology (although there has been no smell of communism in the USSR for a long time).

Today the situation has changed radically. The West still has some purely quantitative advantage over today’s Russia in the living standards and quality of life, but even that can be claimed only with very large reservations. As far as the level of democratic freedoms is concerned, the West and we have now became practically equal, and in some ways, perhaps, we even surpassed the West.

Therefore, today there are only two rational reasons for emigration – the guaranteed availability of a well-paid job in the West, or a fanatical adherence to the left-liberal ideology with its tolerance, the cult of “identities” and such things as the “cancellation culture” that have nothing to do with the real democracy.

WHO ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE

So, the Western model (even if taken independently of the current state of relations with the West) can no longer serve as a model or guide for Russia, thus reconciliation with the West becomes meaningless. At the same time, the reconciliation also became impossible due to the intellectual degradation of the Western political elites (which we will discuss later), due to their feminization and a significant presence of the representatives of sexual minorities. Who are, in fact, hired according to the quotas – as it was practiced in the USSR for workers and peasants.

Feminists and the representatives of sexual minorities make negative contribution to the politics of those states where they are allowed into the power structures. Moreover, all such people view Russia not so much as a geopolitical, but as an ideological adversary, reconciliation with whom is fundamentally impossible.
In addition, the West has absolutely inadequately assessed its “victory” in the Cold War, assuming Russia was a country which lost and which has to to acknowledge its defeat and live with that knowledge forever, giving up protection of its national interests ( “Russia and the West remain antagonists” , “NVO”, 12/15/17).

For all these reasons, modern Western elites will not make any compromises with Russia and will make no concessions. Because Russia’s concessions and accommodations to the West are unequivocally regarded by the West not just as a Russia’s weakness, but as the reason to apply even more pressure to achieve its unconditional surrender followed by its dismemberment into several states.

Nor will Russia be able to incorporate itself into the collective West on its own terms by force, which, it seems, our elites continue to aspire to to this day. For the West, any Russian success becomes just an excuse to try to isolate Russia as much as possible, to weaken and undermine it from within.

WESTERN WORLD DECLINE

There is no reason to hope that the Western elites will be replaced by some more adequate ones. The process of changing elites by itself takes decades. We don’t have that much time at our disposal.

But the main thing is that right now there is an ongoing progressive degradation of the Western elites taking place. If any of the Western politicians nowadays demonstrates even a minimal degree of adequacy, those, almost exclusively, are retired politicians of the old generation. Accordingly, even if the governments of the individual European countries change due to the socio-economic problems, nothing is going to change for Russia this winter.

For example, the right-wing coalition who denies the current Western left-liberal “tolerant-politically correct” political mainstream, won the recent parliamentary elections in Italy. At the same time, however, the winners immediately stated that there would be no changes in the support of Ukraine.

In Germany, Chancellor Scholz (he is 64 years old) is losing popularity very quickly. But the most popular political figure in the country, who could theoretically replace Scholz at his post, is the current foreign minister, 41-year-old Annalena Burbock, whose Russophobia is almost clinical.

It is unlikely that the activities of 47-year-old Liz Truss as a Prime Minister of Great Britain need additional commentary.

Here again we can turn to the Soviet example. It must be acknowledged that the level of education in the USSR was very high, which made a massive contribution to the collapse of the system and the country – it was thanks to good education and the ability to think critically that people realized the absurdity of the communist ideology and the falsity of propaganda.

The current West is much more consistent in this regard. The most powerful brainwashing through propaganda is combined not only with the gagging of any opponents, but also with an obvious drop in the quality of education. Therefore, there will be simply no one to understand the absurdity of the left-liberal ideology and the falsity of the propaganda. Accordingly, the quality of the elites will only worsen.

TURN FROM THE WEST

In connection with all these circumstances, the Russian elite should be purged to the maximum extent of the supporters of normalizing relations with the West, and of playing by the rules of the West. This is not about those who work directly for the West (this is a criminal offense). We are talking about those who are trying in one way or another to influence the domestic and foreign policy of Russia in this direction, without being formally a direct agent of the West.

It is especially necessary to rid the power structures of the people who have personal interests in the West (bank accounts, real estate, families living there, children studying there). Today, these people represent the main threat to the national security of the Russian Federation.

The same applies to the representatives of big business, who maintain close ties with the West and with Ukraine. It is extremely significant that, even after falling under Western sanctions, none of the Russian oligarchs provided any assistance to the Russian and allied army forces in Ukraine. Moreover, some of them, on the contrary, are ready to help Ukraine in order to earn the lifting of the sanctions.

Accordingly, for Russia there is no alternative to a complete break with the West. This means that it is necessary to stop any attempts to communicate with the West in any format (except for maintaining diplomatic relations).

It is necessary for ourselves at the mental level to break the long-established paradigm of identifying the collective West with the “world community” and the “civilized world”. The world community is all countries of the world without exception. The civilized world is also all countries, except, perhaps, some states of Tropical Africa. The opinion of a notional “Egypt” cannot be less valuable than the opinion of a notional “Belgium”.

Moscow needs to stop its attempts to prove to the world that it is not in the “international isolation”, as this only leads to senseless concessions to the West, which in turn create serious problems for us and do not provide us with the slightest benefit. A classic example of such a “breaking the isolation” was Russia’s participation in the Normandy format and the subsequent signing of the Minsk agreements in 2014. The purpose of these actions was precisely the “breaking the isolation” and a forceful insertion of ourselves into the formats with participation of two large Western countries – which was a gross mistake and brought us nothing but harm.

Instead, it had been necessary to finish off the current Kyiv regime and change the structure of Ukraine (at least by tearing away from it the eastern and southern regions from Kharkov to Odessa), which at that time would have been an order of magnitude easier task than now. In fact, all of our current losses in Ukraine are the result of signing of the Minsk agreements.

TURN TO THE EAST

The West should be assessed adequately and all the political and economic processes going on there should be watched. Now the US and UK are almost openly destroying the economy of the European Union, eliminating it as an economic competitor and facilitating transfer of the European industry and the most skilled workforce to the US.

By forcing European countries to transfer their already limited military equipment to Ukraine, the United States are trying to make the military potential of the European countries totally insignificant. They lose the ability to defend themselves not only individually, but even collectively. The destruction of economic and military potentials tightly binds Europe to the United States in the military-political sphere, making any relations with Europe completely meaningless for Russia (except, again, purely diplomatic ones).

This US policy further confirms the fact that NATO is of a value to Washington only politically, but not militarily. Ever since the end of World War II, the most important allied format for the Americans has been a coalition of five Anglo-Saxon countries.

However, New Zealand is geographically too isolated, its economic, demographic and military potentials are extremely insignificant, besides, it has long pursued a non-nuclear policy. Because of this, her value in the Anglo-Saxon coalition is limited. But Canada, Great Britain and Australia are truly the closest allies of the United States (this is manifested in all American military campaigns, starting from the same World War II), and their geographical position gives the coalition a global scale. Naturally, the format of this coalition is much broader than the intelligence cooperation known as the Five Eyes.

The UK, especially after leaving the EU, plays the role of the main “subcontractor” of the US in Europe. In particular, last year it was London that became the main “watchdog” on Ukraine instead of Washington itself ( “Washington promotes its little brother” , “NVO”, 07/16/21). At the same time, Great Britain became part of the Pacific Anglo-Saxon AUKUS format.

The fact of creation of AUKUS once again confirms that the United States is paying more and more attention to the Asia-Pacific region (APR). Since it has been clear for several decades that it is this region, and by no means the Euro-Atlantic one, that is now the “locomotive” of the world development ( “Imaginary Threats and Cynical Alliances” , “NVO”, 10/15/21).

In this regard, it is absolutely puzzling that Russia, which has direct geographical access to Asia-Pacific region, had, so far, paid minimal attention to it. During the post-Soviet period, Moscow has managed to make many “turns to the East”, but only in words. If we do not actually start doing this today, then it would be simply impossible not to recall the classic question of Pavel Milyukov: “What is this – stupidity or treason?

الصين في أوكرانيا وروسيا تقاتل دفاعاً عن حدودها الإيرانية أيضاً

السبت 3 كانون الأول 2022

محمد صادق الحسيني

صحيح أن تسونامي، أو أمواج عاتية، من التحليلات والتعليقات التي تدور حول موضوع مناورة القاذفات الاستراتيجية الروسية الصينية المشتركة، التي جرى تنفيذها في أجواء بحر الصين الشرقي وبحر اليابان يوم امس الاول، الاربعاء ٣٠/١١/٢٠٢٢، إلا أن أهمية الحدث تجعل من الضروري الإضاءة، بشكل افضل، على جوانب وأبعاد أكثر عمقًا وأوسع تأثيراً من المناورة الاستراتيجية، التي تم تنفيذها بنجاح كامل، ودون ان تقوم هذه القاذفات العملاقة، وما يرافقها من مقاتلات اعتراضية روسية، من طراز سوخوي ٣٠ وسوخوي ٣٥، ومقاتلات اعتراضية صينية ، بمخالفة القوانين الدولية او اختراق المجال الجوي لأي من دول المنطقة، على الرغم من قيام اليابان بتنفيذ خطوة استعراضية، عندما أطلقت مقاتلات يابانية، من طراز إف ١٦ لمرافقة التشكيلات العسكرية الروسيه الصينية المشتركة، عن بعد طبعاً.
إذن، وبالنظر الى أهمية تفاصيل هذه الطلعة الجوية الاستراتيجية، التي تحمل العديد من الرسائل للغرب الجماعي، وليس فقط للولايات المتحدة، فإننا نرى ان من بين اهم الرسائل التي حملتها هذه التدريبات المشتركة، هي:

عملية هبوط القاذفات الاستراتيجية الروسية في قاعدة جوية صينية، في اقليم شي جيانغ / ، وهي القاعدة التي لا تبعد سوى خمسمئة كيلومتر عن عاصمة الجزيرة الصينية المنشقة، تايوان، وهبوط القاذفات الاستراتيجية الصينية في قاعدة: اوكراينكا / الجوية الروسية، الواقعة في مقاطعة آمور في جنوب شرق روسيا، على بعد ٢٨ كيلومتراً من مدينة: بيليغورسك / الروسية.

ومن الجدير بالذكر أن هذه القاعدة الجوية الروسية هي أكبر القواعد الجوية، المخصصة للقاذفات الاستراتيجية القادرة على حمل أسلحة نووية، وهي مجهزة لاستيعاب اربعين قاذفة استراتيجية في الوقت نفسه.

كما لا بد من الاشارة الى ان هذه القاعدة تقع بالقرب من مدينة روسية، في اقليم آمور (نسبة الى نهر آمور الذي يجري في تلك المقاطعة، وهي مقاطعة حدودية مع جمهورية الصين الشعبية، التي تتشارك مع روسيا الاتحادية بحدود يبلغ طولها: أربعة آلاف ومئتين وتسعة كيلومترات.
ثانيا: إذاً، وبالنظر الى مواقع القواعد الجوية، الروسية والصينية، المستخدمة في عمليات الهبوط المتبادل، للقاذفات الاستراتيجية من البلدين، فلا بد من النظر الى ان مثل هذه العمليات تستدعي تنسيقاً فنياً عملياتياً متقدماً جداً، يشمل عمليات التزود بالوقود وما يمكن أن يلزم من عمليات صيانة وتجهيز وتذكير، لهذه القاذفات العملاقة.

أي أن الأمر لا يقتصر على زيارة مجاملة، بل هو يضع الأسس لعملية تنسيق وتكامل استراتيجي، بين القوات الجوفضائية الاستراتيجية لكلا البلدين، خاصة أن مواقع القواعد الجوية التي استخدمت في هذه العملية هي قواعد جوية قريبةً من مسرح العمليات في بحار الصين، الجنوبي والشرقي وصولاً الى بحر اليابان، القريب من اليابان نفسها وما فيها من قواعد عسكرية اميركية، جوية وبحرية، وكذلك بقربها من جمهورية كوريا الديموقراطية (الشمالية)، وما يعنيه ذلك في ضمان الاستقرار الاستراتيجي ليس فقط لهذه المنطقة وإنما لكامل منطقة جنوب شرق آسيا وصولاً الى بحر الفلبين وغرب المحيط الهادئ، حيث تقع القواعد الجوية والبحرية الاميركية في جزيرة غوام.

ولا بد، في هذا السياق، من الاشارة الى قرب دخول القاذفة الاستراتيجية الصينية، من طراز الى الخدمة الفعلية، وهي القاذفة التي تتمتع بميزات عالية ليس آخرها المدى الذي يمكنها الوصول إليه والبالغ عشرة آلاف كيلومتر، وما لذلك من تأثير في تعزيز قدرات الردع الاستراتيجي، للدول الرافضة للهيمنة الأميركية، في منطقة جنوب شرق آسيا وفي العالم أجمع.

ثالثا: وعليه، فإن جمهورية الصين الشعبية وجمهورية روسيا الاتحادية قد أقامتا خط دفاع جديداً ضد الهيمنة الاميركية، في جنوب شرق آسيا، اضافة الى خط الدفاع الاول، في وجه الغرب الجماعي، الذي تتولى الدفاع عنه القوات المسلحة الروسية، على الجبهة الغربية لمنطقة أورو آسيا، اي على الجبهة الاوكرانية.

كما أن هذا التدريب الجوي المشترك، للقاذفات الاستراتيجية الروسية الصينية، يشكل رسالة غاية في القوة للغطرسة الاميركية في جنوب شرق آسيا، والتي تجلت مؤخراً في تنفيذ سلاح الجو الاميركي مناورات جوية مشتركة، مع عملائه في كل من اليابان وكوريا الجنوبية، شاركت فيها مئات الطائرات الحربية، من البلدان الثلاثة، ليجيء الرد الروسي الصيني بالقاذفات الاستراتيجية، تعبيراً عن استعداد موسكو وبكين، للذهاب الى أبعد الحدود، في الدفاع عن مصالحهما المشتركة، في تلك المنطقة وفي العالم أجمع.
وهذا ما يدحض المزاعم الغربية حول موقف الصين، من المواجهة الروسية الاطلسية على الجبهة الغربية (اوكرانيا) والتي تزعم وجود خلافات بين الصين وروسيا، في ما يتعلق بتلك المواجهة.

رابعا: كما لا بد من الاشارة الى ان هذا التعاون الاستراتيجي، بين موسكو وبكين لن يقتصر على منطقة جنوب شرق آسيا فقط، وانما سيشمل ايضاً تعاوناً مماثلاً سيصل الى منغوليا وكازاخستان، على حدود الصين الشمالية والشمالية الغربية، وغيرها من دول آسيا الوسطى، التي تتكامل مع الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية، التي تخوض مواجهة استراتيجية مع قوى الإرهاب الدولي، المموّل والموجه من واشنطن وتل ابيب، والذي يستهدف في ما يستهدف ايضاً، فتح جبهة جنوبية ضد روسيا، يتطلع الغرب الجماعي في ما يتطلع، الى استنزاف القدرات العسكرية الروسية من خلالها، وصولاً الى تغيير موازين القوى الميدانية الاستراتيجية، في مسرح العمليات الأوكراني، حيث تواصل القوات المسلحة الروسية الإمساك بزمام المبادرة الاستراتيجي هناك، وتدير المعركة بحِرَفية عالية جداً، وتستنزف قدرات الغرب الجماعي، المالية والعسكرية، الأمر الذي يؤكد فشل المخططات الغربية، في استنزاف القدرات الروسية، الاقتصادية والعسكرية، وإخضاع روسيا والسيطرة على مقدراتها وإعادة عجلة التاريخ الى الوراء.

عالم القطبية الأحادية يتهاوى ويرحل رويداً رويداً.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

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Operation Claw-Sword: Erdogan’s big new game in Syria

November 27, 2022

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

Wily Sultan is caught between his electorate, which favors a Syria invasion, and his extremely nuanced relations with Russia

There’s another Special Military Operation on the market. No, it’s not Russia “denazifying” and “demilitarizing” Ukraine – and, therefore, it’s no wonder that this other operation is not ruffling feathers across the collective West.

Operation Claw-Sword was launched by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as revenge – highly emotional and concerted – for Kurdish terrorist attacks against Turkish citizens. Some of the missiles that Ankara launched in this aerial campaign carried the names of Turkish victims.

The official Ankara spin is that the Turkish Armed Forces fully achieved their “air operation objectives” in the north of Syria and in Iraqi Kurdistan, and made those responsible for the terror attack against civilians in Istanbul’s Istiklal pedestrian street pay in “multitudes.”

And this is supposed to be just the first stage. For the third time in 2022, Sultan Erdogan is also promising a ground invasion of Kurdish-held territories in Syria.

However, according to diplomatic sources, that’s not going to happen – even as scores of Turkish experts are adamant that the invasion is needed sooner rather than later.

The wily Sultan is caught between his electorate, which favors an invasion, and his extremely nuanced relations with Russia – which encompass a large geopolitical and geo-economic arc.

He well knows that Moscow can apply all manner of pressure levers to dissuade him. For instance, Russia at the last minute annulled the weekly dispatch of a joint Russo-Turkish patrol in Ain al Arab that was taking place on Mondays.

Ain al Arab is a highly strategic territory: the missing link, east of the Euphrates, capable of offering continuity between Idlib and Ras al Ayn, occupied by dodgy Turkish-aligned gangs near the Turkish border.

Erdogan knows he can’t jeopardize his positioning as potential EU-Russia mediator while obtaining maximum profit from bypassing the anti-Russian embargo-sanctions combo.

The Sultan, juggling multiple serious dossiers, is deeply convinced that he’s got what it takes to bring Russia and NATO to the negotiating table and, ultimately, end the war in Ukraine.

In parallel, he thinks he may stay on top of Turkey-Israel relations; a rapprochement with Damascus; the sensitive internal situation in Iran; Turkey-Azerbaijan relations; the non-stop metamorphoses across the Mediterranean; and the drive towards Eurasia integration.

He’s hedging all his bets between NATO and Eurasia.

‘Close down all of our southern borders’

The green light for Claw-Sword came from Erdogan while he was on his presidential plane, returning from the G20 in Bali. That happened only one day after he had met US President Joe Biden where, according to a presidential Erdogan statement, the subject had not come up.

“We held no meeting with Mr Biden or [Russian President Vladimir] Putin regarding the operation. They both already know that we can do such things at any moment in this region,” the statement said.

Washington not getting briefed on Claw-Sword mirrored Erdogan not getting invited to an extraordinary G7-NATO meeting in Bali, on the sidelines of the G20.

Then-US vice president Joe Biden (L) speaks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul. Photo: AFP / Bulent Kilic

That meeting was called by the White House to deal with the by-now notorious Ukrainian S-300 missile that fell in Polish territory. At the time, no one at the table had any conclusive evidence about what happened. And Turkey was not even invited to the table – which profoundly incensed the Sultan.

So it’s no wonder Erdogan, mid-week, said that Claw-Sword was “just the beginning.” Addressing AKP party lawmakers in Parliament, he said Turkey is determined to “close down all of our southern borders … with a security corridor that will prevent the possibility of attacks on our country.”

The ground invasion promise remains: It will begin “at the most convenient time for us” and will target the regions of Tel Rifaat, Mambij and Kobane, which the Sultan called “sources of trouble.”

Ankara has already wreaked havoc, using drones, on the main headquarters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, whose commanders believe the main target of a potential Turkish ground invasion would be Kobane.

Significantly, this is the first time a Turkish drone targeted an area extremely close to a US base. And Kobane is highly symbolic: the place where the Americans sealed a collaboration with Syrian Kurds to – in theory – fight ISIS.

And that explains why the Syrian Kurds are appalled by the American non-response to the Turkish strikes. They blame – who else? – the Sultan for stoking “nationalist sentiments” ahead of the 2023 elections, which Erdogan now stands a great chance to win despite the catastrophic state of the Turkish economy.

As it stands, there is no Turkish troop buildup near Kobane – just airstrikes. Which brings us to the all-important Russian factor.

Manbij and Tel Rifaat, west of the Euphrates, are much more important for Russia than Kobane, because they are both vital for the defense of Aleppo against possible Salafi-jihadi attacks.

What may potentially happen in the near future makes the situation even murkier. Ankara intel may use Hayat Tahrir al-Sham jihadis – which have already taken over parts of Afrin – as a sort of “vanguard” in a ground invasion of Syrian Kurd territory.

Selling stolen Syrian oil to Turkey

The current fog of war includes the notion that the Russians may have sold out the Kurds by leaving them exposed to Turkish bombing. That does not hold – because Russia’s influence over Syrian Kurd territory is negligible compared with the US’s. Only the Americans could “sell out” the Kurds.

The more things change, the more they remain the same in Syria. It could all be summarized as a monumental impasse. This gets even more surrealist because, in effect, Ankara and Moscow have already found the solution for the Syrian tragedy.

The problem is the presence of American forces – essentially protecting those shabby convoys stealing Syrian oil. Russians and Syrians always discuss it. The conclusion is that the Americans are staying by inertia. They do it because they can. And Damascus is powerless to expel them.

The Sultan plays the whole thing with consummate cynicism – in geopolitics and geo-economics. Most of what is unresolved in Syria revolves around territories occupied by de facto gangs that call themselves Kurds, protected by the US. They traffic Syrian oil to resell it mostly to … Turkey.

And then, in a flash, armed gangs that call themselves Kurds may simply abandon their “anti-terrorist” fight by … releasing the terrorists they apprehended, thus increasing the “terrorist threat” all over northeast Syria. They blame – who else? – Turkey. In parallel, the Americans increase financial aid to these armed gangs under the pretext of a “war on terror.”

The distinction between “armed gangs” and “terrorists” is of course razor thin. What matters most of all to Erdogan is that he can use the Kurds as a currency in trade negotiations linked to bypassing anti-Russian embargoes and sanctions.

And that explains why the Sultan may decide to bomb Syrian territory whenever he sees fit, despite any condemnation by Washington or Moscow. The Russians once in a while retake the initiative on the ground – as happened during the Idlib campaign in 2020 when Russians bombed the Turkish military forces that were providing “assistance” to Salafi-jihadis.

A view of the site after attacks carried out by Assad regime in Syria on the city center of Idlib on September 7, 2021. Photo: Izzeddin Kasim / Anadolu Agency

Now a game-changer may be on the cards. The Turkish Army bombed the al-Omar oilfield north of Deir ez-Zor. What this means in practice is that Ankara is now destroying no less than the oil infrastructure of the much-lauded “Kurdish autonomy.”

This infrastructure has been cynically exploited by the US when it comes to the oil that reaches the border with Iraq in Iraqi Kurdistan. So in a sense, Ankara is striking against Syrian Kurds and simultaneously against American robbery of Syrian oil.

The definitive game-changer may be approaching. That will be the meeting between Erdogan and Bashar al-Assad, (Remember the decade-long refrain “Assad must go”?)

Location: Russia. Mediator:  Vladimir Putin, in person. It’s not far-fetched to imagine this meeting paving the way for those Kurdish armed gangs, essentially played by Washington as useful idiots, to end up being decimated by Ankara.

Electric War

November 24, 2022

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

Current Russian tactics are the absolute opposite of the military theory of concentrated force developed by Napoleon, Pepe Escobar writes.

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.

T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton

Spare a thought to the Polish farmer snapping pics of a missile wreckage – later indicated to belong to a Ukrainian S-300. So a Polish farmer, his footfalls echoing in our collective memory, may have saved the world from WWIII – unleashed via a tawdry plot concocted by Anglo-American “intelligence”.

Such tawdriness was compounded by a ridiculous cover-up: the Ukrainians were firing on Russian missiles from a direction that they could not possibly be coming from. That is: Poland. And then the U.S. Secretary of Defense, weapons peddler Lloyd “Raytheon” Austin, sentenced Russia was to blame anyway, because his Kiev vassals were shooting at Russian missiles that should not have been in the air (and they were not).

Call it the Pentagon elevating bald lying into a rather shabby art.

The Anglo-American purpose of this racket was to generate a “world crisis” against Russia. It’s been exposed – this time. That does not mean the usual suspects won’t try it again. Soon.

The main reason is panic. Collective West intel sees how Moscow is finally mobilizing their army – ready to hit the ground next month – while knocking out Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure as a form of Chinese torture.

Those February days of sending only 100,000 troops – and having the DPR and LPR militias plus Wagner commandos and Kadyrov’s Chechens do most of the heavy lifting – are long gone. Overall, Russians and Russophones were facing hordes of Ukrainian military – perhaps as many as 1 million. The “miracle” of it all is that Russians did quite well.

Every military analyst knows the basic rule: an invasion force should number three times the defending force. The Russian Army at the start of the SMO was at a small fraction of that rule. The Russian Armed Forces arguably have a standing army of 1.3 million troops. Surely they could have spared a few tens of thousands more than the initial 100,000. But they did not. It was a political decision.

But now SMO is over: this is CTO (Counter-Terrorist Operation) territory. A sequence of terrorist attacks – targeting the Nord Streams, the Crimea Bridge, the Black Sea Fleet – finally demonstrated the inevitability of going beyond a mere “military operation”.

And that brings us to Electric War.

Paving the way to a DMZ

The Electric War is being handled essentially as a tactic – leading to the eventual imposition of Russia’s terms in a possible armistice (which neither Anglo-American intel and vassal NATO want).

Even if there was an armistice – widely touted for a few weeks now – that would not end the war. Because the deeper, tacit Russian terms – end of NATO expansion and “indivisibility of security” – were fully spelled out to both Washington and Brussels last December, and subsequently dismissed.

As nothing – conceptually – has changed since then, coupled with the Western weaponization of Ukraine reaching a frenzy, the Putin-era Stavka could not but expand the initial SMO mandate, which remains denazification and demilitarization. Yet now the mandate will have to encompass Kiev and Lviv.

And that starts with the current de-electrification campaign – which goes way beyond the east of the Dnieper and along the Black Sea coast towards Odessa.

That brings us to the key issue of reach and depth of Electric War, in terms of setting up what would be a DMZ – complete with no man’s land – west of the Dnieper to protect Russian areas from NATO artillery, HIMARS and missile attacks.

How deep? 100 km? Not enough. Rather 300 km – as Kiev has already requested artillery with that kind of range.

What’s crucial is that way back in July this was already being extensively discussed in Moscow at the highest Stavka levels.

In an extensive July interview, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov let the cat – diplomatically – out of the bag:

“This process continues, consistently and persistently. It will continue as long as the West, in its impotent rage, desperate to aggravate the situation as much as possible, continues to flood Ukraine with more and more long-range weapons. Take the HIMARS. Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov boasts that they have already received 300-kilometre ammunition. This means our geographic objectives will move even further from the current line. We cannot allow the part of Ukraine that Vladimir Zelensky, or whoever replaces him, will control to have weapons that pose a direct threat to our territory or to the republics that have declared their independence and want to determine their own future.”

The implications are clear.

As much as Washington and NATO are even more “desperate to aggravate the situation as much as possible” (and that’s Plan A: there’s no Plan B), geoeconomically the Americans are intensifying the New Great Game: desperation here applies to trying to control energy corridors and setting their price.

Russia remains unfazed – as it continues to invest in Pipelineistan (towards Asia); solidify the multimodal International North South Transportation Corridor (INTSC), with key partners India and Iran; and is setting the price of energy via OPEC+.

A paradise for oligarchic looters

The Straussians/neo-cons and neoliberal-cons permeating the Anglo-American intel/security apparatus – de facto weaponized viruses – won’t relent. They simply cannot afford losing yet another NATO war – and on top of it against “existential threat” Russia.

As the news from the Ukraine battlefields promise to be even grimmer under General Winter, solace at least may be found in the cultural sphere. The Green transition racket, seasoned in a toxic mixed salad with the eugenist Silicon Valley ethos, continues to be a side dish offered with the main course: the Davos “Great Narrative”, former Great Reset, which reared its ugly head, once again, at the G20 in Bali.

That translates as everything going swell as far as the Destruction of Europe project is concerned. De-industrialize and be happy; rainbow-dance to every woke tune on the market; and freeze and burn wood while blessing “renewables” in the altar of European values.

A quick flashback to contextualize where we are is always helpful.

Ukraine was part of Russia for nearly four centuries. The very idea of its independence was invented in Austria during WWI for the purpose of undermining the Russian Army – and that certainly happened. The present “independence” was set up so local Trotskyite oligarchs could loot the nation as a Russia-aligned government was about to move against those oligarchs.

The 2014 Kiev coup was essentially set up by Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski to draw Russia into a new partisan war – as in Afghanistan – and was followed by orders to the Gulf oil haciendas to crash the oil price. Moscow had to protect Russophones in Crimea and Donbass – and that led to more Western sanctions. All of it was a setup.

For 8 years, Moscow refused to send its armies even to Donbass east of the Dnieper (historically part of Mother Russia). The reason: not to be bogged down in another partisan war. The rest of Ukraine, meanwhile, was being looted by oligarchs supported by the West, and plunged into a financial black hole.

The collective West deliberately chose not to finance the black hole. Most of the IMF injections were simply stolen by the oligarchs, and the loot transferred out of the country. These oligarchic looters were of course “protected” by the usual suspects.

It’s always crucial to remember that between 1991 and 1999 the equivalent of the present entire household wealth of Russia was stolen and transferred overseas, mostly to London. Now the same usual suspects are trying to ruin Russia with sanctions, as “new Hitler” Putin stopped the looting.

The difference is that the plan of using Ukraine as just a pawn in their game is not working.

On the ground, what has been going on so far are mostly skirmishes, and a few real battles. But with Moscow massing fresh troops for a winter offensive, the Ukrainian Army may end up completely routed.

Russia didn’t look so bad – considering the effectiveness of its mincing machine artillery strikes against Ukrainian fortified positions, and recent planned retreats or positional warfare, keeping casualties down while smashing Ukrainian withering firepower.

The collective West believes it holds the Ukraine proxy war card. Russia bets on reality, where economic cards are food, energy, resources, resource security and a stable economy.

Meanwhile, as if the energy-suicide EU did not have to face a pyramid of ordeals, they can surely expect to have knocking on their door at least 15 million desperate Ukrainians escaping from villages and cities with zero electrical power.

The railway station in – temporarily occupied – Kherson is a graphic example: people show up constantly to warm up and charge their smartphones. The city has no electricity, no heat, and no water.

Current Russian tactics are the absolute opposite of the military theory of concentrated force developed by Napoleon. That’s why Russia is accumulating serious advantages while “disturbing the dust in a bowl of rose-leaves”.

And of course, “we haven’t even started yet.”

Towards the Real New World Order

November 17, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

Thirty years ago George Bush Senior, the blood of untold numbers of dead Iraqi civilians and children on his conscience, was the first to popularise the term ‘the New World Order’. No doubt he got his inspiration from looking at the slogan on a dollar bill (after all, where else would a man like that get his inspiration from?). The phrase in Bush’s meaning has over the last 30 years been completely discredited. Yugoslavia? Iraq? Syria? Afghanistan? Now we are talking about a real ‘New World Order’. This is being fought for in the Ukraine and in world political and economic fora at this very moment. And its ideological and military leader is the Russian Federation, the only country with the guts to lead the real New World Order. This will be to its credit for as long as the world lasts. In this context the Saker has written an excellent article, titled with the following hypothetical question:

What would a Russian Defeat Mean for the People of the West?

Although the Saker has given an excellent answer, I would give my own, which is a summary of his. This is: A Russian defeat at the hands of the ‘Combined West’ would mean the end of the world and therefore no New World Order. Fear not, since Russia is not about to be defeated, the world is not going to end just yet and there is going to be, and there already is, a New World Order.

Let us be frank, the Combined West has attacked Russia again and again in history. Many do not know that the Teutonic Knights in the thirteenth century were international, pan-Western. The Napoleonic Invasion of 1812 was carried out by twelve Western nationalities. The Crimean War, i. e., the 1854 Invasion of Russia, was carried out by the French, the British, the Ottomans and the Sardinians.

As for the Austro-Hungarian Army and the Kaiser’s Army in 1914, that too was an effort of the Combined West, and if it had not been for the Revolution, Russia would have taken Vienna and Berlin later in 1917. And Hitler’s invasion 27 years later was equally multinational. And such is the case today, with the Kiev regime’s mercenary army, armed by multinational NATO.

Talks

Today the US mentors of the Kiev regime are desperate for peace talks to begin. Peace could have been had at any time between February 2014 and April 2022. The US did not want it then and did not allow it then, so now they will have to pay the price. The US elite knows that they are about to lose big time. This is their last chance and the last chance for the former Ukraine – for that is what we are talking about now. Like so many, these Americans have big mouths, but when it comes to it, it is all just hot air. And although Russia is talking at the US request in order to keep channels open, it is ignoring ridiculous American demands.

Today Russia has no reason to talk. It is successfully fighting against and so demilitarising NATO in the Ukraine. Everybody knows it. However, we are also at a dangerous moment because the US is losing control of its puppets. Just as it promoted Hussein in Iraq or Bin Laden in Afghanistan, ISIS in Syria and any number of Latin American gangster-puppets and then lost control of them because they refused to behave as puppets, so they risk losing control now. The lickspittle Kiev regime and its allies in Poland, the Baltics and even in the UK (there they have been singing even pop songs with an American accent for over sixty years) are being more American than the Americans. The pupil is worse than the teacher.

The recent provocation of a Ukrainian missile landing in Poland and the Poles and Latvians claiming it was Russian is an example, The Americans refused to fall for it. Before that the threat of a dirty bomb being prepared by the Kiev regime was another example. Alarmed, the Americans stopped that nonsense. The UK’s anti-German destruction of the Nordstream pipeline was yet another example. The culprit was covered up, just as the Americans covered up the culprits of MH-17. In Kiev, Warsaw, the Baltics and in London, they should remember what the Americans did to Hussein and Bin Laden. They are quite capable of doing the same again, pulling the plug on them all. After all, people died all the time. And yet these people do not know when to stop. Where does this problem come from?

Self-Delusion

One of the problems of the contemporary US/Western system is that it is based almost wholly on ‘Psyops’, that is to say on PR, that is to say, on what used to be called propaganda, which then became ‘spin’, and then ‘fake news’. Of course, all these are just words for lies. However, the problem with all these lies is that they are so persuasive that the perpetrators actually begin to believe in them themselves. They zombify themselves. They delude themselves.

This is why the contemporary Western elites are suffused with infantilism. As soon as you contradict their lies with solid evidence, they behave like spoilt children and throw their toys out of their pram. But suppose those toys are nuclear? God forbid that anyone should give the kids in Kiev or Warsaw or the Baltics or London control of nuclear toys. (Yes, London does have them, but they do not control them).

The problem with spoilt children is that if you contradict them, they will ‘cancel’ you. As the Americans say: ‘The difference between men and boys (here they mean infantile American men) is the size and cost of their toys’. Thus, the woke West would never impose ‘censorship’. Instead, it imposes ‘editorial control’. Western media are nothing if not State mouthpieces.

In France, for instance, as in so many Western countries, after Presidential elections, the news presenters mysteriously tend to change and new journalists come to the fore. The reason? In central Paris the President has at his disposal 500 apartments, which he can give rent-free to his ‘friends’, though only so long as….. Presstitutes indeed. As for the UK, everyone knows that the BBC is part and parcel of the British Establishment, peopled with MI5 and MI6 assets, and fully dependent on the income awarded it by the British State. If you don’t behave, …..

On Lessons of History

Some may object: ‘But what about history? Can’t we learn from the mistakes of history? After all history never repeats itself’. Such people are naïve. Unfortunately, history does repeat itself and constantly. The first reason for this is that geography does not change. For example, Russia will always be a Eurasian power, in the same position. It will not move to South America or New Zealand. The second reason why history repeats itself is because of human stupidity. Did Hitler learn about the Russian winter in 1941 from Napoleon’s experience in 1812? Did the American Empire’s invasion of Afghanistan learn from the British Empire’s invasion of Afghanistan? Why not? Sheer stupidity, brought on by the blindness of hubris. ‘I am not like them, I am intelligent, I will not do the same thing again’. Here below is another lesson to learn from.

President Putin has been compared to Peter the Great. At the turn of the eighteenth century Peter broke a window through to Europe and so modernised Russia, so that it could compete with and defend itself from Europe. I can see the point in the comparison, but I think a better comparison is with Nicholas II, 300 years later. At the turn of the twentieth century it was Tsar Nicholas who broke a window through to Asia. It was he who built the Trans-Siberian railway, settled millions of Russian peasants in Siberia and built up links with Korea, Japan, China and Thailand.

True, his policy was thwarted by the British who had armed Japan to the teeth, building its dreadnoughts, which duly and treacherously attacked the Russian fleet in Port Arthur in 1904, just as Britain (and the US) had hoped. Thirty-seven years later the US got their just desserts at Pearl Harbour, when the Japanese repeated the same lesson. And the British got their just desserts three months later in 1942, when the greatest British military disaster in history took place. 80,000 troops surrendered in humiliation to the ’Asiatic and primitive’ Japanese. And that led to the end of the British Empire in Asia just a few years later.

Surely President Putin has now completed the Russian breakthrough into Asia? Today his Russia is allied with China and Iran, India, Indonesia, Turkey, North Korea, and much of the rest of Asia stands behind him. Has President Putin not learned from history, thus enabling him to complete the work begun five generations before?

The Future

The American Empire is truly a giant, but truly with feet of clay. The Empire is all based on the virtual reality of Psyops, not on reality. And the real rock of Russia is hitting the giant. And this how the New World Order is being born. It means the gradual end of the American Empire and all the fakes and clubs dependent on it, the UN, NATO, the EU, the IMF, the World Bank, the G7 and the G20, of which latter it has already lost control. They are all being destroyed by the Ukraine, which is the giant’s feet of clay.

Tsar Nicholas II founded the Tran-Siberian Railway, which connects Moscow to Beijing in six days. It is the symbolic foundation of the real New World Order, which will run from Beijing to Moscow, including Tehran and New Delhi, and reach Berlin. For Berlin is the real capital of Europe, and not the overgrown village of Brussels. When the Beijing-Moscow-Berlin axis is formed, even the UK, its absurd anti-English British Establishment by then deposed, will want to join it.

In order to survive, that is to join the multipolar New World Order of the seven billion, the Great Rest, the tiny west, the one billion remaining, will have to eat humble pie. It has already started. The New World Order will be global, but not globalist, imperial, but not imperialist, just, but not woke, based on values that are traditional and universal and human. If I may quote from that great speech of President Putin, made on of 30 September this year, these are the values:

The battlefield to which destiny and history have called us is a battlefield for our people…for the great historical Russia, for future generations, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We must protect them against enslavement and monstrous experiments that are designed to cripple their minds and souls….Today, we need a consolidated society, and this consolidation can only be based on sovereignty, freedom, creation, and justice. Our values ​​are humanity, mercy and compassion.

17 November 2022

‘The Last Battle for the World’

November 14, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

Introduction

When last week Allied troops quit the right (= western, or in this case northern (1)) bank of the Dnieper and so the regional city of Kherson (original population 283,000), confusion reigned among those with a short-term view of this conflict. Probably they had been listening to Western propaganda for too long. Probably they had forgotten that if Russia had difficulties holding right-bank Kherson, then the Ukraine would certainly have even more difficulties. Let us return to some basic facts in order to clear up some of the confusion

Military Matters

The government of the Russian Federation was reluctant to intervene in the post-regime change Ukraine of 2014. It always hoped that negotiations and diplomacy would overcome Western aggressiveness and stupidity.

The government of the Russian Federation knew that the USA through its NATO vassals was pumping the Ukraine full of arms and training its troops for the eight years between 2014 and 2022.

Therefore the government of the Russian Federation had eight years in which to plan for this conflict, planning different scenarios and also preparing probing and distracting movements, like that towards Kiev last March. One scenario was that the US would continue to intervene on the side of its Kiev puppet and arm it to the teeth, also using NATO countries, officers and huge numbers of mercenaries to prolong the conflict, so that it would develop into a US war against Russia. That is exactly what has happened. Russia defeated the Ukraine in March, but since then it has had to defeat the USA and its NATO allies, demilitarising them just as it demilitarised the Ukraine in the first month of the conflict. This is why there will be no quick end to what the conflict has become – a war of liberation against the Combined West

SBU offices in Kiev

A NATO Ukraine with Cargill-Monsanto-Blackstone-Black Rock-owned land, anti-Slav biolabs, potential nuclear arms, US missiles on the border with the Federation, genocide in the Russian East and South, Western globalism and its escaped covid experiment with bioweapons helping it to destroy Russia and so set up its World Dictatorship, became more and more abhorrent. All this made Russian liberation more and more probable. But liberation only of the willing. And who was willing?

The government of the Russian Federation always knew that in the far west of the Ukraine, formerly Poland, there was hatred for Russia and therefore it had no interest in taking that. The government of the Russian Federation and its Allies first had to free its allies in the Donbass and then demilitarise and denazify the rest of the ‘Anti-Russia’ Ukraine, which was threatening its survival.

Today Ukraine is running a budget deficit of up to $5 billion per month, with the country’s military spending increasing fivefold to $17 billion for the first seven months of 2022.

The Ukrainian Ministry of the Economy admitted last month that the country’s real GDP fell by as much as 40% in the second quarter of 2022. The annual decrease in Ukraine’s economic output is expected to reach 35%, according to the World Bank. Ukrainian officials forecast that inflation could reach 40% at the beginning of 2023, possibly turning into hyperinflation. All Kiev can do is to urge its Western backers to pour even more into its black hole.

According to the German Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the US, EU, and other countries promised a total of $93.62 billion to the Ukraine between January and October 2022.

In addition to sending weapons and money to Kiev, the EU is also accommodating Ukrainian ‘refugees’. According to UN data, Poland has taken 1,365,810, Germany 1,003,029, the Czech Lands 427,696, Italy 159,968, Turkey 145,000, Spain 140,391, the UK 122,900 and the USA 100,000. Virtually 3.5 million in all. The possibility of more refugees, this time genuine ones, sends shudders down the already very weak spines of the EU and the UK.

The cost of housing Ukrainians in Europe is considerable, especially given high inflation and the economic slowdown, both caused by the Western politicians’ boycott of Russian energy and natural resources. According to the German Kiel Institute, for some nations the cost of housing Ukrainian refugees has exceeded their overall aid to Ukraine. For instance, Estonia is spending more than 1.2% of its GDP on aid to Kiev and Ukrainian refugees. Latvia’s and Poland’s cumulative aid also exceeds 1% of their GDP.

In addition, popular support for Ukrainian ‘refugees’ has been declining throughout the EU. Ukrainian flags have been taken down nearly everywhere: the novelty has worn off. Many hoodwinked Western people, now impoverished, have realised that most of the ‘refugees’ are not refugees at all, but profiteers. For the most part the ‘refugees’ are the better off Ukrainians. They have fancy German cars, better than those of their hosts, extremely high expectations and an incredible sense of entitlement. They push and shove and do not say thank you. All owe to them. As a result of grasping and downright lazy attitudes, many of them are now on the streets of European towns and cities, having been expelled by their naive sponsors, and there is no-one to rehouse them.

Kiev is running out of resources and money. It cannot obtain frozen Russian assets, because Russia froze an almost equivalent amount of Western assets.

The assistance from the West cannot last forever. The manoeuvre of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to take advantageous positions along the Dnieper switches the special operation to Ukraine’s exhaustion. After a record-breakingly mild October, the warmth has continued in November in Europe. But it will not last.

Conclusion: This will be a difficult winter for the Ukraine and for the Combined West, which is being bled white by the attrition of the Ukraine. The Allies are in no hurry – unlike the Collective West. It now looks as though the Allied strategy may be to push westwards to the natural border of the Dnieper, occupying all the provinces east of it, even if that means abandoning Kherson for a while. This will give the Allies a relatively short and well-protected front. Only then will the Allies consider crossing the river in the south and taking Nikolaev and Odessa – which is quite likely in the longer-term future. And only then, having linked up with Transdnistria would they consider taking back Non-NATO Moldova. And only once they have crushed NATO in the Ukraine, would they consider taking back the three Baltic States, which have mounted such a cruel persecution of their Russian minorities.

Political, Economic and Ideological Matters

For 30 years the Russian Federation has been musing on what to do about the collapse of the USSR and the ensuing injustices and absurd borders of the fifteen republics formed out of it. Huge numbers of Russians found themselves outside the Russian Federation and have been subject to persecution. Since 2000, President Putin has been making allies and friends outside the Federation, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In the last few years a Russia-China-Iran axis has taken shape. At the same time the Russian Federation has been cultivating self-sufficiency, a process much accelerated out of necessity by the illegal Western sanctions enforced against Moscow when the Crimea rejoined the Motherland.

The US empire is apoplectic about all of this, as Russia is now the main obstacle to totalitarian US global power, its World Dictatorship, which is what its neocons want. Russia is the ideological leader of the BRICS+ and the Russia-China-Iran axes which have been taking shape. However, it now looks as though even to fail in its aims, the US elite will have to spend another £2.3 trillion on the Ukraine, the same as it spent trying to conquer Afghanistan. And we all know how that ended. As for the US poodle, the British Establishment, having lost its Empire, it is now losing its own disunited and bankrupt kingdom. And the EU? It is in its death-throes.

As a symbol of the victory of the Russian ideology, we quote from an article published on his Telegram-Channel by the journalist Ruslan Ostashko and noted by pravda.ru. He states that Americans from Texas, Detroit, Minnesota and other states have come to fight on the Russian side against globalism and Nazism. The Americans declare that: ‘Russia is the last place on earth which is fighting against globalism, liberalism and for a New World Order, which America is destroying’. ‘Guys, this is the last battle for the world’.

13 November 2022

Note:

1. The right bank is the one on your right, as you sail downstream. This could be on the left as you look at a map. But maps are not reality.

The collective West might be losing the war with Eurasia

November 10, 2022

Source

by Francis Lee

‘’You can’t always get what you want.’’
Courtesy of the Rolling Stones

This aptly sums up the Eurozone/East-Asian/US relationship: In short US hegemony. Suffice it to say that – of all people, Leon Trotsky writing in, (War – In the International 1933) – opined … ‘’That prior to WW2 the US was Europe’s debtor but now Europe was relegated to the background. The United States is the principal factory, the principal depot and the Central Bank of the world.’’

US Ascendency in the 20th Century.

This much was self-evident, and true enough, but in any case, America’s hegemony over Europe long pre-dated WW2 and actually later grew larger with the addition of ex Eastern European states which had been formerly part of the Soviet sphere of influence. Western Europe had willy-nilly long since been subordinated to the USA. A while later (1946) the Americans gave the British short shrift reminding them that they would have to adjust to the post-war realities and take the medicine – the American loan, as Michael Hudson explains.

‘’In effect the Sterling Area was to be absorbed into the Dollar Area, which would be extended throughout the world. Britain was to remain in a weak position in which it found itself at the end of WW2, with barely any free monetary reserves and dependent on dollar borrowings to meet its current obligations. The United States would gain access to Britain’s pre-war markets in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Far East. This first loan on the post-war agenda – which President Truman announced in forwarding it to Congress would set the course of American and British economic relations for many years to come. Truman was well aware of the change of fortunes for the UK, for the Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a great power.’’(1)

Sometime later and under the changed geopolitical and economic conditions President Richard Nixon and his economist acolytes placed their chief diplomat, Henry Kissinger, in charge of arrangements to put in place a policy to keep the Europeans subordinate and while they were at it to simultaneously endeavor to put a limit on Japanese expansion.

Then came the big game-changer: Gold was officially delinked from the US$ in August 1971. Nixon’s currency reforms – were designed among various other decisions and also generally aimed at European and Japanese interests. It should be noted that Japan did not play any political role at all but simply followed in America’s wake, as she invariably did in economic and even political matters since.

This unilateral decision by the Americans to deprive paper money from convertibility into gold was enough to tip the Europeans into disorder and turbulence. For all their protestations of loyalty in Europe, the leaders of each country feverishly groped for an outcome that answered their own interests. However still licking their wounds, and for all their weakness, the Europeans still constituted a new and serious – although declining – rival for God’s own People, American capitalism-imperialism, which says a lot about how far the former had slid down the slippery-slope.

Nixon conferred the job of curbing his ‘partners’ newly aroused appetites and steering them towards their own backyard to his man (and enforcer) Henry Kissinger. Kissinger was to read the riot act and inform these uppity Euro-elites that it was the US which was taking centre stage whilst the Europeans were just the supporting artists. Kissinger didn’t mince words with his global minions.

‘’The US has global interests and global responsibilities ‘’ the enforcer-strategist declared, ‘’Our allies have regional interests’’. Having thus put the Europeans in their place, Kissinger acknowledged that the US interests diverged ‘’with the new weight and strength of our allies …’’ But he firmly advised these allies: ‘’ That the gradual accumulation of sometimes petty, sometimes major economic disputes must be ended … A new equilibrium must be achieved in trade and monetary relations.’ Then he called upon the leaders of both Europe and Japan to subordinate their economic interests to these political considerations, organized and directed, of course, by the USA. Under the pressure of these scarcely veiled American threats, the Europeans were meant not just to bury the hatchet over a potential trade-war, but were in addition, and above all, expected to share the ballooning costs of global hegemony.’’ (2) In the popular vernacular of the time, Kissinger ‘socked it’ to the Europeans.

Suffice it to say the Europeans and, a fortiori, both the Japanese and South Koreans had since become thoroughly Americanized and house-trained. Most pathetically in the case of Japan’s geographical position which successfully made it into a long-term prisoner of the United States. The success of Japan’s industrial development and export drive so impressive at the time of comparison with competition with Europe and the United States, did not in any way guarantee that it would move into a hegemonic position. Investment in Japan’s trade surplus in the US always struck the reader as being rather overvalued and in a somewhat geopolitical weak position. Japan, economic giant, political pigmy.

Certainly, the East Asian producers and to a lesser degree the EU are still in a position of American dominance, both politically and strategically, to the United States. And most everyone knows this. In point of fact:

‘’The US economy lives like a parasite on its ‘partners’ in the global system, with virtually no national savings of its own. The World produces whilst North America consumes. The advantage of the United States is that of a predator whose deficit is covered by what others agree or are forced to contribute. Washington uses various means to make up for its deficiencies: for example, repeated violations of the principles of liberalism, arms exports, and the hunting down of oil super-profits (which involves the periodic felling of the producers: one of the real motives of the real war in Central Asia and Iraq). But the fact is that the bulk of the American deficit is covered by capital inputs from Europe and Japan, (and even) China and the global South including rich oil-producing countries and comprador classes from all regions, including the poorest, in the Third World – to which should be added the debt-service levy that is imposed on nearly every country in the periphery of the global system. The American super-power depends from day to day on the flow of capital which sustains the parasitism of its economy and society. The vulnerability of the US therefore represents a serious danger to the American project. (3)

It should be understood that the American possession of the US$ can enable them to simply finance their imports by issuing US paper dollars, or US Treasuries – not gold. That job goes to the man at the gold window of the Fed, who will simply give you more ‘paper assets’ -Treasuries and dollar bills – when you trade in your surplus dollars or gold. A neat trick, and very successful. This ‘exorbitant privilege’ as was articulated by the French politician Valery Giscard D’Estaing was a rent-free arrangement between the US and its ‘allies’ (sic).

This ‘long century’ has been a period of a long-term geo-political dominance by the Atlanticist bloc led by the United States and its global institutions – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) which has been a fait accompli. These two institutions were initially set up during the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, principally by the US but with the UK in tow. These two world economic pillars were to serve as vehicles to open up trade and financial markets to US exporters, and to enable US investors to buy control of natural resources and industry. This set the rules for Europe and other regions to subsequently join these two institutions, leaving no practical alternative means of organizing world trade and investment. The World Bank’s policies included opposing land reform and organizing loans mainly to create infrastructure linked largely to exports, not to create self-sufficiency. The aim was to lock in foreign dependency on US farm exports and other essentials.

The role of the IMF has been to all intents and purposes a financial vehicle – which due to its organizational structure and an inbuilt voting system which guarantees a majority on every occasion – has been a stranglehold of voting power over its allies and also is able to withhold credits from recalcitrant countries. Dollar credit is used as a lever to indebt foreign countries and force them to adopt ‘’free market’’ deregulation and tax policies which serve US interests.

‘’The broadest step in this strategy of underdevelopment is to use IMF pressure to turn public infrastructure into privatized monopolies by forcing their sell-off to raise money to settle trade and balance of payments deficits. (4) This was broadly in step with the classical phase of imperialism (1800-1950) based upon the division between industrialized cores and non-industrialized peripheries and a related tendency to reduce the latter to a colonial or semi-colonial status, and (5) the post-war phase (1950-1980) involved the victory of national liberation movements – China, Vietnam – in south east Asia and the middle-east – still ongoing – enabled the peripheries to impose a revision of the old asymmetrical terms of the global system and to enter into the industrial age. This period of negotiated globalization was exceptional, and it is interesting to note that the world then experienced growth that was the strongest known in history as well as the least uneven in terms of the distribution of what was produced and distributed

But whisper it softly there has occurred a slow geopolitical burn which is now not easily snuffed out and which goes from strength to strength. This emerging bloc of independent Eurasian states led in the main by Russia and China and organized in the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-China-India-SouthAfrica) and Shanghai Corporation Organization (SCO) represent an alternative system to the glaring global level of inequality and stands out like a beacon of light against the parasitism and orthodoxies of laissez-faire extractive capitalism/imperialism.

In more general terms Michael Hudson lays out a precis of a choice between the two alternatives. As follows:

‘’Finance capitalism is de-industrializing the US economy and that of its allied NATO satellites. The Destiny of Civilization explains that the resulting international diplomacy is not a competition for markets (as the Western Economies are already deindustrializing as a byproduct of financialization and capital’s war against wage labour), nor a conflict between democratic freedom and authoritarianism, but rather a conflict of economic systems juxtaposing the rentier economics of debt-deflation and austerity to socialist state-subsidized growth protecting the 99% by keeping the 1% in check.’’ (6)

APPENDIX

I would go further into the work of Freidrich Engels in his description of ‘Condition of the Working Class in England 1844’. Where he writes his journey particularly in Manchester in the north of England as well as other cities.

‘’A horde of ragged women and children swarm about here, as filthy as the swine, they thrive upon the garbage heaps and in the puddles. In short, the whole rookery (slum housing) furnishes such a hateful and repulsive spectacle as can hardly be equaled in the worst court of the Irk. The sub-human race that lives in these ruinous cottages, behind broken windows, mended with oilskin, sprung doors, and rotten door posts, or in the dark, wet, cellars, in measureless filth and stench, in this atmosphere penned in as if with a purpose, this race must have nearly reached the lowest stage of humanity … But what must one think when he hears in at each of these pens, containing at most 2 rooms, a garret and perhaps a cellar, where on the average twenty human beings live; that in the whole region for which 120 persons one usually inaccessible privy (toilet); and that in spite of all the preaching’s of the physicians, and also in spite of the wretched conditions into which the cholera epidemic which plunged the sanitary police …

Engels goes on and on until it becomes virtually impossible and painful to read further. Yet this is the condition of those poor wretches in today’s third world who live among the conditions in Bangladesh or the Cameroons or Bolivia or Liberia, or Senegal! Or wherever. The World has a long way to go.

(1) Super-Imperialism – Michael Hudson – Quoted in Gardner Ibid. p.208

(2) The text of Kissinger’s speech on US relations in Europe was published in the New York Times – 24/04/1973

(3) Beyond US Hegemony – 2006 – Samir Amin – p.12

(4) The Destiny of Civilization 2022– Michael Hudson – p.53

(5) Ibid. – Samir Amin 2006 – p.12

(6) The Destiny of Civilization – Michael Hudson – p.283.

Vladimir Putin Address at the Valdai International Discussion Club 2022 – English Subtitles

October 28, 2022

Terror on Crimea Bridge forces Russia to unleash Shock’n Awe

The western narrative of a ‘losing Russia’ has just been decimated by Moscow’s blitzkrieg against Ukraine and its foreign-backed terror operations

October 10 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

The terror attack on Krymskiy Most – the Crimea Bridge – was the proverbial straw that broke the Eurasian camel’s back.

Russian President Vladimir Putin neatly summarized it: “This is a terrorist attack aimed at destroying the critical civilian infrastructure of the Russian Federation.”

The head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, confirmed face-to-face with Putin that Terror on the Bridge was carried out by the SBU – Ukrainian special services.

Bastrykin told Putin, “we have already established the route of the truck, where the explosion took place. Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, North Ossetia, Krasnodar… The carriers have been identified. With the help of operatives of the FSB, we managed to identify suspects.”

Russian intel leaked crucial info to military correspondent Alexander Kots. The cargo was ordered by a Ukrainian citizen: explosives packed in 22 pallets, in rolls of film under plastic wrap, were shipped from Bulgaria to the Georgian port of Poti. Afterwards, the cargo was loaded onto a truck with foreign license plates and proceeded overland to Armenia.

Clearance at the Armenia-Russia border was smooth – according to the rules of the Eurasian Customs Union (both Russia and Armenia are members of the Eurasian Economic Union, or EAEU). The cargo evidently avoided detection through X-rays. This route is standard for truckers traveling to Russia.

The truck then re-entered Georgia and crossed the border into Russia again, but this time through the Upper Lars checkpoint. That’s the same one used by thousands of Russians fleeing partial mobilization. The truck ended up in Armavir, where the cargo was transferred to another truck, under the responsibility of Mahir Yusubov: the one that entered the Crimean bridge coming from the Russian mainland.

Very important: the transport from Armavir to a delivery address in Simferopol should have happened on October 6-7: that is, timed to the birthday of President Putin on Friday the 7th. For some unexplained reason, that was postponed for a day.

The driver of the first truck is already testifying. Yusubov, the driver of the second truck – which exploded on the bridge – was “blind:” he had no idea what he was carrying, and is dead.

At this stage, two conclusions are paramount.

First: This was not a standard ISIS-style truck suicide bombing – the preferred interpretation in the aftermath of the terror attack.

Second: The packaging most certainly took place in Bulgaria. That, as Russian intel has cryptically implied, indicates the involvement of “foreign special services.”

‘A mirage of cause and effect’

What has been revealed in public by Russian intelligence tells only part of the story. An incandescent assessment received by The Cradle from another Russian intel source is way more intriguing.

At least 450 kg of explosives were employed in the blast. Not on the truck, but mounted inside the Crimea Bridge span itself. The white truck was just a decoy by the terrorists “to create a mirage of cause and effect.” When the truck reached the point on the bridge where the explosives were mounted, the explosion took place.

According to the source, railroad employees told investigators that there was a form of electronic hijacking; the terror operators took control of the railway so the train carrying fuel received a command to stop because of a false signal that the road ahead was busy.

Bombs mounted on the bridge spans were a working hypothesis largely debated in Russian military channels over the weekend, as well as the use of underwater drones.  

In the end, the quite sophisticated plan could not follow the necessarily rigid timing. There was no alignment by the millimeter between the mounted explosive charges, the passing truck and the fuel train stopped in its tracks. Damage was limited, and easily contained. The charges/truck combo exploded on the outer right lane of the road. Damage was only on two sections of the outer lane, and not much on the railway bridge.

In the end, Terror on the Bridge yielded a short, Pyrrhic PR victory – duly celebrated across the collective West – with negligible practical success: transfer of Russian military cargo by railway resumed in roughly 14 hours.

And that brings us to the key information in the Russian intel source assessment: the whodunnit.

It was a plan by the British MI6, says this source, without offering further details. Which, he elaborates, Russian intel, for a number of reasons, is shadow-playing as “foreign special services.”

It’s quite telling that the Americans rushed to establish plausible deniability. The proverbial “Ukrainian government official” told CIA mouthpiece The Washington Post that the SBU did it. That was a straight confirmation of an Ukrainska Pravda report based on an “unidentified law enforcement official.”

The perfect red line trifecta

Already, over the weekend, it was clear the ultimate red line had been crossed. Russian public opinion and media were furious. For all its status as an engineering marvel, Krymsky Most represents not only critical infrastructure; it is the visual symbol of the return of Crimea to Russia.

Moreover, this was a personal terror attack on Putin and the whole Russian security apparatus.

So we had, in sequence, Ukrainian terrorists blowing up Darya Dugina’s car in a Moscow suburb (they admitted it); US/UK special forces (partially) blowing Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 (they admitted and then retracted); and the terror attack on Krymsky Most  (once again: admitted then retracted).

Not to mention the shelling of Russian villages in Belgorod, NATO supplying long-range weapons to Kiev, and the routine execution of Russian soldiers.

Darya Dugina, Nord Streams and Crimea Bridge make it an Act of War trifecta. So this time the response was inevitable – not even waiting for the first meeting since February of the Russian Security Council scheduled for the afternoon of 10 October.

Moscow launched the first wave of a Russian Shock’n Awe without even changing the status of the Special Military Operation (SMO) to Counter-Terrorist Operation (CTO), with all its serious military/legal implications.

After all, even before the UN Security Council meeting, Russian public opinion was massively behind taking the gloves off. Putin had not even scheduled bilateral meetings with any of the members. Diplomatic sources hint that the decision to let the hammer come down had already been taken over the weekend.

Shock’n Awe did not wait for the announcement of an ultimatum to Ukraine (that may come in a few days); an official declaration of war (not necessary); or even announcing which ‘”decision-making centers” in Ukraine would be hit.

The lightning strike de facto metastasizing of SMO into CTO means that the regime in Kiev and those supporting it are now considered as legitimate targets, just like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra during the Anti-Terror Operation (ATO) in Syria.

And the change of status – now this is a real war on terror – means that terminating all strands of terrorism, physical, cultural, ideological, are the absolute priority, and not the safety of Ukrainian civilians. During the SMO, safety of civilians was paramount. Even the UN has been forced to admit that in over seven months of SMO the number of civilian casualties in Ukraine has been relatively low.

Enter ‘Commander Armageddon’

The face of Russian Shock’n Awe is Russian Commander of the Aerospace Forces, Army General Sergey Surovikin: the new commander-in-chief of the now totally centralized SMO/CTO.

Questions were being asked non-stop: why didn’t Moscow take this decision way back in February? Well, better late than never. Kiev is now learning they messed with the wrong guy. Surovikin is widely respected – and feared: his nickname is “General Armageddon.” Others call him “Cannibal.” Legendary Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov – also a colonel general in the Russian military – lavishly praises Surovikin as “a real general and warrior, an experienced, strong-willed and far-sighted commander.”

Surovikin has been commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces since 2017; was awarded the title of Hero of Russia for his no-nonsense leadership of the military operation in Syria; and had on the ground experience in Chechnya in the 1990s.

Surovikin is Dr. Shock’n Awe with full carte blanche. That even rendered idle speculations that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov were removed or forced to resign, as speculated by the Wagner group Telegram channel Grey Zone.

It is still possible that Shoigu – widely criticized for recent Russian military setbacks – could be eventually replaced by Tula Governor Alexei Dyumin, and Gerasimov by the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, Lieutenant General Alexander Matovnikov.

That’s almost irrevelant: all eyes are on Surovikin.  

MI6 does have some well-placed moles in Moscow, relatively speaking. The Brits had warned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the General Staff that the Russians would be launching a “warning strike” this Monday.

What happened was no “warning strike,” but a massive offensive of over 100 cruise missiles launched “from the air, sea and land,” as Putin noted, against Ukrainian “energy, military command and communications facilities.” 

MI6 also noted “the next step” will be the complete destruction of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. That’s not a “next step:” it’s already happening. Power supply is completely gone in five regions, including Lviv and Kharkov, and there are serious interruptions in other five, including Kiev.

Over 60 percent of Ukrainian power grids are already knocked out. Over 75 percent of internet traffic is gone. Elon Musk’s Starlink netcentric warfare has been “disconnected” by the Ministry of Defense.

Shock’n Awe will likely progress in three stages.

First: Overload of the Ukrainian air defense system (already on).

Second: Plunging Ukraine into the Dark Ages (already in progress).

Third: Destruction of all major military installations (the next wave).

Ukraine is about to embrace nearly total darkness in the next few days. Politically, that opens a completely new ball game. Considering Moscow’s trademark “strategic ambiguity,” this could be a sort of Desert Storm remixed (massive air strikes preparing a ground offensive); or, more likely, an ‘incentive’ to force NATO to negotiate; or just a relentless, systematic missile offensive mixed with Electronic Warfare (EW) to shatter for good Kiev’s capacity to wage war.

Or it could be all of the above.

How a humiliated western Empire can possibly raise the stakes now, short of going nuclear, remains a key question. Moscow has shown admirable restraint for too long. No one should ever forget that in the real Great Game – how to coordinate the emergence of the multipolar world – Ukraine is just a mere sideshow. But now the sideshow runners better run for cover, because General Armageddon is on the loose.

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

Russia Illegally Annexes Its Own Land and People, According to Western experts

October 3, 2022

Stephen Karganovic

The referendums set a dangerous precedent for the rulers of Western “democracies,” in addition to constituting a direct and serious non-military threat to the sustainability of their Ukrainian project.

Yes, that is the unanimous refrain of Western opinion makers following the referendums conducted in the four regions of Eastern Ukraine. That the overwhelming majority of the population there, braving deadly Ukrainian artillery barrages, expressed their preference to be part of Russia, and not of the discriminatory Ukrainian state (or whatever is ultimately left of it) makes no difference to these opinion shapers and policy makers.

The mechanical unanimity which prevails in the West concerning the major geopolitical shift that has just taken place in the East is a disturbing reminder of the single mindedness which, in roughly the same part of the world but under a different ideological guise, used to characterise political and media discourse about a generation ago.

To anyone with a superficial knowledge of the historical and political context, the epilogue of popular consultation in the four regions, as well as in the Crimea eight years ago, should be an open and shut case. (Doubters will be edified, while being entertained, here.) Invocations of international law, not to mention human rights, in these situations work entirely in Russia’s favor.

A fact-based and rational analysis, however, is unlikely to greatly impress the utterly ignorant and brain-washed Western public. The only version of events that they have heard is that Ukraine, allegedly a “sovereign” country, was invaded by a foreign aggressor and that sizable chunks of its territory are now being swallowed up by the invader.

The notion that Ukraine is a sovereign state is, of course, laughable. Ukraine is in fact a subservient political vassal of the collective West, all traces of autonomy having been voluntarily renounced by its own corrupt and traitorous political elite after “independence” in 1991.

It goes without saying that the Western public, with few exceptions, are blissfully unaware of the demographic, historical, and cultural realities of present day Ukraine. Political borders, however arbitrarily drawn, are in their minds the equivalent of ethnic frontiers which must be respected. That dimension of their ignorance was spectacularly illustrated, but on a much higher level, by the then U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher during an international conference held in the midst of the Bosnian war. To the shock of the better informed participants, he casually asked when did the Bosnian Serb population cross the Drina River to invade Bosnia, apparently unaware that in Bosnia they had been indigenous for at least the preceding thousand years. British foreign secretary (now prime minister, unfortunately) Liz Truss made a similarly embarrassing gaffe late last year at a meeting in Moscow, stunning her hosts when she expressed strong disapproval of Russian military manoeuvres on territory she thought was in the Ukraine, evidently unaware that it was part of the Russian Federation. The list could go on, but the point of it is that if high level political functionaries are ignorant of basic historical and geographical facts, how much can reasonably be expected from members of the zombified general public?

With regard to the allegedly egregious violation of international law committed by Russia by conducting a referendum to enable residents of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye to choose the country they wished to live in, a couple of hard data points are in order.

The first and most fundamental data point (probably beyond the knowledge of most citizens of Western counties) is the fact that prior to the 1920s there was a geographical concept associated with Ukraine, mainly in the form of several provincial subdivisions of the Russian Empire, but that as a self-sufficient political entity with defined borders before then it had never existed. To the question, what lands constituted Ukraine as an internationally recognized entity prior to its emergence within the USSR in the 1920s, there is no answer.

Just as the creation of Ukraine as a constituent republic of the USSR was an arbitrary political gesture, so was the determination of what fragments of the former Russian Empire it should eventually be made up of. Ukraine was fabricated by an act of revolutionary political will, for the ideological convenience of the USSR’s central authorities and certainly without any meaningful consultation with its inhabitants. As a decreed-from-on-high constituent republic of the USSR, the Ukrainian SSR was the precursor of the present-day Ukraine. Its separation from the USSR was similarly accomplished by agreement of three unelected and unauthorised Russian, Byelorussian, and Ukrainian functionaries. In terms of international law, and of the vaunted Western democratic values in particular, present-day Ukraine, and its borders, have therefore as much legitimacy as the entity created in the 1920s that it originated and evolved from.

The second hard data point has to do with precisely how the regions of Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk and others bordering on the Black Sea came to be incorporated into the newly constituted Ukrainian Soviet Republic. It was done to augment the substance of the new soviet republic by expanding it to include huge swathes of territory populated by Russian speakers who had no relation to the new Ukrainian identity that was being created out of thin air. There was no referendum or even a political climate in which inhabitants could freely manifest their preference. About a hundred years ago certain decisions about the geographical and ethnic composition of Ukraine were made at the top and then administratively implemented at lower levels. Options of dissent and appeal were excluded.

The third hard data point concerns the manner in which in 1954 the Crimea was incorporated into Ukraine. The method followed was exactly the same as described previously. The peninsula which during the preceding hundred fifty years, since before Ukraine had made its political appearance, was incontrovertibly a part of Russia populated by a Russian majority, suddenly, without explanation, and without consultation with its inhabitants, was transferred to Ukrainian control. The first opportunity that the people of Crimea had to manifest their will in regard to this was in 2014, just as the first such opportunity granted to the people of the four regions was a few days ago.

What is the principle of Western democratic governance that prohibits a review of decisions made behind the backs of those they impact? Why may such decisions not be tested for popular consent? If the inhabitants of former British colonies and Dominions have a legally recognised right to decide whether they still desire to be subject to the British monarchy, why should inhabitants of the four regions of Ukraine and Crimea be deprived of the inherent right to decide whether they wish to be subject to the government in Kiev? Especially since they became locked into the present-day Ukrainian state not by their own choice but by the imposition of arbitrarily drawn internal borders. Later, just as arbitrarily, those internal borders were declared to be international. What legal doctrine or moral principle obligates the inhabitants of those regions to treat as sacrosanct political decisions made at their expense by others, behind their backs and lacking their consent?

The hysterical uproar in the collective West over the referendums, one suspects, has less to do with the results – which were foreseeable based on expectations of normal behaviour of threatened and abused human beings – than with the fact that someone had the audacity to organise them at all. In the West unmanipulated expressions of popular sentiment have become a relic of the past. The referendums set a dangerous precedent for the rulers of Western “democracies,” in addition to constituting a direct and serious non-military threat to the sustainability of their Ukrainian project. That is why a vicious propaganda campaign was immediately unleashed to smear, disqualify, and misrepresent them at any cost.

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)

Source

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.

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